Benro Polaris Review in 2022 – The Most Complete Star Tracker

The Benro Polaris is the latest electric tripod head from the tripods & accessories brand Benro, and it features cutting-edge technology to automate some of the most complex tasks in astrophotography.

In this Benro Polaris review, I’ll focus on the astrophotography capabilities of the Benro Polaris, using the unit as a star tracker. I’ll be reviewing the Benro Polaris Astro Edition which has a special declination bracket that allows it to work as an automated star tracker.

Ready to learn about the future of astrophotography!?

Benro Polaris Review – Overview

The Benro Polaris is a revolution in astrophotography; it’s well built, packed with multiple automation features, and the user interface is clean and user-friendly. Most star trackers are similar in both design and functionalities, but the automation is where the Benro Polaris stands out. However, this is a new product, and there are still things to fine-tune in future software updates.

After using all the best star trackers for astrophotography, the Benro Polaris is without a doubt the most advanced star tracker I’ve ever tested.

Benro Polaris Specs

  • WEIGHT: 3.3lbs (1.5kg)
  • MAX PAYLOAD: 15lbs (7kg)
  • EXPOSURES: 5-6 minutes
  • MAX FOCAL LENGTH: ~400mm
  • RUN TIME: 20hrs
  • BATTERY TYPE: Internal – USB 3.1
  • BUILT-IN POLARSCOPE: No
  • AUTOGUIDER INPUT: No

Pros

Cons

The Benro Polaris is a tripod head with a ton of automation features. It can work as a motorized tripod head for precise compositions, shoot time-lapses with panning motion, or serve as a star tracker when using the Benro Polaris Astro Edition, which is the version that I’ll cover in this Benro Polaris review.

Benro Polaris review for astrophotographers

Benro Polaris automates some complex tasks in astrophotography

What I love about the Benro Polaris are the different smart features included in the unit. Benro has designed a device capable of doing more than just star tracking photography, and this, in my opinion as a professional astrophotographer, is the future and what more brands should aim for.

However, the Benro Polaris electric tripod head isn’t perfect. The features I’ve tested, such as tracked Milky Way panoramas, work perfectly (as of August’s 2022 firmware update), but there are still a few bugs that Benro needs to solve both in the app and in relation to the tracking capabilities.

Let me guide you through this Benro Polaris review!

Note: the Benro Polaris is a smart electric tripod head. However, since I’ll be reviewing the Benro Polaris Astro Edition, in this article I’ll refer to it as a star tracker.

Benro Polaris Features and Build

Working with the Benro Polaris Astro kit to photograph the Milky Way has been a great experience. This star tracker is well built and feels solid, and it looks like it will last for a long time with basic care. The internal components are also top-notch, the tracking is precise, and the motors work very smoothly.

Benro Polaris Review, the best star tracker

The Benro Polaris is built very well and packs a ton of features

Everything in this star tracker is well built from a hardware standpoint. The software still needs improvement, but I’m happy to see that Benro is listening to the community and addressing the issues and bugs on the device, improving it with every firmware update.

Let’s take a deeper look into every feature!

Weight (Click to display)

The Benro Polaris weighs 3.3lbs (1.5kg). This, combined with its compact design, makes it a very portable star tracker. This is particularly light if you compare it with other star trackers with go-to capabilities.

You can find lighter options in our best star tracker buying guide, but nothing with as many features. The Benro Polaris is the most advanced and portable star tracker you’ll find.

 

Payload

The Benro Polaris has a payload capacity of 15lbs (7kg). This base payload capacity is the highest of any of the best star trackers I’ve tested.

The Benro Polaris can easily handle DSLR and mirrorless setups with heavy lenses, which allows you to do complex landscape astrophotography such as Milky Way panoramas as well as some deep-sky astrophotography if you are using a telephoto or a small telescope.

So far, I haven’t had any issues with the motors. However, I recommend not pushing the Polaris to its weight limit since there is no counterweight system to reduce the strain on the motors.

 

Battery

The Benro Polaris has an internal rechargeable battery that runs for up to 20 hours and fully charges in 2.5 hours using a USB-C cable. Additionally, you can extend the run time or charge the Benro Polaris on the go by using an external power bank.

Benro sells a 20000mAh power bank designed for photographers. This power bank can be ordered with the Benro Polaris.

 

Declination Bracket & Counterweight

You will only get a declination bracket if you purchase the Benro Polaris Astro Edition. This declination bracket is specifically designed for the Benro Polaris and has a small motor that aids with star tracking.

Benro Polaris Astro Edition Review

The Benro Polaris Astro Kit

To use your camera with this declination bracket and place it facing the right way, you’ll need either a panoramic base or a nodal rail. Neither of these accessories is expensive; however, this is a downside and a flaw since it requires you to purchase an additional item to get the Benro Polaris up and running.

The Benro Polaris doesn’t take counterweights. The design wouldn’t allow it to use traditional counterweights. It makes up for this by having outstanding stability and payload capacity.

 

SD/SIM Card

The Benro Polaris requires a MicroSD card to work, this is not optional. This MicroSD will be used by the Benro Polaris to store configuration, input settings, firmware information, and more.

Benro doesn’t specify any minimum capacity for this MicroSD card. However, as a personal recommendation, I suggest using a minimum of 64GB; this will ensure there is plenty of space for whatever data the Benro Polaris needs to store. The maximum allowed storage is 1TB.

You can read more technical details about the MicroSD card in the Benro Polaris user manual.

Note 1: If the MicroSD card is new, or has been formatted by another device or computer, you need to format it with the Benro Polaris before using it.

Note 2: Turn off the device for a period of time before removing the SD card. Removing the SD card immediately after shooting may cause damage to the SD card.

If you buy any of the cellular versions of the Benro Polaris, you’ll get a Benro Polaris with a functional nano SIM card slot. You’ll need to insert a SIM card with a network connection to control the Benro Polaris over a phone network and remove any distance restrictions.

 

Build Quality

The Benro Polaris has an exceptional build quality. It’s built almost entirely out of metal, with a few rubbery parts around the knobs. It feels solid to the touch and durable.

The internal components also seem to be very well designed. The motors move very smoothly and precisely; this can be seen in how well it tracks the stars and rarely gets a picture with star trails. It’s also worth mentioning that the Benro Polaris has an IPX6 rating, which means it can withstand dust, a splash of water, light rain, or even a heavy storm.

Benro Polaris build quality

The Benro Polaris is compact enough to fit in your backpack

The Benro Polaris electric tripod head also packs very small. It has two main position modes: “on mode” and “resting mode.” In the resting mode, the Benro Polaris will fold itself into a compact form for easier storage and transportation.

Regarding the design, this is more personal, but I love the aesthetic part of the Benro Polaris. It looks clean and simple. The main color is dark gray with a few light gray highlights.

 

Benro Polaris Polar Alignment

Polar alignment with the Benro Polaris is more similar to the process followed on advanced go-to equatorial mounts than in traditional star trackers. This unit lacks a polar scope, but the process can be easily done with the Benro Polaris App. This app contains a database of hundreds of astronomical objects (planets, stars, satellites) from which you can choose to precisely polar align.

Benro Polaris polar alignment, how to

Benro Polaris app interface for polar alignment

Follow these simple steps to polar align the Benro Polaris:

    • Setup the Benro Polaris
    • Turn on the Benro Polaris and your camera
    • Open the Benro Polaris smartphone app
    • Tap the objects list (star icon with a magnifying glass)
    • Select the celestial object you want to use to polar align
    • Wait for the Benro Polaris to go to the selected object
    • Fine-tune the initial alignment using the arrows in your smartphone

Note: You can use any object to Polar Align, so you can polar align with 100% precision even when you can’t see Polaris.

As far as I’ve tested, this is my favorite polar alignment process; It’s fast, easy, and precise. I would love to see more go-to star trackers like this in the future because it makes this critical step much easier. Benro has also announced an upcoming update where it’ll use two objects in the process, which will make the polar alignment even more accurate.

If you want to make the most out of your Benro Polaris, you need to find the best moments of the year to photograph the Milky Way. The best way to do so at a glance is to use our Milky Way calendars!

GET THE CALENDAR WITH THE BEST DATES TO PHOTOGRAPH THE MILKY WAY IN 2022

You'll also receive our PDF guide to photographing the Milky Way!

Benro Polaris Automated Panoramas

The Benro Polaris allows you to create fully automated Milky Way panoramas as well as tracked panoramas. This is one of its main selling points for astrophotographers.

How to use Benro Polaris automated panoramas feature

Benro Polaris automated tracked panoramas interface

As I mentioned earlier, using the Benro Polaris Astro Edition, you can set up the device to create a panorama or a tracked panorama automatically. These are the settings you’ll need to input in the Benro Polaris App:

    • A starting point and an endpoint (both horizontal and vertical)
    • Camera sensor size
    • Focal length
    • Viewing frame (portrait or landscape)
    • Overlap percentage
    • Camera settings (shutter speed, ISO, aperture)

With these settings, the Benro Polaris will create a fully automated panorama without having to pan or tilt the camera manually. After each photo, the Benro Polaris app will show a low-resolution preview.

Tip 1: Set your camera to shoot RAW + JPEG to be able to see a preview of the images in the Benro Polaris App.

Tip 2: Turn off the tilt compensation setting in the Benro Polaris App. This setting makes the tracking less precise, and you’ll see star trails. Benro is working to solve this bug.

My experience using the Benro Polaris automated panoramas feature has been good, and the stars in all the images look sharp without any trails. This has also been one of the main improvements after the latest software updates, which speaks a lot about the constant updates by Benro.

Benro Polaris Setup

Setting up the Benro Polaris is a little different than other star trackers, but if you follow these simple steps, I guarantee you’ll have your Benro Polaris up and running in no time!

    • Fully charge the Benro Polaris before using it for the first time.
    • Insert a MicroSD card in the Benro Polaris
    • Download the Benro Polaris App (available for iOS and Android)
    • Turn on the Benro Polaris: double press the power button, and hold the second press until you hear three beeps.
    • Place your tripod and level it properly
    • Screw the Benro Polaris on top of the tripod
    • Connect the Benro Polaris app
    • Double tap the two joystick controls on the app’s interface
    • Format your SD card using the Benro Polaris
    • Verify and update the firmware through the smartphone App
    • Mount the Astro Kit on the Benro Polaris
    • Connect one end of the cable labeled “Astro cable” to the port labeled “Extra” on the Benro Polaris and the other end to the port with the same name on the Astro Kit.
    • Mount the camera on the Benro Polaris and connect it using the compatible camera cable included in the box.
    • Start tracking!
Benro Polaris setup

Benro Polaris Astro Edition setup

You can find detailed instructions on how to set up the Benro Polaris and all the different components in the Benro Polaris user manual.

Note 1: The Benro Polaris requires a MicroSD card to work, this is not optional. The Benro Polaris uses this card to store important information related to settings and input options.

Note 2: Depending on your camera model, you’ll need to modify the USB connection settings in your camera’s menu before the Benro Polaris can properly communicate with your camera.

Tip: Make sure to turn off the “Tilt compensation” option in the app. This feature is known to cause issues with star tracking. Benro is working to solve this bug.

As important as the tracker, it is using the best settings, blending the images correctly,  or applying the right techniques in post-processing. You can learn all this and more in my Milky Way Tracking Course!

Capture the Milky Way

The Ultimate Milky Way Course

Benro Polaris Supported Cameras

Benro Polaris supports over 400 camera models from different brands. Here you can find a list of some of the most popular cameras supported by the Benro Polaris.

Sony
    • Sony A7II
    • Sony A7RII
    • Sony A7III
    • Sony A7RIII
    • Sony A7RIV
    • Sony A7SII
    • Sony A9
    • Sony A9II
Canon
    • Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
    • Canon EOS 1D X
    • Canon EOS R
    • Canon EOS R2
    • Canon EOS R5
    • Canon EOS R6
Nikon
    • Nikon D750
    • Nikon D850
    • Nikon Z5
    • Nikon Z6
    • Nikon Z7
Fujifilm
    • Fujifilm X-T2
    • Fujifilm X-T3
    • Fujifilm X-T4

 

You can find a complete list of supported cameras and supported features here.

Benro Polaris Prices, Packages, and Discount

The Benro Polaris comes in multiple packages at different prices. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Polaris is more than just a star tracker; it can do time-lapses, serve as a remote shutter, do long exposures, focus stacking, and more!

Benro Polaris Astro Edition Review

Benro Polaris Astro Edition

Benro Polaris WiFi Astro Pack

The Benro Polaris WiFi Astro Pack retails for $1149. This is the version I’ve been reviewing and the one I recommend for most astrophotographers.

Benro Polaris Review 2022, Benro Polaris advanced star tracker

Benro Polaris Astro Edition setup without a camera

This version comes with the Benro Polaris WiFi smart tripod head and the Astro Expansion Kit; this is what you need to enable the star tracking capabilities.

The Benro Polaris Astro Edition can do everything the basic edition does and additionally it can be used as a star tracker.

With the Benro Polaris WiFi Astro Pack you’ll get:

    • Benro Polaris WiFi smart tripod head.
    • Benro Polaris Astro Expansion kit.

Use our discount code NFB3JLNJ to get 5% off your purchase!

Polaris

25% OFF the Benro Polaris by using the code GROUPDISCOUNT

 ONLY UNTIL AUGUST 31st

Polaris

5% OFF the Benro Polaris by using the code NFB3JLNJ

Polaris

5% OFF the Benro Polaris by using the code NFB3JLNJ

HOLIDAY PROMO

25% Sitewide Discount

15% OFF with the code CAPTUREATHOME15

 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

IMAGE QUALITY BUNDLE SALE!

$99 OFF GIGAPIXEL + DENOISE + SHARPEN AI

15% OFF with the code CAPTUREATHOME15

 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

Benro Polaris WiFi & Cellular Astro Pack

The Benro Polaris WiFi & Cellular Astro Pack retails at $1349. This version is the same as the normal Astro Edition but comes with a functional SIM card slot allowing you to control the Benro Polaris through a phone network. This removes any distance limitations for remote control.

With the Benro Polaris WiFi & Cellular Astro Pack you’ll get:

    • Benro Polaris WiFi & Cellular smart tripod head.
    • Benro Polaris Astro Expansion kit.

Save big by using our discount code NFB3JLNJ to get 5% off your purchase! 

If you are not interested in tracking and just need the basic automated functions like time-lapse, panoramas, etc, you can also purchase the standard Benro Polaris WiFi Time-lapse Edition for $899 or the Benro Polaris WiFi & Cellular Time-lapse Edition that retails at $1099.

Benro Polaris FAQ

The Benro Polaris is such a new device that there are a lot of unanswered questions around it. During this article, I’ve tried to cover as many aspects as possible. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the Benro Polaris:

The Benro Polaris is a smart motorized tripod head with multiple functions such as time-lapse mode, automated panoramas, automated tracked panoramas, star tracking, and more.

To operate the Benro Polaris, you’ll need a smartphone app available for iOS and Android. Through the app, you can setup everything you need and even input your camera settings. The app will also show you a preview of the images you take using the Benro Polaris.

There are four main packages for the Benro Polaris:

You can use our discount code NFB3JLNJ to get 5% savings on your purchase.

After reviewing the Benro Polaris Astro Edition I’m very happy with the results and I think it’s the future of star tracking. My experience has been great and I’m looking forward to using this star tracker more often. However, there are still a few software bugs with this device, but Benro is listening to the community, and they are quick at fixing any issues.

The Benro Polaris supports more than 400 camera models from different manufacturers. These are some of the most popular camera models supported by the Benro Polaris:

Sony
    • Sony A7II
    • Sony A7RII
    • Sony A7III
    • Sony A7RIII
    • Sony A7RIV
    • Sony A7SII
    • Sony A9
    • Sony A9II
Canon
    • Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
    • Canon EOS 1D X
    • Canon EOS R
    • Canon EOS R2
    • Canon EOS R5
    • Canon EOS R6
Nikon
    • Nikon D750
    • Nikon D850
    • Nikon Z5
    • Nikon Z6
    • Nikon Z7
Fujifilm
    • Fujifilm X-T2
    • Fujifilm X-T3
    • Fujifilm X-T4

You can find a complete list here.

Conclusion – Is the Benro Polaris worth it?

The Benro Polaris is the most advanced star tracker in the market, and it packs a ton of automation features that makes star tracking easier, more accurate, and more enjoyable for both professionals and beginners. Even though there are things to improve in future software updates, the Benro Polaris is the future of astrophotography.

As I’ve mentioned multiple times during this Benro Polaris review, the Polaris is an outstanding device, capable of performing complex tasks on its own. However, there are still a few software bugs that Benro needs to fix before I feel comfortable using this device as my main star tracker.

Additionally, the Benro Polaris is the most expensive star tracker I’ve ever tested. It’s worth every penny, but that’s something to consider. If you are looking for more affordable options, I recommend reading my best star trackers buying guide.

Polaris

25% OFF the Benro Polaris by using the code GROUPDISCOUNT

 ONLY UNTIL AUGUST 31st

Polaris

5% OFF the Benro Polaris by using the code NFB3JLNJ

Polaris

5% OFF the Benro Polaris by using the code NFB3JLNJ

HOLIDAY PROMO

25% Sitewide Discount

15% OFF with the code CAPTUREATHOME15

 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

IMAGE QUALITY BUNDLE SALE!

$99 OFF GIGAPIXEL + DENOISE + SHARPEN AI

15% OFF with the code CAPTUREATHOME15

 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds

If you have any questions about the Benro Polaris, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Happy captures!


COFOUNDER & PHOTO TOUR LEADER

Dan is a professional nature and landscape photographer, photography educator, and co-founder of Capture the Atlas. His base camp is in California, USA, but he spends long periods of time exploring and photographing new locations around the world.

Apart from shooting the Milky Way, the Northern Lights, and any breathtaling landscape, he enjoys leading photo tours to some of the most photogenic places on Earth.

You can find more about Dan here.

50 thoughts on “Benro Polaris Review in 2022 – The Most Complete Star Tracker

  1. Michael McKeag says:

    Tauri,

    I have an iOptron Sky Guider Pro, and will soon (today or tomorrow) receive the Benro Polaris. I will be testing tracking with the same payloads (camera and lens) on both and comparing.

    Mike

  2. Michael McKeag says:

    Tracking indicates the unit I ordered is in our zip code and out for delivery today. Prince, thanks for pointing out my oversight regarding shipping charge: HK$ 479 = $61 (at today’s exchange rate). Whew!

    Looking forward to putting it through its paces.

  3. Judit Fabian says:

    Hi Dan
    Last night I tried my Benro Polaris with Astro kit for the first time, with very disappointing results. Using a 250 mm lens and a total weight of 6 lbs 10 oz, I was able to get only 30 sec exposure without trailing. 60 sec and longer produced wiggly star trails, looking like the whole setup was shaking. Any idea how this could be corrected?

    • Dan Zafra says:

      Hi Judit,

      I haven’t tried the Polaris yet with longer focal lengths.

      They have just released a new update with improvements. Have you tried it out?

  4. Michael McKeag says:

    This promises to be an impressive device. I placed my order just in time to take advantage of the 25% discount. I received an order acknowledgement email promptly. Within 24 hours I received an invoice for shipping ($479). Product is being shipped directly from China. At this point Benro apparently is not maintaining an inventory in North America. I’m familiar with air freight cost for a single item of this weight, but did not realize Benro would be shipping individual orders directly from China. So the actual cost of the product, with 25% discount is $1228.25. If it performs as promised it will render my MSM and iOptron Sky Guider Pro trackers obsolete. I can sell them.

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Michael,
      I’m glad you were able to make use of the discount and happy to see you are as excited as we are!
      Try to check with them if the shipping cost was in Hong Kong dollars or US dollars. From what they told Dan in an email, it should be Hong Kong Dollars which equals about $60 USD.

      Let us know your thoughts on the device when it arrives!

      Thanks for your comment.

  5. Ron Shimanek says:

    I sent an earlier question which was never posted. I went ahead an purchased this product anyway.

    So far, I got a confirmation receipt and a request for more money (I presume for shipping but that wasn’t clear). However, other than the first confirmation and the request of additional money, I haven’t received a ship date, a tracking number, or anything else that would indicate that they are even working on filling the order. I have sent 2 follow-up emails and so far haven’t received any feedback. I thought Benro was better than that.

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Ron,

      When Dan and I ordered our units it took a few days to get the shipping date. It’s unfortunate and that is no excuse for them not responding to you, but just letting you know how our experience was.
      The communication with them hasn’t been as fluid as we’d like, but they eventually get back to you. My guess is that they’ve been overwhelmed by the success of the device and they don’t have enough resources in place to attend to customers.

      Sorry about your previous comment, we are trying to reply to all of them as soon as we can.

  6. Paul Cheyne says:

    hi,

    Great review! I apologize if this was covered in the review but can it track with zero cell phone or wifi service? If it can’t it’s useless for me as an astro tracker. Thx!

  7. Ron Santini says:

    Dan, I was an early backer of the Benro Polaris. I have been testing it for over a month now and have many questions I can’t seem to have Benro address. Maybe you can help me. Here goes:

    I am using a Canon R5 camera.

    1) Can the camera screen and cellphone screen be on at the same time? If so, how do I do that?
    2) What is your procedure for alignment on a target?

    Thanks!

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Ron,
      As far as we’ve tested only the liveview in the app can work at a given time.
      To do the polar alignment you need to select the target on the smartphone app, the Polaris will move and point to it, then you need to fine-tune the initial alignment. You can find more details in the article, in the section called “Benro Polaris Polar Alignment”.

      All the best,
      Prince

  8. Tauri Taal says:

    Hi! How do you think it compares to for example iOptron Skyguider? Lets compare purely tracking abilities. Is Polaris accurate enough for 200-300mm/2kg combos? For example my MSM tracker achieves around 60s subs but with like 50% success rate. So I was thinking on buying Skyguider which is more reliable until I saw your post. Have you tried Polaris with longer lenses and more deep objects? I assume 5-6min subs are stated with wide angles in mind, not longer lenses?

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Tauri,
      We haven’t compared the Polaris against the SkyGuider Pro yet so I can’t tell you exactly how the Benro performs compared to it; however, we’ve tested the Polaris with up to 100mm with very good results, granted you turn the tilt compensation feature off. We still need to test longer and heavier lenses, but it looks good on paper. The max payload capacity is way above the SkyGuider Pro, but on the flip side, the Benro doesn’t take counterweights, which make a huge difference in deep-sky astrophotography.

      The 5-6 minute subs are with wider lenses of course. 100mm was down to about 2 minutes.

      Thanks for your comment!

  9. Aditya says:

    I just placed an order with using the link, though I got the confirmation page however there was no confirmation# or order#
    I have not received any confirmation emails either
    Not sure if anyone had similar experience..

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Aditya,
      Dan and I ordered the Benro Polaris the same day around the same time and got our confirmation emails a couple of days after the purchase. I assume they don’t have an automated confirmation system. You can email them at [email protected] with any questions and they generally take about a day to get back to you.

      We’d love to hear your thoughts when you receive the Polaris!

  10. Karen Hart says:

    Thanks for this Dan. Will you have a tutorial on how to set up panoramas with the app or do you know where a tutorial/instructions might be located?
    I appreciate your thoughts on this.
    Karen

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Karen,
      Allow me to reply on behalf of Dan.
      Dan has more articles planned for the future, as well as an in-depth video in the Pro Tracking module of the Milky Way course on how to set up the Polaris step by step, common mistakes, tips, and more.

      There are a few videos on YouTube, unfortunately, nothing too in-depth, but it’s a good place to start.

      Thanks for your comment!

  11. Mike says:

    Thanks for the introduction to and review of this device Dan. I ordered one based on your post! Any idea how long shipping is taking for orders place via your link and discount code?

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Mike,
      Dan and I ordered the Benro Polaris on the same day and it took about eight weeks to arrive in the USA and a couple of weeks longer to arrive in Spain (where I live). However, this was in the early stages of production, and it was expected to take that long. I think shipping is a lot quicker now. You can email them at [email protected] with shipping inquiries to get a more precise timeline.

      Thanks for your comment!

  12. ArvindK says:

    Thank you for the detailed post! I had a question regarding visual use. Say I use a supported camera and make use of the automated alignment. Can I then remove the camera and mount a small refractor scope on top and use this mount head just for tracking? How about Go-To capabilities?

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi ArvindK,
      That is a very specific use case we haven’t tested yet 😀 I don’t think the Polaris was intended to be used that way. In any way, I think it would be easier to mount your camera to the refractor by using a T-Ring, that way you don’t have to unmount the camera and you can still make use of all the capabilities the Benro Polaris offers.

  13. Ron Shimanek says:

    Once the tracker is aligned, does it allow you to select a target e.g. Andromeda galaxy and have it move the camera to that position automatically? Or… do you manually have to move the camera to the correct position.

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Ron,
      We haven’t tested that yet. However, if you align by using the Andromeda galaxy, then you don’t have to modify the composition if that is what you want to track. If you use another object to polar align, then you’ll have to move the camera with the joysticks to point to Andromeda.

      I hope that helps.
      Thanks for your comment!

  14. Marcus says:

    Hi Dan,
    Great review.
    Just wondering if you know whether it is possible to purchase the two-axis head initially and upgrade at a later date to add the third axis Astro pack?

    I’m tossing up buying a Zeapon PONS pan/tilt head arrangement but also want to incorporate astro tracking at a later time when experience and budget allows. I thought the Benro product might tick all my requirements if I can add-on the third axis later. I can’t find anything on the Benro website that lists an Astro accessory to add third axis functionality.

    Also will this work in the Southern Hemisphere for astro tracking?

    Thanks for your great articles.

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Marcus,
      I can’t tell for sure, but I would assume it is possible. However, the best way to confirm is to ask Benro directly. You can email them at [email protected], they usually take about a day to get back to you.

      Let us know if you end up getting the Benro Polaris! It’s a great device with a lot of potential.

  15. Richard Baumann says:

    Dan—I forgot to ask, I know you shoot with the Sony A1. Can you get bulb operation on that camera?

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi again Richard,
      Let me reply on behalf on Dan.
      I know he’s been testing on his astromodified A7III without issues and I’ve been testing on a regular A7III, but he hasn’t tested on the A1 yet. I’ll let him know for futures articles or updates to this one.

  16. Richard Baumann says:

    Dan—Great review, thanks. I have been using my Polaris/Astro now for about two months, mostly just to get familiar with all the modes of operation. It is everything and more than you describe it to be as the best star tracker out there.

    I am using Polaris Astro with my Sony A7iii and A7iv. The interface to the A7iii is flawless in all modes. I have been working with the development team for a while on the A7iv when trying to shoot in bulb mode. For extra long exposures, longer than 30 seconds, bulb mode is required on Sony A7 cameras—there are a few tricks with that including not being in continuous shooting mode in order to select bulb. But as you mention, the Polaris software is evolving but right now you can’t initiate a shutter opening in bulb mode with the A7iv.

    But here’s the great news— I am getting information nearly every day from their development team asking me for testing and camera settings and providing me Beta firmware to test. These folks are fantastic and in very close, continuous contact while we work this through—they even went out and grabbed an A7iv to use in their lab because we were overnighting info back and forth to cut that cycle down. I have learned a lot from this, most importantly how committed the Benro Polaris team is to getting it right. This is a winning product backed by really committed people. Highly recommend!

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Richard! Much appreciated. I agree that Benro is really pushing this device to be the best it can be, and it’s nice to see they are listening to the community.
      Keep us posted with your findings!

  17. jose says:

    hi,

    nice review ! thank you for taking time in making it.

    after many months thinking about it, I just ordered it.

    Can you tell me what objects is actually Polaris able to track and is there gonna be some others added ?

    Thank you.

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Jose,
      I can’t say which ones exactly, I hope Benro would post a complete list sometime. You can expect the most common such as Polaris, Arcturus, Sirius, Rigel, the Octans, Alpha Centauri, planets, etc. I’d assume there will be more added in the future, but I can’t tell for sure. Benro did say they were developing a new feature to get a more precise polar alignment by using 2 objects instead of one.

  18. Timothy R Paul says:

    This sounds to be a great product and thanks for the excellent review.

    I have Sigma 150-600mm lens. Can I use this tracker for observing NGC and Messier objects? Does the Goto function have these objects.

    Thanks Again,
    Timothy

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Timothy,
      I don’t remember exactly which NGC and Messier objects are available in the Benro Polaris app. It’d be nice for Benro to post a complete list of celestial objects. During our tests we used common stars like Polaris, Arcturus, Sirius, or planets.

      Thanks for commenting!

  19. Leon Kolenda says:

    Dan, I have a few questions.

    1. When using the Smartphone Astro-Tracker version, do you have to have a cell signal, If so, what has been anyone’s experience on signal coverage, does it require a certain amount of bars to work?

    2. Why is there not any place else to purchase these Benro products, other than Benro, I’m a little skeptical of this. No photography stores, No Amazon. It seems that this is too good to be true and Benro has not committed to the major sellers in the market. Understand Dan, nothing against you making some affiliate profit, just looks skeptical not being anywhere else to purchase.

    3. Wish you, or someone would do an updated serious review, with the latest FW and the pros and cons. The YT reviews now are all old, like 1-year or older.

    4. How long does the battery last on a full charge? Will it work with Power banks?

    5. What is the warranty?

    Love your stuff, Dan Keep up the great work!

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Leon,
      Let me respond on behalf of Dan.

      1. I think you are talking about the Cellular version. We haven’t tested that unit yet, but from what we know, the Cellular version also has a WiFi network which you can use when you are close enough to the unit. If you farther away from the unit and can’t get WiFi signal, then you’ll have the use the cellular network. I assume the most bars you have, the better, mostly for the liveview.

      2. The product is in very early stages of production and distribution. Most official retailers haven’t received units yet, and It’ll probably be a few more months until its available in general retail shops from what Benro told us. Unfortunately, the links in the article are not affiliate links, they haven’t provided them to us, we are not making any profits from referrals yet. The discount code was something Dan negotiated with them for Capture the Atlas readers.

      3. There is a more in-depth review coming in the future! There will also be a specific video in the Pro Tracking course dedicated to the Benro Polaris.

      4. We haven’t done a full battery test yet, however, during our testing the Polaris would go through 20% of battery in about 30-40 minutes. This however, was with heavy use, a lot of aligning with different objects, testing features, etc. the motors were moving a lot.

      5. 1 year warranty.

      Thanks for your comment!

  20. Sharon Barnard says:

    Do you consider it a good investment even though there are bugs that are still being worked out? I’ve thought of purchasing one, but the cost is somewhat prohibitive and I was seeing more negative reviews than positive on the BenroPolaris site.

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Sharon,
      Allow me to reply on behalf of Dan.
      It’s definitely a big investment, but I consider it a good one. It’s a device with a ton of features and making something as complex as the Polaris, easy to use for the general public, takes some time to polish. We can’t speak for others, but my experience so far (and Dan’s) have been great considering we are still in the early versions of both the software and firmware, we are optimistic about future updates. Benro is addressing the bugs that have been reported and are working with the customers to polish the Polaris.

      If it’s something you can afford and you think it will fit your needs, I’d say go for it! It will only keep getting better.

      Thanks for the comment!

  21. David Poller says:

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the solid review, lots of great information!

    Is the Benro usable as a plain non-tracking, non-astro tripod head? Or would I need to pack both my current tripod head and the Benro when going into the field? It would be convenient if there were a way to disconnect the motors and move the tripod head manually on its axes, one less thing to carry.

    Thanks!

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi David,
      Allow me to reply on behalf of Dan.

      You can use it as a normal tripod head and turn the knobs manually, albeit, a very expensive one 😀 The knobs allow for very smooth and precise compositions, so that’s great.

      Thanks for your comment!

  22. Philipp Barmettler says:

    Great & very helpful review Dan! It would be awesome if you can share a couple photo examples using the Polaris (eg I would love to see a tracked milky way pano etc). Also, can you comment on your experience with the go-to catalogue and if Benro plans to expand it?
    Again, thanks for the great review!
    Philipp

    • Prince Berkoh says:

      Hi Phillip,
      Dan will update the articles with some Milky Way photos taken with the Benro Polaris.

      Regarding the go-to capabilities, we don’t know if Benro will expand the catalogue, but at the moment of writing this comment, they are developing a new firmware that will allow the Polaris to polar align with two stars for a more precise alignment.

      Thanks for your comment!

  23. Paul Adams says:

    Will it do automated time-lapses? eg track for 60 secs, then move back to the original position and track again, repeatedly. The aim is to get a video of the MW as it moves relative to the fixed background landscape.
    At the moment I use the nice time-lapse feature on my Canon RP on a fixed (nontracking) tripod but this limits the subs to around 10 sec even with a wide-angle lens.

    • Dan Zafra says:

      Paul,

      It’s supposed to do that, yes. However, I don’t do much time-lapse and I’m not planning to use this unit for that purpose, so I’m not able to talk more specifically about that point. Apart from astrophotography, you can do many advanced automated functions with this head.

      Best,
      Dan

  24. Wes says:

    The ARCA bracket for holding your camera is fine if you either have a longer lens with a tripod collar and foot, or mount the supplied plate perpendicular to what you would normally mount. Since I have L brackets on my camera that I never remove, I simply use a nodal rail, like you noted. What they don’t have is a good way to shoot in portrait mode with just a stock camera with no brackets.

  25. Yvan Bedard says:

    Great product and excellent review.

    Can it be used for a small telescope to simply do astronomy observation with star/planet tracking?

    Can it be used remotely to point in any direction (ex. for remote bird photography where it is important to move the camera for proper framing of the bird) ?

    Such uses would add to the usefulness of this new device.

    Thanks

    • Dan Zafra says:

      Hi Yvan!

      You can use a small telescope with the device but you have to consider the payload capacity and, for planet observation, I think that there could be other telescopes/units more prepared for that use.

      You can also point remotely in any direction; apart from astrophotography it can be used for multiple purposes (I hadn’t thought about Wildlife!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.