Move Shoot Move Star Tracker Review in 2023

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker is compact, light, and very easy to set up and use. This small device opened the doors of tracked astrophotography to thousands of photographers, and its portability makes it possible to take high-quality Milky Way photos in remote locations where you can’t take a regular equatorial mount.

However, the MSM Tracker is far from perfect. A few aspects need improvement and might impact your decision to purchase one for yourself.

I’m a professional astrophotographer, and I’ve been using this tracker for years in the field. In this Move Shoot Move review, I’ll go over every feature you need to know about the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker.

Move Shoot Move Star tracker review

The MSM Star Tracker can help you take stunning Milky Way images

Do you want to know if the Move Shoot Move is the best star-tracker for you? Keep reading to learn more!

Note: The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker can also be called MSM Rotator or SIFO Rotator. In this article, I’ll refer to it mostly as Move Shoot Move Star Tracker.

Move Shoot Move Star Tracker – Overview

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker is one of the market’s most compact and portable star trackers. This, with its affordability and ease of use, makes this star tracker the perfect companion for beginners and professionals looking for a portable star tracker to take on long hikes.

MSM rotator Specs

  • WEIGHT: 0.9lbs (0.4kg)
  • MAX PAYLOAD: 6.6lbs (3kg)
  • EXPOSURES: 1-2 minutes
  • MAX FOCAL LENGTH: ~50mm
  • RUN TIME: 5hrs
  • BATTERY TYPE: Internal – USB-C
  • BUILT-IN POLARSCOPE: No – sold apart
  • AUTOGUIDER INPUT: No

Pros

Cons

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker is ideal for beginner astrophotographers. However, its features have made it a great star tracker also for professionals looking for a portable mount. If you do Milky Way photography in remote locations or shoot mainly with wide-angle lenses for Milky Way, the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker will cover all your needs.

I have many different trackers, but it’s usually my preferred option when I go on long hikes. Unfortunately, its limited payload capacity means that I can only use light setups and I’m limited to taking more simple photos.

The MSM Rotator is not meant to take more complex images such as tracked Milky Way panoramas, Milky Way mosaics, or deep-sky astrophotography, so you should consider its pros and its limitations.

The MSM star tracker is the best light and portable star tracker

Move Shoot Move Star tracker is light and portable

Having a star tracker is only part of the process. If you want to plan your astrophotography at a glance, I encourage you to download our Milky Way Astro 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!

Move Shoot Move Star Tracker – Features and Build

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker has a compact design with multiple features considering its small size as you can see more in-depth below.

In my opinion, the main thing Move Shoot Move should improve in future versions of this star tracker is quality control. I never had any issue with mine, but there have been numerous reports of photographers with flawed units that couldn’t hold the payload, resulting in failed tracking. Move Shoot Move is quick to address the issue and replace the units, but it’s something to improve.

Keep reading this Move Shot Move tracker review to learn more!

Weight (Click to display)

 

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker weighs only 0.9lbs (0.4kg), making it the lightest unit in our best star tracker list. This is one of the main selling points of the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker.

Over the years, I’ve hiked with multiple star tracker models, and the Move Shoot Move is by far the most comfortable to hike with thanks to its weight and form factor.

 

Payload

 

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker has a payload of 6.6lbs (3kg). This is on par with its competitors, the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer Mini and the iOptron SkyTracker Pro.

Move Shoot Move Star tracker payload capacity

The MSM Star Tracker has enough payload capacity for a mirrorless setup

However, the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker’s limited payload is to be expected since it has such a compact and lightweight body. If you are using a DSLR you might want to check out other star tracker models with higher payload capacity.

 

Battery

 

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker features an internal rechargeable battery with a 5-hour run time. This is more than enough for an overnight astrophotography session. Additionally, you can extend the battery’s life by using an external power bank to charge it in the field.

I love star trackers with internal batteries. It is incredibly convenient to not have to carry separate batteries.

 

Polar Scope

 

The Move Shoot Move lacks a built-in polar scope; however, you can purchase either a laser (if it’s allowed in your country) or an MSM polar scope as an accessory.

If you are doing Milky Way photography with a wide-angle lens and you can easily see Polaris, the laser is the way to go. It simplifies the polar alignment process and makes it a lot quicker. If lasers are banned in your country or you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you should consider purchasing the polar scope instead.

 

Build quality

 

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker has an aluminum body with rubber buttons. The design is very compact and easily fits into any backpack.

Move Shoot Move star tracker sitting on a table

The MSM Star Tracker is well built

The external parts feel very solid; however, the internal components feel a little more delicate. This is the impression I get from the multiple complaints I’ve heard from customers with flawed units that can’t track properly even with a light camera and lens combos. I’ve personally never had an issue with my unit (knock on wood!).

 

Move Shoot Move V and Z Brackets

 

The Move Shoot Move company developed the V and Z brackets to address the lack of a declination bracket for the Move Shoot Move Star tracker.

Move Shoot Move Z bracket with the Move Shoot Move star tracker in the background

MSM Z Bracket is useful for easy leveling and Milky Way panoramas

The V and Z Brackets make it easier to level the camera mostly when trying to achieve more complex tasks such as Milky Way panoramas.

My experience with them could be better. They are very unstable if there is even a little wind. I would only recommend them if you are looking forward to taking more complex images with the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker. As of today, it seems that MSM is working on the design of the second generation of V/Z brackets.

 

Others

 

Throughout this MSM star tracker review, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t mentioned counterweights, autoguiding, or a declination base. The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker lacks all these features. This is to be expected since this astrophotography mount is not intended for heavy setups, deep-sky astrophotography, or complex Milky Way images.

If you are planning on purchasing this unit, this is something you should consider.

 

Move Shoot Move Star Tracker Polar Alignment

Polar alignment with the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker is easy compared to other star trackers, mainly if you use the laser pointer.

How to polar align with the Move Shoot Move star tracker

Polar alignment with the MSM laser pointer is very easy

In this section, I’ll briefly cover the polar alignment with the Move Shot Move laser pointer. For a more detailed guide on how to polar align your star tracker, read the article I wrote on how to do astrophotography with a star tracker.

Follow these simple steps to polar align the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker:

    • Setup your Move Shoot Move Star Tracker
    • Attach the laser pointer to the MSM star tracker and turn it on*
    • Use the ball head or equatorial wedge to point the laser beam to Polaris*
    • Fine-tune the alignment

*Tip: Make sure the front of the laser is pointing away from you (and any other person around you) before turning it on. Lasers can cause permanent damage to the eye. Never stand in front of the laser beam. For added precaution, you can remove the battery of the laser pointer after each use to ensure you don’t accidentally turn it on.

 

Tip 2: If you want to go the extra mile for precaution, you can download an app such as Flight Radar on your smartphone to make sure there aren’t any manned aircraft flying in the area. The laser beam is strong enough to distract or even momentarily blind a pilot.

 

*Note: You can find a detailed infographic on how to find Polaris here. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere here is how to find the South Celestial Pole.

Is the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker Worth it?

With an accurate polar alignment, you can get stunning images with the Move Shoot Move.

Move Shoot Move Star Tracker Setup

Setting up the Move Shoot Move is simple compared to other star trackers, and you can have your camera up and tracking in very little time. There is a variety of options and combinations to set up the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker but, in this section, I’ll explain how to set up the star tracker with a ball head and either the V or Z brackets.

 

    • Place your tripod and level it correctly: This is crucial for correct tracking.
    • Slide the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker onto the ball head: In this step, you can use the MSM equatorial wedge to be more precise.
How to setup the Move Shoot Move star tracker

Slide the MSM onto the ball head of the EQ wedge.

  • Screw the V or Z brackets on the Move Shoot Move: you can use a ball head if you don’t have the V or Z brackets.
  • Secure the second ball head on the MSM tracking side (The other side is for time-lapse rotation). Follow the same step if you are using a V or Z bracket
  • Attach the laser pointer or the polar scope to the side of the MSM star tracker.
  • Mount your camera and accessories on the ball head.
  • Polar align the MSM star tracker.
  • Turn the MSM star tracker on.
  • Start shooting!

You can see a full tutorial on how to use the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker with different setups, the best star tracking techniques, and how to edit tracked images in my Milky Way Pro Tracking course!

Capture the Milky Way

The Ultimate Milky Way Course

Move Shoot Move Star Tracker Kits, Prices, and Discount

There are so many different kits for the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker that sometimes it can become a little confusing. In this Move Shoot Move Star Tracker review, I will explain the main kits and their different prices, as well as the best accessories for the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker.

You can also use our discount code CTA to get 5% off from any purchase in the Move Shoot Move store.

Move Shoot Move Star Tracker Basic Kit

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker Basic Kit retails at $239. This is the perfect kit for any astrophotographer living in the Northern Hemisphere where laser pointers aren’t banned.

This kit comes with the following:

    • Star tracker
    • Laser pointer

msmrotator transparent

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Move Shoot Move Star Tracker Basic Kit A

The Basic Kit A retails at $279. This is the kit I recommend for astrophotographers who live in the Southern Hemisphere or any country where laser pointers are banned. The Polar scope can also help you achieve a more precise polar alignment and, therefore, a better tracking performance with longer exposure times.

This kit comes with the following:

    • Star Tracker
    • Polar Scope

Move Shoot Move Star Tracker Accessories

Move Shoot Move has some great accessories to pair with its star tracker, here are some of my favorites.

    • Z and V Brackets ($45 and $40): as I mentioned earlier in this review, these mounts make it easier to level the camera when tracking and can help make some complex tasks a little easier.
    • Polar Scope ($70): If you already own a Move Shoot Move Star Tracker with a laser pointer and want to upgrade to a polar scope, then you can buy it separately as an accessory.
    • Laser Pointer ($35): If you already own a Move Shoot Move Star Tracker with a polar scope but you’d like to have the convenience of the laser pointer, you can purchase it separately as an accessory. Make sure your country allows them.
    • Equatorial Wedge ($89): The equatorial wedge designed by Move Shoot Move is a perfect upgrade to make polar alignment more precise. It is very smooth to operate and I personally really like it.

 

Move Shot Move Star Tracker and accessories

The Move Shoot Move star tracker, the Z Bracket, and the laser pointer

Don’t forget to use our discount code CTA to save 5% on any purchase in the Move Shoot Move store!

Move Shoot Move Star Tracker vs. SkyWatcher Star Adventurer Mini

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker and the SkyWatcher Star Adventurer Mini go head-to-head in some features such as portability and payload capacity; however, that’s where they start to differ.

Let’s see how each of these star trackers perform in a few key aspects:

MSM star tracker vs Star Adventurer Mini

MSM star tracker (right) vs. SkyWatcher Star Adventurer Mini (left)

Battery

 

This is a clear win for the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker. The Star Adventurer Mini (SAM) might have a longer run time, but the convenience of a built-in rechargeable battery is something hard to beat.

 

Polar Scope

 

This aspect is a tie for both star trackers. Neither one has an integrated polar scope, but the SAM comes with one in the box and in the case of the MSM you can purchase it as an accessory. With the MSM Star Tracker you can also use the laser pointer to polar align.

 

Equatorial Wedge

 

This is a point for the SAM. The equatorial wedge that comes with the Star Adventurer Mini is one of the best in the market. It’s rock solid, smooth to operate, and precise.

 

Build Quality and Weight

 

This point goes to the Move Shoot Move. It’s lighter and feels sturdier than the SAM. Also, its rectangular form factor makes it really easy to pack even in the smallest corner of your backpack.

 

To sum it up, these are the scenarios where I would choose one star tracker over the other.

    • For heavier loads I would choose the Star Adventurer Mini. Both star trackers have the same maximum payload capacity; however, since the Star Adventurer Mini supports counterweights, it will perform better with heavier setups.
    • For ease of use and convenience I would choose the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker. It’s very simple to set up and start shooting. It is lightweight enough to take with you wherever you go.

Another direct competitor of the MSM is the iOptron Skytracker. This tracker has similar features as the Skywatcher Mini and you can consider the same pros and cons as described above.

Move Shoot Move Star Tracker FAQ

In this Move Shoot Move Star Tracker review, I’ve covered most aspects related to this astrophotography mount. In this section, I’ll sum up a few key aspects and frequently asked questions. If you have further questions, you can leave them in the comment section below.

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker is a compact and lightweight astrophotography mount geared toward amateur astrophotographers and professionals looking for an ultra-portable star tracker.

The price of the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker ranges between $209 and $389 depending on the kit. This makes it one of the most affordable star tracker options.

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker is one of the best portable star trackers on the market. Its compact design and ease of use make it perfect for beginners and landscape astrophotographers.

With precise polar alignment, you can safely do 1 to 2-minute exposures on the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker depending on the focal length.

Conclusion – Is the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker worth it?

The Move Shoot Move Star Tracker is one of the best portable star trackers on the market. It was a game-changer when it was first announced, and it’s still one the best options for astrophotographers who are starting or looking for an ultra-lightweight astrophotography mount. However, Move Shoot Move should improve its quality check process because some units have been reported to cause tracking and stability issues.
Move Shoot Move Star Tracker Ultimate Review

Take stunning photos with the MSM Star Tracker

If you are planning on getting the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker, I suggest you go for the Basic Kit or the Basic Kit A if you live in the Southern Hemisphere or a country where laser pointers are banned. If you use our discount code CTA, you’ll get 5% off any purchase in the Move Shoot Move Store!

I hope you found this Move Shoot Move Star Tracker review helpful and, if you are ready to learn more about the Move Shoot Move Star Tracker and tracked astrophotography, I invite you to check out Milky Way Pro Tracking Course!

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.

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