The Syrp Genie is a great, though imperfect, timelapse machine that has recently added another trick to its arsenal: repeatable motion. Originally, the first couple bits of firmware to the Syrp weren't perfect at the repeatable motion tasks, but the most recent update has fixed all the issues, giving us the ability to fine-tune motions and get them time and again, exactly as they were the first time. With the addition of the new Magic Carpet, there is a lot we can now do with the Syrp.
The Magic Carpet is Syrp's foray into sliders, and it's a good one. The design isn't anything particularly groundbreaking, but they do use a few different build techniques from other companies and combine them well into a finished product. The sliding motion takes place across a rail that you can get in a variety of sizes. The rail is relatively light weight, especially given its size, no doubt due to the aluminum used and the fact that it is thin and mostly hollow. That thinness means that the rails themselves probably don't have particularly good crushing resistance, so I don't recommend storing them along with other heavy objects in a small space (I use a golf bag case to store all my tripods and light stands, and I don't like putting the rails in there too because I am afraid they will get bent). I did not test the rails' ability to absorb impact mostly because I didn't want to damage them, so they might be tougher than I give them credit for. I'm just generally careful with my gear.
The rails are capped by a pair of "feet" attachments that lock into place. The feet can be folded up neatly when you choose to use the rails on a tripod or light stand, or they flip out quickly when you want to use the rails on a table or on the ground.
The caddy is what the Genie unit itself, or a camera/tripod head, attaches and is what slides across the rails. It's well built, with the main platform being made of a mix of metal and cork. The cork is present to allow for a firm grip of either the Genie or whatever else you choose to mount on the caddy. A small leather tab can be pulled on the bottom to allow for exchange of thread size on the platform. The caddy moves across the rails using four perfectly sized rubberized plastic wheels. They fit snuggly onto the rails, but not so snug as to restrict motion. What results is a very smooth slide in either real time or using the Syrp Genie in timelapse mode.
The rails, feet and caddy are all separate pieces and are actually modular, so when you buy one size of slider from Syrp, you only need to buy one set of feet and one caddy. The feet and caddy come off any of their rails and slide on to any of the others, meaning it's cheaper to add larger rail options to your kit than it would be to do this with many of the other slider competitors.
The cool thing about the way the feet and rail are designed is even if you nick or dent the rails, the way the feet move across them allow the shot to, generally, be unaffected. Because there are no small ball bearings and instead a larger rubberized wheel system, the nicks or dents don't cause as much of a noticeable shake or snag when the wheels run over them. Some of the smoothest sliders available are great until you accidently get a pebble caught in the slider and then the whole unit is basically useless. That isn't a problem with the Magic Carpet.
If you're already a Genie owner, the fact that the feet come pre-installed with metal hinges designed to tie the Genie's slider rope around make using the Magic carpet a lot easier than with other sliders who might not have the protruding pieces of metal necessary for easy tie-offs.
So, back to the original statement about repeatable motion... why is this important? With the new sliders, the Genie can actually be used very similarly to the Red Rock Micro One Man Crew machine. Though it's not parabolic, you can get a repeating back and forth slide that works quite well for interviews. I did not really miss the parabolic, and the fact that the Genie/Magic Carpet combo isn't JUST a timelapse machine or isn't JUST a parabolic repeatable slider makes the product more worth it in terms of value to me. I would rather get something that does a few things well instead of one device that only does one thing very well. When you're on a budget, this is often the compromise you have to make, and with the Syrp line of products it's not even a very big compromise. The effect can be categorized under "good enough."
The only real downside of the rails is that, much like other large sliders, it's cumbersome to travel with. The rails themselves have no way to break down beyond their size, meaning it's a real pain to bring the 5.2 foot track with me anywhere. I'm really not sure there is any way around this problem, but it is still an issue.
What I liked
- Smooth sliding action
- Excellent design combines the best of many other slider designs out there
- Works excellently with the Syrp Genie
- Works excellently without the Syrp Genie
- Materials feel high quality and durable
- Totally modular design
What could use improvement
- The rails are huge and cumbersome, offering no easy way to break down or transport them. They also don't come with any sort of fitted bag or carrying case, so you're on your own there.
It's clear that the Syrp team did their homework when they set out to build the Magic Carpet sliders. They work excellently with or without other Syrp products and offer a design of slider that combines the best of what many other companies are doing into one affordable package. For just under $300 you can get the Magic Carpet 2.6 foot slider, which is a size that's manageable to transport and the one I find myself going to more often than the larger 5.2 foot track. The benefit here is if you get the smaller track, you don't need to re-buy all the parts if you want to upgrade to a larger track. The modular build of the product makes upgrading and downgrading fast and easy. It's a nearly perfect product, and one that Syrp certainly got right.