There are numerous techniques you can adopt as a photographer or a videographer in order to achieve stabilization in your shots. In 2018, most professional videographers are utilizing external gear to achieve a higher level of quality and add a little spice to their footage. One of the best types of equipment you can invest in to add smoothness and cinematic feel in your videos is a stabilizer.
If you are confused about selecting the best option from a wide variety of stabilizers available out there in the market then for your assistance, we will talk you through the best DSLR gimbals and Steadicams that you can choose which will aid you in achieving cinematic shots and eliminate shakiness in your video footages and photographs.
Types of stabilizers
There are three major types of stabilizers which you can utilize for your work.Gimbal stabilizers
A camera gimbal is a gadget that enables the camera to revolve in a plane and a compact way. Camera gimbals have become quite popular over the past few years because of their capability of providing an easy way of capturing smooth and most importantly, steady tracking shots. Gimbals are extremely sensitive as they are equipped with a motor and able to respond according to your camera, whether it is front-heavy, back-heavy, or heavy from the right or left side.Steadicams
A Steadicam is a portable device that requires a few minutes of setup and balancing. The main idea is to stabilize the camera and unlink it from the motion of your hands in order to get fluid and ideal shots. It is more effective when using super wide-angle lenses. It’s easier to balance a Steadicam than a gimbal because you can immediately see what is wrong. For instance, if a camera is leaning to one side, you can quickly detect and fix it. On the other hand, a gimbal can have vibrations which can be demanding to perceive. They further come in a variety of types which will be discussed while reviewing different steadicams later in this article.
These stabilizers are used to achieve image stabilization by transferring the weight of the camera on your shoulders. They enable you to capture well-constructed and immovable shots as our bodies are steadier compared to our hands.
Things to consider while buying camera stabilizers
There are various questions which you need to contemplate before purchasing any kind of camera gear. There are numerous kinds of stabilizers available which work best depending upon your shooting style, and the territory or environment you are shooting in also plays an important role. Some important queries are:Budget
Your first and utmost consideration should be analyzing the cost you are willing to pay because buying a high-quality one is going to charge you heavily. It is necessary to have stabilizers that are not only affordable but can assist you in your career as it’s going to be a long-term career investment.
The market price of the stabilizers differs in terms of their types (motorized, non-motorized) and features. Gimbal stabilizers can deviate in price drastically; basic ones start from $50, all the way to thousands of dollars offering advanced features with enhanced warranties.Your work versatility
Another query you need to answer before buying is to examine the diversification of your work. What is it that you are going to record using the gear most often? Whether you will be running behind or in front of individuals/characters, or placing the camera on the car. In this way, you can discover that if you need a 3-axis gimbal or a Steadicam rig.The weight of your camera
It is very important and necessary to know the weight of your camera before buying a stabilizer as it will determine how much investment you are going to need for stabilization. Heavyweight cameras aren’t accommodated by every stabilizer. Low-priced stabilizers can handle lightweight cameras and high-end ones can easily take care of heavy and bulky cameras.The balance of the stabilizer
The balance is of fundamental significance while selecting a camera stabilizer as it determines how effectively and effortlessly it’s going to stabilize your camera. A well-balanced stabilizer will be less difficult to operate which will make your work easier.
Where to Buy
1. Ikan MS1 beholder gimbal
The Ikan MS1 beholder gimbal is particularly designed for mirrorless cameras and if you happen to have one, then this might just be the perfect choice for you in order to make your videos stable, and incredibly smooth.
The MS1 weighs 1.7 pounds only and the maximum weight of the camera that it can efficiently support is about 1.9 pounds. Some supported models are:
- Sony a7s rx100
- Panasonic gh4
- Samsung nx500
- Blackmagic pocket camera and more
The major part of the design is a 5-way joystick that you can set in different modes such as follow and lock along with full control over pan and tilt. The shooting angles are up to 45-degree roll and 90-degree tilt. At the bottom of the joystick, you will find a quarter inch 20 thread mount to attach various accessories or even to organize the gimbal stabilizer to a monopod or a tripod. On the joystick, you will also find a USB port to connect a small light or smartphone.
- Great for mirrorless cameras
- Exceptionally lightweight
- Durable build
- Numerous modes
- Not designed for heavy cameras
- Trembling issues sometimes, which leads to blurring of the shots
A high-quality and well-made video is all about the movements that lead to inducing vibration and ultimately steering shakiness. Both of these factors are considered hideous and distracting and will present you as an amateur to people watching. The DNA 1000 is crafted to balance out mid-sized mirrorless style cameras and compact DSLRs. It has the ability to adjust the position of the mounting plates along both axes, allowing a finely tuned balance to be obtained with a wide range of camera bodies and lenses. Its feet have points for adding balancing weight discs, so it can slide back and forth to assist you in correcting the tilt, or in some cases, creating, if you need it.
- Good balance quality
- Supports several rotations and hand movement
- Doesn’t jolts the camera around
- Highly Affordable
- The instruction set includes information about both the 1000 and 5050 model which is confusing
- Complaints regarding difficulties in assembling camera’s mounting pieces with the stem
The Zhuyin Crane 2 is one of the most robust and sturdy gimbals available in the market that can support camera setups up to seven pounds. It has a mode button to activate different modes that include lock, follow focus, and selfie mode. It has a menu button which allows you to access certain options right from the built-in OLED display screen. The best feature in the menu is the option to choose the sensitivity of the gimbal depending upon how heavy or light your camera is. The most unique feature about the crane 2 is the follow focus dial which gives you control over your focus lens which is amazing.
It has about 18 hours of ultra-long battery life that is ideal for high-intensity shootings. Your camera might run out of battery while you are capturing those amazing cinematic shots, but Zhuyin Crane 2 won’t.
- Astonishing battery life
- Well-built, smooth and impeccable shots
- Faster response time
- OLED display screen
- Amazing modes
- Suitable for both beginners and professionals
- Issues with the app
- Problems while saving preferences, may require refreshing every time while switching it on
The Yelangu S60T steadicam is perfect for low-budget purchasers as it is under $100. The foremost reason for using such kind of stabilizer is to achieve steadiness in walking shots which are not easy to get otherwise, and it won’t let you down while performing this duty.
The accessories include a DVD where you can learn to calibrate the steadicam, a bag to use while traveling, a hex key, and some extra weights. It is made out of carbon fiber that makes it extremely lightweight; about 800 grams only (excluding additional weights). It can carry cameras up to 3 kilograms which easily includes a lot of DSLRs and camcorders.
- Budget-friendly yet possesses multiple features
- Extremely portable and lightweight
- Has a 3-axis gimbal (yaw, pitch, and roll axis)
- Good for starters and professionals working in a limited budget
- Hard to set up
- Requires much more training to achieve balance and perfection in your shots
It’s an active 3-axis gimbal which comes with a significantly lower price tag than a lot of other active camera stabilization 3-axis gimbals from well-reputed companies. The overall built quality is primarily metal construction along with plastic buttons. It can support up to 2.5 kilograms of camera load. The gimbal itself is comprised of three brushless motors that control pitch, yaw and roll axis, and operate in silent mode.
The gimbal is actually powered by two 26650 batteries and a capacity of 4000mAh. It consists of four major modes including 360, fully locked mode, half-follow and full-follow mode.
- Sizeable value, the overall build quality, and performance is efficient
- Amazing battery life (over 10 hours)
- Panoramic and inverted shooting mode
- Strong motors
- Can bear max payload of 5.5 pounds
- Occasional balance issues
- No hard and fast way to control speed or responsiveness
The DS1 beholder is a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer that combines the most advanced technology and double IMU sensors to create a stabilized handheld performance. It is compatible with cameras weighing up to 1.7kgs. It is composed of multiple modes including inverted, locked, and follow mode.
It is ideal to capture microfilms, documentaries, and feature films etc. it also supports external remote control that can make it even more versatile as you can then use it to shoot smooth time lapses.
The DS1 beholder can also be paired with a monopod to create crank and sliders. The LED lights can be connected to the stabilizer using USB port for night shooting, and rechargeable lithium batteries make it easy to stay on the go.
- Firmly built, simple and lightweight
- The battery is substantial in terms of the use duration
- Can charge any USB external device even if the power button is turned off
- Can make loud noises whilst changing shooting modes
- Balancing a camera and lens requires a lot of trial and error
- No pre-defined balance points
There are many types of camera stabilizers which are available that can provide assistance in achieving refinement in your work. The best-trending products are discussed above and can be bought depending upon your requirements and budget. If cost is not an issue and your work is of professional quality, our prior recommendation will be to acquire Zhuyin crane 2 as it comes with multiple features, covering all aspects that are essential in camera stabilization equipment.
If you have a limited amount of money, the ultimate gear to go for is Yelangu S60t as it is easily affordable and extremely versatile in terms of giving professional and promising results.