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The 6 best gimbals for camera and smartphone

In the gimbal test, the stabilizers for cameras, smartphones and the like show their best side. atechbook has an overview of the best devices.

Real film fans also need real equipment for fabulously staged short films, sequences and the like. Especially a so-called gimbal is essential for the repertoire and must not be missing. The devices are more versatile than you might think at first: The camera stabilizers are available for SLR cameras, action cams, but also for cell phones and smartphones. atechbook has taken a closer look at the world of gimbals and reveals what really matters when buying. In addition: In the gimbal test, there are different models that are equally suitable for beginners and professionals – both for the small purse and for the big purchase.

Overview

Ever tried to produce a good video shake-free with your smartphone or camera? All it takes is a few shakes and the recording is ruined. The solution is a gimbal, which can be used to stabilize camera images while shooting. A gimbal or hovering tripod is attached to the cam or smartphone. The result: The image no longer blurs and film sequences take on a cinematic character.

Gimbals in the test: Which gimbals do the test portals Stiftung Warentest or Öko-Test recommend?

In the search for the perfect gimbal for personal use, tests are highly relevant. After all, it is practical tests and comparisons that reveal the true weaknesses and strengths of individual products. Stiftung Warentest or Öko-Test have so far stayed out of the gimbal game. Despite many tests on smartphones, drones or cameras, both major portals refrain from gimbal tests. So, if you are looking for a suitable gimbal, you mostly have to rely on reviews and test reports from smaller portals or websites.

The best gimbal for system cameras in the test: DJI RSC 2

On Idealo, with an average test score of 1.2, the DJI RSC 2 gimbal ranks high in the comparison. The online magazine TechRadar from the USA rates the camera stabilizer with five out of five points. The gimbal convinces with a mobile and foldable design, a very good OLED display and smartphone features. It is generally suitable for DSLR and system cameras and can cover five main functions: Time Lapse, Portrait mode, 360-degree video, Panorama and Follow Focus. This makes it ideal for filmmakers who want to try out a lot and make use of many effects. A particularly positive feature is that the gimbal can be synced with the DJI Ronin app and controlled remotely via Bluetooth. Thanks to the USB port, fast charging via a power bank is even possible.

Striking: Transporting the gimbal is greatly simplified thanks to folding technology. This means that the stabilizer can be taken anywhere. The camera boom can be moved forward above the handle. This mobility also allows different possibilities in terms of movement radii during filming. Thus, thanks to flexible adjustment, shots can be made as close to the ground as a cameraman or camerawoman could not.

Maximum load: 3 kilograms
Weight: 1.2 kilograms
Battery life: Up to 14 hours
Connections: USB, accessory shoe
Features: Time-lapse, portrait mode, follow focus, 360-degree video, panorama
Accessories: USB cable, 1/4″ camera screw, lens mount, camera riser, camera control cable, velcro strap
Features: App compatible, foldable

Pros:

  • Many effects possible
  • Foldable
  • Long battery life

Disadvantages:

  • Not suitable for smartphones

Gimbal for cell phones: Smartphone gimbal from DJI in test at Amazon

The Chinese technology company DJI also produces gimbals for smartphones. This includes Amazon’s bestseller DJI OM4, a hand-held smartphone gimbal with a magnetic cell phone clamp for attachment. Stabilization here works via three axes, so shaking doesn’t stand a chance. According to the manufacturer, it is even possible to attach an external lens without the gimbal collapsing.

DJI advertises one film effect in particular for this model on the web: the “Hitchcock effect”, also known as dolly zoom, vertigo effect or traveling zoom. Hitchcock first used the optical illusion in the film “Vertigo – From the Realm of the Dead”. During a camera movement away from or towards the object, the focal length is changed so much that the object does not become smaller or larger. The environment around it, however, becomes distorted. According to DJI, this is exactly the cinematic effect that should be possible with the Gimbal OM 4.

But that’s not all: a feature called ActiveTrack 3.0 enables automatic tracking of subjects such as people, children and animals. The mobile gimbal can also be easily converted into a selfie stick for quick photo sessions – making it a highlight at birthdays or parties of all kinds.

Maximum load: 290 grams
Weight: 390 grams
Battery life: Up to 15 hours
Connections: USB
Features: Time-lapse, slow motion, story mode, hyperlapse, panorama, motionlapse
Special features: App-compatible, foldable, dolly zoom, mobile

Pros:

  • Many effects possible
  • Foldable

Disadvantages:

  • Not suitable for action cams

The best gimbal for the GoPro: Action cam movies with FeiyuTech G5

More and more amateur videographers are turning to action cams for special occasions or vacations. The big difference between them and regular digital cameras? Action cams are explicitly built for action-packed sequences: they can withstand bumps, drops, are weatherproof and often even waterproof. This makes them suitable for fast-paced adventures such as exciting car rides, skydives or underwater shots. Especially the GoPro Hero is currently one of the absolute classics of action cams. However, an action-proof cam also needs an action-proof gimbal.

First things first: Gimbals for action cams are much more affordable than those for DLSR cameras or bulky film cameras. The G5 gimbal from FeiyuTech, for example, is highly recommended. The 3-axis gimbal offers a lot despite its small price: Maximum panning and tilting with 360-degree motor is on board. Thanks to the ergonomic handle, the small gimbal fits well in the hand. One drawback: It shows its outdoor suitability in the test. However, the manufacturer emphasizes that it is only splash-proof. However, the construction does not allow water dives. The FeiyuTech gimbal is compatible with all GoPro models. If it has an action camera-like dimension, it also fits into the device, according to the manufacturer. Battery-wise, the device lags a bit behind the big models for fulminant movie cameras. The gimbal has a runtime of about 8 hours.

But who is the gimbal for action cams suitable for? Anyone who is on the go on YouTube already knows the answer: because vloggers in particular rely on the lightweight image stabilizers for the GoPro (a popular camera among YouTube creators). Those who shoot daily routines and take their viewers with them on a daily basis will also benefit from the selfie mode.

Maximum load capacity: not specified
Weight: 271 grams
Battery life: Up to 8 hours
Connections: USB
Features: Time-lapse, portrait mode, follow focus
Special features: App-compatible, splash-proof

Pros:

  • All action cams are compatible
  • Selfie mode

Disadvantages:

  • Only splashproof
  • Short battery life

Cheapest cell phone gimbal from Artoful in the test on Amazon

In search of the cheapest gimbal for the smartphone, you will find quite quickly on Amazon. One example: the cell phone gimbal from Artoful. The mobile stabilizer combines three great features in one: so it is a selfie stick on the one hand, a cell phone stand on the other, but additionally also a gimbal. It works like all other models – the low price, however, already indicates that not too many special features are waiting here. Nevertheless, the intelligent anti-shake function allows shooting jerk-free pictures or shooting video content that looks very smooth. Also included is a remote control for remote control within a radius of 10 meters. This is especially useful for shooting group photos and videos in selfie mode. One clear advantage is that the gimbal is light and small, which means it can be quickly stowed in a backpack or carry bag.

But can such a cheap gimbal for a cell phone also convince in the test? The reviews on Amazon are mixed: The core functions perform solidly despite the price, wobbles and the like are eliminated, which leads to smooth video recordings. The first impression of many users: The tripod looks a bit rickety. And the user manual is also quite difficult to understand. The remote control only fulfills its purpose moderately, it can shoot photos and also start videos, but pause and stop functions are completely missing. In return, however, buyers explain that the gimbal is especially great for travel and spontaneous events, as it is lightweight, mobile and quickly stowed away.

Maximum load: not specified
Weight: approx. 330 grams
Battery life: not specified
Connections: not specified
Features: selfie mode, stabilization
Features: extra light, 3-in product

Pros:

  • With remote control
  • Very affordable
  • Compact

Disadvantages:

  • Few functions
  • Rather rickety

Top reviews for the professional gimbal Weebill 2 Standard from Zhiyun

Not everyone is just an ambitious amateur producer who starts his first steps with a cell phone camera. Those who already own a heavy film or DSLR camera can look to truly professional gimbals for large photo and video productions. The Zhiyun Weebill 2 gimbal, for example, received a strong rating on Amazon. The English-language online magazine PCMag.com also gave it a test score of 2.0. The gimbal for system cameras comes up with some mega-highlights and great functions. Especially the abundance of features should inspire creative minds. The Weebill 2 gimbal supports these functions:

  • Time Lapse
  • Portrait mode
  • Follow Focus
  • Hyperlapse
  • Zoom
  • Go mode
  • Vortex mode
  • Panorama

With a load capacity of up to three kilograms, even a heavy photo and film camera like a Canon EOS-R6 or Nikon Z6 II will fit in the installation. However, the gimbal itself is no lightweight in comparison either: it weighs a stately 1.47 kilograms. Included in the set of the stabilizer is a tripod, i.e. a tripod for the camera. In the product description, the manufacturer Zhiyun claims to use new Infineon chips and an improved algorithm than previous models to arrange faster responses and better quality of the gimbal’s film sequences. Very excitingly, Zhiyun relies on a 2.88-inch touch display compared to other Basic models, which can even be flipped out, rotated and tilted. Various settings can be managed via this. This is especially fun for trying things out. For the smartphone, there is also an app from Zhiyun Platz, in which even more features are available for selection.

Maximum load capacity: 3 kilograms
Weight: approx. 1.47 kilograms
Battery life: not specified
Connections: USB
Features: panorama, time-lapse, portrait mode, follow focus, hyperlapse, zoom, vortex mode, GO mode
Special features: App-compatible, many features, focus wheel, touch display, tripod included, more accessories included in the set.

Pros:

  • Many effects and features
  • Touch display

Disadvantages:

  • Quite heavy

Mobile handheld gimbal from DJI in comparison for the quick shots

Sometimes you’re not a hobby filmmaker or professional videographer – but on vacation or on social media, you want the content quality to be right. For vlogs, selfies, vacation movies and co. mobile gimbals are best suited. The one-handed models are great for everyday use to quickly produce shake-free videos and photos that don’t need any post-processing. It’s the space-saving effect thanks to portable folding technology that has made these small models so popular in recent years. They are on the rise, especially due to Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, as many people on the social channels now create content themselves such as audiovisual media à la videos, movies and co.

A bestseller in this area is DJI’s OM 5 gimbal with features like a story mode, follow focus and selfie mode relevant to social media. The features are top-notch for up-and-coming talents: a camera controller, a magnetic smartphone clamp and an integrated extension pole make filming a breeze. There’s also a good mass of included accessories: a pouch, wrist strap, smartphone mount and tripod make it easy to get started in the hobby filming scene. Mobile gimbals like those from DJI are suitable for young people and amateurs to initially familiarize themselves with gimbal technology. In terms of price, DJI models in particular rank in the 100-euro range. This means: If you want to refine your content a bit and focus on high-quality content, you can let off steam with a mobile gimbal without having to dig too deep into your wallet.

Maximum load: 290 grams
Weight: 290 grams
Battery life: not specified
Connections: USB
Features: Time-lapse, panorama, story mode, follow focus, selfie mode, ShotGuides
Features: App-compatible, Bluetooth, foldable, lots of accessories, mobile

Pros:

  • Perfect for social media productions
  • Compact and practical

Disadvantages:

  • Relatively inexpensive

What exactly is a gimbal?

The word gimbal comes from English and appropriately means “gimbal suspension”. It is used for external image stabilization during shooting. Its function in a nutshell: Thanks to the sophisticated design, gimbals compensate for movements in different directions in the sky, so that a recorded video does not blur. The advantage: In post-production, film sequences no longer have to be readjusted and stabilized by filters. The latter usually doesn’t look quite right in the end result anyway.

Gimbals have only arrived on the hobby filmmaking scene in recent years, as they were initially just a gadget for film producers to make panning camera movements possible. Among YouTubers in particular, however, the gimbal has become a must-have for eliminating shakiness during vlogging. The highlight is that they are not only available for top-class action cams, SLR cameras or expensive film cameras – there are also numerous gimbals for smartphones, regardless of whether they are Android or iPhone.

Why do you need a gimbal?

Whether a gimbal is necessary for filming is up to you. If you have a steady hand when filming, you will probably be less upset about possible wobbles in shots than those who are rather shaky. In general, however, anyone who wants to produce really professional videos with a lot of movement – for example, during sports, in the car or on a bike – should consider buying one. This is because the use of the image stabilizer results in high-quality and very professional-looking film sequences that clearly stand out from everyday footage taken with a cell phone camera. So hobby filmmakers, freelancers and video producers definitely need a gimbal to achieve top results.

Cell phone gimbals in the test: Three criteria for the purchase

Before you choose a model, you should think about which device can meet your needs. These are the most important criteria you should decide on in advance:

The intended use: if you have a large recording device, you need a suitable gimbal for it. Because a DSLR camera, for example, is much larger and heavier than a smartphone – the weight should also be able to support the associated gimbal. Gimbals for smartphones and action cams are usually much smaller and can also be used as a selfie stick. Thanks to their small size and manageability, they can be quickly stowed in your luggage. A small drawback: Gimbals for smartphones have a smaller swivel axis and a smaller tilt angle than the larger models for cameras.

Battery life: To really enjoy filming, you should pay attention to the battery life in any case! Gimbals are technically powered and come with rechargeable batteries or batteries. Most gimbals come with lithium-ion batteries. A look at the classic models reveals that a battery life of between 6 and 12 hours is normal. If you want real power for big projects, go for a stabilizer with 18 hours of battery life. Then nothing stands in the way of the blockbuster. No power outlet in sight while filming? Then a gimbal with USB connection is the right choice. If the battery is weak, you can use a power bank to recharge it at your leisure.

Handling: No matter how great a professional gimbal is, if it’s awkward to use, you’ll throw it in the basement and never touch it again. Make sure all the important controls on the unit are easy to reach during shoots. An ergonomic grip will actually make a day of filming quite comfortable – because in the end, nothing is worse than a stabilizer that sits uncomfortably in your hand. Nice-to-have is an associated app to the gimbal that allows you to control the device remotely, if desired.

Gimbals for cell phones: advantages and disadvantages at a glance

Basically, the use of a gimbal for a video shoot is positive. However, in addition to the numerous plus points that such a device brings, there are also small disadvantages hiding, which should be taken into account when buying:

Advantages:

  • Strong and professional shots possible due to little shake.
  • Fewer attempts, as no ruined shots due to shaking – this saves time
  • No stabilization necessary in post-production
  • Extra effects like timelapse or focus with special gimbal models
  • Light and compact in contrast to steadycams
  • Easy handling
  • Low purchase price

Disadvantages:

  • Not every shake can be perfectly stabilized (for example with micro vibrations)
  • Only rotations are stabilized
  • No filming possible after battery consumption in the absence of a power source

What does a gimbal cost?

The acquisition costs of a gimbal could not be more different. While models for smartphones are available for 30 euros, a gimbal for a film camera or drone can cost over 1000 euros in comparison. Here, however, the gadgets also differ significantly in terms of their functions. Inexpensive models are, however, initially perfectly sufficient to get used to a gimbal and to stage small hobby films or recordings for Instagram or TikTok that are not produced for the big screen. However, professional shots are then only produced by higher-priced models – that should be clear to every buyer at the beginning.

How do you use a gimbal when shooting?

As with many creative tasks related to filming and video creation, the key to using a gimbal is to practice, practice, and practice again. Start by familiarizing yourself with the gimbal and how it works before a big video shoot. Try out different styles, practice pans and tilts, and be surprised at what movement produces what effect later. Initially, the most important thing is that your gimbal is hardwired to your camera. If you have an app for remote control, you can already start trying out some features and get familiar with the functionalities.

It is recommended to practice different walking movements to enable exciting shots. Important: Despite the image stabilization, you should refrain from jerky motions and not challenge camera shake, unless your film style provides for this. Jumps are also taboo, since vertical movements can only be compensated moderately well. A continuous height when filming gives a professional and fluid touch and provides harmony in the image.

Do not use a manual focus at the beginning. Why? Amateur filmmakers in particular underestimate the difficulty of manual focus when using a gimbal. Using blur in videos and photos may be particularly effective, but it can look quite exhausting in the long run if you overdo it or don’t know any better in advance. Fortunately, beginners and professionals can use the autofocus in the gimbal, which brings objects permanently into focus during video recordings. This makes film production much easier.

Steadicam vs. gimbal comparison: What are the differences?

Gimbals have not been on the market that long. But what alternative was there before for image stabilization when film producers wanted to do without jitters and camera shake? In the past, they usually resorted to so-called Steadicams. These camera suspensions are attached or hung on the shoulders of cameramen or camerawomen. Due to the sophisticated design, film recordings could be made without shaking. But steadycams usually fail to show dynamics through an exciting pan, because steadycams only help with frontal shots. Thus, the gimbal replaces the steadycam in the long run, as it allows for much more flexible shots and more freedom when shooting.

Filming with gimbals: 5 tips and tricks

Whether it’s a gimbal for a smartphone or an action cam, or a gimbal for a system camera – anyone who owns an image stabilizer will not immediately become a professional producer. The motto here is: practice makes perfect! Nevertheless, you can follow some pro tips to produce top movies and impress viewers even in the first steps. What are those tips and tricks? Here are the top 5 tricks:

Film at ground level

Anyone can stand in front of an object or people and press record. But what if you want to get a lot more out of your film in terms of perspective? Why not try filming on the ground or near the ground? To do this, you simply have to rotate the gimbal – logically – i.e. hold it upside down. In post-production, however, please don’t forget to rotate the footage 180 degrees again, if intended.

The right walking style

Just start walking and film loosely with the gimbal? That would be nice. The results will be better if you bend your arms and squat slightly while walking, as this eliminates already bobbing walking movements. If you run normally, you tend to wobble once in a while. This is then corrected by the gimbal afterwards, but the effect looks even smoother in the squat position.

Mobile base

A mobile base provides a lot of action when filming with a gimbal. Filming on a bicycle or from a car is conceivable here (caution is advised here!) or on a hoverboard. The fast camera sequences look nice and dynamic afterwards.

Planning is key

You are not only the filmmaker, but also the director! Plan the shoot beforehand to include great effects. For example, you can shoot one-shot videos with a well thought-out scene and planned movements. But cool transitions are also possible if you know in advance what exactly you want to film and where protagonists and co. have to enter and exit.

Try it out

After buying the camera, you’re probably eager to try it out for the first time. That’s just as well: try things out and find your own filming style and approach to video shoots. You’ll see: Eventually, you’ll develop a routine with your gimbal. After a few months, you’ll know which features are relevant to you and which are expendable. Creativity is key in the film industry. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a vacation movie or a blockbuster – in the end, you should have fun with everything.

Gimbal test: great models with many functions compared for amateurs and professionals

Since there are few gimbal tests on the web, think carefully about what a gimbal is worth to you and what you want to use it for before you buy. If possible, test models at specialty stores or with people you know to compare or get advice. A gimbal is a useful tool for amateur filmmakers or professional producers to avoid amateurish shots altogether. Shaky hands or shaky matters can be a major hindrance to filming – no matter how good the storyline.

The comparison of the most popular gimbals shows: Gimbals come in many varieties, for smartphones, cell phones, action cams, film cameras, and even drones. The price range of the gimbals that can be purchased online could not be greater. Lightweight models for smartphones are ideal for everyday use and can easily fit into a carrying bag. Heavy gimbals for film cameras weigh more, but can also shine with a wide variety of exciting features. The gimbal world is large – and there is a perfect model for everyone.

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