Whatever stabilization method you use as a filmmaker—monopod, tripod, Steadicam, hip rig, simple rig, or gimbal—you should have one. However, because 3-axis gimbals let everyone achieve professional-level stabilization, they are undeniably popular today.
A 3-axis gimbal stabilizer effectively creates an equal-and-opposite vibration in the pan, tilt, and all roll axes to offset unintentional movements brought on by camera shake. Once the price is contrasted with your lens, lens, and other equipment, they are neither inexpensive nor outrageously costly.
With nearly every manufacturer introducing many heads tracking every year with names that everything sounds the same, the gimbal industry is now both cluttered and confusing. The big guys in this field are undoubtedly DJI and Zhiyun, but the Moza maneuvering thrusters from Gudsen also provide some serious competition.
I’ll go through the top gimbals, autofocus lenses, and DSLRs, including Cinema cameras like the Rawlings Pocket 6K, in my buyer’s guide. The most important thing to remember is that image stabilization capability is becoming very comparable across models these days, so you should be evaluating things like lightweight, packability, attachment connectivity, capacities, battery life, and ergonomics.
The Top 7 Gimbals For Your DSLR, Mirrorless, or Cinema Camera
These are indeed my top three suggestions for right now:
- Best all-around: DJI RS 2
- Zhiyun Weebill 2, runner-up
- Gudsen Le gusta Air 2S is the best $500 option.
- $500 Runner-Up: DJI RSC 2
Here are other alternatives to think about:
- 3S Zhiyun Crane
- M3 Zhiyun Crane
- Mechanical hand-held stabilizer made by FLYCAM Redken
Let’s now examine each one of these gimbals in further detail.
1. DJI RS2
There is no denying that DJI, although beginning as a drone company, is now the most successful gimbal producer. Although they controlled the professional and mobile gimbal markets, they lacked a sub-$1000 handed gyroscope for DSLR and smartphone camera users who fell somewhere in the middle.
That is, until the Ronin-arrival S’s in 2018, which was so eagerly anticipated that pre-orders sold out. It did not let me down. Probably the most realistic thing to a flawless DSLR and miniature gimbal available at the time was the DJI Ronin-S. Only this new model from DJI, the RS2, has convinced me to permanently replace the Ronin-S, my go-to gimbal.
The RS2’s construction is just superior to other models. Zhiyun, DJI’s major rival in this market, often creates plasticky, somewhat cheaper-feeling gimbals, which is true even of its more costly versions. In contrast, the RS2 is made entirely of carbon fiber and has an amazing feel in hand. This makes it far lighter than its competitors, something you’ll enjoy while recording above a long day.
The DJI RS2 can easily hold Four Quarters of the way and APS-C digital cameras, in addition to most DSLRs and full-frame cameras, with a maximum throughput of 10lbs (4.5kg). Some gimbals can hold even bigger setups, but the Rs.300 excels in keeping the gimbal arms from blocking the camera. This is because it can be adjusted with the sliding plate and the roll motor, giving you plenty of room in the rear.
The DJI RS2 also stands out for its long battery life and ability to compact down so little. Although the battery is stated at 12 hours, in practice, you should plan on 6 to 8 hours. The fact that the battery isn’t built-in and can be changed simply by purchasing a new grip is one of the finest things. Most less expensive gimbals have always had an internal battery incorporated into the body, which means that when the battery ages, you will eventually really replace this whole gimbal.
The usefulness of underslung modes is one area where DJI, in my opinion, could make improvements. You must remove the movable tripod/grip attachment from beneath the main grip and place it behind the camera if you want to use the RS2 underslung for all those low-angle images. When you need to lay the equipment on a surface, everything works great, but you have to detach the suitcase grip from the main grip and then put it back on because the tripod legs have been used as the grip. Not a deal-breaker even if you can buy another folding tripod if it truly concerns you; however, it is a little annoyance.
Owners of huge cinema cameras will undoubtedly want to take a closer look at how theirs interacts with the DJI RS2 since doing so would truly be testing the gimbal’s capabilities and possibly need the usage of counterweights. Any large movie camera would likely perform better with the Source is important Crane 3S, created with large cinema shooters in mind, or with something completely different. Here, you may verify if the DJI RS2 is officially compatible with your camera:
2. Zhiyun Weebill
It’s understandable that Zhiyun went all out on the Weebill 2 and created something that wouldn’t disappoint customers after the business introduced the Weebill-S, a very popular product for the company.
The Weebill series don’t directly address the previously stated DJI RS2 and the more cost-effective DJI RSC2. Instead, it is priced in the middle of the two, despite being the third most populous city. In other words, way to look at it, it’s a gimbal and is either a little more expensive option for the DJI RS2 or a premium replacement to the DJI RSC2.
The basic bundle costs $549 more than DJI’s entry-level gimbal, the RSC2. The Zhiyun Weebill 2’s sling grip handle, probably one of its greatest features, can only be obtained by purchasing the “Combo” package, which further widens the price gap. The Pro or Pro+ package, which costs $899 or $1099 respectively, is required if you wish to give it an image broadcaster and a focus/zoom control motor. At that point, you may buy the DJI RS2 alone as it costs around the same as the DJI RS2 “Pro Combo” bundle (which also comprises the DJI RavenEye Imaging Transmitter and other goodies).
That does not suggest that the DJI RS2 is superior to the Zhiyun Weebill 2. It’s not, and it does several things better than the DJI. Its greatest advantages are its larger, better-positioned LCD tablet display and improved briefcase gripping for underslung recording. Despite being physically smaller than the RS2, the image stabilization performance is just as good.
However, the Compare Weebill 2 is my marathoner and not the victor since the DJI RS2 outperforms it in several crucial categories. First, while the Weebill 2’s battery life is claimed at 9 hours, in practice, you only get about half as much use out of a full charge as the RS2. Second, the Weebill 2 is less subsequent than the DJI RS2 since the battery is built-in. The quality and reliability are also inferior to that of the DJI 2.08, which is in a league of its own, arguably the most significant factor.
The Weebill 2 can sustain a payload of up to 7.3 lbs (3.3 kg), which is less than the DJI RS2 but more than the DJI RSC2. Although the Zhiyun shop lists several bigger cameras as compatible, including the Saturn S1H and BMPCC 6K, I would be skeptical of the matching chart, given that some users have reported the Lumix S1H with the LUMIX S 24-105 F/4 Zoom OIS lens is not even close to being useable.
Overall, the Service that provides Weebill 2 is a pretty good gimbal and deserves to be mentioned; yet, it has an odd position in the market right now. The Ricoh RSC2 or Gudsen Moza Air 2S provides greater value than the standard Weebill 2 if you want to save costs. And if you’re looking for something a little more upscale, a fully equipped Weebill 2 is around the same price as the Ricoh RS2, which is superior in several ways.
3. Moza Air 2S
There aren’t many consumer gimbals created by companies other than DJI or Zhiyun, but Moza has always operated in the background, providing customers another option. Moza gimbals often provide excellent value, and the Internacional de Air 2S delivers just that.
People were naturally unhappy, so when Moza Air 2 was introduced with several flaws, including the absence of USB-C. The first Internacional de Air was a huge success. Gudsen is again in the spotlight thanks to the Le Agusta Air 2S, which enhances the Moza Air 2 in several ways (and draws influence from the Moza AirCross 2).
The Le Agusta Air 2S offers outstanding value for the money. You get a hacked-up DJI RSC2, the $500 slider everyone speaks about, for less than $500. The Moza offers you a longer 20-hour battery life than the DJI, 9.3lbs (4.2kg) capacity, and more attachment choices (including a practical hot shoes mount) on the side and rear. A sizable number of accessories are also included within the package.
The smart micro handwheel,’ a focus & zoom gear that can be operated with far more accuracy than the conventional sort of focus wheel you get anyplace else, is a special feature you receive with the Air 2S. Additionally, it has a convenient AI-assisted calibration and balancing check feature that eliminates the need for lengthy setup procedures.
The motors’ torque allows them to handle bulkier camera and lens systems easily, and their image stabilization capabilities are strong. Additionally, the 3-axis gimbal enables three additional unique shooting settings: inception, FPV, and Athletics Gear mode.
4. DJI RSC2
My current pick for a low-cost gimbal for rangefinder and DSLR cameras is the Gudsen Moza Air 2S; it’s also important to note the very well-liked DJI RSC2.
It’s not nearly as impressive on paper as the Moza Air 2S, which is around the same price. It can only support a weight of 6.6 lbs, to begin with (3.3kg). However, it is a significant improvement over its forerunner (DJI Ronin-SC), which could only sustain weights of 4.4 lbs (2kg). Because of this, it has an advantage over its predecessor when using popular full-frame devices like the Nikon Alpha 7 III and bulkier lenses.
Additionally, it is deficient in some distinguishing qualities of the Moza Air 2S, along with its longer battery life and intelligent micro handwheel for more precise focus control.
RSC2 does, however, provide a superior “Pro Combo” kit that includes everything you need, including a focus motor, an image receiver, and more. The Moza Air 2S may not even have an approved image transmitter. Thus the DJI RSC2 wins when it comes to bundling and accessory possibilities.
The Uav RSC2 is an excellent gimbal overall and a terrific value. And given DJI’s strong track record and high level of popularity, you can anticipate continued strong support for the company. Given that there aren’t many alternatives for a complete gimbal and adapter kit at $739, the RSC2 Pro Duo bundle is very intriguing.
5. Zhiyun Crane 3S
A gimbal that accommodates huge movie cameras is one area where DJI has fallen short. Its premier consumer/prosumer gimbal, the RS2, can handle BMPCC 4K/6K and other well-liked movie cameras but not Sony FX9 camcorders or RED cinema cameras.
The Zhiyun Crane 3S enters the picture with its outstanding 14.3lbs (6.5kg) maximum payload. The Crane 3S is a 3-axis accelerometer that may be used with prime lenses generally stabilized with much more sophisticated rigs and vests. Zhiyun intended it as a compact gimbal for large cameras.
Naturally, Zhiyun has provided ample room between the attached camera and gyroscope arms, so balancing even now the heaviest setups won’t be a problem.
The pricing, which is closer to the Compare Weebill 2 and cheaper than the DJI RS2, may surprise you
It is less expensive than those two because it is a rather ordinary, basic gimbal apart from its motor and stabilizing power. You lack the Weebill 2’s sophisticated touchscreen LCD and the DJI RS2’s carbon fiber build. Compared to the Carbon Composite 2.08, the Crane 3S weighs more than twice as much (5lbs vs. 2.36lbs).
Because of this, most people would be better suited to using a gyroscope like the DJI RS2 or Service that provides Weebill 2, even though the Crane 3S is among the few gimbals that function with these recorders and movie cameras. Almost all mirrorless, DSLR, and pocket cinema cameras would cost you a lot of money for power that you seldom use.
6. Zhiyun Crane M3
Gimbals are substantial pieces of gear you don’t simply chuck into your bag when you come across something interesting to film. They’re not very portable, despite being much lighter than a collar and rig. The Crane M3, a 3-axis subcompact camera gimbal, gets the closest.
The Crane M3, which weighs just 1.6 lbs (0.7 kg) and is 9.4 inches (24 cm) long when folded, is the smallest gimbal that can easily support a weight of around 3.3 lbs (1.5kg). This implies that it can accommodate almost all APS-C digital cameras and many full-frame cameras, including the Sony A7R IV with the Sony FE 20mm F1.8G Prime Lens.
Although the Helicopter M3 can support higher payloads, be aware that larger cameras may cause movements in one or more axes to be significantly constrained. This is to be anticipated given the size, and it seldom poses a significant problem since you rarely pan, tilt, or roll to the point where you exceed the gimbal’s range of motion.
It’s interesting to note that Zhiyun also promotes this little gimbal as appropriate for usage with a smartphone and an activity camera like the GoPro HERO10. The “Combo” bundle comes with a smartphone adaptor, making it a good substitute for a DJI OM5-style dedicated smartphone gimbal.
The stabilizer also manages to cram in many fantastic functions, given its size. It has a useful color LCD, and an integrated 800 lumen LED light, which is still very cool, although not quite as useful as having a private lighting aide nearby.
It employs a patented fast-release plate, making it significantly less mobile than more costly midrange gimbals, which often use a more typical Manfrotto plate. This is a GoPro with a rather unusual compact design and one unsuitable for professional usage. Zhiyun has also produced unique TransMount plates for well-known cameras, like the Hasselblad X-T4, Playstation ZV-E10, Canon M50, Minolta Z FC, and others.
By subscribing to the Dragonfly M3 Pro package, you also get a shotgun mike and the expanding base and a lovely EasyGo bag that accommodates the quadcopter and your camera. The shotgun mic must be used with the expansion base to utilize the wireless picture transmission module and capture audio more effectively (sold separately).
Overall, this is a fantastic gimbal for vacation vloggers or less serious users who can’t afford to carry a bulky gimbal wherever they choose. Although you must use it with your camera’s IBIS or lens stabilization, the stabilization performance is virtually as excellent as the other gimbals mentioned here.
7. FLYCAM Redking Video Camera Stabilizer
Ah, the trusty glide cam. Glidecams were the go-to equipment for affordable video stabilization before 3-axis gimbal stabilizers became popular.
Glidecams have been used even in this day of electronic gimbals. They essentially consist of a stick with certain weights and use the laws of motion to stabilize the video.
The resultant video has a springier and more natural vibe, which may sometimes be appealing. You could be amazed by the results with careful manipulation and Heron or lens stabilization (or, best yet, dual IS). You don’t have to be concerned about breaking it as much.
There is no denying, however, that utilizing a glidecam or rip-off glidecam, the same amount of steadiness is difficult to attain. Even when the operator has a high degree of ability, the film could not be sufficient.
Other Buying Advice
How do gimbals stack up against other techniques for video stabilization?
Only recently developed software that responds to motion-detection sensors has made gimbals viable. It has only lately been feasible for YouTubers, amateur filmmakers, and those who just take videography as a hobby to purchase consumer-grade gimbals at a price that is not only less expensive than conventional stabilizing equipment.
They are not only available to non-experts but also simpler to operate, lighter, and may provide better overall stability. Gimbals are the best option right now for producing the finest film on a budget and with reasonable ease.
What are the locked, tracking, pan-follow, and follow modes?
A gimbal’s three brushless motors—pan, roll, and tilt—allow it to adjust in three dimensions.
Pan-following locks the roll + tilt while tracking your pan axis movements to maintain a straight horizon. Follow mode won’t lock any axes, but it will reduce jitter by making tiny modifications that will make every movement more fluid. Last but not least, locked mode fixes the camera’s position so that the lens will always be pointing in the same direction.
A tracking function on certain gimbals employs AI to maintain the camera’s focus on an item you designate.
I bought a gimbal, but the video isn’t entirely smooth. Should I send it back?
Before using a DSLR or mirrorless camera gimbal, it must be completely balanced. You’ll then need to make some adjustments to the settings. I’ve used a lot of gimbals in the past, and I’ve found that it usually takes very few recording sessions until I’m satisfied. Not to mention, operating a gimbal requires some talent, so don’t assume your new fancy device handles everything for you.
Since its infancy, the stabilizer market for cinema cameras has grown significantly, and then there was a stabilizer for every kind of user.
The DJI RS2 is my go-to pick for most folks who own a compact camera (Four Thirds, APS-C, or Full Frame) or DSLR. That or the previous DJI Ronin-S model (which is also very good). While they are not perfect, they have the greatest construction and are easier to operate than the gimbal options from Zhiyun, Gudsen, and Tilta.
However, if money is tight, you should consider the Con que Air 2S, DJI RSC2, and even the entry-level Zhiyun Weebill 2. The Crane M3 is a contender in the meanwhile if portability is your top priority.
Of course, you must ensure that your chosen gimbal stabilizer is compatible with the camera and lens combinations you want to use. Since these don’t edge situations, if you have a piece of reasonably conventional equipment like the Sony A6600 or Eos Rebel 90D, you may firmly believe what the manufacturer says. But you almost likely need to inquire if you’re interested in anything like a Blackmagic Micro 6K or Canon C70.
Don’t be scared to choose a gimbal that has been discontinued. If you can get them at a discount, older versions like the Oppo reno and Benchmark Weebill-S are still good choices.
I hope you found this buyer’s guide to being interesting. Whether you have any comments or would want to provide your advice, kindly leave a remark.