Today, we are going to discuss on one of my favourite accessories, Gimbals.
What is a Gimbal Stabilizer?
It helps to stabilize your videos or pictures or anything that you take using your camera.
If you ever seen a movie or any professional video productions, which, of course everyone have seen unless you are living in a cave, you would have probably asked yourself, how can the footages be so stable and smooth? Well, simply said, gimbals.
Gimbals in the past was used by professional movie crew only because it was really expensive, costing around a few thousands. And a typical consumer at that time could not really afford it. However, as time pass, cameras and devices became smaller and cheaper and so did gimbals. Hence, people like you and I could not afford it but can afford it (now). See what I did there? English Guru =P
So, how does a gimbal stabilizer work?
As you know gimbals stabilise videos. Gimbals do so by electronically adjusting the 3 axis, namely pitch, yaw and row to ensure that the camera rotate around an axis throughout filming, hence allowing the camera to be very stable and record smooth footages.
From the gif image above, you can see that the object is independent from the rotation of its support and is only revolving around a single axis.
How does it adjust and stabilize then? Well, a 3 axis gimbal has 3 sensors to measure the 3 different axis, each sensor independent of another. It also has 3 motors each independently controlling the camera’s axis.The sensor outputs the measurements to the processor which then processes and outputs to the motor. In other words, when the sensor records or measures change or error, the processor will instruct the motor to counteract the motion, almost immediately, leaving the camera to be levelled to the ground, resulting in a graceful and elegant footage.
The Great-grandfather of Gimbals (History of Gimbals)
Gimbals weren’t electronic in the beginning. It was invented way before electronics, chipsets or circuit board and it used counterweights to stabilise the camera. It looks something like the picture above and the counterweight is basically to keep the camera locked and levelled to the ground to remain stable. The handle in the middle is where the user hold and control from there and any motion from the handle will not affect the camera and counterweight.
However, why did they move away from counterweighted stabilizers? Simple, it was too heavy, way toooo heavy. The counterweight had an extra weight at the bottom to stabilise and keep the camera levelled to the ground and besides the counterweight, the mount also had a considerable amount of weight, thus without needing to say, people decide to move away from counterweighted gimbals and started to utilise electronics ones which used rotors instead. Another thing to note about mechanical stabilizers was that it was It was really like carrying weights while filming. But I guess if you wanted to work out while working, that’s great 😛 .
Types of Gimbals
There are many types of gimbals nowadays that you can easily purchase from any stores. I will categorise into 3 distinct groups,
Number of Axis
An ideal gimbal usually come with 3 axis, pitch, roll and yaw which is mentioned above. These 3 axis will be all that a camera needs since objects are able to revolve around in 3 axis and thus you will be able to control any of the camera’s position. However, due to some people having different budget, manufacturers have also made 2 axis (pitch and roll) and 1 axes (very seldom) ones.
Therefore, the difference between the price of a 2 axis and 3 axis one is really huge, with the 2 axis one costing about $100 and 3 axis one costing twice as much of about $200. However, there is one below that I recommend because I feel it is the best 3 axis gimbal because is good and cheap and less than $150 as of the time of posting.
You can check this video out to see the difference between the 2 axis and 3 axis gimbals.
There are also many sizes for you to consider when buying a gimbal. Due to cameras having different sizes, gimbals has to too. Hence, there are 2 different sizes that are very distinct, small and large.
For gimbals of ‘small’ size, it is meant for typical consumers. So things like handheld cameras, action cameras, handphone are all suitable for gimbals of this size. Thus, I feel most of the people would choose a small gimbal.
Moving on to the ‘large’ size. These gimbals are usually only used by professional or Youtubers because they usually use a large video camera that is able to take really clear footages. Gimbals of this size is also usually mechanical. Hence, I feel that a normal person would not need a gimbal of this size.
Electronic and Counterweight
As mentioned above, in the history of gimbals, there are electronic and counterweighted gimbals. Although many prefer electronic gimbals, there are still many people who prefer mechanical or counterweight gimbals over electronic ones.
The main perk of using an electronic one would be that it is able to be used on moving objects such as in cars, drones, boats, etc. Electronic gimbals are able to handle quick turns, change of directions and vibrations very well. On the other hand, a mechanical one would not work as well as there is inertia present and it would pose a problem as the camera will be slanted when there is a sudden change of direction.
Another thing to note about mechanical gimbals are that it requires calibration to keep the camera stable and levelled to the ground, and that process can be quite troublesome.
Conversely, the main drawback for electronic ones is that it is powered by batteries and hence even a little bit of water entering the system will damage it. However nowadays, many of the gimbals are made waterproof and thus the main problem would be that it can’t be used for prolong period of time because it constantly require charging.
Another advantage of mechanical stabilizers would be the price, as most of the time mechanical ones use cheaper parts than electronic ones and thus mechanical ones are much more affordable than the electronic ones.
What I Recommend
I recently wrote a review on the ZhiYun Smooth Q which I feel is very affordable for its price. It is a 3 axis gimbal that can be used for your phone and action camera and most importantly it is lower than $150! Click here to see my review!
All in all, I feel that gimbal is really a very useful and good accessory to have as it would add a professional touch to all of your footages. Besides that, even when you change your camera, you can still use back the same gimbal, not requiring to buy one. Furthermore, I feel that it be used as a monopod to take cool and smooth wefies.
Lastly, I feel it is a really good investment and I feel you should invest in one if you are interested in bringing your video content to greater heights! 🙂
If you have any question or queries, please feel free to leave a comment down below and I’ll be sure to reply! Thanks for dropping by and have a nice day! =))