There is no doubt that if one wants the best out of their DSLR cameras then it should be mounted on the right Steadicam. However, choosing the right one could be a tough and difficult task given the fact that there are literally dozens of options available in the market. Hence in this article, we will have a look at 7 such Steadicams and review them from various attributes. This will certainly help us to find out the best Steadicam for DSLR based on customer reviews and of course what they have to offer to customers in terms of value for money.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Stabilizer
If you’re like most videographers, then you want a gimbal stabilizer to eliminate your camera’s shakiness and take buttery smooth shots. As a result, you might be thinking that the heavier the stabilizer the better the result will be. This does make some sense, considering that additional weight will increase the amount of force that the stabilizer will exert on the camera. However, you don’t want to get some beast that you won’t enjoy carrying around with you on shooting days. Heavy handheld stabilizers start to hurt after a while! Even worse, an extremely heavy DSLR stabilizer can start to pull on your camera’s housing if you hold the assembly a certain way.
More expensive units feature a gyroscopic motor, which has to be powered. While your camera probably has its own rechargeable batteries, your gimbal unit will actually run off a different power source. Make sure that you get something that has a battery life that’s longer than what you think you need. It’s easy to get caught up in a day’s work and not realize that you’re not going to be able to charge the stabilizer for some time. Some of the higher-end models feature 18-20 hours of run time, though most people probably won’t need this high of a specification. You’ll want something that features removable batteries in case you need to change them out in the future.
It’s easy to spend more on a DSLR stabilizer than you did for your camera originally. As a rule of thumb, you’ll probably start to see diminishing returns on investing more money in stabilizer technology than a new camera. If you’re already shooting with the highest quality camera model, however, then it probably makes sense to invest in an equally high-quality handheld gimbal stabilizer.
Many entry-level gimbals can only stabilize video along two axes, which means they only move in a single back-and-forth direction. If at all possible look for a 3 axis gimbal DSLR stabilizer unit, which should provide superior control. It can make a world of difference when shooting any kind of action footage.
Best Handheld DSLR Gimbal Stabilizers Under $100
RALENO Handheld Steadicam Stabilizer
• Aluminum alloy makes the Steadicam sturdy without increasing its weight
• Two-way adjustable quick release plate makes mounting a camera easy
• Compatible with almost all DLSR units
• May need to have extra weights installed to fully stabilize lighter cameras
• Balance can be a bit touchy
If you’re looking for a solid entry-level unit, then the RALENO might be the best camera stabilizer in its price range. It costs well under $100 and it supports devices up to six pounds, so it should fit a majority of portable DSLR cameras. In spite of its low cost and non-powered design, the RALENO stabilizer allows you to pan and tilt the camera by way of a passive release plate.
This plate moves in two directions and comes complete with a laser precision scale for precise adjustments. A combination of solid bearings and low friction joints makes it suitable for taking shots from a variety of angles. While steadicams for DSLR cameras have acquired something of a reputation for being cheaply made, this is an exception to those expectations. These joints should be able to hold up to plenty of abuse.
ROXANT PRO Video Camera Stabilizer
• Very light and therefore easy to hold
• Lower arm features a non-slip grip, which can help to reduce lower arm swing
• Boasts a very low center of balance
• Solid construction in spite of the price
• Only works with cameras under 2.1 lbs.
• Can feel a tad flimsy in spite of the solid structure
• Won’t balance cameras with long lenses
As long as you have a relatively small DSLR camera, the ROXANT PRO can help you take professional-quality video using equipment that costs a fraction of the price of the competition. While it may not look like much, many people swear by this venerable unit. Even though it’s been on the market for a few years now, this is actually the latest model in a line of cheap camera stabilizer designs geared toward budget-conscious consumers. Its mount-and-pan construction should prove attractive to those who do a lot of work while running or skating. This feature should also make it a solid option for independent filmmakers who want to lend a sort of cinematic quality to their productions.
Best Handheld DSLR Gimbal Stabilizers under $500
FeiyuTech Feiyu AK2000 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer
• Powered design with a 12 hour run time
• Mounts cameras that weigh anywhere from 0.55-6.17 lbs.
• Comes complete with an LCD touch panel to control motion and white balance
• Using handwheel-based controls can be rather awkward
• May require a firmware update
• Lacks documentation
The AK2000 is a major upgrade from simpler mechanical designs. While it’s nominally still a handheld model, some users have said that it’s strong enough to support its own weight independently. Even though FeiyuTech’s engineers never designed it as a tripod, some fans have actually turned to use it that way. It features a precision magnetic induction-based control knob that allows independent focus and zoom control. An onboard computer can correct imaging problems at a rate of around 2,000 times every second, which can improve your chances of taking excellent video the first time you shoot. This makes it an especially good model if you planned on filming any kind of sporting event since you’ll never get a second take with that kind of action. Best of all, it should be quite affordable in many cases.
Feiyu G6 Handheld Camera Stabilizer
• Works well even with mirrorless cameras
• Smooths out video well even when not perfectly balanced
• Solid metal construction
• Only works with the lightest DSLR models
• Lacks attachments included with most competing models
• Battery life should supposedly last 12 hours but maybe much shorter
While the G6 is closely related to the AK2000, it’s actually the latest entry in a completely different product line that aims to be slightly less expensive than its somewhat older sibling. Nevertheless, the designers were still able to sneak splash-proof technology into this device without driving up the cost too much.
It’s quite light and small, which makes it a good pick if you want to have something you can throw in a backpack and take with you when camping or doing any other kind of outdoor activity. This might also make it attractive to traveling wedding videographers. A new iterative platform image stabilization algorithm coupled with high-torque brushless motors helps to ensure that the G6 offers excellent response times. In fact, it outperforms some considerably higher-end models in this regard.
Best Handheld DSLR Gimbal Stabilizers Under $1000
Zhiyun Crane-2 Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer
• Very affordable for something in its price range
• Battery life can last longer than 18 hours in some circumstances
• The stabilizer can usually survive a sudden drop whenever it’s powered down
• Supports DSLR cameras that weigh anywhere from 1.1-7 lbs., so it should be compatible with nearly everything out there
• Weighs almost 9 lbs.
• Only supports standard ¼” threads
By offering three different levels of focus control, the newly-redesigned Crane-2 provides a great deal of functionality without charging users too much for the privilege of using it. While this isn’t an inexpensive model, it doesn’t cost too much in the grand scheme of things compared to many other units of comparable function. Once you attach a camera with an autofocus lens to the gimbal system via a cable, you can adjust the focus on it with a simple external dial. As the name suggests, you can also configure the focus motor to automatically follow a programmed path.
This makes it easy to configure even if you can’t lower the unit out of your hand to make some changes. The build quality is quite good for something in its price range. It does weigh quite a bit, though, so you may get tired of using it after an extended period of time spent shooting outdoors.
MOZA Air 2 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer
• Comes with a time-lapse lens control system
• Supports cameras as heavy as 9 lbs.
• Features four separate power ports
• Features dual handles
• Thumb controller is a bit clunky
• Additionally, power ports can drain batteries
• Users will have to select from a whole list of options when setting up the display
If you’re a fan of techie gadgets, then you’ll love MOZA’s newest handheld stabilizer for DSLR cameras. This unit offers no less than 20 separate optimizations that can help users film various times of time and motion elapsed footage. While some people might scoff and say that’s too much, the Air 2 is designed for those who appreciate extra features.
This includes innovations like a pair of handles that make the unit easier to hold onto as well as an OLED display. It even comes with an integrated tripod, which should really help to make the Air 2 a favorite among amateur videographers who want to take professionally-looking footage no matter what kind of conditions or subject material they’re working with.
DJI Ronin-S Handheld Camera Stabilizer
• Easy to hold in a single hand, which makes focusing on a subject that much simpler
• Patented SmoothTrack technology gives you the freedom to transfer from motion to a traditional camera angle with a single hand
• Comes with a beefy carrying case
• Among the more expensive options on the market currently
• Can take a while to assemble after having been taken apart
When it comes to buying a 3 axis gimbal DSLR stabilizer, you usually run into a number of boutique companies that specialize in producing a few specialty designs and very little else. That’s what makes the Ronin-S stand out so much. It has the backing of a well-known popular international brand, which is somewhat rare in the industry.
This also means it enjoys the support of a larger company, so you’ll always have someone to turn to if something goes wrong. Even though it’s quite expensive, you might consider the price worth it if you use multiple cameras. It can switch between three different user profiles on-the-fly, which might also be useful if you’re looking to experiment with different styles of shooting.
Overall, this is a very professional unit aimed at the high-end market.
If you’re just starting out or want to get a stabilizer that’s inexpensive enough to replace if anything happens to it, then the RALENO Steadicam definitely deserves a second look. It’s sturdy enough to take a few hits and keep going, and it certainly won’t break the bank.
Videographers who are in the market for a relatively inexpensive three-axis model will probably find that the Feiyu AK2000 does everything they need it to. It should prove to be compatible with an overwhelming majority of cameras. The battery life is rated at around 12 hours, and it should certainly last this long if not longer. It’s one of the few options on the market that offer a white balancing feature that actually works.
Even professionals should like the Zhiyun Crane-2. It’s certainly a good buy if you don’t mind shelling out the extra money. The unique focusing capabilities will lend themselves to a wide variety of creative uses. Best of all, the Crane-2 is durable enough to outlast most of the competition.
That being said, any of these models should please both amateurs and pros alike!