Gimbal Buying Guide
Your guide to Keep'n It Smooth & more...
The first time you see someone shooting with a gimbal you might think it’s some kind of fancy selfie stick. In fact, a gimbal is a high-tech tool driven by several brushless motors made for getting impossibly-smooth shots with your smartphone, action camera or DSLR. It basically takes the power of a Hollywood Steadicam, shrinks it down and puts it right in your hand, on your helmet, attached to your car or anywhere else you want to shoot. Gimbals are a relatively new technology that are quickly becoming a standard tool in most content creators tool-boxes.
But not all gimbals are created equal. As with any product, there’s a wide variety of types, build qualities, functions and customer support to consider when making a selection.
2 vs 3 axis stabilization
Gimbals stabilize your camera by actively powering a set of brushless motors about 2 or 3 axes of movement. 2 axis gimbals typically stabilize the Tilt & Roll axis while 3 axis gimbals add stabilization to the Pan axis.
The advantage of a 3 axis gimbal is the added smoothness you will get when shooting dynamic moving shots and the added benefit of multiple stabilization modes to create different style shots. 2 Axis gimbals are typically less expensive but are not as easy to come by now a days simply because the benefits of 3 axis are that much better.
Companies like EVO Gimbals have a full line of 3 axis stabilizers with standard stabilization modes synonymous across the line-up meaning once you learn how to use one gimbal you can pick up another model and quickly start using it.
This is the big one - the market has been flooded with fly-by-night foreign companies producing cheap knockoff gimbals. The few bucks you save won’t mean much when the gimbal breaks the first time you use it.
Make sure you do your homework by reading Amazon customer reviews, watching YouTube review videos and checking out review sites. Also keep in mind that Amazon is not the same as it was just a few years ago - the platform is plagued with fake reviews both positive & negative!
If the cheap gimbal you found doesn’t have a ton of reviews or a top ten listing, then buyer beware. Also be cautious with Kickstarter campaigns; these are often unestablished companies with unproven products that can take months or even years to ship–not exactly ideal for having something to unwrap during the holidays or take on a trip.
Most entry-level gimbals are made out of mold-injected plastic, with varying results: gimbals made with ABS plastic are going to feel cheap and be less durable if used regularly or in rugged conditions.
However, some like the EVO Shift are made out of the same nylon-reinforced plastic found in heavy-duty power tools. All other EVO gimbals are made from aircraft-grade aluminum, which offers far more durability for both action shooting and the occasional drops.
The EVO Shift has built-in batteries that aren’t removable (though the EVO Shift does have a 12 hour battery life–that’s likely longer than your phone!) The rest of our gimbals have removable, rechargeable batteries so you can swap out batteries and shoot without stop.
When comparing EVO gimbals with other brands, look at battery size and capacity; many other gimbals use smaller batteries with less juice, while EVO gimbals use larger Li-Ion batteries for longer run times.
If you’re going to be shooting with your gimbal for more than a few minutes at a time weight is going to be an important factor. Compare gimbal weights and be sure to take into consideration the overall weight of your camera plus the lens to make sure the one you pick isn’t too heavy. Your wrist will thank you!
Your arm is just the beginning. Look for gimbals with the ability to mount other accessories. EVO gimbals use an industry-standard tripod threading so you can mount your gimbal on tripods, extension poles or other products.
Most gimbals come with utility software; make sure it’s compatible with your PC or Mac. Also, check if your gimbal comes with a mobile app that works with your iPhone or Android. Companion apps are available to let you wirelessly control your gimbal and easily adjust advanced shooting functions like time lapse, ISO, aperture, exposure, shutter speed, white balance and focus.
Not every gimbal fits every camera. Take a look at the gimbal product page to make sure your camera fits. Also, if you use accessories like external battery packs or microphones look to see if the gimbal’s design will cover up any important camera ports.
There’s a ton of features that make up a great gimbal. Read the reviews to see if the gimbals you’re considering have the functionality you need to support your shooting style. Here’s a few things that make EVO gimbals stand out from the crowd:
• Built-in charging
• Built-in camera control on some models
• 4kHz refresh rate for an ultra-quiet motor performance
• Support for camera/lens payload up to 3,500g
• Multiple stabilization modes
EVO Gimbals is an American company known for customer service (seriously, check our reviews). Not only that, but we offer an industry-leading one-year warranty covering any and all mechanical defects, plus parts and labor. Most other companies offer only a three or six-month limited warranty.
Also, make sure the company you buy from makes customer service easy with a published phone number, email, US-based customer support and online help center. You can also check their social media to see if they’re engaging with customers online.
The big question: what camera type are you?
Now that you know what to look for in a gimbal, the next step is decide what gimbal to look for. Gimbals are divided into different categories depending on the camera type you’re using.