A camera stabilizer is a device that helps you keep your camera steady to help reduce camera shake and blur that tends to ruin pictures and video. It is essential for every photographer, videographer, and vlogger because it helps counteract the camera movement. So, suppose you are holding the camera, and your hand shakes. In that case, the stabilizer will neutralize it and make it seem like the camera was stable all along.
When shooting in various conditions, such as low-light or prolonged exposure, a camera stabilizer helps create more professional-looking footage. The final image with a stabilizer will end up much sharper, and your pictures will be much clearer. However, many different types of stabilizers are on the market, which can make choosing the perfect one slightly tricky.
Types of Stabilizers
Stabilizers were invented to avoid the shakiness that is common when the camera is held by a person. Before you go to purchase a stabilizer, you must know all the different types so that you can choose one that fits your needs best.
The three main types of stabilizers include handheld stabilizers, 3-axis gimbals, Steadicams, and shoulder mounts.
A handheld stabilizer is a simple and compact stabilizer that you can connect to the camera directly. Using it, you can hold the camera easily in your hand and add steadiness. This stabilizer allows the videographer or camera operator to reduce any shakiness or blurriness from the footage or photograph.
One attached to the stabilizer, you can rotate it at any angle. Additionally, if you want to hold the camera further away from you, you can also aff a stick that it may come with.
A 3-axis gimbal is a sophisticated device that stabilizes your phone or camera on all three axes. It does so using a motor that counteracts your motions to keep the camera or phone stable. One of the biggest advantages of a 3-axis gimbal is that you can use it as a handheld device and a self-standing filming device.
Some gimbals also come with extra features such as auto-rotating for tracking shots and the ability to keep you or any other object in the frame. Additionally, some have an app you can install on your phone and change the setting to suit your needs.
Steadicams are portable devices that are easy to set up and balance. They are designed to get fluid shots as it unlinks the camera from the motion of your hand. So, no matter how much your hand moves, the camera will stay in place and record smooth shots. You can also use them to record wide-angle shots as they keep the camera steady and move smoothly in a straight line. Steadicams are also extremely easy to use, as you can automatically detect and fix an issue.
Shoulder mounts work differently from other kidneys of stabilizers because they achieve image stabilization by transferring the camera’s weight to your shoulders. This allows you to capture stable and well-constructed shots.
These stabilizers are highly effective as our bodies tend to be much steadier than our hands. By transferring the weight to your shoulders, you will be able to ensure that there is next to no shakiness in your videography and photography.
How Gimbals Work
Gimbals have motors mounted on an axis, stabilizing the camera when it is in motion. It makes tiny adjustments against your hand’s movement to ensure that the camera is always in the same position. This allows you to tilt, pan, and even roll the camera without worrying about shakiness in the footage.
The axes you mount your camera on are the pitch, yaw, and roll. The pitch is the up-and-down movement. The yaw is the left-to-right movement, and the roll is the side-to-side movement. Using these three axes, your gimbal keeps your camera perfectly stabilized no matter how shaky your hands are.
How To Choose the Best Gimbals, Steadicams, and Stabilizers for Your Camera
A camera stabilizer, gimbal, and Steadicam are excellent tools for taking steady shots. With the variety of different stabilizers available on the market, choosing one that fits your needs can become a little challenging.
In such cases, you should focus on a few key features to determine whether or not it is a good fit for you.
Size and Weight
One of the first things you need to consider when choosing a camera stabilizer is the weight and size of your camera. Suppose you have a large camera that also weighs a lot. In that case, it is better to purchase a heavy-duty stabilizer that can handle its weight.
Since not all gimbals and stabilizers are designed to hold heavy weights, it is suggested that you choose shoulder mounts for larger cameras. On the other hand, if you will be using it to stabilize your phone, a gimbal may work best.
Type of Shooting
The kind of video or picture you are shooting also affects the type of stabilizer you need to stabilize your shots. Suppose you are vlogging or shooting a YouTube video. In that case, you will most likely need a stabilizer that can handle a larger camera.
On the other hand, if you are using your phone to take small videos, then a gimbal may work. They are also easier on your hand, and you can move them around easily. Additionally, if you are vlogging, a gimbal is a great device because it comes with various features. These include face tracking that you can use to keep yourself in the frame.
Portability is another critical factor you should consider when purchasing a gimbal, stabilizer, or Steadicam. Suppose you tend to always be on the go and do not want something bulky. In that case, you should choose a smaller-sized stabilizer that you can easily fit in your pocket or with the rest of your photography gear.
If you are shooting within a studio or have space to carry a larger device, you can invest in a larger stabilizer. Some stabilizers, such as a shoulder mount, tend to be quite bulky and come with their own carrying case, which you should consider.
Camera stabilizers come in a wide variety, costing anywhere from $100 to $1000, which is why you must choose one that fits your budget. If you have money to spend, then you should ideally opt for gimbals and stabilizers from brands that are well-known in the industry. If you are on a budget, comparing prices and finding ones on sale is a good idea.
When choosing a gimbal or stabilizer, you must consider how many axes you want. Gimbals usually come in two varieties: the 2-axis and 3-axis gimbals. Both are designed to tilt and roll, but with a 3-axis gimbal, you can even have a stable pan shot.
This means that the three-axis gimbal is much superior to a 2 axis gimbal as it offers you stability in an added direction. On the other hand, since 2-axis gimbals only have two motors, they use less battery, meaning you can use them for much longer than a 3-axis gimbal.
When purchasing a stabilizer, you must choose one that is versatile. Many photographers have multiple cameras that they use for different purposes. If your gimbal cannot attach to various cameras, you will end up needing to purchase multiple stabilizers. This will not only be expensive but also hinder your movement if you travel with them. The gimbals you purchase should also allow you to connect them to various camera accessories, such as tripods and extension poles.
When purchasing a gimbal, you must consider the kind of batteries it uses and its battery life. Some gimbals have motors and use rechargeable batteries to work. In such cases, you need to ensure that it has a long battery life so that it does not die on you while using it. On the other hand, some gimbals use batteries that need to be replaced. With such gimbals, even if the battery dies, you can simply replace it, but you will need to carry the batteries with you at all times. You can also choose to carry portable power options.
Pros and Cons of Stabilizers and Gimbals
Like other camera accessories, stabilizers and gimbals also have pros and cons.
They allow you to get super smooth footage.
They are expensive.
They come in various sizes to support different-sized cameras.
They can be large, which makes them difficult to travel with.
They help make excellent long-exposure shots.
They are heavy and added extra weight to vehicle filming.
1. How do I choose a gimbal?
If you are searching for a gimbal, factor in your use, the battery it uses, the axis type, how versatile it is, and your budget.
2. Should I buy a gimbal or a tripod?
Suppose you are wondering whether you should buy a gimbal or a tripod. In that case, you should consider whether you would be taking photographs or videos. If you plan to film videos, you should invest in a gimbal as it helps keep your video smooth and can fit in your backpack.
3. What is the difference between a gimbal and a stabilizer?
A gimbal is much more expensive and sensitive than any other video stabilizer. It also has many other functions, such as face tracking, etc. Additionally, gimbals take much longer to set up as you have to do the balancing process manually.
Since gimbals, stabilizers, and steadicams help stabilize your shot, they are an essential part of your gear that you should invest in. Due to the various kinds of stabilizers and gimbals available on the market, it can be challenging to choose one stabilizer. However, if you keep a few factors, such as the type of stabilizer you want and your budget, the process can be pretty simple