The Best Handheld Gimbals for Cinematographers

We all know that motion plays a vital role in modern-day videography, but it’s vital that motion is smooth and stable. After all, post putting so much effort into the process of capturing videos, no one wants to end up with blurred, hazy footage. Also, not every camcorder offers optical stabilization, and even if a couple of models do, they are pricey.

So what’s the way forward for the everyday filmmaker? Enter, gimbals. Gimbals are the perfect solution to every videographer’s stability woes. Gimbals allow videographers to achieve smooth and dynamic cinematic shots, that will wow viewers and provide a sense of complete visual immersion. They are now so ubiquitous and commonplace in productions, that if you’re not shooting with gimbals, you need to get involved, fast!

In this post, we will be talking about the best handheld gimbals every cinematographer should invest in. Before that, let’s look at what gimbals have to offer and why they are so important. Let’s get started:

Why you shouldn’t ignore Gimbals

Perhaps the greatest benefit of gimbals is the flexibility they open up for your shooting style – it’s not an exaggeration to say that gimbals have been a revolution for the filmmaking industry. With a gimbal, you have the freedom to shoot handheld without worrying about camera shake. While a tripod will help you film steady footage, it will not allow you to inject dynamic motion and movement into your footage. Unless you’re panning and tilting (a relatively dated style of shooting) it’s just static shots for you!

Moreover, gimbals enable you to change the direction of your camera effortlessly, which ultimately helps save shooting time, too. And that is precisely why many sports and wildlife video shooters prefer gimbals over tripods.

Along with a steady and smooth shooting experience, gimbals also bring in other benefits. They are quick to set up, as compared to other complex technical gear. Most gimbals have an intuitive and easy user interface (normally controlled through a phone app), making them perfect for beginners and professionals.

Gimbals are designed to be lightweight, which makes them easy to carry. Now, this feature is essential, as videography often takes you on outdoor adventures. For example, if you are shooting stock videos of sports or adventure, the last thing you want is a heavy setup – this is only going to slow you down.

You can also use gimbals comfortably for longer hours, due to their compact build and lightweight structure. Gimbals also offer a firm grip on your camera. You can easily mount additional camera accessories such as microphones on a gimbal, too.

Gimbals are convenient and can be used in all types of shooting locations – even in aerial productions.

Now that we’ve listed out reasons enough to convince you to buy a gimbal right away, let’s take you through the best gimbal models out there:

Zhiyun Tech CRANE 3 LAB Handheld Stabilizer

The Crane 3 LAB from Zhiyun is more than a gimbal with a mini-tripod attached to the bottom. It features an ergonomic handle at the top, which enables two-handed usage for optimal stability. The innovative design of the gimbal allows you to seamlessly switch to underslung mode with one or both hands and capture creative shots such as 360° roll shots.

The CRANE 3 gimbal showcases a payload capacity of 4.54 kg and is power-packed with other excellent features. You can mount two servo motors on the CRANE 3 simultaneously, which helps control and adjust focus and zoom from the handwheel at the side of the gimbal. The presence of aviation-grade engines coupled with a unique design ensures up to 50% noise reduction and a 100% increase in motor torque.

The gimbal also offers 1080p wireless transmission via wi-fi connection to other connected smart devices. It also features the ViaTouch Control System, which helps you seamlessly control gimbal movements, frame shots, and adjust camera settings.

Feiyu G6 Max 3-axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer

Compared to its predecessors, a better and advanced model, this gimbal from Feiyu is compact, lightweight, and easy to use. While it weighs only 665g, it offers a payload capacity of 1.2kg. Thanks to the compact form of this gimbal, it can be easily maneuvered while capturing videos. In addition, it features a quick-release plate for efficient camera attachment and an action cam as well as a smartphone adapter.

The G6 Max is splash-proof and well suited for challenging outdoor shooting locations, too. It has a simple user interface with an accessible OLED display. The gimbal is perfect for beginners and professionals who love creating exceptional quality, impactful videos.

DJI Ronin 2 3-Axis Handheld Stabilizer

The Ronin 2 is a versatile mode from DJI and is well suited for a range of camera and lens configurations. It boasts an excellent payload capacity of 13.6 kg and can be used for DSLRs and cinema cameras. The

Ronin 2 features three operation modes – underslung, upright, and briefcase – to help you achieve the best and most precise angles. Furthermore, the design of the gimbal ensures that transitioning from these modes is super easy and seamless.

The Ronin 2 features a detachable grip, which allows the gimbal to stand up on its own. In addition, the hold can be easily removed when not required. The gimbal also supports mounting on different accessories such as drones, cable cams, and vehicle mounts.

The easy setup and integrated screen of the Ronin 2 helps streamline and accelerate the entire process of setting up a gimbal. The tactile buttons, too, are appropriately positioned to ensure you can easily access. Also, making the fine adjustments concerning camera balancing is now simplified with integrated adjustment knobs and a redesigned camera mounting base. 

Pilotfly H2-45 Professional Kit

The Pilotfly kit includes everything you need to shoot top-notch videos with your DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. It features three encoder-laden 360° motors, which help the gimbal stabilize vibrations from different angles and orientations. In addition, the Pilotfly gimbal includes single and double hand grips for choice of handling, and each of them comes with gimbal controls. These features make the gimbal super accessible and easy to use. The gimbal is also known for its immense flexibility, allowing you to direct your camera as you easily hold the stabilizer.

The model comes with five different preconfigured profiles: the Follow Mode, Pitch Lock, Full Lock, Home Move, and Motion Time-Lapse. Additional features include the automatic gyro calibration and automatic gimbal inversion.

Moza AirCross 2 3-axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer

Coming from Moza, this gimbal is sleek and features an ergonomic design. Despite its compact form, the gimbal features a payload capacity of 3.2kg – this makes it well-suited for usage with most cameras. Furthermore, the gimbal allows you to mount the camera closer to the tilt motor for increased stability. Additionally, you also have the angled motor arm that offers a clear view of the camera display.

The AirCross 2 also flaunts a manual lock on each axis, which enhances the balance of your camera. In addition, the 3-latch locking system allows you to unlock one axis and balance it before proceeding to the next one.

The gimbal also has several advanced shooting modes, including multiple follow methods, Sports Gear mode, inception mode, and time-lapse capture. Each of these modes helps you capture impeccable, eye-catching cinematic shots.

Summing Up

Investing in a gimbal is the best decision you could ever make as a cinematographer. Once you witness the magic you can create with gimbals; there’s no turning back. And now that we’ve helped you with the best gimbal models, it is time for you to invest in one – so what are you waiting for? Pick the best model that suits your shooting requirements right away!