For this Top 5 gift guide, we’re focusing on that special person who loves all things video. Our recommendation for someone who delights in filming and editing would be to consider getting them one of the latest and greatest video accessories, the 3-axis gimbal.
But hold up! What is a gimbal and what’s the big deal? Okay, picture a handle with a camera perfectly balanced at the top. Sounds simple enough right? Now imagine that handle also has three carefully positioned motors that absorb bumps and shakes so you can record smooth video footage.
Gimbals can also react to the movements of the person holding it, which is where it starts to get really interesting. Turning the handle creates a panning movement while angling it forwards or backwards tilts the camera up and down, combine these together with some quick footwork and you can easily create some cinematic camera moves.
But gimbals aren’t just for DSLR and mirrorless cameras. They are also made for smartphones perfect for mobile filmmakers as well as for compact cameras for travel junkies who travel light.
1 – Zhiyun Smooth 4
Designed to support most smartphones the Smooth 4 holds up to 210g, making it a perfect starting point for someone looking to improve their video. When you have the “ZY Play” app open the large wheel on the side can control your phones focus or zoom and you can start and stop recording using the buttons on the handle.
With built-in time-lapse modes and object tracking the Smooth 4 is a jam packed with features to help take mobile film-making to new heights. It also includes a Mini-tripod and a compact carrying case.
- 210g Payload
- Large Follow Focus/Zoom Wheel
- Brushless Motors
- 240° Roll and Tilt Movement
- Control Phone Camera Functionality
- Dolly/Zoom Vertigo Effect and POV Orbital Shot
- Rechargeable Batteries with 12 Hour Run Time
- Mini-Tripod and Carrying Case Included
2 – Feiyu G6 Plus
For those who want something that can do it all, the Feiyu G6 Plus supports compact cameras as well as action cams too. Not only that but it holds small mirrorless cameras that weigh less than 800g.
An angled rear motor provides a clear view of your camera screen which, combined with a sizeable 12-hour battery life and a unique splash proof design make the G6 Plus a highly versatile gimbal.
- For Cameras up to 800g
- Supports Smartphones with Optional Adapter
- Unique Elevation Angle for Clear LCD Viewing
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for Remote Control
- Modify Zoom and Focus Settings with Select Camera Models
- Integrated OLED Display
- 12 Hour Battery Life
- Splash-proof Design
3 – Feiyu AK2000
If you’re looking for a gimbal than can handle a larger camera, the AK2000 might be more up your alley. Like the G6 Plus it has an angled rear motor, so you can see the rear LCD of your camera but unlike the G6 it can hold a whopping 2.8kg payload.
It is the only gimbal with a touchscreen control and it has a control ring that makes changing settings easy and quick. The AK2000 also introduces a new “space” mode that follows movements on the tilt axis, a real-time follow mode for filming fast paced action and a built-in time-lapse function.
- Impressive 2.8kg Payload Capacity
- Elevated Rear Screen Design
- Touch Screen with Magic Ring Control Wheel
- Compatible with Manfrotto PL501 Quick Release Plate
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connectivity
- Unique 3-Axis Following Space Mode
- Auto-rotation and Automatic Shutter Control for Time-lapse
- Up to 12-hour Battery Life
4 – Zhiyun Crane 2
Zhiyun’s Crane 2 is one of the most popular gimbals available for full size DSLR and Mirrorless cameras. With a hefty 3.2kg payload, a large follow focus wheel on the side of the handle and an impressive 18-hour battery life it’s easy to see why it’s so popular.
A removable quick release plate makes setting up easier and the gimbal features a gradual power down function for safe operation. The Crane 2 also includes a carry case, mini tripod stand and a mechanical follow focus controller.
- 3-Axis Stabilisation with Real-time Follow focus
- Hefty 3.2kg Maximum Payload
- OLED Display with Intuitive Interface
- Quick Control Dial to Adjust Camera Settings
- 18 Hour Run Time with Camera Charging Function
- Quick Release Plate
- 1/4 and 3/8-inch Industry Standard Thread
- Includes EVA Carry Bag & Mechanical Follow Focus
5 – Zhiyun WEEBILL LAB
Named after Australia’s smallest bird, the Zhiyun Weebill LAB is a powerful, but most importantly, a very portable gimbal. The arms are lockable to make balancing and transport easier, while the small size and weight of the unit makes it a breeze for travel.
An innovative design allows the grip to be moved between two points on the handle, making it easy to shoot in the popular underslung mode for those low perspectives.
Combine that with a 10-hour battery life, a high-speed GO mode, and wireless image transmission for real-time monitoring and you’ve got a comprehensive little gimbal that can do it all.
- Unique Design
- 3kg Maximum Payload
- Axis Locks for Easy Transport & Balance
- Multiple Handle Mounting Positions
- ViaTouch Control & Wireless Image Transmission
- 10 Hour Battery Life & OLED Display
- High Speed GO and POV Modes
6 – Honourable Mention - DJI Ronin S
A list of the top 5 gimbals wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the DJI Ronin-S, which is so popular there is a global shortage. We currently have limited stock, but they won’t last long so it’s best to contact us to confirm availability.
DJI have built the Ronin-S for professional use with one of the largest payloads of 3.6kg, as well as 3 customisable speed settings and a super responsive sports mode. The gimbal also features a roll 360 mode for unique shots as well as support for follow focus control.
- Maximum 3.6kg Payload
- Elevated Roll Arm Design for Clear LCD Viewing
- Push to Adjust, Axis Lock and Sport Mode
- 2 Customisable SmoothTrack Settings
- Professional Design and Construction
- Mobile App with Intelligent Shooting Modes
- Compatible with DJI Focus Command Unit
- Versatile Mounting Options
Hopefully this helped to explain what a gimbal is and some of the different ones that are available and maybe even highlighted one or two that might be the perfect gift for someone you know.