In the realm of camera stabilization systems, 3-axis gimbal stabilizers seem to be on top for quite some time, especially when it comes to counteracting unwanted camera movement and achieving smooth tracking shots. Much easier to setup and more compact than the traditional Steadicam, handheld gimbals combine advanced hardware and software technologies providing filmmakers with buttery smooth footage, granted that you are operating the gimbal correctly. While these devices have grown exponentially in popularity in the recent years, they are still more expensive than counterweight-based stabilizers ubiquitously used in the past.
Nevertheless, more manufacturers have been developing products that suit smaller form-factor cameras such as mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, and at a much lower cost relative to the bulkier gimbals like the DJI Ronin and Freefly Movi. In the next video, filmmaker Tom Antos compares the performance and feature set of three well-known and inexpensive gimbal stabilizers in this particular market segment – the Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2, Feiyu A2000, and Moza Air.
First and foremost, these counterparts are primarily built for use with cameras that have a small form factor (such as a mirrorless, DSLR, or even a small camcorder) and have a price tag that’s in the $600-$650 range. Regarding stabilization capabilities, you should expect similar performance when it comes to producing smooth-flowing footage.
While this may be the case in most shooting scenarios and situations, keep in mind that since these are rather small gimbal systems, you will still need to try and operate each of them as steady as possible, avoiding sudden jolts or movements. So, if all these rivals tend to perform pretty much the same, what sets them apart? To find the answer, let’s look further into details and specs.
The Feiyu A2000 is the most expensive gimbal on the list priced at around $639 (additional $199 for the optional dual handle accessory). The unit itself weighs 1.5 pounds and has a maximum payload of 4.4 pounds. This gimbal spots a battery that claims to last a whopping 12 hours, meaning that you could get buy a full day or two of shooting without having to recharge or replace batteries. Plus, it comes with a tripod stand, quick release plate, and camera cable for your convenience.
Furthermore, there is a dedicated trigger button for locking the camera position, adjustable roll axis when using the follow mode, and a 1/4 20 screw thread to attach accessories such as a monitor or small LED panel. As for downsides, the included camera cable only works for one specific type of camera and only supports taking photos, which means that you won’t be able to trigger the start/stop video recording function through the gimbal itself.
Feiyu-Tech A2000 Highlights
- 360° Rotation Along All Three Axes
- 4.4 lb Payload
- Four Operational Modes
- Flat, 4-Way Control Joystick
- Removable Handle
- Gimbal Section Can Be Used Separately
- 1/4″-20 Holes on Gimbal and Handle
- Includes Feiyu ON App for iOS/Android
- Intuitive Camera Balancing
- Camera Weight Identification Algorithm
- Price: $639
Next on Antos’ list is the Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2, priced at $629 (although optional accessories are available for purchase separately). The gimbal weighs just around 1.6 pounds and has a max payload of 3.9 pounds, the lowest out of all the gimbals on the list. Similar to the A2000 counterpart, the Crane v2 has an impressive 12-hour battery life for long shooting days, and it allows you to adjust the roll when operating in follow mode.
What’s more, the Crane v2 gimbal comes with a hard case for transporting your device and its accessories across locations. A drawback associated with the unit is that it does not offer a camera cable, nor does it include a tripod stand for use when balancing the camera.
Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 Highlights
- 360° Rotation Along All Three Axes
- Supports Compact Cameras up to 3.9 lb
- Includes Lens Support for Long Lenses
- Three 32-Bit MCUs Running at 4000 Hz
- Four-Way Stepless Joystick
- Tool-Less Camera Attachment
- 1/4″-20 Threaded Hole on the Bottom
- Can Be Controlled via iOS/Android App
- 12-Hour Runtime with Included Batteries
- Price: $629
Last but not least comes the Moza Air, the cheapest gimbal in the lineup with a retail price of $599 (additional $199 for the remote control). According to Tom Antos, if you’re looking for a gimbal for use with a small camera, this may be the best value.
Not only does the gimbal have the most substantial payload support of 5.5 pounds, but it also comes with an eight-hour battery life, hard case with dual handles (typically purchased separately), camera cables for Sony, Panasonic, and Canon cameras, tripod stand, and a 1/4 20 thread for mounting additional accessories. It’s essentially a less-expensive hybrid of the Crane v2 and the A2000.
Moza Air Highlights
- For Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras
- 5.5 lb Load Capacity
- Full 360° Rotation on All Motors
- Includes Two-Handed Grip
- Works with Wireless Thumb Controller
- Free Control App with Time-Lapse
- Battery Lasts up to 8 Hours
- Includes Hard Carry Case
- Price: $599
So, which one is your personal favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
[source: Tom Antos]
- Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer (B&H, Amazon US)
- Feiyu A2000 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal for Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras (B&H, Amazon US)
- Moza Air 3-Axis Motorized Gimbal Stabilizer (B&H, Amazon US)
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