Тhe almighty and ever-so-steady gimbal stabilizers have been one of the most sought-after pieces of gear in the filmmaking community for quite some time. Unfortunately, the purchase and use of a gimbal can only be considered as a viable option for those creative professionals who actually can afford to buy one since even the cheapest brand-name gimbals can be a serious investment, especially for those people who are just starting out.
As an alternative and much cheaper solution, filmmaker Brandon Petrykowski suggests a gimbal stabilizer he recently came across which is made by a less known manufacturer and has a rather attractive price. So, let’s find out whether the VS-3SD Gimbal by AFI is actually worth buying?
In essence, the VS-3SD gimbal is a small system that weighs under a kilogram (2.2 pounds), designed with a load capacity of 1.7 kg (3.74 pounds), which makes it perfect for a small mirrorless or DSLR. The gimbal itself is made with a mix of durable plastic but mainly constructed of high quality brushed aluminum. Your camera can be mounted directly on the baseplate available with the device using a standard 1/4” 20 screw.
Furthermore, the system comes in a case that houses the main gimbal unit and a box that has the optional dual grip setup. Included with the purchase are the stabilizer itself, dual-grip attachments, battery, Micro USB cable for charging, various connection cables, and screws.
As Petrykowski states, the VS-3SD performs relatively well for the price, even though not at the level of more established brands. Nevertheless, the gimbal does exactly what its intended to do – it stabilizes your footage to a degree that is much better than merely holding the camera in your hands. Although the device does a fairly decent job, it’s far from perfect as you should still try to remain as steady as possible since the gimbal will pick up sudden movements when walking or running, something that can be clearly seen in the test footage above.
That being said, you should expect more stable footage with the dual grip handle option that comes with the VS-3SD. In addition, the joystick on the dual grip handles allow for easy panning and tilting of the camera when mounted to the system. Another neat aspect of the device is that when using the dual grip setup, there are several mounting holes in various screw sizes on the bar connecting the handles, allowing for the mounting of different accessories such as monitors, microphones, or lights.
- AFI VS-3SD Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer
- Dual Hand Grip
- Size: 300x175x160 mm
- Maximum load bearing: 1.7kg (camera + lens)
- Three-axis locking mode, Follow mode, Semi-follow mode, Calibration mode, Alternate follow mode, Standby lock mode;
- Maximum angle range: 90-180 °
- Directional axis: 355 °
- Power supply: 18650 3.7V 2600 mah * 3
- Working hours: 2 hours (depending on users’ usage)
- Circuit system: three-axis brushless motor stabilization system
All in all, for those looking to buy a gimbal at the lowest price possible, the AFI VS-3SD could certainly be considered as a feasible purchase. While its stabilization abilities don’t quite match other more expensive rivals, the gimbal still performs admirably for its price.
[source: Brandon Petrykowski]
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