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Steadicam is the best friend of any oper­a­tor! Pho­to cred­it: premiumbeat.com

Smooth video is as much a must for vlog­gers and video­g­ra­phers as clear audio. The built-in sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem in the cam­era rarely achieves the lev­el of smooth­ness that is required today even for sim­ple blogs on the go, not to men­tion com­mer­cial clips!

This is where steadicams come to the res­cue — spe­cial devices for sta­bi­liz­ing your videos. Today we’re going to look at the best cheap hand­held sta­bi­liz­ers that do the job effec­tive­ly.

Hohem iSteadyMulti

The stub works great with the Sony RX100 and sim­i­lar com­pact devices. Pho­to: review-hub.co.uk

The Hohem iSteady Mul­ti bud­get gim­bal works with devices weigh­ing up to 400 grams: com­pact and action cam­eras, as well as smart­phones, are suit­able.

Let’s make a reser­va­tion right away, 400 grams are cam­eras with a built-in lens, like the blog­ging Sony ZV‑1 and minia­ture mod­els of the Cyber-shot series. Any, even the light­est mod­els with inter­change­able lens­es will be heav­ier: for exam­ple, one of the light­est Fuji­film X‑A7 mir­ror­less cam­eras weighs 320 grams. At the same time, even the most light­weight lens­es rarely weigh less than 100 grams. The excep­tion is pan­cakes like the Fuji­film XF 27mm f/2.8 R WR, which weighs 84 grams. But even such a kit exceeds the lim­it by 4 grams.

iSteady Mul­ti is a three-axis elec­tron­ic stub with a built-in 3600 mAh bat­tery. Due to the fact that the bat­tery is built-in, a spare bat­tery can­not be pur­chased. A sin­gle charge lasts up to 8 hours of con­tin­u­ous oper­a­tion (this is a fig­ure for smart­phones and light action cam­eras, with a heav­ier set­up under 400 grams it will work a lit­tle less). Thus, a full charge will be enough for most shoot­ings. In addi­tion, the sta­bi­liz­er can be recharged from a pow­er bank, and from the sta­bi­liz­er you can pow­er the cam­era.

The body of the stub and con­trols are pro­tect­ed from dust and mois­ture. This is a big plus for trav­el­ers and street blog­gers. How­ev­er, you should not expect any increased reli­a­bil­i­ty or super-strong con­struc­tion from the mod­el, after all, this is a bud­get seg­ment.

The kit includes a remov­able met­al plat­form for quick instal­la­tion of the cam­era on the sta­bi­liz­er. Also in the box you will find a con­ve­nient han­dle that folds out into a tri­pod.

The con­trol is done using a joy­stick — the response speed is not adjustable, and the cam­era moves equal­ly smooth­ly in all oper­at­ing modes. Unlike more advanced mod­els, there is no block­ing of move­ment along the axes.

In gen­er­al, a good bud­get sta­bi­liz­er for com­pact sin­gle-lens cam­eras and smart­phones.

Zhiyun Tech Crane M2

Extreme­ly light­weight, great for trav­el. Pho­to: Youtube chan­nel MAURO’S FILMS

Zhiyun Tech Crane M2 can han­dle not only cam­eras, but also most com­pact inter­change­able lens mir­ror­less cam­eras, with a total weight of up to 720 grams. The sta­bi­liz­er is suit­able for a set of mir­ror­less and light fix or small zoom. For exam­ple, you can use APS‑C cam­eras from Fuji­film, Sony, Nikon and Canon, as well as com­pact cam­eras and lens­es from Olym­pus and Pana­son­ic in Micro 4:3 for­mat.

It should be borne in mind that in addi­tion to the cam­era itself and the lens, addi­tion­al acces­sories may be need­ed — for exam­ple, a micro­phone.

Tech Crane M2 can be used with more than just cam­eras. The mod­el is also friend­ly with smart­phones and action cam­eras.

The Crane M2 itself is very light — only 500 grams, so it is a very con­ve­nient option for trav­el­ers. The Steadicam comes with a tri­pod that can also be used as a han­dle. On the front is a minia­ture dis­play show­ing the main set­tings, and a joy­stick for turn­ing the cam­era, as well as record­ing and mode but­tons. There is a zoom con­trol and latch­es for each of the axes.

The built-in bat­tery lasts for 7 hours of oper­a­tion, although, as is the case with any steadicam, the dura­tion in prac­tice depends on the total weight of the set­up that needs to be sta­bi­lized.

Zhiyun Tech Crane M2 has many modes for every taste. So, there is a self­ie mode, which is suit­able for shoot­ing blogs on the go. There is also a mobile appli­ca­tion for remote set­up and con­trol of the steadic.

In gen­er­al, this is a great option for trav­el blog­gers: the steadicam is light, but copes with mir­ror­less cam­eras, and with the help of cre­ative modes, you can diver­si­fy your video with inter­est­ing inter­rup­tions.

Sirui Swift P1

Sirui Swift P1 comes with a handy car­ry­ing case. Pho­to: carousell.sg

The stub from Sirui is even more load-bear­ing — the design can with­stand up to 900 grams, so in addi­tion to a mir­ror­less cam­era and a lens, you can also hang a micro­phone. Like oth­er steadicams from our top, it is also com­pat­i­ble with smart­phones and action cam­eras.

The body of the device is made of impact-resis­tant plas­tic, and the mount is made of alu­minum. How­ev­er, once again it is not worth check­ing the struc­ture for strength — this is not an all-met­al mod­el.

The sta­bi­liz­er is con­trolled by a mini-joy­stick, there is a small screen that dis­plays the cur­rent set­tings. The record­ing start but­ton can con­trol the camera/smartphone via Blue­tooth. If your cam­era does not have Blue­tooth, the steadicam can be con­nect­ed via cable (wires for major brands are includ­ed). The Sirui Swift app opens up addi­tion­al fea­tures, such as track­ing — handy for tak­ing self­ie blogs.

The mod­el has sev­er­al cre­ative modes, for exam­ple, time-lapse along a giv­en route. This is a rar­i­ty for bud­get steadicams, such fea­tures are usu­al­ly pro­vid­ed by expen­sive mod­els.

On a sin­gle charge, the steadicam works up to 9 hours. The bat­tery in the sta­bi­liz­er is non-remov­able, so it will not be pos­si­ble to replace the bat­ter­ies on the go.

The Sirui Swift P1 is an inter­est­ing option for begin­ner video­g­ra­phers who need to sta­bi­lize their cam­era, lens and acces­so­ry kit.

Feiyu FY-G6 Max

The small screen dis­plays the cur­rent set­tings. Pho­to: www.gizmochina.com

Feiyu FY-G6 Max han­dles weight up to 1200 grams, so even SLR cam­eras can be afford­ed here — how­ev­er, still with­out a tele­pho­to. The device is uni­ver­sal — there is every­thing you need to mount tra­di­tion­al pho­to and video cam­eras, action cam­eras and smart­phones.

Unlike the pre­vi­ous two mod­els, this sta­bi­liz­er is made most­ly of met­al. There is splash pro­tec­tion, so if the rest of the equip­ment allows, you can shoot in light rain.

You can con­nect the cam­era to the stub via Blue­tooth and Wi-Fi (a sync cable is includ­ed) and con­trol the record­ing from the han­dle of the steadicam. The direc­tion of the cam­era can be con­trolled using the joy­stick, there are clamps for each of the axes.

Feiyu FY-G6 Max has devel­oped many modes. These include panora­ma, direc­tion lock mode, hor­i­zon­tal/ver­ti­cal/all-axis track­ing. Steadicam allows you to work in por­trait and land­scape mode, there is a func­tion for shoot­ing time-lapse. You can adjust the pow­er of the sta­bi­liza­tion motor man­u­al­ly, as well as set auto­mat­ic adap­ta­tion based on the weight of the cam­era.

A pro­pri­etary appli­ca­tion allows you to con­trol the steadicam remote­ly and quick­ly con­fig­ure all func­tions.

The mod­el uses a built-in bat­tery with a capac­i­ty of 2200 mAh, which pro­vides up to 8 hours of con­tin­u­ous oper­a­tion.

Feiyu FY-G6 Max is a bridge between sim­ple basic mod­els and more advanced sta­bi­liz­ers for expe­ri­enced vlog­gers and video­g­ra­phers.

Moza AirCross

The option­al Dual Grip not only allows for even smoother shoot­ing and sharp­er angles. Pho­to: cvp.com

The MOZA Air­Cross is the top heavy­weight on our list, han­dling loads up to 1800 grams, mean­ing you’re prac­ti­cal­ly unlim­it­ed in your choice of mir­ror­less cam­eras and lens­es. But if you have a DSLR, you will have to be more care­ful — pro­fes­sion­al full-frame mod­els and large lens­es can become an unbear­able prob­lem for a stub.

The sta­bi­liz­er is almost entire­ly made of met­al. Includes a stur­dy tri­pod that can be used as a han­dle, as well as a uni­ver­sal quick-release cam­era mount. Unlike oth­er mod­els on the list, MOZA Air­Cross works with remov­able bat­ter­ies. The stub comes with three 2000 mAh recharge­able bat­ter­ies. One charge is enough for approx­i­mate­ly 12 hours of oper­a­tion.

Moza Air­cross is almost silent, which is espe­cial­ly impor­tant for indoor video shoot­ing. Option­al acces­sories can be pur­chased for the steadicam: a dou­ble han­dle for a more com­fort­able grip and shoot­ing from low angles, as well as a wire­less joy­stick. As expect­ed, there is con­trol from a smart­phone through the appli­ca­tion.

If you decide to get seri­ous about video shoot­ing, then MOZA Air­Cross at the moment is per­haps one of the most inter­est­ing pro­pos­als in terms of price and qual­i­ty. Of course, it has weight restric­tions, but Air­Cross han­dles most mod­ern mir­ror­less cam­eras and lens­es with­out any prob­lems.

If you’re look­ing for a heav­ier-duty rig that can han­dle pro­fes­sion­al cam­corders, the Moza Air 2 is worth a look.

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