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.
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
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
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
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.
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.