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Last updated November 23, 2020
Tip: If you’re new to gimbals, simply scroll to the bottom of this article and read the quick-guide first.
Editors Note: If you’re in a hurry, I would recommend the DJI Ronin RSC 2, which is extremely popular – and with good reason.
It offers a lot of cool features, is compatible with a vast range of cameras, and is affordable for most people.
Check out the current price on Amazon
If you’re using your DSLR or mirrorless camera to shoot video like me, you have probably wished for a gimbal to help you create a steady image while shooting handheld scenes.
Since there is so much disparity between different lens and camera weights depending on what you’re shooting on, you’re going to need the right gimbal to support whatever your current DSLR / mirrorless camera setup is.
That’s why I’ve done the research and put together this comprehensive guide to gimbals.
Below you will find the FilmDaft buyer’s guide for the best handheld gimbals and what cameras we recommend them for.
That’s also why the list isn’t–the best gimbal depends on what camera you have and your needs.
1. DJI Ronin RSC 2
Weight Limit: Cameras weighing up to 6.6 pounds or 3 kilograms.
Dimensions: 15.7 x 7.3 x 6.9″ or 40 x 18.5 x 17.5 cm.
Camera best for: FF mirrorless bodies and most DSLRs, like the Sony A73, A7S, and Canon R and R5 (to name a few).
Other Compatibility: Works with the Sony A9, A6600, A6400, A7R IV, A9 II, A7R III, A7M III, A7S III, A7R II, A7S II, A7M II, A7S, A6500, A6300, and A6100; the Nikon Z6, Z7, Z5, Z50, D850, and D780; the Canon EOS R, EOS R6, EOS R5, G7X 3, EOS RP, EOS 6D Mark II, EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 6D, EOS 77D, EOS 800D, EOS 80D, EOS 5D Mark IV, EOS 5DS R, EOS M50, EOS 90D, and EOS 200D Mark II; the Panasonic GH5, GH5S, G9, S1, S1H, GH3, G95 and GH4; the FUJIFILM X-H1, X-T2, X-T3, X-T4, X-T20, X-T30 and X-E3; the Blackmagic Design BMPCC 4K, the Sigma FP, the Olympus E-M1 II, and the Z CAM E2.
|More powerful motors than the Ronin SC, and more lightweight.|
Folds up for underslung shooting at low angles.
1″ OLED B&W display screen.
DJI Titan stabilization algorithm.
1080p Transmitter with SuperSmooth stabilization (works with long zoom lens).
Focus dial and 14-hour batteries built into integrated grip handle.
Two NATO mounts for accessories and Manfrotto / Arca-Swiss dual-layer camera mount.
DJI Ronin companion app available for iOS and Android.
Unique functions like panorama, roll 360, and time-lapse features available.
|Doesn’t come with a protective case.|
Roll lock can be tricky to confirm based on positioning.
Enclosed batteries in the handle that you can’t replace easily.
As the Ronin SC2 is one of the newest gimbals on this list.
Starting with the basics, this is a vast improvement over the previous Ronin models regarding setup and balancing simplicity.
It is overall a lighter and more compact gimbal, with a smoother all-around image, than the Ronin S.
This is thanks to the Titan stabilization algorithm featured in the RSC2 – plus the new SuperSmooth mode doesn’t hurt.
Foldable and light-weight design
The foldability of this gimbal into the underslung shooting mode is another cool feature.
The RSC2 folds head-down from the handle, letting you flip the gimbal into an underslung position without any detaching parts.
The gimbal’s reduced weight and size is a major selling point, especially for shooting while traveling, and the built-in focus, ISO, and aperture control via the front scroll wheel make adjusting settings while one-handed easier than ever.
The Ronin RSC2 also connects via the Manfrotto and Arca Swiss mounting system, and the package comes with two release plates, so you should have no problems swapping cameras as needed.
Connectivity and app control
While the gimbal comes with a DJI Ronin phone app compatibility, the OLED display lets you manage the setup on the gimbal itself without needing to work within the app.
The app unlocks specific features like Roll 360, panorama, and time-lapse features, and ActiveTrack 3.0 is good for tracking moving subjects with follow focus, but sometimes more tedious than necessary.
The batteries are built into the handle, and so you will need to get extra Ronin-specific batteries.
The good thing is the batteries last about 14 hours – enough for a full day of shooting.
The gimbal charges easily enough, however, charging via a plug in the front of the handle.
Last but not least, when it comes to accessories, you can attach them via NATO mounts on either side of the handle via M4 threads.
A popular extension is the dual-handle, so that might be worth investing in if you think you’ll need it.
Unfortunately, the basic package doesn’t come with a protective case. So if you think you need one and the package you’re looking at doesn’t include one, make sure to invest in one separately.
Overall, the RSC2 is a solid gimbal with an awesome set of features.
Check the current price on Amazon
2. Weebil S
Weight Limit: Cameras weighing up to 4.4 lbs or 1.99 kilograms.
Dimensions: 7.48 x 5.51 x 11.73” or 190 x 140 x 298 mm.
Camera best for: Mainstream DSLR and mirrorless cameras like the Sony A7III and Canon 5D Mark 4.
Other Compatibility: Works with the Sony α9, α7R4, α7R3, α7M3, α7R2, α7M2, α7S2, a6600, a6500, a6400, a6300, a6100, and a6000; the Panasonic GH5, GH5S, Panasonic S1, and S1H; the Canon 5D3, 5D4, 5DS, 5DS R, 6D, 6D2, 80D, 90D, M50, EOS R, EOS RP; the Nikon D850, Z6, Z7, and Z50; and the Olympus OM-D, E-M1 Mark II, and Fujifilm X-T3.
14-hour battery life
SmartFollow and ViaTouch 2.0 systems.
TransMount image transmission mode for low latency 1080P HD transmission.
Dual focus control system.
New and upgraded algorithm for higher responsiveness and less jitter.
Sling mode for shooting comfortably with underslung mode.
|Setup can be tedious|
Button/design layout leaves something to be desired.
Less than desirable app experience
The Zhiyun Weebil S is a strong addition to the Zhiyun gimbal family.
Improving upon the previous Weebil models’ design, the Weebil S motor is about 300% stronger and about 50% more responsive over the last model.
TransMount Image Transmission Module
Another benefit is the improved TransMount image transmission module, which transfers at ultra-low latency and transfers up to 30fps at 1080P HD quality. This module is mounted directly under the quick release plate.
This is good for live stream recording and has additional features like LUT, pseudo coloring, zebra adjusting, and focus peak.
When you are transmitting with the TransMount image transmission module, you can connect up to three devices to your stabilizer.
Touch Control and Smart object tracking
The Weebil S also boasts of having ViaTouch and SmartFollow 2.0 functionality that allows you to use a simple touch to monitor, control, record, and adjust your camera parameters all through the ViaTouch 2.0.
Meanwhile, the SmartFollow 2.0 lets you precisely track objects, and without really needing to perfectly balance your gimbal. Thanks to Sync Motion, you are able to control everything with your smartphone.
Quick Release System and Focus Control Wheel
The quick-release plate for the Weebil S is Manfrotto and Arca-Swiss compatible, which lets you quickly swap out setups as needed.
The Weebil S is compatible with focus control wheel add ons and electronic focus control accessories through the handle.
It even has a selfie mode with an LCD flip-out display to easily record yourself for review or VLOG style video.
Overall, this gimbal is reportedly very functional, stabilizes images with a pretty standard rig, and handles well. Just be mindful of the payload, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble.
Check the current price on Amazon
3. ZHIYUN CRANE 2S
Weight Limit: Up to around 7 pounds (no official weight-limit released)
Dimensions: 14.02 x 12.4 x 4.21” or 35.61 x 31.50 x 10.69 cm.
Camera best for: Larger mirrorless and DSLR cameras like the BMPCC 6K, the Canon EOS 1DX Mark III, and the Panasonic S1H.
Other Compatibility: Works with the Sony a9, α7R4, α7R3, α7M3, α7M2, α7S2, a6600, a6500, a6400, a6300, and a6100; the Panasonic G9, GH5, GH5S, S1, and S1H; the Canon 1DX3, 1DX2, 5D3, 5D4, 5DS, 5DS R, 6DS, 80D, 90D, EOS R, and EOS RP; the Nikon D850, Z5, Z6, Z 6II, Z7, and Z50; the FUJIFILM X-H1, X-T3, and X-T4; the SIGMA fp; the OLYMPUS E-M1Ⅱ; the BMPCC 4k and 6k, and the ZCam E2 and E2 F6.
|High Axis Response 9th Instune Algorithm.|
Supposedly built to support heavier camera rigs.
Dedicated TransMount transmitter mount.
Standard FlexMount and vertical camera mount.
0.96″ OLED Screen and menu handwheel.
Multiple shooting modes like panorama, go, locking, pan, and POV modes.
Battery life up to 12 hours.
|The camera lock mechanism.|
Long set-up and balancing times
The Zhiyun Crane 2S is the follow up to Zhiyun’s previous gimbal, the Zhiyun Crane 2.
It is an improvement over its predecessor thanks to an upgraded “9th Instune” algorithm for increased axis responsiveness.
It also takes a heavier payload capacity to support larger cameras like the BMPCC 6k, Panasonic S1H, and Canon EOS 1DX Mark II.
Image transmission and focus
Other features that might sound familiar to similar gimbals on this list include a mount for a TransMount transmitter with a built-in focus wheel.
The settings can be adjusted so the wheel can control either the focus or the zoom motors accordingly.
The wheel comes with rotation dampening to help benefit your muscle memory while pulling focus.
You will need to use the ZY Play app on your smartphone to register the gimbal over a Bluetooth connection.
The app can then be used to adjust most of your camera’s settings and access other shooting modes to do things like motion-lapse, time-lapse, long exposure, and panorama shooting options.
You can access multiple shooting modes on the gimbal itself, like the Go mode, Locking mode, Pan Follow, POV, and Vortex modes.
Unfortunately, the Crane 2S doesn’t offer a touch screen on the gimbal itself to select your shooting mode, so you’ll have to use the single button menu system to tab left or right through different shooting modes, settings, and functionality offerings.
When it comes to batteries, the Zhiyun Crane 2S comes with three 18650 Li-ion batteries that support up to 12 hours of shooting time.
This is a slightly shorter runtime than the batteries of the DJI Ronin RSC2, for instance.
But because the batteries are more universal, you can easily find a few extra batteries to make-up for the handful of lost hours.
The weight limit for the Zhiyun 2S allows it to carry cameras like the BMPCC 6K.
However, you need to be extra mindful of what lens you are planning on using before trusting that metric outright since Zhiyun did not release an official weight limit.
Arm extension troubles
As far as design is considered, the Zhiyun Crane 2S comes with an arm extender, but unfortunately, it can block your screen.
You can take this arm extender off. Just be careful not to strip the screws in the process. It’s a delicate system, with not much room for user error.
If you’re looking to add on some accessories, you can attach an external mic, LED light, or external monitor.
The latter is definitely recommended, so you don’t have to mess with the extender arm attachment mentioned above.
The Zhiyun 2S is built with a vertical quick-release mount intended to simplify the mounting process, but the plates also lock via the standard FlexMount system as well.
All-in-all the Zhiyun 2S is a great gimbal, but it does take some time to balance and setup.
Check the current price on Amazon
4. MOZA Air 2 – Best Gimbal for the BMPCC4K
Weight Limit: Cameras weighing up to 9 lbs or 4.2 kilograms.
Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.2 x 18.5″, or 230 x 240 x 470 mm.
Camera best for: DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, particularly the BMPCC 4K.
Other Compatibility: Works with the Canon 1DX, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 6D Mark II, and 77D; the Sony RX10II, RX10III, RX100M4, A5100, A6300, A6500, A7S, A7S II, A7R, A7R II, A7 II, A7 III, A7M3, and A7R3; the Nikon D800, D850, Z6, and Z7; and the Panasonic
GH3, GH4, and GH5.
Multiple operation modes
Can use full-size cage (unlike the DJI Ronin and other Gimbals)
You can power your Black Magic camera directly from the Gimbal
Runs for a maximum of 16 hours
Angled motor arm for the camera’s screen
Compatible with the wireless iFocus lens control system
Shoots motion time-lapse using the MOZA app.
The MOZA Air 2 is a versatile gimbal that works for most DSLR and mirrorless camera combinations but is particularly good for the BMPCC4K because of its payload properties and compatibility.
For example, you can run power to your BMPCC4K through the Moza Air 2 itself thanks to the MOZA SPARK power supply system, which provides four power ports, three of which are output ports.
These ports can also power your camera, an external monitor, a follow focus, an on-board LED light for night shots.
Also, because of the high rate Li-Ion rechargeable batteries, you can shoot with the Moza Air 2 for up to 16 hours.
So you’re covered for those long hours on set, and if you bring spare batteries along with you, you can shoot for days at a time out in the wilderness if you are energy conscious.
Balancing and quick-release system
As far as balancing and optimizing is concerned, the gimbal’s integration with the MOZA app helps to calculate weight-specific calibrations based on whatever set-up you have attached, which speeds up the set-up time significantly when it functions properly.
The MOZA Air 2 also makes it easy to balance the gimbal yourself with easy to comprehend visual cues, and you can save up to five sets of pre-programmed balance parameters for your most common lens and camera combinations.
One of the other biggest pluses of the MOZA Air 2 is the quick-release system, which reduces the need to recalibrate and rebalance. So you can shoot with different set-ups with ease.
Additionally, the MOZA Air 2 has great time-lapse functionality, providing around 20 optimizations specific to the type of time-lapse you are shooting, whether it be zoom time-lapses, motion-lapses, tracking-lapses, and so on.
Also mentioned above, the MOZA Air 2 includes different dynamic operational modes thanks to the iFocus feature that provides more advanced focus and zoom controls, enabling shoot-specific modes for whatever type of shoot you are on.
You can shoot an extreme sports style shoot via the Sport Gear Mode, create beautiful sweeping nature shots via the Panorama Mode, or create a rad gravity-defying fight scene for an action movie shoot via the Inception Mode, plus plenty of others.
In conclusion, the MOZA Air 2 is a great gimbal and is especially good for shooting with the BMPCC 4K, as long as you don’t mind the experience of shooting with a single-handle gimbal.
Check the current prize on Amazon
5. DJI Ronin S – Best Gimbal for the Panasonic GH5
Weight Limit: Cameras weighing up to 7.9 lbs or 3.6 kilograms.
Dimensions: 7.9″x7.2″x19.1″ or 202×185×486 mm.
Camera best for: Panasonic mirrorless cameras e.g. the Panasonic GH5.
Other Compatibility: Works with the Canon 6D MK II, 5D MK III, 5D MK IV, SDK EOS-1D, X Mark II, and EOS R; the Panasonic GH3, GH4, and GH5; the Nikon D850,D5, Z6 and Z7; and the Sony A7 S, A7 II, A7S II, A7, A7 III, A7R III, A9, A6300, and A6500.
|Battery life of up to 12 hours|
Carriage big enough to support a GH5 with a cage on it
Initializing, remote-controls, and integration via the DJI Ronin app
Has modes for panorama, motion-lapse, time-lapse and track-lapse
Optimized for Panasonic GH series cameras.
Tricky to set-up.
The DJI Ronin S Gimbal is another great single-handle gimbal for most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras like the GH5.
As mentioned in the pros of this gimbal above, the DJI Ronin S can carry pretty much every lens and camera combination of Panasonic GH5, and the carriage has enough room for you to use a cage with your GH5 as well.
Because of the hardware compatibility, you can operate your GH5 through the gimbal itself via the on-gimbal buttons to control your camera.
Built-in focus wheel
If you use manual focus, you can also use the gimbal’s built-in focus wheel, which is effective and pretty precise despite being electronic (a.k.a non-linear).
The focus wheel compatibility is specific only to the Panasonic GH cameras. If you are shooting with a Canon, Nikon or Sony compatible camera, the only on-gimbal buttons that will work properly is the recording button, but firmware updates could fix this.
If you happen to own a Panasonic G9 you can charge your camera through the gimbal via the USB cable.
Thanks to onboard buttons, you can go from upright to underslung without the gimbal’s frame itself causing any issues.
Because the camera is placed above the roll-axis, the view of the monitor is never obstructed, and the angled roll motor makes bulkier set-ups easier to balance.
Quick release and mounting options
There is also custom Manfrotto quick-release base plate that comes with this gimbal, but not all base plates will fit on the Ronin S because of the specific size.
You are also able to easily mount this gimbal to other rigs, like a car mount or jib mount for a mini-crane style shoot.
Great tracking features
The Ronin S gimbal’s SmoothTrack feature provides added control over how you track your subjects.
As far as handling goes, the Ronin S tracks smoothly as you point the camera in whatever direction you choose.
You can use the onboard trigger button to keep the camera itself pointed in a single direction regardless of wherever you point and move the gimbal.
This button can be tapped two times to recenter your camera to a neutral position, or tapped three times to point it directly at the user in a type of selfie mode, convenient for vlog-style shooting.
The Ronin S also has a Sport Mode for shooting in extreme sports situations where you want to capture and track the surrounding landscapes while biking, skating, or snowboarding at high speeds through harsh terrains.
Using the DJI Ronin app, you can balance and initialize your gimbal and adjust speed settings, remotely control your gimbal, pre-program tracking paths including move and stop times and lots of other cool features depending on what type of shooting you are doing.
Because this gimbal is part of the DJI Ronin series, there is a vast ecosystem of compatible accessories available to incorporate into your set-up via accessory mounts, whether it be external monitors, on-board LED lights or microphones, Master Wheel control-device attachments, and plenty more.
All in all, this is a solid gimbal, despite being on the heavier side (both in gimbal weight and price).
Check the current price on Amazon
6. Zhiyun Crane 2 – Best Gimbal for the Canon 5D Series and Nikon D850
Weight Limit: Cameras weighing up to 8.15 lbs or 3.7 kilograms.
Dimensions: 19.76 ” x 5.55 ” x 10.62 ” or 50.2 mm x 14.1mm x 27 mm.
Camera best for: Bigger DSLRs like the Canon 5D series and Nikon D850.
Other Compatibility: Works with the Canon EOS 5D – 6D series, Nikon D850, Panasonic LUMIX Series, and SONY ILCE Series & A Series, but the follow focus feature only works for the Canon and Nikon D850 cameras.
|Full 360-degree pan and 320-degree tilt|
On-board follow focus for compatible Canon cameras
Lens support attachment to help balance longer lenses
Up to 18 hours of battery life
iOS and Android app support via the ZY Play app
Quality gimbal for older DSLR models at an affordable price.
|Some on-gimbal control features are only compatible with certain cameras.|
Because of its aluminum alloy frame, the crane is lightweight compared to some of the other gimbals on this list.
But because of its payload limit, it can support most Canon and Sony DSLR / lens combinations you can think of.
Balancing and stabilizing your Zhiyun Crane 2 is fairly simple, and with fine sensitivity controls, you can typically adjust the settings to fit your particular pace, speed, and need.
Battery Life and a neat safety feature
The long battery life should leave you with more than enough power.
The two lithium-ion batteries give you a battery life of up to 18 hours.
You can even use that extra juice to charge your DSLR while shooting.
The gimbal even has a “slow fall” shutdown process, which lowers your camera lens slowly when the camera is turning off to keep your lenses safe in the case of an emergency shut off.
As far as shooting functionality is concerned, the Zhiyun Crane 2 has four specific control modes, including the standard panning, following, and locked in place modes, as well as an additional selfie mode for vlog-style shooting.
It also has the ability to rotate in a complete 360-degree circle, which it does completely silent thanks to its brushless motors.
The on-gimbal follow-focus capabilities are useful if you are shooting with a compatible DSLR, like the Nikon D850 or Canon 5D MK III or similar Canon Series DSLR.
This feature does not work with the Panasonic and Sony compatible cameras, however, and it will require additional set-up to use.
Like other gimbals mentioned so far, there is also remote-control capabilities when you sync your Zhiyun Crane 2 with the ZY Play app.
One of the main features is remote-control object tracking, which can take a bit of practice to get down. Luckily, there are many online tutorials to help teach you how to use it.
As far as accessories included, there is both a balance slider attachment that provides a free range of movement when sliding, thanks to a dovetail rail system, and a tripod stabilizer attachment which you can screw into the bottom of the gimbal to use the gimbal for stationary shots.
There is also a newer model out now (the Crane 3), but all in all, the Zhiyun Crane 2 is still a highly competent gimbal, especially if you are shooting on an older model DSLR and are looking for a compatible and highly functional gimbal.
Because it’s technically an older generation, it could also be cheaper than what’s on the market right now anyway, which is always a plus!
Check the current price on Amazon
7. Feiyu a2000: Best Gimbal for the Fujifilm X-T2
Weight Limit: Cameras that weigh up to 2.5 kilograms or 5.5 lbs.
Dimensions: 18.5” x 11” x 5.3” or 469.9 x 279.4 x 134.62 mm.
Cameras Best For: The Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless camera.
Compatibility: The Canon 5D Mark IV III (with a standard lens), the Sony A7RII, ILCE-7R, ILCE-5100, a6500, a6300, and a6000; the Panasonic LUMIX GH4 and GH5; the Sony NEX-5N/NEX-7 and other cameras of N-series, and other cameras with similar dimensions.
|360-degree rotation capability|
Detachable single or double handle handling options
Up to nine extended interfaces for compatible accessories
Comes with two sets of batteries for up to 12 hours of shooting time
Feiyu ON app compatibility for remote control pre-set rotations or setting adjustments
Anti-collision EVA foam on the panning axis to protect the camera
Easy to use buttons on the handles themselves to adjust settings while shooting with both hands.
|Minor motor glitches (sometimes requires a reset)|
The compatibility between this gimbal and the Fujifilm X-T2 requires a DIY solution (but this workaround is required because it makes the a2000 the only X-T2 compatible gimbal besides the a1000).
The first dual-handle gimbal on our list, the 3-Axis Feiyu a2000 handheld gimbal, is comfortable to use and easy to control, thanks to handle-grip joystick buttons still allow for simple ease-of-use when shooting with both hands.
There is also the option to go single-handle if you prefer, which opens up the possibility of inverted or high and low angle shooting as well.
As far as balancing is concerned, this gimbal comes with a pre-programmed auto-adjust algorithm to naturally detect and adjust to the weight of your set-up.
The Feiyu a2000 can also support the weight of most camera and lens combinations without having to change the strength of the motors themselves.
Limitless 360-degree rotation
As for the gimbal’s field of motion is concerned, the Feiyu a2000 uses slip ring motors for its panning, tilting, and rolling axes, allowing for limitless 360-degree rotation whether panning, tilting, or rolling.
This is particularly useful when switching to the single handle handling when trying to perform tricky panning or tilting shots that turn the angle completely upside down.
Anti-shake and panorama shots
Like other gimbals on this list, The Feiyu a2000 also has anti-shake features to make shooting as smooth as possible.
It also includes auto modes to allow for pre-programmed automatic rotations to capture time-lapses and beautifully timed panorama shots.
See your screen at all times
The way that the camera is set up, the viewfinder is elevated about 45 degrees to ensure that the rolling axis will never block your view of the screen.
While this means you don’t need an external monitor, you might still want one depending on your personal preference.
The Feiyu a2000 comes with its own app, called the Feiyu ON app, which allows for the user to make adjustments to the settings for the motor dynamics and shooting parameters as required.
Also similar to other entries on this list, the app allows for remote control of your gimbal as well.
The Feiyu a2000 also comes with a series of nine screw interfaces, which allows for integration with compatible accessories for on-camera LED light mounts, tripod attachments, microphone attachments, or whatever else you need to be attached for your shoot.
So why is this gimbal a good pick for the Fujifilm X-T2?
While there isn’t really any gimbal with perfect compatibility for the Fujifilm X-T1 or T2 mirrorless cameras, I did track down a DIY workaround with the Feiyu a2000 and this cable and a 2.5mm jack, 3.5mm plug, and invert the tip and ring so that the camera reacts with the gimbal the way it would if it was optimized.
This is based on this Youtube video from Youtuber Sean McCormack from the Lightroom Blog doing the same trick with the earlier generation one Feiyu gimbal, the a1000:
So all in all, if you are looking for a quality gimbal to go with your Fujifilm X-T2, the Feiyu a2000 with this DIY workaround is your best bet!
If you’re shooting on something other than the X-T2, you may want to look into other gimbals on this list, but the Feiyu a2000 is still a quality gimbal should you choose to go this route!
Check the current price on Amazon
8. Zhiyun WEEBILL LAB 3-Axis – Best Gimbal for the Nikon Z6 and Z7
Weight Limit: Cameras weighing up to 6.6 pounds or 3000 grams.
Dimensions: 2.8” x 7.5” x 11.8” or 70 x 190 x 300mm.
Cameras Best For: The Nikon Z6 and Z7 or the Sony A7 S series.
Compatibility: The Sony A9, A7R III, A7 III, a7R II, A7S II, A7 II, A7R, A7S, A7, a6500, a6300, and a6000; the Panasonic GH5s, and GH5; and the Nikon Z6 and Z7.
|Single or double handle operation|
Full 360-degree operation for tilting, rolling, and panning
Ten-hour battery life via two Li-ion batteries
Comes with a mini tripod mount
Switch easily between normal and underslung handling modes
Comes with both Manfrotto and Arca-Swiss double quick-release plates to make balancing and readjusting easier
Compact size for easy transportation.
|The follow focus has a little too much resistance to it, and it is only compatible with Zhiyun specific batteries.|
The Zhiyun WEEBILL LAB handheld gimbal stabilizer is a motorized gimbal from Zhiyun with a new design, shortening the main handle to make it smaller and more overall compact while also enabling you to shoot with either single or double handles.
Additionally, the mini tripod attachment can attach to both the top or bottom of the gimbal for more versatility.
Balancing and quick-release system
While balancing on this gimbal is fairly straight forward, one nice feature is the ability to lock each axis with an axis latch system.
This system allows you to lock each axis individually, causing the gimbal to memorize your ideal balance settings each time and makes rebalancing super simple.
There’s also the bonus of having two quick-release plates, which makes transitioning between your various pieces of equipment without having to rebalance your gimbal every time you put the camera back on it quite easy.
Multiple shooting modes
As far as functionality is concerned, the WEEBILL LAB gimbal has multiple following modes, like pan-following, full-following, locked following, among others.
You can use additional modes like POV mode, a vortex mode, or a PhoneGO mode for use when shooting during high speed and extreme sports situations, allowing for maximum follow speed.
As far as focus control goes, the WEEBILL LAB gimbal has an external servo motor for controlling focus but also has an on-gimbal handwheel to access your camera’s zoom controls directly from the gimbal itself.
The TransMount Max servo motor is a popular attachment to use for zooming and focusing with the WEEBILL LAB because of the torque and multiple foci and zoom rings that are easy to switch between.
The OLED screen is easy to read when determining things like battery life and the current control mode.
There are three external screw interfaces for screwing in additional Zhiyun accessories, like extended monopods, servo motors, or clamp add-ons to use the WEEBILL LAB with your smartphone video camera.
Like the Zhiyun Crane 2, the WEEBILL LAB can be controlled and synced up with the ZY Play app.
In the app, you can use pre-programmed remote control time-lapse features, like focus-lapse, motion-lapse, long exposure time-lapse, and panorama-inspired-lapses.
You can adjust camera and motor settings from the app as well.
One cool feature of the WEEBILL LAB is the ability to transfer video files directly via a WiFi connection through the gimbal itself.
Anything you record on your compatible DSLR or mirrorless camera can be transferred to your phone – but only in 720p resolution.
Keep in mind this feature, in particular, is limited to only specific cameras, though.
All in all, this is a great gimbal for the Nikon Z6 and Z7 as well as the Sony A7S series, the latter in particular due to the compatibility with the video file transfer functionality.
Invest in the external servo motor attachment to make pulling focus and zooming easier!
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9. EVO Rage Gen 2 – Best Gimbal for Sony A7 Series Cameras like the Alpha A7 III
Weight Limit: Cameras weighing up to 5.5 pounds, or 2.49 kilograms.
Dimensions: 4.72″ x 4.13″ x 11.61″ or 120 x 105 x 295 mm.
Cameras Best For: Sony A7S Series cameras like the Alpha A7 III.
Compatibility: The Canon 5D Mark II to IV, 6D,7D, 70D, and 80D; the Nikon D7100, D800E, and D75; the Panasonic LX100, GH3, GH4, and GH5; and the Sony A5000-6500, all A7, A9, A58, A68, A77, A99, A99ii and RX100 III, IV, and V.
360-degree panning, tilting, and rolling
On-gimbal four-way joystick CCI controls for recording and zooming from the gimbal handle itself
Included CNC tripod
Remote control capabilities through the EVO Remote app
Sony A7 compatibility, multiple shooting modes like pan-follow, pan-lock, and inverted modes
Strong aluminum body.
|Frustrating motion timelapse functionality, which doesn’t let you repeat previously programmed moves|
Vibrating and shaking when using specific lenses, particularly the combination of a GH5 with certain Rokinon lenses
Tilting up and down leaves something to be desired.
The EVO Rage 2 handheld gimbal has a lot going for it, including a battery life of up to 18 hours of runtime, full 360-degree panning, tilting and rolling, and remote control capabilities through the EVO Remote app.
Mounting and balancing the EVO Rage 2 gimbal manually is fairly quick, and doesn’t require dragging along any extra tools due to the easy to loosen thumbscrew attachments.
You can also easily mount the gimbal to other tripods, monopods, extension poles, or car mounts with the 1/4 – 20 threaded handle.
The EVO Rage 2 also comes with four stabilizing modes, including a pan follow mode, full follow mode, lock mode, and new Horizon POV mode, which allows for smooth and easy panning, tilting, and rolling for crane and dolly style shooting.
There are also specific settings for walking or “fast motion” tracking shots.
The EVO Rage 2 comes with a compatible EVO Remote app, which allows you to program multiple time-lapse and smart tracking features with up to ten sweep points.
But this functionality is limited and you have to reprogram your shot every time.
Look up the current version of the app and download the latest firmware to figure out if this issue has been fixed or not.
Sony A7-series compatability
One of the best things about using this gimbal with an A7 or A7S camera is the added functionality.
You can control the shutter, recording, and zooming of your Sony Camera directly from the gimbal handle itself using the on-gimbal four-way joystick.
If you are shooting with a Sony A7 or A7S MK III, the added compatibility and on-gimbal controls make this gimbal an appealing choice, especially if you are looking for a more affordable option.
But if you are shooting on something else, you might be able to find a better gimbal depending on your preferred DSLR or mirrorless camera choice.
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10. Zhiyun Crane 3 – Best Gimbal for the Panasonic Lumix S1R and S1H
Weight Limit: Cameras weighing up to 9.9 pounds or 4.5 kilograms.
Dimensions: 8.07”x14.409”x13.03” or205 x 366 x 331mm.
Cameras Best For: Surprisingly, the Panasonic Lumix S1R and S1H, which isn’t listed as compatible by Zhiyun’s own accounting.
Compatibility: The Canon 5DS, 5DS R, 5D MK II, 5D MK III, 5D MK IV, 6D, 6D MK II, 80D, EOS R, and 1D X MK II; the Panasonic GH4, GH5, and GH5 S; the Sony A9, A73, A7 M3, A7R2, and A7S2; the Nikon D850, Z6 and Z7; and the Blackmagic BMPCC4K.
|Handles weight well and when balanced is one of the smoothest gimbals on the market|
Latches on the quick release plate (instead of thumb screws) makes setting the camera up without having to rebalance a breeze
Electronic follow focus and zoom motor
Wireless app integration with the ZY Play app with strong wireless FHD image transmission signal
Compact and easy to travel with, especially thanks to the lock latches that allow you to save your axis positioning settings so you don’t have to rebalance every time you start and stop using your gimbal.
|On the pricier side|
Installing and setting up the focus motors (the TransMount Max Servo Zoom / Focus Controller attachment) is time consuming compared to other systems
Not suitable for blockier cameras like the Canon Cxxx, RED Komodo, and Kinefinity due to the size of the focus motor.
The Zhiyun Crane 3 LAB, an evolution of the Crane 2, is unique from the Crane 2 in a few specific ways.
For starters, the Crane 3 LAB has adopted aviation-grade motors as well as a new structure that reduces the noise of the motors by 50% and the motors’ torque by 100%.
The Crane 3 LAB’s new design allows for easier underslung handling and has longer axis arms to support larger (and heavier) cameras and lens combinations e.g. like the Panasonic S1H and other full-frame bodies.
Balancing and quick-release
The Crane 3 LAB also has a latch on each axis for easy balancing and locking to save your balance settings as you go.
Another interesting change, on the Crane 3 LAB’s Manfrotto quick-release plate, there is no thumb screw, requiring you to use a locking latch on the camera to lock the camera down for easier set-ups.
The Zhiyun Crane 3 features on-gimbal zoom and focus control via a tactile wheel. But you can also control the gimbal through the ViaTouch app, which allows you to make adjustments to the movement and camera settings directly from your smartphone.
In addition to the focus and zoom wheel, the gimbal’s handle includes buttons for mode switching, like between Lock and Pan Follow modes, and for adjusting AV and ISO settings.
As far as the operating modes go, the Crane 3 LAB includes pre-programmed time-lapse, motion-lapse, long exposure timelapse, and panorama-lapse features, which you can access and program with the ZY Play app.
The Crane 3 LAB also allows for wireless FHD image transmitting.
And finally, the Crane 3 LAB provides attachment interfaces that work with ZY’s ecosystem of accessories, like external monitors, on-board LED and microphones, and whatever else you’re looking to add-on.
One downside is that the Crane 3 LAB runs on three 18650 batteries, which only provides a runtime of about 7.5 hours.
But if you keep a set of extra batteries ready and charged, you can double that to about 15 hours, which should more than cover an average day of shooting.
Remember though – these have to be Zhiyun proprietary batteries, which is slightly obnoxious.
Getting to the compatibility, while the Crane 3 LAB officially works best with something like the Sony A9 or A7S II, or Panasonic GH5, this gimbal also works well with the Panasonic Lumix S1R and S1H, as long as you’re shooting on a 24-150 mm lens or shorter, as any longer lens will hit the Crane 3 arms.
If you’re shooting on a Panasonic Lumix S1, you could theoretically still use a Ronin S or Moza Air 2, but it seems that the Crane 3 is the best at handling the weight of the S1 with a lens like the 24-105 or 24-150.
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11. DJI Ronin M – Best Gimbal for the Canon C100
Weight Limit: Cameras weighing up to 8 lbs or 3.62 kilograms.
Dimensions: 5 x 9 x 17″, or 127 x 228.6 x 431.8 mm.
Camera best for: The Canon C100 or similar heavier DSLRs, like the Panasonic GH4 or BMPCC.
Other Compatibility: The BMCC and BMPCC, the Canon 1DC, 5D MK II, 5D MK III, 6D, 7D, C100, Nikon D800, the Panasonic GH3 and GH4, and the Sony A7 series cameras.
|Auto-Tune Stability system|
Fairly quick to balance and set-up
Remote control second operator mode
Compatible over USB or Bluetooth with the DJI Assistant Software app
Very precise panning and tilting
Compatible with DJI’s ecosystem of accessory products.
|Low battery life at only six hours of runtime|
On the pricier side of gimbals on this list despite being a few years older than some of the other models.
The DJI Ronin M is one of DJI’s older Ronin models and comes in at a steep price point compared to some of the other gimbals featured on this list despite being on the market since around 2015.
That being said, it’s still a quality handheld gimbal stabilizer, especially if you want a two handle, fully motorized gimbal for a heavier camera like a Canon C100.
What’s nice about this gimbal is that it is designed as a single U shaped arm that holds the camera plate, which gives you greater stability, with a quick-release handle on the top to save you time when breaking it down and building it between locations and set-ups.
Usable in upstanding, underslung, or briefcase mode, the DJI Ronin M is pretty versatile whether you want to shoot from eye level, shoot close to the ground, or shoot closer to your chest when filming in confined spaces like narrow hallways or tight quarters for a hole in the wall interior.
As far as shooting with this gimbal goes, the Ronin M runs on a SmoothTrack system to help with framing when doing tilts and pans.
The Ronin M’s computer system is precise within 0.02 degrees, which would factor in the finest of movements to its balancing equation, and features a tilt range up to 105 degrees and down to 165 degrees, with a roll range of around 110 degrees.
Dual operator shooting
There’s another cool feature for the Ronin M that allows for something called dual operator shooting.
Essentially, this mode allows a second camera operator to handle the pan and tilt independent of the first operator handling the gimbal via a remote control transmitter.
The Ronin M comes with a DJI brand transmitter, but there’s a D-bus port for third party transmitters too.
There’s also a thumb controller attachment add-on, which helps to make panning and tilting easier when operating the gimbal all on your own.
For balancing, as mentioned above, the Ronin M has an Auto-Tune Stability system, which is a balance adjustment system that does not require any tools whatsoever.
This system adjusts each axis individually based on your current camera body and lens combination and is synced with the DJI Assistant Software app over Bluetooth.
In addition to being able to remotely configure your rig based on the current weight distribution of your camera body and lens combo, you can adjust your SmoothTrack tuning, enable the second operator controls, or adjust other camera settings as needed.
As far as attachments go, there are the usual add-ons from the DJI ecosystem of accessories available to you.
Thanks to the screw interface on the bottom of this gimbal, you are able to easily attach the Ronin M to car mounts, jibs, cranes, monopods, or tripod extensions.
As far as the downsides go for this rig, the L-Ion batteries for this gimbal only have a life of about six hours, so you’ll need to have extra handy, but the Ronin M comes with a battery charger attachment so you can shoot with plenty of batteries to spare.
You can also charge on-camera accessories directly through the Ronin M through a pair of 12 VDC D-Tap ports or a USB port, so if you bring extra batteries, you can run everything through the Ronin M as long as you don’t mind swapping them out frequently.
The bottom line is, as long as you don’t mind working with a slightly older DJI gimbal model, the Ronin M is a solid choice for scenarios when you are shooting with something like the Canon C100 or similar camera.
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General Guide To Gimbals
A handheld gimbal stabilizer usually referred to as just a gimbal, is a single or 3-axis pivoted support for your camera that makes it possible to rotate, tilt, pan, or roll your camera without the camera itself moving, keeping your image smooth and stable.
Gimbals are often used to track a subject while keeping the camera stabilized and creates a mini-version of the effects that more expensive film equipment, like a dolly or crane, provide.
Another common use for gimbals is for filming time-lapses and hyper-lapses. Because most popular gimbals these days are motorized, you can actually program the gimbal to move along a track over a set period of time, creating a panning or zooming timelapse that changes the frame over a set speed and time.
This type of functionality is great for nature or landscape videographers who want to capture a lively and beautiful sunset or sweeping locale over a set time while creating the semblance of movement and is one of the only ways to create these types of shots at a reasonable budget.
How a Gimbal Works
You mount your camera on a gimbal, and you are able to keep your camera stable regardless of the movement happening around it, which is why gimbals have been used for centuries on seafaring navigation tools on boats and ships.
In the case of motorized 3-axis gimbals like the DJI Ronin, the three orthogonal pivot axes are mounted to each other and powered by three brushless motors.
The camera itself is mounted to the innermost gimbal, making its movements independent of the movement of the other axes around it.
So when you move your arm that is holding the stabilizer up and down and side to side, the camera remains stationary and at the same level.
Gimbal stabilizers are great at recognizing the difference between movements you want and movements you don’t.
When you use a gimbal stabilizer, especially the higher quality rigs, it will make your camera work look like it’s floating in mid-air.
When to Use a Gimbal
Because gimbals are incredibly useful tools for shooting handheld and maintaining a highly polished look and feel, they are almost mandatory for shooting anything “run and gun” style with your DSLR or mirrorless camera.
Whether you are an indie filmmaker shooting scenes on the fly or a wedding videographer capturing the special day from every possible angle, a gimbal is a vital tool.
Nothing is worse than getting back the footage from a day of hard work only to find half of it so shaky it becomes borderline unwatchable.
What Types of Gimbals Exist?
Besides single-axis gimbals and three-axis gimbals, there are a few other variations of gimbals available, so we’ll run through a few common types before diving into the specific recommendations below.
First of all, the type of handle a gimbal has is important. There are two main types of gimbals by handle: single handle gimbals, which are held with either one or two hands via a single handle, or two handle gimbals, which are held with both hands, one on each handle.
Pretty straightforward, but what’s cool is that some gimbals offer attachments to turn a single handle gimbal into a two handle gimbal for added support, and so your forearms don’t try to jump off your arms after holding a heavy pole all day with one or two hands.
There are also mounted gimbals, which you can mount onto a car mount or drone attachment, and that you can program to pan, tilt and roll with a remote-controlled app.
There are gimbals for smaller, GoPro cameras specifically, then there are the types of gimbals we’ll be reviewing today for mid-sized DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Then there are gimbals for larger cinema cameras and then smartphone specific gimbals for shooting on iPhone or Android phones.
Lastly, it’s important to point out the distinction between steadicam stabilizers like a glidecam and gimbals.
What is the Difference Between a Gimbal and a Glidecam?
Where a gimbal uses a single or 3-axis pivot system, often with battery-powered motors, to stabilize an image, a glidecam uses a weight to utilize a camera’s own center of gravity to stabilize the image.
While a glidecam keeps the camera stationary but weighed down to keep it steady and give off the feeling of a camera floating in the air, a gimbal holds the camera on a pivoted axis that literally lets the camera float in the air while you can move the gimbal arm along the axis, or in whatever direction you like in the case of a 3 axis gimbal.
When to Use a Gimbal Instead of a Glidecam
While a glidecam can serve you in most situations when shooting handheld and trying to stabilize an image, a gimbal might be more useful in more unique situations. For example, in cases when you are trying to roll your camera upside down while still following a subject, or rotating and panning and tilting all in the same shot while tracking a subject.
You can also use gimbals, as mentioned above, to do time-lapses and all sorts of unique shooting situations, where a glidecam might serve you better on a simpler shoot where you just need a stable shot while shooting run and gun, and don’t have some big camera rig that requires top of the line stabilization to keep everything safe and stable.
Another difference: price. Glidecam stabilizers can go for very little affordable rates, while gimbal stabilizers can get really expensive really quickly if you are going for something top of the line with all the latest motorized bells and remote-controlled whistles.
Gimbal Stabilizers Create Beautiful Smooth Images While Shooting Handheld at a Fair Price.
Most importantly, handheld gimbal stabilizers can be an affordable alternative to an expensive steadicam rig. Not only that but having to drag around a bulky mass like a full-body steadicam rig can be a pain in the butt compared to a simple handheld gimbal.
You might feel like Iron Man when you strap into the thing, but the pain and frustration of a day of shooting while constantly readjusting a full steadicam rig could be enough to drive you to look for an alternative.
Just for the sake of comparison, a full commercial steadicam rig could cost anywhere from $500-$1200 on the low end and up to $20,000 to $60,000 on the high end.
Meanwhile, the DSLR and mirrorless camera gimbal stabilizer units we’re looking at today range between $500 and $1300 on the high end, while a simple smartphone gimbal rig can cost around $100-$200.
How The Type Of Camera and Lens You’re Shooting With Affects What Gimbal You Buy
As you may very well know, weight distribution plays a big part in the effectiveness of any type of steadicam or camera stabilizing rig.
Balancing your camera on a handheld gimbal stabilizer requires a counterweight in order to keep it balanced, and as anyone who’s worked with a DJI Ronin before knows, resetting the balance of a motorized rig for the camera you’re shooting on can be one of the most tedious and obnoxious parts of your day.
For example, the 3-axis motorized gimbals like the DJI Ronin can take around ten to twenty minutes to set up and balance properly, including adjusting how much control you have over the motor itself. While some have the ability to auto-balance electronically, this can also come with its own set of problems.
Luckily, you will typically be shooting with wider lenses when using a handheld gimbal, since wider lenses tend to perform better with the handheld style of shooting, giving you a better field of vision and range of motion while moving. That will give you a general weight range you can count on as far as the lenses as concerned.
Another quick rule of thumb: any ratio of camera body mass to lens mass going over 1:3, you will definitely have gimbal balancing problems, and you will need to use counterweights to offset the camera body mass to even it up with the lens.
How Can I Pick Out The Right Gimbal?
Now, when picking out a gimbal for yourself, your main question is going to be “will this gimbal work with my camera?” If you really know your stuff, you’ll add onto that statement, “will this gimbal work with this camera package if I’m shooting with that particular lens.”
As a way of example, one question you could ask yourself would be, “Will the MOZA Air 2 work with the GH5 shooting with a Sigma 18-35mm lens.” To answer that, what you have to know is the maximum weight of your camera body and lens combination for the sake of comparing whether or not a gimbal will be the optimal choice for your particular set-up, as far as balancing and handling is concerned.
The weight distribution changes from camera to camera and from weight to weight. Consider how the Sony A6300 equipped with kit lenses might weigh about 1.15 pounds, while a Sony A7S MK II with a 16-35 F4 lens would weigh around 2.51 pounds. A gimbal you rent or buy might be able to hold one but not the other. And what about if you are using the kit lenses on the A7S II, or a 16-35 F4 on the A6300?
The type of quick release plate the gimbal comes with will also be a factor when picking the right gimbal for your camera. For example, the BMPCC 4K and 6K cameras require a special plate for balancing properly, and only certain gimbals are compatible with the BMPCC for that specific reason. Don’t worry, we’ll cover that below.
All that being the case, we’ve tried to account for what combinations most readers will be shooting on when trying to decide which gimbal to buy. While we can’t exactly account for every possible combination, we’ve taken into account the most asked-about combinations and which gimbal is right for what combo.
So if you don’t see your particular camera body and lens combination on the list, pay special attention to maximum weight and any notes about what combos won’t work with each gimbal.
Some might still be able to hold your camera’s particular weight distribution, but it might not be ideal for optimal balancing and handling. Sometimes your camera and accessories, like battery packs or field monitors, might be too bulky for a certain gimbal, in which case even if it can hold your camera weight-wise, it won’t be ideal.
We’ll try to point out situations that are somewhat gray when we can, and will be updating the guide based on feedback and research we find as we go.
We also like to point out things like how easy a gimbal is to balance, how strong the motors are and how they handle if a camera isn’t balanced properly, and what type of remote control integration the gimbal comes with whenever applicable.
Accessories for Gimbals
There are going to be extra accessories you will want when shooting on a gimbal. For starters, certain gimbals have interfaces for you to add on things like tripod or monopod extensions or extra handles. You can turn a single handle gimbal into a two handle gimbal, for example.
You will also usually want a follow focus accessory, either one that connects with your gimbal via a four-way joystick on your gimbal’s handle, or a remote control follow focus for your first AC to pull focus remotely while you run around tracking the shot.
Other examples of accessories you might want to include an external monitor to help you see the images you are shooting more clearly, an on-board LED light for night-time interviews of daytime key fills, or on-board microphone for capturing sound in an indie or docu-style interview type of format.
Keep in mind: adding on these types of accessories to your gimbal package will increase the base price of your gimbal. If you want a Servo motor focus or zoom controller or extra handle added to your gimbal package, that can sometimes raise your base price an extra $100 or so, so factor add-ons into your calculations accordingly when picking your perfect gimbal package.
Now, with all that established, let’s get to the recommendations!
That’s it! Those are our top gimbal recommendations for the top DSLR and mirrorless cameras you will likely be shooting with this year! Go out and get the gimbal that works best for you and your current set-up.
And remember – if you don’t see your camera listed as the “preferred” camera type for the gimbal, just confirm the compatibility and weight requirements of the gimbal you are leaning towards, and you should be good to go.
Grant Harvey is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and filmmaker based out of Los Angeles. When he’s not working on his own feature-length screenplays and television pilots, Grant uses his passion and experience in film and videography to help others learn the tools, strategies, and equipment needed to create high-quality videos as a filmmaker of any skill level.