BEST GIMBAL FOR DSLR AND MIRRORLESS CAMERAS

By Scott Thompson

Table of Contents

Looking to add buttery smooth movement to your videos? A gimbal can transform your footage and add a cinematic element to your production. 

Today there are many options available at a wide range of prices.

But with so many gimbals on the market it’s hard to narrow down which is the best to buy.

LET’S FIGURE IT OUT TOGETHER : What gimbal is best for you?

In this article we aim to answer that.

We’ll look at some important features when considering a gimbal, the top products on the market as well alternative options to help you make that buttery smooth footage.

The Best Gimbals for DSLR and Mirrorless cameras are:

  • DJI RONIN S
  • ZHIYUN CRANE 3 LAB
  • PILOTFLY MAVERICK
  • ZHIYUN W WEEBIL S
  • IKAN PIVOT ANGLED
  • MOZA AIRCROSS 2:
  • FEIYU TECH AK4500
  • FEIYU TECH AK2000S 

FIRST THINGS FIRST : WHY DO YOU NEED A GIMBAL?

If you’ve stumbled across this article chances are you already know why you need a Gimbal. But if you don’t, the answer is simple…

THE SMOOTH & CINEMATIC STABILIZED SHOTS. 

Gimbal movements look more professional than shaky footage when someone is shooting handheld. Hollywood has been using smooth shots for ages. Glidecams, Drones, Cranes, Dolly tracks and other systems help FIlmmaker’s create amazing cinematic camera movements. Using a gimbal with your DSLR can create stunning professional video footage. It’s a powerful tool that every video creator needs. Many are small and portable as well.

IMPORTANT GIMBAL FEATURES FOR DSLRS 

What features do today’s gimbals offer?

There are features that separate a good gimbal from a great gimbal. In this introductory section of the article, we break down the critical features of Gimbals and what you should look for in one.

PAYLOAD CAPACITY : An important feature to consider when shopping for a gimbal is its payload capacity. This helps us answer the question: How much can the motors hold?? 

Arguably the most important question to ask. 

If you have a heavy setup that you’re trying to mount on the gimbal you’ll need one with more heavy duty motors. If your rig is too heavy it simply won’t work. On the other hand , if your setup is light you can get a gimbal with a lower payload capacity. 

Consider what lenses you will use with your gimbal.

Mounting different lenses changes the weight of your setup. This adds to your payload. Before buying a gimbal double check the weight of your camera body and lenses to insure it can handle to toal payload for your setup.

AXIS CONTROL: Most gimbals can rotate in 3 planes of motion. 

PAN , TILT , ROLL

When shopping for a gimbal see what is the rotation of each plane. Many top gimbals will rotate 360 degrees on each axis to give you full range of motion. Before buying a gimbal for your DSLR consider what movements you will use. 

CAMERA MOUNT AREA : Will your camera fit on your gimbal? Some gimbals offer larger areas to mount your camera. Before buying a gimbal make sure your camera will fit in the mounting area. For example a bigger DSLR that is wider in size may need an offset mounting plate to fit on most handheld gimbals. These attachments are sold separately.

COMMON GIMBAL ACCESSORIES: Other things to consider when shopping for a gimbal is what accessories can be used with it. Many gimbals can be tricked out with customizations. 

  • External Recorders Mounted on Gimbal – Attach screen via mount on gimbal to have another monitor.
  • Follow Focus and Zoom systems – Gives you the ability to rack focus and zoom from your gimbal control.
  • Power camera from gimbal battery via cable – Since gimbal batteries run for many hours , it’s helpful to power your camera from the gimbal. Some gimbals have power outputs to share their battery life with the camera. This is good for camera with low battery life 
  • Counterweights to balance larger lens setups – The use of counterweights is used when gimbal can’t be balanced due to asymmetrical load of weight. 
  • Mount gimbal on monopod or tripod .

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH GIMBALS : There are many common problems people have when using a gimbal. Most issues are caused by using a gimbal that can support your camera payload. This can be solved by making sure you buy the right one. 

Make sure you buy a gimbal with strong enough motors to hold your camera payload. We have conveniently put the payload capacity for each product below. This way you can get that smooth buttery footage with your setup.

TOP DSLR GIMBALS

RONIN S : BEST OVERALL GIMBAL FOR DSLR

One of the best gimbals for DSLR setups is the DJI Ronin-S. DJI is leading the way in consumer drones and is an expert at camera stabilization. This gimbal can carry a heavy payload up to 8 lbs. You can fine tune the gimbal to perform any way you wish. This is a very professional drone great for any video creator looking to handle bigger setups.

  • BRUSHLESS MOTORS for smooth movement
  • 8 LB PAYLOAD
  • FOCUS WHEEL
  • DJI AP 
  • 12 HOUR BATTERY LIFE
  • 3 AXIS MOTOR
  • 360 DEGREE ROTATION ON ALL 3 AXIS
  • LARGE CAMERA MOUNT AREA
  • CAN ATTACH FOLLOW FOCUS  ( sold separately )
  • CHARGE CAMERA WITH CABLE ( sold separately )

ZHIYUN CRANE 3 LAB : BEST MULTI HANDLED GIMBAL FOR DSLR 

Zhiyun has been a frontrunner in the gimbal business for years. After years creating the single handed monopod design , the CRANE LAB 3 was introduced with a different multi handed design. Having 2 hands to hold the gimbal can increase control and stability. For those looking for a gimbal that gives you a multi hand grip, this may be your best choice. This gimbal can carry a heavy payload up to 10 lbs.

  • SECONDARY HANDLE DESIGN 
  • 3 AXIS MOTOR
  • 10 POUND PAYLOAD
  • 7 HOURS OF RUNTIME
  • MULTIPLE SHOOTING MODES
  • 3 AXIS GIMBAL
  • 360 DEGREE ROTATION ON ALL 3 AXIS

PILOTFLY MAVERICK (PVY MAVRICK) : 

  • 3 AXIS GIMBAL
  • OPTIONAL 2 HANDED GRIP
  • 360 DEGREE IN ALL AXIS
  • 9 LB MAX PAYLOAD
  • BATTERY 12 HOURS RUNTIME
  • ULTRA LIGHT WEIGHT 2.2LBS
  • 5 WAY JOYSTICK
  • ZOOM AND FOCUS WHEEL OPTION
  • ANGLED MOTOR ARM ( CAN BETTER SEE VIEWFINDER)

ZHIYUN W WEEBIL S

The Zhiyuan Weebil S is a great compact drone for smaller setups. For those looking to travel and bring gimbal this is a great option. 

  • UNIQUE FLING MODE STRONGER MOTORS 
  • UP TO TO KG
  • QUICK RELEASE PLATES ; AUTO TUNE
  • DIAL ON THE HANDLE EASY TO CHANGE SPEED OF AXIS CONTROL
  • 3 AXIS GIMBAL
  • COMPACT DESIGN

IKAN PIVOT ANGLE

Designed with an angled arm to better see your back DSLR screen. This gimbal also holds an impressive payload for the size.

  • 8 LB PAYLOAD
  • 3 AXIS GIMBAL
  • 360 DEGREE ROTATION WITH PAN TILIT AND ROLL AXIS
  • CARBON FIBER HANDLE, ALL BLACK , JOYSTICK FOR CONTROL
  • ANGLED ARM DESIGN UNUBSTRUCTED VIEW OF DISPLAY SCR
  • QUICK RELEASE BASE COMPATIBLE W MANFROTTO
  • 10 HOUR BATTERY

MOZA AIRCROSS 2: BEST MIDWEIGHT DSLR SETUP (3-6 LBS)

The MOZA Aircross is a great gimbal for content creators and creatives with a light to mid-weight setup. It offers some really cool features and is one of the only gimbals that supports horizontal and vertical shooting modes.

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  • 3 AXIS GIMBAL 
  • PAYLOAD UP TO 7 POUNDS
  • ULTRA LIGHT DESIGN ( UNDER 2 LBS)
  • SPORT MODE 
  • 360 ROTATION IN ALL 3 AXIS
  • SMARTPHONE CONNECTIVITY
  • 12 HOURS BATTERY LIFE
  • SUPPORTS HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL FILMING
  • CONNECT TO SLYPOD FOR MORE CREATIVE CONTROL

FEIYU TECH AK4500

The Feiyu is a great gimbal for your DSLR setup. The most noticeable feature on the gimbal is the “magic ring” on the side of the handle. This knob gives you a variety of functions that help control different settings while shooting . Its very lightweight and can switch between 1 and 2 handed operation. A beast of a gimbal

  • ULTRA LIGHT SPACE GRADE ALUMINUM. 
  • MAX PAYLOAD OF 10 lb
  • CAN HOLD MOST CAMERAS WITH A HEAVY LENS SETUP
  • MULTI HAND SETUP FOR DIFFERENT SHOOTING STYLES
  • LCD TOUCH PANEL GIVES MORE CONTROL WITHOUT USING AP
  • DIFFERENT MOVEMENT MODES. BARREL ROLL / FOLLOW FOCUS MODE/MORE

FEIYU TECH AK2000S : BEST BUDGET GIMBAL ON SMALL DSLRS

The Feiyu AK2000S is an update from the AK2000. It’s a great gimbal for those with a smaller setup ( Under 4.5 lb payload ) and looking for a gimbal under $500. 

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  • 3 AXIS GIMBAL
  • QUICK RE
  • MULTIPLE HANDLE SETUPS FOR MORE POSSIBLITIES
  • AUTO ADAPT MODE
  • ALUMINUM ALOW AND ROSEWOOD
  • 2 HAND DESIGN ATTACHMENT
  • EXTENDED TRIPOD OPTION

ALTERNATIVES OPTIONS TO STABILIZE YOUR FOOTAGE : GLIDECAMS

Before gimbals came out , there were glidecams. These are simple devices used to stabilize footage using a counterweight system. No motors involved . People still use them today due to their simplicity.

  • NO BATTERIES
  • QUICK TO SET UP

For decades filmmakers have been using glidecams. Some creators actually prefer them over gimbals because they are simple and easy to use. The cons of glidecams is they are not perfectly stable. The footage tends to have slight movement. For those not bothered by slight movement in your videos,  we recommend these gimbal alternatives:

  • GLIDECAM HD PRO : This Glidecam HD Pro has been a favorite glidecam for many content creators, and filmmakers for years now. It can handle a payload up to 10 lbs. It has a dovetail quick release plate. This is handy for quickly switching from gimbal to tripod to easily switch shots.
  • FLYCAM HD3000  : The flycam HD3000 is a great option for those on a tiger budget. Priced under $200 . I also have a quick release plate and can handle max payload up to 8 lbs.

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