The best DSLR and mirrorless camera gimbals don't just stabilize your camera to cut out the jitters, they control and smooth out deliberate camera movements to bring super-smooth panning and tracking shots. They are especially effective for 'run and gun' style filming, where both you and the camera are physically following your subject.
Most mirrorless cameras now come with in-body stabilization systems that the makers would like us to believe can offer 'gimbal-like' stabilization, but that's not how it works. IBIS systems have only a limited range of movement to compensate for camera wobbles, and they can do nothing to smooth out panning movements, and even with 'active' digital stabilization, they can't match the smoothness of a gimbal if you need to walk and film at the same time.
Gimbals use gyroscopic sensors and motorized pan, tilt and roll axes. They offer different shooting modes for Pan Follow movements where the camera stays level, Follow modes where the camera can tilt up and down too, and POV modes where you can create deliberate roll effects too.
They are the ideal complement to the best video tripods (opens in new tab), providing stability when you and the camera need to move to follow the action and shooting from a static position is not an option.
Gimbals come in different sizes, weights and payload capacities. We have a separate guide to the best smartphone gimbals, which are the smallest and lightest, but this guide is for heavier-duty gimbals capable of supporting the best DSLRs (opens in new tab), the best mirrorless cameras and, in some cases, the best cinema cameras (opens in new tab).
Every gimbal has to be 'balanced' for the camera and lens combination you're using so that its weight is centered over the axes of movement and the gimbal motors are not overloaded. Even with balancing, you need to make sure that your camera kit's weight is within the gimbal's payload capacity in order for it to carry out its full range of movements smoothly.
With the prices of gimbals falling, they are more accessible than ever before. Even as an amateur filmmaker, you'll instantly notice the difference in your footage when shooting with a gimbal.
So let's get into it, and look at the best DSLR and mirrorless camera gimbals for filmmaking right now!
The best DSLR and mirrorless camera gimbals in 2022
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The DJI RSC 2 has pretty much everything you could ask for, including a clever folding design for easy storage and a ‘briefcase’ shooting mode, an OLED display so that you don’t have to adjust everything with its companion smartphone app, new Titan stabilisation algorithms, a 3kg payload that can handle mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, even with quite big lenses, and a 14-hour battery life. Even balancing the camera is made easy (well, as easy as it can be). It doesn’t work with every camera, though.
Read more: DJI RSC 2 review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Firmly aimed at the professional videographer, this powerful stabiliser enables you to make Hollywood style camera moves with a heavy camera and lens payload (up to 4.5kg). New features such as a tilt balance fine-tuning knob and physical Mode Switch help you get up and running more quickly and the new and larger OLED touchscreen is brighter and easier to see than on older Ronin models.
Read more: DJI RS 3 Pro Combo review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
DJI's Ronin-SC has been specifically designed for mirrorless camera setups up to 2kg in total weight. That’s considerably less than DJI’s bigger Ronin-S can support, but the Ronin-SC is 400g lighter at 1.1kg. Despite this, construction quality still feels first class.
The SC’s capacity is plenty for a camera like a Canon EOS R (opens in new tab) or Fujifilm X-T4 (opens in new tab), but it’s best to steer clear of bulky and heavy lenses, as these can be tough and sometimes impossible to balance properly. At least each axis can be individually locked, making initial balancing much easier, and, and the SC folds surprisingly compact.
Once you’re ready to shoot, there are plenty of features to explore. Arguably the most impressive is Active Track 3.0. This uses your phone’s camera and a very clever DJI app to automatically track subjects. The system requires your phone to be mounted on top of your main camera, but a hot-shoe clamp is provided. The only issue with this arrangement is it makes your camera quite top-heavy, so you’ll need to re-calibrate some pivot points.
• Read DJI Ronin-SC review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The Zhiyun Crane 3S is a heavy duty powered stabilizing gimbal for larger mirrorless, DSLR or cinema cameras. It's a total redesign from previous Zhiyun gimbals, with the addition of detachable handle options, a large 6.5kg payload, an updated axis-locking system, external power input, and the ViaTouch 2.0 motion control system. It's an update to the previous Zhiyun Crane 3 Lab, but with a payload increase of around 45%.
The Crane 3S gives very smooth and steady footage and can handle a huge range of cameras. The performance and smoothness of the camera movements are impressive. But while it certainly boasts a great payload capacity and long battery life, it's heavy to carry as a run-and-gun gimbal, so this isn’t something you’d take out with you and use all day. But if you need to shoot handheld or ground-level video with cine gear that's a step up from a regular mirrorless camera, this is the tool for the job.
Read more: Zhiyun Crane 3S review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
Promising moving footage that’s smoother than smooth, the Gudsen MOZA Air 2 is capable of handling heavier DSLR and cinema camera setups with long professional lenses, up to a maximum payload of 4.2kg. It offers a 3-axis stabilization system and produces impressive footage when moving, as well as providing eight follow modes. There’s also a nice selection of time-lapse functions, and users planning for a long day’s shoot will be pleased to note that its four batteries give it a total battery life of up to 16 hours (though be aware that this requires a 5-hour charge time).
Also included in this newer version of the original MOZA Air are a quick-release plate, auto-tune modes that assess a camera’s weight and compensate accordingly, and useful physical controls including a joystick and rotating wheel, making handling a pleasingly tactile experience. For the price, it’s impressively featured, and is a great way to expand your filmmaking potential without breaking the bank.
Read more: MOZA Air 2 review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The DJI RS 3 may not be an essential buy if you already own the RS 2, but you may be attracted by the latest model’s extended battery life, the new physical mode switch and the auto locking and unlocking axes feature. If you don’t already own a heavy-lifting gimbal but want to make your DSLR or mirrorless camera float, pan, and tilt like a Hollywood steadicam then the RS 3 will do the job nicely.
Read more: DJI RS 3 Combo review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
If you’ve been struggling to find a gimbal that will effortlessly carry a DSLR (or mirrorless camera) and large lens then the 300XM could be the answer. It enables you to perform smooth pans, tilts and tracking moves with your usual DSLR kit but you could find that your arm begins to ache quite quickly. The ability to control the gimbal remotely via Gyro mode could be useful for certain scenarios (and it’s very cool to demonstrate!). A powerful heavy lifter!
Read more: Manfrotto MVG300XM gimbal review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The FeiyuTech Scorp Mini is an incredibly lightweight and manoeuvrable gimbal that will suit the needs of smartphone and mirrorless camera users when it comes to shooting pans, tilts and tracking shots while keeping your horizon level. The sling arm enables you to get low angle shots with ease and you can also make smooth moves using the tactile front knob and rear joystick. Juts bear in mind that given the compact size of the gimbal it won’t suit cameras with a long lens – but of course it handles smartphones with ease.
Read more: FeiyuTech Scorp Mini review(opens in new tab)
If you’ve been struggling to find a gimbal that will carry a heavy payload then the Manfrotto MVG460 could be the answer. It enables you to perform smooth pans, tilts and tracking moves with your DSLR (or mirrorless kit), especially when the supplied tripod/handle is attached to the rear versatile arm for extra support. The main niggle we had was that balancing the camera could take a while and a few tweaks via the app were occasionally required to level the horizon before shooting. We were disappointed that we couldn’t trigger our Fujifilm X-S10 to start and stop shooting using the gimbal’s buttons (but you should be fine with Canon, Nikon and Sony).
Read more: Manfrotto MVG460 review(opens in new tab)
The Zhiyun Crane M2S enables you to perform a combination of tilts, pans and even rolls with your smartphone or action camera so that you can capture professional steadicam style clips. Its quick release plate enables you to detach a camera and remount a different one with a minimum of fuss and effort. It will even shine a little light on your selfies thanks to a built-in fill light. On the downside, you might need to keep an eye on the plastic joystick knob to make sure it stays attached. The joystick isn’t essential but it does help you fine-tune the starting position of the gimbal for perfect composition. We found the Crane M2S also struggled with the weight and dimensions of even mid-size mirrorless cameras like the GH5.
Read more: Zhiyun Crane M2S Combo review
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