Introducing a gimbal is one of the quickest, easiest and most effective ways of improving the quality of video you capture – whatever camera you use.
Once you start shooting video, whether on an iPhone, a GoPro, full-frame DSLR, or mirrorless camera, there will come a time when you want to take things further. No longer content to stand still and point, you’ll want to introduce movement to your shots, make them more dynamic and flowing. When using a camera hand-held, however, this is difficult to achieve without producing shaky, jerky, amateurish video.
The solution? Get a gimbal. A gimbal is mechanical stabilizer that uses three axes of rotation to keep a camera steady via three internal motors, which compensate for unintended camera motion, and use algorithms to detect when the camera is being moved intentionally, making for smooth moving shots.
What can they be useful for? Well, as far as video’s concerned… everything! Whether you’re making vlogs in your bedroom, recording your child’s first football matches or producing brand content for social media, there’s really no type of video that can’t be dramatically improved by the introduction of a gimbal or stabilizer.
There are plenty of different gimbals on the market, and different ones will be best for different users depending on what camera they’re using and what kind of subjects they’re planning to shoot.
Let’s get started…
Best gimbal for iPhone
1. Zhiyun Smooth 4
The smoothest ride for Apple iPhone users
Compatibility: : Smartphone (62 to 85mm width) | Stabilization: : 3-axis | Weight: : 547g | Dimensions: 328 x 123 x 105mm | Battery life (approx): 12 hours
A huge percentage of video that’s uploaded to the internet every year is shot on an iPhone. And this isn’t just cat videos and Instagram Stories – more and more professional content creators are turning to the iPhone as a reliable means of capturing great footage. Gimbal-wise, the best buy for the iPhone user right now is the Zhiyun-Tech Smooth 4 stabilizer, a gimbal that refines what’s come before to provide a great stabilization solution at an attractive price. Its generous on-body controls include a large wheel that can be used for focusing or zooming, which makes using the gimbal a pleasingly tactile experience. When paired with the app, the Smooth 4 also allows for creation of many useful effects such as moving time-lapse, and there’s a special ‘Vertigo’ function that produces a perspective-shifting dolly zoom effect. Bear in mind that the Smooth series has something of a reputation among Android users for unreliability, so this is definitely one for the iPhone crowd.
Best gimbal for smartphones
2. DJI Osmo Mobile 2
A comprehensive stabilization setup for any smartphone shooter
Compatibility: Smartphone (58.6 to 85mm width) | Stabilization: 3-axis | Weight: 485g | Dimensions: 295 x 113 x 72mm | Battery life (approx): 15 hours
An amazing achievement in smartphone stabilization, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is bursting with features, superbly stabilized, with an impressively long-lasting battery that allows you to keep shooting for longer. With a high-strength nylon build, the Osmo Mobile 2 stabilizer feels pleasingly durable, and it has an ergonomically designed handle that’s comfortable to hold even for long shooting sessions. It’s got an impressive layout of physical controls that does take a bit of a learning curve to get the hang of, but once you’re there it becomes second-nature. Internally, the Osmo Mobile 2 also boasts such features as AI-powered subject tracking. It’s powerful, smartly designed and attractively priced. The full package!
Best budget gimbal for smartphones
3. Wewow Fancy Smartphone Stabilizer
Small but handy, a straightforward solution
Compatibility: Smartphone (up to 152.4mm length) | Stabilization: 1-axis | Weight: 180g | Dimensions: 113 x 43.5 x 23 mm | Battery life (approx): 8 hours
It offers less sophisticated stabilization than others on the market, but the Wewow Fancy is a useful tool for simply getting footage that’s a little bit smoother when you're on a budget, and it also has a few nifty extra features as well. It functions as a power bank, for one thing, and it’s water- and dust-resistant. It works in portrait and landscape mode, and its 5-inch handgrip is more than adequate for simple handheld camera work. Eminently portable, the Wewow Fancy can be packed away easily, making it a great choice for improving your holiday and travel videos.
Best gimbal for GoPros
4. GoPro Karma Grip
Packed with features and optimised for the latest GoPro cameras
Compatibility: GoPro Hero 7 Black, Hero 6 Black, Hero 5 Black, Hero 4 Black (harness required), Hero 4 Silver (required) | Stabilization: 3-axis | Weight: 487g | Dimensions: 149 x 109 x 83mm (stabilizer); 205 x 43 x 43mm (handle) | Battery life (approx): 2 hours
A legacy left over from the ill-fated GoPro Karma drone, the Karma grip is still an excellent handheld stabilizer in its own right, and its detachable grip means it can also double up as a wearable Steadicam tool. Offering a broad range of camera controls thanks to integrated buttons on the grip, this well-designed stabilizer is very easy to introduce into your shoots, allowing you to offload footage without disconnecting the camera. While it’s an expensive option, if you’re firmly committed to the GoPro ecosystem, this gimbal is arguably the best buy you can make.
Best gimbal for action cameras
5. Feiyu G6
High-tech, splashproof and ergonomically designed
Compatibility: GoPro Hero 6 Black, Hero 5 Black, Sony RX0 and other action cameras of similar dimensions (note that cameras other than those named above may not offer full app compatibility) | Stabilization: 3-axis | Weight: 336g | Dimensions: 271 x 119 x 38mm | Battery life (approx): 12 hours
Great battery life. Functionality control via the app. Physical controls. An OLED status LCD screen for quick checking of settings. A splashproof design. The FeiyuTech G6 ticks a hell of a lot of boxes for the action camera user, and is a really solid choice of stabilizer whether you’re using a GoPro Hero, Sony RX0 or some other type of action camera such as a Yi 4K. It’s designed to operated at an angle where the gimbal never obscures the camera’s screen, meaning you can always get a precise read of what you’re shooting. Just be wary if you're using the on-board mic; the gimbal motor sits rather close and sometimes gets picked up.
Best water-resistant gimbal
6. Removu S1
Take it out in the rain
Compatibility: GoPro Session, Hero 3, Hero 3+, Hero 4, Hero 5 and Hero 6 | Stabilization: 3-axis | Weight: 380g | Dimensions: 32.8 x 32.0 x 160.4mm | Battery life (approx): 5 hours
With strong, rugged weatherproofing, the Removu S1 makes a great pairing with a GoPro camera, and is compatible with the majority of contemporary models. Like the Karma Grip its handle is detachable, meaning you can easily also use it as a wearable stabilizer, and there’s also remote control functionality built into the grip to allow you to operate the camera with it even when the two are separated. While the Li-Ion battery doesn’t last especially long compared to competitors, the fact that it’s removable means it’s easy to simply pack a spare if you know you’re in for a long shoot.
Best gimbals for mirrorless cameras
7. Feiyu MG Lite
Smooth, one-handed mirrorless camera operation
Compatibility: Mirrorless and DSLR cameras weighing up to 1630g | Stabilization: 3-axis | Weight: 887g | Dimensions: 318 x 119 x 267 mm | Battery life (approx): 6 hours
Given the relative lightness of mirrorless cameras, one-handed gimbals are a boon for the filmmaker using light CSCs like those made by Sony or Panasonic. The Feiyu MG Lite is a great example, blending a lightweight build with impressive depth of functionality. Its design allows the camera to move in 360 degrees in all directions, allowing for total freedom of movement while shooting. The MG Lite can be set in three modes: Panning, Panning/Tilting and Lock, allowing you to restrict it to just the kind of movements you want, and the four-directional control stick also allows for manual control of the camera’s angle. It packs down well too, making it a good choice for the travelling filmmaker.
8. DJI Ronin S
Peerless build quality paired with silky-smooth stabilization for mirrorless cameras
Compatibility: Mirrorless and DSLR cameras weighing up to 3600g | Stabilization: 3-axis | Weight: 1859g | Dimensions: 202 x 185 x 486 mm | Battery life (approx): 12 hours
The Ronin-S is the best single-handed gimbal around right now. DJI has packed in a truly impressive feature set, from built-in follow focus functionality to easy time-lapse creation via the mobile app, and this is all housed in a body that looks and feels the part. The Ronin-S is a pleasure to use from the moment you take it out of the case, and its three motors will respond to your movements with amazing suppleness. It’s a weighty thing just by itself, so you may not want to use the maximum extent of its payload capacity lest you end up with a setup that’s difficult to wield for long periods. That’s why it’s the perfect fit for more lightweight mirrorless cameras.
Best gimbals for DSLRs
9. Zhiyun Crane 2
Sophisticated stabilization and follow focus for serious filmmaking
Compatibility: Mirrorless and DSLR cameras weighing up to 3200g | Stabilization: 3-axis | Weight: 1250g | Dimensions: 210 x 118 x 450 mm | Battery life (approx): 18 hours
If you found yourself using this for your holiday videos, it’d be safe to say you’d overdone things a tad. This is a tool designed for serious filmmakers and content creators who want the best out of their DSLR or mirrorless camera’s video capabilities. Its digital and mechanical follow focus system is compatible with all major makes of camera (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and more), and can effectively achieve real-time follow focus, while the 3.2kg maximum payload means it can comfortably handle any DSLR on the market. Cutting-edge attitude stabilization technology and superior anti-shaking mechanisms make the Crane 2 an asset on even the most demanding shoots, while the OLED display gives a useful handy readout for settings etc.
10. DJI Ronin-M
The best of the best
Compatibility: Mirrorless and DSLR cameras weighing up to 3600g | Stabilization: 3-axis | Weight: 2300g | Dimensions: 500 x 210 x 420 mm | Battery life (approx): 3 hours
Let’s get this out of the way: yes, it’s big and bulky. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s a royal pain to lug about and you'd have a job getting it in your Ryanair hand luggage. With all this said, the Ronin M is currently the last word in gimbal stabilization for DSLRs, and one of the very few that can measure up to the kind of sophisticated Steadicam systems that professionals will operate as their full-time job. As you switch effortlessly between Underslung, Upright and Briefcase modes, with all your movements translated to smooth camera-work thanks to Smoothtrack, you’ll realise just how much stabilizer you’re getting for your money with the Ronin-M. Its flexibility and versatility are unmatched, and you’ll be amazed at the kind of tight shooting situations you can squeeze yourself into with it. If you need the best, this is the best. Accept nothing less.
Best cameras for vlogging