A gimbal stabilizer can eliminate shaky, jerky motion in your videos, making them appear more professional and less likely to induce bad reactions in your viewers. Stabilizers aren’t just for professional film makers – these will make your vacation videos and YouTube postings smooth and steady, while allowing you a freedom of motion to get just the right shot.
You’ll also be less likely to drop your new iPhone if it’s securely clamped into the stabilizer. The stabilizers in this article will work with Android smartphones as well.
Related article: Best iPhone 8, X Alternatives
Scenarios For Using A Stabilizer
If you don’t yet know why you should spend a few hundred dollars for another video accessory, here are some use-cases for having a stabilizer. Let’s start with some examples of special moments:
- Child’s birthday party, to get that perfect video of him/her getting ready to blow out the candles. With the stabilizer, you hold the iPhone at the correct angle and position to frame the action. You can even get creative with a simple pan into the room, around the table, and onto the child. Add a little zoom-in, and you’ll have a memory to share with the world.
- Weddings, to capture the bride walking down the aisle and standing with the wedding party. The throwing of the bouquet. First dances. You can move around the room, keeping the iPhone centered on the bride, the family, the happy couple.
Or something more advanced:
- Riding your skateboard down the Venice Beach sidewalk, videoing everyone you see along the way. With the stabilizer you can position the camera at ground level, or move to high about your head, all in the sequence.
- Running in the woods with your dog, holding the camera at the animals height.
Walking through the music festival to record all sights and sounds of the event. A stabilizer is a must have to any large venue like Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, Burning Man or Bourbon Street for Mardi Gras.
Just What Is Gimbal Stabilizer
It’s basically a device that keeps the camera level, while the operator is moving. The gimbal is the mechanism which moves simultaneously in all three axis (x, y, z = side-to-side, forward-to-back, up-and-down) and pivots around the camera. These are also referred to as “three axis” stabilizers. To keep the camera level requires at a minimum precise weighting and counter-balance in a purely passive system. A dynamic stabilizer uses small electric motors to cancel out the external movements, along with sensors, processors and other electronics to control the motors. For both types, nearly frictionless bearings and mountings allow for full freedom of movement, while letting the iPhone/Camera remain stationary since no external movement is being transmitted through the stabilizer.
Top Pick For Best iPhone Gimbal Stabilizer
Osmo – DJI Phone Camera Gimbal
We like the DJI for the way it feels as well as for the features. You may be holding this stick for 2 minutes, 20 minutes or 2 hours so it’s important that it have a good grip and a light weight. The controls are positioned nicely for easy use with your thumb, and the functions are smooth. The handle incorporates a joystick button for panning and tilting the gimbal, also records start/stop button and a shutter button, putting the essential controls right at your fingertips. A trigger allows you to toggle modes.
Their “Active Track technology” automatically keeps your smartphone facing you as you move around, which frankly, is what a gimbal is supposed to do. The electronics and controls in the DJI are quite good at smoothing out / canceling your movements so that there isn’t any noticeable camera shake or jitter. Some of the other gimbals in this price range aren’t as crisp or have a slight lag time in the compensation.
Osmo has some nice features in their included software which lets you edit as well as share you videos on YouTube Live. You can also do some fun special effects, like take 1-second long exposures for light trails and dramatically blurred cars, and steady motion time-lapse videos; normally you would need a tripod for this.
Get it now on Amazon, the Osmo – DJI Phone Camera Gimbal
Runner Up For Best iPhone Gimbal Stabilizer
Zhiyun Smooth-Q 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer
The price is about $90 under the Osmo, and it’s noticeable in the differences of handling and responsiveness. But the lower price makes this a great entry level gimbal to get started with.
The quick clamp with hold smartphones 3.5 inches to 6.0 inches (e.g., iPhones, Samsung Galaxy, etc.). There aren’t as many software features, but it does have a wireless control for “Panorama Mode” when taking videos with the phone mounted vertically.
Get it now on Amazon, Zhiyun Smooth-Q 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer
Bonus: Gimbal Stabilizer With 4K Camera
The DJI Osmo Handheld 4K Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal is specially built for the Osmo. It can be locked to protect its inner mechanical structure when not in use. It’s capable of recording 4K video and capturing 12 megapixel still photos, with a 94°wide-angle prime lens, capturing clear and crisp images with minimal distortion.
When used with the DJI GO app, you get access to intelligent shooting modes like Automatic Panorama and Timelapse. Main controls for the camera and gimbal are provided on the handle itself, including a joystick for manual pan and tilt. The Wi-Fi link allows Osmo to be tethered to a mobile device running the DJI GO iOS and Android app. The Wi-Fi features a range of up to 85 feet, so you can operate the camera and gimbal remotely as well.
The handle incorporates a joystick for panning and tilting the gimbal, also records start/stop button and a shutter button, putting the essential controls right at your fingertips. A trigger allows you to toggle modes. The camera/gimbal assembly can detach from the handle for storage or use in other applications. Remotely operate the gimbal and view a live feed using the GO App for iOS and Android. The camera system incorporates three motors to stabilize the camera and move it manually in relation to the handle. Using the handles joystick or the app, it can be panned over a 320° range, tilt down 35°, and up 135°. It can pan or tilt at a rate of up to 120° per second.
Get it now on Amazon, DJI OSMO (NA) Handheld Fully Stabilized 4K 12MP Camera
Here’s a short video:
Now that you have the equipment you need, here are some books from Amazon that can help guide you to making better videos:
How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck: Advice to Make Any Amateur Look Like a Pro
Digital Filmmaking for Beginners A Practical Guide to Video Production
iPad and iPhone Video: Film, Edit, and Share the Apple Way
The SmartPhone Video Toolkit: The fastest way to create quality videos with your phone