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Are the budget eBay video stabilizers any good?

Discussion in 'Videography' started by Skylark, May 15, 2017.

  1. Skylark

    Skylark Premium Member

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    I'd like to play around with video and stabilizers and I'm wondering if anyone has tried the eBay Chinese cheapies?

    From all reports/reviews on Amazon they are highly functional and useful despite being cheap.

    Like these:
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    [​IMG]

    Or these:
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    [​IMG]
     
  2. Randy Stiefer

    Randy Stiefer Active Member

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    I bought one similar to the top one at Best Buy. So far it seems to offer some advantage in certain shooting situations. Still learning it and from all reports it takes time to get good at using it.
     
  3. pszilard

    pszilard remektek.smugmug.com

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    I found it next to useless. I could get static balance, but not dynamic balance. Plus moving the lens, e.g. zooming, upset the balance. I sold my steady cam and bought a Zhiyun Crane. Much better.
     
  4. Greg_E

    Greg_E Premium Member

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    Several people are liking the Zhiyun Crane. The other types of gimbaled "things" are really meant for primes so that the weight doesn't shift. And they are all up to the quality of the x and y movements. Lots of DIY plans on the web, some are really good, but hard to build them cheaper than buying the same design.
     
  5. Skylark

    Skylark Premium Member

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    Obviously the Zhiyun crane would be great but it's a lot of money and not what I need right now.

    Seems these budget option's take some tweaking plus some small modifications and they also need to be used within their limits but once setup and mastered they perform well.

    A manual gimbal is a pretty basic device, it seems getting the setup balance for your particular rig is the big challenge. The cheaper ones have no instruction/limited weights etc so for the non DIY person will probably not work out well. On Amazon there's more than a few negative reviews due to parts coming loose, basic fixes. Another one is offset tripod mounts on bodies creating balance havoc!
     
  6. Skylark

    Skylark Premium Member

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    Has no one at least tried any of these?
     
  7. Nick Pitsas

    Nick Pitsas Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the late reply, but I just came across this post. Here's some info in case you haven't made a decision yet.

    Yes, I have both of these. I have used the Pro S40 with a camcorder with about the same weight as an X-T2 with a small lens. Once I got the balance right, it worked fine with some practice. However, these things do not perform miracles so you will need to put in some effort into technique. Note that I said a camcorder. This means that there were no interchangeable lenses and no change of balance point regardless of focal length as you zoom in and out with the camcorder lens. With an interchangeable lens camera, every time you change lenses or change focal length with a zoom that changes size as you zoom, your balance is lost. Re-balancing in the middle of a shoot is not practical, especially if you are under pressure. Balancing is very sensitive. For example having the lens cap on or off will unbalance the setup. So you either need to set it up to use a prime lens dedicated to steadicam work or a zoom lens at a fixed (preferably its widest) focal length. On that point, the wider the lens, the easier it is to get a good result.

    I also have the red one, which works very well with a GoPro or similar. Take a look at this video. I did all of the moving shots in the video with it and a GoPro:



    Apart from the fact that you can't change the lens on a GoPro, all the above comments apply to this one too. I think it is more suitable for smaller cameras. Check the specs, but I think something like an X-T2 with a 16-55mm would be too big for it.

    By the way, there are plenty of youtube videos to help you learn how to balance and use these.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Skylark

    Skylark Premium Member

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    Thanks Nick, appreciate all the info. I ordered one of the red gimbals to start off with seeing they are so cheap and do work.

    I'm hoping to use my xt-10 with it, I have seen people saying they've used them successfully with Canon DSLRs so a Fujifilm body and wide lens should be ok. There are a few mods apparently that make them mor e stable.
     
  9. rokphish

    rokphish Premium Member

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    Any update? Does it work?
     
  10. Psylas

    Psylas Member

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    I recently picked up the s40 paired it with my xt1. With a little practice it works alright. Quick little vid with the setup.
     
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  11. Skylark

    Skylark Premium Member

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    Still waiting for it to arrive.
    That footage has that nice cinematic smoothness to it. What settings did you shoot with, does the Xt1 do 100 fps 1080, some of the footage looks slowed down and nice and smooth?
     
  12. Psylas

    Psylas Member

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    Sorry for the super late response! Settings were 1080@60 using continuous autofocus. Some of the footage was slowed down.
     
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