Looking to produce better, smoother videos? You’ve come to the right place—as far as gear is concerned, that is. Whether or not your go-to camera has decent in-body image stabilization, investing in a gimbal or stabilizer can go a long way. They’re not only useful in really minimizing camera shake and shooting smoother videos; but they’re also opening you up to a world of cinematic movements, tricks, and angles. Though, just like with anything else, there’s still the matter of choosing which one’s the best for you and your needs. Here are our top five picks for best gimbals on the market in the Spring of 2019
DJI Ronin-S: For a Splurge (DSLR/Mirrorless)
DJI made a name for itself building some of the best gimbals and drones for professionals and consumers alike. And while there are a lot of other manufacturers out there that do produce great gimbals, this Shenzhen-based company has a lot of them beat.
For an excellent 3-axis gimbal for DSLR and mirrorless cameras weighing 3.6 kg (7.9 lbs) and under, the DJI Ronin-S is a high-quality, if not the most affordable, choice. Splurge $750 on this, and you’ll get a reasonably lightweight stabilizer with its own Focus Wheel, SmoothTrack feature for more seamless movements, a Sports Mode for fast-moving subjects, and creative features like Timelapse and Motionlapse in the app, not to mention a battery life of 12 hours at full charge.
Best of all, it has a pretty intuitive design, so it’s pretty easy to figure out even when you’ve got zero gimbal experience.
Zhiyun Crane 2: Best Gimbal All Around
The much cheaper Zhiyun Crane 2 is only $549 and has fantastic features, which is why it has consistently made it on many folks’ picks for the best gimbals on the market and why it’s getting our Best All-Around vote.
This gimbal has a slightly lower load weight limit of 3.2 kg (7 lbs), but it offers many of the same features as the Ronin-S and then some. Both Servo Follow Focus and a Focus Wheel for manual focus are on hand, as is a Quick Control Dial to change camera settings such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. There’s also an OLED Display so you can quickly see what control mode you’re on, how much battery life you have, and what your settings are.
As opposed to the Ronin-S’ 12-hour battery life, this one’s got 18 hours of juice, so you have even longer recording sessions.
Zhiyun Crane V2: For Value (DSLR/Mirrorless)
If shelling out over $500 isn’t even an option, worry not. You’ll have to limit your camera/lens set-up to 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) and lighter. It’s also not as impressive as the Crane 2, but at $370, the Zhiyun Crane V2 still does a great job of giving you smooth videos without burning a hole in your pocket. Plus, it’s one of the best gimbals for consumers.
Features include MotionMemory, Intelligent Object Tracking via the app, a 45-degree Synchronized Roll, ability to do NightLapse, and a POV mode so that your camera rolls left or right when you roll left or right, among other things. It also offers up to 18 hours of battery life at full charge.
DJI Osmo Mobile 2: For Camera Phones
Whether you often use your smartphone as your back-up camera or you mostly rely on it for shooting your videos, it might be useful to spend a hundred dollars (or more accurately in this case, $134) on a gimbal for your mobile phone.
We love DJI’s Osmo Mobile 2, as do many video shooters who are not necessarily technically proficient. It’s a very easy gimbal to use and boasts a few features in it lightweight body including ability to do ActiveTrack, Hyperlapse and Motionlapse as well as the Zoom Control feature for more seamless, cinematic zooming and 15 hours of battery life.
Even if you’re not planning on doing anything with your videos, this is an excellent companion to record all your travel memories since it is light and small.
Ivation Pro Steady: For Manual Use
If all those buttons, dials, and automated features are proving a little too distracting for you, you might be more comfortable with a rudimentary design, basically bringing all the controls back to you.
Much cheaper than the other four picks at $50, the Ivation Pro Steady is all manual with two handgrips, a shoulder mount, and nothing else. Of course, for more flexibility, its grips and joints are easily adjustable to meet your shooting needs. It also has an extendable rear arm and several interfaces so you can easily connect other video recording equipment like a screen and video light. When you’re done, you can easily put it away as it is foldable for transport or storing.