6 Best Gimbals For DSLR Cameras
Looking for a new DSLR gimbal to get those smooth cinema quality shots?
Depending on which camera you have, there’s going to be a varying degree of need for stabilization (checkout our article on budget cameras). Indeed, even the best stabilized cameras such as the Panasonic GH5 or Sony A7iii can do with the occasional helping hand.
In my time shooting, I’ve found that a gimbal can be particularly useful for shoots involving property or sports and outdoor action. Using a DSLR stabilizer is a creative choice. You don’t have to use one.
In other words, sometimes a bit of handheld shake lends itself to the overall style of the film you’re making.
However – when you’re gliding through a swanky kitchen, or capturing a tennis swing at full speed – a gimbal is your best friend.
Here, we’ve listed six of the best gimbals for DSLR cameras.
|✔ Built-in features allow focus pulling straight out of the box||✘ One of the heaviest DSLR gimbals out there|
|✔ Superb stabilization||✘ Not fully compatible with every camera|
|✔ Simple and easy to use|
Firstly, the DJI Ronin-S.
Having dominated the drone industry, DJI have in recent years branched out, looking to do the same now with gimbals.
Fortunately for us, the consumers, there’s still plenty of healthy competition out there. However, true to form, the DJI Ronin-S is one of the frontrunners in the market right now. It’s a fantastic piece of gear.
As we’ve come to expect with DJI, the Ronin-S is exceptionally easy to use.
After a few hours getting to grips with it, you’ll feel right at home and know it inside-out. Naturally, the most important thing you’re looking for with a gimbal is it’s stabilization capabilities.
The Ronin-S has put a huge tick in this box. Flawless.
Furthermore, it has decent battery life up to 12 hours, on-board focus and shutter controls (depending on your camera) and a host of customizable options. In recent months, the price has also reduced, making it a very appealing option.
|✔ Great battery life||✘ Another heavy DSLR gimbal – weight adds up quickly!|
|✔ Can handle a lot of weight||✘ No built-in focus control for non-Canon users|
|✔ Manfrotto video tripod plate|
Secondly, the Zhiyun Crane V2.
Whereas DJI are running away with the drone market, completely dominating with superior products, companies like Zhiyun are providing some very healthy competition in the DSLR stabilizer department.
This gimbal is every bit as brilliant as the Ronin-S whilst saving you around £100.
Alongside beautiful, flowing movement, this gimbal boasts fantastic battery life (up to 18 hours) and a strong build quality that feels ready for any location.
Moreover, that same build quality means that this gimbal is really sturdy and can therefore handle those big payloads. No matter which DSLR camera you’re shooting with, you should be able to mount it on here.
That’s another thing we really liked about this too. The gimbal comes with the Manfrotto video tripod plate which makes life very easy when quickly switching your camera between different gear.
|✔ Great battery life||✘ Just like the previous two, this thing is heavy.|
|✔ Some great capabilities built in||✘ Huge battery charger doesn’t fit in the hardcase that’s included.|
|✔ Manfrotto video tripod plate||✘ Takes a little bit of time to set up|
Similarly, the Moza Air 2 is a strong competitor up against the Ronin-S. It’s right up there with the best gimbals for DSLR cameras.
Certainly, we think it’s a bit of dark horse here. That’s because, whilst not receiving as much attention as the previous two, it still ticks all the boxes with up to 16 hours of battery life and a maximum payload of up to 4.2kg.
That’s superior to both the Ronin-S and the Zhiyun Crane 2!
With compatibility right across the board, you’ll have no problems working with any DSLR camera here.
And, most importantly, the stability of the footage is flawless. Check, check, check.
Furthermore, some welcome pros include an intuitive menu design that’s easy to navigate and allows for a lot of customization, depending on your needs and preferences.
In addition, it’s quick release systems accepts Manfrotto plates too. It’s a great option.
|✔ Simple to operate||✘ Payload is limited. It won’t take every camera|
|✔ Lightweight||✘ Takes a little bit of time to get used to with limited instructions on how to use|
|✔ Quick release plates|
Next up, the Ikan MS1. This option isn’t for everyone.
This is a much smaller DSLR gimbal when compared with the previous three. To clarify, it’s made specifically with mirrorless cameras in mind.
So, for DSLR’s such as the A7s, the Panasonic GH4 or the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, you should be good. Anything on the larger, heavier side however, may be a sticking point.
However, if you can look past that, you’ll have yourself a very easy-to-use DSLR stabilizer straight out of the box. If you’re a beginner or novice, it could take a little bit of time to adjust and pick up as there are little to no instructions on how to use it.
However, with a host of features, it could just be the right choice for you. We like the fact it has a much cheaper price point and the fact it’s so small and lightweight. It’s very easy to travel with.
If you don’t like how small it is, there is also a thread at the bottom, enabling it to be fitted to much larger tripods or other piece of gear.
|✔ Great price||✘ Not motorized|
|✔ Can be used in all weather conditions||✘ VERY heavy. You’ll need a certain degree of upper body strength and fitness to deal with this on a full-day shoot|
|✔ Huge payload capacity|
When we said the six best gimbals for DSLR cameras, we didn’t specifically say they were all motorized, did we?
That’s because if we stuck specifically to motorized, we’d be missing out on the great option that is the Flycam Redking.
This thing takes you right back to basics. The sticks and stones of filmmaking. There’s no fancy brushless motors at play, no technology and software to select from 200 different modes, no focus wheel. None of that.
That may well scare some of you, but it may also sound like a delight. At a snip of the Ronin-S/Crane 2/Moza Air price tags, you’ll have yourself a very strong, able DSLR stabilizer. Remember, with the lack of electronics comes the ability to use it in all weather conditions!
Using weights to balance everything out, you’ll be able to achieve some beautiful and stable, flowing results that easily rival that of the motorized gimbals on offer. It also has a HUGE payload capacity up to 6.9kg.
No matter what you’re shooting with, this thing can handle it.
But can you?
A full day shoot with this thing is definitely demanding. You’ll need a certain degree of upper body strength and fitness to really get the most out of it. One to, quite literally, weigh up.
|✔ Great battery life||✘ A little on the expensive side|
|✔ Relatively lightweight||✘ Takes a while to balance|
|✔ Big payload capacity|
Lastly, coming full circle, the DJI Ronin-M.
Think of this gimbal as the next step up from the small, hand-held capability of the Ronin-S. The Ronin-M is everything you want from a gimbal.
With it’s magnesium, carbon fibre and aluminium frame it’s lightweight, yet strong. And despite the small weight, it’s capable of carrying up to 3.6kg payloads.
It can handle any DSLR camera and even some small cine cameras such as the Canon C series or an Alexa Mini. It’s a bit magic.
On first inspection you may think it’s quite big but, with a few twists of the top handlebars, you can quickly disassemble this thing and transport it easily. Similarly, the battery life is also impressive, enabling you to go all day and, with one app, you have a vast range of different options at your disposal.
With this app you can calibrate the camera, automatically turn smooth track on and off and adjust how quick and responsive the camera tracking and motion is. It’s a little similar to the DJI apps you download when flying one of their drones and it works really, really well.
Furthermore, it comes with an RC controller that allows a second operator to adjust the pan, tilt and roll.
So yes, it is expensive, but you get a whole lot of gimbal for that money. A professional, solid unit that can really produce on any film location, for any budget. We think it’s worth it!
Wrapping up – DSLR Gimbals
So, there you have it. Six of the best gimbals for DSLR cameras. To conclude, gimbals can be expensive but in comparison with the alternatives, they’re an exceptional tool that can take your filmmaking to the next level with incredibly beautiful, stabilized footage.
Whilst comparing the best DSLR gimbals, you may have found that there’s sometimes little to choose between them. When making your decision there are always a few factors to pay attention to: the price, the weight, the payload capacity and the build/performance quality.
Like many other pieces of filmmaking gear, the order in which you prioritise these will determine which is best for you.