There are times when using the best DSLR gimbal stabilizer could save your video footage. These devices have exploded in popularity, and are making it easier than ever to create smooth shots in any scenario for 2018.
When paired with the right camera, using a good 3-axis gimbal for DSLR cameras can replace jibs, sliders, and dollies and allow you to produce high quality video content that will compete with the best on the internet.
Anyone with a heavy DSLR model who wants to capture video without shakes or jitters can benefit from a good gimbal stabilizer. There are also useful GoPro stabilizers, as well as increasingly popular iPhone gimbals, but those are not well equipped for heavier cameras.
But which one should you choose? What is worth the investment?
We have searched high and low and compiled the list of the very best stabilziers that will take your filming to the next level. We also take a look at whether you should buy a 3-axis gimbal, or a cheaper steadicam alternative for your DSLR filming.
Best DSLR Gimbals - 2017
3-Axis Gimbal for DSLR or Budget Steadicam?
When reasearching the best stabilzer for your own brand of filming, you will come across two primary options - 3-axis gimbals, or steadicams.
The first thing you will probably notice is the significant difference in price. Steadicams are much cheaper than the best 3-axis brushless gimbals, even though both are designed to smooth out your video footage.
The difference in how they do this is significant, and so are the results.
Here is a quick overview of some different results that come from a steadycam vs a 3-axis gimbal in a video from Photos in Color.
As you can see, a cheap handheld steadycam like the Glidecam 2000 greatly improves the quality of video, but higher quality of a professional 3-axis gimbal when used with a DSLR camera definitely noticable.
The Ronin-M DSLR gimbal, and other gimbls like it, use motorized support mechanisms that enable devices like a camera to be rotated on its axis. Using 3-axis gimbals allow you to balance your video in every direction rather than just one. They often have both manual and automatic options for keeping your camera pointed at its intended target
This not only enables creative cinematic effects that you can add to your video content, but most importantly it smooths out what would otherwise be shaky, potentially nauseating video caused by filming on the move.
Steadycams on the other hand rely on a manual weighting system that does not
Choosing a Stabilizer on a Budget
While 3-axis gimbal stabilizers can make a huge difference in video quality, it is difficult to find a cheap one. There are a couple of good options at under $500 like the FeiyuTech a1000 or the Neewer Crane V2, but the very best will be in a slightly higher range.
If you have budget for that, then there is nothing to worry about as there are options that will turn your DSLR into a professoinal filming rig. Otherwise, you may want to consider a steadicam.
There are good options for under $200 that can still make a world of difference when filming on the move.
Along with a good microphone, some form of stabilizer is among the best additions you can add to your fimling equipment list.
If you don't have the budget for a 3-axis gimbal, and you are just looking for a cheap DSLR stabilizer, here are your best affordable options available to buy.
3-Axis DSLR Gimbal Buyer's Guide
If you are confident that you are ready to get the best quality video for your filming, YouTube channel, or vlog, then a 3-axis gimbal can make a huge difference.
Here are some of the things to look out for in the best gimbal stabilizers.
Something you should always double check is the weight capacity of your gimbal because some DSLR cameras are surprisingly expensive and might exceed the recommended weight of your gimbal.
Most of the top gimbals we recommend are specifically suited for DSLR cameras within a wide weight range, but if you have a particularly heavy camera, it is worth double checking.
Ease of Use
Are you new to DSLR gimbals, or an experienced film maker?
If this is your first time using a 3-axis gimbal, then it helps to choose something that is user friendly. You can save some money and get what you need by staying in the lower budget range that doesn't include high end features that you might not feel comfortable using right now anyways.
If you do opt for an electronic gimbal vs a weighted stabilizer, then you will need to keep in mind the battery life. Nothing is more frusterating than cutting your film session short because your gimbal runs out of juice.
This is of course one of the advantages of a mechanical gimbal that does not rely on an electronic motor.
If you are planning long sessions away from power sources, then be sure to invest in extra batteries, and that your chosen gimbal won’t quit on you too fast.
Size & Weight
In addition to the technical capabilities, it is important to choose the gimbal that will gel with your physical requirements and life style.
Gimbals like the Ronin-M are technically impressive, but are not nearly as convenient as handheld gimbals like the Ikan Beholder.
Consider how important portability and size is to you before makng any purchasing decisions. That way your videos will look good, and you have a better experience making them.
Best overall gimbal for DSLR in 2018
Very easy to use
Lightweight handheld gimbal
Excellent gimbal with single or double handle
DSLR Gimbal Reviews
Zhiyun Crane V2 [Top Pick]
Our top pick for a 3-axis gimbal is the Zhiyun Crane V2 because of quality and overall value. It produces extremely high end results at a reasonable price point for a DSLR stabilizer.
We found the Zhiyun Crane to have great balance and be a reliable handheld gimbal for small and medium sized DSLRs in any situation. It produces a smooth and clear image that is mostly jitter-free - even for highly dynamic shots.
We found the Zhiyun Crane to have great balance and bea reliable handheld gimbal for small and medium sized DSLRs in any situation. It produces a smooth and clear image which is jitter-free captures even for highly dynamic shots.
In basic walking shots there is essentially no evidence of shakiness. Impressively, it is just as good in rough weather conditions. Your hair might be blown out of place, but your video will still look slick.
This 3-axis gimbal can be rotated a full 360 degrees while its crane is featured with a joystick that can be used to adjust its axis during the operation in case you would like to speedily change the angle of the camera.
As with our other top gimbals, the Zhiyun Crane has great battery life. You will be able to film extended sessions without stressing about the battery winding down.
It also features a well supported mobile app that makes it easy to control remotely, or update your firmware when necessary.
Overall, the Zhiyun Crane is probably the best bang for your buck because despite its strong performance, it is a relatively cheap DSLR stabilizer.
The FeiyuTech a2000 is an excellent DSLR gimbal for creators on who want a fully loaded gimbal
The FeiyuTech Alpha series works well with all types of cameras, and gives you two different options depending on how heavy your camera will be - if you have a lightweight mirrorless or action camera, then the a1000 is great option for a cheap gimbal stabilizer alternative.
The a2000 produces really excellent video results with DSLR cameras, perhaps even on part with the Ronin-M. Considering the FeyiuTech is a bit more affordable, this could be a good pick for people who don't mind buying a slightly less popular brand.
It allows for 360° rotation, and excellent optimization programming that get the most out of the 3-axis gimbal.
New gimbal users will be impressed at how easy the a2000 is to use. Its set up is beginner friendly, and it is very simple to switch between modes using its one primary control button.
The 6 hours of battery life is not the best on the market, but is totally adequate for most creators or vloggers to get a full day of shooting.
In terms of feel, the A2000 is easy to handle, but surprisinly strong, capable of carrying up to 4.4 lbs worth of camera, meaning that even large DSLRs should work well on this stabilizer.
While the Zhiyun Crane is the top DSLR gimbal stabilize that we recommend because of its overall value, the FeiyuTech Alpha series is our next pick because of its excellent performance and ease of use.
The DJI Ronin-M is the best handheld gimbal stabilizer on the market in terms of raw technical power.
The Ronin-M professional level 3-axis gimbal technology, and is an excellent overall stabilizer for video footage. This is the right pick if you would like to add the best DSLR gimbal to your production kit with all the bells and whistles.
This professional stabilizer consistently removes the jitters and small movements that can ruin otherwise great shots.In just about every situation, the Ronin produces beautifully smooth DSLR videos with none of the noticeable shakiness of some other gimbal stabilizers.
It is a bit heavier than other options, but it handles well and lasts a remarkably long time on one battery charge.
We also found the case that comes with the standard package is top notch. It packs everything efficiently and makes it easy to bring the Ronin from one shooting location to another with minimal hassle.
Just be aware that this wouldn’t make a list of best cheap gimbals…
If you are looking for a cheap gimbal, then the DJI Ronin is not the best pick (although it recently went through a price drop)
While your videos will look professional, the Ronin is not especially friendly for newcomers, nor is it as simple to handle as the smaller hand held stabilziers on this list.
It will take a bit of a learning curve to get used to the Ronin, and to get the balancing right.
Fortunately there are lots of resources that can help but be prepared to dedicate some time to getting the most out of this impressive machine. Once you do, nothing else in the consumer market will produce professoinal looking results with a DSLR like this gimbal.
If you are willing to invest the time and money in the Ronin-M, your videos are going to look professional and shakiness will no longer be an issue
The Ikan DS1 is a highly portable, and easy to use 3-axis gimbal for DSLR filming. With enough jostling you will break the gliding effect on the video, but the performance generally solid
If nothing else this handheld gimbal will definitely upgrade your videos that involve walking or other basic movement.
Technology aside, the Ikan is a good physical tool. We found it to be durable for its price point, and the battery lasted longer than we expected.
For its lightweight design, this gimbal does deserve some credit for how well built it is. The Beholder is an ideal DSLR gimbal stabilizer because it can support cameras that weigh up to 3.7 pounds, and does not break easily.
This is good, beacuse it is relatively expensive relative to some of its handheld competitors. This is one of our biggest complains because while solid, the Beholder does not give the top 3-axis gimbal performance despite its high end price
Bottom line: Overall this is a great pick to get the basic benefits of a good gimbal stabilizer without investing in a huge expense.
MOZA Air 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal for DSLR
Moza is a lesser known 3-Axis gimbal brand, but the MOZA Air has earned a spot among the best gimbals for DSLR film makers and vloggers alike.
Introduced in March of 2017, this stabilizer provides you the option of either a single or double handle, depending on the scenario. It is simple to control, and relatively light weight for a DSLR gimbal at only around 2.4 lbs, even if it is a bit bulkier than alternatives like the Ikan DS1 Beholder
The performance of the Moza Air is above average in most respects relative to the price. Videos looks smooth and it handles well in a number of different filming scenarios. The battery life is also a plus, often lasting for 8 straight hours of filming.
While the Moza Air will stabilize any mirrorless camera, and most DSLRs, be aware that heavier DSLR cameras over 5.5 lbs might not be the right fit for this gimbal.
If you do pick up this gimbal, we suggest you check out the 'timelape mode' that you can enable in the accompanying MOZA app for some cool experimentation with your videos.
We would describe this gimbal as a good medium-end stabilizer for DSLR filming. It has all the features and performance that you would want at a reasonable price, while not quite achieving professional level results.
New models are often released, and we will continue to research the best gimbal stabilizers for DSLR filming, and any new top picks we come across in 2018. Do you love a 3-axis stablizer that we missed? Let us know in the comments!