Should I Buy It? Camera Stabilizer

Should I Buy It? Camera Stabilizer

Stabilizers are something people ask me about on a regular basis. Right up front, let me just say: stabilizers are absolutely awesome! They can make an amateur filmmaker look professional in a heartbeat…and that’s what all of us want when we’re starting out, right?

In today’s Should I Buy It?, I’m going to share a little info on stabilizers. And if I were going to answer the question for you, I’d go ahead and tell you YES. But let’s dig a little deeper.

The Lowdown on Stabilizers

In case you aren’t familiar with this piece of gear, a stabilizer is a 3-axis gimbal that makes your really jumpy shots smooth and pretty. Stabilizers mean the difference between a potentially professional-looking shot, versus a grandma shot (sorry, Nana).

A stabilizer is designed to eliminate the effects of movement (walking, riding a bike, surfing, etc.) on the quality of your video. Using your stabilizer to film walking shots is the best, but it’s great for many other things.

There are some great stabilizers available, designed to work with both smartphones (the much less expensive alternative) and DSLR cameras. Stabilizers that are made to utilize your smartphone display come with a camera and built-in microphone, which eliminates the need to purchase an external mic. With high-quality picture and sound ready to go, if you’re on the move, a stabilizer is a no-brainer.

When Would I Use a Stabilizer, Anyway?

Walking shots are the best time to use your stabilizer, but they’re also great for action shots, depending on what equipment you have. These are powerful tools that, for a relatively small investment, give you super high-quality results.

Stabilizers are great for outdoor use and can be utilized in a variety of ways: creating videos for your business, hiking, biking, weddings, sports, and more.

Types of Stabilizers

The two main stabilizers available out there are the DJI Osmo and the Karma Grip.

The Osmo is a really popular stabilizer with a few different options (and great video). It has a mount for your iPhone, and there are Pro and Mobile options, depending on your budget (the Pro has the built-in camera; the Mobile utilizes the iPhone camera and is less expensive). Both Pro and Mobile Osmos require an iPhone or mobile device to work.

The Karma Grip is made exclusively for GoPro cameras. While I’m not a big fan of GoPro cameras (due to audio, the wide angle, and lack of image depth), it’s a really great attachment if you have one. It’s especially good for outdoor use, plus extreme sports and activities.

Should I Buy It?

There aren’t many pieces of equipment I feel strongly about owning (pretty much across the board), but stabilizers are great for almost everyone–the only exception being someone who is primarily going to be shooting indoors (these cameras just don’t do the trick indoors). A stabilizer is a great investment for any amateur filmmaker and a must-have for pros.

Do you have a stabilizer? Let me know what you think of it in the comments section!

  • joesindorf

    I have the DJI Osmo Mobile… and love it. I am cutting a short doco that I shot in the Kibera slums of Kenya and the walking shots through the narrow walkways are great. To make this gimbal work, you need to know how to use your phone’s camera — locking focus especially — walking around whilst your camera is searching for something to focus on won’t make you feel good later when you’re viewing the footage. Ask me how I know.

    • Wes Wages

      hahaha Good info Joe! I haven’t messed with the Osmo Mobile but know the stabilizers are great! Just in case anyone needs to know: You can push and hold while taking video and photos on the iphone to lock in the exposure/focus.

  • Loving these posts, Wes. Looking forward to reading them every week. There are so many tech toys I want that I need advice on before deciding to buy or not.

    I have a weighted shoulder rig that I use with my dslr, It has a pad that sits on my shoulder and a weight that reaches out behind me. I don’t have a lot of upper body strength, so I’ve found that carrying a heavy weight in front of me SUCKS… the horizon rises higher and higher in the shot as the camera sinks lower when my arms get tired. LOL!