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Know Your Gear: 3-Axis Gimbals

Johnathan Paul

The 3-axis gimbal is gaining in popularity. We take a quick look at the most popular models.

Camera dollies (and dolly tracks) take time to setup…and even then you’re stuck to one path. Steadicams provide more versatility, but they are costly and require great skill to use properly.

It’s no wonder then that the 3-axis gimbal, a Steadicam alternative, has recently exploded in popularity. Gimbals use brushless motors to control camera position, maintaining a steady shot. They have a short learning curve and are designed to fit a variety of camera styles and weights. In this post we explore some of the more popular gimbal options.

The Ghost by Spaulding International Cinema

The Ghost Gimbal
The Ghost comes in two versions:

The Ghost V2 supports 1-5 lbs of camera weight and is mainly used with DSLR cameras – $2995

The Ghost Pro supports up to 10 lbs of camera weight – $4295

These gimbals come completely assembled and ready to use, all that is required is an initial camera balance. Included:

  • 3 Brushless Motors for Tilt, Pan and Roll control
  • Carbon Fiber and Aluminum Construction
  • Mode Switch (5 Pre-Programmed Modes)
  • Adjustment Knobs for Balancing
  • 32-Bit Control Board
  • Sturdy Roll Bar and Grip Bar
  • 2-3 Hrs of Battery Life
  • Easy Charge Litium Batteries
  • On/Off Switch


The Ronin by DJI

DJI produces a number of different types of gimbals, specifically for aerial use with cameras like the GoPro Hero, Black Magic Pocket Cinema and the Canon 5D Mark III. However for this article we’ll keep it focused on handhelds and for that we’ll look at DJI’s RONIN.

The RONIN ($2999) only comes in one version.

The Ronin supports up to 16 lbs of camera weight and can be ready for use in 5 minutes with its camera configuration. No assembly is required as the gimbal arrives built and ready for use.

Included:

  • 3 Brushless Motors for Tilt, Pan and Roll control
  • Carbon Fiber and Aluminum Construction
  • 3 Operating Modes
  • Pre-Camera Configuration for Balancing
  • Custom built Processors
  • Tool Free Adjustments
  • 4 Hrs of Battery Life
  • 4s Ronin Battery
  • Connections: Remote Control, Bluetooth and USB

The Movi by Freefly Systems

Freefly Systems Movi 3-Axis Gimbal series is probably the most widely known of all 3-Axis Gimbals having been used recently by Oliver Stone for a DirectTV World Cup 2014 Promo. Freefly offers 3 Movi options:

The M5 supports 1-5 lbs of camera weight – $3995

The M10 supports 1-12 lbs of camera weight – $7995

The M15 supports 1-15 lbs of camera weight – $11,995

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the Movi in action on the DirectTV promo:

And another look at the Movi:


DIY Gimbay by You

There are a number of places all across the web that give you the instruction and tools needed to build your own 3-Axis Gimbal, but we’ll single out one particular site, DIY Gimbals, which offer in-depth plans and instructions on building various gimbals.

Here is a video of a DIY Steady-Go DSLR 3-Axis Gimbal in action by Filmati Aerei:

You can find all the info on how to build this 3-Axis Gimbal yourself at DIYGimbal.com

Also, checkout DIYGimbal’s MUOVI plan and instruction for building a heavy duty 3-Axis Gimbal.

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