Steadicam How-To and Reviews

After my video “DIY Digital Stabilized Camera Gimbal”, some people got the impression that I prefer these to steadicams. I of course do use steadicams but since many people find them difficult and frustrating to use, those new digitally stabilized camera gimbals hold a lot of promise. Right now, though, they are still expensive and so I do recommend steadicams to indie filmmakers, as long as they invest the time to learn how to use them. And that’s what this post is all about.

I am reviewing five different models of steadicams/camera stabilizers that range in price between $85-600 (Lensse MidX, Hague, Flycam, Sevenoak Pro, Merlin). I also explain how steadicams work in general and how to set up these and any other steadicam.

The stabilizer I recommend is the Sevenoak Pro which you can buy at the link below:

I also liked the following stabilizers/steadicams, which you can buy by following these links:

I have so much content for this topic that I’ve had to divide it up into several videos.

Firstly, here is the main video that is also available on my YouTube channel – it includes all the reviews and introduces the discussion of how steadicams work.

Tutorial 43

The remaining videos are only available through this website.

Here you’ll find a video that goes in depth into how steadicams work and how you set them up.

Here is a quick review of the Glidecam / Flycam Arm Brace which is a must to have when you want to operate the bigger steadicams for longer periods of time. You can buy the Arm Brace here.

Getting even deeper, I also have two videos which show you – almost second by second – how I set up the Flycam and the Hague Steadicam.

Finally, I’m including the entire raw footage that I got from the five steadicams – you might want to review this if you’re thinking about buying any of these models.

As always, let me know if you have any questions. Also, you might have noticed that I now have a forum on my website, so I encourage you to use it to talk to me and the other filmmakers. Maybe some of you can post your own tests of steadicams – here is the forum where you can include them.


P.S. Here are the other steadicams I tested out, which I don’t recommend. In case you still want to buy them, here are the links:

55 thoughts on “Steadicam How-To and Reviews”

  1. Thank you Tom, I have the flow cam and after looking at your tutorial it has given me some light at the end of the tunnel of its usage. I’m producing a TV ad in the next few days dep on the weather for the outdoor scenes. I need dolly shot like you did with walking next to the lady. Once I’ve done it I will show you my results and get some feed back.. Once again Thank you

  2. The day before you posted this I took a chance and purchased a Xcam 2013 stabilizer. It was what I could I afford and I just hope it can handle a t3i with battery did a comparison
    I wish I had another perspective such as yours before I had hit that pay pal button. Gear like this can end up being a a waste of money for me. I’ve been using a HALO RIG for the past couple of years, it does an ok job, but it doesn’t give that flying camera look.

    1. Hey Michael, i was looking at that particular steadicam recently also, what’s your take on it.? i really like the look of it’s design, did you get the version with the folding legs.?

  3. Hi Tom e you remerber the arc size de you use in the steadycam merlin and the nex 5. I have this steadicam and the nex5n but i cant stabilizer the steadicam.

    Best Regards.

    1. the arc was in the middle… it was hard to balance this steadicam since a tiny movement of the stage plate forward or back would throw it off

  4. What do you recommend for a 4 lb setup…a small canon hf r21 plus mic and small light?

    I don’t want the stabilizer costing more than the camera setup!

    Also, I hope to upgrade to the 4 lb Sony nx cam series. Hope your recommendation will work for both, perhaps?

    Thank you,

  5. Hi – thanks for a very informative website.
    Which steadycam would you recommend for use with a Nikon Coolpix P510?

    1. Wow! That looks like a really nice steadicam for smaller cameras. I haven’t tested it yet, but if you get a chance to then please post a video with your results and share it here for everyone to see. Thanks for the link!

      1. I just ordered it and am waiting for coming. But as I think it’s not gonna come fast (I am in Russia). I will try to do it once I’ve received it.
        But I can’t compare it with the ones you showed – I don’t have them. Besides as you see I am just an amateur and I don’t think I can do a really good test)).
        The link has some video of it from youtube:
        but it’s an instruction not test.

  6. Hey, thanks for the tutorials. I have a question, I ordered glidecam 4000 and instead of it i got SevenOak SK-SW01(lol), which is up to 4 kgs as well. Well the ogranization that was giving money decided to change things a lil. I just wanted to know if there are big differencies between these two, did I miss anything, or this alternative works as fine? Thanks.

  7. Hi Tom, thanks for the tutorials!

    I have a Sony NEX 5N and the hague mini motion. However, I can never get the balance right. It always leans side to side and it just never seems to stay centered due to the asymmetry of the camera. Any tips on how to balance these? How did you do yours so well without a balance adapter? Thanks.

  8. I put the little swivel arm with the weights, almost all the way out to the left side. So its near 90 degrees to the left. Then I put the right amount of weight on it till it stays level.

    1. Thanks for the reply! I’m still having difficulty balancing with NEX. The only way it stays upright is if I put a lot of weights on the swivel arm. However, it sways side to side too much with any little movement. How much weight do you put on the swivel arm? Any other tips that could help? Thanks so much.

    2. Hy Tom,
      I watched your videos, great work, great advices, thank you.
      I wan to ask specific question about how to balance the Sony Nex5 camera on Sevenoak SK-W02. I’ve got this stabilizer today, and around 4-5 hours I was trying to balance that camera with 18-55mm kit lens. However I gave up, and decided that this stabilizer isn’t for Sony Nex cameras.
      I google’d info about this, and found couple more people had same experience like me. But I have found your comment in blog, saying, that you can balance Sony NEX.
      So finally, is it a way to balance this camera or not on exactly Sevenoak SK-W02 stabilizer? Or not? Please please Tom help me and other people. Because it became really annoying, and I am really disappointed of this product.
      Best regards

  9. I bought the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 with the thought in mind of upgrading to one of the BlackMagic cameras but I’m having serious second thoughts about that after seeing that you’re still doing amazing projects with your 7D, which is the camera I’ve had for a few years but didn’t know it was still relevant…. I’ve learned sooo much from your tutorials over these past few years and I can’t thank you enough!!!!

    1. Yup I still love my 7D and use it often… specily with the new firmware that lets you control audio levels I find that this camera works for most situations… and its so rugged and built like a beast that even thought I dropped it so many times it still keeps on working :)

  10. Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff
    from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity,
    Guess I will just book mark this web site.

  11. I recently purchased the CAME-TV Steadicam from the website but Im not sure how to set it up. Can you please email me back explaining how to hook it up the box? Thanks Tom

  12. Hi Tom,

    Thanks to your posts I have been able to buy the right stuff for my GH3 set up. I am planning to shoot my first music video shortly. However, I am a bit confused about the Stabilizer kit I should buy for the GH3. Would be great if you could give your opinion on the same. Thanks. I really appreciate what you doing here. Would love to work with you if ever an opportunity presents itself… Cheers

  13. Hi, great tutorials!
    im using my camcorder on the water, shooting sailing. up to now it looks terrible, because the horizon goes up and down. Do know the solution?
    I gues that rolling will be stabilized, but heave (up and down movement) when the camera boat goes up and down. Should an arm oriented horizontal instead of vertical help?

    cheers Baz

  14. Amazing tutorial Tom. Thank you very much.

    I am thinking about getting a non glimball stabilizer, as the Steadytracker, for instance.

    It looks that you won’t get the same steady movements but on the other hand may be you need less level of skill to get something of it. Less performing but much easier to balance and use. May be?


  15. Dear Tom,

    Thanks for the great website and your videos. I’ve really started getting into your content!

    I’m looking to buy a Panasonic Lumix GH4 soon. Do you have any recommendations about steadicams for the GH4?

    Thanks Tom.

    Melbourne, Australia

    1. Tom, I forgot to mention one thing. With the micro four thirds sensor, and the resulting crop factor, will the Panasonic micro four thirds 12-35mm lens still be wide enough to cover up slight steadicam movement? (See, I’m listening very carefully to your videos!)

      Cheers buddy.


  16. Hi,
    Thanks for all those great tutorials and products demo!
    I would like to know if a steadicam can be an alternative to a stabilized lense ? Or are my going to have a “shaky” image even with a steady cam if I use a non stabilized lense (i.e canon t3i + canon 50mm F/1.8) ?

  17. I have got a Nikon D750 with the kit lens. I was looking at some of your comparison videos for the Came-7800 and then started to check the top listed manual steady cams. Which model do you recommend for my type of camera. I will be needing to take a lot of moving shots.

    Thanks in advance.
    PS: your videos are very informative and thanks again for your time and efforts.

  18. Hello, Tom. Thank you for your helping tutorials and reviews.
    I’d like to ask you a question: When shooting with a Canon HF-G30 camcorder (combined with a Rode VideoMic Pro) will someone need to use a steadicam as an extra help to get some fine smooth result or does the existing in-camera stabilization system is quite enough? If the answer is “yes”, which one, up to $400 cost, do you recommend?
    Thank you in advance.

  19. Hi Tom, i found your vids on youtube and haven’t stopped watching them! Im impressed that you answer to the comments too!!
    I have a Canon 6D with 24-105mm lens (im working on getting a 50mm) its around 3 pounds all together. I work on the field in an NGO as a humanitarian assistant in Dominican Republic and have to be walking around a lot not just filming but taking photographs as well but my videos are way too shaky and loose their profesional value. :( What would you recommend i use to eliminate the shakiness without it being too heavy or a pain to work with while doing field work?

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