Steadicams, Glidecams and 3-axis Digital Camera Gimbals
Many people ask me what is better, a digital 3-axis gimbal or a traditional steadicam? I would say they both have their advantages and disadvantages, and depending on the situation, one might be better than the other.
Gimbals area easy to use, meaning you can start getting smooth shots fast. But they are also a lot more expensive and less reliable – they require more trouble shooting with batteries, settings, etc. Similarly, they are susceptible to weather elements. Finally, gimbals can produce movement that is a bit stiff and robotic.
On the other hand, old-fashion stabilizers produce organic movement, and they are durable and reliable – they almost always work. However, you need to take the time to learn how to use them.
I have a very extensive set of reviews and tutorials about glidecams and steadicams. So, check them out if you want to learn how to balance and use traditional stabilizers.
Having used many different stabilizers, here are a few I can personally recommend.
The best all-around traditional stabilizer is the Devin Graham series Glidecam, which I reviewed here. I like it because it works with big and small cameras, and it is very fast to set up.
When it comes to full steadicams, the one I use is from CAME-TV. It can be used as a glidecam, or combined with an arm and vest for a full steadicam kit. Here is my review of it.
If you want a 3-axis digital gimbal, then I recommend CAME-TV, too. Their gimbals offer very good performance at a competitive price.
My favorite one is the ARGO – you can see the review here.
For heavier cameras I would go with the CAME-TV Prodigy (here is my review).
Another great gimbal for heavier cameras is the recently released DJI Ronin 2. I had a chance to use it a trade show, and the gimbal looks amazing, but… it’s also very expensive. Therefore, I think the two CAME-TV gimbals mentioned above are a better buy. Still, if you want the absolute best and can afford it, then that’s the gimbal to look at.