Serious videographer, amateur camera enthusiast, or just someone looking to produce a high-quality video for a big event: there are plenty of uses for a good camera gimbal. However, the main problem is finding one that will work for you.
There are a lot to choose from, with a number of brands competing for your attention. To make the decision easier for you, we rounded up and tested the 7 best camera gimbals, including options that work with your smartphone, DSLR camera or even an all-in-one camera and gimbal.
DJI OM 5
Small, lightweight and pocket-sized, the DJI OM 5 is a three-axis phone gimbal featuring a unique detachable magnetic phone clamp, allowing you to attach and detach your phone quickly and easily. While a 215mm telescopic arm makes the gimbal longer to provide greater distance between you and your phone, which is ideal for vlogging and selfies.
The gimbal is easy to use and the companion DJI Mimo provides camera functionality and control for both photos and videos. Plus, it includes useful tutorials to help you to set up the gimbal and learn how to use the controls. In use, the controls are well positioned and responsive, while the powerful motors do a great job of keeping your phone steady in both landscape and portrait formats.
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The OM 5 folds down to a small size when not in use and is available in white and grey finishes. Also in the kit is a soft storage bag, a wrist strap and a small tripod that can be used to stand the gimbal independently. The OM 5 also includes Active Track 4.0 for tracking moving subjects, which is an extremely useful feature that can be used when the gimbal is handheld or mounted on its mini tripod.
Zhiyun Smooth 5 Combo
The idea of a professional-level phone gimbal may seem strange, but with smartphones able to produce high-quality photos and videos, many people capture videos for work, pleasure and social media using their phone. So, a high-spec three-axis gimbal like the Zhiyun Smooth 5 Combo is the perfect choice if you’re looking for advanced features and functionality.
The features and level of stabilisation for a phone gimbal are second to none, but the compromise is a gimbal that’s slightly larger and heavier than entry-level options. It’s a small price to pay, but with features including four shooting modes for different situations, various modes including Hyperlapse and Pano, dolly zoom, subject tracking and a focus/zoom ring, it’s a seriously impressive piece of kit. Plus, the gimbal motor doesn’t block the phone, which can be rotated a full 360°.
The ZY Cami app works seamlessly with the Smooth 5 and provides access to the camera and its controls. The kit includes the gimbal, case, mini tripod, a charging cable and a magnetic fill light with up to 300-lumens brightness with colour temperature control. One LED comes in the kit, but a second can be purchased separately so that two can be used at once.
DJI Pocket 2
If you’re looking for the ultimate all-in-one solution, the DJI Pocket 2 is a pocket-sized camera and three-axis gimbal that you can carry anywhere. It’s smaller and lighter than a phone gimbal at just 117g, which makes it incredibly portable and comfortable to use with one hand. And with the ability to shoot video in up to 4K up to 60fps, and photos up to 64MP, you’ll never feel that your creativity is limited.
The Pocket 2 can be used as a standalone device using the controls on the handle, or it can be plugged into Android and iOS phones using the included USB-C and Lightning Connectors that are stored neatly away in the case. This provides a much larger screen for composing your photos and videos when compared to the tiny screen on the Pocket 2, but you may have to remove your phone case to do so.
The level of stabilisation is highly effective and includes several modes for different shooting situations. Video modes include everything you’d get with a modern smartphone including Hyperlapse, but you can also enjoy HDR video and the ability to shoot in the Normal colour profile for straight-out-of-camera video footage, or in D-Cinelike for colour grading in professional workflows.
With a maximum payload of 2.2kg and weight of 1.1kg, the Manfrotto MVG220 is a compact and lightweight professional gimbal offering a variety of useful features that extend its use beyond video stabilisation. Alongside the gimbal locking modes for achieving different gimbal movements, the MVG220 offers portrait mode to flip the camera upright, selfie for vlogging, inception for rotating the camera and time-lapse for combining gimbal movement with interval shooting.
The MVG220 can be controlled using the onboard controls and LCD touch screen, or you can use the Manfrotto gimbal app to control it remotely. Plus, with a variety of connectors included for different cameras, you can stop and start recording using the gimbal, and if the camera is compatible, you can adjust additional camera settings such as ISO, exposure compensation and white balance.
The MVG220 is easy to set up and use with a comfortable feel in the hand, and the included handle is great for additional stability and low-angle shooting. The gimbal comes in a robust polystyrene case and is quick and easy to set up after balancing using scales on adjustable parts, if the camera set-up remains the same, but it must be reset to the default after use to fit in the case.
Zhiyun Weebill 3 Combo
Zhiyun Weebill 3 Combo is aimed purely at video stabilisation, with no additional features beyond a built-in noise cancelling microphone and a Built-in LED light. The latter offers up to 1000 lux illuminance and an adjustable colour temperature of 2600-5400K allowing you to go from daylight balanced to warmer light. These are certainly useful in situations where you have minimal kit and need a quick fix.
The Weebill 3 is a solid three-axis gimbal that’s easy to set up and provides smooth movements and great stabilisation throughout the gimbal modes that change the way it behaves. Movement can be controlled using the controls or remotely using the ZY Play app. And with a record button on the Weebill 3, you can use the included cables to connect a variety of cameras and stop/start recording without touching the camera.
What’s most impressive about the Weebill 3 is simply how comfortable it is to hold and use. The wrist rest dramatically helps redistribute the weight of the gimbal, camera and lens. And the handle with a soft grip is ideal for added stability and low-angle shooting. The bag is much larger than the gimbal but allows it to be stored set up, with additional space for other gear at the bottom.
Zhiyun Smooth Q4 Combo
Beginner phone gimbals don’t have to be basic, and the Zhiyun Smooth Q4 Combo offers everything many users will need in a small and lightweight package that will fit in a jacket pocket. The combo kit also comes with a handy storage case and an LED light, alongside standard accessories including a mini tripod and a wrist strap. Stabilisation is smooth and the gimbal can comfortably accommodate both smaller and larger smartphones.
In terms of features, the Smooth Q4 offers four gimbal modes to provide different stabilisation results alongside a record button that can be used to stop/start video recording, switch between photo and video as well as shoot photos. The Smooth Q4 also features a 215mm telescopic pole which allows you to capture more creative angles and distance the phone camera for wide-angle selfies.
Camera control through the ZY Cami app works well with the gimbal and app; there’s a zoom wheel on the side of the gimbal’s handle that controls the camera zoom. And when the magnetic 5500K daylight balanced LED fill light is attached, pushing in the zoom dial allows you to turn the light on and off and access the four power settings. Plus, there are four coloured filters for colour-matching light sources and creative effects.
DJI RS 3 Combo
The DJI RS 3 Combo is a professional-level gimbal offering high-end features and functionality that will satisfy the needs of more demanding users. And with a rated payload of 3kg, the RS 3 can support a wide range of cameras, lenses and accessories with confidence. Everything comes in a small and comfortable case.
The combo kit also comes with a focus motor and accessories for adjusting focus. Plus, there’s a handle for additional support, shooting at low angles and with the gimbal positioned horizontally, while a 1.8-inch OLED touchscreen allows you to navigate the menu easily. And through the use of the DJI Ronin app, you can use your smartphone as a monitor, control some camera settings and even use the phone as a motion controller.
The RS 3 uses powerful motors that provide highly effective stabilisation alongside smooth and positive camera movements. Then there are various modes for different stabilisation effects, alongside Timelapse, Panorama and Track for combining gimbal movements with still images. Alongside these features, SuperSmooth mode can be used for enhanced stabilisation with longer lenses and fast-moving subjects, and the gimbal automatically unlocks and locks the three stabilisation axis for faster set-up when powered on and off, which is extremely useful.