$369 Gimbal Versus $10,000 Stabilizer Rig

The price disparity between entry-level and high-end equipment in photography and videography is larger than every, and in many ways, that makes comparing them more interesting. In this video, one videographer shoots b-roll with a cheap smartphone gimbal and an expensive stabilizer rig to see just how much difference there is.

In the summer of this year, I reviewed the Zhiyun-Tech Smooth-Q3 Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer which is around $100. I didn't expect much, but I found that paired with the right phone, it could be a seriously useful tool for b-roll and simpler videography, like behind-the-scenes footage for instance.

I have used a number of gimbals over the years and the differences between the mid-tier examples aren't particularly pronounced, but if you force the issue by comparing an entry-level gimbal with a high-end system, you get a far larger gap, as you would expect. What needs to be reiterated here is that a cheap smartphone gimbal and a phone with a decent camera can do a lot of basic shots. However, where the specialized rigs come into their own — and are often completely irreplaceable — is when you have more difficult and intricate shots.

The comparison is really just some fun, but what did you make of the difference? Are there any scenarios in which you can see yourself using a cheap gimbal and a smartphone?

Robert K Baggs's picture

Robert K Baggs is a professional portrait and commercial photographer, educator, and consultant from England. Robert has a First-Class degree in Philosophy and a Master's by Research. In 2015 Robert's work on plagiarism in photography was published as part of several universities' photography degree syllabuses.

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Click bate for his contest. I'm not video oriented, but the road is absolutely horrible when the car is in motion following the video team in the the other car with the phone. There we go, it's pretty obvious that even new phones are not what people say about the quality. Not sure if it's AI that can't keep up or what the Iphone problem is but it simply can't render the pavement properly.

Click bate, huh?

Fixed, thanks.

After looking at the Ronin footage, I am guessing the rig is severely under weighted. You need weight for stability on a rig that big. I've used a Crane 3 Lab with a spring suspension vest and a GH5 and I had similar result as seen here. I would get that bumpy movement instead of fluid movement. I managed to add a 10lb weight plate between the gimbal and stabilizer arm and everything is super smooth now. This has been my experience at least.