At times the world can be an uncertain place full of jolts, bumps, and wobbles. We people are pretty well designed for handling and filtering out all that shakiness in our daily lives, but cameras are a completely different story.
Without tripods, dollies, Steadicams, and gimbals to keep things stabilized, it’d be pretty hard for us to focus on a story, having to look at it through so much turbulence.
Since the release of the first handheld gimbal stabilizer, the MoVi M10 in 2013, they’ve helped keep things steady in every single film and video production market. They are made to be big enough for the largest cinema cameras out there and also made to be small enough to fit in your pants pocket.
But with a plethora of manufacturers, models, and parts and accessories, how can you determine which one is the best? We’ve got you covered. Here is our take on the best of the best gimbals.
Best Overall: DJI RS 2
The RS 2 deliver excellent stabilization with upgraded structures and performance. Intelligent creative functions and carefully designed accessories are also available to meet shooting demands in a wide range of scenarios.
- Outstanding Stabilization
- Built-In Screen
- Focus Control
- Not Much
DJI is a huge company and a force to be reckoned with in the film and video world. They may be best known for their army of camera drones, but their handheld gimbals are always a cut above the rest too.
The Ronin 2 is their heavyweight contender for the high-end, big camera cinema world, but the RS 2 actually has more features, a lighter frame, automated functions, and a design that lets you take it with you anywhere.
DJI RS 2 Highlights:
- Lightweight Design with 10lb Payload
- Supports BMPCC 6K, ALEXA Mini LF, 1D X
- Advanced 1.4" Full-Color LCD Touchscreen
- DJI Titan Stabilization Algorithm
- SuperSmooth Feature for Long Lenses
- Support for RavenEye 1080p Transmitter
- Standard and Portrait Modes
- Object Tracking, 360° Roll, Time Tunnel
Coming in at just 2.38lbs, this compact carbon fiber gimbal can support cameras up to 10lbs! This isn’t just for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, the RS2 can fly a stripped-down ALEXA Mini LF—a camera that is considered by many to be the Hollywood standard for professional cinema. However, it can still handle something small like a Sony a7S III too.
The size and storability of the RS2 is notably impressive. It can be broken down and stored in a small nylon briefcase, which is included. The design of the body is also well thought out and feels very comfortable in the hand with direct access to a focus knob for the optional electronic follow focus system.
Every setting and feature is accessible on the full-color 1.4” touch screen—you can set and control the gimbal with apps for iOS and Android, but you don’t have to like other gimbals.
Paired with the RavenEye 1080p Transmitter, the gimbal gains the ability to track and follow any object of person—and it can even accurately pull focus with the optional DJI Ronin 3D Focus System. The previous model, the DJI Ronin-S, required the use of a mobile device mounted above the camera to get some of the same functionality, and it didn’t always work.
A nifty camera trick to perform with this handheld gimbal is a 360° dutch roll, which previously required a highly specialized and expensive rig to accomplish. Not only can this trick be performed fairly easily with the RS2, but DJI has also gone one step further with a new feature called Time Tunnel. It’s a hyper-lapse 360° roll that is so cool that we never knew we even needed it.
Soon to be released, Tilta has partnered with DJI to design an entire ecosystem of third-party accessories for the DJI RS2. In the coming months, we’ll be seeing car mounts, jib attachments, sliders, a ring grip, and what looks to be an ARRI Trinity inspired Steadicam combination that is sure to add an insane level of capabilities to the RS2.
No gimbal is worth it if it can’t keep your shots steady, and rock-solid stabilization is at the heart of DJI’s new Titan Stabilization Algorithm, promising buttery smooth shots and greater efficiency than its predecessor. A SuperSmooth Feature also provides greater stabilization for use with longer lenses. This feature requires the use of an included lens strap for greater camera rigidity.
Priced at $850, it might be too expensive for some, but one thing that DJI offers that makes it even harder to pass up is the optional DJI Care Refresh program, an optional replacement program for $89 in which they will replace your gimbal if you break it.
With so many camera options, such a small size, so many accessories, features, and support, there is simply no other gimbal that is even worth buying in this weight class. The DJI RS2 is a must-have for your kit.
You can read our review here.
Table of Contents
- Best Overall: DJI RS 2
- How We Picked
- Best Alternative: Zhiyun Crane 2S
- Best Compact: DJI RSC 2
- Best Budget: Moza Mini-P
- Final Thoughts
How We Picked
Our main priority was finding gimbals that offered fast and easy setups. We included stabilizers we have personal experience with and we also looked at reviews, both consumer and professional, paying attention to ease of use, functionality, and durability reports.
Best Alternative: Zhiyun Crane 2S
The Crane-2S handles large cameras such as the BMPCC 6K, Panasonic S1H, Canon EOS 1DX Mark II with total ease.
- FlexMount System
- 6 Gimabl Modes
- Vertical Quick Release Mount
- Not Much
If you're looking for something that is like DJI, the Zhiyun Crane 2S is worth considering. Zhiyun has a wide range of gimbals for smartphones on up to heavier cinema cameras. The Crane S2 is a balance between price and payload capacity. It's strong enough for mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic S1H, Sony a7S III, or Canon R5, and still nimble enough to fit in your backpack.
Similar to the DJIs, Zhiyun offers a Pro model with Crane-2S Sling Grip Handle, TransMount CRANE 2S DualCam Extension Module, TransMount Image Transmission Transmitter 2.0, TransMount Phone Holder with Crown Gear, and TransMount Focus/Zoom Control Motor 2.0 for all your shooting needs.
If you're looking for something with a little more payload capacity, the Crane 3S offers up to 14lbs of stability.
Best Compact: DJI RSC 2
This compact stabilizer for mirrorless and DSLR cameras features a foldable design and intuitive features, empowering filmmakers, one-man crews, and content creators everywhere.
- Built-in 1" OLED Screen
- Multiple Shooting Modes
- Foldable Design
- Not Much
The DJI RSC 2 shares many of the features of the RS 2, but has a smaller payload capacity of only 6.6lbs. So if your setup is smaller, this is definitely the DJI version to consider, especially because of its unique foldable design.
Best Budget: Moza Mini-P
The foldable and sleek design allows MOZA Mini-P to be folded down to the size of a novel. It easily fit into a backpack, a day bag, or even a car glove box, and can be taken anywhere.
- Compact Size
- Camera Controls
- 2 lb Capacity
If the price is a concern, the Moza Mini-P has your back. The foldable, lightweight gimbal features a 2lb payload capacity and is compatible with multiple devices, such as smartphones, action cameras, compact cameras, and light mirrorless cameras, making it the perfect gimbal for traveling, adventuring, filmmaking, or just capturing everyday life.
With so many options out there, it can be really difficult to pick the system that is going to work best for you. If you’re looking to save a little cash, there are tons of affordable gimbals out there on the market to consider. Camera weight and shape are extremely important to keep in mind when you’re choosing a rig.
DJI is a well-respected company in film and video production and you cannot go wrong with their products. If you’re looking for a gimbal for anything from a RED DSMC 2 to an iPhone to one you can clip onto you and wear, like the Osmo Pocket, DJI has you covered.