The 10 Best Camera Stabilizers

Updated September 15, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

10 Best Camera Stabilizers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Serious shooters demand steady shots. Our selection of camera stabilizers, which includes everything from budget options ideal for indie filmmakers to rigs suited for professional videographers and cinematographers, will help you capture the perfect moving images for documentaries, sporting events, movies, and more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best camera stabilizer on Amazon.

10. Roxant Pro ROX-1C

The Roxant Pro ROX-1C allows you to shoot smooth motion shots in tight spaces, such as on staircases, inside cars, or in crowds. Its no-slip lower arm also prevents user fatigue and it only requires a single hand to operate.
  • includes 3 separate counterweights
  • great for indie filmmakers
  • handle diameter is too small
Brand Roxant
Model ROX-1C
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. Neewer Carbon Fiber 24-Inch

The Neewer Carbon Fiber 24-Inch provides a lightweight platform for smaller capturing options, like mirrorless units and smaller DSLRs with moderately sized lenses attached. Its high-precision bearings and low friction joints operate quietly enough not to disturb sound.
  • universal quick-release plate
  • holds up to 3 kg
  • some plastic parts break easily
Brand Neewer
Model 10084774
Weight 5 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Flycam HD-3000

While it may be a little more expensive than its most direct competition, the Flycam HD-3000 provides you with its micro balancing system, a clamp-based adjustment platform that gets your setup smoother faster, saving you valuable time on set.
  • aluminum construction
  • tool-free post extension
  • heavy when loaded
Brand FLYCAM
Model 954-FLCM-HD-3-QT
Weight 9.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Camtree Galaxy

Ideal for professional use, the Camtree Galaxy is designed with a sophisticated heavy-duty gimbal bearing that prevents angular deviation when shooting. Its stabilizing arm is also exceptionally durable, though its weight limit is a little low.
  • includes an ergonomic vest
  • built-in quick-release plate
  • no monitor for reference
Brand Flycam
Model SKU889
Weight 26.4 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Glide Gear Geranos

The Glide Gear Geranos combines a motorized, three-axis gimbal with a neck strap support, taking the majority of the unit's weight out of your arms and positioning it in a much more comfortable manner. It can also operate handheld to achieve additional shooting angles.
  • 3 programmed controls
  • 2 battery sets included
  • somewhat overpriced
Brand Glide Gear
Model GNS100
Weight 9.6 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Varavon Birdycam Lite

With a carrying capacity of just 5-1/2 lbs., the Varavon Birdycam Lite is better suited for small DSLRs and mirrorless cameras than any larger, more professional rigs. Combining a more diminutive setup with its lightweight frame, however, will make for easier shooting.
  • aluminum alloy and plastic
  • comfort gel handles
  • minimal cross-brand compatibility
Brand Varavon
Model 1010000000000
Weight 6.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Movo VS7

The Movo VS7 doesn't extend quite as long as some of its competition, but its weight system is designed so that it shouldn't have to. That counterbalance, when properly aligned, can also serve as a quick tripod if you're in a pinch.
  • carbon fiber construction
  • compatible with vest arms
  • us-based customer support
Brand Movo
Model VS7
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Ikan MD2 3-Axis Handheld A.I.

The Ikan MD2 3-Axis Handheld A.I. uses intelligent algorithms to balance your setup on its axes, drastically cutting down on the time it takes to set up for a shot with a new lens. Its joystick controls provide added articulation during complicated moves.
  • wood grain ergonomic handles
  • automatic calibration
  • up to 6 hours of battery life
Brand Ikan
Model MD2
Weight 12.7 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. DJI Ronin 3-Axis Gimbal

The DJI Ronin 3-Axis Gimbal is capable of providing you with the same potential for smoothness in your shooting as the more professional vest units, but it does so with the use of a motorized gimbal instead of a counterweight system alone.
  • up to 4 hours of battery life
  • built-in receiver for app commands
  • 3 operation modes
Brand DJI
Model Ronin
Weight 49.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Tiffen Steadicam Pilot-AB

If you want comprehensive stabilization that provides unparalleled smoothness in a wide variety of shooting situations, look no further than the Tiffen Steadicam Pilot-AB. Lauded in the professional film industry for its strength and versatility, it is second to none.
  • 6-inch color lcd monitor
  • comfortable vest
  • nuanced counterbalance system
Brand SteadiCam
Model PILOT-AB
Weight 24.7 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

What’s A Stabilizer Going To Do That My Strong Arms Can’t?

Let’s say you’re a filmmaker. You don’t have to be modest about it. Own it. Maybe you took some classes in high school or college, or maybe you went so far as to attend film school. You’ve honed your skills on the page, spending hours writing draft after draft. You’ve taken acting classes just so you could speak in the strange tongues that actors use to discuss their craft. You’ve even invested in a high-quality DSLR and a slew of top-notch lenses. All this in the name of telling your story.

So, what do you do when you get to set, you’ve got all the pieces in place to shoot, you’ve got about 30 minutes of sunlight left, and your shot looks too shaky? Well, you could try to fix it in post, but that will mean you lost a good portion of your frame, and, more often than not, those effects are severely limited. You could also try to hold the camera as steadily as possible and hope the audience forgives you (they might, but festival judges won’t). It sounds to me like you should have invested in one of the great camera stabilizers on our list.

Camera stabilizers generally work by way of counterweights. They’ll set your camera on a platform that has some motion to it — usually some kind of gimbal or fulcrum — and they’ll hang weights beneath the heaviest part of the camera body. The effect should balance out the camera against its own motion, though it doesn’t always run so smoothly.

If you want to achieve the kind of stability you see in professional Hollywood films, you’re probably going to end up combining a stabilizer with a small amount of post-production smoothing. What a good stabilizer will do is drastically reduce the amount of parallax in your shots that could lead to warp distortion. That’s what happens when your editing software tries to pick a point of reference for its stabilization, but there’s so much movement in all three dimensions that the whole image shifts unrealistically.

Obviously, the smoother you can get your shot in-camera the better. The best stabilizers on our list do this by providing you with a lot of adjustment points. Remember, these stabilizers are designed for universal use across a wide array of DSLRs, camcorders, phones, and more, so they need to provide counterbalance for an equally long range of camera weights. In most cases, manufacturers market their devices for units of a certain weight range. Even these will require minute adjustment points, however, as the use of different lenses and the addition of various accessories for capturing sound and controlling light will all affect a camera’s weight.

How To Choose The Best Stabilizer

When comparing the camera stabilizers on our list, the first thing you ought to do is eliminate any that cannot accommodate your camera. In some cases, this will be a weight issue; in others, size will be the problem. This is a pretty common sense step, as a stabilizer intended for a tricked out RED setup is probably overkill if all you need to stabilize is your iPhone. Of course, you may need to physically weigh your go-to setups, with everything from hotshoe mics to mounted monitors attached.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list to the stabilizers that are meant to hold your type of camera, you should — as we indicated above — investigate the stabilizer's method of counterbalance. The more nuanced your weight adjustments, and the more axes upon which you can adjust the camera’s center of gravity over the counterweights, the more likely you’ll be able to effectively stabilize your shot.

In most cases, the more completely a stabilizer allows you to control the smallest aspects of counterbalance, the more you’ll pay for it. There are exceptions to this rule, but at this step, you’ll want to maximize your adjustment options from within your budget.

There are electronic mechanical gimbal options out there, as well. These often come with software and take a while to setup at home before you ever get to set. They can attach to a variety of vests, and when they work, they can provide you with stunningly smooth shots.

I have to be honest here, though: I’ve been on a lot of indie sets where this exact type of stabilizer did nothing but cost the production valuable time. They can be extremely finicky if anything about the preprogrammed weight profile for a given camera changes, and making adjustments in the field is not usually easy. As a result, I’d say this option is best left to the pros, or to anyone with a lot of time on their hands to master the ins and outs of its temperament.

The Quest For A Stable Shot

There are a lot of techniques filmmakers have used throughout the years to achieve a steadier shot. Indie filmmakers today build complex DIY dollies, mount cameras on skateboards, and operate while sitting moving wheelchairs, among other innovative techniques. For a famous shot in Godard’s Band of Outsiders, the legendary director supposedly laid the camera down on his leather jacket and had his cinematographer pull the coat along the museum floor throughout the take.

Given all this ingenuity in the field, a development like the Steadicam was almost inevitable. In the early 1970s, an American cinematographer named Garrett Brown got to work on a counterbalance system that could stabilize handheld shots. His invention won him an Oscar and gave the movie world some of the most iconic shots in film history, including the image of Sylvester Stallone as Rocky bounding up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Of course, it wasn’t long after its initial creation that imitators showed up to the party. Some of these drove minor innovations, though most were content to make a cheaper version of the original. That Steadicam, produced now by the company Tiffen, has gotten lighter and more versatile, with attachable monitors and a vest that makes the device feel practically weightless.



Statistics and Editorial Log

0
Paid Placements
4
Editors
43
Hours
6,166
Users
25
Revisions

Wiki Granular Update & Revision Log


help support our research


Patreonlogoorange psj5g7Wiki ezvid low poly earth xdypeb

Last updated on September 15, 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.


Thanks for reading the fine print. About the Wiki: We don't accept sponsorships, free goods, samples, promotional products, or other benefits from any of the product brands featured on this page, except in cases where those brands are manufactured by the retailer to which we are linking. For our full ranking methodology, please read about us, linked below. The Wiki is a participant in associate programs from Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, Target, and others, and may earn advertising fees when you use our links to these websites. These fees will not increase your purchase price, which will be the same as any direct visitor to the merchant’s website. If you believe that your product should be included in this review, you may contact us, but we cannot guarantee a response, even if you send us flowers.