If we were to list down mankind’s greatest ever inventions, the invention of cameras would surely have made the cut. Cameras have transformed the way we look into our world and a lot of industries are directly or indirectly linked to these cameras. These cameras are the base of the entertainment industry which has grown enormously over the years. Their applications are pretty wide, from simple selfie cameras in the phone to high technology cameras working with satellites which are monitoring the world for good, these cameras are everywhere.
Since the invention of first cameras in late 1880’s, the development or the evolution of these cameras never stopped and these days we are living at the peak of it. Even a simple phone which costs you less than 100 bucks comes with a camera. The flagship smartphones are competing with each other for bringing the best camera. Cameras were once supposed to be used by the professionals only who considered cameras as their bread and butter. But with the advancement of internet and especially social media, these cameras have now made into the pockets of a common man.
The madness of social media
There is no way you can imagine being a hit on any social media platform without owing a decent camera. People post pictures from their daily lives and leave what they can call ‘digital footprints’ on the internet. Many cameras manufacturers are now in business trying their best to bring professional cameras at affordable prices. This has given a lot of options to the customers and these cameras have now become much more accessible. Cameras are now getting better and better and they are being loaded with a lot of interesting featured. There are tons of photography modes on the professional cameras which bring the ultimate quality in the images. Even the cameras in some of your smartphones are now almost as good as the professional ones and they are also backed with interesting photos.
Know your shooter
No matter what kind of camera you own, the first thing that you need to know is to know everything about your shooter. Most of the times, people do own great cameras but they fail to get the best out of them because they are not even aware of their camera’s ability. The first thing that you should be doing after getting your hands on a new camera is to read its manual carefully. Yes, it is very boring but it will give you complete information regarding what your camera is capable of and then you need to practice shooting as much as possible. Getting to know your camera is the first thing and the rest will just come along.
Accessories and stabilizers
There are many accessories available in the market which help you improve your photography skills. No matter what kind of camera are you using, be it a professional one or some really good smartphone camera, you will always find something valuable to add to it. Different kinds of lens and stabilizers are the most common ones to say the least. You must have come across or heard the gimbals and Steadicams. Both of these are used for stabilization and most people have no idea what differs them apart and what is similar between two. This article of ours is going to make it all very easy for you as we are going to present Gimbal vs. Steadicam: What is the Best Camera Stabilizer? Let’s get started.
Steadicams have been around for a very long time now and they were ideally made for cinema production cameras. They came into the business around 1970’s and their popularity has never seen a decline since then. Some of the people think that with the arrival of gimbals, Steadicams are now getting something ‘old school’ which is not true at all. There are a huge number of people/ photographers who still prefer using Steadicams over the gimbals. Steadicams are more like a manual machine, they dint have any motors of gyros, but they rather use simple physics and offer great results when it comes to the stabilization of your images or videos.
Have a look at the following youtube video too:
Functionality of Steadicams
They are pretty simple and somehow limited when it comes to their controls and features and require more of your physical input and the results are not any lesser in terms of quality comparing it with any of the gimbals out there. You might come across few compatibility issues when it comes to these Steadicams as you are not going to find a perfect fit Steadicam for all your cameras. However, that does not mean you are not going to be able to use some of your cameras, you will just need to work with some manual adjustments. When we talk about Steadicams, they are usually or ideally designed for the very best cameras out there. Even the very best among the professional’s cameras, these Steadicams are commonly used in film producing cameras. Most of these cameras are huge and heavy. However, these Steadicams can also be used with some of the lightweight cameras but as we said before, you will have to make some adjustments, add some weight to it in order to make your light camera behave as a heavier one.
Adjustments to Steadicams
There are a number of mounts and accessories that you can use with these Steadicams in order to make certain adjustments. These Steadicams are pretty heavy in weight and you will need a lot of work and effort to deal with. The weight is a not all on your hands and arms though but it is distributed all over. Apart from that, they are not simple stabilizers that you will attach your cameras and done, no way! You are going to need years of practice before you can count yourself as a master of some of these Steadicams. With the Steadicams everything is more of a hardware sort of thing. There is no software running for you to manage it. Whatever you do, you do it manually. Unlike gimbals, Steadicams don’t use motors and batteries and that means less maintenance and you will have run out of batteries. However, you will need to balance it all by yourself according to your different shots. One of the things that are worth mentioning about the Steadicams is that when it comes to the vertical translation over the vertical axis, they do a great stabilization job.
Gimbals are known to be somewhat new to the market and they seem to take over the cameras when it comes to the stabilization. Gimbals are pretty different from Steadicams in terms of their working and overall design. One of the most important reasons gimbals are getting very popular is that they are now available for almost all kinds of your cameras. There are many different gimbals available in the market which are design to work for your smartphones and therefore you have lots of options to use gimbals when it comes to your cameras. Gimbals keep the device level and prevents it from shaking and vibrating which results in better pictures. The rings on the gimbals consist of motors eliminate the motion whenever it is detected and as a result you have a smooth picture. Mirrorless cameras feature a single, removable lens and uses a digital display system rather than an optical viewfinder.
Technicalities with your gimbals
The motors are what bring the stabilization and that does not mean you don’t have to balance your gimbal. You will still need to balance it all and will need effort and time to get used to your gimbals. The motors mean that you will always have to charge them and for that you will require batteries. The maintenance of your gimbal is relatively higher than the maintenance of your Steadicams. You will have to worry about running out of the battery and of course you will need to worry about keeping them charged. Getting your hands on your gimbal is not very straightforward but it is surely easier if you compare it with the Steadicams. Once you get used to how your motors are adjusted, you will start to feel better with your gimbals.
Wide range of options
As mentioned earlier, these gimbals are available for a wide range of cameras. They are being used by the professionals, the film makers and by the smartphone users as well. They come in different shapes and sizes depending on their compatibility with certain shooters. They are also very popular in drone cameras and seem to serve you just right over there. Some of these gimbals come at very affordable prices and you don’t need to have a professional grade camera to be getting assisted by these gimbals. These gimbals, the ones for your professional cameras are also pretty heavier in weight but they are even more difficult to handle than the Steadicams as with these gimbals, all the weight is on your hands and arms. These gimbals are usually lower in weight compared to the Steadicams but all that weight is on your arms which can make it a bit difficult for you to keep shooting without breaks. These professional gimbals can also be molded with different mounts and accessories to made adjustments to your certain types of cameras.
2-axis and 3-axis gimbals
When it comes to the camera gimbals, unlike the Steadicams, it is not all about the hardware but your controls over the motor movement. Some of these gimbals come with very handy remote controls with their convenient joystick controls which make things a bit more reliable and convenient for you. These gimbals were first introduced with only 2-axis controls and late the 3-axis controls came into the market however, when it comes to the vertical translations, the Steadicams are easier to balance and they do have a slight edge there.
watch it out here:
So which one is it?
Steadicams have been around for a very long time now and they are very commonly used by the professionals however, the gimbals are somehow new in the business. It is almost impossible to pick one over the other as both of them are pretty good with what they do. You will find certain variations in both but they are both meant for the same purpose of stabilization. We are going to present an analogy, which is not a great analogy but it’s an analogy anyway. You can consider the Steadicams as your manual gear cars and your gimbals as your automatic ones. Now, both serve you the same purpose but differ in the way they work. They can also be compared with android and IOS applications. They function a bit differently but ultimately offer you pretty much the same thing. Some people find IOS better which others go with android.
Popularity of gimbals
Gimbals are getting very popular because you can find a gimbal for almost any of your cameras while when it comes to the Steadicams, it is not exactly like that. Gimbals might make you feel convenient to use but they also come with lots of maintenance. The way your gimbal or you Steadicam works does not depend on your equipment but it also depends on the operator as well. Different professionals deal with cameras in a different way with different techniques and you will find high level professionals siding with both the gimbals and the Steadicams.
You got to have one of the two
If you are a starter when it comes to this whole science of stabilization and you have never used anyone of these stabilizers, we can recommend going for a simple gimbal to start with. But again, don’t take our word to be unchangeable, you can surely go for a Steadicam as well and it will serve you just right. No matter which one are you going to use, you will surely need a lot of patience and effort before you can know them really well. they bring wonders to your work and as a professional, there is no way you can work your way through without having to know and use one of these stabilizers.