Taking a video of a major event is a big thing. You hold your camera as steady as possible, you film everything and you are probably proud of your creation. However, as you start watching the video, you notice a blurry and shaky image that makes the viewer dizzy. Even though modern cameras feature built-in stabilization, this isn’t always enough. A stabilized camera mount is what you need to ensure a firm, steady and clear image regardless of the shooting conditions.
Years ago, large movie productions needed to spend a lot of money on pricey steadicam rigs. This was the only way to shoot high-quality footage of action scenes. A steadicam keeps the camera steady, allowing the cameraman to take smooth shoots while on the move. Thanks to the steadicam, the movement of the operator doesn’t influence the movement of the camera. For instance, you can use it to film a pool resurfacing operation by closely following the movement of the technician doing the work.
Today there are multiple options of steadicams, with prices that may vary within a relatively large range. There are even less expensive models that work just great. Here are some of the best camera steadicams you can find on the market today.
6. Liinmall S40 Handheld Steadycam
The Liinmall S40 is a handheld steadyicam that provides a wealth of features in a compact and lightweight package. Thanks to its smart counterweight design, this steadicam works with most DSLR cameras available today. The dials on the bottom part of the device allow you to adjust the weights as needed.
One of the best features of the Liinmall is its ergonomic mobile handle. This allows the user to switch between various positions while not losing the firm grip of the steadicam. The top mount matches most cameras on the market. The simple design of this mount allows for fast mounting and removal of the camera. This is also one of the fairly affordable options, even though you can find many cheaper ones around.
5. BINKO VS-C7 Camera Stabilizer
This is one of the best entry-level camera stabilizers. It is a great choice for anyone who’s just starting out shooting video. However, the fact that it works great for beginners doesn’t make it bad for more advanced users. Thanks to its lightweight carbon fiber frame and sleek design, this device can be a viable choice for those who need strength but aren’t willing to carry a heavy load.
This carbon fiber frame weighs only 2.2 lbs and it can hold most cameras that weigh just under 3 lbs. The quick release system comes in handy whenever you need to switch cameras. Thanks to the dual weight system, you’ll be able to enjoy a wider range of angles to work in. The stabilizer comes with a small carry bag included in the package.
4. Glide Gear DNA 1000# Small Camera Action Video Stabilizer
Glide Gear is one of the most reputable brands of stabilizers and gimbals. The versatility of the DNS 1000# makes is an excellent choice for both beginner and experienced videographers. It features a great stabilization power and it is fairly lightweight, thus being suitable even for hours long shooting sessions.
The DNS 1000# features 3-axis stabilization and it works with most cameras out there. It can hold cameras up to 1.5 lbs. The ergonomic handle and the sled based platform allow the smooth rotation of the camera. The quick release system is handy and very easy to use. This makes it very easy for you to quickly disassemble it whenever needed.
3. Opteka SteadyVid PRO Video Stabilizer System For DSLR Cameras
Many people may think Opteka has a rather poor design, but the truth is that it is capable of impressive performance. The most common complaint is that getting the balance right is rather challenging. Indeed, it took us about one hour to adjust the weights to achieve optimal balance. On the positive side of things, this has enabled the manufacturer to keep the design rather simple, and therefore to limit the weight of the stabilizer.
2. Glide Gear DNA 5050 DSLR Stabilizer
The Glide Gear DNA 5050 is an updated model in comparison with the 1000 series. The biggest changes involve the design, but everything else has basically stayed the same. Why change things that work, anyway? The good thing about the updated version is that is is easier to balance, thanks to a smarter weight distribution. The 5050 can withstand cameras up to 2 lbs, which is more than the previous model could handle.
This newer Glide model features a 2-axis system with adjustable shaft length. The handle allows for the smooth rotation of the camera. The spongy rubber protection of the handle helps maintaining a firm and steady grip. Basically, this is one of the best camera stabilizers. Its major downside that might turn many people off is its relatively high price tag.
1. Roxtant Pro Stabilizer
The sleek and ergonomic design of the Roxtant is a happy marriage of form and function. The unequaled versatility of this system makes it one of the most sought-after devices in its class. The stabilizer enjoys excellent weight distribution, thanks to the handle located right beneath the camera. The rubber coated handle is comfortable, pleasant to the touch and spongy enough to prevent the sweating of the palms.
This device has a reversed C-shaped profile with hooks pointing towards the operator. This shape helps the manufacturer keep the production costs down, with direct benefits for us, the end users. The black paint looks stylish and the reduced weight of the device makes it ideal for long shooting sessions.
This stabilizer can withstand up to 2 lbs and it suits most DSLR cameras on the market. Perhaps the biggest advantage of this device is that it is foldable, thus being much easier to pack directly into your camera bag. If you need to travel with your camera, consider taking a closer look at this stabilizer, as it is one of the best options for travelers.
Camera stabilizers or steadycams require an effective balancing system to enable you shoot high-quality footage to use for your videos. If you fail to achieve the optimal calibration of the whole system, it will simply fail to stabilize your image, so your footage will be shaky and blurry. You’d find yourself in the situation of not being able to use the footage, despite the money you already spent on your camera stabilizer. For best results, you need a stabilizer that’s easy to calibrate. Another thing to take into account is the weight of your system. If you need to hold your camera for minutes in a row, you’ll quickly see that weight does matter. A heavy system will make it impossible for you to be comfortable during long filming sessions. By the end of the day you won’t be able to hold your camera steady, no matter how hard you’d try. If you plan to shoot long sessions, a lightweight device is an absolute must. As DSLR cameras are quite heavy themselves, you’ll want to add as little as possible on top of that weight. Keep in mind that you’ll have to carry around this system for many hours at a time, throughout the whole day. A lightweight choice will make your task a bit easier.
Another thing to keep in mind is that price and quality are closely related. Nevertheless, there are situations when a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean a better quality. This means you shouldn’t buy the most expensive stabilizer of all simply because you’ve seen a lot of advertising for it. Similarly, not all cheap stabilizers are bad. This is why you should always undergo a thorough market research before making your final decision.
The rule of the thumb I always like to observe is that you should pick two of the following: cheap, strong, lightweight. Lightweight and strong stabilizers are made from carbon fiber, hence being more expensive. Cheaper stabilizers are made from heavier materials. You should try to find your own sweet spot here. Also, try out as many devices as you can, read reviews and find what works best for you.