Smartphone cameras are getting better every year. They make us happier by helping us to preserve pleasant moments from the past. But it often happens that the video taken on the trip is shaky, and the photos from the child’s birthday are blurry and indistinct.
You can, of course, rely on the built-in stabilization of the camera and reshoot bad shots over and over again. Or move to a whole new level by purchasing a stabilizer for your phone. We have collected for you the top ten popular steadicams of 2022 that will get rid of unpleasant surprises, making the shooting process more enjoyable, and videos smooth and dynamic.
What to consider when choosing a stabilizer
A bit of history
Back in 1550, the Italian mathematician Gerolamo Cardano described a universal joint that allows an object to rotate in several planes at once. Today, this ingenious invention is known as the “gimbals”. It formed the basis of gyroscopes and, as you might guess, the driveline of cars. And in 1977, cinematographer Garrett Brown guessed to use it in his camera stabilization system.
Brown’s system has gained wide popularity under the Steadicam brand and is a patented trademark. Well, the name, as in the case of Xerox, has become a household name. Therefore, today we call steadicams both complex stabilizers for professional cameras and portable gadgets for mobile phones.
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The most important quality of a steadicam is the ability to hold the camera in a stable position. It depends on the suspension design. It can be mechanical or electronic. And also maintain stabilization in one, two or three planes.
- Pan axis (panorama) allows you to turn the phone left and right, capturing a smooth panorama of the area.
- Axis Roll (roll) keeps the horizon from obstruction.
- The Tilt axis (tilt) allows you to move the camera lens up and down smoothly.
Three-axis devices are more expensive, but provide the highest quality stabilization. In turn, the spirit cameras are more compact and lighter, while sometimes they are not much inferior to their expensive counterparts in the smoothness of the picture.
Gone are the days when steadicams simply eliminated camera shake. Today, they provide users with many features to capture creative photos and videos with cinematic effects. And the buyer can choose a device with the widest range of such “buns”.
- DynamicZoom – creates the so-called “Hitchcock effect”, when the subject remains stationary, and the background behind it shrinks or expands.
- CloneMe is a mode that allows you to place yourself in three different places on one photo. It works like this: the camera takes three photos with a pause of 5 seconds, so that the pier model moves to a new place. Then a panorama is assembled from three photos.
- Timelapse is a way to compress time by showing the dynamics of the environment in a short video. First you need to adjust the frame intervals and the total duration of the shooting. Then the program takes photos and creates a video based on them. Possible fixed and pre-set camera movement.
- Hyperlapse – the camera shoots video, moving along a given trajectory. Then it speeds up the image.
- Spin Shot – the camera rotates smoothly during operation, creating a whirlwind effect.
- Sports mode – allows you to more clearly track a given object, even when it is moving quickly.
During shooting, the steadicam will have to be held for a long time. Therefore, extra grams can affect both the quality of the video and the mood. On the other hand, it is difficult to place a capacious battery and powerful engines in a lightweight gadget. So, you have to choose: compactness or autonomy and performance.
It is not a fact that your phone is compatible with the selected stabilizer model. It may be heavier than allowed or simply do not fit into the mount. It also happens that smartphones with a large diagonal touch the suspension elements when turning. In order not to be upset in vain, you need to clarify all these details in advance.
Most modern steadicams allow you to work more than 8 hours on a single charge. But there are also models that stand out against the general background. So, for example, SNOPPA Atom has autonomy up to 24 hours. And along the way, you can recharge your smartphone using wireless charging.
Some amateur photographers own a whole arsenal of various smartphones, action cameras and mirrorless cameras. It is clear that it is more profitable for them to have one universal stabilizer for all occasions. And in our review there is such a model. This is Moza Mini-P with a maximum load of up to 900 grams.
The bestseller from the world-famous manufacturer of multicopters has retained all the advantages of previous models and received a revolutionary addition. Thanks to the original magnetic holder, you can now set up your phone and start shooting in just a couple of seconds. So, the stabilizer is ideal for travel.
For 5912 hryvnia, the buyer receives a compact and relatively light (390 g) two-axis steadicam with a time-tested design and many useful features. These include DynamicZoom, ActiveTrack 3.0 for improved auto-tracking, and CloneMe, which lets you place yourself in three different places in one photo. DJI OM4 is equipped with a 2450 mAh battery, which is enough for 13-15 hours of operation.
Advantages: stabilization quality, quick-release magnetic mount, folding design, convenient DJI Mimo app, can be used as a power bank.
Flaws: does not support 360 degree rotation.
The DJI Osmo Mobile 5 model was introduced in September 2021. It has become 100 grams lighter than its predecessor, received three-axis stabilization and a built-in selfie monopod. The magnetic holder has been upgraded to support the heaviest (up to 290 grams) modern smartphones.
The DJI OM 5 does a great job of stabilizing in the toughest conditions like running. In addition to the usual functions, the device received new ones: the ActiveTrack 4.0 tracking system and the convenient ShotGuides mode with training videos.
Advantages: compact, light weight, excellent stabilization in any conditions
Flaws: battery capacity decreased to 1000 mAh, no phone recharging function, no built-in backlight
Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus 3-axis steadicam is a good combination of price and quality. Its 30% more powerful motors handle angled and moving shots with ease. And the advanced tracking system keeps your subject securely in the frame.
The features of the device include the presence of a sports mode and support for cinematic effects. The built-in battery has a capacity of 4000 mAh and can be used as a power bank. You can buy Mobile Plus at a price of 2519 hryvnia.
Advantages: nice price, horizontal rotation within 640 degrees
Flaws: not the most convenient software
The versatile Mini-P can be used not only with smartphones and action cameras, but also with small mirrorless cameras weighing up to 900 grams. This allows you to save money by using one stabilizer for an entire collection of devices. The battery capacity in the device is 2000 mAh, which is enough for 12 hours of operation.
Flaws: big weight, price
The Feiyu VLOG Pocket 2 stabilizer is worth a closer look for those who care about mobility. After all, this is one of the most compact and light (268 grams) models in our review. The rest of the model is nothing special.
Gesture control, various time-lapse options, object tracking mode are available. The 1300 mAh battery provides 9 hours of operation. Pan axis rotation is limited to 330 degrees.
Flaws: not suitable for large smartphones, not the most stable application.
The Nano SE is more of an advanced selfie stick than a real stabilizer. The characteristics of the model are far from record-breaking: the maximum load is 140 grams, stabilization along one axis and only the simplest shooting modes.
But, if you look from the other side, it’s not so bad. The fact is that not all users have a desire to understand the advanced features of expensive models. Therefore, for them, the advantages of the baby from Moza outweigh the disadvantages. Firstly, it is light (250 grams). Secondly, it is well equipped: it has a sliding handle, a proprietary application, and a remote control. And all this for 1760 UAH.
Advantages: ultimate compactness, simplicity, price
Flaws: stabilization on one axis only
The lightest and most compact device in our review fits easily into a pocket or small bag. Therefore, it can become an indispensable travel companion, the first steadicam for a beginner or an addition to a serious three-axis stabilizer.
Advantages: telescopic stick, reasonable price
Flaws: single axis stabilization
A small stabilizer, comparable in size to the VLOG Pocket. Features Zhiyun Smooth Q2 can be called aluminum body, 3-axis stabilization, battery life for 17 hours.
Convenient holder design allows you to quickly disconnect the phone and just as quickly put it back on the stabilizer. Operating modes are standard for such devices: panorama, Time-Lapse, Hyperlapse, tracking, blocking, selfie.
Advantages: compact size, convenient operation, removable battery, 360-degree swivel range
Flaws: during tilts, the smoothness of shooting is lost, when shooting at a wide angle, the motor enters the frame
An inexpensive stabilizer from the Chinese brand Baseus supports 5 shooting modes and is suitable for smartphones weighing up to 250 grams. The battery with a capacity of 4500 mAh provides 12 hours of uninterrupted operation. The angle of rotation for each of the 3 stabilization axes is 320 degrees. The length of the device when folded is 28 centimeters, and the weight is about 520 grams.
Advantages: convenient application, price
Flaws: problems with stabilization in a position when the handle is higher than the smartphone
The compact SNOPPA Atom 3-Axis Stabilizer fits easily into the back pocket of your jeans. After all, it is only a centimeter wider and 2 centimeters higher than, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Therefore, you can carry Atom with you all day, which means that there will be even more interesting shots.
Low power consumption of engines and a capacious battery allow the steadicam to work without recharging up to 24 hours. It can also charge your smartphone using the wireless charger built into the holder or via USB Type-C. The cost of the device is 7457 hryvnia.
Advantages: compactness, enviable autonomy, 3.5 mm jack for connecting an external microphone, built-in wireless charging, supports 360-degree rotation
Flaws: tripod not included