Best Gimbal and Camera Stabilizers of 2023

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Best Gimbal and Camera Stabilizers of 2023

There's nothing like the feeling you get after playing your footage from an arduous day of filming, when you realize that everything you shot looks like your camera stumbled into a rogue washing machine, which then toppled down a comically large mountain range. Nothing like it. Unintentionally shaky footage can make a seemingly successful shoot become the bane of one's career. While there are certain measures one can take to mitigate the shakiness of footage in post, nothing will be as painless as simply stabilizing during production—hence the need for gimbals and camera stabilization systems. Today we’ll be going over a variety of camera stabilizers that can make your life as a camera operator a great deal more enjoyable.

To start, let's look at some gimbals. Just bear in mind there are other stabilizer options available that we will delve into later in the article.

DJI RS 3 Pro

When it comes to gyroscopic apparatuses that keep your camera stable—whether it’s flying around 400 feet in the sky or being driven through an off-road rally course—if you’re working with a DJI gimbal, you’re in good hands. The RS 3 is the latest and greatest of DJI’s flagship gimbals. At 3.3 pounds, with a hearty payload of up to 10 pounds, you can easily load this absolute workhorse of a gimbal with hefty cinema lenses and it will not falter. With this latest model from DJI, you now have access to automated axis locks, automatically locking and unlocking the RS 3 when switching between On and Sleep mode; unlike previous models that would require manual locking, the RS 3 is significantly more efficient by doing it for you. It may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re working with heavier rigs and you shut off your gimbal without immediately locking it, the powered-down motors make the rig susceptible to just dangling and banging into something.

DJI RS 3 Pro Gimbal Stabilizer
DJI RS 3 Pro Gimbal Stabilizer
  • Vertical + Horizontal shooting modes

  • 1.8" OLED touchscreen

  • ActiveTrack Pro

  • Carbon Fiber Body

DJI RS 3 Mini

It's exactly what it sounds like: a mini version of the RS 3. This is a fantastic option for those who are working with smaller camera setups and/or travel a lot and don’t have luggage room to spare. It weighs only a teensy 1.9 pounds, which makes holding this for shoots an absolute breeze. With a payload of 4.4 pounds, it also carries more than double its weight. Although it is smaller, the RS 3 Mini still retains a phenomenal run time of up to 10 hours with its 2450 mAh battery. Horizontal and vertical modes make it an excellent option for content creation across multiple social media platforms.

DJI RS 3 Mini Gimbal Stabilizer
DJI RS 3 Mini Gimbal Stabilizer
  • Bluetooth control

  • Panorama & timelapse functions

  • Tracking capabilities

Zhiyun CRANE 4

The CRANE 4 is an impressive flagship gimbal from Zhiyun. While it is one of the heavier ones on this list, it boasts an incredible load capacity of 13.2 pounds, so you can really go to town rigging this one out. It's got some nifty indicator lights placed directly on the motors, which flash white and red to indicate whether your setup is balanced. This is incredibly useful since gimbals are often improperly balanced, which can lead to undue stress and eventual burnout of the motors. Having lights like this is a great way to avoid such complications. It's nice to see that the CRANE 4 also comes stocked with a flexible wrist rest, which can take a good amount of the load off your wrist.

Zhiyun CRANE 4 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer
Zhiyun CRANE 4 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer
  • 12-hour run time

  • Horizontal & Vertical shooting

  • Bluetooth 5.0 control

  • Built-in 10W fill light

Ready Rig

While gimbals are an excellent solution for stabilizing your camera, it can make shooting for long durations rather taxing due to their added weight. The Ready Rig GS stabilizer + ProArm is a stabilizing system that significantly decreases the burden of carrying a fully rigged-out cinema camera and gimbal in a vest-like apparatus. Instead of having to muscle through the day by carrying everything by hand, the Ready Rig essentially redistributes the weight of your rig throughout one's hips and core. It also further enhances the stability of your shot by reducing the amount of bounce that comes along with handheld shots. For capturing a more natural handheld feel that isn’t as robotically smooth as a gimbal’s, you can forego a gimbal with this and just attach it directly to your camera rig. This will get rid of micro jitters but still allow you to maneuver the camera with a naturalistic handheld approach.

Ready Rig GS Stabilizer + ProArm Kit with Case
Ready Rig GS Stabilizer + ProArm Kit with Case
  • Supports up to a 40-pound payload

  • Takes the load off your arms and extends shooting durations

  • Telescopic arms allow for an effective boom range of 55"

  • 1/4"-20 and 3/8-16" threads allow for accessorizing

SmallRig Shoulder Mount

A massively underrated form of stabilization is the shoulder rig, which allows a camera to act as an extension of the operator's body, providing a tactile and precise feel all while removing camera shakes and jitters. SmallRig’s newly announced Shoulder Rig Pro kit lets you mount and operate a variety of compact cinema and mirrorless cameras all from the convenience of your shoulder. An ergonomic liquid silicone pad lets you haul a camera around comfortably for long durations. It’s a simple but incredibly practical method of stabilizing your footage.

SmallRig Shoulder Rig Pro Kit
SmallRig Shoulder Rig Pro Kit
  • 15mm rod support

  • VCT-14 tripod plate compatibility

  • Multiple 1/4"-20 accessory threads

While each of these tools vary and feature unique stylistic feels, from the robotic smooth motions that come from a gimbal to the more handheld, journalistic nature of a shoulder mount, they are all designed to help bring stability to your footage.

Which of these stabilizers would you like to work with? If you’ve worked with them already, which ones do you prefer? Let us know, below!

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