Art and Photography

Do I really need a 3 axis Gimbal?

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  • Mar 27th, 2017 9:18 pm
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Do I really need a 3 axis Gimbal?

Hey all, I have a underused Oly OMD EM5 Mk2 & a Panny GF7 as a runabout&travel point & shoot. One of the main reasons I underused my cams is likely cos I'm not great at photo/videography. I have job which takes alot of my time + hobbies (primarily cycling/mtb/motorcycling) which also consumes whats left of my relaxation + tv time.

Question is would a gadget like a gimbal add to my videography enjoyment or will be a case of new toy syndrome & end up gathering dust in the closet.

Been doing some research the last few days & I'm likely down to a Zhiyun Crane-M as not only does it seem to work amazing & well built, I can also use it with my phone, action cam (likely a future buy) + both my cams fit into the weight capability but the Oly EM5 mite be very close the limit esp with a telephoto although I'd likely use it with primes (which in that case, I'm hitting around 600gm at a top limit of 650).

What do you guys think? Is the Crane-M a hit or miss for me?
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The Crane-M payload is up to 650g, an EM5ii is 469g, how heavy are the lenses? Attaching a mic?

I have a Z-SmoothII for my phone and the larger Crane (not M) for my camera(s). I would only use the heavier setup for paid projects.
For personal/family stuff, it's just easier using my phone, it's always on me, is IP67 water rated, and does 4K, eg; vacation video shot on iPhone 7Plus, put in a light case, careful not to drop it.

The gimbal's purpose is to stabilize in 3-axis, but it won't correct vertical bounce, you still need to do the ninja walk. Whether the Crane-M is right for you depends if you'll take the time to learn basic video movements, carry the gear, employ them, and importantly the time it takes to edit the clips, whether you extract, cut and share them singularly, or the most time, transition together and grade several clips.

One thing, I shoot in 4K when I can, it has the flexibility if we watch on mobile or on screens from 1440p to 5K. Like Moore's Law, eventually most people will have 4K monitors/TVs, so if I had your Oly and GF7, I probably wouldn't even use them for video, but it's your call, higher resolution might not matter to you. Your hobbies however suggest a GoPro+gimbal is better suited.
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@AncasterRFD , I just caught your vaca vid & its def pro quality. For sure, it's something I aspire to but as of now, I'm nowhere no how near that level of sophistication. I just felt I've been under using my existing equipment & would like something to help me fire up the enthusiasm level. When I got my cams, video wasnt on my priority list but after watching a lot of youtube vids, it seems fun.

Reason I looked at the Crane-M is cos I can use it across multiplatforms. As u stated, the phone is always with us & the Crane-M serves that purpose as well with a (cheap) adapter. At the top weight range, my Oly EM5ii is around 600g with either a 15 or 25 prime - I cant see using a telephoto for vids atleast for now. If the videography bug does bite me hard, I can always sell the Oly + GF7 & upgrade to something like a Panny GH4 (I hear is amazing for non-pros) which is recommended for the M.

The M + GoPro (or cheaper equivalent) also seems fairly easy to use on bikes & mite be a fun way to log some of my better scenic rides. I'm also thinking it should be a good way to start on documenting street vids. End of the day, I guess I just want a reason to use & more importantly, to enjoy my equipment.

I'm hoping its not an excuse to scratch the new toy syndrome itch & have it end up sitting in a drawer. That said, I'm pretty impressed by the youtube vids taken with gimbals. Question is.....is it because the gimbal is a radical upgrade or is it because of user skills?
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scotsum wrote:
Mar 10th, 2017 12:37 pm
@AncasterRFD , I just caught your vaca vid & its def pro quality. For sure, it's something I aspire to but as of now, I'm nowhere no how near that level of sophistication. I just felt I've been under using my existing equipment & would like something to help me fire up the enthusiasm level. When I got my cams, video wasnt on my priority list but after watching a lot of youtube vids, it seems fun.

Reason I looked at the Crane-M is cos I can use it across multiplatforms. As u stated, the phone is always with us & the Crane-M serves that purpose as well with a (cheap) adapter. At the top weight range, my Oly EM5ii is around 600g with either a 15 or 25 prime - I cant see using a telephoto for vids atleast for now. If the videography bug does bite me hard, I can always sell the Oly + GF7 & upgrade to something like a Panny GH4 (I hear is amazing for non-pros) which is recommended for the M.

The M + GoPro (or cheaper equivalent) also seems fairly easy to use on bikes & mite be a fun way to log some of my better scenic rides. I'm also thinking it should be a good way to start on documenting street vids. End of the day, I guess I just want a reason to use & more importantly, to enjoy my equipment.

I'm hoping its not an excuse to scratch the new toy syndrome itch & have it end up sitting in a drawer. That said, I'm pretty impressed by the youtube vids taken with gimbals. Question is.....is it because the gimbal is a radical upgrade or is it because of user skills?
!!!ULTRA DUPER SUPER HYPER RADICAL!!! upgrade

Seriously, it's worth every penny.
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For me I have the following tools at my disposal since I do a lot of on the go filming, so SIZE is important to me.
1. DJI Mavic Pro for the drone shots(super small)
2. I use my S7 Edge as my vlog camera + Smooth C Phone gimbal to get those really steady shots. I really believe this is SUPER important. Using your phone as the "vlog" or on the go camera really takes the burden off and makes the 1 thing you already carry with you multifunctional.
3.Sony a6300 as optional on the go camera: For any video I am doing landscape shots etc depending on if I bring it with me the Sony A6300, or use the S7 edge and Gimbal.

Here is a video of my trip to Thailand, where I exclusively used the S7 Edge +50% of the time with the gimbal + DJI Mavic Pro. This way the footprint of things I carry with me is super minimal.


You can decide for yourself, but I think a gimbal of SOME sort is mandatory for quality shots. In this case, I took the budget route with using the phone + Smooth C gimbal.
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scotsum wrote:
Mar 10th, 2017 12:37 pm
@AncasterRFD , I just caught your vaca vid & its def pro quality. For sure, it's something I aspire to but as of now, I'm nowhere no how near that level of sophistication. I just felt I've been under using my existing equipment & would like something to help me fire up the enthusiasm level. When I got my cams, video wasnt on my priority list but after watching a lot of youtube vids, it seems fun.

Reason I looked at the Crane-M is cos I can use it across multiplatforms. As u stated, the phone is always with us & the Crane-M serves that purpose as well with a (cheap) adapter. At the top weight range, my Oly EM5ii is around 600g with either a 15 or 25 prime - I cant see using a telephoto for vids atleast for now. If the videography bug does bite me hard, I can always sell the Oly + GF7 & upgrade to something like a Panny GH4 (I hear is amazing for non-pros) which is recommended for the M.

The M + GoPro (or cheaper equivalent) also seems fairly easy to use on bikes & mite be a fun way to log some of my better scenic rides. I'm also thinking it should be a good way to start on documenting street vids. End of the day, I guess I just want a reason to use & more importantly, to enjoy my equipment.

I'm hoping its not an excuse to scratch the new toy syndrome itch & have it end up sitting in a drawer. That said, I'm pretty impressed by the youtube vids taken with gimbals. Question is.....is it because the gimbal is a radical upgrade or is it because of user skills?
Thanks! To be honest, anyone can do it. It might not be cinematic smooth where pro videographers combine gimbals with sliders, dollies and real cranes, but it's sure of a heck better than handheld. And imho there's no skill, just remember basic movements:

1. Pushing ie; going towards the subject - adds emotion/meaning
2. Pulling ie; backing away from the subject - show the environment or that they're isolated
3. Booming ie; going up from the subject's feet in a vertical axis - reveal something new
4. Lateral slide ie; walking sideways slowly (turn follow OFF) - show the space in the horizontal axis
5. Leading or Following ie; walking/running backwards in front of the subject, or walking/running behind the subject - 1st person perspective
6. Orbit ie; going around a subject keeping them framed - shows a 360° background
7. Rotate (opposite of and sometimes faster than orbit) ie; panning in a half circle 180° where you're the centre and you focus outward - reveals a space away from the subject or from a space to the subject
8. Tilting up/down (tilt lock OFF) as it's a rotation vs vertical axis booming ie; like when a person jumps off a structure and you tilt down to show the ground

The rest is editing and you can go as easy as the iMovie app right on the phone (what I did for our vacay vid) or as complex as Adobe Premiere Pro/After Effects (which can further stabilize footage). Transition fast interesting clips and it detracts from the gimbal's lack of cinematic smoothness. The beauty of the gimbal is you can combine those movements fluidly. Again, it's a matter of whether you will invest the time doing it, or yes, the gimbal will sit in a drawer.
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Sonduren wrote:
Mar 10th, 2017 2:42 pm
...Here is a video of my trip to Thailand, where I exclusively used the S7 Edge +50% of the time with the gimbal + DJI Mavic Pro. This way the footprint of things I carry with me is super minimal...
Hey fellow Hamiltonian! I really enjoy the journalistic approach to your vids, great work! You always make me itch for a Mavic.
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AncasterRFD wrote:
Mar 10th, 2017 6:05 pm
Hey fellow Hamiltonian! I really enjoy the journalistic approach to your vids, great work! You always make me itch for a Mavic.
wow! didnt know you guys are from Hamilton. way back yonder, I too grew up in Hamilton. lived around Main & Queen, went to Westdale Secondary & even did a stint at Mac before transferring to the bright lights big city at Uof T. it does seem sooo long ago that I had to dig deep down to remember much.
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scotsum wrote:
Mar 10th, 2017 6:28 pm
wow! didnt know you guys are from Hamilton. way back yonder, I too grew up in Hamilton. lived around Main & Queen, went to Westdale Secondary & even did a stint at Mac before transferring to the bright lights big city at Uof T. it does seem sooo long ago that I had to dig deep down to remember much.
Totally OT man, but I used to live on Hunter & Hess when I first moved out. I went to Westdale, UofT and McMaster too. Small world.
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I have a pending trip to Orlando/Key West.

Would it better to pair the Pixel I have with a Osmo or Zhiyun or should I grab a Crane M and take my RX100V with me?
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rebel_rfd wrote:
Mar 12th, 2017 9:58 am
I have a pending trip to Orlando/Key West.

Would it better to pair the Pixel I have with a Osmo or Zhiyun or should I grab a Crane M and take my RX100V with me?
I made the exact same argument myself! LOLs. I coulda picked up a zhiyun smooth C in the lower $2xx range just for the phone but then I'd leave out the action cam (likely a xiaomi yi 4k future buy) + CSC. the phone should suffice for casual walk about vids but I wanted to document some of my rides of which a phone wouldnt be as functional.

plus I already have 2 CSCs which would then be left out of the picture. end of the day, I decided to take the plunge & invest in the multiplatform CraneM. sure the CraneM is abit over 2x the SmoothC (got it for $551 taxes/shipping includ) but as almost all the posters here concludes, a gimbal should be a coupla steps up in my videography journey. who knows, perhaps it mite be the spark that I needed to enjoy this hobby & do my first youtube vid Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Smiling Eyes

for sure, a CraneM will do both your Pixel & RX100 & def more future proof until one wants to go up to the big dslrs which IMO is another beast entirely. my CraneM should be arriving in a few days. I'm pretty stoked & have even ordered a phone mount in anticipation of it!
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rebel_rfd wrote:
Mar 12th, 2017 9:58 am
I have a pending trip to Orlando/Key West.

Would it better to pair the Pixel I have with a Osmo or Zhiyun or should I grab a Crane M and take my RX100V with me?
Spend more and get a Crane M with this, which future proofs usage whether you use your phone, RX100V or some other small camera.
The Smooth II is only good for a naked phone. When I travel, I like a rugged case on my phone which I was unable to use on my iPhone 7 Plus. I've actually added a washer weight to it for my Peel type case, and for Apple's standard silicone case, 2 washers. Either way, the washer(s) need to be taped between the weight and the gimbal head because the screw isn't long enough (not sure how heavy your Pixel is). Whereas on the Crane M, you can position your adapter+cased phone, or camera, anywhere on the tray. The Smooth II only has one position to clamp your phone.

The idea is your device is balanced without the gimbal on, this ensures level horizons, less stress on the gimbal motor, and longer battery life.

I had an RX100IV, the AF improvements on the V are well worth it, I just wish it had a touch screen to tap/change focus points like my phone or 5DIV.
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AncasterRFD wrote:
Mar 12th, 2017 12:50 pm
Spend more and get a Crane M with this, which future proofs usage whether you use your phone, RX100V or some other small camera.
The Smooth II is only good for a naked phone. When I travel, I like a rugged case on my phone which I was unable to use on my iPhone 7 Plus. I've actually added a washer weight to it for my Peel type case, and for Apple's standard silicone case, 2 washers. Either way, the washer(s) need to be taped between the weight and the gimbal head because the screw isn't long enough (not sure how heavy your Pixel is). Whereas on the Crane M, you can position your adapter+cased phone, or camera, anywhere on the tray. The Smooth II only has one position to clamp your phone.

The idea is your device is balanced without the gimbal on, this ensures level horizons, less stress on the gimbal motor, and longer battery life.

I had an RX100IV, the AF improvements on the V are well worth it, I just wish it had a touch screen to tap/change focus points like my phone or 5DIV.
A bit OT, buthow do you compare the Canon EOS M3 vs the RX100V? I understand one is mirrorless while the other is a fixed lens compact.

My aim was to get something smaller so I don't have to lug around my dSLR (Canon 6D (will be upgrading to 5D4 end of next month)) but be able to get great low light performance.

I just ordered my RX100V thus my questions. I gravitated to it instead of the mirrorless cause the selection of lens were medicore and don't see myself mounting my existing lenses onto a mirrorless with an adapter.
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rebel_rfd wrote:
Mar 12th, 2017 3:17 pm
My aim was to get something smaller so I don't have to lug around my dSLR (Canon 6D (will be upgrading to 5D4 end of next month)) but be able to get great low light performance.
abit OT here, but having no experience with the big Canon dslr's but I'm guessing its a level up in IQ due to the full frame sensor. however I'm getting awesome low light performance mating my Oly EM5ii with a pana summilux 15mm f1.7 or even a cheap pana 25mm lumix G (B&H sale @usd99 coupla years back). I've yet to find a situation where I NEED a flash.

how much better low light performance is the Canon 5D4 over my combo?
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rebel_rfd wrote:
Mar 12th, 2017 3:17 pm
A bit OT, buthow do you compare the Canon EOS M3 vs the RX100V? I understand one is mirrorless while the other is a fixed lens compact.

My aim was to get something smaller so I don't have to lug around my dSLR (Canon 6D (will be upgrading to 5D4 end of next month)) but be able to get great low light performance.

I just ordered my RX100V thus my questions. I gravitated to it instead of the mirrorless cause the selection of lens were medicore and don't see myself mounting my existing lenses onto a mirrorless with an adapter.
I think that's going to be a personal decision. I'm into 4K video and combined with the lack of fast M lenses deters me away from all Canon EOS M series cameras. I'm actually eyeing the G85, GH4 or 5 next. I'm also not one to shoot long for urban travel so if you were to only put the M3 or the RX100V on the table in front of me, I'd take the Sony no question, semi-pocketable, 4K video, slog, it be easy to bring every time instead of a body+lenses. If you're purely wondering about lowlight, my RX100IV (max usable ISO 3200?) could not compete with my 6D when I had them. Try the the popup bounce trick with your finger or wedge. Between the M3 and RX100V, I think the more advanced Sony sensor, despite being smaller, is going to be similar or even better at noise.

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