The best camera stabilizer helps you capture smooth, shake-free footage regardless of what you're shooting or where. To achieve this level of stabilization, a camera stabilizer often utilizes a combination of motion-detecting algorithms and brushless motors to counteract unwanted movements and smooth out your footage.
But how do you know which camera stabilizer is the best for you? Is a camera stabilizer's most critical spec its compatibility, its stabilization tech, or are there other important features you should consider when shopping for a camera stabilizer?
To answer these questions and more, we put together a list of our favorite gimbals and camera stabilizers based on performance, application, and compatible camera system.
Best Handheld DSLR Gimbal
Although it's no longer the flagship model, the DJI RSC 2 is still our pick for best handheld DSLR gimbal, thanks to its clever design, competitive price, and a plethora of professional-level features. High among those features is the RSC 2’s drastically improved payload capacity, which can support camera loads up to 6.6 lb—that’s a 50% increase over the RSC 2’s predecessor, the Ronin-SC.
The increased load capacity means the RSC 2 can handle most DSLR and mirrorless cameras, making it a good fit for anyone who uses those systems. The extra payload also means the RSC 2 can support many of the full-frame and mirrorless cameras the Ronin-SC could not, including flagship models from Canon, Sony, and Nikon.
To keep that expanded roster of supported cameras stable, the RSC 2 utilizes DJI’s patented Titan stabilization algorithm, which can smooth out the shakiest of footage, even when shooting with up to 100mm zoom lenses.
Other standout features include the RSC 2’s interactive 1” OLED display, which allows users to adjust settings from the gimbal without using the companion app. The RSC 2’s 14-hour battery life is another nice perk, as is its foldable design, which allows operators to use the RSC 2 in underslung mode and makes transporting the gimbal relatively easy.
WATCH OUR HANDS-ON REVIEW: DJI RSC 2 DSLR GIMBAL
Best Value DSLR Gimbal
Zhiyun-Tech’s Crane 2S offers many of the same features as the DJI RSC 2, but at a lower price point, making it the best-bang-for-your-buck DSLR gimbal you can buy.
Like the RSC 2, the Crane 2S is a motorized, handheld gimbal with enough payloard support to acommodate most DSLR and full-frame mirrorless cameras. The Zhiyun gimbal can even support larger camera systems, such as the well-fed Blackmagic Design Pocket 6K, delivering strong stabilization performance despite the added bulk.
Although it trails the RSC 2 slightly in battery runtime, the Crane 2S more than makes up for it by having batteries you can remove. When the batteries on the Zhiyun gimbal are spent, you have to stop shooting in order to charge it back up. Best case scenario, that's a two-hour delay. When the Crane 2S runs out of juice, you swap in some fresh batteries, and you're good to go. No waiting around for the gimbal to charge.
Outstanding value and swappable batteries aside, there are some aspects of the Crane 2S that don't quite measure up (literally) to the RSC 2. The most conspicuous example is the overall design. Once the Crane 2S is all set up, it's easy enough to use and capture great footage.
However, setting the Crane 2S up to shoot, then breaking it down afterward, is kind of tedious. It's not difficult; it's just time consuming. We would've preferred a foldable body like RSC 2 that collapses quickly and is more travel friendly.
Best Professional Gimbal
Not only is the RS 3 Pro the best Ronin gimbal DJI has ever made, it’s the best professional gimbal in the world.
Able to support payloads up to 10 lb, the RS 3 Pro can handle full-frame cinema cameras and ILS like the Canon C70 or Sony FX6.
Upgraded from its predecessor to include powerful new features such as a fine-tuning knob, an easy-to-read 1.8” OLED touchscreen, and, despite its heavier payload capacity, even better stabilization, the RS 3 Pro truly lives up to its moniker.
WATCH OUR HANDS-ON REVIEW: DJI RS 3 PRO DSLR GIMBAL
Best Gimbal for iPhone
While it’s fair to say the DJI OM 6 is the best smartphone gimbal in the world; it’s more accurate to label it the best gimbal for iPhone. That’s because some of the OM 6’s coolest new features (Quick Launch, for example) is exclusive to iPhone users with MagSafe. Team Appple users also get access to several powerful features on the DJI Mimo app that Android users currently do not.
Exclusives aside, the OM 6 delivers the best stabilization we’ve ever seen from an iPhone gimbal. We’re talking a degree of stability that’s on par with, or close to, what you get from a Ronin gimbal. We're seriously encroaching upon pro-level stabilization here.
To further cement its claim as the best iPhone gimbal in the world, the OM 6 offers a long list of powerful features made available through the DJI Mimo app. Companion apps typically play an important role in gimbal operation, so the emphasis on the DJI Mimo app isn’t all that surprising. What is surprising is just how capable the DJI Mimo app is.
With the Mimo app, you’ll get access to OM 6’s most powerful features, including Active Track 5.0, Shot Guides, the iPhone-only Quick Launch feature, and more.
The one and only drawback to the OM 6 (for iPhone users, at least) is the higher-than-average cost. It’s not exorbitant by any means; nor is it unreasonable. The cost simply seems to reflect the fact that the OM 6 is the best iPhone gimbal in the world, and the runner-up is pretty far behind.
Best Gimbal Camera
DJI gimbals continue to rank among the best in the world, evidenced by our picket for the best gimbal camera: the Pocket 2.
Unlike the other stabilizers on our list, the Pocket 2 features its own built-in camera capable of recording stabilized 4K60 video and 64Mp stills. Hi-res images and stabilized cinematic video aren't the Pocket 2's only highlights. Thanks to its buit-in mic array, which consists of four directional stereo microphones, the small gimbal camera boasts surprisingly strong audio capture.
Like the OM 6 iPhone gimbal, the Pocket 2's features are greatly enhanced thanks to the DJI Mimo app. Use the Mimo app to enable some of the Pocket 2's more advanced features, including FaceTrack and Motionlapse. You can also use it to do other neat things like add filters or a custom soundtrack to your footage.
As its name implies, the “pocket-sized” Pocket 2 travels easy and fits conveniently in your backpack or pocket.
The Pocket 2 gimbal camera is especially great for vloggers, who can readily take advantage of the handheld camera's versatility, hi-res video output, external mic support, and long list of features and unique shooting modes, including Time-Lapse, Story Mode, and more.