Today’s mobiles far outperform our cameras of yesterday in a variety of departments, but nothing like shaking or vibrations to ruin a good shot or recording.
Fortunately, we only need a good stabilizer to add stabilization and fluidity to our recordings, either with mobile phones or conventional cameras.
There are a variety of stabilizers, from the simplest that even look like selfie sticks to the more specialized kits from the professionals. In our review we take the best specimens in each category and make sure everyone has something to find.
You have to be careful when buying these devices as we depend on the honesty of their capabilities.
The Best Camera Stabilizers of 2021
Three factors are vital for any stabilizer: load capacity, size of allowed devices, and the weight of the stabilizer itself.
There are equally important details, but they are much more specific to each product and the user decides what works best for him.
DJI Osmo Mobile 2
DJI is a recognized brand in the realm of modern recording techniques. Their drones always feature on the tops. Hence, we are not surprised by the quality of the Osmo Mobile 2, an impressive value gimbal.
It is a reinforced nylon gimbal with excellent grip. It may be slightly heavier than other models, but the body is balanced in such a way that it feels lighter in the hand.
It can accommodate up to 6-inch mobiles and exerts moderate pressure. Some models are very tight so they can scratch the case, this is not the case with the Osmo Mobile 2.
It cannot be rotated 360 degrees which is a shame, but you can use the mobile both horizontally and vertically.
The DJI GO application allows you to perform a number of very interesting functions. From the ActiveTrack so that your mobile stays oriented towards you while you move to the integrated compensated zoom to make fluid recordings with filmmaker techniques.
High-definition panoramas can be taken with the auto-motion and capture function, in both landscape and portrait modes. In the same way, configurable time periods can be carried out.
It also has streaming capacity, a port to charge the mobile while it is used and a long-lasting battery (around 15 hours without charging mobile with normal use).
It comes at a super affordable cost and with an extensive list of features. We find the performance of this product to be top-of-the-line and we recommend it for those looking for next-level shots with an all-terrain camera stabilizer, all with the smallest investment possible.
Zhiyun Smooth 4
Zhiyun is one of the most recognized Chinese brands in the world of camera stabilizers. Its products have high quality features at competitive prices. The Smooth 4 stands up to market leaders like its predecessor and does well thanks to its professional features.
It has a very similar design, very similar to the Osmo Mobile 2, although we liked the color more and especially the buttons on the Smooth 4.
The brand claims that the Smooth 4 engine has improved a lot, to the point of ensuring its operation with practically any current phone.
It offers 360 degree rotation, the possibility of recording with our mobile both vertically and horizontally, three control axes and comes with a very convenient tripod.
The gimbal has a control panel in the grip that greatly minimizes the need to touch the screen of the mobile to make any changes, which keeps the mobile centered and eliminates sudden movements or destabilization.
One of the things we liked the most about this stabilizer is its time-lapse settings. Thanks to the high focus and magnification function, you can perform all kinds of lapses such as real time, hyper lapses, and slow motion lapses, all with wider shots and target tracking.
The Smooth 4 has an additional feature that allows the engines to be used to their full potential, allowing the user to make ultra-smooth scene transitions. It works great too with its tracking modes that follow human faces or things.
It has a gift cost compared to its benefits and offers all the benefits of a semi-professional team. We recommend it as a cheaper option to satisfy the need for professional stabilization, although it perhaps brings more than what an average user needs.
As light as you make a gimbal, sooner or later it puts stress on your neck and arms. Neewer caught the problem and so they pulled out her shoulder-rest stabilizer. The result is a flexible platform that can be fitted with a myriad of devices for any cinematographic task.
The design has two grab bars for the arms and a third for the shoulder. It has rotating handles and joints to ensure that everything is well supported.
One of the benefits of this design is that the platform has quarter-inch spaces arranged along the length of its arms, excellent for mounting accessories such as microphones, lights, LED monitors and more.
The body is made of an aluminum alloy, quite light for its size, although it is a bit heavy compared to others. The weight is divided into three attachment points, however, so the filming user only perceives a fraction.
The possibilities are extensive, especially if you are a handyman. The angle of the camera can be set in any direction and even the position of the camera on the center plate can be moved.
Hardware can be a touchy subject on this product, but do bring plenty of quarter-inch screws in case they get lost.
The stabilization is entirely mechanical, although no less good for that, especially if we consider the form and support. That said, it doesn’t have any motor to rotate or compensate for stabilization.
As you would expect from a non-power assist product, the cost is minimal. We think it is an excellent option for those who want to train as professional videographers and are just starting out. For a conventional user, it seems to us that it demands a lot to take advantage of it.
You are not always looking for a complex product that performs a lot of functions (they are much more expensive), sometimes you want just one thing and you want it done well. Igadgitz with his mini tripod is precisely this. Just mount your camera or your mobile and voila.
Not because it is light or compact, it is less robust, the Mini allows cameras up to 1.5 kilograms, be they SLR, SLR or digital with a standard quarter-inch screw. Mobile phones are not excluded as devices up to 4.7 inches can be mounted.
The tripod has textured rubber feet to function as a grip when closed, at the same time they are anti-slip so they have the same stability and grip when used statically.
Once the tripod is “open”, the ball joint is locked to maintain a constant and closed angle. It has a spirit level to make sure of the angle and orientation.
Being able to adjust the tripod gradually to change the height of the camera is missed, but the stability obtained is even more appreciated, especially when using heavier cameras instead of mobiles.
The cost is a gift, and although this product does not bring much with it, it allows us to take our shots and recordings to the next level, all with a minimal investment. We highly recommend it to those who want a shorter and much more versatile selfie stick at the lowest price.
Finally, we review this interesting Fantaseal kit designed to meet the needs of filmmakers and enthusiasts alike. Similar in purpose to the Neewer kit, but with a few details that set it apart.
First of all, we have a padded arm to hold and handle the device firmly. The grip is optimal for DSLR, SLR or digital cameras, compact, and VCRs. It also works with mobile devices.
For its size and purpose, it is certainly lightweight, with a total weight of 422 grams. The body is made of high quality treated plastic, although perhaps an aluminum alloy would have been better.
It has the spaces to attach accessories such as LED monitors, microphones, lights, among others.
The bottom of the stabilizer allows it to be attached to a tripod or bracket (as long as it accepts 1/4-inch tapping screws). Includes a bracket to adapt the arm to more compact mobile devices such as a GoPro.
A really affordable price for a durable and reliable product. It seems like a good package to us, but only if the user is a bit more advanced and wants to take advantage of a more professional camera stabilization kit. For more casual users, there are better options.
Conclusion and Buyer’s Guide
A camera stabilizer, simple as it may be, greatly improves the quality of your shots and is practically a requirement for any recording enthusiast who wants to become a professional.
But even if being a professional is not your goal, a stabilizer allows your shots and videos to be of professional quality. That in itself is a great advantage.
The market today more than yesterday is saturated with products of this type, but it never hurts to read about it to ensure your purchase before spending. Nothing but to buy a tripod that does not support your phone or camera.
Review these tips to secure your investment:
Assisted or mechanical stabilization?
Assisted stabilization always outperforms mechanical, for obvious reasons. But it is not always necessary.
If your goal is to make simple landscape recordings or recordings without fast or abrupt scene transitions, a non-assisted stabilizer may be your best option. They are much easier to use and also more affordable.
On the contrary, if you want to record during high speed situations, you need something compact and assisted.
In theory, a tripod is a simple thing: just load a camera or mobile on top of your glass. In practice, some tripods shake or fall when mounting certain cameras or mobiles.
It is important that you check the specifications of both your devices and the stabilizer / tripod that you want to buy. It is always good to be a little below the upper limit.
Durability and confidence
The cheap can be expensive. A plastic stabilizer could be inexpensive and even strong, but if your 30 euro product fails colossally, it could compromise your 600 euro camera… you see what we mean.
For high-speed activities or where items may break, we suggest using products that have been verified for durability. Otherwise it is a leap of faith.