Friday, October 23, 2015

Remember when 3-axis gimbals were $2000? Now, they're less than $500!

As recently as last year's NAB, the least expensive 3-axis gimbal you could buy for A7/GH4/BMPCC class cameras was a bulky, two-handed device that took a computer science degree to calibrate and cost a couple of thousand dollars.

What a difference 18 months makes.  Today, shooters with cameras in the "large mirrorless" weight category can buy the Team Rebel Design Beholder MS-1 a smooth, 3-axis pistol-grip style gimbal for $499.90.

This thing really works.  Here it is, turning the notoriously shaky Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera into an action camera (courtesy of OwlDolly):

Walking on the beach with the BMPCC - one of the toughest scenarios for stabilizers:

With the GH4 (courtesy of NOA Film):

And with the A7II (courtesy of Mathieu Stern):

At the $499.90 price point, the TRD Beholder MS-1 starts to compete with traditional counterbalanced stabilizers such as the $479 Glidecam HD-2000 or the $399 (marked down from $599) Steadicam Merlin 2.

Of course, counterbalanced stabilizers in this price class can handle payloads up to 5 or 6 lbs. - while the MS-1 is limited to less than 2 - but for mirrorless shooters, the tradeoff can be worth it.

These compact, 3-axis brushless gimbals can take the place of a lot of expensive, bulky gear.  When combined with 4K LOG or 1080p RAW image capture, low cost gimbals such as the MS-1 can produce high quality, gradeable images that compare very favorably to images produced with thousands of dollars worth of rigs, dollies and sliders.

And at the MS-1's price point, the interchangeable lens version of the Osmo starts to look a little silly and overpriced - contrary to what I said a few days ago.

With a $747.99 4K Panasonic G7 (kit lens included) and the $499.90 MS-1, you can be up and running with a 3-axis stabilized ultra high definition, interchageable lens camera for less than $1250.

That's about $450 less than the $1699 cost of a DJI X5 camera alone (no lens, no gimbal).

You wouldn't be able to remove the G7 from the MS-1 and put it right on your multicopter, but the $450 extra in your pocket might make up for that minor inconvenience.

Overall, it looks like the folks at Team Rebel Design have a winner on their hands here.

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