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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