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Old April 23rd, 2014, 04:20 PM   #1
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3-Axis Gimbals?

I'm looking for input on 3-axis gimbals (MoVI, BeSteady, SIC Ghost, DJI Ronin, Chinese knockoffs, etc.). Almost all use the same motors and Alexmos chipset and have similar designs. The costs, however, range from $900.00 to $15,000.00!! (Huge Range!)
I'm looking for pros and cons of these type of stabilizers and personal use stories and input. If I were to buy/rent one (no budget listed), what would the crowd out there recommend and why? A thoughtful and intelligent discussion now ensues....


...oh, and thanks in advance!
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Old April 24th, 2014, 08:43 AM   #2
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

I bought the skyglide pro recently but i had to send it back today as i had a very bad experience with it but you dont have it in your list anyway .

i think the best option it will be the DJI ronin cause its comes from a well known company that delivers quality. Ofcourse till I see the first real customer video nothing its secure cause at the moment the only thing am reading its specs .
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Old April 24th, 2014, 12:18 PM   #3
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

I saw some videos on the new Varavon Birdy Cam from NAB2014. The price is supposed to be $2,000 ready to fly. That price approaches something a serious enthusiast might get. I like the idea of a trim adjustments via a knob and a joystick to aim the camera. The cheaper ones seem like a lot more effort to set up though.
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Old April 25th, 2014, 08:06 AM   #4
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

I took a look at the Varavon Birdy and the DJI Ronin. The Ronin looks like the best bang for the buck, but Anthony, you're right. Let me see some footage first, same with the Birdy. That Birdy looks good with the adjustment/balance knobs which are better than getting a hex wrench and loosening and tightening 8 bolts to get one axis of balance.

I hate to bash a company, but Varavon always seemed to me to be less than professional gear. That's just my impression and I probably am very, very wrong. The Birdy with the two batteries on top kind of seems like an engineering hack to get a desired result rather than a design decision.
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Old April 26th, 2014, 04:25 AM   #5
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

after having this bad expericence with the skyglide pro i have desided to be more aware cause they are not cheap items at the end of the day.........

The thing I do not like with the VARAVONs is that they have this gimbal listed in their official website as COMING SOON DECEMBER 2013 . it have been almost 5 months since the pontential release day and they still dont know when this thing will be available.

a 3 axis gimbal can give you some superb footage but comes with many downsides compare to a normal steadicam .

From what I understood you MUST have a camera for this and never change this camera and if its possible the camera must stay connected with the device all the time.

also the main thing i dont like with the 3 axis is that you can not place them in the floor and go pick them up to do work in a running filming scenario as a wedding. you need to have a stand closer

the other thing that i dont like is that you can not touch the camera when the gimbal is ON.

you need to have the settings you desire before turning this thing on as any button pressing any focus fixing while its ON the gimbal will start shaking till it takes the camera to the position it should be

i dont know if this can cost problems to the motors or the software builded in.

3 axis can give superb images but also cost loads of headache in a shooting field like weddings.

in anyway I have noticed that almost all the companies behind a new 3 axis promote their product with mostly slow motion videos which its not what i want to see to believe that their worth it :P

if i will go spend 3000usd on a gimbal the gimbal must be way superior than the glidecam hd4000 i allready have.
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Old April 26th, 2014, 10:52 AM   #6
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

NAB 2104 seemed to be "The Year of the Gimbals".

Unless you are using a tiny cam, you can forget about holding these for any length of time. You're good only for a short moment before the weight of the cam and rig kills your arms. You will need that ridiculous looking vest brace with the pole going up the back over your head with the rope. I saw one rig like that and it seems the way to go.

And what concerns me is intentional panning being removed and how.

I don't yet see much value of a gimbal over a steadicam rig. And I would agree, if they promo their product using slo-mo, which smooths out just about anything, then forget it.
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Old April 26th, 2014, 01:43 PM   #7
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

price is starting way cheaper than 900$.
hobbyking has the carbon frame for 3 axis for 175$ and 2 axis for 145$
you can easily find a board for less than 50$ and you can add 3 motors a 40$ each.
add a 3S battery ( 25$) few wires and connectors and 3 hours (or a rainy weekend) of work.
So if you just want to try the concept, you can do it for less than 400$

I do not like the 3 axis concept, because the 2 first axis are ok to help you, but I am afraid I would have to constantly fight the third axis (pan). I currently mount the turnigy 2 axis (the one from hobbyking).
Since I am just testing the concept I go the cheap way, and will eventually upgrade twith the board and the motors with better ones if needed).
a good motor with hollow axis can go up to 100$, so yes, a good gimbal should easily start a 500$.
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Old April 28th, 2014, 06:55 AM   #8
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

i dont know about the very cheap versions that we all can find in a quick searh in internet

i saw some videos of the nebula 5000 and its really very clamsy on the go. I couldnt find any videos from this item that could tell me .......buy me and you will not have any issues with the quality.

the best 3 axis gimbal it will be the one that the CUSTOMER is telling the combination of camera/lens to the company who made the device and then after doing their testing and calibration and balance to sell it to you.

i was trying to mount an A7/METABONES/CANON 16-35 TO a skyglide pro with a TOTAL FAILURE after long time efforts but this system says that its cabable for accepting cameras up to 2kg . my combo was only 1.42kg
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Old April 28th, 2014, 10:31 AM   #9
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

Well. I have a Came7000 3 axis.there is pretty good support for the Came7000, but also limited. Came-TV.com is a reliable company, that seems to sell some nice products. I decided to go with there Came7000 because the build quality, and the video support to build it was pretty good. Building it was really easy if you take your time. If you ever worked with erector sets, it was similar. I built mine in about 3 days just working a few hours each day. I also added a few things to it the lengthened the build time.

There are 2 other areas that are required other than the build. One, There is the Camera balancing. And it's not easy. I have a GH3 with a Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 lens, that I have balanced. Put the lens cap on and its out of balance, the pitch is easy to balance and the yaw is not hard either, but the roll is a pain. I will say that once you have the balance set, it stays there, I have taken my camera out of the gimbal to use with other motion tools, and when I placed it back in the gimbal it balanced a lot faster the second and third time I balanced it, It's a definitely a learning process.

The Second area after the balancing is in the programming and the software setup for your camera and lens. It's pretty difficult for me, I'm still struggling with it. The hard part is there are a lot of parameters to adjust, and combinations for a trial and error type of learning. Yes you can save profiles for particular camera/lens combos, and you can download a number of different camera profiles and try to make adjustments to a existing profile and save it as a new profile, but it ain't easy! I think in about 6 months there will be a lot of very good profiles to use that will save a lot of time. CUrrently there is a Public spreadsheet that has been developed from many successful end users with there individual profiles broken down in the spreadsheet covering all the parameters for the Alexmos Chip and Sensor. So it's getting better. The real frustrating part is the searching, and waiting for responses and looking for any info to get this project complete. I can't complain though, I new this going into it, well maybe, not the software side? LoL! That's why it only cost me $950.00 with free shipping and not $2,000 to 2,500.

Would I do it again, well, I think I might wait just a little longer for more and better profiles, The build was actually fun, I enjoyed it. Hope this helps someone It's only going to get better!
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Old April 28th, 2014, 12:05 PM   #10
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

for the software you can find on the web very good explanation of how to set P.I.D
it is all bout to get these 3 parameters ok for your weight.
in short P is for power.
you need to feed the motor with enough power to lock the axis stable, but just enough or else they overheat and you will drain your battery faster
good P is a cold motor.

Then you got I that is speed of reaction. (ramp up)
too big and your motor will start to over react and vibrate. too small and compensation will always be late.

Then D is the way you motor manage the break. (ramp down)
too small , your camera will will pass the correct position
D must be set only when Pand I are ok

obviously you need a perfect balance before tuning PID, because else you would try to correct
improper balance with motor, leading to higher P, I and D than necessay.
The consequence of that is the gimbal could look ok on slow change, but would not react properly on faster or bigger changes.
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Old April 30th, 2014, 05:23 PM   #11
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

I've just pre-ordered the Letus Helix 3-axis Gimbal. I'm surprised it's not on your list. It is completely different design from all the other gimbals in that it supports the camera from below, as against being suspended like the heli-mount hybrids.

This allows the gimbal to sit flat on a table or the ground (or a crane) without the need for a stand. Letus have also patented a 4th-axis design allowing the helix to be mounted on a Steadicam arm to completely remove the "walkiness" that many gimbals exhibit and taking the weight of your arms.

The Helix is also shipping with more powerful motors than anything out there. Cost for the 3-axis is $3,975 or $2,675 for the single-axis (great for Steadicam to completely eliminate the horizon yore that arm-based stabilisers produce.

The closest one I was keen on was the Ronin, but I feel for single-operators who aren't interested in RC helicoptor use, the Helix is more practical and better designed. Pre-orders opened today and shipping in only a few weeks away. Letus Helix Deposit Program

Letus are very active listening to users. You can can check out a huge thread over on Reduser in the accessories forum. There is more here on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/letusdirect And here is a very rough prototype video shot at a NAB party.

Anyone it's another gimbal to throw into the mix.
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Old April 30th, 2014, 05:28 PM   #12
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

For those that are interested here is another video of the Helix at NAB. It will also fly the Red and F55 cameras. The designer Hien, is saying it will easily support a 16lb payload (if your arms can handle it!) or there is the Steadicam 4th-axis solution.

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Old April 30th, 2014, 09:14 PM   #13
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

I have a BeSteady One and right now it is working pretty good, there were a lot of problems at first with firmware and stuff but now I think I got it figured out, I read some of the post above and it is not true at all, you can touch the camera to adjust aperture, focus... whatever, just don't do it too hard, you can lay it on the ground, just lay it with the handle turn side way so it can lay flat on the ground, BeSteady One with my 5D Mark 3 and big Tamron 24-70 F2.8 lens I can not put a quick release plate but I got to where I can put the camera on and balance within 3 or 4 minutes, I balance it at 37 mm focal length so I can use is anywhere from 24mm to 50mm and it works fine, I think if you guys want to get one wait another year so it can be more mature and better, the negative with BeSteady One is they using screws to tighten to balance, much harder than clamps like some other one that I saw, battery power with my set up last only about 40 minutes, balancing is not as ingenious like some other gimbal. Here is a couple of video that I shot with BeSteady One.
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Old May 21st, 2014, 10:31 PM   #14
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

Lighter and easier than a traditional steadicam... I don't need counter weight and I use both hands, the rope thing you mention doesn't look like works well while walking... tall and up the back adds a lot of bounce in all the footage I have seen.

I am playing with using the arm/vest from my old rig (Wondlan)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Allen View Post
NAB 2104 seemed to be "The Year of the Gimbals".

Unless you are using a tiny cam, you can forget about holding these for any length of time. You're good only for a short moment before the weight of the cam and rig kills your arms. You will need that ridiculous looking vest brace with the pole going up the back over your head with the rope. I saw one rig like that and it seems the way to go.

And what concerns me is intentional panning being removed and how.

I don't yet see much value of a gimbal over a steadicam rig. And I would agree, if they promo their product using slo-mo, which smooths out just about anything, then forget it.
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Old May 21st, 2014, 10:53 PM   #15
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Re: 3-Axis Gimbals?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Corbett View Post
For those that are interested here is another video of the Helix at NAB. It will also fly the Red and F55 cameras. The designer Hien, is saying it will easily support a 16lb payload (if your arms can handle it!) or there is the Steadicam 4th-axis solution.

NAB 2014 - Letus Helix: A new sub $5000 stabilized gimbal with a twist on Vimeo

That looks like the future of these things... the only reason the current ones can be hard to balance is they are mostly retro worked from RC helicopter gimbals, handheld can't be heavy but no reason they need to be made out of carbon tubes for RC use. I built a carbon deal and balancing was a little hard only because I could not change one point with effecting another... need to raise the camera, you run the risk on shifting side to side and so on.

Here is another pro to the Letus... if it can function well with 16lbs that means your balance would not have to be as perfect for say 5 or 6 lbs. I was getting just as smooth footage from the FS100 (yaw was of by a hair) as a completely UNBALANCED tiny 5n
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