VariZoom VZ Ultralite stabilizer review at DVinfo.net

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Old March 16th, 2006, 05:33 PM   #1
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VariZoom VZ Ultralite stabilizer review

Here is a brief review of the VariZoom VZ Ultralite stabilizer:

To make a long story short, I had to return it due to major design flaws.

It had one major show-stopper flaw. The type of gimbal that they used works fine in the roll (dutch tilt) and pitch (tilt) directions, but it has a lot of friction in the yaw (pan) direction. In particular, it has static friction, so as your hand moves back and forth a little, it sticks and unsticks, and shakes the camera back and forth. I sent VariZoom tech support an email about this, which they never replied to. I expected them to say "It has to be broken in by doing..." or "You need to lubricate it by doing...", but I got no reply within a week, so I had to return it. (I did try grease, which had no effect.)

A minor flaw was the track for adjusting the balance in one direction was sloppy, so the camera would wobble sometimes, which shook the image.

Another minor flaw was the right-left camera balance adjustment could only move in one direction (at least very far), and my camera (Sony Z1U) is off balance in the other direction. I worked around this by turning the stabilizer 90 degrees to the right, so the arm sticks out to the right. That allowed adjustment in the right directions for my camera.

In conclusion, it was pretty unusable, so I designed and made my own that works a lot better. I may post some sample footage, and start selling them, but I have other design projects in the works too...

Chris
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Old March 17th, 2006, 12:44 AM   #2
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Chris,

Thanks for the review.

The gimbal can be real touchy. That is why we put most of our money into our gimbal and it's paid off. We can have the camera pointed in one direction, walk around the sled and have the camera still pointed in the same direction (for the most part).

I know you can do that with the Merlin and the JR but I didn't know about the other similar type stabilizers.

Tery
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 10:31 PM   #3
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Thanks Chris for this valuable info. Now I don't need to make another costly mistake. B-T-W, have you or anyone every tried the Flowpod?

Last edited by James E Lee; March 22nd, 2006 at 11:11 PM.
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 01:47 AM   #4
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I agree that the gimbal is very important. If anything wrong with the gimbal, it will affect the footage.

Regards
Leigh
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Old May 4th, 2007, 11:45 PM   #5
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I just got mine today and had the same problem with sticking. It seems like a well-made product otherwise, but I'll probably have to take it back if they don't have any ideas.

I think the second flaw you described is the way it is supposed to work, with the 'C' off to your right.
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Old May 13th, 2007, 08:26 PM   #6
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An Update...Varizoom is going to swap out the gimble for me later this month when the new ones come out. I think the biggest problem is how small the current gimble is. It's just not smooth.
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Old June 6th, 2007, 10:24 PM   #7
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Dana, did Varizoom send you the updated gimble/rig? And if so, how's it work? Thanks.
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