Glidecam vs Gimbal | What to buy?

I've used and tested a number of different stabilisers, gimbals and glidecams in the past, including the Movi, DJI Ronin, DJI OsmoGlidecam XR 2000Glidecam HD 4000 and the Feiyu WG for the GoPro.

What's the best solution for your videography?
  • For me, as I shoot a lot of outdoor sports, the Glidecam series just proved to be too cumbersome and clumsy to use. I didn't want to be holding a sharp-edged piece of metal whilst skiing and I couldn't use it all whilst mountain biking or climbing. They also take a decent amount of time to set up.
  • The Movi and Ronin are fantastic, but too big and heavy for shoots out in the mountains where you need the lightest set up possible.
  • The Osmo and Feiyu WG are great little pieces of kit, but they have their limitations. The Osmo comes with it's own camera, so no option to change lenses, and you also require a smartphone to run it, rendering it essentially useless for long shoots with the battery limitations. The WG is just for the GoPro, and although doesn't require a smartphone, it has the same issue with one lense and battery life. 
I needed something smaller, lighter and quicker to set up. Having recently switched from DSLRs to a mirrorless system, the Feiyu MG came up in my research. I've had it for about 6 months now and here are my pros and cons, (also check out the video below):

Pros:
  • The initial balancing of the gimbal is very simple in comparison to other stabilisers and the step-by-step guide is clear and accurate. Of course, if you change lenses you will need to rebalance it, but this doesn't take long.
  • Once you install a quick release plate (see Cons below), you have a gimbal that is ready to use in seconds.
  • The difference in smoothness of footage compared to handheld is unquestionable (check out my video at the bottom of this post) and it replaces the need for a slider or dolly (to a certain degree).
  • It has a built in joystick for panning and tilting and a number of different options like directional lock and selfie mode.
  • It's lightweight, around 900g, and not as spiky as the Glidecams, so safer for using on-the-go.
  • It can carry a camera plus lens up to 1630g, such as the Sony A7 series.
  • Battery life gives you around 6 hours usage, and it comes with a spare set of batteries.
  • You can hold it at almost any angle and the gimbal is still effective.
  • If you get the main version (not the lite), you have different handle options (see photo below).
  • It comes with a nice carry case ;)

Cons:
  • The tripod-style plate to mount the camera means you have to screw the camera on every time you want to use it. This makes no sense to me when a quick-release plate is the same size and SO much faster. You can solve this buy buying and attaching a cheap quick-release adaptor.
  • To correctly balance the camera, you have to have the camera's left edge completely snug against the bracket of the gimbal. This renders useless any important ports the camera may have on the left side (i.e. HDMI out for external monitor, microphone out etc).
  • It's not weatherproof. Well, it says it's not, but I've used this in rain and snow and all good so far.
  • Sometimes when panning, the gimbal jumps a bit but this is a case of practicing and mastering a smooth movement.
Conclusion

If you own a mirrorless camera or equivalent non-DSLR and need a lightweight gimbal, the Feiyu MG is great. Although it needs a few tweaks, overall the quality and battery life are fantastic for the price.
If you fancy buying it, I've put an affiliate link at the bottom of this blog to Amazon.com!




The Feiyu MG Lite on the left and the extra holding position on the normal Feiyu MG on the right


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