There are an awful lot of choices out there regarding which one is the best cheap GoPro stabilizer for your videography needs. But it’s hard to know what the best and cheapest Steadicams or stabilizers actually are. If you are an adrenaline junkie like me then you know that you can’t rely on your hands for getting the best quality shots. I’m always either way too hyped up or in a position where it would be dangerous for me to have my camera out and in my hands; have you ever tried to reach for your camera as your dangling one hundred feet from the ground by a bungee cord? It’s not worth the risk to you or your expensive equipment. With that in mind, let’s talk about a few of the best Steadicams available for purchase that will help keep you or your camera from smashing into a million pieces.
1. Zhiyun Z1-Pround 3: Batteries that Will Last as Long as You Can
All in all, I think that this is a good Steadicam. I like the fact that you can take it with you places where you won’t have immediate access to power outlets since you can charge it via USB. Portability, after all, is one of the main factors you have to keep in mind when purchasing a Steadicam. I also like that, once it is charged, this Steadicam will give you up to ten hours of battery life. That is all the time you will ever need for getting those great action shots as you film yourself on your most recent adventure. Having said that, I feel the Zhiyun Z1 is a mixed bag in terms of its usability. While it is certainly a mobile device, it is not exactly a user-friendly piece of equipment. I found that it was extremely difficult to solve any issues that came up. For example, shortly after buying, the video began to drift to the right somewhat. It took multiple conversations with friends far “techier” than me in order to get it straight. The Zhiyun Z1 is a good Steadicam for the money you’ll spend on it. In my opinion, it comparable to the next Steadicam I want to talk about.
– On the go USB charging capabilities – Calibration can be difficult
– Up to ten hours of battery life – Not a novice-friendly interface
– Compatible with GoPro Hero 4 3+ 3 2 – Not actually compatible with the Hero 1
2. Ikan FLY-X3-GO 3: Multifaceted and Durable
This Steadicam has the capacity to film in whatever way you see fit. You can take it literally anywhere. When I used it with my Hero 4 I found that I was able to get awesome, clear footage without any of the shake or tilt that can sometimes accompany these kinds of Steadicams. Moreover, it is compatible with lots of different GoPro mounts enabling you to use it with whichever kind of camera you have or whichever kind of camera you need to do the job. I took mine for a bike ride in the Rocky’s and I was able to get some really awesome footage of my downhill runs. Having said that, the footage I got of those downhill runs wasn’t as long as I had hoped. This Steadicams battery life does not allow for usage during long intervals of time. Compounding the issue is the fact that this Steadicam does not have a USB port for charging. The USB ports on this product are only for software updates or for charging your GoPro itself. This is an unfortunate design flaw on the part of the manufacturers. These days, nearly every piece of technology out there is able to be charged via USB. In my mind, this is somewhat limiting. I think that the best bet is to go with the following Steadicam.
– Exceptionally smooth filming – limited battery life (2-3 hours)
– Hand control OR wired remote control – No USB charging port
– Compatible with multiple GoPro mounts – Not the greatest for filming with phones
3. EVO GP-PRO 3 Axis GoPro Gimbal: Affordability and Versatility
This Steadicam can do it all. I have found that the AV output jack has been especially useful for showing off my most recent rides through the mountains to my friends and family. It provides a good, clean video with very little internal shake. This means that I have the utmost confidence that I can plug it into an external monitor and show off without having to worry about watching the tape beforehand to see if I actually got what I wanted. The audio system isn’t great and your GoPro might pick up some interference from this Steadicam’s engine but, for my purposes, it isn’t really about what people can hear it’s about what they can see. I also really enjoyed how easy this product is to calibrate and use; it’s ready to go right out of the box. The only issue I’ve had with it as far as usability as that it’s 18650 batteries are somewhat difficult to find and are shorter than the conventional 18650 batteries you find with most Steadicams.
– 3 Axis Precision – Not a great audio system
– AV Output Jack – The batteries for it are difficult to find
– Very easy to use and calibrate
I think that the last Steadicam I mentioned, the EVO GP-PRO 3 Axis Gimbal, is the best value. It is currently priced on Amazon at $299 which is a full $50 less than Ikan’s FLY X3 GO 3 while still providing the same or better quality video production. Moreover, the EVO Gimbal has a much better battery life so you won’t be limited by how long your device will last as you go about your adventures and, if you do happen to run out of battery life, the EVO Gimbal can be charged via USB, unlike FLY X3. As far as user interface is concerned, the EVO Gimbal wins again because it is much easier to use than Steadicams with similar capabilities like the Zhiyun Z1-Pround 3. All three of the Steadicam’s mentioned here are good pieces of equipment that provide their users with great footage of their experiences. However, given the EVO Gimbals versatility, user-friendly nature, and battery life I think that it’s the most valuable mid-price range stabilizer out there currently.