If you have ever tried to record in 4k on your Gopro, I’m sure you have told yourself, “I need a gopro gimbal” We all have felt your pain. There is nothing worse than capturing great footage in any resolution above 2.7k (60 fps) - and noticed that your footage looks like it had been in the back seat of your F250 while going off roading. It’s incredible what the image stabilization inside of the Gopro itself can do. But when you’re at a resolution or frame rate that doesn’t allow it - that's when you need a gopro gimbal. Well, you have come to the right place!
What this article is going to cover are the 5 best Gopro gimbals and their pros and cons (because even the best have their downsides). By the end you’ll know which gopro gimbal is the right one for you so that you can get that butter smooth 4k video (and/or slow motion) that you’ve always wanted.
We are going to start with a fan favorite - the Zhiyun Crane-M2
Zhiyun Crane-M2(Gopro Gimbal)
Zhiyun, as a brand, has a great reputation and is a direct competitor to DJI in the gimbal space. With that being said, they brought their A-game when they developed the Crane M2.
To start, the Crane M2 is a 3 axis gimbal. This means that its stabilized up and down, left and right, and front and back. This is what most people call pan, tilt, and roll axis’. This is mostly a standard in today's day and age, but seeing as it does have it - it's a check in your book.
It sports a quick release system, meaning that you can mount and dismount your gopro from it with ease (and other electronics as well, but we will get into that in a bit). The deck and adjustment parts are also conveniently marked, which makes it much easier to balance the next time you place your gopro back on it.
What is also a plus about this gopro gimbal is that it has an OLED display. This display will show what mode you are in, battery life, connection status, and the gimbals parameters. While we are on this subject - the Crane M2 offers a fair bit of modes to choose from while using it. Those features are:
- PhoneGo mode - Allows for very fast camera movement
- Following mode - Follows the movements made to the handle
- Pan following mode - The camera moves while you pan left or right
- Locking mode - The camera movement is locked along all axis.
- POV mode - Full range POV. Allows for 360 degree movement
- Vortex mode - Full 360 degree barrel rolls
One of the best features (in my opinion) about this Gopro gimbal is the fact that it is not just a gimbal for you Gopro. It is also a gimbal for your smartphone, point and shoot cameras, and even mirrorless cameras.
This in itself is a huge advantage of this gimbal over others. This not only allows you to get butter smooth shots with your Gopro hero, but different angles of the same scene with your smartphone. The fact that it supports a payload of 1.58lbs, allows you to put a mirrorless camera on it such as the Canon M50 (great budget camera). With that you can put just about any m-class lens on the camera itself and the Crane M2 wouldn’t have a problem balancing it.
This makes this gimbal basically 4 gimbals in one. You would not have to get a gimbal for anything else in your arsenal - assuming that you do not have anything that would exceed the 1.58lb payload.
With this flexibility does bring a downside with it. That downside would be the fact that you have to balance it every time you put a different piece of hardware on it. This can be a downside for some, and not for others. That is for you to decide. With what they have in place with the quick release plates and the markings on the deck and arms - it really doesn't take long to get used to balancing it. Once you do it a few times, you’ll get the hang of it!
Now we are going to move onto Gopro themselves - because why wouldn’t they make their own gimbal for their own product, right?
Gopro Karma Grip (Gopro Gimbal)
GoPro makes a great action cam. They, of course, are at the fore-front of this category and will most likely stay in that position for quite some time to come.
This gimbal is very solid and the best thing it has going for it is that it’s actually made for the Gopro. There are obvious positives that go along with that.
You essential place the Gopro inside of housing/cradle and you can control everything from the gimbal handle itself. Camera controls such as power on and off, changing modes, start and stop recording, everything. Not only that, you do not have to have the gimbal on the battery grip. Let me explain…
What makes a Gopro a Gopro is the fact that you can bring it wherever you want. It is small enough for you to put in convenient/different places and get angles that you could never get with a conventional/DSLR camera. That is exactly what this gimbal allows you to do.
You can attach it to a harness (sold with kit on amazon) and have your butter smooth footage captured from your chest. A great example of this would be if you are a mountain biker and enjoy riding trails. If you attempted this with a normal gopro harness, you would have horrible footage. The harness mount gives you a much more desired result.
Form factor is something else it has going for it. Much like the gopro itself, this gopro gimbal is very small. With a little over 9 inches tall, you can fit it in just about any bag while traveling.
Another plus is the fact that you do not need to balance this gimbal at all. Unlike any other gimbal on this list, this gimbal is actually made for the gopro - the arms and motors are set for the gopro. So you just pop it in and go!
With every great aspect, there has to be a downside, right? Well, of course. For starters, you will not be able to mount anything else other than a gopro hero 5, 6, or 7. You will not get the benefits like the Crane M2 has with being able to mount multiple electronics on it. Another downside is the battery life. This gopro gimbal is rated to power the gimbal and your gopro for up to 1 hour and 45 minutes. This is very low compared to the Crane M2’s 7 hours.
Who knows, the pros might outweigh the cons for you. That is for you to decide.
Hohem Isteady Pro 2 (Gopro Gimbal)
When searching for the best gopro gimbal, you may have stumbled across Hohem. What I and many others have thought is that they’re an off brand and couldn’t offer the features and reliability that other bigger name brand companies like Zhiyun. Well, this isn’t true at all.
The Isteady pro 2 is packed with great features and best of all, at a great price point. There are some downsides with this gopro gimbal (just like every other one on this list) - we will touch on all of them.
To start, the motors on this gimbal are great. Pan, tilt, and roll axis all work just like they should.
One of the best features of the Isteady pro 2 is the battery life. The motors pull very little power while stabilizing your gopro. This equates to nearly 12 hours of battery life on a single charge. This is also achieved by the fact that the gimbal sports a 4000 mah battery. Form factor, even with a battery of this size is great too at just under 11 inches in height.
Another great feature is that Hohem claims that the gimbal is splash proof. They stress that the gopro gimbal is strictly prohibited to actually be submerged underwater/salt water or in heavy rain. They do state that it is OK if it is splashed or on light rain days.
PhoneGo Sport Mode is a mode that the Hohem iSteady Pro2 has that turns the responsiveness of each motor to the highest setting. This is great for tracking fast action and need that responsiveness of the motors without having to get into the settings and set them. This does all that for you with a touch of a button. It also comes with a stand, which is great when you need to put it down or want to get that angle from the ground.
The gimbal also connect via bluetooth to its own app called “Hohem Gimbal” which allows you to save parameters for the next time you use it. You can also do firmware updates to the gimbal itself through the app. Lastly, it allows you to do 6 sided calibration and set motion time lapse. What more could you ask for from an app?
On another note - and I understand this is a gopro article - but if you decide to go with a different action camera in the future ( like the DJI Osmos) - you will be able to mount it to this gimbal without a problem at all. It is compatible with nearly every action camera on the market (as seen in the photo above).
As for the cons, there are a few I need to go over before we move onto the next gimbal.
One thing I have never been a fan of when it comes to gimbals for smaller devices - is the cradle. The cradle (or housing that it sits in) on the Hohem Isteady Pro 2 just doesn’t seem sturdy enough. There are those out there that think differently, but the clamp design is something that turned some away from it. There is nothing worse than spending $400+ on product to have something terrible happen to it while you are filming from it. Trust me.
Another downside (and this goes for most gimbals), is the transfer of noise while recording audio. If you are recording audio directly to the Gopro and it’s being stabilized by the gimbal, you will most likely hear the motors actually stabilizing. It is recommended to record audio on something external like a recorder or a phone with a lav mic connected to it.
Next up is the Feiyu WG2 and a little bit different than the other gimbals we have seen so far….
Feiyu WG2(Gopro GImbal)
At this point in this article, we have been focusing on gimbals that are designed to be held in one hand. That form factor is the most common - but there is a design of gimbal that is designed completely different. For the real action cams. For those who want it mounted on their chest, helmet, handlebars, etc.
This is where the Feiyu WG2 comes in. This gimbal is designed to be mounted to everything but a stick. This means that there is a battery built directly to the base of the gimbal, making that form factor incredibly small.
This can be mounted to anything that has a gopro mount. This includes a chest harness, helmet mount, wrist mount, etc. It really is designed to go anywhere.
Another great feature of this gimbal is that it is semi-waterproof. Yes, waterproof. There are strict guidelines by the manufacturer that states that it can sustain 5 minutes fully submerged in water no deeper than 1 meter (3 feet). They also state that you should, for no reason, submerge the gimbal in saltwater. This is obvious seeing as salt water will ruin motors and rotors with friction. Regardless, the option is there to get stable underwater footage. That means 4k 60fps buttery smooth underwater footage.
This gopro gimbal also supports timelapse photography. The kit mentioned for this product also comes with a tripod mount and a stick to mount it to if you wanted to go the traditional one handed grip way. It also supports other action cameras on the market other than the gopro.
As stated with the other gimbals in this article, this gimbal is great but it also has its downsides. With that being said, we will go over those now.
The biggest downside of this gimbal is battery life. Seeing as the gimbal’s form factor is small and it includes the gimbal and the battery, you would expect the battery life to be small. The total operating time of the gimbal from 100% battery life is 2.5 hours. The battery is internal only. Meaning you can’t charge multiple batteries and just pop them in if you noticed it was getting low. You have to find a wall, car, or external battery bank to plug it into.
Another downside, which is just a personal preference, is the fact that the gimbal uses the clamp system to mount it to the gimbal (much like the Isteady Pro). You also have to balance the Gopro to get it to work correctly. This isn’t much of a big deal, but it is something you have to keep in mind before you purchase it.
FEIYUTECH G6 (Gopro GImbal)
This gopro gimbal is the same manufacturer as the WG2 mentioned above. Just be aware that this gimbal's section will be quite small, but still packed with useful information. With that being said, the gimbal has some of the same features but also has quite a few features that it doesn’t. Keep on reading!
When I was searching for the best gopro gimbal, I knew that I wanted one that was somewhat inexpensive and on a stick. That is what this gopro gimbal does, and it does it well.
This gimbal is compatible with all of the Gopros from the hero 3 to the current version. It is also compatible with the Gopro Hero Session.
It also has a solid app that allows you to control everything from taking a photo to setting up time lapse photography. You can even set the app as a remote recorder and see what the gopro is seeing from a remote location. This is great if you wanted to film yourself, for instance. The app also allows you to choose random points for it’s time lapse (if you wanted movement in it as well)
The OLED screen screen shows specs of the gimbal, camera, battery life, and bluetooth connection. It also comes with a nice stand and bag to take it from location to location.
You should know the trend by now - the downsides…
The only downside to this gimbal is the cage for mounting. I have never been a fan of the clamp system. Do not get me wrong, it works, but I am not the type of person that trusts it.
And the winner is...
That’s right! Zhiyun really has knocked it out of the park with this one. From the strong motors, versatility of the quick release plate, to even the 7 hour battery life; this is easily the best gopro gimbal on the market.
Yes, you will need to balance your camera on it but that's really the only downside. The fact that it can be a gimbal for 4 completely different electronics is what sold it for me. There really isn’t anything else that competes against it right now.
Zhiyun is a really good brand as well. They are constantly releasing new versions of their gimbals, and more importantly, they listen to their customers recommendations. Everything that they have improved in the past was a recommendation from their customers. There isn’t much more you could ask for from a company.
The runner up…
Hohem Isteady pro 2
With everything that this gimbal does great - it does it great at a price point more than half of the gopro version. This gimbal has great motors, long battery life, and sport mode. Yes, gopro’s version has all of that and all of the controls for the camera, right? Yeah, it does, but it’s also almost triple the cost and only lasts an hour and 45 minutes on a single charge out in the field. Those are real benefits that you need… battery life and reliability… everything else will fall right into place.
If you find yourself not having the funds to pickup the Zhiyun Crane-M2, go ahead and pickup the Isteady Pro 2 and upgrade in the future if you find yourself needing to!
That wraps it up folks...
You should have a great idea of what would work best for you. With everything that gimbals have to offer today, you have a lot to decide on. Be sure to bookmark this page as a reference, so you can come back later when (or if) you make your final decision!
I have either purchased, rented, or borrowed all of the gear that I speak of on this website. So rest assured, the information that you are reading are being backed by actual usage of the products.
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As always, thank you so much for reading, and until the next one, keep shooting!