There are all sorts of cameras available in the market. Smartphone makers put all kinds of technology into smartphone cameras, and stabilization is of them. And then we have action cameras that have gotten better to produce stabilized footage.
If you have been using your smartphone cameras or action cameras to make videos, there is hardly any need for Gimbals since the stabilization is good enough.
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The Dslr cameras, the mirrorless cameras, or even the point and shoot cameras are different stories. If you want to produce smooth footage using your big camera, it will take a lot of skill to do that.
Also, people who use big cameras are often serious about the kind of footage they want, and they already know whether or not they want Gimbals. But when it comes to hobbyists, they own point-and-shoot cameras, such as the Sony RX100 series, the latest Sony Z1, or even the Canon PowerShot series.
Finally, the Gimbal companies have also started making Gimbals for point and shoot cameras as well. I recently got the Hohem iSteady Multi. It can also be used with a smartphone as well as Action Cameras along with the point and shoot cameras.
Although I specifically bought it for the Sony ZV1, because the pricing is pretty interesting.
The Hohem iSteady Multi is available on Amazon for just $149. The ZV1 vlogger kit that contains the handgrip with controls for Sony ZV1 also costs $149, which makes the Hohen iSteady Multi even more desirable since it offers controls for Sony cameras if you connect them with the Sony exclusive cable given in the box. Plus, its also a gimbal.
What’s in the Box?
When you open the box, you get everything inside a hard case, which will make it easy to carry the Gimbal.
In the case, you have the Gimbal, a tripod stand that can be attached to the Gimbal, a Manfrotto Quick Release Plate, a Mobile stand, a GoPro thread, and two thumbscrews (one spare, actually). And there is a quick release plate for mounting Point and Shoot Camera using the thumbscrews.
There is one micro USB cable to charge the Gimbal, and there is also another Cable for Sony Cameras that let you use the controls on the Gimbal to control the camera.
And we have a user guide as well. I would recommend everyone read it first as it has information about balancing the Gimbal, which can be tricky for first-time users. You have to keep the Digital Camera turned on while balancing the Gimbal because the lens pops out when the camera is turned on, and it changes the weight distribution.
Built Quality & Key Features
The build quality is not that great, it’s all plastic, but it’s also not super expensive. You’ll do fine if you handle it properly.
There is a microUSB slot for charging as well as a Type A for using the 3600mAh batteries inside the Gimbal to charge other devices. The full charge can be achieved in 3.5 hours and can last for up to 8 hours as claimed by the company, but expect it to be around 6 hours. But that too is quite enough for a single or maybe even multiple shooting sessions.
The other side has battery indicator. There are for LEDs, and each light shows 25% charge. So, four dots means 100% and a single dot means 25% charge on the Gimbal.
There’s also a slot on the Gimbal, which is used for connecting it to Sony Cameras, and it lets you use the controls on the Gimbal to zoom in / zoom out, take photos, and start/stop recording.
The most prominent feature of the Hohem iSteady Multi the Gimbal is its multipurpose use. You can use your Smartphone, Point and Shoot Cameras under 400grams and Action cameras with it.
There is a joystick on the Gimbal that lets you Pan and Tilt. The power buttons aso doubles as a control for Sony cameras for taking a photo or recording video.
There’s another button to use functions like Pan Follow (PF), Pan Tilt Follow (PTF), All Locked (AL), and All Follow (AF). The number of dots mentions the number of times you can press the button to activate the function.
PF mode only makes the Gimbal mode in the right or left direction when you move the Gimbal.
PTF means it wil also do up and down movements, AL means camera looks in the same direction regardless of the movement, and AF is when ever does Pan, Tilt and slight Rotation as well.
Setting of the Gimbal and Balancing the Camera
You have to balance the camera before turning on the Gimbal, be it the smartphone, the digital camera, or the action camera. The digital camera can directly be mounted to the Manfrotto quick release plate. For the smartphone, you will have to mount the mobile adaptor to the quick release plate, and for the action camera, it’s the gopro adapter you have to use.
It is a little tricky to balance the digital camera, because when you turn it on, the lens will pop out. So, you have to balance it by keeping the camera turned on or putting extra strain on the Motors.
The first attempt took me around 10 minutes to balance, but once you know how it’s done, the next time will not take that long.
After the balancing is done, you can long-press on the power button to turn on the Gimbal.
You can use the provided Sony cable to use the same power button to start recording on the camera. A single click will take a photo, and a double click will start/stop the recording.
There is another button on the Gimbal that’s accessible by your finger. A single press will reset the camera’s position to look at the front, and a double press will activate Sports mode—more about it in the creative shots section.
Connecting and Control via the Smartphone App
Hohem has an app you can install on your Smartphone and Connect to the Gimbal via Bluetooth. I used the Android app to connect with the Gimbal.
Launch the app, select iSteady Multi, and Connect. It’s pretty simple.
There isn’t a lot of function available inside the app, but it lets you control the Gimbal. You can use the virtual joystick for Tilt and PAN. And if the Sony camera is connected, you can also take photos and start the recording.
Apart from that, there is a motion lapse feature where you can select the starting and ending points for the Gimbal, and select the time. You can set multiple points, and it will Pan or Tilt from A to B to C and so on.
The feature is pretty useful for taking dynamic timelapses, but I have also found it to be useful for taking your own moving shots. You select different points for camera to Pan, and then you record yourself to get a moving camera shot as I did for one of my videos.
Taking Creative shots using the Gimbal
You can use the Gimbal anyway you want to have smooth footage, but there are some predefined creative shots you can take using the Gimbal that makes it easy for anyone to have some really cool videos.
The creative shots are
Inception mode – where the camera rotates as you move forward or backward, holding the gimble.
Dolly zoom – this is when you zoom in on the subject while moving away, or you zoom out while moving toward the subject.
There is also a Sports mode, which makes the Gimbal pan faster to catch the action. And there’s actually a button on the Gimbal to activate it. I haven’t tried yet, though.
You can watch the review video to see some test footage and the difference it makes in stabilization.
A Gimbal is a must-have when you have to do client work, where you have to shoot weddings, promotional videos, product shots. But then people have DSLRs for that.
So, this Gimbal is not really targetting professionals. But people who make videos on YouTube or maybe their personal videos. You now have an option to stabilize your videos without having to spend a lot of money.
It’s not ideal for vlogging. The time it wil take to mount and balance the Gimbal and keep one more battery-operated thing charged will be a lot for a vlogger. They would simply use a Smartphone with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) or just get an Action Camera. The stabilization you’ll get will be great for vlogging.
Having said that, this Gimbal can be used for B-Rolls. I have a big camera, which is always on a Tripod, and then I have SonyZV1 for quick B-Roll videos. Having a Gimbal like this handy allows me to take videos that wil be smoother than handheld.
Plus, $149 is not much big of a commitment.