Saturday, 25 May 2013


I've been thinking about doing an article about gimbals for a while now, particularly looking at consumer grade gimbals that cost hundreds of dollars rather than the many thousands that it's possible to spend on top of the range equipment aimed at professionals. The reason that I never got around to writing the article in the past is that I was always disappointed with the results from the cheaper gimbals and invariably footage shot from a fixed camera looked better than the jittery images created with the use of a cheap gimbal.

In the last few months however we have seen big advances in the affordable gimbal market, thanks mainly to the work by people like AlexMos, with the development of the brushless gimbal controller. When DJI released the Zenmuse with the direct drive system, it was immediately obvious how much better results could be using direct drive and thus eliminating any backlash or play in the system. The motors on the Zenmuse are prohibitively expensive, so the rush was on to create a direct drive system using conventional brushless motors.

If you're in the market for a brushless gimbal then my advice right now would be to wait a bit longer because the current crop of 'cheap' brushless gimbals are very hit and miss, with manufacturers rushing to get a product to market with very poor quality control. You just have to follow the release of the Mastor system from BEVRC to get an idea of some of the problems that people are having trying to get them to work: Mastor thread on RCGroups

Despite what I said above, this is still an exciting time for AP enthusiasts and with a bit of tinkering and a little luck with quality control they can be made to work extremely well for a fraction of the cost of the Zenmuse. To avoid repeating what others have already said, I am just going to provide a few links to threads on RCGroups where you can find out all about the latest releases in the brushless gimbal arena.

This link will take you to the Brushless gimbal mania thread which provides a comprehensive list of most of the newly released gimbals on the market, including prices and links to support threads.
Brushless Gimbal Mania

The next link is to a post that I read and found to be really useful if you're new to setting up a brushless gimbal and am sure will be useful to a beginner wondering why their gimbal isn't performing as well as it should.
Brushless Gimbal Setup Principles

The last link is to a blog that has some great information about general gimbal principles, including some great videos demonstrating gimbal behaviour under varying conditions. If you're a bit of a geek that really likes to know the technical intricacies of how something works then you will love this. Scroll down a bit to get to all the stuff about gimbals.
Technical Gimbal Description