Growing up in the video production world I’ve seen a lot of gadgets and gizmos that help to improve how a video is captured. I remember the first time I saw a Steadicam being operated and a dolly run down its tracks. These two products in particular help a cameraman stabilize their shot so that what you see on screen is a smooth, seamless shot. Hollywood cameramen have this advantage over us ‘regular joes’ and when you are attempting to catch some really great action footage with your action camera, you find yourself constantly battling shaky handheld shots. Fortunately, there is no reason why you have to use those shots any longer.
FeiyuTech, a Chinese-based company that specializes in handheld gimbals, recently released the G5 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal for action footage photographers and videographers. This particular gimbal is designed to work with the GoPro Hero 4 and Hero 5 cameras (or other similar shaped action cameras). This gimbal is an easy-to-use, professional quality gimbal that will help to improve the quality and variety of your action footage.
The G5 gimbal is made using a self-adjusting 3-axis system. It has electronically controlled brushless motors the provide superior power for the gimbal’s actions but alleviate all the noise of some other electronic gimbals. FeiyuTech works to ensure that their gimbals are extremely energy efficient. While the G5 is an exceptional device based off of its basic functions, it also has one major advantage over its competitors — it’s splash proof. Now, this doesn’t mean ‘water’ proof. You should never submerge your G5 in water. But, if you are shooting footage of some water sports or hiking through a rain forest, you can rest assured that the gimbal will continue operating even if it gets a little wet.
I would like to stop at this point to make mention of the fact that I’m not a gimbal expert. In fact, I’ve only used a couple for review purposes. I do consider myself a decent photographer and videographer, but as far as advanced accessories go, I don’t have a lot of experience with them. I say that so that I can stress how incredibly easy it is to use the FeiyuTech G5.
First, the mounting system for the camera is secure, but simple to use. There is a long screw fixture that allows you to easily tighten your camera down and it makes it virtually impossible to lose the screws. They twist easily and it’s very easy to grip them. Next, the rotational angles that the G5 can use are quite impressive.
Tilting Angle360°Rolling Angle245°Panning Angle360°
The gimbal can tilt in increments of 2°/s ~ 75°/s and pan in increments of 3°/s ~ 150°/s. The G5 is perfectly balanced for action cameras and even comes with a counterweight/weight ring to adjust for the weight difference between the Hero 4 and Hero 5 cameras. On a full battery, the G5 should be available for shooting for about 8 hours. It’s pretty lightweight (271 grams without weight ring) and it even ships with its own travel pouch. FeiyuTech made sure that this gimbal was as portable as possible.
The operation of the G5 is uncomplicated and even amateur photographers would be able to understand it without reading a manual. The gimbal’s controls are located on the handle itself. You have a joystick for movement control, a function button for powering the gimbal on and off and switching between modes, and a self-timer button that makes it easy to take portraits and even selfies. FeiyuTech has also included the option of a smartphone app for remote control, but I pretty much stuck to the handheld controls. I could see the remote option being helpful if you were to mount the gimbal on a tripod or lighting stand (there is a 1/4 screw port on the bottom of the handle).
As I mentioned above, getting started with the G5 is very, very easy. Once your camera is mounted and the Gimbal is powered on, you are ready to start using it. The gimbal will self-adjust for movements, but you can control its direction with the joystick on the handle. I did a variety of tests for movement. One of the first ones I did was just to walk through my house to see how the G5 handled basic walking movements. I was amazed to see how smooth and fluid the gimbal movements were. It just makes it feel like you are gliding from room to room as you are walking. There was no bumpy up and down or bobbing while I walked.
The next couple of tests were done outdoors. I took a simple walk down a neighborhood street. It wasn’t much, but you definitely walk differently outdoors then you do indoors and since it was a longer walk, my gait changed a few times. So, you get a really good sense of how well the G5 will work with longer distances. Again, the results were very positive. The video I took was smooth and had very little shake to it. Finally, I visited a local lake and walked and even ran around the area. This was different from my neighborhood street because there were more obstacles and even some rocky terrain. I was most impressed by how well the G5 handled my running. I moved from a sidewalk, up a small hill onto some grass and then into a parking lot. It wasn’t a long run, but it illustrated how well the gimbal stabilized even the rockiest of shots. The video included in the review shows some of these examples.
If you are looking for a great accessory to add to your action camera setup, I would recommend the FeiyuTech G5 handheld gimbal. It gets really high marks from me for ease of use, quality of the product, and the quality of the video it helps to capture.
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Originally published at macsources.com on April 14, 2017.