Gimbals are all the rage in production these days. They range in functionality from pocket gimbals like the DJI Osmo Pocket to more professional ones that carry mirrorless, DLSR, and even larger cinema cameras.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 professional gimbals that are available in market today for cinema cameras. By professional, I mean gimbals that can carry a payload of 10-15 lbs or more. I’m talking about Red camera setups, Arri Alexa setups, and other such cameras.
These setups are definitely not for casual users or for those who’ve just started their freelance filmmaking careers. They’re geared towards those who are doing higher end commercial work on a consistent basis like commercials, music videos, higher budget films, to mention but a few.
With that said, let’s get into the gimbals.
1. Movi Pro
Freefly Systems can be considered to be one of the biggest innovators in the gimbal world, as they were among the very first to introduce gimbals with their release of the Movi M10 in 2013. That gimbal revolutionized the way the filmmaking is done.
Since then, they’ve only worked to improve their gimbal, and in 2016 they released their Movi Pro gimbal. 2016 may sound like a long time ago, but this gimbal was so well designed that it’s still relevant today.
Here are some specs on the gimbal that you need to know.
On its own, the gimbal ways just 5.8 lbs, which is pretty light considering it can carry up to 15 lbs of camera gear. Think RED camera systems. Movi Pro are able to have such a lightweight setup due to their mostly carbon fiber build, which gives the gimbal tons of strength without a lot of weight.
A bonus feature to using carbon fiber is how Movi used the tubing to hide all the wires of the gimbal, so as you use this gimbal you can rest easy knowing nothing will be accidentally snagged and yanked out of place. It also makes for a much neater setup.
When it comes to accessories straight out the box, Movi doesn’t hold anything back. The box comes with the gimbal itself, as well as
- the MOVI Ring Pro
- the MIMIC
- a Bush Pilot auxiliary control knob
- 2 MOVI Pro batteries
- 2 MOVI Pro battery chargers
- COM to FRX Cable
- a MOVI Pro accessory bag
- MOVI Rod mount adapter
- and all the assembly tools and parts you need.
The batteries themselves are an impressive feature of the gimbal. The batteries give you 25.2 volts of power, which can be used to power anything else that you mount onto your gimbal, including your camera. So you only ever have to worry about 1 set of batteries.
The batteries are also hot-swappable, which means that if one battery runs out of juice, you can simply remove it and replace with a fully charged one without powering down your setup. Plus the gimbal has a LCD battery display that will make sure you always know how much power you have left. This saves a lot of time that would have been wasted if you had to power down the gimbal to swap out batteries.
Speaking of saving time, the gimbal has an impressive boot-up time of only 2s, so once your gimbal is all set up and balanced, you won’t miss a beat during your shoot.
Worth mentioning as well is the MIMIC system that comes in the box. This is essentially a Bluetooth and radio wireless system that allows the gimbal to be controlled remotely.
This is especially useful as it allows for two people to work together to get the most cinematic footage, with one person focusing on moving the gimbal while the other focuses on controlling the camera.
The use of Bluetooth and radio is also great because it means the MIMIC range is really long, and you can control the gimbal from even 600ft away without any interference.
Another feature worth mentioning is the Movi Pro is fully integrated with RED camera systems, which essentially means you can control features on your RED camera such as start/stop, ISO, focus, and more. This is pretty awesome if you shoot primarily on RED, as it can speed up your workflow even more.
Will they adopt this integration to other camera systems? Only time will tell.
And finally, let’s talk price. The Movi Pro Standard kit comes in at $6,500. There are other accessories that you can buy separately should you need them.
2. DJI Ronin 2
Up next we have the DJI Ronin 2. Right off the bat, this gimbal looks very similar in build to the Movi Pro, and has a lot more the same features such as its lightweight build with internal wiring, built in feet so you can rest the gimbal on the ground when you’re not shooting, hot swappable batteries, to mention but a few.
But the similarities really stop at face value. DJI as a company has a reputation for always taking what exists on the market and making it so much better, so let’s take a closer look at the DJI Ronin 2.
When you buy this gimbal straight out of the box what you get is
- the DJI Ronin 2 3-Axis Handheld / Aerial Stabilizer Basic Combo
- Dual TB50 Battery Mount
- hex tool
- USB Type-C Data Cable
- 5 3/8″-16 camera screws
- 5 1/4″-20 camera screws
- and assembly hardware
- as well as two limited warranties.
What doesn’t come in the box, however, is your batteries, so you have to buy these separately. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it is what it is. The advantage that DJI does have when it comes to batteries is it uses the exact same batteries as the Inspire 2 drone, so if you have one of those, then you don’t particularly have to worry about batteries, although it will probably still be a good idea to pick up a few more batteries just to be safe.
Alright, on to the good stuff.
The first thing that sets the Ronin 2 apart from the Movi Pro is its weight capacity. On its own, the Ronin 2 weighs 14 lbs, which is significantly heavier than the Movi Pro. However, it also carries literally twice the weight, with a maximum payload of 30 lbs. That in itself is very impressive.
The next thing that sets the Ronin 2 apart from the Movi Pro is it’s compatible with significantly more cameras than the Movi Pro. Where the Movi Pro is compatible just with RED, the Ronin 2 is compatible with the RED Dragon, ARRI Alexa Mini, Blackmagic URSA Mini, Canon C300, and the Sony FS7. This means you have more diversity when it comes to controlling your camera via the gimbal.
A unique feature about the Ronin 2 is it comes with a built in GPS system, which is necessary for maintaining the camera’s position when moving at high speeds. And seeing that the Ronin 2 can comfortably be moved at speeds of up to 75mph when mounted to a car rig or a drone thanks to its powerful motors, having a built-in GPS system is key.
Other features of the Ronin 2 that allow for a great user experience include its individual axis locking mechanisms, which allow for safer transportation and easier balancing.
The Ronin 2 is also easily adaptable to cable cams, drones, Steadicams, vehicle mounts, and more with a simple sliding lock mechanism that makes switch between rigs quick and seamless.
And finally, the DJI Ronin 2 comes with robust app that allows you to control features such as TimeLapse, Panorama, and CamAnchor. These features allow you to easily get custom shots as you need them.
If you decide that the Ronin 2 is for you, then you can pick one up at about $6200. Remember, however that this doesn’t include batteries, so you have to budget for that as well as any other accessories you may need.
3. Moza Pro
Up next we’ll take a look at the Moza Pro.
Straight out of the box this is what you get:
- the Moza Pro 3-Axis Gimbal
- a Pro carry case
- a tuning stand
- handle bar
- top handle
- 2 accessory mounts an intelligent battery and battery charger
- 1 wireless thumb controller with accessory mount & 1/4″-20 screw
- quick install assembly with a camera mounting plate
- 1/4″-20 & 3/8″-16 Screws
- 2 follow focus assembly rods with 1/4″-20 Screw
- lens support & allen wrenches
- Micro-USB cable
- Mini-USB cable
- Mini- to Micro-USB cable
- 2.5mm control cable
- and a 3.5mm DC to D-Tap power cable.
First thing you’ll notice with the Moza Pro is it’s different in form factor from the previous two gimbals. Where the previous two use an ring-like mount to move the gimbal around, the Moza Pro uses a handlebar system to move the gimbal.
The first advantage this handling system gives is the ability to easily switch how you carry the gimbal. It’s very quick and easy to switch between upright mode, briefcase mode, and underslung mode thanks to its 360° continuous yaw axis. This gives lots of versatility when you need to get different kinds of shots for your film.
The setup is also less bulky than the previous two models, and on its own weighs only 8lbs. Moza Pro achieved this by building the gimbal using aerospace grade magnesium-aluminium alloy, which give the gimbal tons of strength while keeping it lightweight.
It’s able to carry an impressive 22lb payload, which allows it to work seamlessly with cameras like the mirrorless Sony a7s and Panasonic GH5, to heavier DSLRs like the Canon 1DX, all the way up to pro cinema cameras like the RED series and ARRI Alexa series.
Like the previous gimbals we’ve talked about, the Moza Pro also comes with a wireless controller that sports a clear OLED display for you to monitor your settings, and a combination of buttons and a joystick to control the gimbal.
What Moza Pro did different was allow the controller to be used by a second operator up to about 330ft away, or have the controller attached to the gimbal so that it’s controlled by just one person.
Powerwise, the Moza comes with a 2800mAh battery that can last up to 4hrs. It’s not as much power as the previous gimbals will give you, so you definitely have to consider picking up some extra batteries.
The power unit also powers any accessories attached to the gimbal such as transmitters and follow focus units, but isn’t powerful enough to power the camera and camera accessories like the previous two gimbals, so keep that in mind as well.
The Moza Pro comes with a companion phone app that allows you to finetune your parameters, see any information you need pertaining to your device, calibrate your gimbal, and generally control your gimbal.
Budgetwise, this gimbal is significantly cheaper than the Movi Pro and the DJI Ronin2, coming in at only $2000. This is great value for money considering everything that comes in the box.
4. Letus Helix Pro
Now here’s a gimbal you’ve probably never heard of; the Letus Helix Pro.
This gimbal is very different from most motorized gimbals that are currently on the market.
For starters, this is probably the only modular gimbal you will ever find.
What exactly does that mean?
It means that the Letus Helix Pro gimbal isn’t fixed to using three axes all the time. If you prefer, you can remove some aspects of the gimbal and turn it into a 1-axis gimbal. This means that it will stabilize your camera only one direction, typically stabilizing your horizon. This is a great option to consider if your main aim is to capture tracking shots or when you want to use your camera mounted to your shoulder.
The next thing that makes this gimbal different from most out on the market is how it’s been built. Most gimbals either have the camera mounted in the center of the ring, or below the handle bars. The Helix Pro has been built literally from the ground up, meaning the camera sits nestled between the handlebars with the main support system below it.
This makes sense ergonomically since most camera shots are taken between waist and eye-level. The Helix Pro being built this way makes it easy for you to hold your camera anywhere within this shooting range.
Having the main support bar at the bottom of the gimbal also makes it easy for you to set the gimbal down on the ground to adjust your camera settings, playback your videos, or simply get a rest as you shoot.
The build also makes it easy for you to carry it in briefcase mode, which makes it easy to capture low-to-the-ground tracking shots, and switch back to the regular upright mode in a matter of seconds.
Yet another differentiator with this gimbal is how you control your tilt function. Unlike most gimbals where you have to select a specific mode using dials and buttons, this gimbal uses the right handlebar to adjust the tilt.
By slowly moving your right wrist up or down, the gimbal is tilted up or down to match your movement. If you move your right wrist in a quick fluid motion, the gimbal automatically disables the tilt function and instead changes the position of the handle. This comes in handy if you need to handle the gimbal in a different position, say above your head.
A quick look at the specs of this gimbal. Out of the box what you get with this gimbal is:
- the Letus Helix Pro gimbal
- Encoded motors
- a Bluetooth and Wifi module
- RC receiver that is 2nd operator mode-ready
- the Helix Mg with 19mm rod base that can convert to the 1 Axis Pro in a matter of minutes
- front support bearing set
- one V-lock battery 95WH
- and one charger.
The gimbal weighs about 7.8lbs without the battery, and has a maximum payload of 20lbs. So it is strong enough to carry heavy camera setups such as the RED and ARRI Alexa cameras.
The gimbal can also be easily adapted to use on a Steadicam sled or attached to an exoskeleton like the Easy Rig to use in different shooting setups.
All in all, the Letus Helix Pro is a low fuss, easy to use gimbal that can be easily used in run-and-gun situations like weddings or rigged up to use on more professional film sets.
At $4,999, it’s definitely a great gimbal option to consider.
5. Arri Maxima
The most expensive gimbal on this list. It can support up to 66 lbs. It can take a full Arri Alexa camera with cine lenses and accessories.
Further more, it can be paired with the Arri Trinity stabilizer (shown in the image above) – that acts like a hybrid between a Steadicam and a gimbal.
One of the cool features of the Maxima is it can tilt 90-degrees vertically. What you get:
- ARRI Maxima MX30 QL 3-Axis Motorized Gimbal Pro Set (V-Mount)
- Wireless Remote (2.4 GHz)
- 12V ALEXA Power Cable
- 12V ALEXA Mini Power Cable
- 12V XLR Power Cable
- Quick-Lock Camera Plate
- Joystick Controller
At about $21,530, it’s not cheap. But what it can do no other gimbal can.
6. Movi Carbon
And last but definitely not least, let’s look at the Movi Carbon by Freefly Systems.
This gimbal is literally in a class of its own. Let’s see why.
First and foremost, the Movi Carbon is a 5-axis video recording platform, currently the only one of its kind on the market. It’s called a recording platform because it’s not just a gimbal, but rather a gimbal with a Panasonic GH5S and Fujinon XK 20-120mm Cabrio zoom lens integrated into its body. That’s about $12,000 by itself.
Which basically means it’s a camera and gimbal all in one.
And if you know anything about the GH5s and the Fujinon lens, you know that this is a pretty powerful setup. A bonus advantage to using this camera and lens setup is Freefly were able to build the Movi Carbon to specifically fit the setup, thus keeping the whole gimbal as compact as possible.
With this combination of equipment, the Movi Carbon is still surprisingly lightweight at only 20lbs.
This lightweight build and use of the Toad in the Hole mounting system makes it easily adaptable to a wide variety of mounting options, from the Movi Ring Pro to a drone to a car or motorbike rig to a cable rig. If you can imagine the shot, you can probably mount this gimbal to achieve it.
A big target market for this gimbal is filmmakers shooting in very high speed situations. Think sporting situations and high speed chase scenes in movies. This is made possible with the use of a Wifi enabled controller that can be used by a second operator who focuses on framing the shots while whoever drives or flies the gimbal focuses on just that.
When it comes to power, the Movi Carbon uses the same batteries as the Movi Pro, so if you’re already in the Freefly ecosystem, you can use the same batteries.
Out of the box, the gimbal comes with the
- Movi Carbon ( which includes the Panasonic GH5S, Fujinon XK 20-120mm, 2 M?VI Pro Batteries, 2x M?VI Pro Battery Chargers, pre-installed M?VI Controller Receiver RP-SMA, 2.0mm Driver, 2.5mm Driver, Aux UART to FRX Cable)
- the MOVI Ring Pro
- 6 additional M?VI Pro batteries (for a total of 8)
- Schneider Compact ND Kit 114mm (ND 0.6/0.9/1.2)
- Schneider 4.5″ Round Clear Ultraviolet
- MOVI Controller (which includes, a wireless video system, 7″ Monitor, 2 V-Mount Batteries and charger, applicable cables, mounts and a quick-release driver)
- MOVI Pro Landing Gear
- MOVII Carbon Travel Case
- and the Freefly Pilot.
That’s a pretty hefty setup. Coming in at $45,000, this gimbal is definitely not for everyone. Freefly knows this, so they also have the option to rent the gimbal from $3,500 per week, which, if you do your pre-production right, can save you a ton of money.
And that’s it for this quick look at gimbals. Naturally, this article is a very high-level look at professional gimbals.
If you’re looking to get one for yourself, you should definitely do your own research and testing to find the one that best suits your needs. My aim with this article is to give you a quick jump-off point in your research process.
I’d like to know in the comments, have you used any professional gimbal before? Share your experience so we can get some more insights into professional gimbals and how they work.