I was sent this camera stabilizer by Akally for free for a review.
This camera stabilizer comes in a brown box and inside the stabilizer and all the various additional parts are very well packaged in a secure white Styrofoam -like packaging, but there are no instructions of any kind.
Having no instructions is an immediate disappointment, as having never had a camera stabilizer before, I had to go to the internet to find out how to work this thing properly. The stabilizer is a good piece of equipment, well made but is very hard to get right which is why it may lead to frustration if you are new, like me, to using one.
The package you get includes the actual stabilizer with a standard 1/4 ” screw (the normal for most cameras these days), the shiny metal weights, and several mount accessories to mount a gopro camera. Putting together and using this stabilizer takes some work and if you want to I’d suggest looking for some videos online. There are lots of different stabilizers out there but the basic principal of setting them up is the same.
The best thing you can start doing is by mounting just the camera onto the stabilizer and trying to get the balance just right. The part of the stabilizer where you mount the weights can actually be unscrewed and taken off or moved up and down to get a good stability.
The camera can be set forwards or backwards on the stabilizer, as well as turned 180 degrees around so it faces you rather than outwards. Where you place the camera on the mount really depends both on the size of the camera and how heavy it is. As I said before, it is getting the balance just right which is the hardest thing to do. I have personally found a heavier camera easier to stabilize than a very light one.
The weights that sit at the bottom of the leg of the stabilizer can be separated so you can adjust the counter weight to the camera. There is a small round spirit level which you should always be able to see as you hold the stabilizer in you hand. It’s important to get the air bubble to sit in the centre of this circle-shaped spirit level otherwise it will tilt in different directions.
Once you have managed all this you are ready to use the camera.
You hold the mount by the foam handle and walk with it while filming. As I said before, getting the balance right is actually very hard to do and I still haven’t achieved complete perfection, though the more I practice the better it is getting. I also am completely lost as to stabilizing a lightweight camera so cannot comment on whether this is even possible to do.
The foam handle is very comfortable to hold, and given how heavy and sometimes awkward it feels to hold the stabilizer higher up (if that’s how you want to film) it’s a good thing that this handle is as comfortable as it is, and foam handles have prevented sweating that a plain plastic handle would have. The foam handle is attached with a ball joint to the rest of the stabilizer and basically, no matter which way you move while walking the stabilizer is supposed to counter any movements you make to get that steady shot. My handle was initially squeaking in the joint which made for bad noise while filming, but I’ve managed to stop this happening by getting the correct stability.
Overall this stabilizer is good but very hard to get right. If you are new to camera stabilizers then then you need a lot of patience and I’ll keep this review updated if and when I can get a smaller camera stabilized using this. However for larger/ heavier cameras it does seem to work better and is easier to balance although you still need a lot of practice to get this thing right, and to stop it drifting and twisting sideways (something which is still happening with my lighter camera). Overall a good stabilizer but with patience and instructions it could be better.