In this article, we will be taking a look at what we feel are the best gimbals for Sony FS5 cameras currently available on the market right now. With more and more videographers and cinematographers deciding to use a gimbal when recording we have seen more and more people reaching out for advice.
We have researched a number of high-quality gimbals that work with the Sony FS5 and settled on five that we feel are the best. All five gimbals have an excellent reputation as well as people currently using them with the Sony FS and reporting good things.
The DJI Ronin-M Gimbal Stabilizer
Although the DJI Ronin-M does look a little complicated, especially when it has just arrived and needs building, it is actually pretty easy to put together. The instruction manual can help if you get stuck during the build and there are also a bunch of videos on YouTube to help you but we doubt you will need them.
You can download the DJI app to your phone to allow you to quickly and easily calibrate the DJI Ronin-M where ever you are. The app also offers you some tweaking controls too such as the ability to easily change or correct the tilt, pan or rotary speed of the gimbal on the fly.
The video below offers a third-party opinion on the DJI Ronin-M as well as shows some examples of how smooth your footage can be when using it.
You get two batteries included that offer around three hours of run time each but this can change depending on the settings of the gimbal as well as the combined weight of your Sony FS5 and lens. Additional batteries are also available on the off chance you want to have a spare for your backup battery or you are planning to record on location for extended periods of time.
Unfortunately, there is no case included as standard with the DJI Ronin-M. Thankfully, there are a number of high-quality third-party cases available that offer your gimbal plenty of protection from bumps and knocks as well as the elements. Additionally, there is no mounting bracket for an external monitor either but again, there are a number of third-party brackets available that will allow you to mount a monitor on the DJI Ronin-M if you wish.
Although you shouldn’t need them when using the DJI Ronin-M with the Sony FS5, there are a number of cheap extension rods available too if your lens makes your FS5 too top heavy. This will give the gimbal the additional range it needs to stabilize with the heavier load without issue although it will run your batteries down quicker.
The DJI Ronin-MX is actually classed as the middle tier DJI Ronin product with the original Ronin above it and the DJI Ronin-M covered earlier below it. That said, the DJI Ronin-MX is actually the newest gimbal from the range to market and has the most recent design with a few tweaks to improve its performance.
For example, the battery position on the MX is now directly above your camera housing to allow for better and easier balance. On the flip side, if you are recording using a wide angle lens on your FS5 and tilt the MX upwards to maximum tilt, you can sometimes see the battery pack but this is rare.
The video below offers an independent opinion of the DJI Ronin-MX, its performance, and its capabilities.
The DJI Ronin-MX also comes with an external gimbal controller included allowing you to further improve your footage. With this set up you can have one person dedicated to the movement of the actual gimbal while another person uses the external controller to control the gimbals pan and tilt.
Although not exclusive to just the MX, it is also very easy to set up and can be built and calibrated in as little as only five minutes once you are used to the system. It is fully compatible with the DJI app that you can put on your phone to make the setup and calibration process even easier.
Just like the DJI Ronin-M, the DJI Ronin-MX should be fine with the majority of popular Sony FS5 rigs. That said, if you do have a longer and heavier lens on your camera then you may need to pick up some extension rods to offset the additional weight.
The Nebula 5100 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal
The motor on the Nebula 5100 is angled at forty-five degrees to prevent it from blocking your camera’s screen as some competing gimbals at a similar price point can. Nebula also claims that this design helps the gimbal have additional torque than other designs too.
The battery for the Nebula 5100 is held in the handle of the gimbal and is non-removable. One full charge will last you between eight and ten hours and it can only be charged via the official Nebula charging cable.
The motor on the Nebula 5100 will only work when on the left-hand side but if you are using this with the Sony FS5 or any other Sony camera this is ideal. Having the motor on the left-hand side offers you quick and easy access to both your battery housing and your memory card.
The video below shows some good footage examples of what you are able to achieve using a Sony FS5 and the Nebula 5100.
- Mode One – Pan Follow Mode – The gimbal will follow your pans but not your tilts.
- Mode Two – Full Follow Mode – The gimbal will follow your pans and tilts.
- Mode Three – Full Lock – The gimbal will lock the camera onto its focus.
- Mode Four – Roll Mode – Allows you to rotate the gimbal left and right through ninety degrees for barrel roll style shots.
Mode one is the default mode every time you start the gimbal up and you then press the mode button once to rotate to the next mode up to mode four. Once you get to mode four you have to fully turn off the gimbal and turn it back on to get back to mode one though.
The power switch for the gimbal is located on the handle and is sturdy. Unlike some of the competing gimbals out there, it is hard to accidentally turn the gimbal off while recording. That said, the handle itself is horrible, there is no rubber support and it can become uncomfortable if you are using it for extended periods of time.
The Letus Helix Jr. Aluminum 3 Axis Gimbal
When initially released onto the market, Letus intended the Helix Jr to be able to work with camera and lens combos up to around the seven-pound mark. Thankfully, Letus haven’t skimped on the motors in the gimbal and you are usually able to safely get up to around ten pounds of recording equipment on it without issue. Depending on the length of your lens you can sometimes get as much as twelve pounds of equipment on it without reduced performance.
The video below shows how you are able to balance the Letus Helix Jr with your Sony FS5 and multiple lenses.
The handles on the Letus Helix Jr have been designed to be at the same level as the camera as well as being close together instead of far apart like some of the competing products out there. This allows you to lock your arms in place while recording to allow you to stay comfortable for extended periods of time without needing to take breaks. There are multiple reports from people saying this type of design enabled them to get confident with the gimbal and ready to record within a matter of minutes.
The frame of the Letus Helix Jr is mostly made from magnesium to allow it to stay strong while also being very light. This allows you to come up with some pretty unique recording styles including some that only require a single hand. There are also a number of modes you can set the gimbal to run in to best achieve the clip you are after.
Freefly Systems M5 MōVI
It comes equipped with some of the industry leading image stabilization technology that is very easy to use and offers you smooth and natural video when using the gimbal. The ultra lightweight construction of the gimbal frame makes it easy to hold for extended periods of time without tiring out even when using a large heavy lens with your Sony FS5.
The below video is a short independent movie recorded using the Freefly Systems M5 MōVI and the Sony FS5.
Sources And Additional Reading
Shared under Creative Commons – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Krists Luhaers – IMG_2697 – https://flic.kr/p/GtfSEm