How much does a handheld Camera Gimbal Cost?

How much does a handheld Camera Gimbal Cost?

Brian Mathers

You are interested in purchasing a gimbal and your asking your self “How much do these things cost!?!” First off just to clear the air we are not writing this article to convince you to purchase one gimbal or another. We are going to give you a review of what we see as factors that drive costs up or down and then back off and let you decide which gimbal is the best option for you! We dare you to read the whole article and send us a message if we do not hold up our end of the deal! 😊

We will briefly discuss the options and prices and then we will dive deeper into the gimbal world.

There are 3 main types of Gimbals, there are “manual” gimbals, there are powered gimbals and there are powered gimbals with cameras integrated.

Manual Gimbals have no motors or batteries. They have adjustable weights to help stabilize the camera. These gimbals range from $15.00 – $500.00 and beyond. If you are looking for a fairly generic manual gimbal you can expect to pay around $50.00 - $100.00 for a decent quality that will work for most of you.

Powered Gimbals have electric motors and batteries. Some have adjustable weights to assist with the stabilization. You can expect to pay from around $150.00 – well over $1000.00 for a professional powered gimbal. If you are looking for a fairly basic electric powered gimbal you can expect to pay between $175.00 – $300.00.

Powered gimbals with integrated cameras. These are generally smaller gimbals that have electric motors and batteries. The batteries run the motors and the cameras. You cannot switch the camera out for a different camera. Generally you can pick these up for between $100.00 - $300.00.

The above is the nuts and bolts of camera gimbals, but lets dive a little deeper into the construction of the gimbals that effects the costs.

With the manual gimbals, right off the hop, with no motors and no batteries this can cut costs if you are looking for a very cost-effective gimbal. Keeping in mind the lower the cost the cheaper the materials will be to construct it. If you are looking in the $20.00 or less range you can expect plastic or very cheap metal construction that will have a very short life span. When you start seeing more wholesome construction with carbon fiber or a decent quality metal you will see the prices start to jump.

The adjustments play a large part in costs going up or down. If the gimbal has 1 – 3 simple and clunky adjustments, you will notice the costs being lower as the manufacturer put very little money into ensuring functionality ect. This is generally seen in items ‘appealing to the masses’ that do not necessarily care about quality and functionality for one reason or another. On the other end of the scale you will see large contraptions that have many many adjustments to get that perfect flow and shot! They normally start with larger adjustments and then have options to fine tune those larger adjustments with smaller knobs and pieces to turn and adjust for that finite adjustment. The more adjustments a gimbal has the higher the costs are going to be.

Electric motors and batteries. We are lumping this into one section as the principals are similar for both. When you are looking at quality of motors there are many factors. Low quality motors may have slight dead spots in them – this means as the motor turns and adjusts to keep your camera stable it may have a bit of a jerky motion as the motor is made with lower quality materials and workmanship leading to a lower cost for the gimbal overall. High end motors are much smoother as they have higher end components inside to ensure that they run smoothly. Batteries operate on much the same principals. Its what’s inside that counts! You have most likely purchased cheap batteries for a home toy or appliance, and it dies in a matter of minutes, you have also most likely purchased higher end or more expensive batteries and they last much longer (yes yes we have had the experience of purchasing “high quality” batteries and finding out they last no longer then cheap ones but we are speaking generally here!). This goes the same for the rechargeable batteries in a gimbal. If they are at a very low price point they most likely do not have very high quality internals therefore the charge will not last very long, maybe as short as minutes. On the other hand you spend a little more you will find the charge lasts longer. This has to do with both the quality of the battery and the efficiency of the motors. Higher quality motors normally take less energy! 😊

Taking a step back, what are you trying to accomplish with the gimbal?

  1. Is it to get a few good videos on a vacation to show friends and family?
  2. Is it to grab a few videos a month over the next few years to come?
  3. Will it be used almost every day as a tool to generate you income?

Based on the answer to the above question we will go over the different options.

Finding your self falling into the first category just looking to get a few good videos to show friends and family or going on a vacation or just wanting to experiment? We do not feel it would be a good use of resource (cash) to drop a ‘K’ on a gimbal. You may be best off to go with a lighter weight manual gimbal or a lightweight electric gimbal depending on your camera size and weight. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, cost yes, but if you are somewhat new to the market of gimbals it is always best to get a bit of firsthand experience with gimbals before moving up the scale as you can find out pretty quick what you like and what you don’t like with a lower end manual gimbal ($25-75.00). When investing a small amount of cash it is much easier to pull out the tools and do a little modifications your self without risking breaking the bank to get that adjustment or extra/less weight then the standard offerings.

There are down sides that you will have to live with such as it most likely will not be the smoothest gimbal on the market. You may not have a large choice of weights and adjustments to play with in a cheaper gimbal but circle back to the cost and the reason you are looking at a cheaper gimbal in the first place….will it serve the purpose?

If you’re falling into the second category of wanting to be able to use the gimbal over the next months and years to come you will find that you’re going to need to spend a little more. Potentially pushing over that $250.00 mark. This will get you a fairly decent manual gimbal or low to middle class electric gimbal.

If you are falling into the third category, but are new to gimbals we would suggest you start with a cheaper model and work your way up. If you have experience in gimbals by all means we got your back, drop that ‘K’ or more! One caution to keep in mind with these expensive gimbals is they often have larger motors, larger batteries, and/or larger weights to offer a smoother experience and shoot. This all increases the weight. When you take your camera + the gimbal + the lens you can easily clear the 5lbs mark. Now think about holding 5lbs out at ¾’s arm length for an extended period of time. Some can do it and they do it well, most people struggle after a few minutes. This is not a reason to not purchase a high quality gimbal its just a warning when you are looking at large DSLR gimbals. One way to combat this is to purchase a gimbal with an integrated camera. If you are spending the money you will get a quality camera and gimbal that is much smaller and usually shoot in pretty high definition. Downside is the integrated cameras are often automated so there is not many manual adjustments on them.

These are our thoughts. We hope you got some insights. Now we step away and let you decide!