Having a drone that is equipped with a camera can make all the difference in your flying experience. You will be able to see what is happening as you fly, while also getting the opportunity to use or review the footage later. Many drone pilots seek out gear that will help assist the camera and its stability.
A gimbal is a tool that is designed to hold an instrument in place; it is made of angled rings that can tighten and loosen to fit a wide variety of devices. Having a camera gimbal is encouraged in the drone world, especially if you are looking to capture quality footage. Even if you are just a casual pilot, there are plenty of affordable gimbal options on the market.
Resting on a single axis, the gimbal will hold your camera still while also allowing it a certain range of motion. This makes for the smoothest shots and makes your device extraordinary versatile. Its design allows for the motion to naturally follow your drone’s flight path while also keeping your camera secure.
Now, after you take off, most gimbals are integrated into your ground control system. You can see what is happening in real time, and you can make any adjustments if needed. Many of these systems also allow for live streaming, which has become very popular over the last few years.
Taking off and sharing your journey has never been easier! Many pilots even start their own YouTube channels to document their progress. A lot of gimbal software will include a way to link your account, so posting a video to YouTube is as easy as clicking a button.
2-Axis or 3-Axis
If you are looking to purchase a drone gimbal externally, it is important to understand the different models that are available. As you can imagine, you will notice a quality difference between a 2-axis versus a 3-axis. However, this depends on your own personal preference; one is not superior to the other by default.
What it all comes down to is stability — If you are going to be flying in areas that might knock your drone around more, it would be wise to go with a 3-axis gimbal. You will have more range of motion, and the device is better able to twist and turn with any bumps that you encounter along the way.
As a beginner, starting with a 2-axis gimbal would be a way to see if you could actually benefit from the device. Just as a 3-axis, it is designed to hold your camera in place. Because there are only two instead of 3, your range of motion is going to be a little bit different.
The decision is up to you, and as previously mentioned, a lot of drones automatically already come with a gimbal installed. Knowing about each one will better help you in the future if you decide that filming is going to be one of the main purposes of flying your drone.
If you want to focus on filming scenery shots, most drone pilots recommend going straight for a 3-axis gimbal. Sometimes, the weight of your camera (especially if it is a large, high quality one) can cause vibration while it is being held by the gimbal. A 3-axis will do a better job of eliminating this.
As drones have risen in popularity, many manufacturers have begun to include a built-in gimbal. The great thing about a lot of these models is that the gimal has integration so that you are able to control it while you fly. In the past, you would normally just set your camera to record and then hope for the best.
Keep in mind that a 3-axis will likely drain your battery faster than a 2-axis because of how much harder it has to work. A 3-axis model is going to add more extra weight onto your device, so it will need to work harder while it is in flight. There is also the component of cost that should be kept in mind.
In order to give you that better range of motion, a 3-axis utilizes an additional motor as compared to a 2-axis. If you still don’t know which option is right for you, reading up on reviews can be very helpful. Many pilots provide comparisons on specific models.
Drones With Built-In Camera Gimbals
Again, if you are looking to film with your drone, the good news is that plenty of manufacturers already include a gimbal and camera on their devices. DJI is one of the top brands on the market. Their Mavic Air model is a great starter drone for those who wish to film.
It is on the pricey side, coming in at around $684, but the quality is reliable. Coming in 3 different colors, the Mavic Air has a built-in 3-axis gimbal camera. Its design is seamless and streamlined, providing you with a quality flying experience.
You will be able to shoot videos in 4K quality, as well as capture breathtaking panoramic shots. Everything is integrated into the control system. If you are limited on space, this model is also great because it is collapsible for easy storage.
A worthy investment, DJI makes another model called the Phantom 4 Pro. This device comes with everything that you will need to shoot professional quality drone footage. It is on the higher end of the price spectrum, coming in at just under $1,200.
If you are able to make the investment and you want to capture amazing quality footage, the Phantom 4 Pro can take you there. It is equipped with GPS technology that makes take off and landing a breeze. You are able to program paths into the system, effortlessly getting to all of the places that you want to go.
The gimbal allows the camera to capture this footage, even while hovering. Anti-stabilization technology prevents any vibration from ruining the shot. It also comes with all of the external parts that you will need in order to view and transfer your footage — USB cables, an SD card, extra batteries, etc.…
If you have a basic drone that you would like to upgrade, attaching a gimbal is definitely an option. There are several affordable gimbals that you can purchase externally for your drone. As a beginner, The Smart Drone Solo model can give you a 3-axis experience.
This gimbal attaches to your drone and is able to carry your GoPro camera. It films in HD quality and allows you to capture the footage from a stabilized point of view. This gimbal runs around $275.
Again, if you are just starting out with filming, this can be a great option to see what you think about a 3-axis gimbal. Because it is an external part, you can easily remove it if you decide that you want to try something else.
When shopping for an external gimbal, make sure to read up on compatibility. Unfortunately, not all gimbals are universally fit for each drone. Some only work with brand-specific models, so be sure that you are doing all of the necessary research that you can do.
No matter which system that you decide to go with, the benefits of having a camera gimbal on your drone will more than likely exceed your expectations. One of the best parts of flying is looking back at that footage that you were able to capture from a view that is normally unreachable.
Filmmakers and novice pilots alike can experience many benefits from the ever-growing drone camera gimbal industry. There are many devices released each year that continue to prove that drone footage is only going to get better and better over time while being more easily accessible to all pilots and viewers.