The travel accessory that you didn’t know you needed.
Who would’ve known? This is a piece of tech that we didn’t even consider when we started our journey. It has quickly turned out to be one of the best things we’ve splurged on.
We purchased the Feiyu G4 QD 3-Axis Handheld about midway through our trip. After about five months on the road, we were sick and tired of so many GoPro videos turning out poorly because the raw footage was a bit too shaky to use or enjoy. Video editing stabilization programs can only do so much.
It was always a gut wrenching feeling when a once in a lifetime moment was captured on video, but the video ended up being a bit...shit.
Enter the Feiyu G4 QD 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal. At about $250 USD, it was by no means cheap, but based on research online it seemed like it was going to be the solution to our problems. Additionally, our Phantom 3 has a DJI gimbal on it that seems to work beautifully in the air, so there is no reason for us to expect anything less out of a hand held gimbal.
If you aren’t familiar with gimbals and what they do, here's the low down. You mount your camera on a gimbal and gyroscopes, electric motors, and wizardry keep your camera level. As a byproduct of this, it reduces random shaking from your hand or body moving around. There are limits on how much “shake” a gimbal can handle however. You are still going to get up and down motion while you’re walking with the camera or if you’re flailing your arms around. If you hold your hands anywhere near as steady as you’re used to when using the GoPro 3 Way Mount, your video is going to turn out perfect.
Has the gimbal met our expectations?
Yes- Absolutely. Much like getting Lasik, our only regret is not getting it sooner. Having had the gimbal for more than a month now, it has become something that gets thrown in the day bag every, well...day. We actually don’t even use the GoPro 3 Way Mount anymore except in very specific circumstances.
- Gimbal steadies and smooths camera movement like its supposed to. No more worrying about whether video we captured will be usable.
- Sturdy, metal build. A bit heavy, but in a good way.
- Good battery life. A set of fully charged batteries should last you over 4 hours of gimbal run time, which I equate to full four GoPro batteries getting drained.
- Gimbal battery charger- Uses the same mini usb port that GoPro still uses.
- Quick Dismantling camera holder. This feature has worked really well and its convenient to pop the gopro out in case you want to set it down for a static shot somewhere.
- Quiet motors- Quiet enough to not interfere with the audio-a huge concern when I ordered the gimbal was that the electric motors would be too loud and audible on video. I’m please to report this has turned out to be a complete non issue.
- Difficult to transport safely. There isn’t a great way to transport it in a small form factor. Right now I’m just wrapping the gimbal in a towel and placing it gently in my daybag. For more rigorous travel, you need to put it back into the retail box to keep it safe. The retail box has a foam cut out in the shape of a GoPro, bit If you store it in the box with the GoPro, then it pushes the camera against the side of the gimbal and turns on the WiFi, draining your battery.
- Camera holder turns on WiFi by accident, often. In fact, sometimes just putting the GoPro in the gimbal at all turns on the WiFi, which is really bad design. The side of the mount should have a cut out so that the WiFi button is not activated.
- Pretty expensive. Purchased for a bit over $250 on B&H Photo. Can’t help but think of the fact you’re holding a $650 piece of tech in your hand whenever you’re doing something over water or hard ground. For a bit of perspective, I'd prefer to have the entry level $200 GoPro Hero model and this gimbal than the flagship $500 GoPro Hero 4 Black model.
Whats in the box? Whats in the box?!
- G4 3 Axis QD Handheld Steady Gimbal
- Battery Charger Charger
- 2 sets of rechargeable batteries (4 total)
- USB Mini cable
- USB adapter
- European outlet to USB charger
- US outlet USB charger
This is going to be a short one- Providing this gimbal survives the rest of the trip its an easy Must Buy. The price tag is steep for an accessory but the results speak for themselves.
UPDATE April 28th 2016: After 4 months of use, this gimbal is still kicking ass and taking names. We still use it on a daily basis and baby it less than ever- It gets tossed into the day bag with everything else. The gimbal has dealt with getting dropped from a scooter at 45km per hour, dropped out of our rental van, and knocked around on full day hikes. More so than ever, I wish this was something we had with us the entire trip.
You can find it here on Amazon. FYI: this is an affiliate link- that means if you click on the link and then shop on Amazon we get a tiny kick-back. Don't worry, it doesn't change the price of your purchase!