These little Blue Hand Held Video Stabilizers have been available for quite some time, but tracking down reviews on the item are still scarce. I often get questions about these particular stabilizers, but it's not something i've had the chance to play with in person, so there's not much information I can offer.
This stabilizer collapses down to less than 10", with an adjustable X/Y top stage, and what appears to be a quick release plate, it looks pretty decent for a price less than $140 (includes free shipping). If anyone has any experience on these i'm sure other readers would like to know your feedback in the comments section. These are constantly rebranded, but you can find them via eBay (click here).
Laing P-03 DSLR Stabilizer. [Thanks Nitsan] This small vide camera stabilizer features a gimbal that can be repositioned on the telescoping post and fine tuning knobs at the top stage for simple balancing typically not found on other entry level systems. Priced at just over $200 dollars and found (here).
Lensse is a company that makes very simple and affordable Video camera stabilizers that support iPhones all the way up to heavy DSLR bodies. These stabilizers balance your camera over a ball socket gimbal, attempting to prevent the transfer of shaky hands into the camera while walking, and also keeping your camera level with the horizon. You can see the complete line of stabilizers they offer (here).
Recently Lensse has just announced a new Stabilizer version called the UniqueX. It shares many of the same features at their other line of stabilizers, but the highlight of this new stabilizer is the adjustable Gimbal which can be relocated to the center of balance. Just another way of fine tuning the balance of your setup. Specs state it will support cameras up to 3 lbs and retails for about $100 bucks. Check it out via Amazon (Click Here).
I have used and abused my Steadicam Merlin Vest over the years, and although the ISO Arm has lasted me this long, the actual worn vest has slowly been degrading. I love the Steadicam Merlin Vest, and highly recommend the performance it gives, but even at $1500 dollars for the vest only (seen here) this is considered the low end of Steadicam's Stabilizer Vests. There are other more professional Steadicam vests, but obviously much more expensive. While I continued patch-work on my Steadicam system, I took the time to test a few other vests on the market.
Plastic Chest Plate Cracked on my Steadicam Merlin Vest
Build quality on the few aftermarket Stabilizer Vests i've tried over the years were good, in fact many of the worn vests I thought to be more comfortable and better designed than the Steadicam Merlin Vest. The only problem was that each ISO arm on the vests seemed to require a decent amount of weight to work smoothly. The springs were basically 'too strong' to fly your basic Glidecam HD4000 and DSLR Camera. In order to work properly the stabilizer should float in the air and the ISO arm should be very flexible and responsive to movement.
For this new vest that i've purchased, the dual arms can be dialed down to fly an average DSLR lightweight setup, or dialed to support a heavier payload. The ISO arm is responsive, reduces movement that would normally transfer to the stabilizer, and allows the stabilizer to just float. I'm not a fan of a few aesthetic pieces such as the bright blue locking knobs and metal chest plate, but overall the build quality on the vest is good, lightweight, and comfortable.
The length can be quickly adjusted with a simple pull-pin, something the Steadicam Merlin vest does not offer. The Dual ISO arm can be repositioned on the left/right side, or removed completely very very easily. To attempt this with the Steadicam Vest requires more time and more effort. The buckles allow you to get in and out without having to lose your personal fitting.
Metal Plate, Quick Adjustment, Quick Release Arm, Reverse Mount
I purchased this Dual ISO Arm Stabilizer Vest with the brand logo Wieldy, but has since undergone various name changes. The common one found (at time of writing) is under the brand 'CAME' (terrible name). If you're planning to use this vest under a Glidecam or Flycam, the post diameter is just a bit small. You would need to find a way to increase the diameter a bit for a snug fit with the Glidecam or Flycam handle.
Wieldy Handle Diameter vs. Glidecam Handle Diameter
Video Camera Steadycam Dual Arm Stabilizer Load Vest
The vest is very helpful for longer video shots, but is not required. You can always purchase the vest at a later time and just start with the Wieldy Carbon Fiber hand held stabilizer. I have additional information and sample video footage shot with a Wieldy (found here). So if you are just looking for the Hand Held stabilizer, that can be found via eBay (Click Here).
One essential tool for long Flying Video Stabilizer (Steadicam) type shots is a Vest system with an iso-elastic arm. The vest helps to take the weight of the camera off the arms and distributes the load over to the body. The flexible spring loaded iso-elastic arm keeps the camera level as the operator runs, jumps, or climbs a flight of stairs.
YouTube member SteveSmithDOP gives us a tour around the new Flycam C5 Carbon Fiber stabilizer [Thanks Steve]. I've only seen a handful of videos from this stabilizer, and they've really seemed to have stepped up their build quality compared to the original Flycam stuff. They've even blacked out all the washers (weights) on the lower sled.
The Flycam C5 is said to support up to a 6 pound camera and comes in cheaper than a Glidecam HD1000 (rated at 3 lbs.). If you're looking to fly more than just a basic camera body and lens, this looks like a solid stabilizer for the money, and can be found via eBay (Click Here).
For those who wanted a better look at the Flycam Armbrace, here's a quick little show and tell. The Flycam Armbrace
is used to help carry some of the weight of a stabilizer off the wrist. Glidecam also sells a Forearm Brace (seen here), but it's bit more expensive and looks like it will only fit on the Glidecam due to the larger OD on the post.
One common question is 'Does the Flycam Armbrace work with the Glidecam?'. The answer is 'YES' the Flycam Armbrace does work with BOTH the Flycam and Glidecam HD1000, HD2000, and HD4000 stabilizers. It uses a smaller OD on top and steps to a larger OD for the bottom of the post (as seen in the video). Coincidence? You be the judge. Using an arm brace will help relieve some weight from the wrist, but keep in mind that it will not solve the weight carried from the Bicep and the stabilizer will still be just as heavy. The Flycam Forearm Arm brace can be found via eBay (click here).
Flycam Forearm Arm Brace for Flycam and Glidecam HD Stabilizer
This video is complete rambling about different feature sets of a few 'Small Camera stabilizers' I use. I have quite a few very large ones as well, but for now i'm just touching on these specifically because they are so close in what audience they are intended for. The three small stabilizers i'm showing are the Flycam Nano, the Glidecam HD1000, and the Skyler MiniCam (new and old). If you're not interested in knowing about the differences of such products, I suggests you skip this video since it's quite lengthy.
I'll start by saying that it's possible to get excellent results from ALL of these stabilizers. Don't be fooled to thinking you'll be achieving excellent results on the first day, even if you wanted to spend thousands of dollars on high end gear. With any stabilizer, it will require practice, practice, and even more practice. This video will probably generate more questions, but hopefully it's an insight of the different things to look for when shopping for a stabilizer.
The Flycam Nano does not have the best fit and finish as the other stabilizers, so obviously it will be much cheaper. It also does not carry the fine tuning knobs of a Glidecam HD series stabilizer. The Flycam Nano does not come with any type of Quick release system to make packing up and re-balancing more convenient.
Glidecam: The Glidecam HD1000 has a quick release system, fine tuning knobs, and has better overall build quality and aesthetics. The quick release system will help you remove your camera from the stabilizer when you need to pack up, and makes it easy to get the camera back in the right spot for rebalancing. The fine tuning knobs help get very accurate alignment. Note: Recently Glidecam released an XR version of their stabilizers which is cheaper, but will lack the QR plate and fine tuning knobs. (click here to see Glidecam XR-1000 via eBay)
Skyler MiniCam: The Skyler MiniCam is the most expensive of these three small stabilizers. It's also the smallest and lightest, but yet can still fly just as much weight. You can remove all of the parts from the Skyler for travel and set it back up without having to rebalance. Everything falls perfectly in alignment. It also offers a quick release stage - not only for packing up, but it can be used to move your camera to a tripod, slider, cage, rig, etc with the included 'mounting base plate'. The design of the lower sled makes it easy to adjust up and down for weight compensation, and does not have the same potential to shift (like the Glidecam and Flycam models). Build quality is top notch.
If you're just starting out, doing it as a hobby, or just curious about flying camera movements you could start on the lower end. The actual practice of flying a stabilizer is more important than the stabilizer itself. Sell it off later when you're ready to upgrade or try renting one for a weekend to see if it's something you're interested in, and how often you think you'll be using it. If you're already flying a stabilizer and need more of the convenience of fine tuning knobs, quick release plates, compact for travel, and ease of rebalance, then look for the higher end models that offer some of those features like the Glidecam HD or Skyler Minicam.
Just a few months ago Flycam introduced a Carbon Fiber stabilizer called the C5. (here). To confuse the market even more, they've recently released another set of Flycam Carbon Fiber stabilizers called the CF3 and CF5. Although these look much better than the original C5, I still can't get over the ugly counterweights and painted blue accents. I personally would rather just have plain metal washers in place of those plastic tubs.
The CF5 is a larger and longer stabilizer for heavier cameras, and the CF3 is the smaller version at a max height of 25". These new carbon fiber stabilizers use a quick release lock to adjust the telescoping post up or down (better than original Nano), comes with it's own quick release plate, foam padded Carry Bag, and comes in cheaper than the original C5 Carbon.