There are now people using hand-held gimbals like this one or that one with their DSLRs or mirrorless cameras. How does the effect of such a gimbal compare to image stabilization? Can they be used for long exposures without a tripod?

Do the benefits of a gimbal combine with in-body or optical image stabilization? Meaning, if one camera and lens can get a sharp exposure at a certain shutter-speed, could it get a sharp image at an even slower shutter-speed if a stabilized body or lens (or both for Dual IS systems) is mounted onto such a hand-held gimbal?

There does not seem to be a stabilization metric for those gimbals but how much can they typically stabilize? Would it be measured in stops as with camera and lens stabilization?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've only ever seen them used as a cheap 'steadicam' for video, where the results are really quite good for the money - I can't see one being much use for basketball or birding. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 28, 2017 at 17:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ These are definitely intended for shooting video. Their purpose isn't to immobilize the camera for longer exposures. They are designed to dampen and smooth out the movement for handheld panning or dolly type movements. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jan 28, 2017 at 18:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Obviously you can't use "hand held gimbals" for long exposure! Just whatch a "stabilized" video with this gear... It's not avoid movement! So use a tripod for this case. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alexxx
    Jan 28, 2017 at 18:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like one of you guys knows the answer. If they cannot help with stabilization, that's a perfectly valid answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Jan 29, 2017 at 4:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Itai There are gimbals that can do moderately long exposures, the DJI Osmo says it can do up to two seconds handheld. That's with a small-sensor camera and wide angle lens, but still not bad. Long exposure seems to be a special mode, I haven't found many other gimbals that tout the capability, so I doubt it's common yet. But the technology exists, maybe we'll see more of it in the near future. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 30, 2017 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


Do the benefits of a gimbal combine with in-body or optical image stabilization?

Yes it does, a gimbal counters macro movements while IS counter micro movements. They do work combined, although a gimbal would not reduce the need for IS, since the movement countered are not really the same.

A gimbal won't do as a tripod replacement in long exposures, and the shake is still there for the IS to counter in hand held video. When walking or biking with a cam, a gimbal does wonders - but it won't help you getting slower shutter speed.


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