Ikan DS2-A Beholder Angled Arm 3-axis Gimbal Camera Stabilizer Review

Ikan DS2-A Beholder Angled Arm 3-axis Gimbal Camera Stabilizer Review

Buy it at Amazon: Ikan DS2-A Beholder Angled Arm 3-axis Gimbal Camera Stabilizer [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Smooth stabilization, cool auto-path feature, no app/accessories, a bit bulky/heavy, but easy to view camera LCD screen

The gimbal comes in a semi-rigid zippered carrying case. Inside I received the gimbal, a microUSB wall charger, a mini screwdriver, and extra ¼" mounting screw for the quick release plate. The gimbal is made from a machined aluminum alloy that is lightweight and durable. That doesn't mean it's indestructible though and you do want to be careful not to drop or shock it because this can throw off the internal gyros. The DS2-A was launched with the DS2 simultaneously and as far as I can tell, they are the same gimbal with one key difference. On the DS2-A, the roll axis arm of the gimbal is on an angle, hence the ‘A' in the model number. This lower position lets you view your camera LCD screen without obstruction, unlike the typical position for the motor which tends to be right in front of the screen on most cameras.

The handle on the DS2-A Beholder is thick and chunky. On the bottom is a 3/8" threaded hole for mounting which I like to use with a mini tripod. Not only does this help extend the short handle's length, but I can easily put the gimbal down on a whim without worrying about it falling over. The quick release plate on the mounting platform has a safety lock pin which stops your camera from sliding out of the mount when you loosen the thumbscrew. This QR plate is compatible with some of Manfrotto's universal quick release systems. However, you'll need to use the included mini screwdriver to tighten the mounting screw to the bottom of your camera. That's a bit annoying since the rest of the gimbal is tool-less.

With the angled arm, balancing the roll axis is a little different than on most gimbals. Rather than moving the arm side-to-side at the roll axis motor, you'll slide the camera mounting plate left or right. The release for that adjustment is under the quick release platform. Once balanced and turned on the gimbal will compensate for movements along the pan, tilt, and roll axes, but note that it won't counteract up/down, side-to-side, nor forward/back movements. There are 4 grooves around the handle for your fingers to use as grips, but I still thought the gimbal felt a bit awkward in the hand. I think that's mostly due to the placement of the power button and control joystick which are in front, facing away from you. You can try to manipulate it using the index finger of the hand holder the gimbal, but it felt rather awkward. Instead, I preferred to use both hands and using my other handle to move the joystick and support the weight of the 2.5 gimbal plus camera. The max payload for the gimbal is 4 lbs, so I imagine that a full setup of 6.5 lbs would be quite tiring to shoot one-handed after a while.

On either side of the gimbal are ¼"-20 threaded mounting points for accessories like a remote monitor or external mic. On the left side is a microUSB port for charging and on the right is a miniUSB port for use with a wired joystick, which is not included. On the side that faces you is a small OLED screen and the mode button. The OLED shows you the remaining battery life of the gimbal. It'll also show the direction of movement of the joystick when pressed, and if you press the mode button it'll show the profile (or mode), so if you press twice it'll switch to profile 2 and so on up through profile 5. Profile 5 lets you define a path for the gimbal to follow by manually setting a start and end orientation. that's pretty cool because you can get fully automated 60 second movements that are exact and measured without the possibility of flaws from manual shooting. Another thing you can do when the gimbal is on is manually re- position your tilt and roll axis be simply moving it with one hand and holding it in position for 2 seconds, which can be much easier than maneuvering your camera into position with the joystick. The other 4 modes of operation are locked, pan-follow, pan-tilt-follow, and 3-axis follow, the last being a mode not commonly seen with other gimbal brands.

Overall, the DS2-A performed nicely when stabilizing footage and the angled arm makes it easier to monitor your shots as they happen. The gimbal is somewhat heavy and awkward to carry. It also doesn't come with a lot of accessories, like a mini tripod, nor does the case anticipate that you'd get many more accessories that what it comes with, which is a bummer. For the price, you can get better packages of traditionally structured gimbals with the level roll-axis motor arm, but the on-the-fly positioning, angled-arm, OLED status screen, and 60-second auto-path features could give it a slight edge against the competition if you're interested in trying it out.

Buy it at Amazon: Ikan DS2-A Beholder Angled Arm 3-axis Gimbal Camera Stabilizer [Affiliate Link]

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