MOZA Air 3-axis Gimbal Camera Stabilizer Review

MOZA Air 3-axis Gimbal Camera Stabilizer Review

Buy it at Amazon: MOZA Air 3-axis Gimbal Camera Stabilizer [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Smooth/stable video footage, easy auto time-lapse, quick setup, decent app, short BT range/battery life

The gimbal comes in a heavy duty, hard plastic briefcase. Inside are the instruction manual, mini-tripod, gimbal, three batteries, screw-on handgrip, battery charger, ball head mount, quick release (QR) plate, lens support cradle and screw, felt drawstring bag with control cables and microUSB cable, horizontal handle bar, and two side handgrips.

The gimbal is pretty easy to set up for both one-handed and dual handle operation. The main gimbal handgrip has a 3/8"-16 mounting hole with pre-installed 1/4"-20 adapter and can be attached to the included mini tripod or any standard photography tripod or mounting system. The double-handle is optional and is not integrated with the gimbal, so it won't have built-in controls like a joystick or mode key. This makes it a bit harder to use the gimbal with the dual handles since you have to switch hands to the main handgrip to access the controls. On the flip side, it's easy to take the dual handlebar off when you want to go to single-handed operation on the fly. You can, however, purchase the wireless thumb control for the gimbal separately to get the best of both.

On the side of the gimbal near the controls is a 1/4"-20 mounting point and when using the dual handles, each handgrip adds 5 more mounting points giving you a lot of options to mount a monitor, lights, mic etc. The build quality of the gimbal is really nice; it's made of a lightweight aluminum alloy that's fairly durable. The gimbal without a camera weighs a little over 2.5 lbs in the single handle setup and just under 4 lbs in the dual-handle setup. All the handles have a soft-touch silicone which provide a nice grip for your hands. The gimbal's max payload is 2.5 kgs or just about 5.5 lbs. For heavier setups I recommend the dual-handle setup to reduce fatigue for long shooting sessions.

On the mounting platform are two tracks. The inner one supports larger cameras like the Canon 5D Mark II while the outside track gives you more leverage when using a smaller mirrorless camera like the Panasonic GH5. The included QR plate can be mounted onto the platform from either track as long as the release lever is hanging off the right side of the platform so it sits flush with the platform. Balancing the gimbal with the tool-less thumbscrews is pretty straight forward if you've ever balanced a gimbal before. For first-timers it usually takes a bit of practice but the instructions outline the process nicely and Gudsen has a tutorial video that is very helpful. Once balanced, make a note of the position markers at each adjustment point and use those to guide you and speed up balancing in the future. All 3 motors have 360 degrees of freedom and can rotate fully infinitely in either direction along its axis (provided your camera setup is small enough to clear the arms).

The gimbal comes with 3 control cables for Sony, Canon, and Panasonic so if you use a compatible camera with the gimbal, plug the cable into the miniUSB port on the underside of the roll motor and into your camera's control port. This allows you to trigger the shutter and video recording from the gimbal handle by short pressing the power button. I was a little disappointed that the Sony camera doesn't charge via the control cable port, since it's able to do this on other gimbals, but given that the battery life of the Air is only 6-8 hours, it's probably better to reserve the battery life for its operation. This gimbal is pretty quiet when operating, but not completely silent. However, even though I noticed the motor faintly whirring, the on-board camera mic on my a6300 didn't seem to pick it up. If you're in a very quiet setting or using a sensitive external mic, it may be more noticeable.

The balancing performance on the Air is very good, comparable tot he Zhiyun Crane (v1 and v2). It's smooth and fluid, but I did feel the out-of-the-box follow speed and especially joystick control speed was too fast. You can change the speed settings with the wireless thumb remote or use the MOZA mobile app which connects to the gimbal via Bluetooth. Most of the settings have to do with min/max angles and motor power while the speed settings are simply high, medium, or low and don't get more precise. The app also has a joystick mode for wireless control of the gimbal and there is a custom path mode which lets you setup a multi-point path for the gimbal to follow automatically so you can automate a pan and creating moving time lapses. The only thing I didn't like was that the Bluetooth range of the gimbal seems to be really short. It looses connection if you get more than 4-5 feet away and the Bluetooth signal strength indicator in the app never gets very high on the status bar.

Overall, the gimbal performed well for stabilizing my footage, whether running with a subject or operating in inverted mode. It does take practice walking and moving fluidly to ensure super smooth footage as bouncing the gimbal, up-down and side-to-side movements create visible shakes, bobbing, and jitters in the footage. Also, if you're using a light camera, I recommend reducing the motor power if you're experiencing motor vibrations. Occasionally, if you're combining a lot of movements or tax the motors too much the gyro will start to drift, for me, usually along the roll or tilt axis, but resetting the gimbal corrects it. While this gimbal's features aren't as customizable through the app as on other gimbals, it still performs nicely.

Buy it at Amazon: MOZA Air 3-axis Gimbal Camera Stabilizer [Affiliate Link] "


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