New gear time! This will be an evolving post as i'm sure new techniques / concerns will pop up for more we use it. But, I wanted to get the ball rolling. This is a really interesting time for camera tech. From the DSLR craze, to the new mirrorless cameras starting to stake their claim, or the fact that cameras are getting smaller and smaller, yet being able to shoot bigger and bigger. With all of the leaps and bounds inside of the cameras, there has also been significant movement outside of the camera as well. Specifically stabilization.
Camera stabilization has gone through many iterations, and we've certainly come a long way from the Steadicam days. And let me be clear, this doesn't mean that Steadicam doesn't still have a seat at the table. Quite the opposite. But, what has happened is that we now have other options. A LOT of other options. In 2013, Freefly Systems release the Movi M10. A revolutionary 3 axis support system that uses brushless motors to keep the cameras horizon straight. At the time, people said is was a "game-changer", and it was. From there, a lot of other companies took their lead. We have been renting and using the DJI Ronin and Ronin M for about 2 years now. We love them. The footage they produce is stellar. There's only one problem. They. Are. Heavy. If you're shooting an event, and need to float all day, your arms and shoulders will hate you the next day.
Which brings us to the latest iteration of brushless gimbals -> Pistol-Grip style. These have been on the scene for a couple of years, but they could never carry larger camera bodies with heavy lenses. Or at least they couldn't do it well. People used them with GoPro's and iPhone's and they worked great. Now, the latest pistol grip gimbals are using 32bit encoders and the results are looking pretty good! There is a great explanation of The principle of the camera stabilization using brushless direct drive motors, over at BaseCam. If interested, I recommend checking it out.
Check out the unboxing and balancing of the new Pilotfly H2:
I found the build quality of this gimbal quite nice. The handle is plastic/rubber which i'm assuming is helping to keep the overall weight down, and the tool-less design makes setup and balancing a breeze. The internal battery life has been posted at around 22 hours! Which is absolutely bonkers. The payload of the H2 is 2200kg or around 4.8lbs. With our Panasonic GH4, Speedbooster XL, and Tokina 11-16mm, it (almost) balanced perfectly. We had to remove the safety screw from the L-arm in order to balance it 100%. Be careful though, there are sensitive cables under there, and you can't move it too far back or you could damage them. Yanher Lin from Pilotfly stated that there is only 10mm of play (once the screw is removed) before possible damage to the cables. So watch out!
Here is the out of the box test footage with a GH4, Speedbooster XL, and Tokina 11-16mm:
Here is the second try with updated PID settings:
And after a few more tweaks, I think we've found the winner. I'm not sure these gimbals were made for running, but the walking footage is smooth now:
Here are the final settings I will keep until we have more time to tweak: