East Grinstead photographer and filmmaker Nitsan Simantov. Wedding photography and commercial video production in London and West Sussex.

Stupid things some stabilizer manufacturers say

Recently I posted a video talking about the most common issues with stabilizers, and I also discussed it in my K05 review which was posted yesterday (you can see both at the bottom of this article), but here I would like to discuss some stupid things that some stabilizer manufactures tell their customers when they complain about issues. Currently everything in this list is all from one email from one manufacturer. Youtube member FrozenSkiller shared that email in a comment on one of my youtube videos. I don't want to be "attacking" any one company, and I don't think it really matters what company said this because I've heard the same things from many other brands. FrozenSkiller's stabilizer has very thick oil and a wonky gimbal, so after he saw my videos and spoke to me about it in the comments, he asked the manufacturer about it...

This is what they said:


Thank you for your email and sorry for the belated reply since I was just back from a business trip.
I have watched your video and forwarded it to our engineers. The gimbal is indeed off-center. I thought it was damaged during the transportation and I felt sorry for that. I would like to send a new gimbal to you.
As for the first situation demonstrated in your video, it is not really a quality problem. The stabilizer follows you when you spin the handle, because your camera is too light. The damping of our bearings is a little big for your rig. Our P-4S is better for professional cameras (with weight of more than 1.5 kg).  For a lighter camera, several extra counter-weights are needed. The damping performance is also related to the speed. If you spin faster, the stabilizer will not follow you. Our current damping settings are suitable for most users (including news beginners) in various environment conditions (including strong wind).
The ideal super low friction or zero friction setting which you mentioned is just suitable for practiced hands, because it requires command of skills. It’s very hard to control. A breeze would make it swing. We used to make this kind of product. Most responses we received were about control problems, so we gave it up.
Nitsan  is an expert. Maybe a supper low or zero friction product fits for him. If you prefer it too, we can replace bearing oil for you. But more practice and command of manipulation techniques are needed. What’s more, too-thin bearing oil will increase collisions between metals and produce noises in the bearing."

My reply to all that:

There are many things in that email that are incorrect. I'm not saying they are lying, they probably just don't know, it's very common that manufacturers make mistakes like this. Only a few REALLY know what they are doing, like Glidecam's staff (which is probably why they had an awesome product years before most of the other companies) most manufacturers are pretty much just copying others and guessing what users want, and they often make mistakes in design based on complaints from inexperienced users.

1. "The gimbal is indeed off-center." - Good that they admit it and are happy to send a replacement. It can happen with many brands on occasion, the ones that send replacements are in my "good books".

2. "...because your camera is too light." - NOPE. No camera weight requires ANY friction in the bearing and it absolutely does not help with wind. Ask them to send you the replacement with the thinnest possible oil they can, PFTE (Teflon) spray lubricant or a very thin PTFE oil.

3. "...produce noises in the bearing" - NOPE. It will not cause noise issues unless you're spinning it at some 100 RPM.

4. "A breeze would make it swing." - NOPE. This is all to do with the size/shape of the unit (which affects wind resistance) and the drop time (a unit balanced with a slower drop time will be affected more by wind) It has nothing at all to do with the oil in any way that makes a difference in usage. The total weight of the unit does come into it as well but that really does not make a big difference.

5. "If you spin faster, the stabilizer will not follow you" - That is completely irrelevant for actual shooting. When you are shooting it is constantly moving very slowly even if you are not turning.

6. "...damaged during the transportation" - NOPE. Bad quality control at the factory.

7. "Nitsan is an expert" - Yes that's true, lol. BUT no matter how experienced you are, friction WILL lower the quality of your motion, with ANY weight of camera, with or without a vest system.