What camera stabilizer to buy for a mirrorless camera?
A viewer question from Daniel:
"Hey Nitsan, Researching steadicams has been driving me a little insane because I just can't seem to come to any conclusions about which one to get. Could you recommend which stabilizer to use on a light Gh3 setup? Probably with a 20mm pancake once I get one. I've read that a lot of people have issues flying with the Gh3. I think I have it down to either the LAING P-04 Stabilizer, the MonoCam CF pro, or a Merlin. Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!"
Absolutely not a Merlin. C-shaped stabilizers are very slow and hard to balance and harder to control too, with far less ability to tilt than the more common center-pole design. And the lower cost ones than the Merlin are a whole new bag of crap, don't even bother looking.
The Laings seem to all require an oil change. it was like that with my Laing P-03 and from what I've seen on Youtube and was told by users this is still an issue. See my recent blog post Stupid things some stabilizer manufacturers say, which is not directly naming any product or manufacturer but is worth a read.
The monocam is very decent and shouldn't have any problems with the gh3, the same goes for the Xcam Sabre which is made by the same company as far as I know. Any user who says they have problems balancing a GH3 either does not know how to balance a stabilizer or has a faulty stabilizer, or sometimes a mix of both. - But rest assured there is absolutely nothing on the gh3 or any other camera that makes them more difficult to use with a stabilizer, except weight of course, and less obvious things like moving parts that change the weight of the stabilizer mid-flight can also cause issues, although with most autofocus lenses that should not be an issue.
A Glidecam HD is not perfect but with some gimbal calibration, which can take hours, (don't confuse calibration with balancing) it is the most accurate and smoothest flyer I know of. After all the stabilizers I've used, still everything else gets sold and my Glidecam HD-1000 is the one that's still here. I'm making my video kit super compact so it's perfect, small enough that i can sell my vests and just use a small stabilizer hadnheld. (Sony A7s with tiny tiny lenses like the Sony 16-50mm and Voightlander 35mm f1.4)
I am still perfectly happy with the Kovacam system, it's an absolutely great flyer. Just now it is a little too big for my uses.
I hope that helps. :)