Today’s Question: Given that smartphones are beginning to use some form of image stabilization, do you see any benefit to using a gimbal device for still photography purposes? Since I am leaving more equipment at home these days (especially the tripod), I’m thinking a phone gimbal may be just enough to assist in raw capture.
Tim’s Quick Answer: For still photography in general I don’t consider a gimbal to be necessary for a smartphone. A small tripod (https://bhpho.to/3H5YYuU) can be helpful if you’re capturing long exposures or otherwise want the smartphone in a fixed position.
More Detail: In most situations a gimbal won’t provide a significant advantage for still photography with a smartphone. In most cases shooting handheld is perfectly adequate with a smartphone. In situations where you need more stabilization, such as for long exposures, you can use a small tripod designed for smartphones, such as the Benro Tabletop Tripod (https://bhpho.to/3H5YYuU).
If you capture video with a smartphone, on the other hand, I highly recommend using a gimbal. A good gimbal can provide a dramatic benefit in terms of more stable video.
Unfortunately, I’ve not found a smartphone gimbal that has consistently provided great results without drifting or getting off balance. However, for shooting video I’ve found that the DJI Osmo Pocket (https://bhpho.to/3Hd5xMr) works great either standalone or as a smartphone accessory.
The DJI Osmo Pocket is a stabilized camera employing gimbals, just like the camera mount on drones from DJI. The Osmo Pocket can be used by itself for capturing video (or even still photos). However, it can also be paired with a smartphone so that you use the smartphone’s display to preview your video during capture and configure settings.
I’ve found the DJI Osmo Pocket to be an invaluable video capture device that pairs with my smartphone. I use that for capturing video, and then simply use the smartphone by itself for still photos, adding a small tripod when true stabilization is needed.