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As phone cameras get more impressive with every revision, often the thing that brings them down is the lack of a decent internal stabilization and that can, in turn, ruin a lot of great moments.
Even iPhones with their built-in OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) can sometimes be victim to this and major Android phones might not even have it at all due to costs. This can render video utterly useless if you don’t have steady hands.
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This is where gimbals come in. Originally built off of massive rigs for cinema, these devices help stabilize the image with a mechanical arm that is balanced and reinforced by motors to ensure that your footage remains as stable as possible.
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The Hohem iSteady X2
Hohem’s iSteady X2 is a sleek, portable mobile gimbal that supports both iOS and Android, with its own app to offer a few extra features that the built-in apps might not be able to provide.
The iSteady X2 needs very little fiddling, as the balancing is taken care of and on first set up, handy stickers lead you through the process of getting your phone ready to go.
Using Bluetooth, the app will do a lot of the heavy lifting and before you know it, you’ll have your phone ready to go.
Hardware-wise, the iSteady X2 comes with a simple amount of controls, easy for anyone to pick up and use the device without any learning curve.
On the front of the device, there’s the function button to turn it on and off, as well as switch through different options without the use of the app. The joystick gives you full control over the direction of the gimbal, offering smooth sweeping motions from side to side. If you set it to look up a little bit, you can run forward with the gimbal straight on, for some neat run-and-gun shots to give your footage a little edge.
There’s also a sliding switch that you can toggle between zooming in and out or changing the focus. This focus change is something not usually available in the native cameras, making the Hohem’s a really good option for those who want to add that level of depth of field to their work.
Gimbals often have to be balanced, especially on larger camera sources and this can lead to frustration for first-time users. Hohem’s gimbal however immediately allows you to just jump in without any issue and is perfect for beginners to begin making their video projects exceptionally better with the added stabilization.
This isn’t where it ends though, as the device might be easy to set up, but the app comes with a range of features that takes advantage of the motorized head of the gimbal, plus the additional controls.
Using Hohem’s camera app, the camera can begin to do multiple different actions without any needed input from you! These cool shots include a replication of the classic Alfred Hitchcock Dolly Zoom, an Inception rotation and a manually adjustable Timelapse function where the gimbal will rotate around a set area, stitching together footage and photos into a unique looking Timelapse.
The X2 comes with a stand for the gimbal, plus can be used with any standard threaded tripod or monopod. With this in place, not only are Timelapses a breeze, but you can also use it for your video content that you might be having to shoot solo.
Every mode offers a preview and a reshoot option, immediately ditching the captured footage on iOS so you can retake it.
Talking to a camera and then moving around might sometimes become an issue due to accidentally walking off-camera or being out of shot. The X2 features a tracking mode, where you stretch a green box across the screen with your finger and it will begin to track whatever you’ve told it to follow. This can be a boon for those who might be filming themselves or even filming fast-moving objects like kids or sports.
The head moves quickly and silently, so the internal microphone on your phone won’t pick it up, causing footage to be effectively wasted effort.
A neat feature in the app is the gesture control, so group photos or hands-off solo photos can be taken without even needing to be near the device, as it’ll not only track you, but then recognize when you throw up a sign to the camera to initiate taking the photo.
The great thing about the X2 gimbal is that you don’t need to even use the app, as the Bluetooth control gives you the functionality of the gimbal at a base level, while you use the device’s native camera app for any features you particularly like out of it.
All footage comes out in the usual formats and can be used in any and all editing programs, even those on the iPhone or Android devices themselves. Once you’ve edited or just done shooting, uploading is quick and easy through your usual methods.
Gimbals are great devices, making family home videos watchable by whoever happens to shoot them, eliminating shakes, or adding a new level of quality to vlogs, TikToks, and YouTube content. Even ones as small and inexpensive as this one can be a boon to indie filmmakers looking to hold their camera phone steady while they shoot a scene.
The added support from the iSteady X2 will change the way you shoot video, offering much more than just steadiness, as the excellent app will also take over any more intricate duties you might want to try out via the different shooting modes.
Hohem’s iSteady X2 is available from Amazon for a low cost of just $89/£89 and comes with a carrier pouch, tripod stand, and Bluetooth remote for taking photos away from the gimbal at a distance that the gesture function can’t see you. It comes in black and has a USB-C charging port, as well as included charging wire that can charge the device from any standard plug you might already own.