Can You Use A Gimbal Without An App? Answered

by | Stabilization

Gimbals are often quick to use right out of the box. Within a short amount of time, you can start achieving buttery-smooth video pans and tilts.

But you might have noticed that the box your new gimbal came in said something about an app. Is this app necessary? Can your gimbal work without it? Will you miss out on features by not using it?

In this article, we will answer these questions to help you become better acquainted with your new stabilizer and all its auxiliary offerings.

In short, no, you do not need to use or even download an app to use most gimbals. However, gimbal apps often open up a world of filmmaking possibilities for those who choose to use them.

In this article, we will explore both sides of the gimbal app coin — examining both the benefits and drawbacks of gimbal apps.

What Do Gimbal Apps Do? Features & Benefits

Apps for gimbals often include a wide range of features.

The most useful is the ability to remotely control and program your gimbal’s movements.

This ability allows gimbal users to achieve perfectly smooth pans and tilts — something can be very difficult to execute by hand.

Another handy feature of gimbal apps is how they allow for more customized gimbal settings.

Some gimbal apps allow you to fine-tune your gimbal motors for smoother footage or to better compensate for camera weight.

Smartphone gimbals and gimbals with built-in cameras become especially useful when paired with an app.

For example, the ZY Play app by Zhiyun allows users to connect their smartphones to access features like in-app 4K video, panorama photos, long exposure photos, timelapse photos, and more.

While camera users can improve their footage with the use of gimbal apps, smartphone users can enjoy a seamless shooting experience by syncing their gimbal with their in-phone apps.

Gimbal Apps and Features

Here are some of the more popular gimbal apps, along with their notable features.

ZY Play by ZhiyunNotable features: Record 4K video, panorama photos, long exposure photos, 3-axis timelapse, in-app video editing
DJI Ronin by DJINotable features: Plan shots in advance with CamAnchor and Track modes.
DJI OM 4 by DJINotable features: ActiveTrack mode for subject tracking and Hyperlapse.
MOZA by MOZANotable features: Accurate calibration, fast mode switching.
Feiyu ON by Feiyu TechNotable features: Object tracking function.

Drawbacks Of Using A Gimbal App

The most obvious drawback of using a gimbal app is the reliance on your cell phone.

Most gimbal apps rely on Bluetooth to connect to your gimbal, meaning you need to have your Bluetooth on and connected for the app to properly function.

However, the biggest drawback is simply the lack of freedom that arises when relying heavily on a smartphone app.

The beauty of gimbals is the freedom they offer to grab and go. Throwing a smartphone app into the mix can easily complicate things and take away from the fun and freedom of gimbal filmmaking.

How To Use A Gimbal Without An App

So, if you’ve decided that you would prefer to use your gimbal sans app, what can you do?

Well, if you are shooting with a camera gimbal, the main feature you will miss out on is the remote control function.

The good news is that most gimbals include some kind of on-gimbal control (like a joystick) for controlling your gimbal’s movements.

If you are able to keep your gimbal still, say, on a tripod, then you can simply operate your gimbal using its joystick.

While you won’t be able to rely on the smoothness and features offered by an app, you should still be able to get close using this method.

For smartphone gimbal users, there is definitely more to miss out on by not using an app.

However, if you are willing to forgo features like in-app 4K video, panorama photos, long exposure photos, and timelapse photos, you’ll still be able to get lots of use out of your gimbal.

Just use the same joystick method suggested above for “remote control” movements, and you’ll still get plenty of value out of your gimbal.

You can always use the joystick on your gimbal if you don’t want to use an app.

Gimbal App FAQs

Can Gimbal Apps Be Used With IOS And Android?

Most gimbal apps, like the ZY Play app by Zhiyun, have both IOS and Android versions for download.

However, not all features may exist on both versions of the app.

For example, the ZY Play app only allows for long exposure control on the IOS app.

What Gimbals Have App Compatibility?

Almost all gimbals these days work with apps.

Each gimbal brand has its own app for controlling its gimbals. And these apps are typically compatible to varying degrees with each of the gimbals they produce.

Final Thoughts On Gimbal Apps

Many companies offer apps meant to “enhance” the experience of a product. This is often done to varying degrees of success.

But in the case of gimbals, their accompanying apps certainly do offer product features that don’t exist without the app.

That said, you do not need an app to use your gimbal. Furthermore, most of the features offered by gimbal apps, while helpful, won’t be appropriate for 99 percent of filmmaking scenarios.

Some apps, like the ZY Play app by Zhiyun do open some doors for smartphone photographers, but unless you fall into that catagory, you probably aren’t missing out too much.

New To Gimbals?

With so much to learn, mastering your new gimbal can be hard. Get started with our in-depth beginner guide to gimbal filmmaking.