If you’re thinking about buying a gimbal and you’ve begun your pre-purchase research, then you have likely become aware of the two types of gimbals — 2-axis and 3-axis.
For those new to gimbal filmmaking, understanding the differences between these two types of stabilizers can be a little confusing.
Simply put, 2-axis gimbals have one less axis than 3-axis gimbals. Therefore, 3-axis gimbals offer more stabilization than 2-axis gimbals.
Now that you have a basic understanding of these two gimbal types, keep reading as we dive deeper into
In this article, we will start by teaching you about the mechanics of a gimbal before further breaking down the differences between 2-axis and 3-axis gimbals!
Camera Gimbals Explained
Before we talk about 2-axis and 3-axis gimbals, it is important to understand what gimbals are and how they function.
A camera gimbal is an electronic, mechanical device used to stabilize a camera while in motion.
It does this by using motors mounted on multiple axes, allowing the camera to rotate around its center of gravity.
This allows the user to pan, tilt, and roll the camera without worrying about shaky footage.
Gimbal technology has been around for centuries. However, it wasn’t until recently that they became widely available for videographers to take advantage of in their filmmaking.
There are even smartphone gimbals that allow you to take smooth footage without having to spend a lot of money on additional equipment.
While other methods of camera stabilization exist — such as analog stabilizers and tripods — the technology behind electronic gimbals allows you to capture the smoothest results.
Want to learn more about gimbal basics? Check out Camera Gimbals: The Ultimate Guide
How Camera Gimbals Work
As mentioned above, camera gimbals use multiple motors mounted on an axis.
These motors work together to stabilize the camera while in motion by constantly making tiny adjustments.
This allows you to pan, tilt, and roll the camera without having to worry about shaky footage.
The three axes that the motors are mounted on are known as pitch, yaw, and roll.
Pitch is the up-and-down movement, yaw is the left-to-right movement, and roll is the side-to-side movement.
By using these three axes, a camera gimbal can keep a camera perfectly stabilized no matter what kind of movement it is experiencing.
Want to learn more about how gimbals compare to other tech? Check out these detailed articles:
What Is A 2-Axis Gimbal?
2-axis gimbals use a 2-axis stabilizer design to balance your camera or iPhone.
2-axis gimbals only stabilize along the pitch and yaw axes, which means that they can compensate for up-and-down and left-to-right movements but not side-to-side movements.
This design makes 2-axis gimbals less effective at stabilizing cameras than 3-axis gimbals due to the fact that they have one less axis.
That said, 2-axis are often less expensive than 3-axis gimbals as they require one less motor and fewer components in general.
2-axis stabilizer designs are more common among affordable consumer-level iPhone gimbals.
What Is A 3-Axis Gimbal?
3-axis gimbals use a 3-axis stabilizer design to balance your camera or iPhone.
3-axis gimbals stabilize along the pitch, yaw, and roll axes, which means that they can compensate for up-and-down and left-to-right movements and not side-to-side movements.
3-axis gimbals will always produce smoother footage than 2-axis gimbals since they can compensate for more types of movement than 2-axis gimbals.
Most professional-level gimbals use a 3-axis design.
These gimbals will typically cost more than 2-axis gimbals as they are more complex in their design.
It is important to be aware that 3-axis gimbals typically weigh more than 2-axis gimbals thanks to their extra motors.
Comparing 2-Axis & 3-Axis Gimbals
New videographers looking for an affordable camera stabilizer can opt for a 2-axis gimbal.
With a 2-axis gimbal, you will see a noticeable improvement in your footage — especially if you don’t plan on moving too much while shooting.
2-axis gimbals can also be ideal for those shooting on iPhones and other smartphones as many 2-axis gimbals are designed especially for these devices.
With that said, almost all professional gimbals operate on a 3-axis system. A gimbal with 3 axes will perform better and offer noticeably better footage than a 2-axis gimbal.
The downside to 3-axis gimbals is that they cost more and weigh more.
More Gimbal Resources
- Choosing The Best Gimbal Lens: Ultimate Guide
- 5 Best Gimbal Training Courses: A Guide
- 7 Awesome Things You Can Do With A Gimbal
The Bottom Line
Our opinion is that 2-axis gimbals are ideal for beginners, those on a budget, and smartphone users.
However, we recommend 3-axis gimbals for those with more professional needs.
If you are not constrained by budget, and a light setup is not important to you, we recommend going with a 3-axis gimbal as they offer more stability and freedom of movement than a 2-axis gimble.