Using Image Stabilization With A Gimbal: A Guide

by | Camera Gear, Stabilization

These days, there are plenty of ways to solve the issue of shaky footage.

Some of these methods include mechanical, digital, and software methods.

In fact, two of the most popular methods fall into these categories: gimbals and image stabilization.

Image stabilization uses mechanical and digital features built into your camera to compensate for unwanted camera movements — in turn stabilizing your footage right in your camera.

On the other hand, gimbals off a more external, mechanical method of camera stabilization.

But what if you want to use the methods together? Is it possible? Will it cause problems?

The short answer is that using image stabilization with a gimbal will not cause problems, most of the time.

But let’s a closer look at using image stabilization and a gimbal at the same time. Keep reading to learn more!

General Rule Of Thumb

So, you’ve attached your camera to your gimbal to stabilize your video footage, should you turn off image stabilization on your camera?

In general, no, it is unnecessary to turn off image stabilization on your camera while using a gimbal.

When your camera is mounted onto a gimbal, the gimbal device will do most of the stabilization. This is especially true for larger, sweeping movements.

That said, don’t leave all the stabilization work to your gimbal!

By leaving your image stabilization on, your camera will be able to compensate for any of the smaller jitters caused by your gimbal.

Turning off image stabilization is really only necessary on static devices like tripods. This is because tripods keep your camera perfectly still, and your camera may find this confusing — resulting in warped footage while your image stabilization tries to compensate for zero movements.

When To Turn Off Image Stabilization

Footage Issues

While you shouldn’t experience any issues using your camera’s image stabiliaztion with a gimbal most of the time, it is possible that you will experience issues.

Issues you may encounter are as follows:

  • Warped looking footage
  • A “jello” effect
  • Glitchy looking video

If you encounter any of these issues while using your camera’s image stabilization with a gimbal then it is recommended that you turn the feature off on your camera.

Battery Life

Did you know that camera image stabilization can cause your battery to drain faster?

It’s true.

So if you are satisfied with the stabilization caused by your gimbal alone, then turning off the image stabilization feature to conserve battery may be a wise decision.

What About iPhones?

Most modern iPhones and smartphones operate similarly to DSLR cameras. Or, at least enough that image stabilization shouldn’t;t interfere with your gimbal use.

That said, some older iPhone users report issues when using gimbals. Some report a warped “jello” effect.

If you find yourself experiencing this issue, the bad news is that image stabilization can’t always be turned off on smartphones (see your individual phone’s manual).

However, the good news is that there is a “hack” for manually stopping image stabilization on your iPhone.

Check out this video for instructions:

Bottom Line

Now you should be aware that image stabilization is usually compatible with gimbal use.

And, furthermore that it using the two in tandem can even be beneficial — offering stabilization for large and small movements.

However, don’t be afraid to turn off image stabilization if any issues do occur.

Happy shooting!

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.