Video stabilization is the most notable difference between shaky, obviously amateur footage and smooth, professional-quality digital recordings. Even when just walking, the amount of movement created is usually too much for the built-in stabilization that some cameras feature. For versatile video stabilization in a large variety of shots, we can’t do much better than a stabilizer or a gimbal. They both offer greatly improved footage, when combined with a proficient videographer, but require a fair amount of practice and dedication to master. Both tools are compatible with different types of cameras, often including smartphones, but there are several differences between the two that should be taken into account before purchasing either one.  You can also find out more from



An image stabilizer is a purely mechanical device that uses a series of parallel rods, hinges, and a spring to compensate for the movement of the operator’s wrist, arm, and body. There is a bit more practice and study involved in becoming an expert compared to the gimbal, but even completely amateur footage is incredibly improved by this product. This device doesn’t compensate for up and down motion on its own, but it does make it easier for the user to reduce that motion in the wrist. The most popular models are weatherproof. That means you can film stable footage in wet weather without worrying about your equipment. Wind, however, can actually cause some unwanted rotation in the weighted pole of the stabilizer, so you might find yourself having to use your other hand to hold it, which sort of defeats the purpose of the free-hanging weights.


Three-axis gimbals keep the camera steady by compensating for the unwanted pitch, roll, and yaw caused by the operator. Pitch is an upward- and downward-facing movement, like the motion of your head when you go from looking straight up to straight down, or vice versa. Roll is just how it sounds, a rolling motion similar to the movement of your hand as you turn around a doorknob. Yaw is a turn or rotation, like when you shake your head “no.” Where the gimbal is lacking is in the up and down motion often seen when someone is walking with the camera, because it doesn’t allow for the same flexibility in the wrist that the stabilizer does. Many users insist that your camera must be equipped with internal stabilization to assist the gimbal in the compensation of up and down movement.

Gimbal vs Stabilizer

There are currently no image stabilization systems that completely compensate for a significant amount of up and down motion. Even the stabilizers that incorporate the use of a small gimbal for a sort of two-in-one operation don’t have any way to correct the up and down. With that in mind, the gimbal system definitely seems to produce the smoothest footage in the broadest range of scenarios. Of course, your results will always be affected by the proficiency of the operator, the conditions in which you are filming, and the type of shot you’re going for. If you need a shot with a quick turn, the rotating arm of the stabilizer offers some serious convenience, while the gimbal will try to compensate for that movement, and make it a little harder to accomplish.


If you want to produce footage that isn’t hard for your audience or friends to watch, you definitely need some kind of stabilization device. Built-in stabilization doesn’t cut it for professional quality. Both the stabilizer and the gimbal can offer superior motion compensation when operated correctly. Depending on the condition and type of shot, you might prefer either one at different times. However, if we have to choose one that will do the best job in the most situations, we would have to go with the gimbal, for now. It’s the easiest to master, produces the smoothest footage, and doesn’t have the unnecessary rotation caused by wind or momentum that you see in footage shot with a regular stabilizer.