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Steadicams (Hand Stabilisers) 

Steadicams (Hand Stabilisers): specifications, types

Purpose

For a smartphone. Mount for using a smartphone as a camera. Most often it is a kind of "vice", in which the body of the device is tightly clamped. Such "vices" usually have a fairly wide range of adjustment for the width of the "seat", which allows you to use this type of steadicam with most modern smartphones, regardless of the diagonal. And some models can even work with compact digital cameras.

For the camera. Attachments designed for use with full-size cameras — SLR and "mirrorless" (MILC). Such cameras are quite large and have a screw mount for a tripod; All these features are taken into account in the design of the steadicam.

For action cameras. Steadicams designed for action cameras — compact cameras used mainly for shooting dynamic scenes like sports, “rides” (skiing, cycling), etc. Such devices, by definition, are designed for use in rather extreme activities, including surfing , skiing, paragliding, etc. However, the specific features of different steadicams may be different, so before buying it's ok to clarify this point separately.
Note that instead of the general name “for an action camera”, the steadicam specifications may contain the names of specific models of action cameras for which the device is designed.

Maximum load

The maximum weight that the steadicam is designed to carry.

In fact, this is the maximum weight of the camera with all accessories allowed for this model.

Angle of rotation

The range of rotation angles supported by the steadicam.

In this case, it means turning the camera to the right or left, without tilting back and forth.

Tilt angle

The range of forward-backward tilt angles relative to the vertical position supported by the steadicam.

It can be written in different ways.

The simplest option is when one angle value is indicated in the characteristics. This may mean that the camera is able to deviate from the neutral position in both directions by the same angle, which is half the range.

Another recording option is used when the angles of inclination forward and backward are not the same. In such cases, the horizontal position of the camera on a vertical steadicam is taken as zero, the “—” sign indicates the maximum angle of camera deflection back, lens up, the “+” sign — forward, lens down.

Bank angle

The range of roll angles (to the side) supported by the steadicam.

Can be recorded in two ways (See "Tilt Range")

Maximum controlled speed

The maximum controlled speed supported by the steadicam is, in fact, the highest speed of rotation of the camera along one axis or another, provided by the device. This is the maximum rotation speed of the entire structure, at which the steadicam automation is able to provide effective stabilization along the corresponding axis (that is, keep the camera stationary).

This item is directly related to the scope — for shooting while hiking or cycling on flat terrain, a high stabilization speed is hardly necessary, but during surfing, acrobatic aerobatics and other similar activities, the “slow” steadicam often turns out to be ineffective.

Maximum phone diagonal

The maximum diagonal of the phone (smartphone) that can be installed on this steadicam.

This parameter is more relevant for models for various purposes, not only for those that were originally designed for smartphones. See Phone Mounts for more details. Here we note that the maximum diagonal is a rather approximate indicator: models with the same screen size may have different actual dimensions.

Maximum phone width

The maximum size of the phone that can be installed in the steadicam mount.

Filming WVGA (480p)

WVGA (480p) video recording capabilities supported by the bundled steadicam camera.

WVGA (480p) — The simplest and most modest of the standards used in modern video technology. The standard resolution of such a video is 640x480, the frame rate is usually 30 or 60 fps, and support for 120 fps allows you to talk about slow motion.

Filming HD (720p)

HD (720p) video shooting capabilities supported by the included steadicam camera.

The HD (720p) standard allows for a “picture” size of 1280x720 pixels. It offers a fairly decent picture quality with relatively small file sizes and low requirements for the processing power of video equipment.

Note that the quality of the video depends not only on the resolution, but also on the frame rate. 30 fps gives more or less normal image quality, 60 fps is good, and higher values are usually used in slow motion and mean that the camera supports this feature.

Filming Full HD (1080p)

Full HD (1080p) video shooting capabilities supported by the included Steadicam camera.

Full HD has a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. To date, this format is considered to be almost optimal in terms of the ratio between image quality and technical requirements: it noticeably surpasses HD in terms of image detail and at the same time does not require such high capacities and volumetric drives as 2K and especially 4K standards.

Filming Quad HD

Quad HD (2K) video shooting capabilities supported by the Steadicam's bundled camera.

Specifically, the 2K standard includes video formats that have a resolution of more than 1920 pixels horizontally, but do not reach 4K (see the relevant paragraph). In fact, 2K steadicam cameras usually operate at a resolution of 2704x1520 pixels.

Ultra HD (4K) shooting

4K Ultra HD video capabilities supported by the included steadicam camera.

There are no uniform resolution requirements in 4K; 3820x2160 is considered the minimum value for modern consumer video equipment (2 times more than Full HD on each side and 4 times — in the total number of pixels), but higher values \u200b\u200bare also found — for example, 4096x2160. Shooting in Ultra HD 4K allows you to get very clear and detailed images, however, to properly work with such video, powerful hardware and capacious drives are required.

Field of view

Viewing angle of the complete steadicam camera.

Two things depend on this parameter: the width of the space that enters the frame, and the degree of magnification provided by the camera. A large viewing angle allows you to fit more of the surrounding space into the frame, but individual details in such a picture will look small. Conversely, a narrower angle limits the field of view, but gives a greater approximation and allows you to better see the details of what is still in the frame.

Video file format

File formats in which the built-in steadicam camera can save captured video. In brackets, the type of codec used for recording, for example MP4 (H.264), can be specified.

This parameter is critical if the footage is planned to be viewed on a consumer video player, media centre or other similar device — this device must support the appropriate formats. But if you plan to watch the video on a computer, you can not pay much attention to file formats: modern operating systems have extensive sets of codecs (and the missing ones can be downloaded and installed additionally), so there are usually no problems with playing the main types of video.

Optical stabilization

The presence of an optical stabilization system in the complete Steadicam camera.

Optical stabilization is based on the use of special movable lenses installed directly in the lens. When the camera shifts or vibrates, the control system shifts the lenses in such a way as to compensate for this movement — thus, the image falling on the matrix remains unchanged.

Optical stabilization systems are considered more advanced than digital ones — in particular, they allow you to use the entire area of \u200b\u200bthe matrix. On the other hand, this option also has disadvantages — price and reliability.

Digital stabilization

The presence of a digital stabilization system in the complete steadicam camera.

The essence of such stabilization is the presence on the matrix of a kind of "reserve" — an area that is not involved in the formation of the final image. When the camera shakes, the electronics monitors the image shift on the matrix and makes corrections, selecting the necessary fragments from the reserve. Electronic stabilization systems are the simplest in design, lightweight, compact, and also, due to the absence of moving parts, they are reliable; besides, they are quite cheap. On the other hand, with such stabilization, a significant part of the sensor is not used for its intended purpose — and a smaller effective area of \u200b\u200bthe sensor means an increased tendency to appear noise in the image and reduce its quality. As a result, electronic stabilization is used mainly on inexpensive entry-level cameras.

Optical zoom

The degree of optical zoom provided by the steadicam camera.

Optical magnification is carried out due to the so-called. zoom lens — a lens with a system of movable lenses that allow you to change the focal length and viewing angles. Such systems are noticeably more complicated and more expensive than electronic zoom, moreover, they are more bulky and less reliable, but they do not affect the image quality and visibility of fine details.

Digital zoom

The degree of digital zoom provided by the Steadicam's bundled camera.

Digital zoom is performed as follows: the camera electronics take the central part of the image from the sensor and "stretch" it over the entire frame, creating an enlargement effect. This method is much simpler and cheaper than the optical one, but it degrades the image quality and the visibility of fine details.

Photo megapixels

Resolution of photos taken with the Steadicam's bundled camera, in megapixels. Usually, this number corresponds to the working resolution of the matrix, and not only photos, but also the quality of the matrix as a whole are evaluated by it.

The number of megapixels is a rather ambiguous parameter. There is an opinion that the higher the resolution, the better the quality of the photos taken; However, it is not. The only thing that definitely affects the number of megapixels is the resolution of the resulting images and how clearly fine details will be visible in them: higher resolution allows you to achieve better detail. At the same time, increasing the number of megapixels without increasing the size of the matrix leads to a decrease in the size of each pixel and an increase in the noise level; so between two sensors of the same size, the overall image quality may be better with the one with the lower resolution.

Photo resolution

The size of the photos taken with the Steadicam's bundled camera, in pixels, both horizontally and vertically. More precisely, we are talking about the maximum size — the settings may provide the ability to reduce the resolution.

Photo resolution is directly related to the number of megapixels. For example, a picture size of 4000x3000 will definitely correspond to the number of megapixels 4000x3000 = 12 million pixels = 12 megapixels.

Camera control

Joystick. Usually, the joystick has the form of a button that can move or tilt in different directions. With it, the user can control the position of the camera mounted on the steadicam — namely, tilt it and turn it to the sides.

— Buttons. The presence of separate buttons for turning the camera in one direction or another. Compared to joystick control, it is a less comfortable and convenient solution.

Functions

Time Lapse. The ability to use a steadicam for shooting video in Time-Lapse mode. In this mode, shooting is carried out at a very low frame rate (one frame every few seconds, or even minutes), due to which the effect of fast movement is achieved in the finished video (for example, a day from sunrise to sunset can fit in several minutes). However, this is the general principle of Time Lapse; but the specific ways of its implementation may be different.

Selfie shooting. The presence in the steadicam of a separate mode for shooting selfies (self-portraits).

Sports mode. Allows you to use the steadicam when shooting in extreme conditions, on the go and even while running. If you turn on the sport mode, the stabilizer begins to compensate for even deep and sharp frame deviations. Of course, an increase in the potential of the stabilizer affects the charge of the battery pack — the sport mode significantly speeds up the process of discharging the battery.

Autopanorama. The presence of the mode of automatic shooting of panoramas in the design of the steadicam. In this mode, the camera attached to the device automatically rotates, taking a series of shots, from which the finished panoramic image is then “glued together”. Most often, this function involves the creation of horizontal panoramas, but it can also...provide the movement of the camera vertically.

Fixing the position of the camera. The ability to fix the position of the camera mounted on the steadicam. Fixation means such a mode of operation in which the camera remains constantly directed in the same direction, regardless of the position of the steadicam itself.

Axle lock. The presence of an axis lock in the design of the steadicam — in such a way that when turning along this axis, the camera will clearly follow the movement of the stand. Such an opportunity is necessary in cases where there is a need for precise and operational control over the movement of the camera.

Tracking mode. The presence of an automatic tracking mode in the steadicam. In accordance with the name, in this mode the device automatically follows a certain object, turning the camera so that this object is constantly in the centre of the image, or at least in the frame. In this case, the subject for tracking can be set by the operator himself.

Inversion mode. The presence of the inversion mode in the design of the steadicam. This function, as the name suggests, allows you to turn the device upside down, keeping all its functions and the position of the camera.

The control wheel allows you to speed up and simplify the setting of the steadicam operating modes. The wheel is designed to complement the keypad, but in some cases it can and completely replaces the buttons. Typically, the control wheel is used to adjust the sensitivity of the gimbal, as well as rotate and lock the camera mounting pad. If the optics are fully compatible with the steadicam, then the control wheel can be used to adjust both focus with zoom and many other shooting parameters.

Shooting modes

Timelapse. Shooting video in Time-Lapse mode involves a very low frame rate (one frame every few seconds, or even minutes). In the finished video, the effect of fast movement is achieved (for example, the day from sunrise to sunset fits in just a few minutes). However, this is the general principle of Time Lapse; but the specific ways of its implementation may be different depending on the specific model of the stabilizer.

- Selfie mode. A separate mode for shooting selfies (self-portraits). This function can be implemented in different ways, depending on the purpose of the device. It is aimed at filming himself and the immediate environment of the operator.

- Sports mode. The mode is designed for high-quality shooting of dynamic scenes in motion. In sports mode, the stabilizer automatically compensates for frame deviations from the reference location, while the motor runs at the highest possible speed.

- Autopanorama. In this shooting mode, the camera attached to the device automatically rotates around its axis, taking a series of shots, from which the finished panoramic image is then “glued together”. Most often, this function involves the creation of horizontal panoramas, however, camera movement in the vertical plane can also be provided.

Tracking mode. Aut...omatic tracking of a certain object by pointing the camera so that the shooting target is constantly in the center of the image, or at least in the frame. The subject for tracking is set by the steadicam operator.

Inversion mode. This mode allows you to turn the fixture upside down, retaining all its functions and camera position. It will come in handy when shooting from atypical angles (for example, from the ground).

Battery Model

Model of the battery used in the Steadicam. This information is not of key importance when choosing: if you wish, knowing the battery model, you can find detailed information about it, however, the key characteristics of the battery are usually given in general information about the steadicam. However, model information can be useful if you plan to purchase an additional battery, or if the household already has a battery and you need to evaluate its compatibility with the device.

Capacity

The capacity of the battery used in the Steadicam.

Theoretically, a higher capacity allows you to work longer without recharging, but in fact, the battery life of the steadicam also depends on its power consumption. So, only models with similar performance characteristics can be compared with each other according to this indicator; and when choosing, it is better to focus not on the capacity, but on the directly claimed operating time on a charge.

Operating time from one charge

The maximum time during which the device will work stably. It is worth considering that the manufacturer really indicates the maximum time, which does not correspond to real indicators due to the conditions and intensity of use.

Power bank function

The ability to work steadicam in power bank mode — an external battery for various portable devices. This allows the device to share its energy with the phone, the charge of which is already hooked, and the shooting process is not yet over.

Smartphone wireless charging

The ability of the device to work in Power Bank mode (see the relevant paragraph) without using a cable. The gadget is charged wirelessly. When choosing this type of steadicam, you need to make sure that the smartphone itself, which you plan to use for shooting, supports wireless charging.

Removable battery

The presence of a removable battery in the design of the steadicam allows, if necessary, to replace the used one with a spare one and thus to shoot longer without interruption.

Connection

There are two main types of connection in modern steadicams: Wi-Fi(more precisely, Wi-Fi Direct — for direct communication between devices) and Bluetooth. Despite the difference from a technical point of view, in this case, these standards are very similar. First, they are both wireless. Secondly, both are used for direct connection with devices installed on the steadicam — smartphones, action cameras, etc. (for more details, see "Mounting"). Thirdly, the specific functions of such a connection may be different, they should be specified separately for each model; however, such functions usually include at least control over the shooting process (start/pause video recording, capture photos). So the main selection criterion for this indicator is what technology the connected gadget supports — Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.

Separately, we note that there are steadicams that support both standards at once — these are mainly expensive professional models for cameras (see "Mounting"), where Wi-Fi is used to transfer video to an external screen, and Bluetooth is used for basic remote control.

Display

The presence of a display in the steadicam makes the operation of the device more comfortable and visual. Depending on the specific modification of the steadicam, the screen can perform many functions. Usually, the display shows basic information about the operating modes used, the date and time, as well as the battery level. The most advanced steadicams can display the image from the camera, which allows you to use it as a viewfinder with LiveView mode. At the same time, the screen size on professional steadicams can reach 3″ or more, but the vast majority of models are still equipped with a 0.5″ screen.

Telescopic handle

The presence in the steadicam device of a retractable (telescopic) system that allows you to move the fixed device away. Thus, when shooting yourself, you can capture more events in the frame.

Folding design

Foldable steadicams can be neatly folded to a compact size, which is very convenient for storage and safe transportation. Both the handle and the mount of the stabilizer itself can be folded. But it is worth paying attention to the fact that such a design solution makes the steadicam more vulnerable to mechanical stress, because over time the telescopic mechanism and swivel joints will begin to wear out.

Mechanical axle lock

The ability to mechanically block each axis of the steadicam using clamps, latches. Mechanical locking of the axes allows you to better balance the devices for specific tasks, and is also useful for transportation.

Dustproof, waterproof

The presence in the steadicam of protection against dust and moisture, and the level of such protection.

Any device has a certain degree of dust and moisture protection; however, in this case, an increased degree of security is implied, at least allowing you to safely use the steadicam in the rain. In general, the degree of such protection may be different. Sometimes it is not indicated at all in the main characteristics, and this point needs to be clarified according to the documentation for the device. Sometimes a specific level of protection is given in accordance with the IP standard — for example, IP67. A detailed interpretation of such markings can be found in special tables.

In box

Mount for the phone(like a screen). The ability to use your smartphone as your own steadicam screen. The device's camera is not used in this case: filming is carried out either on the built-in camera of the steadicam, or on the action-camera attached to it. Note that the smartphone can be used not only as a viewfinder, but also to control the camera; specific features depend on the Steadicam model.

Focus management (Follow Focus). A device that allows the steadicam controls to focus the lens on the installed camera. Greatly simplifies the use of manual focus lenses.

— Two- handed handle. The two-handed grip increases agility, stability and precision.

Quick release platform. This element makes it possible to quickly install and remove the camera from the steadicam without resorting to the use of third-party tools.

Tripod. The presence of a small tripod in the steadicam package — a tripod, which allows you to use the device in a stationary position, setting it on a flat hard surface. Mostly the tripod in the steadicam is removable.

Remote control. The presence in the configuration of a small remote control for remote control steadicam. Convenient for off-hand shooting when the device is installed at a remote dist...ance, for example, on a car.
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