Best Gimbals for iPhone in 2020
iPhones today rival dedicated cameras when it comes to photo and video quality, and the iPhone 11 has pushed the bar higher. With each new iteration, more and more people are buying iPhones over DSLRs and Apple continues to promote its phones as visual content creating tools.
However, if you’ve ever tried making great cinematic videos using an iPhone, you probably realized quickly that you need a stabilizing gimbal to keep the footage smooth and minimize jitters and shakes.
Fortunately, many Asian companies have started building dedicated gimbals for smartphones, and there are numerous budget-friendly and feature-filled choices available to casual and professional mobile filmmakers.
In this guide, we will go over some of the best iPhone gimbals available and help you choose one that fits your needs and requirements.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Why you should consider a gimbal for your iPhone
iPhone cameras rival professional equipment
Your iPhone has a very powerful camera, especially the latest iPhone 11 series featuring three lenses – wide angle, telephoto and ultra wide – making it ideal for all types of visual content, including photos and videos which rival dedicated cameras.
It would be a shame if you don’t put all this power to use…but…
Smartphones shake more during filming
DSLRs, and even mirrorless cameras, are designed for photography and filming, which means their ergonomics are such that they can be held steadily during use. Moreover, the average DSLR camera weighs around 2 pounds, which is significantly more than the 200-something grams the biggest iPhone weighs.
Given all this, it is natural that smartphones shake more during filming, and even with built-in optical image stabilization, phone videos are jittery. A gimbal fixes all this by allowing you to grip and move your phone around much more smoothly despite its compact form factor.
So, if you really want to put your iPhone’s cameras to good use, investing in a gimbal is a good start, especially since there are several budget-friendly offerings in the market for beginners.
#1. Zhiyun Smooth 4 (Feature-filled iPhone gimbal)
Zhiyun has made a name in the gimbal market for its reasonably-priced feature-filled motorized gimbals and the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is my favorite pick for an iPhone gimbal. The 3-axis gimbal can be a bit overwhelming in the start due to the number of options it offers, but you don’t have to use everything from day one and can learn more as you get familiar with it.
In terms of modes, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 comes with:
- Pan Following
- Full Following
The gimbal boots in pan following by default, but switching modes is very simple thanks to a toggle in the front and buttons at the back (as shown below). This is a major upgrade over the Zhiyun Smooth Q, which only had one button for switching modes and a very complicated sequence of clicks.
Apart from the comprehensive control panel, there is a very handy focus wheel (which I love) and the gimbal supports charging on the go.
If you’re a beginner, you will find the auto tracking feature very useful (you can select an object to track and the gimbal then moves to keep the subject in the frame at all times) and the gimbal supports a variety of time lapse modes and has a built-in vertigo feature.
While there is no joystick on the Smooth 4, the wheel and buttons on the control panel are used for recording, taking photos and navigating through the mobile app and changing settings on your phone, but we will go over those in a detailed review.
With a maximum payload of 210 grams, the Smooth 4 will work with all iPhone models as well as top-tier Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy series.
With a 4,000mAh battery, you can expect recording times of around 10 hours, and for its price, the Smooth 4 is a well-built, slightly bulky but lightweight gimbal that packs enough features to get a beginner started and leave room for experimenting as you go along.
#2. Hohem iSteady Mobile+ (Cheap iPhone Gimbal)
Hohem is known for cheap gimbals and also featured in our GoPro gimbals list as a budget offering. The iSteady Mobile is their 3-axis smartphone gimbal supporting iPhones and Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy lineup, and Huawei P30, 20, 10, 9 and Mate series.
Like the iSteady Pro 2, the iSteady Mobile’s new, upgraded version (plus) supports the 360 rotating inception mode, coupled with slow-mo, panorama, time lapse and object/face tracking features (these rely on your smartphone’s capabilities).
You can expect about 10 – 12 hours of use on a single charge and the gimbal supports zoom/focus controls and pan following, all following, all lock and pan and tilt following modes.
In the box you get a small tripod stand for still recordings (and time automated time lapse videos) and the gimbal, though cheap, feels good in the hand and is more compact than the Zhiyun Smooth 4 listed above.
The trigger button at the back is also ver useful to switch between regular and fast-follow modes and the gimbal comes with a joystick for moving the phone (the Smooth 4 doesn’t have this).
While the Hohem iSteady Mobile+ is hard to beat at its low price point, there are compromises in stabilization, especially in filming while running. That being said, it is a great starter gimbal for the casual mobile filmmaker looking to up their iPhone video game without breaking the bank.
#3. MOZA Mini-MI (Wireless Charging iPhone Gimbal)
The MOZA Mini-MI is another budget option for smartphone gimbals but stands apart due to its support for wireless charging on compatible phones (iPhone 8 onwards). It costs around the same as Hohem’s iSteady Mobile+ and also has similar features such as the rotating inception mode.
However, while it is compact, it packs a smaller battery and thus can only last around 8 hours on a single charge, which isn’t bad, but lower than Hohem’s and Zhiyun’s offerings.
In terms of performance, stabilization is decent for the price, and while the native app is frustrating to use, it is not a deal breaker if you are limited by budget.
Ultimately the choice between MOZA Mini-MI and Hohem iSteady Mobile+ depends on your need for wireless charging.
#4. Freefly Movi Cinema Robot (Cinematic iPhone Gimbal)
Cinematic videos are all the rage these days and the Freefly Movi Cinema Robot is the best choice for making those ultra-smooth and stylish clips.
Starting from the shape, the Movi Cinema Robot has a U-shape form factor allowing two-handed operation for added stability and control. It is on the heavier side, but its shape means you don’t need to use a tripod stand to keep it upright on a flat surface.
In terms of features, the Movi Robot is designed for cinematic story-telling and has an excellent companion app with built-in cinematic tricks and programmed shooting modes.
The gimbal supports all iPhones and even bigger Android phones, with a maximum payload of over 500g and can be hooked up with additional accessories like a light, external microphone and even third-party lenses (using Movi hoodie and counterweights).
However, all this cinematic goodness comes at a hefty price tag, but if you’re serious about mobile filmmaking and want one of the best gimbals money can buy for creative video content, the Freefly Movi Robot is a joy to have.
If you enjoy using your iPhone for photos and videos, and want to start making vlogs or cinematic videos, investing in a gimbal makes sense. All modern smartphone gimbals support iPhones, so that is not a concern. However, varying price points get you different build qualities, features and stability performance. If you’re looking for a beginner gimbal on a budget, it is an easy choice between Hohem’s iSteady Mobile+ or the MOZA Mini-MI.
If you want a more comprehensive gimbal that you can experiment with in terms of features and capabilities, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is a great contender, and if budget is not a constraint and cinematic videos are your thing, the Movi Cinema Robot is a no-brainer.
Note: The reason you don’t see DJI Osmo Mobile 3 on this list is because I find it to be very basic. Even though the build quality is decent and it is a rather popular choice, I don’t believe it offers the best value for its price.
If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop a line in the comments below or contact me directly.