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Smartphones have gradually become our go-to devices for photography related tasks. They are easy to carry around and can also perform several professional level camera jobs that were once only executed with high-end devices. Today's smartphones are capable to capture DSLR-level images, 4K videos, time-lapse, slow-motion, panorama, and even super-slow motion videos. With such high-end imaging abilities, smartphones easily top the list of devices to create interesting digital content for video and social networking platforms.
Rs. 8,321 (Amazon.in)
However, there's one issue with using smartphones as a video filming device and a standard camera. The final result can be shaky and unappealing to the audience if you don't have a tripod handy with you. Moreover, tripods can only let you shoot stable videos from one specific spot. If you are a travel blogger or someone like me who creates on-the-go content from smartphones, you would need something more capable than a standard tripod. Gimbal stabilizers for smartphones can be the solution. They are much steady than shaky hands and don't restrict you at one place to shoot steady videos.
Having said that, Digitek, the leading Indian manufacturer in photographic and smartphone accessories segment sent the company's latest 3 Axis Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer for testing. I used the product with various smartphones for over ten days to understand what this Indian brand has to offer in Gimbal stabilizer category. Here's what I found.
Specifications and Features
Digitek Gimbal 3-Axis smartphone stabilizer weighs approx. 440 grams, which makes it a handy accessory for shooting videos with a smartphone. It has dimensions 29 x 13 x 29 cm and runs on two Lithium-ion batteries. The stabilizer features in-use charging functionality, which comes quite handy if you perform long shooting sessions. The gimbal charges the mounted device being used for photography and video shooting. The handle has a joystick for PAN, TILT and speed control. The stabilizer also offers face and object recognition, lock function and intelligent following function. It also allows you to perform panoramic shooting.
Shock Resistant body
There's a USB Socket for Gimbal and smartphone charging. The whole system is powered by a brushless motor to maintain the stability. Digitek claims that the stabilizer is made up of tough material and is shock resistant. I did not deliberately test the shock resistance abilities but the overall build quality is robust and it seems that the stabilizer can easily take some falls on the hard surface. Digitek's gimbal stabilizer moves up to 325 degrees to offer an angular video framing. It has a PAN angle range of 300 degrees and a controllable roll angle range of -30 degrees (minimum) to +30 degrees (maximum).
Gimbal Pro supported app
Digitek's supported app for gimbal stabilizer is available to download on iOS and Android devices. The app offers a host of functions and also allows you to calibrate the stabilizer for smooth operations. However, the app was full of bugs in start and features did not work properly. It crashed too often and I also faced issues in establishing a connection between the gimbal stabilizer and the mounted smartphone. With the recent upgrade, the app has got some required stability and also offers a new icon interface, camera layout and also adds a time-lapse mode.
App offers various shooting modes
The app allows you to shoot standard images, panorama shots, has an inbuilt timer, various scene modes, HDR, beautify mode, etc. You can also tweak white balance, video resolution, etc. from within the app. You can also enable Pan reverse, tilt reverse, and customize the speed of the gimbal's panning and following speed from the general settings section.
Performance: Steady shooting functions
So now when you know about the specifications, features and companion app, let's talk about the stabilizer's performance. I mostly used the Digitek's gimbal with LG G7+ ThinQ, which is an excellent camera smartphone for street and landscape photography. The phone is also very compact and lightweight to be easily mounted on the gimbal for smooth photography operations. At first, I faced some issues in connecting the device with a gimbal; however, after the companion app's latest update, the connectivity issue resolved to a great extent.
Once the connection is established, you can go ahead with the photography tasks. You can use the Digitek's stabilizer in three different modes i.e. pan and tilt follow mode, pan following mode and lock mode. However, if you have connected your phone with the stabilizer, the companion app allows you to use features like face tracking, time lapse functions, smart object track, panorama shooting, etc.
Easy panning with Joystick
The gimbal was able to maintain steady video motion even in shaky situations. The panning function is also smooth but you have to take extreme care of the joystick's movement. Thanks to the quiet and stable motor, the gimbal offers steady video shoots. The company also bundles a tripod stand that allows you to place the stabilizer on a flat surface for smooth panning and time-lapse shoots. You can also enable face detection from the companion app. When enabled, the gimbal automatically follows the target shooting. The feature is useful but not 100 percent effective. The handle has power On/Off button that allows you to switch between the smartphone's front and back camera and photo/video modes with two and three clicks respectively. The feature works flawlessly. A shutter button is placed at the back of the handle that allows you to capture shots without touching the smartphone.
Compatibility and Battery life
Digitek's gimbal stabilizer is compatible with Android and iOS devices. I majorly used the stabilizer with LG G7+ ThinQ and iPhone 7. The stabilizer did not work effectively with smartphones like Galaxy Note 9, Pixel 2 XL and other devices of same dimensions and weight. It works effectively with iPhone 7 and LG G7+ ThinQ. Overall, Digitek's gimbal is best suited with lightweight and compact handsets.
As far as battery life is concerned, the stabilizer lasted for more than 9 hours on a single charge, which is quite good. The stabilizer takes around 4 hours to get fully charged.
At a price-point of Rs. 8,321, the Digitek's gimbal stabilizer comes out as a good mobile photography accessory to create digital content. The stabilizer is feature-rich and offers steady shooting functions. The companion app needs some refinements and stability to make the stabilizer workable and efficient for various photography tasks. Overall, Digitek 3-Axis gimbal stabilizer is a good buy if you run a YouTube channel and mostly use your smartphone to create on-the-go digital content.