I’ve been investigating 3-axis gimbal stabilizers for smartphones and have held off purchasing one because I just don’t like how sloppy they feel, there’s a lot of lag in the motion, you pan, and then it catches up with you on its own terms. But now Tiffen, and drone-maker Yuneec have teamed up to design and deliver the Steadicam Volt.
The Steadicam Volt, unlike other smartphone stabilizers (e.g. DJI Osmo Mobile), simulates the feeling of inertia on the pan axis through haptic control. This improves the overall handing of the gimbal, providing the operator with better precision on pans. This lightweight stabilizer is about a pound and accommodates phones that weigh between 3.5 to 7 ounces (100 and 200 grams) and between 58 and 80 mm wide. The unique combination of traditional Steadicam gimbal-balance stabilization and gyro-augmented motor control provides smoother stabilization than motor control alone. If the rechargeable Lithium Ion batteries die while you’re shooting, you can still use it manual mode like a traditional Steadicam. An iOS app will be available for precise balance and tuning via Bluetooth.
The Steadicam Volt can now be “pre-ordered” via a Kickstarter campaign (it quickly exceeded its Kickstarter goal) and shipments are expected in June of 2017. I don’t usually write about tools I’ve not actually used in my own hands, however, given Tiffen and Yuneec’s track record and the solid design and technology behind the device, I’m going to take their demonstrations at face value. Like any stabilization device, operator skill and experience play a significant factor in the experience, so your mileage may vary. As an enthusiastic backer, I look forward to flying mine this summer.