An essential bit of kit for smoother video and better selfies, says photographer James Abbott


Small, lightweight and pocket-sized, the DJI OM 5 is a three-axis phone gimbal featuring a unique detachable magnetic phone clamp, allowing you to attach and detach your phone quickly and easily. Meanwhile, a 215mm telescopic arm makes the gimbal longer to provide greater distance between you and your phone, which is ideal for vlogging and selfies.

The companion DJI Mimo app provides functionality and control for both photos and videos, along with useful tutorials. The controls are well positioned and responsive, while the powerful motors do a great job of keeping your phone steady.

The OM 5 comes with a storage bag, wrist strap and a small tripod that can be used to stand the gimbal independently. The OM 5 also includes Active Track 4.0 for following moving subjects, which can be used when the gimbal is handheld or mounted on its mini tripod.


Zhiyun Smooth 5 Combo

A professional-level phone gimbal may seem strange, but these days many people capture videos for work, pleasure and social media using their smartphone. So a high-spec three-axis gimbal like the Zhiyun Smooth 5 Combo is the perfect choice if you’re looking for advanced functionality.

The compromise for extra features is a slightly larger and heavier gimbal than entry-level options. The features include four shooting options for different situations, various modes including Hyperlapse and Panorama, dolly zoom, subject tracking and a focus/zoom ring. Plus, the gimbal motor doesn’t block the phone, which can be rotated a full 360°.

The ZY Cami app works seamlessly with the gimbal and provides access to the camera and its controls. The Zhiyun Smooth 5 Combo comes with a case, mini tripod, charging cable and a magnetic fill light, with up to 300 lumens of brightness.


DJI Pocket 2

If you’re looking for the ultimate all-in-one solution, the DJI Pocket 2 is a pocket-sized camera and three-axis gimbal that you can carry anywhere. It’s smaller and lighter than a phone gimbal at just 117g, which makes it incredibly portable and comfortable to use with one hand. With the ability to shoot video in 4K at up to 60fps, and photos up to 64MP, you’ll never feel that your creativity is limited.

The Pocket 2 can be used as a standalone device with the controls on the handle, or it can be plugged into Android and iOS phones using the included USB-C and Lightning connector. By using your own phone, you’ll have a much larger screen for composing your photos and videos than the tiny one on the Pocket 2.

The level of stabilisation is highly effective and includes several modes for different shooting situations. Video modes include everything you’d get with a modern smartphone, but you can also enjoy HDR video and the ability to shoot in the Normal colour profile for straight-out-of-camera video footage, or in D-Cinelike for colour grading in professional workflows.


Manfrotto MVG220

With a maximum payload of 2.2kg and a weight of 1.1kg, the Manfrotto MVG220 is a compact and lightweight professional gimbal offering a variety of useful features that extend its use beyond video stabilisation. Alongside the gimbal-locking modes for achieving different gimbal movements, the MVG220 offers Portrait mode to flip the camera upright, Selfie for vlogging, Inception for rotating the camera, and Timelapse for combining gimbal movement with interval shooting.

The MVG220 can be operated using the onboard controls and LCD touchscreen, or remotely via the Manfrotto app. Plus, with a variety of connectors included for different cameras, you can stop and start recording using the gimbal. And if the camera is compatible, you can adjust additional camera settings such as ISO, exposure compensation and white balance.

The MVG220 is easy to set up and use with a comfortable feel in the hand, while the included handle is great for additional stability and low-angle shooting. The gimbal has a robust polystyrene case and is quick to set up after balancing.


Zhiyun Weebill 3 Combo

Zhiyun’s Weebill 3 Combo is aimed at video stabilisation, with no additional features beyond a built-in noise-cancelling microphone and an LED light. The latter offers up to 1,000 lux illuminance and an adjustable colour temperature of 2,600 to 5,400K, allowing you to go from daylight balanced to warmer light. These are certainly useful in situations where you have minimal kit and need a quick fix.

The Weebill 3 is easy to set up and provides smooth movements and great stabilisation throughout the gimbal modes. Movement can be controlled using the controls or remotely using the ZY Play app. And with a record button on the Weebill 3, you can use the included cables to connect a variety of cameras and stop or start recording without touching the camera.

The wrist strap helps redistribute the weight of the gimbal, camera and lens, making it comfortable to hold and use.