I got home the other day and opened the front door, looked down and saw two medium-sized boxes, I picked them both up and brought them inside. One of the boxes were baking pans that I ordered for my girlfriend, Dee. The other box was a little bit larger and much heavier. I was surprised at how heavy the box was in fact. I opened it up and sure enough, it was my handheld camera stabilizer (Steadicam) for my Sony RX100MK3.
This stabilizer unit is not created especially for the Sony RX100MK3, but the weight requirements for the handheld stabilizer were 200 grams, so it should suit carrying around my Sony camera with no issues whatsoever as I believe it is around 250gms. After setting everything up and playing around with the adjustments on the weights, I wished there was a little bit more ability to fine tune. But I think I have found the situation and assessing all the axis that will work. I connected the camera on top, but find that to replace the battery, I need to take the camera completely off. This is not a perfect scenario as once I take it off I need to recalculate the settings to get it just right once again. After watching many "how to balance a hand camera stabilizer" on YouTube I have become quite good (if I say so myself) at setting up the stabilizer. With the camera mounted, I began walking around the living room, dining room and hallway to see how the camera would perform.
On playback of the video, I could tell that the quality was much smoother than if I were carrying the video camera without the stabilizer. It seemed to glide through the rooms, although there was some slight perceivable wobbling which I still need to correct. Maybe a further viewing of some tutorial videos would be of benefit. Overall I'm very happy with the results, although my lack of physical exercise these last few years is making my arm ache more than usual at carrying the weight, and it seems to be quite a bit of extra weight. This unit is one of the more lights or units of its type. I did venture up to Best Buy in Riverdale, New Jersey, and purchased a GoPro hand-held stabilizer unit, but the quality seemed very cheap and I did not like the results. The tiny hand-held stabilizer unit for the GoPro cost $60, I wasn't happy about spending that type of money, but even though the more improved hand stabilizer for the RX100MK3 is bigger and heavier, I only had to pay an extra $10 for that unit.
The stabilizer that I purchased from Best Buy was like a bent piece of metal where you attach the go Pro on the top the piece hanging down had the ability to attach weights, which acted like a counterbalance to help smooth out the action. I just felt no matter what I did, there was too much friction for it to be a completely smooth recording. I do not feel as though the bigger, heavier version off the camera stabilizer I purchased after is too heavy or too big, I just feel as though I am physically out of shape and it was a nod to the fact that I need to hit the gym again as it has been too many years without working out.
I feel as though there are many handheld stabilizers that look the same, operate the same, but in fact are the same manufactured piece, just with different model name printed on them for different vendors. Everything seems to be articulated exactly as it should on the stabilizer unit. I like the black soft foam handle grip which is comfortable to hold. I also saw online on Amazon.com that they also sell forearm braces, where your stabilizer attaches to alleviate your carrying stress for longer periods of time. I like the telescoping arm that extends out for use in larger cameras, although to be honest, I do have the extension pole extended out halfway to help in balancing the Sony RX100. All of this is in an effort to really improve the quality and the production of my videos that I create for YouTube. I'm looking at camera angles camera maneuvers, cuts, fades, and small special effects that may boost my likability on YouTube.
After all of my searching on the Internet, I saw the average lower-cost price for a hand-held camera stabilizer was in the range of $125-$170. 90% of these seem to be sold from Hong Kong or China. I did not want to have to wait for delivery and shipping as I knew there had to be a good supply of the stabilizers within the United States. So I did a new search for anyone shipping using prime members on Amazon and found a few. The cheapest of which was $70 all inclusive! I could not believe I had found a vendor that not only sells them for cheaper than most but also have them available to ship using my prime membership. Needless to say, two days later I had the Steadicam unit in hand. Now that I have been using this stabilizer unit for a few days, I have slowly becoming better and better at setting up, walking around, climbing stairs, and general use of the unit.
I'm quite happy that this is the new piece of kit in my camera bag. I am still getting used to walking around with the camera in hand, pointing at myself and talking as I go. I'm typically quite shy, and walking around as though I'm doing something important, or looking as though I'm some type of egotistical maniac does bug me at times. But I realize that this is a new trend in the world and is slowly catching on, and I am sure that more than a few people that might see me do this completely understand what I'm doing. This is the lack of a better word a first world problem. I need to push the boundaries, push my limits and put myself in situations that I have not been in before so I get more and more relaxed with this new way of being.
The only issue I have with the handheld camera stabilizer is that before I purchased this unit, my camera was small, handheld, and almost innocuous in size. But now having my camera attached to the stabilizer unit, I almost look part of a film crew walking around, filming myself instead. I guess in reality, the camera stabilizer will be used in scenery recording in the walkthrough shots, in the footage where I want my surroundings to speak more than myself, hence I will be walking camera in hand, capturing the beauty around me. I believe that this is going to greatly improve the quality, and development of my videos and excited to get out and use this more. The next phase of stabilization will for sure be a Gyro-Stabilizer for my cameras.