Feiyu Tech G4 Handheld Gimbal for Smartphones
Technology is having a significant impact on the photography/videography sector. Everyday there seems to be a new tool (or toy depending on how you look at it) hitting the market to help improve the quality of images and footage we can capture. Many of the devices are quite affordable, especially given the capabilities they offer. Take for example the electronic gimbal market, whether handheld or for aerial quadcopters, these sophisticated gadgets provide stabilization like nothing before.
Earlier this year I acquired a hand held gimbal for my GoPro from the folks at Feiyu Tech, who appear to be one of the market leaders in gimbal technology. The Feiyu Tech G4 is a remarkable device, small enough to take it just about everywhere I go.
While I’ve been very happy with my G4 for GoPro, I have often been traveling light these days and frequently just have my iPhone with me. The iPhone camera technology took a big leap forward with the introduction of the 5s and I have found that it captures some pretty stunning photos and video footage. So, when I discovered that Feiyu Tech was coming out with a G4 for smartphones, I had to get my hands on one. [Don’t miss the video for complete overview, side-by-side and example footage]
As a travel video blogger, I’m always looking at ways to improve the quality of my work. One of those ways is through stabilization. For hand held shots, I had been using a steady cam device—and, while it works well, it is a bit of a pain to get it balanced just perfectly. And, forget about changing cameras…that just adds to the balancing frustration. The G4 has been an a joy to use. After a couple weeks with my G4 for smartphones, my enthusiasm continues to grow as I discover new filming possibilities.
If you’re looking at getting a G4 for either your GoPro or smartphone, I would highly recommend including the carbon fiber extension poles. After spending over $300 for a handheld gimbal, the last thing you want to do is add to the expense with accessories, but trust me, the extension poles are well worth the extra money. I have found the poles actually further enhance the stabilization, and there are some cool techniques I continue to explore. For example, you can use the G4 in the heading mode and use the pole(s) and your other hand to simulate a boom movement.
The G4 is a pretty simple device, easy to use with just three (actually four) activation modes:
- Heading Follow Mode—Heading is smooth while the rotation follows the direction of the G4. You can hold the handle vertically, or horizontally depending on comfort and type of shot.
- Heading and Pitch Follow (Panning) Mode—Heading and pitch is smooth, while rotation follows the direction of the G4. In this mode the camera follows the handle movement with smooth pans and tilts. In the first mode the handle moves while the camera stays in position.
- Locking Mode—Heading, pitch and roll locking. By holding the camera in desired position for .5 seconds, the gimbal will maintain that position.
- Special Working Condition (Inversion Mode)—When in any working mode, press the function button three times in quick succession, the Gimbal will enter into the inversion (upside down) mode and switch to the heading follow mode automatically. Invert the Gimbal to capture more exciting scenes by holding down at your feet for example. When in inversion working mode, press the function button three times in quick succession to reset the Gimbal back to its original state.
The G4 gimbal for smartphones is made of aircraft-grade aluminum, it uses brushless motors and gyroscopic sensors to keep the camera in place, offering several feature modes to bring out the creative videographer in you. As a travel blogger, space is a premium, so I also love the incredibly portable design (length is 9.25 inches and the weight is less than 11 ounces). The price has dropped a bit from when I got my G4 for GoPro, on Amazon you can get it for under $300, add two of the carbon fiber poles for another $25.
- Gimbal initializes in just 3 second.
- 900mAh batteries, which should get you up to four hours of usage. Unit comes with 2 extra batteries.
- Uses spring loaded clamp to secure most sized smartphones. Installs in seconds.
- Compatible with cameras with a width of 54mm (2.12″) to 73mm (2.87″), and a weight up to 135g (4.76 oz).
- Retail price is $349, but Amazon and B&H sell it for $289.
If you own a G4 for GoPro or smartphone, I’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions. If you have any questions at all, please post a comment below. Visit Feiyu Tech’s official website for more information.