When it comes to drone photography and videography, precision is essential. A gimbal is the most important accessory you can purchase for your drone. It allows you to shoot stable, watchable footage.
But what is a gimbal, and why is it important to a drone?
A gimbal is a device that helps your camera remain stable. It keeps the camera from shaking or moving around, so you can get smooth and steady footage. Thus, it detects motion and alerts the controller to activate motors that keep a steady payload over each axis.
There are several types of gimbals available in the market, but it’s important to consider what type of gimbal best suits your needs before buying.
Keep reading to discover more about drone gimbals and the best gimbal drones.
How Do Drone Gimbals Work?
A gimbal is a device that keeps your camera pointed at your subject. It detects the motion of your camera and moves the axis parallel to it so that the subject remains in the frame.
The drone’s camera will remain steady because the drone is continually changing position while being swayed and bumped by strong winds.
Although the technology is complex, you can understand it quite simply. The gimbal cancels unnecessary motion in three axes: pitch, roll, and yaw. However, to understand the concepts of stability and control on a drone, you must first know the three axes unique to a drone.
- The pitch is the up-and-down movement of the camera.
- The roll command moves the camera in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction.
- The yaw or pan is the degree of left or right rotation around a vertical axis, which allows for a full 360 degrees of the pan.
Additionally, a gimbal uses several parts to ensure that its footage is as steady as desired.
- The camera and sensor are the most important part of the gimbal, as they are the only ones that capture the footage. The camera must be able to capture high-quality footage at all times, so it is important to choose a camera that is designed for use in harsh conditions.
- The inertial measurement unit (IMU) measures how much movement each axis has undergone during filming. This information can then adjust the motor speed in real time, ensuring you get as smooth footage as possible.
- The gimbal control unit allows you to control everything from distance and tilt angle to rotation speed and more. This unit will also handle any additional settings you might want to specify, such as focusing range or whether or not image stabilization should be enabled.
- Brushless motors are used primarily to provide a consistent level of power over long periods of time without overheating or burning out, like other motors might do if left on for too long.
- They are also very quiet compared to traditional motors because they don’t use any gears or belts — this makes them ideal for use in video recording equipment where noise must be kept to a minimum.
- The damping anti-vibration absorber, or DAAV, is one such part. The DAAV is used in conjunction with a mechanical damper and spring system. The spring absorbs any vibration caused by movement, while the damper controls how much of that vibration gets transferred to the camera gear.
Why Does Your Drone Camera Need a Gimbal?
If you’re serious about getting better aerial shots with your drone, a gimbal is one of the must-have components that will help you upgrade and improve your work. You can buy a gimbal separately or get it as part of a drone package.
So, what is the actual purpose of a gimbal on a drone?
- A gimbal helps you get smooth, clear, and stable shots even when the drone is being buffeted by strong winds or moving quickly.
- A gimbal for drones has the capacity to support several types of movements. Therefore, if you pitch, roll or yaw, the gimbal ensures a smooth transition of these axes.
- Because drones come with built-in or attachable camera gimbals, you can film comfortably for an extended period.
- A gimbal makes it possible to attach more accessories to your drone. For instance, you could mount a microphone to add sound to the video.
- The latest market gimbals produce real-time footage with excellent HD quality. They allow real-time video coverage, which can be useful for shooting activities over a long time.
What Types of Drone Gimbals are Available in the Market?
Most drones available on the market today have built-in cameras, but these cameras are attached to gimbals that are different in a number of axes.
Gimbals come in three types: one-axis, two-axis, and three-axis. Each type comes with its own pros and cons, so make sure you know which to choose before purchasing one.
The most common gimbal types are:
A 1-axis gimbal is a motorized device that allows you to pan and tilt your camera in one direction. This lets you lock down the camera and keep it as still as possible while moving it around on its axis, effectively stabilizing it.
This type of gimbal will not allow you to rotate the camera around its center point, but it can still provide some stabilization.
2-axis drone gimbal
When drone users are looking for a gimbal to use with their aerial vehicle, they often opt for 2-axis gimbals because they can handle both tilt and roll.
These gimbals provide stable, high-quality footage. These gimbals are larger and more expensive than single-axis gimbals, but they offer an extra level of control.
The 2-axis gimbal is easy to install because it works on two movements instead of one. This allows it to consume less power, lengthening its working time.
The 2-axis gimbal is limited by its size and weight, so it isn’t ideal for smaller drones.
When you purchase an expensive drone, the drone will likely use a 3-axis gimbal to provide smooth footage. A 3-axis gimbal makes your footage look smooth even when your drone moves in three directions.
The gimbal can rotate around the pitch, roll, and yaw axes to counteract the movements of the drone.
One disadvantage of the three-axis gimbal is that it drains battery power faster than a one-axis gimbal because each motor must be powered.
The drone’s 360-degree gimbal allows the camera to move in any direction, adding great versatility to the device. By allowing your drone to hang motionless in the air while the camera rotates a full 360 degrees, you add more taste to your images.
What Factors You Should Consider When Choosing a Gimbal for Drone?
When it comes to choosing a gimbal for your drone, it can be quite confusing and overwhelming. Many different types of gimbals are available on the market, and some come with different features and specifications.
There are several factors that you should take into consideration before purchasing a gimbal for your drone. Here are some of them:
When choosing a gimbal, one of the most important things is the weight of the gimbal itself. The weight of your gimbal will significantly affect how easy it is for you to fly your drone. If your gimbal is too heavy, it will be very difficult for you to fly your drone smoothly and safely.
Another important thing when choosing a gimbal is its durability. If you have a durable and strong gimbal, it will last longer than other models, and you won’t have to replace it anytime soon!
This is especially important if you plan on using your drone often or if you plan on flying in rough environments like forests or jungles where there are lots of trees and other obstacles that could potentially damage your equipment.
The number of axes
The number of axes that are supported by the gimbal is one of the most important factors to consider when buying one. For example, a 3-axis gimbal can support your camera in three different directions.
If you’re using a GoPro Hero 7 or 8, then a 3-axis gimbal should be enough for you because it can move up/down/left/right and rotate 360 degrees around its axis (pitch). However, if you’re planning to use any other action camera with your drone, consider getting a 3-axis gimbal.
Another important factor is how smooth it moves when it is used by someone who knows how to fly a drone properly. This means that if you want an easy-to-use device, you should go for one with fewer degrees of freedom but moves more smoothly than others.
The main factor to consider is whether the gimbal comes pre-calibrated or not. A pre-calibrated gimbal will save you time and effort in setting it up but cost a little more than an uncalibrated one. However, suppose you’re just beginning to use a drone.
In that case, it’s better to go for an uncalibrated one because there is less chance of damaging your camera or other parts of your drone during calibration due to improper installation.
The size of your drone
This determines the size of your gimbal so that it will fit properly on top of your drone without causing any problems during flights or taking up too much space in your backpack when traveling long distances away from your home base (especially if you’re going camping).
Gimbal on a Drone VS No Gimbal on a Drone
In order to get good footage, you need to make sure that your drone has a gimbal. Here’s a video demonstrating the difference in quality when a drone has and doesn’t have a gimbal equipped:
Best Gimbals for Drones
If you already own a drone with a built-in gimbal, then you may never have to worry about how it works, but knowing its role can help you get the most out of your drone.
The gimbal essentially acts as the brain of your drone. It communicates with the drone to control its flight and makes sure that the camera stays fixed on what you’re pointing it at.
While there are plenty of different uses for a gimbal on a drone, for most people, their use will be centered around aerial photography. Investing in a gimbal is essential if you want to take high-quality pictures or videos from above.