Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dirtcheap steadycam: first impression

If you can offer a metal camera stabilizer including shipping for 50,- you deserve the label 'dirtcheap'. The Turkish company Lensse does exactly that. Today I received my 'steadycam' and I was very curious to see what I would get. Shipping: not in a box but in a bubble envelope. And inside the bubble envelope were two additional bubble envelopes: a big one holding the stabilizer and a small one holding the weights. There is a single piece of printed paper with very basic instructions how to set the unit up.
The stabilizer itself feels far from dirtcheap. It's a simple yet solid design with a nice, comfortable handgrip, an all-metal gimbal and nice little details like anti-slip strips where the camera sits on the stabilizer, a comfortable plastic knob professionally lined with metal threading for attaching (and removing) the weights and a black finish all over. The only part that slipped through quality control is where there is some 'play' between the plastic cap and the screw that holds the weight. But that doesn't affect functionality and is purely cosmetic.
I tried balancing my Canon 550D/T2i with batterygrip and Helios 58mm on it but that didn't work out. Without the batterygrip I'm sure it would have worked. Then I mounted my Panasonic GH2 with Lumix 20mm and that felt right. I was able to balance it fairly quickly.

You have 2 ways of balancing: forward/backward and sideways. You can make forward/backward adjustments in 2 ways: 1) by moving the camera forward/backward 2) by adding weights.
To stabilize the unit sideways you swing the weights left or right and secure them there. It's a crude way of adjusting and the weights tend to sink back so really have to tighten the knob to hold these in place. Also, it is easy to knock the weights into something with the risk of unbalancing your setup. We'll have to see in practice how this holds up.

My overall impression is: a very nice budget stabilizer that should give you decent results. But the proof is in the pudding so I hope to show you some steady footage soon.





  1. From the pics I saw on their site, I never did like the look of it. The gimbal is too small & the finish looks mediocre.

  2. It's really not bad for 50,- But I can see and feel the difference with the Merlin I had a few years ago. But a 600-700 difference... I don't think so.