DIY DSLR Steadicam Stabilizer

Cameras are getting smaller and lighter. People are attempting to fly GoPro's and iPhones on Steadicams. For lightweight cameras including Sony's A55, Panasonic GH2's, or Canon T2is, here's a simple DIY DSLR Steadicam (merlin style) stabilizer idea from Vimeo member KFLeung. There isn't much tooling required, it's more of an assembly of readily available pieces which combined provides you with a framework, gimbal handle, and counterweight for a camera Stabilizer. Starting with an inexpensive Flip Flash Bracket. These brackets are made for photographers to mount a Flash above the camera. When the camera is rotated in either landscape or portrait position, you can flip the flash so it still remains above the camera (i.e. to bounce light from a ceiling). This video is actually about 3 years old, but there are still several people using this method with good results.

KFLeung's first test video posted after the build

The Gimbal (handle) is based on a mini tripod with ball head so that it swivels freely. Getting a good fluid mini tripod is key to having smooth movements.

Screen shot 2011-05-20 at 5.46.28 AM

A really simple method to creating a 3 axis Gimbal Handle most people don't think about is to literally take a mini ball head and throw it on top of a Barska Handgrip. This setup adds some size, but is extremely comfortable and acts as a decently effective Gimbal Handle system. (I can see many of your minds already at work with that idea...)

Screen shot 2011-05-20 at 5.40.07 AM
Mini Ball Head
Screen shot 2011-05-20 at 5.40.25 AM

The arch design of the bracket gives space for your hand to work, while providing an area to mount a counterweight below. At this area, you can use simple Fender Washers like most Hague or Indiehardware stabilizers. When you're done, the stabilizer folds into a small form factor.

Flip Folding Flash Bracket
find-price-button Folding Flip Flash Bracket

7 thoughts on “DIY DSLR Steadicam Stabilizer

  1. Emm

    Post author

    @Johnny - Flycam Nano all the way. The price is ridiculous on that other one, and it's dead on the same as the DIY.

  2. Emm, any chance of getting your thoughts on whether you'd go for something like the SteadyDSLR (looks pretty similar to the DIY rig featured) or the Flycam Nano? BTW, great site - always heaps of useful info. Thanks!

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