Nebula 4000 vs DIY 3 Axis Mini Gimbal Frame for GH4 A7s BMPCC

Here's a stark contrast between two different gimbal stabilizers. One is the Nebula 4000 - a handheld pistol grip style 3 axis gimbal for small cameras. The other is your typical 3-axis gimbal frame. While the goal is to have the smallest stabilizer possible, there are cons to going with something too small for cameras like the GH4 and A7s.

Dave Dugdale over at LearningDSLRVideo.com has recently picked up the Nebula 4000 to use with his GH4 camera and has been sharing a few different tutorial videos. Here's the first video showing his initial setup process.

Granted that with some practice you'll be able to balance your camera faster. You may also get better results with a lighter or shorter pancake lens instead of the 12-35mm F/2.8 on the GH4. Obviously the tiny form factor makes this a great compact tool, but it also comes with many cons. The pistol grip design will make low mode shots quite awkward, and a GH4 sized camera will have limited tilt up/down movements before it starts hitting the back roll motor. While I think the Nebula 4000 may be a well made product, it might be best used with smaller cameras (or at least ones with very compact lenses) and when you don't need to re-balance your camera setup.


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find-price-button Nebula 4000 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizernebula 4000

The DIY 3-Axis Mini Gimbal Frame Project
In Dave's video you'll notice he may reference a project gimbal i've been working on. For a camera the size of a Panasonic GH4 or Sony A7s, I personally feel there's a minimum size that would allow you to get the most of your camera while still remaining portable and compact. Over the last year, I've built a couple of mini gimbals from scrap parts simply for personal use. Just recently, I decided to take notes of everything I wanted to have in a compact gimbal and had a custom designed frame machined from aluminum. Here's a look at an early prototype i've been using for several weeks with my GH4.

[Update 12.23.2014] These are unreleased videos I shot a while ago as I was documenting the process. I decided to release this today that shows some additional information.

Another recent balancing video

So far from my knowledge, this DIY Mini Gimbal frame has the potential to be the most affordable compact system for GH4, A7s, or BMPCC cameras that allows use of a Manfrotto quick release, provides access to the HDMI + Audio ports, and offers tool-less adjustments for quick balance. So far i've only made 4 of these gimbals and i'm working on a 'DIY Build Video' to show how anyone can wire up their own gimbal. The idea is that hopefully a few more of these frames can be made. If you're interested in this project leave some comments and keep following the blog.

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Cheesycam DIY 3-Axis Mini Gimbal Frame for Panasonic GH4 Sony A7s



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125 thoughts on “Nebula 4000 vs DIY 3 Axis Mini Gimbal Frame for GH4 A7s BMPCC

  1. Joe G.

    Emm,
    Please count me in. I am very interested in building my own Gimbal. I am fairly new to FPV Quad flying in general but have built a dozen or so aircraft. I would like to build one that is my own and is comparable to the Movi-M5. If you have drawings or CAD files that I could have to duplicate or make my own, I would be grateful. I also have 3D printers. Please reach out to me via my email address. I really like how you put a lot of thought into this. I have a GH4 and just need to build the gimbal.

    Thanks for sharing your designs. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you push the limits on Gimbals. I am very interested in doing tracking of an object via my quad.

    hope to hear from you soon.

    Joe

  2. Emm

    Post author

    @James P - That setup will not work on the Nebula, and the Tiyaga is not available at this time.

  3. james P

    Hey there Emm,

    Thanks so much for your persistance here. Is the mini gimbal available and will it fly a gh4 with speedbooster and 18-35 sigma 1.8?

    Thanks again

    James

  4. ronnie

    Thanks for the info, Bart. Now I know the FZ1000 won't work with the Nebula becuz of it's protruding lens.

  5. bart

    I have personally tried with the FZ1000 after I got a confirmation from film power whether it works. Sadly, the front lens is to heavy though the overall weight falls below 1kg. The problem with FZ1000 is when it is switch on, the lens protrube out. In the end I have to return it for refund.

  6. Yup I'm interested. The 1000g limit of the nebula is about 300g too low for me.

    I'm an arca-swiss user. Any reason I couldn't just use a long baseplate fitted at 90degrees to the camera body on an arca clamp on the gimbal?

  7. ronnie

    Has anyone else tried a Lumix FZ1000 on the Nebula 4000 Lite? I'm curious to know if the Nebula's camera mount can be aligned with the FZ1000's tripod mount. I'd like to use the 120 fps slo mo and 4K capabilities of the Lumix FZ1000.

  8. ronnie

    This setup is changing the way I shoot. Don't need a tripod now. And I can get close to the action. Canon 70D autofocus helps a lot. I used to prefocus before I start recording on my 5D3. I'm trying to solve the problem of the camera LCD screen being blocked by the Nebula 4000. Now searching for a soft, flexible mini HDMI cable. I've got the different angled HDMI plugs. Stiff HDMI cables tend to prevent the camera from moving freely even after stripping the outer plastic covering. Nebula stutters at extreme angles. I'm using my Atomos Ninja 2 for viewing.

    The edited video is here. http://youtu.be/d3xPneCm4Iw

  9. ronnie

    I attached the Canon 70D with Canon 18-55mm STM kit lens on my Nebula 4000 Lite. The total weight of camera with lens and battery is exactly 50gm under the 1kg weight limit for the Nebula. I fixed the pistol grip to where my DSLR would mount on my Kamerar TK2 Tank video Cage without the top plate. The cage Swiss rods provides two hand holds for me and I attached 1 video light to the cage on a friction arm.
    The Nebula battery lasted the whole three hour dance rehearsal with few starts and stops. The Canon 70D battery had to be switched out at the 2 hour mark. I used a cheap USD10 Phottix Video infrared Remote to start and stop the camera recording.
    Filmed in Hong Kong on 8th February 2015. You can see me using it here.
    http://youtu.be/4ySRJglU2KE

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @Dale - I understand some people are DIY and some people are not, but regardless the kits have already sold out. As for flying a Canon 5D there are already many units on the market to do that.

  11. I really think if you design a premade kit including the frame, motors, baseplate and a hard case you would sell a lot of these at a reasonable price point. There are off brand Pelican type cases that are cheap in price. Some guys are DIY type guys and some are not. Most just want to get a product with an easy setup and start using it. Can you get a kit ready for NAB and possibly share table space with someone and take pre-sales. The advantage over yours is the no tools easy balance in the field setup. I would also like to see your kit fly a Canon 5D too with no problems. Just my two cent opinion.

  12. Emm,

    I am very interested in your design. I'm right up the road in Truckee and would love to help you out in any way possible. Just finished a running commercial in sf that I wish we had something like this on. Running for 3 days with a dragon and m10 kills the body!

    I'll shoot you an email,
    -m

  13. Giorgio

    Hi Emm,
    I'm very interested too, could we try to machine yours tecnical plan by ourself? I could use CNC machinery and try out to make a prototype, I've already several gimbal controller and able to balance and PID tuning + GH4.
    Otherwise could you be interesting in betatesters as me?

    For me working out a prototype it's not a problem, but I really have to assemble it in 3 weeks for using it on a set, could you share the plan or what's yours idea, and for finish it's not a problem to make ver 1 now and next month ver 1.1 , I'm really prepared to this DIY situation. Thanks!

  14. Emm

    Post author

    @RG84 - Motors and controllers are everywhere, it's the frame only that will be custom.

  15. RG84

    Thanks Em for the update. Machined parts?? Does this mean its not going to be off the shelf parts, or maybe just the frame. Looking forward to it.

  16. Emm

    Post author

    @RG84 - I was almost done, but unfortunately we made some additional design changes to the frame. So now my videos are totally outdated. I'm just waiting for the new parts to be machined and then I have to do a build video again using the new setup.

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