XCAM Mini vs Skyler MiniCam Handheld Stabilizers

I purchased a Skyler MiniCam about a year ago. At the time I was looking for a very small stabilizer that was easy to travel with, offered a quick release system, fine tuning knobs, and can fly at least the Canon 5D Mark III camera. I personally felt the price was very good for the build quality, convenience, and features it had to offer, but at approx $500 dollars it wasn't something everyone wanted to dive into. Now we are seeing more affordable versions available, and here is one overview of the XCAM 2013 FL vs the original Skyler MiniCam Mini hand held stabilizer.

The XCAM no doubt shares the same design as the original Skyler MiniCam, and the 2013 XCAM version now offers a folding leg design. For the XCAM, this means you don't have to remove the legs when it's time to pack up. The XCAM is also half the price of the Skyler MiniCam for those who were looking to get into a similar stabilizer.

XCAM Tripod Legs Skyler MiniCam Leg

The tripod style legs from these two stabilizers are not just for design aesthetics, it also allows you to confidently set your stabilizer down without fear of tipping over. Not something you can do with a Merlin, and you may not be as confident doing this with a Glidecam. The spread legs also give clearance for a center mount, used to thread a monopod underneath when you want to be stationary and not have to carry the weight.

Both are excellent stabilizers, with only minor differences shape of counterweights) between the two. (i.e. folding legs, colored qr plate). The new XCam 2013 Mini video Stabilizer is offered at just $238 via eBay (click here)

XCam Mini StabilizerXcam stabilizer
find-price-button XCam 2013 FL Mini Hand Held Video Stabilizer

The original Skyler Minicam stabilizer is available for $450 dollars (found here on eBay)

Skyler Minicam
find-price-button Skyler MiniCam Video Camera Stabilizer

 56 Comments





56 thoughts on “XCAM Mini vs Skyler MiniCam Handheld Stabilizers

  1. Nelson

    Saying that I do I want to try the Xcam since the folding leg is really convenient as I tend to carry steady cam in my camera bag rather than dedicated bag, and every time when I use it I have to screw the leg is really tiring.

  2. Nelson

    I got the Skyler minicam for my GH3 + 12-35 and is has been great, at least when I want to fly each time it is much less fiddly than the Hague steadicam, but still I have to fine tune everytime for some reason

    Here is my setting for GH3 + 12-35 on Skyler
    screw location E4 on plate, with 2 small weight on legs at length of 7~8

  3. Andreas

    Thx alot. With all weight I think it's too bottom heavy, even if I insert the pole all the way in. One weight less it's still shaking left/right 🙁

  4. Emm

    Post author

    @Andreas - I have balanced it with many different lenses. I forget the exact setup, but i'll try to go through the steps soon and publish that info.

  5. Andreas

    Emm did you balance a 5D3 with the 11-16 @16mm with the X-cam? I' desperately trying to find the right setting. If yes may I ask what hole on the plate you're using? And how much weight? All weight?

  6. Sam

    Who ever has received it can they put a video on the item. Even if you are having issues it would help a lot.

  7. Archie

    Got mine sometime back but being my first stabilizer having hard time balancing it like they show in demo. Waiting from Emm for the demo he mentioned in one of the comments 🙂 maybe some trick that I am missing. or maybe just experience. I am trying a 550D with 16-35 (or the 18-55 kit) without battery grip.

  8. Jak

    Sorry for the questions, but I was also wondering if the Sigma 10-20mm f/4 would be an ideal lens to fly? Thank you!

  9. Jak

    hey Emm,
    I was considering purchasing the XCAM because of your video. However, I saw the guys who made Skyler had released a video of a comparison of a real Skyler minicam and a knockoff that looked a lot like the XCAM. In the video, it looks like the knockoff has a bad gimbal because it won't stay balanced. Hows the gimbal on your XCAM? Here's the link.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qLRsrQ9r4x8

    Thanks!

  10. tom

    I am very interested in buying a quality foldable stabilizer for a gh3. I have been checking this ebay seller almost daily, but there are no items for sale. Is this because i am based in switzerland or because they are out of stock? Are there other ways to buy this thing? Or maybe other foldable stabilizers on the market?

  11. svem

    Okay,

    After messing around with this thing some more, I think I know what I was doing wrong. It looks like I had the plate on backwards on the top so when I reversed the plate it was more straightforward in balancing it with the Panasonic GH3 + Olympus 12mm lens and also 5D Mark 3 with Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 VC lens. My fingers are killing me with all the knob turning but now that I got it reasonably balanced, I am starting to like it. Still have to do some field tests flying it about and see how I can manage with the setup time. But I figure with more practice I will get the hang of it better. The only issue is raising and lowering the post by turning the knob at the bottom. For fine tuning adjustments it can come in handy but if you want to move the post all the way down or all the way up its a little time consuming turning that knob.

  12. svem

    Just received mine as well today. I am trying to balance it with a GH3 and Olympus 12mm f2.0 lens. It's really hard to balance it with the just the camera on top. I got it balanced a bit decently by adding a Z96 led light on top of the GH3 to give more top weight. But I want to balance it with just a GH3 and see it how it flies. But having lots of trouble with that so far. There is also an ever so slight tilt to one side but its not a deal breaker so far it seems. Guess will have to keep playing around with it.

  13. Emm

    Post author

    @Simon - It has been great so far, I fly it the same as I do the Skyler. I will post up some sample soon.

  14. Simon

    Just got my Xcam in the mail. My first stabilizer, so I've got a lot of learning to do. Emm, have you noticed any significant difference in performance between the Skyler and Xcam so far? I erred on the side of cheapness and hoping it was the right call.

  15. Emm

    Post author

    @Michael G - Well I feel a GH2 on a Glidecam HD2000 may be harder to fly unless you are adding additional weights to the top. You could probably fly better with an HD1000. This little one would be a great match for a small cam like the GH2 and yes it is very easy to setup and retain balance. I will do a further demo to show how quickly I can get my setup going.

  16. Hi Emm,

    Like many posters here, I have the Glidecam 2000. I have a GH2 and the 12-35mm, which I prefer to use at 12mm.

    I have had so much trouble getting the Glidecam to balance properly. I'm looking for something that I can set up quick(er) than the Glidecam and get some quick shots for news pieces or short docs. Generally, I'm not shooting for long hours with it. I love how the XCAM folds up and is compact, easy for travel.

    Do you think the XCam would be a good alternative to the Glidecam? Is it pretty quick to get re-adjusted when you place the cam on top? Also, do you think I could put a manfrotto plate on there for quick removal? Most important, are you happy with what you've shot with it?

    Thanks for the review!

  17. Emm

    Post author

    @relax - Oh sorry. In that case, yes it flies just as smooth as a Glidecam and is very compact. You will love to travel with one of these, it's so small it's not a burden to take on vacations.

  18. relax

    Maybe you misunderstood me. I use my glidecam without any problem for many years. Only would be good carry a lighter stabilizer while traveling, but with the same, great video result.

  19. Emm

    Post author

    @relax - A small camera on a very large stabilizer will have too much counterweight. Your Glidecam should work fine but if it is too big for the camera, you have to add weights to the top.

  20. relax

    Emm: that video is fantastic from a small stabilizer!
    I mean its better what i can with my glidecam 2000.
    If i use only 0.5kg camcorder, can i sell my Glidecam?

  21. Jgeyver

    Post author

    Skyler, Hopefully I am incorrect, but at 1:14 in the video it appears you are purposely moving your hand to throw it off balance. It also looks like an older version of the XCAM not the same 2013 version.

  22. I have a Glidecam hd1000, in terms of stabilization this Xcam mini will be pretty much the same? I'm thinking about sell mine hd1000 and get one of those because of the folding and storing simplicity.

  23. Emm

    Post author

    @Rob S. - Yes from what I know the XCAM is made in small quantities, possibly a few hundred pieces a month are sold elsewhere, but only a few are listed on eBay.

    As far as your other question, it is called the Wieldy Iron Triangle. So it's the same thing. I have a review on that also, if you're looking to fly heavier camera systems.

  24. Rob S.

    Seems like they only make a few XCAMs at a time. That same seller sells a Glidecam style stabilizer, too. Is the Iron Triangle worth buying? Is it the same as the Wieldy?

  25. Emm

    Post author

    @Ram - The legs are a good design and you can retain balance. Just make sure you have it folded out properly before tightening. Just mounting the cam 1mm diffently can throw many stabilizers off. If you have the fine tuning knobs (like this one has), it is pretty east to get going again.

  26. Emm

    Post author

    @David S. - Sorry they sold out an hour after my post. I will post something when its back.

  27. Ram

    @Emm, How well it keeps the balance when you unfold the legs? Does it throw the balance off tiny bit? I like the idea of folding legs (for portability) but I'm a little worried that you have to re-balance it every time when you unfold the legs. I'm an event guy and I hate to keep on adjusting the balance during my shoot.

    Btw, the folding legs for Skyler Mincam is discontinued. I tried to get one for mine. I contacted the company and they said its not a good design in keeping the right balance every time the legs is unfolded.

  28. David S.

    WIll not show up in any ebay searches for me. I'm in the US. Is anyone else having this problem? I'm very interested in buying, but I can't get to the item.

  29. Emm

    Post author

    @relax - It's not to be used as a tripod, it's to be set on a table without falling over like most of the stabilizers on the market. A good way to keep a $3,000 dollar camera + lens from damage.

    The XCAM will not replace what a Glidecam HD2000 can carry overall. This will not be the only stabilizer one person owns. I tend to have several stabilizers depending on the weight i'm trying to fly, much like having a big heavy tripod, but also having a small tripod when you're traveling light.

    Here's a sample with a Skyler MiniCam which would be the same effect

  30. relax

    So, we will have a small tripod, but why?
    I mean, without a good fluid head, a tripod is not very useful.

    Also what it the weight of the x-cam?

    Can i replace my glidecam 2000? I only use 0.5kg cameras. X-cam can do so smooth videos like the glidecam?

    thanks

  31. Matt Beckham

    @Emm Thanks, these things look ultra-portable for a travel rig paired with a MKIII.

  32. chris

    why can't i find a website for the producer of the xcam? i've noticed that sometimes with cheesycam, i can't always find anywhere to buy this stuff except for the ebay link they provide but after its sold the link is useless :-/ is there no other sources?
    thanks for the video though i'm super interested in getting one of these

  33. have you seen the WildCat? More expensive than the Skyler but that's because it boasts a carbon fiber design. Counter weights have rubber rings (smart idea). Folding legs such as the XCam. Angle adjustable gimbal to flip the stabilizer on it's head to get low glide shots etc.

    http://www.gearcontact.com/en/ifootage_wildcat.html?category_id=0

    A bit out of my price range but maybe someone on here might be interested in spending almost $600

  34. svem

    Okay, thanks.

    Yeah, I ordered this minicam stabilizer for its portability but also thinking of getting the Wieldy stabilizer you reviewed on the site as well. Just debating whether it is worth getting the arm and vest with it as well.

  35. Emm

    Post author

    @svem - Yes you can do that, but because this is a mini stabilizer it will be more difficult to handle. I suggest using a stabilizer that has an adjustable Gimbal so you can change the center of balance depending if your camera is upside down or right side up.

    Here's a BTS video (uncut) I did years ago with a Glidecam HD4000. At 1:20 I flip it upside down for a quick shot.

  36. Emm

    Post author

    @Matt Beckham - 8 of them were listed before I published this post. Wow, that went pretty quick. Stay tuned, i'll keep an eye out for you.

  37. Matt Beckham

    I guess these things will always be in scarcity? I can never find one for sale.

  38. svem

    I mean, can you flip upside down this type of stablizer so the legs are up and the camera is at ground level and then you can flip the picture back in editing to get ground level shots, similar to the glidecam?

  39. Emm

    Post author

    @svem - Yes you carry the entire weight of the stabilizer with one hand, and the other hand manages tilting/panning.

  40. svem

    Can you tilt this type of steadicam upside down to get ground level shots like with the glidecam type of steadicam design?

  41. Emm

    Post author

    @Anil Kundeti - Yes, the handle is very short on this unit which places it close to vest arm. In order to use it with a vest you have to extend a post to the stabilizer further away so it doesnt hit.

  42. Emm

    Post author

    @AndersM - Yes, if you already have the Skyler they have the folding legs (sometimes available). Unfortunately, I have not seen this for sale for several months now. I think it was discontinued.

  43. AndersM

    Don't forget that you can buy folding legs for the Skyler if you already own one of those. I bought them for mine and it makes it easier to travel with.

    I have balanced my Skyler with one of the small and light Velbon monopods permanently attached. This way I have the monopod functionality at all times much like the new steadicam Solo.
    You can get by with a fairly small monopod since the Skyler gives you some extra height.

  44. Andreas

    Can you post a direct link to an item of the xcam? I can't find one on ebay.com via your links?

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