XCAM Sabre Mini Video Stabilizer Review

When i'm traveling with a stabilizer, my goal is always to travel as light as possible while still being able to pull off long smooth dolly-like shots at my destination. Here's a closer look at the new XCAM Sabre Mini Video Stabilizer that I think addresses those two main points for me.

Off the top of my head, I don't know too many mini stabilizers that offer so many details, while still being able to fit in a travel pouch. The Carbon Fiber Post adds a nice aesthetic and sheds some weight as opposed to the previous version. The larger diameter post is also easier to handle when steering (flying with two hands), but you'll see in the video many times i'm just working with one hand.

The top stage offers a quick release for fast setup and breakdown, and to dial in your center of balance with fine tuning knobs for both left/right and forward/back adjustments. Outside of that, the adjustable Gimbal along the Carbon Fiber post and telescoping lower sled add another dimension to getting perfect balance with different types of cameras.

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Telescoping Sled Supports Heavier Camera Systems

Build quality is very nice and if you're not a fan of the blue anodized finish, the XCAM Sabre is also available in all Black. You can find additional information about the XCAM Sabre at the web listing (found here).

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find-price-button 2013 Version XCAM Sabre Mini Telescoping Stabilizer

 74 Comments





74 thoughts on “XCAM Sabre Mini Video Stabilizer Review

  1. Anna

    Hello,

    Thank you for the video.
    What would you suggest? I maybe want to buy this carbon sabre but also am looking at the glidecam HD 2000 (which I hear is very difficult to balance) For my Canon 70D.

    What would you say Is a better stabilizer? And is the money worthwhile? Since the glidecam is twice expensive but if the glide cam is better i would rather spend a bit more money for a good stabilizer. I hope i hear from you. Kind regards from Amsterdam.

    Thank you,

    Anna

  2. caneos

    Hey Emm
    I have bought the new XCAM Sabre as in your video. I use it with Canon 5D Mk III and a zoom lens, e.g. EF 24-70 f/4 or the new EF 16-35 f/4. After testing it for several times already, I must say that I still have difficulty with keeping it in balance . When I hold it still, the camera is well-balanced. After making any movement with my hand in any direction (e.g. forward, backward or to the side) and then stopping, the system starts to swing. And just I can't achieve to make a movement without this swinging at the end. I tried it with a smaller mirror less camera (Lumix GX1) too - without success. Do you have any ideas how to fix my problem? Many thanks.

  3. Emm

    Post author

    @Phil Sorry no other sellers I know of. Best bet is to have a friend buy it for you.

  4. Phil

    Hi Emm -

    I am having a great deal of trouble finding the xCam Sabre on sale anywhere but eBay. Unfortunately, I am not an eBay member and hate to join and go through the long setup (secure?) only to buy this product.

    Can you share any other USA sources, please?

    Thanks
    Phil

  5. I would also be interrested in the difference between the H4 and the Sabre mini. They seem to be almost the same. Anyone?

  6. Kirin

    This or the Came H4 for panasonic G6 + various lenses?
    I realize there is not a huge difference, between the two and both would probably work well, but if you had to choose one, which would you lean towards?

    From what I can tell, price, size, weight, etc are all quite similar...

  7. Just got mine yesterday. I haven't shot anything with it yet, but man, i'm so impressed by the build quality. Super sturdy and strong. Doesn't seem to have any cheap plastic parts. Can't wait to shoot with it

  8. Scott

    Thanks for your ongoing answers Emm!

    Cheesycam is now part of my daily bookmarked reading. Kudos my friend!

  9. Scott

    Hi Emm

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my question the other day. I'm about to hit the button on this but have one final question I hope you can help with...

    Can you fit a Manfrotto 577 Quick Release Adapter to this rig so I can quickly swap between tripod to stabiliser?

    Thanks again!

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @Scott - I believe I can balance a 5DM3 with 24-105mm on the Sabre (not with battery grip). Shouldn't be a problem. The unit balances the same as any other. and the fine tuning knobs and telescoping post make it easy to find center of balance.

  11. Scott

    Hi Emm - thanks for the video on the Xcam Sabre. I updated to a Canon 5D Mk III (with the 24-105mm lens) and need to replace my Glidecam HD1000 which won't balance enough.

    Will the Xcam Sabre handle that kind of weight (it looks like it on your review but thought I'd check).

    I notice with the HD1000 the camera tips to the side with the bulge/handle and there isn't enough movement to adjust it. Is that likely to be an issue with the Sabre?

    And finally - how hard is it to balance this unit?

    I was looking at the Skyler MiniCam 5 but this looks like a more affordable alternative. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks for reading through this query, I hope you can provide an answer (I notice it's an older post but I just discovered it).

  12. I'm totally new to the world of handheld stabilizers and purchased an X-Cam Sabre for my Sony NEX after reading this review. There was no manual in the box with the stand, so I'm completely clueless as to how to balance it. Can you recommend a good tutorial on how to balance one of these?

  13. Emm

    Post author

    @Marija - Both different stabilizers. The smaller one for smaller cameras, the larger one for larger setups. I would use them both, but depends if i'm traveling or if i'm trying to add more to it (like a monitor).

  14. Andrew D

    @Tom - thanks for the link!
    I've tested it for a few days - it is a great little steadycam for just 110$.
    Really much easier to adjust than Xcam 2013 FL. Highly recommended for those who can't order Xcam sabre to their countries like me.
    I also recommend to take out the blue rubber grip, as it is quite heavy.
    (I'm talking about this http://www.ebay.ca/itm/200965908557)

  15. JoelATX

    I got mine today, worked with it most of the afternoon but can't get it dialed in. I'm using a Canon 70D, can't get it to stop moving. It works best when the bottom section is extended all the way, and the gimble is about a 1/3 of the way down. I notice that the unit doesn't stand on a table perfectly straight up. One of the 3 weights is lower than the others.

    Any tips or tricks to getting it balanced?

  16. Andrew

    I just got mine in the mail and I can personally attest to it's quality. Very sturdy, well-built, and compact. The case is super convenient and set up and break down are a snap. It is my first stabilizer, however, so ill need lots more practice before i get good at balancing.

    Shipping was extremely fast too, overall I am impressed.

  17. Emm

    Post author

    @Soc - I have used a few stabilizers, so i'm pretty familiar with balancing them. This one is easy, but no matter which stabilizer you buy or how much you spend, it all boils down to practice practice practice.

  18. Emm

    Post author

    @Owen - I have not tested the full weight, but because it has a telescoping lower post and an adjustable Gimbal it might be able to. I will have to try a different setup to see what max weight I can get on there.

  19. Owen

    Did you test it's maximum weight handling?
    They claim 2kg. If this is correct it should work with a C100 and Tokina 11-16mm (2045g).

  20. Emm

    Post author

    @Dean - Don't think anyone carries these types of stabilizers in the states. I personally still have a Skyler and an original XCAM Mini not being used right now.

  21. Amit

    @Emm - is it possible to balance & fly a gopro Hero if I add some weight on top? I'd like using this for my gh2 and gopro.

  22. Emm

    Post author

    @Andrew - You won't be able to work with a monitor on this Sabre. For focus, I use a wide lens, close down the aperture to somewhere around F/6 and set the focus to infinity. If you want to get into changing focus on these types of stabilizers you will need to look into electronic follow focus systems. If you want someone to operate this for you from a distance, then you will have to look into wireless follow focus systems.

  23. Andrew

    @Emm - how do you deal with focusing when flying? especially wide open. I'm tempted to throw my 60D in a kamerar cage with a followfocus & whip & 7" monitor on top to help keep sharp - is that going to be too much weight?

    p.s. just placed my sabre mini order, thanks as always for bringing great products to my attention.

  24. Emm

    Post author

    @bmd - Smooth footage is highly dependent on the setup you have. A GH2 on a 5000 dollar steadicam will not fly correctly. The Wieldy is too big for the GH2 alone. Both stabilizers work great but the Sabre is closer to the right size for small cmaeras. Still, the more weight you have the more stable so even on a small stabilizer try to load it up.

  25. bmd

    Hey Emm,
    Which do you think produces smoother footage, the Sabre or the Wieldy? I'm sort of on the fence as to which one to go with. Will mostly be flying a GH2, but want the option to move up to heavier cams.

  26. Eport

    I'm aware that these work best when shot wide open. My question is, how zoomed in can you be before the footage becomes unusable? I have a GH3 that I would like to use my 12-35mm at the 25mm range and would like to know how this guy performs for others. Thanks!

  27. We own the Spring 2013 edition, and after fiddling around with it for an hour or so -- I have to say that their product is top notch -- so I expect the Autumn version to be just as good. Again, XCAM's build quality at their price is pretty amazing. It's ridiculously smooth and it's fun to watch it continue to rotate without slowing down.

    We bought it for a major shoot in June... but it just sat there unused (except for that hour of playing with it) as our team didn't have (and still doesn't have) the time to master it. (That being said, so before we go the Fleabay route, if a US-based Cheesycam fan wants to purchase it from us via PayPal, just shoot us a message via the Food Biker website with an offer. Thanks!)

  28. Emm

    Post author

    @carl - Yes this one is much easier to dial from the top stage. It can travel as small as the Skyler, and yet can support heavier systems than the Skyler as well.

  29. Hi Emm,
    I'm loving my skyler with my GH3 but the top mount is very fiddly for micro adjusting. Is this a better option for that. I see it is a lot cheaper than the skyler.
    Best
    Carl

  30. jakob

    @emm: nope i am not signed in. very strange
    From where are they shipping, as i dont see any reason they dont ship to germany.
    any idea then how to get this stabilizer to germany`?
    i already checked alieexpress.com but didnt find it
    thanks

  31. Hi Emm,
    When I click on the ebay link to buy this portable stabiliser it redirects me to the X Series Monocam CF Pro which is different. Do you know if this hybrid monopod / stabilizer is any good?
    Thanks

  32. I'm writing a new short film that will have a major martial arts fight scene (same guys in my short film Clandestine)in it and I want to use a cam stabilizer for some of the shots. Like you said stabilizers are nice and small. I have one from B & H Photo the Revo st-1000 it was cheap but never used it maybe it doesn't work well but I will try it out.

  33. Emm

    Post author

    @Aron J Anderson - My knees don't work quite as well as they used to, but I could say i'm obsessed with anything that moves a camera. These little hand held stabilizers allow you to travel anywhere in the world tucked away in your backpack when other tools would be too cumbersome. Finding a good affordable one is the trick. Years ago these things would cost several times the price and lack many of the new features. Not to mention today's smaller HD cameras make things much easier..

  34. Looks great. And man Emm you are getting good at flying with these stabilizers. I remeber seeing a video you did following one of your boys through your house years ago. You always did love flying cams. I might try flying my GH3 more. Love the extra out take at the end.

  35. Emm

    Post author

    @jakob - You might want to check if you are signed in to ebay and what location settings are stored. I still see these items perfectly.

  36. Emm

    Post author

    @MK - It will be able to balance the GH3 with 20mm, but the more weight the more stable your system will be. One reason I think this system is more stable is because the Gimbal is loose enough, but not extremely loose. That's why I can walk with one hand and the system barely sways. The gimbal has a bit of friction to it which I really like, but it still responsive enough to absorb irregular movements.

  37. MK

    Emm - I like what I'm seeing. Will this handle the GH2/3 size camera with the Panny 14mm or 20mm or will it be too light?

  38. Emm

    Post author

    @Stefanos infinity - I'm still seeing quite a few, but possibly because of your location it does not display. Some listings are not offered to some countries. Where are you located?

  39. Emm

    Post author

    @Daniel - I would prefer this over the smaller HD1000. It offers more features and is smaller and lighter to travel with. Bt as mentioned, the Sabre cannot handle heavier systems like the HD4000 can so this will not be the only stabilizer I own. I still need larger systems for the larger cameras and vest support.

  40. Emm

    Post author

    @Paul - Honestly the BMPCC is a crazy lightweight camera and even this mini stabilizer might be too much for it. If someone were to fly the BMPC, I would suggest adding some weight to the camera, maybe by adding the new Switronix PocketBase (external battery). The more weight the more stable any stabilizer will be.

  41. Paul

    Any thoughts on pairing this with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera? Starting to give up on brushless motor gimbals as they begin to DEFY (pun intended) the whole point of the "pocket" size. This looks to be as small as a stabilizer can get...

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