Tripods have been used for years in the photography and videography industry but have been recently replaced by the use of gimbals. Gimbals have quickly taken over both professional video sets and everyday videography kits. They are known for their versatility, but can a gimbal replace a tripod?
A gimbal is known for its stabilizing ability and can capture motion shots that are impossible for traditional tripods, making them the better replacement. Gimbals are low cost and can be easily incorporated into a photographer’s gear, replacing a tripod for most applications.
Of course, it is important to learn more about gimbals before purchasing one and do deeper research into what will work best for your needs. Luckily, I have composted a list of all the benefits of each device and how you can utilize either.
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Gimbals vs Tripods: Can Gimbals Replace Tripods?
Now that we have introduced gimbals, it is important to discuss the positives and negatives of both tripods and gimbals. Comparing the two options can help you better decide which will work best for your needs. You may even decide to replace tripods with gimbals or even add both to your kit.
- Gimbals – Once again, gimbals are designed to support and stabilize your camera. These devices are great for those who want very steady motion shots. If any point you want to stabilize your camera easily, the gimbal is a tool for you.
- Tripods – This is a basic stand for your camera that utilizes three legs. This is best for still images and will hold your camera very steady. A tripod is often best for those who are taking pictures or want a more concrete camera angle.
Movement Functionality of Each Device
One of the first things to consider about both the gimbal and tripod is your ability to capture movement with these devices. When it comes to movement, the gimbal is by far superior. They are great for capturing a natural movement and will stop any user shaking error.
On the contrary, tripods will not allow for such easy movement and can result in shaking in images. However, when it comes to capturing a still image the tripod is amazing at stationary options. They are relatively easy to use and a safe bet for any photography or videography.
Variety of Motion
In regard to motion, there is nothing better than a gimbal. Comparative, a tripod will not offer different angles or movements. As mentioned, the gimbal offers quality movements both horizontally and vertically.
A gimbal is designed to create steady, natural movement and is great for capturing video images. The tripod will not offer this movement as steadily. While you can take moving shots with the tripod, it is not as versatile.
The ergonomics of the tripod are a bit less daunting as you can practically sit and forget the device. If you have a chargeable tripod, these can often be used for longer periods of time without the need for charging. However, they often weigh more than your typical portable gimbal.
On the other hand, the gimbal is a bit heavier but can be used to create more dynamic shots. Be sure to save your energy for these shots as these are the most fun and dynamic. It can be used for a variety of shots but needs to be recharged often, which can lead to some challenges. You should also be careful of losing footage with a gimbal that loses power, as this is known to happen.
Quality and Reliability
If you plan to shoot in darker lights, the gimbal is not always the best option. These devices struggle to function properly in medium lighting while the tripod can offer you quality images in practically any lighting. Getting clear HD quality images with a tripod is simple, but you are also a bit more limited on the types of shots you can take.
As for reliability, the tripod is a classic device that is easy to use and fairly reliable. However, the gimbal offers a wider range of use options. With some practice, a gimbal is easy to use and very portable. While they can take a bit more getting used to, both devices are very reliable for creating quality images.
Type of Work Created with Each Device
Perhaps the most important part of deciding whether you want a tripod or a gimbal for regular use is the types of shots you plan to take. Each device has its own category of work that it will perform best for. Some things to keep in mind:
- Gimbals – These are ideal for documentary work, social media influencing, or even movie sets. These devices allow you to take movement style shots easily and steadily. You can pick up a gimbal for relatively low costs for quality results.
- Tripods – There are very specific shots that work best with tripods, and those include shots with high lighting and a wide lens shot. They require a bit more space than a gimbal and often the images produced will be blurred with any movement. If you want still images, this is an easier option.
How to Utilize a Gimbal
Understanding the core functionality of a gimbal is necessary to understand where it can, and possibly cannot, replace a tripod. A gimbal is used as a support tool and rotates your camera along an axis. Gimbals are a type of stabilizer that allows you to steadily hold your camera while getting the best shot.
The gimbal has three axes which are referred to as the pitch, yaw, and roll. Each of these axes has a different purposes, which are:
- The Pitch – This is the axis that allows the gimble to move up and down. It is used when capturing video of an item falling or rising. This is great for staircase shots where a steady downward shot is needed.
- The Roll – This is designed to give you a purposeful off-center angle. You can utilize the roll axis when hoping to capture unleveled angles. This can also be called a Dutch angle for most videographers.
- The Yaw – This axis allows the camera to be moved from left to right. This is best used for capturing horizontal shots. It can steadily capture objects moving side to side.
Tips on Operating a Gimbal
One of the most important parts of operating a gimbal is to ensure that it is balanced. In order to get the most versatility from your gimbal, you will want it to be balanced fully. If a gimbal is not balanced, you will be dealing with a lot of unnecessary shaking.
Differing gimbals will be balanced in differing ways, but it is one of the most critical steps to ensuring quality images.
You want to do test shots from various angles and both horizontally and vertically, guaranteeing that your images are smooth. With proper balance and some practice, you will get professional looking shots with a fairly cheap device.
Gimbals or Tripods – Which Is Better?
As you can tell, both gimbals and tripods have positives and negatives that you must consider when choosing what best fits your needs. While many have replaced tripods entirely with the use of gimbals, having both at your disposal is often the best option.
Both devices are often priced similarly and can be used for differing purposes, but the gimbal alone may be the best if you must choose between the two.