Camera Gear

Review of the StabiLens gimbal ring counterweight system

You could keep in mind an article we posted on the positioning about StabiLens, a gimbal ring counterweight system. We definitely have had combined feedback from readers on how it might work and why you would want to make use of a product like this, so I assumed I might get it. one to search out out.

There are completely different kits, however I’ll assessment the director of pictures equipment. To be clear, the model of Equipment Cinematographer’s that I’m studying is a pre-production model. The ring has some small beauty points which have been mounted and won’t be current on the manufacturing model. The model that I additionally didn’t embody the packaging of the ultimate product.

Idea

StabiLens has been designed to will let you alternate lenses within the area with out having to rebalance your gimbal. The corporate additionally claims that it permits you to alternate equipment equivalent to matte clip-on bins or giant filters (such because the round ND) with out having to rebalance your gimbal.

Not like different counterweights which are positioned on the gimbal arm or on helps that require rebalancing for various combos of digital camera and lens, the StabiLens is positioned on the lens.

The quickest approach to make use of the system could be to have a StabiLens for every lens you employ. This lets you maintain the digital camera in the identical place for every mixture of lenses, permitting you to easily change the lenses as wanted.

Rings

The rings are rubber and also you simply must stretch them over the lens you might be utilizing. It’s fairly simple to position the rings on a lens. I might not suggest making an attempt to place the ring with weights inside.

Weight

Similar to most balances, it's all about weight distribution. With gimbals, you want to have the ability to make incremental changes to attain a great stability. It's no shock that the SabiLens makes use of small weights and rings to attain this.

Every ring can maintain as much as 20 particular person weights, both tungsten alloy weights (12 g / zero.four oz) or metal weights (5 g / zero.17 oz). Relying on the aim, you possibly can add or take away weights for a complete of 240 g / eight.four ozor as little as 5 g. Extra data on this later.

Set up

The StabiLens system actually counts on you to do your homework and put together you prematurely. To learn from saving time when capturing, you have to arrange and stability your lenses earlier than taking a photograph. You don't need to do that on the spot.

So how do you employ it?

Mainly, you make a standard stability with what occurs to be your heaviest aim. This defines a baseline for the way you employ the Stabilens system.

When you've achieved your regular balancing, you'll add the StabiLens to any lighter lens you need to use in your digital camera and gimbal swimsuit.

To do that, connect the rubber ring to the lens. Simply place it able that doesn’t intrude with the main target ring or any ND or variable filter you might be utilizing.

StabiLens recommends that you simply place the gimbal ring in your lens hood. This lets you shortly add and take away it in only one twist. You too can place it wherever else in your lens so long as you keep away from the main target and zoom rings. If these rings transfer, it could possibly change your stability. The issue with this advice is that many individuals don’t put on lenses with a lens hood. If you’re utilizing a bigger variable ND, for instance an 82 mm model, with a lowered ring, you can’t use a solar visor.

As soon as it’s on, you have to begin including weights by putting them within the holes within the adapter ring. Now, in case your gimbal is tilted to 1 aspect, you have to place extra weight on the other aspect of the ring.

This complete course of is a bit tedious and time consuming, which is why it’s best to do it effectively earlier than any shot.

Upon getting achieved it for one aim, you merely repeat the method for all the opposite targets you intend to make use of.

What you additionally want to bear in mind is that it’s best to then depart this ring on the lens and never transfer the ring in any approach. In case you do, your stability will probably be ruined. This makes it barely inconvenient to retailer your lenses in a bag.

Extra weight on the entrance?

Usually occasions I discover myself having to maneuver the digital camera physique additional on the gimbal once I use a bigger lens, so why the hell would I need to connect extra weight to the entrance? Effectively, should you go from a heavier lens to a lighter lens, the StabiLens enables you to maintain the identical configuration. You solely add weight while you swap to a lighter aim.

There is no such thing as a motive why you shouldn’t be in a position to make use of the StabiLens with one thing like DJI's counterweight system.

The place I believe the StabiLens additionally is smart to make use of is with bigger gimbals equivalent to a Movi or DJI Ronin 2 when utilizing bigger cameras. That is the place the digital camera will truly weigh greater than the lens you might be utilizing. In instances like this, it’s possible you’ll need to add extra weight to the entrance of a aim.

What diameter glasses will StabiLens work with?

The rings can adapt to any lens with a diameter between 58 and 110 mm. It’s a good vary and can cowl most pictures lenses and a few cine lenses. The corporate plans to launch a bigger diameter lens ring this 12 months.

Can you employ it with zoom lenses that stretch?

Effectively, sure and no. The issue with zoom lenses is that you have to know precisely which focal lengths you intend to make use of your lens with, which is never the case.

You possibly can stability the lens with the zoom at its furthest place, then repair the StabiLens as soon as it’s again at its shortest place. It really works, however I most likely wouldn't suggest doing it.

Works on any gimbal

For the reason that counterweights are positioned on the lens, the system will work on a number of fashions and types of gimbal. It isn’t restricted to one-handed gimbals just like the Ronin-S or the Zhiyun Weebill, and so on.

This makes it fairly versatile since you possibly can transfer the product from one gimbal to a different.

So why would you employ StabiLens?

This can be a legitimate query, so I contacted StabiLens to ask them why it’s best to use their product. Right here's what they mentioned:

By attaching StabiLens to the solar visor, it facilitates pace, repeatability and storage. It additionally shifts the burden farther from the middle of the lens, permitting you to stability a wider vary of lenses.

It offers you the chance to make use of all your glasses. You possibly can swap your gimbal to a protracted lens for an in depth shallow depth of area. It’s even helpful should you simply desire a fast locked shot with out gimbal motion. You may get this flexibility with out eradicating the digital camera from the gimbal.

In case you're filming an indoor / out of doors occasion and need to use a sooner indoor lens, you don't must waste time continually rebalancing your setup.

For individuals who will not be excellent at balancing gimbals, you may make adjustments with out having to rebalance each time.

It permits you to get extra various photographs moderately than simply utilizing this "gimbal lens".

By putting a QR plate on the backside of the gimbal, you possibly can merely depart your digital camera on the gimbal all day, even throughout interviews. Simply use the QR plate and throw it in your tripod, or throw it on a slider to get cursor photographs with a movement management head (the gimbal) with virtually no setup time.

Balancing your gimbal is simpler than balancing your gimbal: balancing a gimbal ring is far simpler than tweaking every axis individually.

Works on all balanced digital camera platforms – equivalent to balanced tripods, Steadicams and GlideCams.

Efficiency in the true world

So does it actually work and what’s it for? To be utterly sincere, I discovered it very random.

I put a Nikon Z6 on a Zhiyun CRANE LAB three with an FTZ mount adapter and a Sigma 18-35mm F1.eight lens. I then balanced this configuration.

I then determined to alter the lens to an outdated Angenieux 26-70mm F2.6. As anticipated, the stability has modified and the digital camera has tilted again.

As this lens is lighter than the Sigma 18-35mm F1.eight, I put the lens ring on and added some weights.

I managed to stability the lens accurately, however it’s a little bit of a tedious course of. You could maintain including weight after which subtracting weight to search out the best stability. It's not a very quick course of, however as soon as it's achieved, you don't must do it once more so long as you retain that ring with the weights on it.

In case you take away the StabiLens out of your lens and resolve to place it later, you’ll run into two issues. The primary is that it makes it extraordinarily troublesome to place the ring again on as soon as it is stuffed with weight (in case you are not utilizing it with a solar visor), and two you have to make sure that to return the ring in precisely the identical technique to the place through which you initially had it. For some lens adjustments, you’ll have extra weight on a specific aspect of the ring. If you don’t put the ring again in the identical place you balanced it in, your stability will probably be misplaced.

The system was actually designed, so it’s a must to use it with a solar visor. It isn’t all the time doable.

So it labored with only one lens change, however what if I wished to alter the lens to a Zeiss 50mm F1.four ZE lens? Once I modified lenses, as a result of weight and size of the lenses, the digital camera grew to become extremely heavy.

I put the rubber ring across the entrance of the lens after which began to set weights of 12g. The issue was that when I had stuffed the lens ring with weights of 12g, it was not sufficient weight to stability that lens. In reality, it wasn't even shut.

I assumed the thought behind the StabiLens was that I may go from a heavier lens to a lighter one? (I contacted StabiLens for solutions and you’ll learn what they despatched me on the backside of this part.)

The Sigma 18-35mm F1.eight lens now weighs 810g within the Nikon F mount and the Zeiss ZF2 50mm F1.four now weighs 330g. My ZF2 is modified by cine so it truly weighs 460g. The distinction in weight between the 2 was due to this fact 350 g. If I positioned weights of 20x 12g on the entrance of the lens ring, this provides me a complete of 240g. Do you see the issue right here? Not solely is the burden not sufficient, however it’s a must to take note of that the lens is far shorter, so it requires much more weight to get the best stability.

That is one thing they don't inform you in any of the advertising supplies. They need to clearly state that it solely works in case you are utilizing lenses inside a sure weight vary. In case you're utilizing a heavy lens and need to swap to a lighter, extra compact lens, chances are high it received't work.

However, may I connect two rings with weights to the entrance of my lens? Not likely. There was not sufficient room to do it and if I did, it might intrude with the main target ring. Additionally, if I exploit this lens on a mirrorless digital camera, I’ve to make use of a variable ND filter. I can't do that with a solar visor.

Sadly, the StabiLens system appears to have been designed for individuals who use a sure sort and model of lens, however who solely change the focal size. For instance, the four lenses of the Rokinon T1.5 prime movie equipment (24 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm and 85 mm) are inside 125 g of one another. Meaning you possibly can stability these 4 targets by including lower than about ¼ pound to your gadget.

My downside with that is that should you solely have so as to add a tiny little bit of weight, you possibly can simply rebalance the gimbal in a matter of minutes as that is solely a small adjustment that should be achieved.

The Rokinon T1.5 Cine Primes could be a good instance of glasses the place the StabiLens system works effectively, nevertheless it doesn’t work with all the primary glasses of the identical household. If I wished to go from my 21 mm F2.eight Zeiss ZF2 to 35 mm after which to 50 mm, I couldn’t do it utilizing the StabiLens system as a result of the distinction in weight is just too excessive between 35 mm and 50 mm.

I might have appreciated to see heavier weights made out there, and even non-obligatory.

I contacted StabiLens to voice my considerations and get a response. Right here's what they mentioned:

In brief, the reply to your query is: sure, there’s a weight restrict to the system. The totally loaded ring with weights of 12 g provides 264 g / zero.58 lb (the ring is about 24 g). I discovered that this quantity of additional weight is right for a lot of lenses in the identical household (for instance, the Sigma Artwork 50mm f1.four is 815g and is about an inch shorter than the 18-35 f1 , eight) and it really works nice for lighter MFT lenses. Since additional weight is a priority for a lot of cardan shooters, I selected to begin with a product extra suited to filmmakers with lighter cardan configurations.

That mentioned, there are two methods to handle your present limitation and I plan to elucidate it explicitly in replace movies and FAQs, which I’m within the course of of manufacturing.

It’s all the time really helpful so as to add the StabiLens ring to the top of your lens hood. This simulates an extended lens and provides you higher worth for cash. It additionally has the additional advantage of simple on / off. You too can retailer it on the solar visor.

There is no such thing as a restrict to the variety of rings you should utilize so long as you’ve gotten a spot to place it in your lens or solar visor. I guess with 2 rings on the solar visor, you possibly can shortly stability your present targets.

It must also be famous that we’re in improvement on cool equipment that may even resolve this downside. One is a bigger "cinema measurement" ring that may have a way more sturdy weight capability and measurement to accommodate bigger and heavier lenses. We’re additionally creating a magnetic resolution that may connect to the surface diameter of the ring so as to add virtually limitless weight.

As it is a new product with a totally new workflow, we’re delighted to listen to suggestions from the neighborhood (with you within the foreground) after which use these critiques to shortly replace the product to make it a really common resolution to gimbal stability. downside.

It isn’t for everybody

StabiLens isn’t a product that may work for everybody. If you’re solely an occasional gimbal consumer and barely change glasses, this product won’t be of a lot use to you.

In case you do a whole lot of work on the gimbal and need to shortly change the goal and be within the capturing place with out rebalancing, that makes a whole lot of sense.

Worth and availability

The StabiLens will begin delivery on March 20.

StabiLens kits:

Director of Images Equipment: (Buy worth $ 149.99)
2x StabiLens gimbal rings
20x tungsten alloy weight
20x metal weight
1x onerous case

Starter equipment: (Buy worth $ 99.99)
1x StabiLens gimbal ring
10x tungsten alloy weight
10x metal weight
1x onerous case

Extension parts:
Extra StabiLens rings
Extra tungsten alloy weights
Extra metal weights
Extra onerous instances

The system is a bit costly since it’s basically a rubber ring and some small items of metallic. US $ 99 is loads to pay for a single gimbal ring and a few metallic weights.

Conclusion

StabiLens is in some methods a distinct segment product and won’t enchantment to everybody.

It definitely works as marketed, however you have to clearly perceive and acknowledge that it received't work for each lens change (no less than not but). Though, in saying this, StabiLens listens to buyer suggestions and they’re creating various strategies to deal with a few of the considerations I’ve raised. Like every new product, StabIlens will seemingly enhance over time.

You could take note of the lenses you employ and the lenses you need to change on a gimbal to see if they’d truly work with the StabiLens system.

If you’re somebody who makes use of a gimbal loads and who additionally likes to alter glasses, that is most likely value a glance. For the occasional gimbal consumer who tends to make use of the identical digital camera and combo lens on a regular basis, the StediLens is unlikely to enchantment to you.

I don't need to sound too unfavorable in regards to the StabiLens, as a result of it definitely works, however with limits. I applaud any form of authentic thought that leads somebody to place a novel product in the marketplace.

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