We’re taking it up a notch in the stabilising gimbals department as we’ve tested out the Feiyu-Tech a2000 – a 3-axis stabilising gimbal for mirrorless cameras or DSLRs up to 2kg! What a beast this gimbal is!
To begin with, this gimbal isn’t an amateur tool – I would say it’s more of a device a ‘professional’ videographer would use to obtain flawless, steady footage. There are two versions, the two handed one and the single handed one. We had the pleasure of testing the latter.
What’s in the box?
Upon receiving this gadget I was impressed by the packaging and presentation of it. This is by far the best packaged Feiyu-Tech product I have laid my hands upon. For starters, it has its own ‘hard’ carry case – it’s not hard plastic, it’s more like structurally solid case with a soft cloth finish. Pulling back the two zips to open it reveals another zipped compartment on the underside of the lid which holds the manual and warranty cards and could be used to carry SD cards, cables or any other small things one might need. The bottom of the case is covered with another internal lid which is held closed via three Velcro straps. Peeling these back allows you to hinge this lid backwards revealing all the components of the a2000.
In the main compartment, as you can see in the unboxing video above, you’ll find the main gimbal body, the handle with gimbal controls, a small tripod, four batteries, a USB smart battery charger, a quick plate, a micro USB cable, a camera support frame, a shutter release cable and two thumb screws.
The a2000 is capable of full 360° rotation on the panning, tilting and rolling axes at a minimum rotation of 2°/s to a maximum of 150°/s. It comes with four Lithium Ion batteries which makes the gimbal last an incredible 12 hours before needing another charge. Keep in mind that the gimbal only takes 2 batteries at a go so you get two ‘spare’ ones – a big plus! The a2000 has the standard tripod mount 1/4 inch female thread hole at the bottom as well as the back of the handle.
Similarly to the G5, the a2000 has a joystick, an indication light, a function button, and two trigger buttons – one on the front and a larger one on the back. The joystick’s purpose is to control the direction the gimbal is pointing at, the indication light shows the status the device is in, be it ‘Panning mode’, ‘Lock mode’, ‘Low battery’, etc … The function button controls both power as well as the mode and the if either trigger button is pressed for long the gimbal enters a ‘locked’ state, where all axes are locked in the position the gimbal is in when the button is pressed, or, if pressed twice in quick succession, returns the gimbal to the default panning mode whist the tilting and rolling axes return to the initial level.
Setting the gimbal up is fairly easy. First the quick plate is attached to your camera (in my case a DSLR) using one of the thumb screws. The camera support frame fits nicely under the lens and is tightened in place using the other provided thumb screw. The batteries are inserted into the handle taking care to match the polarity (the + and -) and the handle then attached to the main gimbal body. The handle has 4 guides which need to match up with the underside of the main body before tightening it. The quick plate then slides into a slot on the main body and the remaining thumb screws are tightened.
A very important step with any gimbal is balancing prior to powering it on. Feiyu-tech provides an in-depth description of how this should be done on the supplied manual. I won’t get into describing step-by-step how to do it as how the balancing is done depends on your camera and lens models. The reason one balances the load on the gimbal is so that motors have less work to do and instead of wasting energy on lifting your camera to point forwards, only use energy to stabilise the video you’re shooting, hence prolonging battery life drastically.
There are five modes the a2000 can be in, namely:
- Panning mode: The G5’s tilting and rolling axes are fixed whilst the panning axis smoothly follows the user’s hands.
- Lock mode: All axes are fixed to one direction wherever the user is.
- Panning and Tilting mode: The G5’s keeps a steady a horizon (rolling axis) but follows the user’s hands on the panning and tilting axes.
- ‘Selfie’ mode: The gimbal rotates 180° on the panning axis to face the user.
- Auto-rotation mode: The user sets the starting and finishing position and the gimbal determines a path and auto-rotates at a user defined rate (through the mobile app).
These modes can be accessed through pressing the ‘mode button’ a number of times in quick succession or in the case of the ‘Lock mode’ by using the trigger.
It took us a bit longer to get used to the a2000 than we did with the G5 or WG2 but it’s mostly due to the fact that this is a more sophisticated device than either of those. The sheer power of the motors combined with the weight of the camera, lens and gimbal itself meant that handling it took getting used to but the result is magnificent.
The video above clearly shows how effective and powerful the a2000 is – be it glamour shots of the beautiful Porsche Cayman or footage whilst being driven around in it. As you can imagine, in a fast car like this the G-forces are significant but the a2000 still did a great job at stabilising the image to the point where it’s enjoyable to watch!