DSLRPros Sp1 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal- Initial thoughts

Have you ever looked back at a video you shot handheld on your smartphone on a big screen and couldn’t believe how shaky, wobbly, jelly like the footage was?

Most smartphones are prone in varying degrees to this “jello effect” aka jitter and also to rolling shutter which makes vertical lines in the shot bend when you move above a particular speed. One way to avoid these issues is to put your smartphone on a tripod or a flat surface to KEEP IT STEADY! But there are alternatives if you really must shoot handheld with movement…I recently blogged about some of the current Smartphone and GoPro Gimbals that are available or are about to launch so I’m not going to repeat any of that just click the link above to read that original article. I’ve had my eye on two of the ones I mentioned and yesterday the first order arrived:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 13.48.14

The DSLR Pros Sp1 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal.

I avoided the usual unboxing video and decided to jump straight in. I put the 3S 11.1V Lipo battery on charge and then prepped to take the SP1 for a test.
Unusually I decided to use Google Glass to record the setup and test also so you can see what I see (through Glass) and what the iPhone 5s is shooting using the Gimbal as two separate recordings.

A few notes.

The SP1 is listed on the DSLRPros Website as $299 but, as I mentioned in the first video if you are in Ireland, theres a surprise in store when you go to checkout and select your shipping options:

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 13.52.48
The CHEAPEST delivery option is $153.41 in addition to the $299! Maybe its just me but that seems like an incredibly expensive price for a small box. Perhaps the Lipo battery is seen as high risk and is partly responsible but even still I think those prices are WAY WAY WAY too expensive. So much so that I tweeted DSLRPros about it on 31st July but have still received no response from them!

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 13.58.08

The other cost to bear in mind (in Ireland anyway) is the customs duty which in this case amounted to a further €70 bringing the grand total for this unit to a whopping $546.16 (€407) 

Anyway in spite of the cost this is the first of its kind that is already shipping and I’m already aware of how effective the DJI Zenmuse H33d gimbal is with the GoPro on my Phantom Quadcopter so I had to check this out.

Interestingly, Once you open the handle the battery is clearly labeled…
BeHolder 3S 1000mAh 11.1V
and as the SP1 only comes with one battery included I decided to google the BeHolder name to see if I could source spare batteries…

Thats when I discovered that the SP1 is re-branded by DSLRPros, it is in fact made by teamrebeldesign.com but it appears they don’t sell direct via the website. This would lead me to believe that the Ikan model in the post mentioned above may well be the exact same unit from Teamrebeldesign but I cannot confirm this.

UPDATE: @Lucas_Afrilive contacted me to say that in fact TeamRebelDesign DO sell direct- here is the link

hsp-02_resize

Anyway the point is..IS IT WORTH €400? Having played with it for several hours now I’m actually inclined to say YES – it would be much more tempting if it were cheaper though, but there is no doubt that it really does make motion VERY smooth and its much much easier to use than a manual steadicam like the Smoothie. One of the really nice features is you can “lead” it into turns by twisting you wrist and it gently follows the move. I’ll be playing with it more over the weekend and if i shoot anything half decent I’ll share it but as a closing note I do think this is a landmark in Mojo filmmaking and I’me really excited to see how these units develop over the coming months.

I found the manual on Slideshare in case you need it:

Or alternatively it can be viewed here

 

PS My only disappointment with the SP1 is that I can’t balance it with my MoonDogLabs Anamorphic Adapter which is such a shame as I would love to shoot some 2.40:1 Footage with it!😦

About vjmentor
Innovation Lead, RTÉ | VJ & MoJo (Mobile Journalism) Trainer -Circom Regional | Photographer | HDSLR shooter| Views are strictly personal, not those of my employer.

9 Responses to DSLRPros Sp1 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal- Initial thoughts

  1. berner says:

    Super blog info. I am a friend of Bart Noonan and was wondering if you can use the RODE iXY with this gimble if the mic uses the lightning port?
    Thanks
    Chris

    • vjmentor says:

      Hi Berner. Thanks for the feedback. The challenge with these is balancing them. When setting up initially (before you engage the motors) you need to insert the phone into the mount into a position where its balanced. In the case of the iPhone 5/5s that point of equilibrium results in the base of the phone being within 1cm of the right motor (not enough clearance for iXY)

      I tested the IKMultimedia iRig and iRig Pro. The PRE is fine as it is into the headphone socket, the PRO needs the lightning cable bent to a right angle to fit and (though it does balance) I would say it is right at the edge of the motors tolerance threshold.

  2. berner says:

    Is thing the 3 axis gimbal you would recommend?
    Cheers
    Chris

  3. berner says:

    Sorry for the typo but am looking at the gazer, ikam and dslr pro gimbals. Would you recommend one over the others?
    Cheers
    Chris

    • vjmentor says:

      Hi Chris. I’ve been impressed with the image stability of the 3 axis SP1. If you read the blog you’ll see I paid a whopping €400 for the DSLRPros one-they never responded about the $153 shipping cost so for that alone I would encourage you to go direct to the manufacturer TeamRebelDesign instead. I think the IKam is the same unit relabelled. Don’t think the gazercam is shipping yet and have seen no reviews so to answer your question, I think they are revolutionary and worth the investment.

  4. berner says:

    Thanks for the advice.

  5. James R. says:

    Nice review Glen. I’ve played with the beholder and thought it wasn’t bad. I recommend you check out the new KumbaCam’s new 3-axis cell phone stabilizer. After playing with that one, I immediately noticed the stronger brushless motors, smoother transitions, and overall better quality product. http://kumbacam.com/gimbals/kumbacam-3-axis-smartphone-stabilizer/

  6. Anna White says:

    Thanks for this Awesome Post. I really loved that device. I have gone through so many devices but really looking forward for this one.

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