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Pick of the Camera Reviews

(Click the pictures for reviews & links) 

ACTION CAMS

Yi 2 - Best Budget 4K 

Gitup Git2 (My Pick)

Xiaomi Yi

Dazzne P2

SJCAM M10+
 
DASH-CAMS (CAR DVRs)
 
A119
Yi Ultra 2.7K
   
    MINI CAMERAS
Mobius (also works as a Dashcam)
Polaroid Cube+
    HELMET CAMERA
Sena Prism Tube

My favourite USB battery power Pack

This is the excellent USB power pack I use when I travel.

2 x 2.1amp outputs. 8400mAh capacity.

Two digit Led display shows battery level

 

What SD CARD should I buy?

If you want an SD Card for your camera - these are the ones I use and recommend. 

I'd strongly recommend not to buy any SD cards off ebay - I've heard about too many issues with counterfeit cards - often sold on by unwitting resellers. My inbox regularly gets messages from people who bought a £150 camera then cheaped out and bought a £3 memory card on ebay - Then when it doesn't worth they blame the camera! It doesn't make any sense. Good memory is cheaper than it's ever been - see the links above.

A lot of HD cameras will not work properly with cards larger than 32GB (cards over 32GB are usually SDXC rather than the SDHC standard used by 32GB cards. SDXC cards use the ex-FAT system rather than FAT32 - in short they are a different standard). - so don't just buy the biggest card you can afford - read the specs in the manual to see what it accepts.

UK & US LINKS & PRICES BELOW

RECOMMENDED CARDS (for action cams - see dashcams below)

CLASS 10 UHS-1 CARDS (For HD Cameras)

 

U3 CARD (For 4K cameras)

 

 

SPECIAL DASHCAM CARDS

The SD card in a dashcam is re-written over, more frequently than in other types of cameras. Some manufacturers void their guarantee if an SD card was used in a dashcam. So, no surprise, there are special High Endurance SD cards made just for dashcams...here's some.

 

VERY IMPORTANT. These links take you to the product, however Amazon have three different ways of selling. There's Amazon Direct - This means that you are only dealing with Amazon themselves, then there's other sellers that use Amazon's facilities - these show as Fulfilled By Amazon and finally there's Market Place sellers that advertise on Amazon, but operate independently.  I strongly recommend that you only use the first...the Amazon Direct - Sold By Amazon option. Even if it appears that you are paying a couple of £/$ more it is more than likely you are comparing the price of a real item against the price of a fake.

To give you an idea of the extent of the fake goods problem. In a 2016 survey by Apple - 90% of the 'Apple' chargers sold through Amazon - using the other the two methods..which includes the "Fulfilled by Amazon" option -  were found to be counterfeit....90%! 

            

 
« Vantrue Dashcam Discounts | Main | Retro HiFi: The DBX Disc »
Thursday
Jun092016

Bring out the Gimbal

It's always great to try out some tech I haven't used before.  So when I was offered the opportunity to try out the AiBird Uoplay Smartphone Gimbal, I couldn't refuse.

I'm a big movie fan, there's nothing I enjoy more than discovering a great movie from the 60s or 70s that I haven't seen before, and the way that the look of movies has changed over the years, can often be attributed to the technology that was available at the time. For example in the 1960s, smaller hand held cameras gave filmmakers a way to get out from the film sets and shoot gritty street scenes in real locations. 

More recently, improvements in digital photography have allowed filmmakers to shoot scenes at night time using ambient light. The improved low light sensitivity of a digital sensor over film stock has made movies like Collateral,  Drive and The Revenant possible.

Steadicams started off being used for a handful of shots in a film, but they quickly become a standard tool in a filmmaker's arsenal. Before the steadicam, to follow an actor walking through a scene, a dolly track would have to be set-up to give the camera a smooth surface to roll down. This restricted the length of the shot, it meant the camera couldn't shoot angles that might show the track, it would be difficult to go across uneven surfaces or up a hill, and going in any direction other than a straight line was problematic. A steadicam operator can do away with the track and follow the protagonists round a corner, through a doorway, and up the stairs. It has changed the whole look of movies. 

Nowadays an amateur video maker can shoot 4K footage with a smartphone, and by using a handheld gimbal can achieve results that a filmmaker in the 1960s could only have dreamed of. 

A gimbal is still very much a product for an enthusiast, rather than the mass-market, but for those people who want the benefits of a steadicam but can't afford $25,000 - it's a revelation. 

Watch the video below to see how I get on with the Uoplay 3 Axis Gyroscopically Stabilised Smartphone Gimbal.

PURCHASING

You can buy the AiBird Uoplay Gimbal from Amazon the US & the UK - links below.
 
ebay links are below - Click your country to find the best price. 
UK  US  DE  CA  AU  NL  BE  FR  CH  ES  IE  IT 
When buying items from China, don’t forget to factor in potential import duty charges.
   
The official website for the AiBird Uoplay Gimbal can be found here.
  
Additional Countries AMAZON Links DE  ES  FR  IT

 

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Reader Comments (19)

That looks very useful, but I'd be very concerned about some ne'er-do-well stealing the phone by simply grabbing it and running off. Some judicious elastic bands should stop that, but really, I would have like to see the thing secure the camera by the corners and have a lanyard to go around the wrist.

I hope they follow up with a version for cameras.

June 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterQuentin

Mat - Great video!! Wonder if the iPhone 6 plus image stabilisation has any positive or negative effects on the resulting video? Did you have it on or off as you took the shots?

June 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Plumb

I used the built-in camera app on the phone to record and this doesn't have an option to deactivate the OIS. However as the phone was being held perfectly steady by the gyroscopically stabilized gimbal...there would be no shaking, vibration or sudden movement experienced by the phone...so any built in stabilisation would not be getting activated. The exact same results will be experienced by someone with a stabilised or non-stabilised phone.

June 10, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Interesting, thanks. I just wondered if that would have any ill effects on the gimbal in the same way YT does some odd cropping to try and smooth videos that don't require it. Sounds like you have it covered. Some amazing shots in there. Brilliant.

June 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Plumb

Does it make any noise or is it completely silent?

June 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBen

I can't hear any noise from the gimbal when it is in use.

June 12, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Very interested in one of these. However, my main use would be from (a) a helicopter & (b) a small boat in roughish sea conditions.
This leads two a couple of questions:

1. Could it hold an iphone in a waterproof/splashproof case?
2. Potential for corrosion from salt water - could I wash it off in fresh water for example?
3. Is the damping/stabilisation good enough to handle the vibration that you get in a helicopter?

Great video by the way. Thanks.

June 16, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergeoff

1. If the case is narrower than 8cm.
2. I don't think that would be a good idea. I wouldn't use this near water
3. It's not really about vibration...it's more to reduce shaking and make movements smoother.

June 16, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Hi Mat, great video, lovely piece of kit, not sure I would want one but loved your footage and comments.

Thanks for listening

Daz

June 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDaz

Thanks Techmoan, just received my unit yesterday which I bought based on your review (and a Vantrue R2 as well). So far, so good, however I was wondering if you have tried to run an 'update'? I assume this may update the firmware, however the software is in Chinese. Any chance you could reach out to AiBird and ask if they could provide a walk-through in English (with screen shots) so we can run the update?

June 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

I'd always recommend that if something is working - then don't unnecessary update it.

In the past when I posted firmware for the spy cameras, so many people cocked it up and bricked their devices that it's something I'm extremely reluctant to do again.

My gimbal is working perfectly, so I don't need to update the firmware - are you experiencing problems?

June 24, 2016 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Another fine interview. Had a couple of laughs as well. The gimbal itself is pretty impressive. Very tempting. At least from the looks, it appears to be better quality that some of the plastic competition.

What always floors me is how much effort is put into a product like this, and how precious little effort goes into the manual. At least the english versions tend to have terrible grammar, often making no sense at all. Here's a thought, have a native english speaker review your manual! I'd be glad to offer my efforts in trade for one of these clever gizmos.

June 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Austin

Picked up one based on the review after trying out a friend's similar unit. The tripod mount will also work with a monopod and the handle fits snuggly into a piece of 1 inch schedule 40 PVC pipe (I'm in the US, I don't know if there's a UK equivalent size). This greatly increases the usefulness of the device because you can now use it as you would a jib arm. I can use my Apple watch as a remote viewfinder and the remote control for pan/tilt and starting recording. Will take a lot of practice to get the moves right but while testing I was able to record a very convincing "dog's eye view" shot that was smooth and didn't wreck my back.

July 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterReadyKilowatt

Would a Samsung Galaxy camera fit in this

July 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarty Boyle

Think about getting one of these but it looks like their website is gone. Are they still in business? How would you do a update?

November 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul NM

There are a few of these phone gimbals around & a limited number of reviews (of which the Techmoan one is the most thorough that I have seen). There is also a 2S version out shortly which is more expensive. So far, I've not been able to find out what the difference is between the 2S & other versions as the "English" version of the company website is largely in Chinese as is the support version.

While I like the look of this device, I'm more inclined to look at others where there is a bit more English language info.

December 15, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergeoff

Is it a must to use its software to record videos? ; wanna use other photography apps on my phone..
Is it possible to use it to take pano-shots aswell?

January 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJacobson

It doesn't have any software.

January 19, 2017 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

It looks like the new 2S has a camera connection & the ability to have some control of the camera via controls on the gimbal handle including zooming. They also claim a face tracking ability. All this seems to require an app on the phone. All the promo videos show that the app is in Chinese. It would be useful to know if an English version exists & if language selection is in the app, how you select it if the initial menu is in Chinese (altho' I could go to my local restaurant for help).

February 20, 2017 | Unregistered Commentergeoff

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