The Ghost DSLR Camera Stabilizer

A few months back I covered a lot of information on low price Mōvi alternatives (check out the post here). Since then the technology has progressing pretty fast and there are a lot of new options hitting the market. I thought it might be time for an update.

Above is one of the new lower priced alternatives. It’s a kickstarter campaign so it could be vaporware, however looking at the parts, it appears that most of it is off the shelf electronics, so I’d say it’s pretty likely to come out. Labeled “The Ghost” this stabilizer is basically a ready to use 3 axis kit for $1595. Looking closer at The Ghost, it appears the unit is using two GBM 5208 brushless motors on the roll and pitch and a ALEXMOS ArmBGC V2.0 motor controller kit. I don’t recognize the 3rd axis motor, but i’m sure it’s something common.

A lot of the brackets and mounting components for the motors are likely made from custom CNC parts. Altogether you are receiving a little over $800 in parts gathered together in an easy to assemble package for $1595. Considering the price of some of the other options on the market, the price isn’t that unreasonable.  They’ve probably worked out most of the bugs and loaded the latest firmware onto the controller board which would save you a lot of hassle if you aren’t very DIY oriented. The kickstarter campaign only has 7 more days to go, so if you want one you should probably move quickly.

Hifly DSLR stablizer

Moving down in price with a very similar parts list we have the HIFLY DSLR 3-Axis camera stabilizer. For $1300, you get motors, controller board, battery, and all of the extra hardware. The ALEXMOS ArmBGC V2.0 motor controller kit is also used on the Hifly. Basically the difference between The Ghost and the HIFLY is that the former is put together in the states and will most likely have english instructions with a small support community, while the latter comes from China and might require some technical expertise to get working properly. If you’re familiar with these types of controls and hardware the HIFLY DSLR 3-Axis camera stabilizer could save you $300.

If you want to save some more money and do a little more DIY work, this Russian gentlemen (designer of the controller boards for both The Ghost and the HIFLY) will be releasing the ALEXMOS ArmBGC V3.0 motor controller next month. At $260 the controller includes 3-axis controls with easy to setup software that allows you to use follow panning mode. Basically the unit still stabilizes your camera, but at a set degree of pan the motor will actually slowly pan the camera in that direction. With a little practice this could be a very cool feature.

Combine this new controller with a bare bones HIFLY for $545 (just motors and carbon fiber) add a battery for another $50 and you’re just shy of $900. This option will probably require the most tweaking and you’ll have to figure out how to mount the position sensor, route wiring, and attach the controller board with battery. Even with all that you should still be able to easily stay under $1000 making it the most affordable DSLR level option I’ve seen to date.

The cost of motors and sensors are pretty stable, but as the technology keeps progressing, i’m sure we’ll start to see even lower prices on motor controller boards and carbon fiber cages. With this level of camera stabilization in a package that’s less than $2000 I see a dark future for traditional steadicam operators. You’ll still need giant sleds and vests for 3d rigs and other oversized camera setups, but for those working on a budget it would probably be cheaper to buy one of these setups then it would be to higher a steadicam operator for a few days of work.

I’m still debating on which option I’ll be pulling the trigger on. I’ll try and keep you posted.

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