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Feiyu Tech G5 Action Cam Gimbal In-Depth Review

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Ahh yes, gimbals.  It’s the magic that makes your average footage look beautiful.  It’s what keeps shaky stuff from being unusable, and what makes selfie-sticks feel like a simple tree branch.

You might remember last year I did a review of the Feiyu Tech wearable gimbal.  That was really one of the first purpose-built gimbals for sport use.  It was good, though not spectacular.  I found over time that I largely ended up using the handheld gimbal instead, as it gave me more flexibility beyond just riding or running.

One of the problems with handheld gimbals though is that they typically aren’t waterproof (neither was the wearable one).  But things have changed – and I’ve been using the G5 gimbal for some 8 months now, which is not only splash-resistance (I put that to the test!), but also compatible with the GoPro Hero5 and Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 – my two mainstay cameras these days.

More interestingly though is that I’ve actually been testing this device for more than 8 months.  I initially had a loaner G5, but have since bought my own. At the same time, I’ve also bought a few GoPro Karma Grip gimbals too (long story).  Either way, I’ve done a ton of testing and usage side by side and have a solid grasp on their nuances.

Unboxing:

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First up is getting things out of the box.  It’s roughly like an oversized cigar box. Though, I’ve never quite bought a cigar box.  No need really.  In any case, the box:

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Once you crack it open you’ll see the parts sitting in a nice little bed in front of you.  The gimbal itself is packed inside its protective case:

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We’ll go ahead and remove everything and place it on the table:

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And then again, taking everything out of their respective bags and plopping those on the table too:

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Here’s what all the pieces are. First is the gimbal and bag:

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You’ll notice that small disc – that’s one of the two counterweights that come with it.  The other counterweight is already installed on the end of the gimbal:

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Counterweights are used to counterbalance different camera weights.  For the GoPro Hero5 Black for example, you’d use both counterweights.  Whereas the GoPro Hero4 and Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 only need one.

Next are some USB cables.  Two to be precise.  One is for charging the unit, it uses standard micro-USB on the end connecting to the gimbal.

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While the other cable is a micro-USB to mini-USB cable, that allows for continual charging of your camera (GoPro Hero 3/4 series, and Garmin VIRB Ultra 30).  It basically allows you to use the battery in the gimbal to charge your camera.

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You’ll have noticed two additional screws in there.  Those are for supporting deeper cameras (fatter ones), primarily from non-GoPro/Garmin cameras.

Last but not least, we’ve got the manual.  It comes in English and Chinese, and you’ll want to probably take some pictures of it with your cell phone to have handy while travelling.

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It’s not too long – but you’ll often refer back to it for button functions until you can memorize them.

Size & Weight Comparisons:

This gimbal is specifically designed for action cameras, and as such it’s pretty small. As you might expect, you can’t install your DSLR camera to this, or anything that doesn’t fit in the bracket.  In that vein, you’ll find that most gimbals that support action cameras are about the same size.  They have a stick portion that allows a bit more reach, and then the gimbal portion.

Yet despite that, you can see pretty significant differences in size between these three gimbals:

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The three above being the GoPro Karma Grip gimbal, the Feiyu Tech G5 gimbal, and then the previous generation Feiyu Tech G4-QD gimbal that I’ve used for some time. Just look at the thickness of that GoPro Karma Grip above.  It’s massive in comparison to the others.  And at the same time, you’ll notice the newer G5 gimbal is also thicker than the G4 series gimbal.  Likely due to waterproofing.

And as for weight?  Older was oddly lighter in this case.  Here’s the G5 weight, followed by that of the Karma Grip and G4-QD gimbals.

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Of course, weight isn’t everything.  As I’ll talk about later, one of the (eventual) benefits of the GoPro Karma Grip gimbal is the ability to separate the gimbal portion from the grip/battery portion, and connect it via cable.  GoPro released this back in the April timeframe (finally), and it does change the landscape a bit.

Basic Operation:

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The gimbal is fairly straightforward to operate, but like most of FT’s products, you’ll need to do some minor memorization of the functions.  Somehow the ability to simply label the buttons with a tiny bit of text isn’t a manufacturing capability for them.

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The unit technically has three buttons, though all of them have more than one function, depending on how they’re pressed.  These buttons are as follows:

Joystick: The top button is actually a small joystick that allows directional control of the gimbal.  You can swirl it around to not only point the gimbal up and down, but also left and right (a full 360° to be precise).  The ‘button’ itself doesn’t depress.

Function Button (below joystick): This is used to power on the unit, as well as power it off.  More importantly though, it’s also used to change the different function modes – such as locking the orientation of the unit itself.  Within the function button, you’ve got three and a half functions:

Single tap: Default mode, locks camera at level to horizon
Double tap: Allows you to lock camera based on position of stick (more like a selfie stick)
Triple tap: Flips camera over 180°
Quadruple tap: Resets everything
Long hold: Puts unit into standby, tap function button to wake-up.  Super-useful if you quickly stash gimbal in a pocket/etc between shots.

Selfie Button: Technically it’s called the ‘self-timer’ button, though there’s not actually any timer involved.  It simply swirls the gimbal around to point directly at you.  Like the joystick this sounds silly at first, and then you realize just how mother-@#$@#-brilliant it is in actual use.  It allows you to smoothly point the camera back at you so you can talk and walk, and then once done, points it forward again where it was oriented.

Phew – got all that?  Good, cause you’re gonna have to memorize it.  The joystick is easy enough to figure out, as is the selfie button.  As for the function buttons, just remember to either single, double, or triple tap.  Oh, and don’t forget calibration mode too – in case something gets askew.  That’s outlined in the manual above.

Of course – it might be silly to talk functions without at least briefly mentioning that the unit uses either one or two counterweights.  It’s *super-important* that you use the right amount of weight for different cameras.  If you don’t do this, you’ll get crappy results, most notably the camera won’t be level.  Here are the two weights, which simply tighten on the end of the gimbal head:

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For the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30, you need both weights.  For the GoPro Hero5 Black, also both weights.  If you put only one weight on, it’ll look fine for about 15-20 seconds, at which point it’ll very slowly start to tilt.  The GoPro Hero3/4 cameras do not require the extra weight.

But sometimes if a traumatic event happens to the unit (cough, you drop it), you may need to recalibrate it.  This is outlined below, and I find it a bit flaky at times.  Also, this is technically a different calibration than Feiyu Tech themselves can walk you through.  Think of this as a ‘calibration light’.

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As noted though, I somehow got my unit into a weird situation where it wasn’t staying level at all.  I could place it on a table and it’d start tilting within seconds.  So while at CES I brought my unit over to them, and within a minute or so one of the Feiyu Tech ladies worked some voodoo magic on it.  I tried my hardest to memorize all the steps she did – but it was like a cheat code on Nintendo 64.  Lots of button pressing, forcefully holding the unit on the table level, etc… It was at times like watching someone hold down another person strangling them.

Yet, when all was said and done my gimbal was happy.  It’s not clear to me what caused the issue, but I’m glad they were able to fix it.  In any event – by and large none of that is required. It just stays nice and level.

Note that unlike past Feiyu Tech gimbals it doesn’t come with a separate battery charger. Instead, the big-ass battery just sits inside and is charged via the micro-USB port on the front.

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Finally, note that with different action cams you’ll get varying degrees of success when it comes to usable audio while using the gimbal.  That’s because it depends on where the camera manufacturer put the microphones. Take for example the GoPro Hero5 Black.  That has three mics, including one on each side.  It’s these side microphone that can be tricky, as depending on which orientation you use, it may be pressed up against the gimbal electronic pod.  That’ll in turn give you really crap audio.

You’ve got effectively two and a half options:

1) Separate out the audio tracks and use the other tracks (best option, more work)
2) Use the software settings below to try and isolate the noise (‘Wind only’ works best, but still slight whirring audible)
3) Not care at all, because you’re not using the audio

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Note that there is no secondary audio/mic port on the gimbal itself (neither is there one on the GoPro Karma Grip gimbal).  Meanwhile, for the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 – this isn’t a problem at all.  The microphone ports here don’t face the gimbal, and so (as you can see in my video down lower about cycling) – there’s no gimbal noise.

Camera Compatibility:

One of the most important things to consider when buying a gimbal is compatibility.  Gimbals are incredibly fickle when it comes to compatibility.  And there are two specific reasons for that: Size, and weight.

The first is just simply ensuring the camera can fit into the gimbal.  And that’s not just talking about finding a way to attach it to the gimbal in the mount, but also that it has enough room to rotate around.  It does no good if it hits the corners of the gimbal as it rotates.

The second is weight.  Gimbals are designed to counter-balance the camera’s movements at incredibly high speeds.  The weights need to be very close (within a few grams) to make this work.  That’s why the G5 has a secondary counterweight for the GoPro Hero5 Black.  So you can’t put a camera that’s too heavy or too light on, else it’ll tilt.

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Action cams must be compatible with both weight and size.  For example, with the GoPro Hero5 Black, it’s compatible on size, but without the secondary counterweight, it won’t work weight-wise.  In fact, it’ll appear fine at first, but over the course of just a few dozen steps walking you’ll see it slowly start to tilt.  Add the counter-weight, and all will be well.

The G5 gimbal officially claims compatibility with the following cameras:

GoPro Hero 5
GoPro Hero 4
GoPro Hero 3/3+
Yi cam 4K
AEE cameras (a few models)

Now I’ve personally tested only a few of these.  As you can see throughout this post, I’ve validated basic functionality with the GoPro Hero4 Silver, Hero4 Black, Hero5 Black, and Garmin VIRB Ultra 30.

Note that some of these I’ve tested far more deeply than others.  For example, I’ve put in a bunch of time with the GoPro Hero5 Black and the gimbal, as well as the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 and the gimbal.  The company also claims it works with the Yi 4K action cam lineup, but I haven’t validated that myself.

Meanwhile, there are some cameras I’ve also validated will NOT fit/work.  This is because none of these cameras fit.  So it’s not a matter of weight, but rather size/frame/mounting.

– GoPro Hero Session (any variant)
– GoPro Hero 3/4 cameras in waterproof cases (fine without cases)
– GoPro Hero+ LCD or GoPro Base Hero (with case permanently attached)
– Sony Action Cams (any variant)
– Garmin VIRB X/XE
– Garmin VIRB Elite/Original
– TomTom Bandit action cam
– Shimano action cam
– Any Contour action cams

I’m sure there’s many more, but that’s just some of what I had lying around and was able to test.

Finally, be wary of companies talking about offering future adapters for a given camera type.  I hear every year of a company (be it the camera manufacturer or the gimbal maker themselves) saying they’ll soon release an adapter for X camera type, and every year those promises rarely come true.  Said differently: Don’t buy a gimbal for your camera unless that company is already shipping the appropriate adapter for it.  Else you’ve potentially just bought a nifty paperweight.

Waterproofing:

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The G5 gimbal is one of the first (along with the Removu S1 gimbal) to offer some official protection against water.  Historically most consumer gimbals have not, and while historically that’s also been OK in light rain – it’s not ideal for downpours (though, I’ve tested other gimbals in that too).

The G5 officially claims (per the specs) IP67 ‘waterproofing compatibility.  What’s IP67 actually mean?  The first digit represents claims against non-liquid ingest:

IP6x = Dust tight against ingest of dust

The second digit represents the liquid standards:

IPx7 = Immersion up to 1 meter deep, however, the time isn’t technically defined.

We’ll get to some testing I’ve done on that in a second.

Of course, keep in mind this is just talking about the gimbal, and not the entire camera.  For example, if you put a GoPro Hero4 or Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 in there, that’s not going to mean anything because that camera itself is not water-resistance (again, light rain is usually fine).  Meanwhile, the GoPro Hero5 Black being externally waterproof is perfectly fine (assuming all doors are closed).

But I wanted to test this myself, and to varying degrees.  First up (almost immediately after unboxing) was a shower test. I took it into the shower and gave it some serious water pressure.

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The shower in the DCR Cave/Studio is incredibly strong.  Like, fire hose strong.  If you pointed it directly at your face at full strength, it would legitimately hurt.  Which seems like the perfect test.  And indeed, it was.  I was able to not only put it under the water at full strength, but also use the different function buttons including the joystick to move it around.  That was impressive.

I then waited until the next day to validate water hadn’t gotten inside.  Plus I charged it.  Still working – all good.  So then I decided to step it up a notch and find myself a waterpark.  For that I flew 5,443 miles away to Las Vegas for CES in January, only to find all the waterparks have been closed for the season.  However, after 30 days following initial waterproof testing, it was still good, no issues whatsoever.

So thus I figured it was a good time to dunk it in the water entirely after flying another 15,993 miles to Australia (the wrong way around the world):

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Yup, it actually stabilizes underwater:

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I played for about 20-30 minutes in the pool with it.

And all was well….until the next day when things weren’t so well.  It won’t boot up anymore. It was dead.

Well, sorta dead.

A few weeks later I gave it another whirl and it seems like it will charge just fine, but the power-on button appears to be broken.  My guess is when pressing the buttons underwater, that’s what did it in.

Lesson learned? The unit is just fine for splashes for a long time, but total immersion and button pressing – despite the specification saying it’s technically supported – seems to kill it.  Or at least button pressing underwater is what killed it.  Either way – no concerns for non-pool usage. Smile

I then went out and bought another one to finish this review.

Smartphone App:

The Feiyu Tech folks have created a smartphone app to connect to the gimbal.  And you may be wondering why the heck you’d need a smartphone app for a gimbal.  And quite frankly, you probably don’t.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not nifty.  To download the app you’ll search the Apple or Android app stores for ‘FT Settings’, which is the name of the app.

From there you’ll enable pairing mode on the gimbal by holding down the secret key combinations noted in the manual, which turns on Bluetooth and starts pairing.  A few seconds later, the app will see it.  Note that the app’s UI is relatively poorly designed, so the G5 gimbal is off to the right (off of screen) by default.  This threw me for a loop at first.

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Once paired, you can control the gimbal via the app.  You’ve got all the same functions that you would via the buttons on the handle, but now on the app.  Yup, even the movement can be controlled via the app:

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Now I’m honestly not sure what scenario you’d have where you’d have your smartphone app out to control the gimbal that you’re holding that you can control the same functions with your other hand.  But still, it’s neat geekery that I’m sure someone will find a use for (perhaps in a mounted camera scenario on a tripod since it does have a tripod mount on the bottom, as a cheap camera controller).  For example, you can actually do a slow rotation of the gimbal over a long period of time using what’s called ‘Autorotation mode’.  They even have a special addendum manual for just this mode.

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Using the app you can also adjust things like the strength and speed of the different axis’s, though it’s not super clear as to what these numbers mean or what’s considered normal.  As is the case throughout the app, it mostly seems like an afterthought.

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What is however useful in the app is the firmware update function.  For those past Feiyu Tech users, you’ll remember this was a bit dodgy to do previously via USB cables.  Now it does it via Bluetooth and should be a lot simpler, though I have heard of some people that have killed their units doing the firmware update this way.

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In my case, no new firmware has been released yet given it’s only been out a few months.  But usually we see Feiyu Tech iterate fairly quickly to squash any early bugs.

Mounting the gimbal:

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Now by default the FT G5 doesn’t have any wearable mounting system.  This means that you can’t just mount it easily to yourself if you want to use it as a sports action gimbal.  Whereas the GoPro Karma grip does indeed have such a mounting adapter.

But I’ve got good news for you: You can go buy the same $29 GoPro Karma Grip Ring and it works just fine with the FT G5 gimbal.  I used it without issue riding and running, and all was well.  The $29 adapter is available on GoPro’s site (though, somewhat intermittently), and when it arrives it’ll look like this:

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Simply remove the inner sleeve and then adjust the tightness accordingly.

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Thus…done.  This allows you to mount it to anything that has a GoPro mount.  You could in turn then mount it to something like the GoPro Seeker backpack, which is what I’m wearing here.

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All in all, this makes for a great and somewhat already proven solution.  We know the GoPro mounting ring is proven, and the GoPro adapter system beyond that is all good too. Easy peasy.

Video Awesomeness:

Okey doke.  It’s time to get to a video created using the gimbal.  Or rather, a few videos.  And some comparative stuff.  In this case, I’ve done some footage comparisons between a GoPro Hero5 being held and one mounted in the G5 gimbal, showing the differences in stability.

This first video shows functionality while cycling, including some rougher pavement as well as the selfie features.  This one was shot using the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30, complete with the data overlay functionality of that camera, to show how these shots look in various sport applications that are gimbal-stabilized.

Next, here’s a short look at running with it:

And finally, for completeness, I published this way back in January – but it’s just a super-quick snippet on the gimbal while cycling as well.  Nothing fancy, but the fog in the winter at dusk in Paris turned out cool.

Phew!

There are of course plenty of other videos out there with more generic uses (like walking around vlogging with it), but that’s really not what you’re here for.  Plus, all those work just fine and dandy.

Market Comparisons:

Rightly or wrongly, most folks will be talking about comparing to the GoPro Karma Grip gimbal, likely because it’s a household name.  And also because it’s actually shipping and sorta available for purchase for those with patience (in many countries, not just the limited subset that GoPro Karma Grip is in).  And true, if you own a GoPro Hero camera, it makes a fair bit of sense to consider it.

Additionally, there’s also the Removu S1 gimbal as well to consider.  I played with the Removu gimbal a bit at CES.  I came away a bit mixed on it.  On one hand, the ability to break apart the different parts to effectively create a wearable gimbal is cool.  Yet at the same time, it was much bulkier than I thought (like, a ton bulkier).

All of which brings us to the gimbal comparisons.  I’ve loaded both the FT G5 and the GoPro Karma Grip gimbal into the comparison database.  I’ll load more soon, but I tend to only add units I’ve had hands-on time with.

Function/FeatureFeiyu Tech G5 GimbalGoPro Karma Grip Gimbal
Copyright DC Rainmaker - Updated August 16th, 2017 @ 6:33 amNew Window
Price$279$299
Announced DateDecember 2016September 2016
AvailabilityGlobalUS + Selected Countries
Weight431g460g
Includes caseYes (soft-shell)Yes (hardshell)
BatteryFeiyu Tech G5 GimbalGoPro Karma Grip Gimbal
Battery life8 hours in theory (a couple in reality)1hr 45 mins
Removable batteryYesNo
Charging connector typeMicroUSBUSB-C
Can gimbal charge cameraYes (but messy)Yes
FeaturesFeiyu Tech G5 GimbalGoPro Karma Grip Gimbal
Can gimbal connect to droneNoYes
Phone Companion AppYesNo
Directional control (movement)YesNo
Start/stop recording buttonsNoYes
Inversion modeYesYes
Selfie modeYesNo
Can separate/extend battery from gimbalNoYes (Accessory)
Has tripod mountYesNo
CompatibilityFeiyu Tech G5 GimbalGoPro Karma Grip Gimbal
GoPro Hero5 BlackYesYes
GoPro Hero5 SessionNoIn future supposedly (still hasn't happened)
GoPro Hero/Hero4 SessionNoNo
GoPro Hero4 Silver/BlackYesYes
GoPro Hero3 SeriesYesYes
Garmin VIRB Ultra 30YesNo
Garmin VIRB X/XENoNo
PurchaseFeiyu Tech G5 GimbalGoPro Karma Grip Gimbal
Amazon LinkLinkLink
DCRainmakerFeiyu Tech G5 GimbalGoPro Karma Grip Gimbal
Review LinkLinkLink

But let me call out a few key things to consider.  Or rather, a few key considerations for each product and where I’d use it.

GoPro Karma Grip: For most scenarios, I probably wouldn’t buy this without at least buying the Karma Grip Extension  Without that extension, the grip is too bulky compared to the G5 for most sport use.  But with that extension it becomes more interesting for sport use, because I can attach it to my backpack and it isn’t so bulky.  The other pro of the Karma Grip gimbal is that it’s really damn durable.  I dropped it from a bike going 20MPH/30KPH onto concrete, and it’s still perfectly fine.  I’d question whether the G5 would withstand a similar high-speed drop.  Also, while the GoPro Karma has far less features, I do generally find it more reliable as sometimes the G5 can be finicky.

Feiyu Tech G5 Gimbal: This would be my pick for most versatile gimbal out there.  Whether you have a GoPro or a Garmin VIRB Ultra 30, this will work for you.  It’s also got controls over where the gimbal is pointed, which has oddly been more useful than I expected.  The ease of use in getting a camera into it is pretty good, though not as quick as the GoPro Karma Grip (for GoPro cameras only of course).  It’s a much smaller unit than the GoPro Karma Grip though, and has much longer battery life.  Again, if I had to choose only one – this would be it.

Feiyu Tech Wearable WG Series Gimbal: This one will depend a lot on exactly where and how you plan to use the gimbal.  As you can see above in the review, you can kinda turn the Feiyu Tech G5 into a wearable gimbal using the GoPro $29 accessory. At least if you’re talking about wearing it on a backpack.  But if you’re looking for a helmet or bike-mounted scenario, then the wearable gimbal is the better bet over a handheld gimbal.  One of the things I’ve seen since owning all of these gimbal types over the past few years, is that I really keep coming back to the handheld gimbal over the wearable one.

Wrap-up:

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So there ya have it – more than you ever wanted to know about this gimbal.

As I said earlier – this is definitely the most versatile gimbal between it and the GoPro Karma Grip gimbal, but you’ll want to decide what exact use case you plan for it.  And to some degree which camera you plan to use with it.  For example – if you plan to use a Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 – then this is without question the gimbal to get.  Whereas with the GoPro Hero5 Black, you’d need to decide whether you planned to use the audio portion much.  If so – that means either more work (using individual audio tracks), or it means living with a slight whirring sound depending on which orientation you use.

But with the exception of Vlogger (or similar), for which there are generally better setups anyway than an action camera – then this is a great all around gimbal.  For example, you saw in my cycling video how quick and easy I can swap from front facing to selfie mode.  It’s awesome for doing that instantly with a single tap.  And the ability to easily control orientation through the joystick is perfect for getting just the right shot without having to get all awkward with your arms.

As for the GoPro Karma Grip – I’ll be pushing out my in-depth review of that (and tested nearly 10 months).  It’s got its pros and cons as I discussed above.  I’d say over time my view of that has changed a bit – mostly for the positive – and largely because of its longer term durability.  But of course, that’s limited to just the GoPro cameras.

With that – thanks for reading!

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66 Comments

  1. Fiatlux

    Thanks for the nice review. I’ll have to test that GoPro mount.

    I have their SPG gimbal which looks identical apart from the clamp which is meant for smartphones. The SPG actually also works with action cameras, with the clamp rotated 90° and after a quick calibration. Choosing the right F-T gimbal can be confusing given the options, but I am pleased with the versatility of the SPG.

    Note that I had a spare battery in the box. Not sure it was standard or a freebie thrown in by Amazon.

  2. Thomas

    Thanks for the review, but I only see the “GOPRO KARMA GRIP GIMBAL” in the “Market comparisons”, even if I open it in a new window.

    I don’t know if this one is on your radar, but I have “ordered” (on Kickstarter so quotes are necessary) the Flowmotion Stabilizer (with the GoPro adapter). It looks like a great competitor, but I wouldn’t recommend to anybody to (pre-)order it just yet, since no backers have received theirs yet… link to kickstarter.com

    • Thanks for the heads up on the table missing it, fixed the ID in there, should be all good now.

      I’ll have to keep an eye on the Flowmotion one. There’s been a lot of Kickstarter gimbal projects as of late, all bringing cool concepts to the table. Of course, as with any Kickstarter, getting them from the table to everyone else’s tables is the tricky part.

    • Marcel

      Yep, same here, the comparison table doesn’t show the FT G5.

    • Marcel

      Oops, never mind, had this open since this morning, all good now.

  3. Aasen

    Thanks for yet another great review Ray.

    I did buy this with he Garmin virb 30 after I read earlier this year here that it did fit (using your amazon links). Have been very happy with it.

    I also got an extension monopod which has been very useful for a getting different types of shot while hiking or skiing. Recommend.
    link to bhphotovideo.com

  4. Pavel

    I wonder how it compares to DJI’s OSMO series, at least in terms of stabilization.

    • I’ve rented the Osmo a few times actually while in the US. It’s a great product, but for me and what I’m focused on where it’s about using existing action cams. In the case of the Omso, that’s either their platform or a phone.

  5. Michael

    Hi everyone,

    Nice to see this review. I got the G5 also for quite some time now and used it a lot. Tonight i’m driving to alphe d’huez to go downhill mountainbiking and thought i’d share some info about how i mount my G5.
    Two 1/4 inch thread mounts to gopro. This is a nice and quick fit.
    This week i will test it on the downhill tracks.

    Mainly i’ve been using it handheld on holidays and mounted to my backpack, similair to the karma idea.

    The lower waist strap is the head strap btw.

    Thanks and always a great website to read.

    Michael

  6. Ronaldo Spinola

    Ray, are you planning on doing a review of a smartphone gimbal like the Zhiyun-Tech Smooth-Q or DJI Osmo Mobile?

  7. Stephen K

    Are there any gimbals that work with a Session?

  8. Do you know of any gimbals designed to work with a mount rather than hand-held? I’ve been trying intermittently to find one to stabilize in-car footage and I’ve been surprised that they all seem to assume they know how they’re going to be used, especially considering how amazingly commonplace the GoPro mount has become.

    • I should clarify – when I’ve tried strapping in the past I’ve had less than satisfactory results, so was looking for something *designed* for this purpose. I can and will give this one a go since it seems okay with body straps, just seemed like a ridiculous oversight that nothing had planned for that use.

    • The Karma grip can use the GoPro mount, especially once using the extender. So that’d work perfect there.

      And the G5 can use the GoPro mounting ring thingy. There’s a pic where I’ve mounted it on my backpack up above, that’s using that ring. The only problem is you still have the handle – whereas the GoPro can separate.

    • Hi Richard,
      I would recommend the Feiyu WG2. Released at the same time as the G5, also the same amount of waterproofing. The ‘W’ stands for Wearable, and doesn’t have a handle like the G5. It comes with a fixing to attach it to a gopro mount, so you can use it anywhere you could fix a GoPro.
      Tim

  9. pladak

    Ray great review once again, thank you. Have you noticed the recent release of feiyu wg2? It’s the ver2 of the wearable that you had tested some time ago in the past. I would be interested to have your first opinion as i am looking for a wearable gimbal mainly for running.

  10. Jorge D.

    If water proofing is not a factor in the decision (by virtue of not having a water-proofed camera) will this gimbal still be recommended over the older version (Feiyu Tech G4) it being over $100 cheaper?

  11. Brian

    A big advantage of the Hero5/Karma Grip combo in my opinion is the ability to turn on both the GoPro and Grip with one press of a button. This convenience factor alone pushed me towards the GoPro gimbal. Lack of camera-gimbal integration with other units means you have to independently turn on both the camera and gimbal before you can start shooting.

  12. Georges T.

    Great review… any pictures showing how it’s mounted on the bike?

  13. Bailey

    It’s these side microphone that can be tricky, as depending on which orientation you use

    • Bailey

      That’s weird, my original message didn’t show up correctly. Anyways, instead of:

      It’s these side microphone that can be tricky as, depending on which orientation you use

      I think you wanted to say:

      It’s these side microphone that can be tricky, as depending on which orientation you use

  14. MartinR

    Thank you, Ray!
    @”One of the things I’ve seen since owning all of these gimbal types over the past few years, is that I really keep coming back to the handheld gimbal over the wearable one.”

    AFAIK, you can attach a pole/stick to the wearable gimbal (WG/WG2) and convert it to the handheld one. Thus it seems to me that the wearable is the most versatile gimbal, isn’t it? What makes the G5 better than the WG2?
    Is the WG2 review in the pipeline?

    • With the WG2 I think you’d end up pretty top-heavy if stuck on a pole since you’re basically sticking the battery/compartment weight up there. Kinda clucky. Certainly possible though.

  15. Romain G

    I love it!

  16. Jeremy Oxborrow

    Thanks for the review. I was considering getting the Peak Designs POV kit and using it to mount the gimbal to a pack. Feel like it would be more secure than the Gopro. Thoughts?

    • Honestly it looks kinda bulky (from the pictures I see). The GoPro Seeker backpack has a built-in thingy to hold a gimbal there, which can hold the weight. I’d be concerned that something that bounces around a bit might not hold the weight right and would introduce a fair bit of bumps. But it’s hard to say.

      One of the things I’ve found with backpack mounted gimbals is ensuring clearance to your strap/chest/bag for the gimbal motors. It sounds silly at first, but it’s actually kinda tricky/messy.

  17. Hi Ray,

    Do you think this could work in the surf? If not, do you know of one that would??

    If you need someone to test that…. let me know.

    • It might work here and there, but not long term. Generally I found significant water pressure (like a wave) with high force would mess with it (at least temporarily).

      And I think longer term the salt-water would kill it. :(

  18. MAGNUS

    Having had the previous FTG4 I was really happy using it with my GPH4S… I got rid of the gimbal after upgrading to the H5 and eventually got the Karma Grip. I was pretty excited about the built in integration but it’s super massive in comparison. For this reason I found myself using it much less often. It’s mostly been sitting in my drawer for months now.

    I may just sell and buy the G5.

  19. tut tut. you went through one of those red-light-for-cars things

  20. Steve

    Hi Ray,
    Nice review. Spotted one inconsistency however on VIRB Ultra 30 and the counterweights required…

    “Counterweights are used to counterbalance different camera weights. For the GoPro Hero5 Black for example, you’d use both counterweights. Whereas the GoPro Hero4 and Garmin VIRB Ultra 30 only need one.”

    “For the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30, you need both weights. For the GoPro Hero5 Black, also both weights.”

  21. Andrej Senkeri

    Nice review.
    As I’m new owner of FT G5 & I would like to add that there is another possibility how to mount G5 gimball for example on chest strap or backpack. It’s maybe cheaper & maybe some of owners already have all required stuff.

    So we are going to use this mount hole which is located on back side on top of control panel. It’s standard 21″ hole for mounting any tripod. You will need also monopod camera adapter (easy find on aliexpress.com) which will provide mounting point for GoPro cameras.

    Im enclosing picture for better understanding. …and that’s it!

    Hope, this will help :-)

  22. Fiatlux

    By the way, am I the only one unable to find that Settings app on the Apple AppStore ? The only hit in Google is for the equivalent Feiyu Settings Android app.

  23. Jack

    Hey Ray, it looks like Feiyu Tech read your review because the G5 v2 (link to amzn.to) has its buttons labelled, has a some foam on the mount to help prevent motor noise and adds a start up chime among some other changes.

    I recently pickup the v2 after reading your review and was pleased to see that some of the cons you mentioned were resolved.

    • Very nice! Some tiny little nice touches there, namely labeling the darn buttons and of course the motor noise.

      (I tweaked your Amazon link slightly – hope you don’t mind! Usually the site actually automatically does it, but didn’t with this shortener. :))

    • Jack

      No worries about the link. I saw the nicely styled links and attempted to use markdown to do the same and that failed miserably.

  24. Stanislav

    Hi, nice review,
    does it work GOPRO 3+ with LCD or the extra battery pack?
    There is a BT remote control which should make it easy to use as a remote camera.
    Anybody tested the remote control?
    How is the stabilization? The stabilization in this review it is not very good – link to stevehuffphoto.com

    Thanks

    ST

  25. I guess the limited and often out of stock on Amazon and the price reduction to $199 on the Feiyu website means that the Feiyu G6 will be out soon ;)

    • William

      Good point since it’s been out since Dec/2016..G6(?) may be coming out soon..tempted to buy at the sales price..also the Karma Grip V2 may be coming out too I assume!?!..

    • Not sure on FT.

      But, I can definitely say GoPro have done their releases for the year, so I wouldn’t expect anything from them anytime soon.

  26. Jens

    Hi Ray,
    Did you see the comparison by Abe Kislevitz link to youtu.be?

    What is your opinion of the quality of stabilization?
    Thanks

    • Yup, I’ve seen it. Love Abe and his work, but he’s also a GoPro employee…so..that’s something to keep in mind.

      I think he’s somewhat taking the odd snippet here or there out of context. And I think inversely he’s skipping over the numerous tech drawbacks of the FT. Also note that the unit he’s comparing isn’t the FT G5, but rather the wearable version (WG), which is 2-3 years older then the G5 this post is on (and 2-3 years older than Karma grip).

    • Jens

      Yes, his GoPro background was exactly why I wanted your input ;)
      Can you elaborate on the both the “odd snippet” and “tech drawbacks” part?

    • For odd snippets, I don’t get why almost all of the snippets are super zoomed in. Certainly, some people crop in video, yes, but I rarely get the logic of pixel peeping (be it here or in photos). Or that all of the interlaid bits in the video are heavily graded/edited, versus the raw comparisons chunks are all rather rough snippets with generally crappy video subjects/framing. Effectively, giving you the illusion that the Karma Grip is better.

      Or that they’re comparing a 2-3 year old model with a new one. Or that Karma Grip is immensely heavier than that WG gimbal is.

      As for ‘tech drawbacks of the FT’, I could see how that’s incredibly confusing. Since I meant to say ‘tech drawbacks of the Karma Grip’. Meaning that the FT gimbal (G5) has a ton more options for controlling the camera and the gimbal. And heck, the G5 is fully waterproof, whereas the Karma Grip isn’t.

      Again, love Abe’s work, but to me this was just far too much GoPro bias to be useful.

  27. Chris Mitchell

    Hi there DC – I am now on my third G5 in 3 months. I bought it to capture smooth footage of a cycling trip to Morocco. I mounted the G5 horizontal on my handlebars using the standard Gopro handlebar mount and Karma mounting ring for some trial runs in the UK. This set up worked well – unobstructed view, good stabilization and voicecontrol of the Hero was possible.

    If I had read your advice more closely I would have tightened the Allen key on the karma mount better – default tightness is not quite enough. The first gimbal fell out but at low speed – despite some dings on the back of rolling axis motor everything looked okay. A few days later there was a stress fracture all around the spot where the vertical arm meets the rolling axis casing – and the head of the gimbal+Hero dropped off – luckily the wiring loom of the G% held firm. This was triggered by a rough section of road. The second gimbal made it to Morocco and shot some great footage – cycling around Marrakesh, Fez, Tangier and the Atlas was interesting ! Unfortunately I managed to drop the 2nd gimbal – about 2ft from a chair to a soft floor but this was enough to bend the arm/motor unit assembly so the the hero5 hit the top of the gimbal. I was able to very gently bend it back so all was good – until we did a rough off road section. The vibration caused another stress fracture in a very similar place and I now have two gimbals held together by their wiring loom. The stabilization plus resilience to rain – I did a starry night timelapse in the Sahara sand dunes – and caught the biggest thunderstorm for years – have led me to buy a third but these things don’t seem that tough. In future I will try either mounting vertically, on a chesty or on gopro back pack (but arms get boring in the videos). It is possible to get a Karma serviced/repaired locally but for Feiyu Tech it needs to go back to China (I’m hoping that Feiyu tech respond and want to help me out to get repairs done at a sensible cost). Three G5s are a lot more expensive than one Karma.

    You show the G5 being used on a bike and Feiyu tech have promo videos of the G5 being taken skiiing but my experience is that the G5 needs to be handled carefully – it cannot take much of a knock or a lot of sustained vibration (such as your Paris cobbles or Moroccan country roads). I have added a picture of the poorly gimbals side by side

    • Hey Chris-

      Thanks for the feedback and test details – really good stuff!

      I didn’t see too much of an issue with Parisian cobbles on the G5, but I agree that a really single hard-knock can be troublesome (depending on the knock).

      Cheers.

  28. Sylvester Jakubowski

    Hi Ray,

    Was just about to post my amazon review of this and wanted to say thanks. Here’s the body for anyone in the future:

    Must have with some caveats. (4.5*)

    I spent 3.x weeks travelling with the Feiyutech G5 gimbal on a Hero 5 Black in New Zealand. I used this gimbal basically non stop and got ~800GB of footage with it. We did ~130km of backcountry hiking, 15km of sea kayaking, glacier heli-hiking, 3500km of driving and this setup just worked.

    First of all if you haven’t you should check out DCRainmaker’s review, but here are my personal and some novel comments:

    Background: It’s my first gimbal so all the awesomeness of stability is new to me, and it does it really well with a few caveats.

    The Good:

    1. It works, it really well, the footage looks butter smooth. Feels really natural to use.
    2. It’s pretty compact, the GoPro gimbal is massive compared to it.
    3. It’s extremely weatherproof and we put it through some nasty nasty conditions. Worked like a champ with two issues in the bad list.
    4. Battery lasts forever compared to the camera.

    The Bad:

    1. The counterbalance ring for the Hero 5 is about 0.5 – 1mm too large and it scratches the hell of the gimbal when you go from storage. I have attached pictures, still works great but looks really used up after only 3 weeks (near constant) usage.
    2. If it gets splashed it goes crazy, it literally spins at speed as the weight gets confused. This lasts a few seconds but will freak you out the first few times when it happens.
    3. It cannot stabilize in high winds. We summited a peak in 1 meter of snow and 80 km/hr winds and it just couldn’t handle it. Wind was too much for it to fight and it would not hold steady.

    The minor:

    1. The app is terrible, really really terrible.
    2. The controls were not first time user intuitive, took a bit to get used to them.

    I had to carry all of my own food/water/sleeping/etc weight but did not feel the least bit bothered by the weight of this setup to record the footage. Has become a must in my travel bag.

  29. One thing I’d warn people on is don’t give Feiyu any personal details unless you have to. I signed up for their newsletter using outlook.com which allows plus addressing i.e. name+feiyu@outlook.com and am getting spam to that address. I’ve reached out to them but as yet no reply so either they were hacked or they sold my details.

  30. Roman Z

    Hey Ray,

    Did you hear any news on Karma Grip 2 or G5 V2 or G6?

    I really wondering if I should wait another month or two or just buy what ever they have on the market right now.

    Thanks.