3 axis handheld motorised gimbals seem to be the hot new toy at the moment. Electronic image stabilisation in small systems like action cameras and mobile phones sucks. Optical image stabilisation is rare, and still not amazing. So, a motorised gimbal helps to keep things smooth and steady and level. I got one myself about six months ago, the Zhiyun Smooth C, and they are extremely handy.
For Chinese drone manufacturer Zerotech, though, handheld gimbals just don’t go far enough. So, they’ve built one inside their recently announced Rollcap, and action camera that doesn’t require external motorised control. Photo Gear News got to check it out in person at CES recently.
I think building a gimbal inside the camera itself is quite ingenious. Sure, handheld gimbals aren’t that much of a pain to use, but this could be extremely useful. There’s lots of situations where using a handheld gimbal just isn’t possible. The image at the top shows one, skateboarding. But I’m thinking for things like vehicle, motorcycle and bicycle mounted cameras, where you kinda need both your hands to be free.
For more extreme action sports users, being able to mount one of these to your chest or shoulder would also be extremely useful. Snowboarders, skiers, etc. They all kinda need to have both of their hands free, too. Not having to worry about shaky action camera footage with a horizon bouncing all over the place will be very welcome. It’ll also be somewhat well received by those who have to watch the footage, too.
The lens offers a 94° field of view, so equivalent field of view to about a 21mm lens on a full frame camera. It’s controlled remotely via phone, or through an array of buttons. It shoots 4K video, 13MP stills, and features slow motion, burst modes, timelapse, self-timer and HDR. A 1/4-20″ tripod socket underneath allows it to be mounted to all manner of tripods, monopods, “selfie sticks” etc. Or, you can screw in a GoPro adapter and use it with all your standard GoPro mounts.
The camera is not waterproof, although an underwater case is expected that will feature a GoPro compatible mount. The battery is said to last 110 minutes on a full charge shooting 4K video.
You can find out more about the Rollcap over the Zerotech website. There’s no official word yet on price or release date, but it’s rumoured to be between $500-600, and appear sometime later this year.