Holiday Gift Guide – The best new tripods, sliders and gimbals of 2022
It’s December again, which means lots of us are sitting there wondering what to buy for ourselves or the photographer in our lives this holiday season. We’ve been saving up all year to get that something special, but we don’t want to deal with in-store queues – or maybe we’ve just slacked on our Christmas shopping this year. We want to stay at home where it’s nice and warm and see what we can find online that gets delivered straight to our door!
So, this means it’s time for the 2022 DIYP Holiday Gift Guides. It’s Day 4 today, so we’re going to be going through the list of our favourite new tripods, sliders and gimbals that have been released during 2022. Keep visiting back this week as we release our other guides, including cameras, lenses, lighting, accessories and gadgets.
Note: It’s worth pointing out that the prices shown here are the MSRP prices. Some of these items are currently on sale and will be priced differently at different retailers throughout December, so be sure to check all links for the best price!
DJI RS 3 Gimbal (Amazon / B&H) – $549
The DJI RS 3 is the latest iteration of DJI’s lightweight DSLR and mirrorless gimbal. Replacing the Ronin RSC 2, it supports a hefty 3kg payload, allowing for some fairly heavy bodies and longer lenses without having to step up to the more expensive DJI RS 3 Pro model. As one of the leading manufacturers of gimbals, DJI’s RS 3 offers very reliable performance with a nice array of features, including wireless shutter control over Bluetooth, integrated controls with a large full-colour OLED display and quick-release plates that allow you to easily take the camera off and on the rig without having to rebalance each time.
Heipi Tripod (Indiegogo) – $319
The Heipi tripod is still currently in crowdfunding, but it’s raised over a million dollars on Kickstarter and another million so far on Indiegogo. But it’s seen a lot of fantastic reviews from names many of us know and trust, like JP Morgan, Mads Peter Iversen, Matt Granger and many more. It’s billed as a 3-in-1 tripod, which basically means that it’s two sets of tripod legs in one and a ball head. The centre column is actually the second tripod. It uses its 3-leg structure to provide better support when used as a centre column but can also be expanded out to create a mini tripod – ideal when you want to set up a second camera!
The Zhiyun Smooth 5S is the newest advanced smartphone gimbal from Zhiyun. It comes with a built-in LED fill light to help create a clearer view of your subject and offers up to 25 hours of use on a single charge. When it goes flat, you can charge it back up again in just a couple of hours over a USB-PD connection. It works in concert with the ZY Cami app, which is available for both iOS and Android smartphones, providing you with easy control over shooting modes as well as subject tracking, timelapse, panorama and other features.
The Joby Spin is the company’s first real attempt at motion control. It’s available individually for around $90 if you just want a single pan axis, but there are also kits available containing two Spin units along with the pan tilt bracket allowing for full 2-axis motion control with your smartphone. And it is designed specifically for shooting with your smartphone, so don’t think you’ll be mounting big mirrorless camera rigs on this thing. If you need that sort of functionality, you’re going to be spending quite a bit more – but there’s another suggestion further down the page.
Platypod Extreme (Amazon / B&H) – $149
The Platypod Extreme is the most rugged version of the Platypod ecosystem launched in 2017. This strange-looking… tripod (although not really a tripod) is designed to be used where regular tripods would be impossible. They allow you to get so low down to the ground that your camera is practically sitting on it, but they also let you get up high by being able to easily strap them to trees, poles or other high up roughly-cylindrical objects. Folding and fully adjustable legs, with rubber stoppers on one end and spikes on the other, allow you to set this up on just about any kind of bumpy terrain you wish. A perfect camera support for the adventure vlogger in your life!
Zhiyun Weebill 3 (Amazon / B&H) – $449+
The latest iteration in Zhiyun’s Weebill range, the Weebill 3, came less than a year after the Weebill 2 (review here) with a very different design indeed. The two models have continued to be sold side-by-side but the Weebill 3 is a much more nimble and lightweight gimbal for run and gun shooting. We used it at IBC 2022 in Amsterdam this year for shooting all of our b-roll, and with the Sony FX3 and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens on there, it performed beautifully without weighing us down between takes. Ideal for shooting on the go.
Rhino Dolly motorised camera dolly (Rhino Camera Gear) – $2,000
The Rhino Dolly is the new motorised camera dolly from slider company Rhino Camera Gear. The base model provides up to 7ft of travel, and pairs of 3.5ft extension rails are available to expand this to pretty much any length you need. It’s a great dolly option that can grow with you as your own filmmaking needs grow, too. Most of us don’t need a 20ft dolly when we’re starting out, but who wants to buy a smaller dolly now and then buy another larger one in the future when you can just have one system that does them all?
DJI Osmo Mobile 6 (Amazon / B&H) – $159
The DJI Osmo Mobile 6 brings some great new features with it over its predecessor, with a more compact design and an expanding selfie stick to help get the camera away from you when vlogging or give you a little more reach when filming something in front of you. A magnetic phone mount allows you to quickly and easily remove and reattach your phone as necessary when needed and the built-in battery gives a runtime of around 6.4 hours (with 1.5 hours charge time).
It wasn’t long after the announcement of the Zhiyun Crane M3 that the Zhiyun Crane M2S was also launched. It offers very similar capabilities, being able to stabilise everything from your smartphone to some fairly substantial mirrorless camera rigs, but has a slightly smaller footprint and a reduced price tag. Like many of Zhiyun’s current gimbals, it features a built-in LED fill light and provides up to 10 hours of usage with a one-hour and forty-minute charge time.
MIOPS Capsule Pro (MIOPS) – $349
The MIOPS Capsule Pro is the base of a pan-tilt system similar to the Joby Spin above but for more cameras more substantial than your smartphone. Offering full remote motion control from your smartphone app, you can use one, two or three axes in combination for a wide range of moves. If you need two axes, there’s the twin kit with the pan-tilt bracket or the 3-axis pack that also includes a mini slider.
Sachtler Aktiv8 Flowtech75 MS (Amazon / B&H) – $3,309
Sachtler is kind of the Rolls-Royce of video tripods. They’re pretty expensive but extremely good, offering excellent stability and support. If you’re serious about video, or you have a serious video person in your life, this is the kind of tripod that will ensure you can keep shooting for hours and hours without worrying about if it can support your camera rig, whether or not it will fall over, how heavy it is on your bag or even if it can survive being dunked in the dead sea!
So this is our tripod, sliders and gimbals list for this year. There have been some interesting new products in the space, particularly the pan-tilt heads. What’s been your favourite camera support system of 2022? What are you hoping to see next year?
We’ve already released our camera gift guide, lenses gift guide and lighting gift guide, so be sure to check those out. Also, keep an eye out for the final gift guide coming tomorrow, going over our favourite gadgets and accessories!
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.