With as many companies as there are making gimbals these days, and with a whole wave of new ones coming out each year, it’s become difficult for them to stand out from each other. But Manfrotto thinks they’ve found a good approach with their new modular gimbal, that allows you to go from the traditional handled setup to whatever you want by removing and moving bits around at will.
The Gimbal is part of Manfrotto’s new “Move” ecosystem whose core focus is modularity and versatility. The 300XM Gimbal is the central core of that ecosystem and is designed to fit into the workflows of as many filmmaking needs as possible.
There isn’t a massive amount of details about the gimbal available yet, but when it comes to payload, the Manfrotto 300XM can handle up to 3.3kg, meaning that it can take pretty much any DSLR or mirrorless setup you’re likely to want to throw on a gimbal. And the arm can extend allowing for those larger bodies and longer lenses. The camera mounts to the gimbal using the Manfrotto 501PL plates that many gimbals seem to use these days and the gimbal itself mounts to whatever you want to put it on using standard 3/8-16″ threads.
When assembled in its basic form, the Manfrotto 300XM looks like pretty much any other one-handed gimbal these days. You’ve got the handle at the bottom with your controls, the slanted tilt arm to let you see your camera’s LCD while filming, and there’s a little mini-tripod screwed in underneath to act as either a handle extension for when you want to go two hands or to let you place it down on a surface.
It also comes with a detachable handle to let you get those underslung shots and to give you more two-handed control than you can get with just two hands on the single central handle. But that’s not the extent of the modularity. The entire handle can be removed from the base, allowing to mount the gimbal head to a number of systems.
The examples Manfrotto shows off include tripods and monopods, but with the handle removed, you’re also lowering the centre of gravity of the mass that is your camera and lens, meaning you can mount it much more securely to things like vehicle rigs or radio-controlled gimbal cars.
And when the handle’s removed, it acts as a remote control for the gimbal head unit, letting you get complete functionality when it’s mounted to a tripod or on a vehicle or RC car without requiring physical access to the main gimbal unit itself.
You might have also spotted a focus wheel on the side of the gimbal on some of those photos. While Manfrotto hasn’t released a complete compatibility list yet, but they do say that it “works seamlessly with most popular CSC and DSLR cameras” in the market today. I think we can take this to mean the latest round of full-frame mirrorless cameras from Nikon, Canon, Sony and Panasonic as well as possibly the Panasonic GH5/GH5II/G9 and a Fuji or two. But, as I said, they haven’t released the compatibility list yet, so this is just a guess. When they do release it, I’ll be sure to update this post with a link.
There’s no word yet on exactly when the Manfrotto 300XM gimbal will be released nor how much it will cost, but we’ll be sure to update this post as that information is released.