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Feiyu-Tech AK4500 3-Axis Gimbal: A Content Creator's Dream Tool

By Christopher Coke on August 25, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Feiyu-Tech AK4500 3-Axis Gimbal: A Content Creator's Dream Tool

We’re breaking new ground at MMORPG.com and bringing you the second of our two-part content video-based content creation review series. Last time, we looked at the Deity Microphones V-Mic D3 Pro. Today, we’re looking at the Feiyu-Tech AK4500 Handheld 3-Axis Camera Gimbal Stabilizer. It’s a short jump from streamer to YouTuber and if you’re there, this might be just the tool you need to take your videos to the next level.


Specifications

  • Current Price: $749.99
  • Battery: 18650 rechargeable battery*4, 2200mAh, 3.7V (12 hours)
  • Charging Time: 5 Hours
  • Max payload updates to 10.14lb(4.6KG), easily work with popular DSLR and cinema camera.
  • Detachable versatile design, switch between single handle, underslung position and separate hyperlink remote control to use in different shooting scenes.
  • Quick release plate design for camera to get real quick setup in one second.
  • Bottom mounting plate is compatible with Manfrotto PL501, upper quick release plate is compatible with ARCA quick release system, which can fast switch between two popular quick release systems and AK4500.
  • Three axis motor-locking design to get a convenient balance and storage.
  • Touch panel operation without APP to directly set up parameters and change mode.
  • Full Chinese/English language display to get better interactive experience.
  • Friendly lock and unlock screen feature to prevent mistakenly touching .
  • Just touch one icon and you will directly enter Dutch-Angle shoot/Long exposure timelapse/ VLOG selfie/ TikTok vertical shoot and got more popular shooting mode.
  • Supply USB Cable control/Wireless control way to take picture/recording/time lapse.
  • Dual available USB ports for external follow focus/Zoom in & out set.
  • Customize trigger button, follow speed/dead zone, motor power, etc. to fit for different usage.
  • Auto-adapt motor power and customize motor power to work with more cameras and lenses.
  • Detachable main body from single handle , assemble single handle together with dual handle grip, directly control the gimbal and camera without any remote control.
  • Basic version comes with Underslung arm and anti-slip Tripod, Standard version comes with Brushless follow-focus gear, underslung arm, Hyperlink remote, carbon fiber and anti-slip Tripod, customer can choose each version according to their need.

I’d like to be clear about something, right from the get-go. While video-based review sites might approach this review in one way, our forte isn’t videography. We’re a gaming and tech site, so our use for a tool like this is going to be different and so my focus in reviewing it will also be different. The AK4500 is an incredible tool that will take your videos to the next level but is it really something you need as a content creator?

Like our review of the Deity V-Mic D3 Pro, this is a specialized tool and normal streamers won’t have a use for it; instead, this is for those of us who have become comfortable in front or behind a camera and are adding vlog content to our videos. By price and purpose, this isn’t something most gamers will consider but if you enjoy making video content, it’s an incredibly versatile tool that can transform the quality of your video.

If you’re completely new to the world of video, a gimbal like the AK4500 has two key purposes. The first is to keep the camera smooth and stable. When you’re walking, it removes the telltale shake from holding the camera in your hands. If you’re capturing B-Roll, it allows the camera to glide over what you’re filming. It works by mounting the camera at the end of three arms that each have a motor to control tilt, pan, and rotation and they will counteract your movement to prevent jerks or shakes of the camera As long as you keep the camera height consistent, you can pull off shots that essentially make the camera look like it’s flying.

The second purpose of a gimbal is to allow you to get shots you otherwise wouldn’t. The AK4500 is excellent for this thanks to the rear handle that ships with the standard version. It attaches with two screws and uses the Hyperlink controller as a removable grip. Using this, you’re can sling your camera millimeters from the ground, get angles and motion shots that would be impossible handheld, and even mimic other expensive pieces of gear like a camera slider.

Be Your Own Cameraman

In fact, the AK4500 takes this up a notch by including a wireless controller they call a Hyperlink remote. This wireless controller allows you full control of the gimbal without needing to hold it thanks to a built-in  gyroscope and controls that mimic the main interface on the larger arm. Simply pointing the remote in a direction will cause the gimbal to turn in that direction. This essentially allows you to be your own camera operator while hosting your latest episode, free to walk around and move with subtle hand gestures to make sure the camera follows you. It’s a bit sensitive and I especially found that pointing it down required a harder angle (followed by going down too much) but overall it worked really well. The gimbal also ships with a very nice tripod base and carbon fiber extension pole for extra height. Set it up on a table and you’ll have all the height you need to film your A-Roll all by yourself.

Balancing a three-axis gimbal can be tricky but Feiyu-Tech has done an excellent job of making this process easy. Before you can use any gimbal, you need to ensure that your camera is well balanced and not listing to one side. This can be a hassle because it requires very fine adjustments and the other two axis have a tendency to make the entire setup feel loose and wobbly in your hands. Not here. Compared to the AK4000, the AK4500 is vastly improved thanks to small locks near the motor for each axis. Setting the gimbal up on its tripod base, and locking it in place makes the balancing process faster and easier.

Feiyu has also upgraded the motors, allowing the gimbal to support payloads up to 10.1 pounds. I wasn’t able to test such a heavy camera myself, having only my Panasonic Lumix G85 and Sony A6500 mirrorless cameras to test, but it’s safe to say that it would hold even very heavy camera with large lenses (a lens support is also included). That said, it goes the other way too. I was even able to get my Samsung Galaxy Note 9 to balance, which shocked me.

There’s a huge amount of versatility here and it’s fairly easy to navigate it all with the built-in touch screen. This is a feature I really like. Other gimbals I’ve used have a series of lights or require smartphone apps to unlock their full functionality. Here’s it’s as simple as swiping and tapping. Everything is at your fingertips, right down to core responsiveness settings like the speed and deadzone, your follow modes, and even one-touch calibration.

It’s a small thing, but throughout the learning process, I also like being able to see immediately feedback on what my trigger presses were doing. On the rear side of the gimbal is a small trigger that can be used to quick-select modes or lock the camera position. Like any good content creator, I like focusing on my scene and learning as I go without having to stop to check the manual. Watching the modes change on the screen with different presses made memorizing the inputs much easier.

Along the left side is also a programmable wheel. Depending on your camera, this can serve different functions depending on your needs, but it’s also been improved from the AK4000 and is now completely stepless and smooth. It also marries perfectly with the included follow-focus wheel.

An Outstanding Value

The standard kit ships with an included accessories package and this is where Feiyu-Tech really sets itself apart. For $749, you not only get the gimbal itself, but also a smartphone holder, the Hyperlink controller and mounting arm, and a motorized follow-focus system. Looking at the competition, this is an absolutely killer value. Other brands routinely charge much more purely for the gimbal and follow-focus. Take the Moza Air 2, which jumps the price to $798 with its focus-system bundle or the Zhiyun-Tech Crane 3 LAB, which has to be bought in a $1199 package if you want the follow-focus.

Why does this matter? Because if you’re recording something on the gimbal and need to adjust your focus, you’re stuck touching the camera and destroying your shot. With Feiyu-Tech’s system, you can change focus with the wheel on the side and smoothly make your adjustment. It’s also great if you want to switch from focusing on something in the foreground to something in the background - very cinematic.

Other settings can be also controlled right on the touch screen. The AK4500 supports a wide array of cameras and the parameters you’re able to adjust depends on what the manufacturer allows, but you’ll find settings for ISO, shutter speed, starting and stopping recording, white balance, and exposure, as well as starting and stopping recording.

Of course, all of this has a learning curve. Even after you’ve managed to learn the ins-and-outs of its functions, there’s a matter of proper gimbal technique. When I recorded my first video, I was surprised to find that I was jostling the camera up and down from the way that I was holding the gimbal. There are strategies for moving while filming with a gimbal that help this quite a bit, but it’s definitely something you’ll want to put an hour of reading into and keep in the back of your mind.

I put together a little video so you could see if for yourself. Have a look:

 

Final Thoughts

When you’re all set up and have those things in mind, the AK4500 will absolutely take your content to the next level. Whether you’re vlogging, capturing b-roll of your new setup, shooting family videos, or anything in between, it’s the hands-down best tool in my arsenal after the camera itself. You can run, slamming the camera about, and it will still look like it’s gliding through the air. You can pan around a subject and get beautiful cinematic shots. You can vlog and look like a camera guy is in front of you - just be prepared for the weight of one-handing a large gimbal like this.

The point is, the AK4500 is an expensive but absolutely phenomenal tool. Normal streamers won’t need it, but if you have your sights set on YouTube and creating your own videos, this thing delivers an absolute ton for the money and to my eye is the best-value modern-gen gimbal you can buy.

Pros

  • Many improvements from the AK4000
  • Super smooth stabilization
  • Touch screen is easy and intuitive to navigate
  • Standard kit includes follow-focus and Hyperlink wand
  • Easier balancing thanks to axis locks
  • Extremely versatile - love the undersling handle

Cons

  • Motor shake if the payload is incorrect
  • There’s definitely a learning curve
  • A bit big and heavy to use for vlogging

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.

 
Christopher Coke / Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight