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Review: Gudsen MOZA Air 3-Axis Motorized Handheld Gimbal

Overview : Compact and configurable, the MOZA Air 3-Axis Motorized Gimbal Stabilizer can stabilize your mirrorless or DSLR camera for smooth, professional-looking footage. Since the Air can be used in either one or two-handed configurations, supporting setups that approach the 7-pound payload capacity won't sacrifice usability. The built-in handgrip control offers directional control and mode selection at your fingertips.

Other control options include using the free smartphone app or the separately available Wireless Thumb Controller. The Thumb Controller is especially useful in the two-handed configuration. Auto-tuning can be done through the app to ensure optimal performance.

The MOZA Air itself and the included batteries, charger, cables, and accessories all fit in the included hard carry case for convenient storage and transport.

Features :
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum construction
  • Dual handle for capturing stable handheld shots
  • Can be mounted to a tripod, slider, jib, crane, or anything else via the 1/4"-20 screw hole at the bottom
  • For Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras
  • 7 lb Load Capacity
  • Full 360° Rotation on All Motors
  • Includes Two-Handed Grip
  • Works with Wireless Thumb Controller
  • Free Control App with Time-Lapse
  • Automatic Tuning via App
  • Battery Lasts up to 12 Hours
  • Includes Hard Carry Case

Quality/Usability : One of the most important challenges to a videographer is having a steady shot that is fluid whether you're walking or running. Steady cams require the perfect balance and nimble hands to control it. Gudsen MOZA Air aims to offer a motorized gimbal without breaking the bank and to compete with the Zhiyun Crane.

The MOZA Air comes in a nice box and inside that box is a hardshell case. Inside this hardshell case houses all of the MOZA Air with padded foam for protection as well as a instruction pamphlet. Everything is nicely laid out and protected.

Here is with all the gimbal contents removed. You have your gimbal with handle and camera thumbscrew, double handle, battery charger, batteries, lens support and screw, USB cables and tripod legs. This setup includes the thumb controller which is typically sold separately.

Almost every component of the gimbal is made of solid metal.

If you are using a long lens, the lens support mount offers support to the lens. This attaches to the front of the base plate on the gimbal.

Included with the MOZA Air gimbal are three 26350 rechargeable batteries. They are 2000mAh each. Gudsen states that the gimbal can last 12 hours on a single charge but its more of 6-8 hours. I think it is all dependent on how much weight you're trying to balance. You can purchase additional batteries from Amazon, B&H Photo and Adorama, if you feel that you need an extra set.

The charger that comes with the gimbal is a 4-bay. It uses USB cable which is tucked away in order to charge the batteries. Considering that the charger is fairly big and finding an outlet can be hard, USB is great since we all have some sort of USB charging devices with us whether it be a power bank or USB to wall adapter.

Included are four USB cables and they come in a drawstring pouch. Three of the cables are for connecting and controlling your Panasonic GH, Sony A Series or Canon DSLR cameras to the gimbal. The fourth cable is just a basic USB cable to let you update the firmware on the gimbal and thumb controller. It also lets you recharge the thumb controller as well.

These cables let you control the camera directly from the thumb controller such as the START and STOP of recording.

These are some of the supported cameras:

Canon: Rebel T6i, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 5D Mark IV, 5Ds, 6D, 6D Mark II, 60D, 7D, 7D Mark II, 70D, 80D
Nikon: D800
Panasonic: Lumix GH5, Lumix GH4, Lumix GH3
Sony: a7S, a7SII, a7 III, a7R, a7RII, a7RIII, a6000, a6300, a6500, a99
Blackmagic Design: BMPCC, BMCC
Fujifilm: X-T2, X-T20, X-Pro2
Leica: M10

Even though they list the Canon 5D Mark IV as supported, the included Canon DSLR camera cable does not work with the 5D Mark IV. You have to purchase a Micro USB B to Mini USB B from Amazon. 2-3 feet cable is recommended. If you can find a flat cable that is 2 feet long, that would be the perfect length. 3 feet would have excess cable dangling.

The included tripod let lets you stand the gimbal up which makes balancing easy. This also gives you extra length when folded to hold onto.

I had an issue with one of the tripod legs falling down easily. To fix this, you'll need a 8mm socket wrench to tighten the nut that is at the bottom. Once tightened, the leg stopped falling.

One of the great things about the MOZA Air is that the dual handle is included. Some gimbals require you to spend extra in order to get the dual handle setup. The two handles attach to the center rod and is tightened using the red knobs.

The center rod wraps around the handle on the MOZA Air and uses a single screw knob to tighten it.

The thumb controller is an optional accessory and attaches to the dual handle. You can buy the MOZA Air with or without the thumb controller. The thumb controller retails for $120, if purchased separately from AmazonB&H PhotoAdorama or eBay. I personally recommend the thumb controller when used with the dual handle. It make controlling the gimbal a lot easier and within reach.

You can control the gimbal with the joystick, START/STOP recording (when used with the included USB cables) as well as change settings directly from the thumb controller for the gimbal. With a double click of the roller knob on the back, this re-centers the gimbal. The knob can also control focus on some Canon USM lenses.

There is also a micro USB port that lets you charge the rechargeable battery on the thumb controller as well as perform firmware updates.

Not only does the thumb controller control the gimbal, but you can actually control the gimbal from a distance using Mimic Control. The MOZA thumb controller utilizes quick-responsive sensors to allow for mimic control of the gimbal movements. After pairing the thumb controller with your AirCross, you can pan, tilt, roll to move it, the gimbal will mimic and follow the movements. It gives the operator the most responsive control. You can see it in action in our unboxing and overview video on YouTube.

If you don't want to purchase the thumb controller but still want to control the gimbal wirelessly, you can use their free MOZA Assistant app. The app is available for iOS through iTunes and Android through the Google Play Store. Check out our video below for a more in-depth look at the app.

The MOZA Air has a ON/OFF power button and a joystick to control the gimbal. The joystick is used when you're using it as a single handle. You can also change how you want to control the gimbal with a few clicks of the joystick.

One quick press - Yaw-follow mode (The Yaw Axis follow the movement while the Tilt and Roll Axes are locked)
Double quick press - Tilt-yaw follow mode (The Tilt and Yaw Axes follows the movement while the roll Axis is locked.)
Triple quick press - All-lock mode (All three Axes are locked.)
Four quick press - Roll-follow mode (The Roll Axis and Yaw Axes are follow the movement while the Tilt and is locked.)

Pressing the power button a few times also offers some features:

One quick press - START/STOP recording
Double quick press - Photo taking - takes a photo
Triple quick press - Auto-center
Four quick press -  Roll control

The single handle which houses the three batteries also attaches to the gimbal right under the power button.

The MOZA Air has its name on the side and on the back of the gimbal. There is also a label to tell you the orientation of how the gimbal should be placed.

There are three screws that lets you adjust the position of the gimbal. On the back, this lets you adjust the left and right. On the side near the base plate, this lets you adjust the height of the cameras position. The third screw is at the very bottom of the base. This lets you adjust the forward and back position.

The base plate has two slots. This is based on what camera you're using and how big or small it is. The bigger cameras tend to use the outer slot while smaller cameras would use the inner slot. The camera would just sit on the base plate and the thumb screw will hold it in place.

You can also attach a quick release plate which I will discuss further down in the review.

To the left and right of the joystick, you there is a 1/4"-20 screw thread to allow you to attach microphones, lights and other accessories to the gimbal. On the opposite side is a micro USB port that lets you plug in a USB cable. This lets you perform firmware updates.

With the gimbal all setup, the single handle setup weighs approximately 2.4lbs. The MOZA Air was able to originally hold up to 5.5lbs but with a firmware update, it can now hold a payload of up to 7lbs.

Anytime you mount a camera to the gimbal, you'd want to make sure the camera is balanced properly on the gimbal. This is very important so that the motors does not overwork itself to get it balanced.

Balancing the camera properly on the MOZA Air can take some time to get it near perfect but what if there was a simpler way to just attach your camera with minimal balancing. Gudsen has their own quick release plate [Amazon] which is Arca Swiss and Manfrotto 501PL compatible. However, the reviews on it didn't fair too well. I opted to try something from our good friends over at Hejnar Photo. I've reviewed a bunch of their Arca clamps as well as their plates and they're top notch quality.

The Hejnar Photo clamps are Arca Swiss only and does not support Manfrotto. It is also thicker so it will add some weight compared to the Gudsen which has a lower profile,. I decided to try two 1.50 inch clamps - F61-1b and the F69b. The 1.50 inch clamps gives a little more area for the clamp and plate to attach. A 1.00 inch F60b clamp can also work as well.

The F61-1b clamp has a single screw mount. You can use the included thumb screw to attach the Hejnar clamp to the base plate for the gimbal. Even though the base plate has a rubber non-slip pad to prevent any movement. I used this set up for awhile and didn't have any issues but the clamp can twist if not tightened securely.

But if you wanted something a little more secure, the F69b uses two mounting points instead of one. This makes it more secure and less chance of twisting.

Since the gimbal itself only comes with one thumbscrew, if you have a 1/4"-20 captive screw, you can use that to secure the clamp so as long as it fits. Otherwise, Gudsen sells a replacement 1/4"-20 thumbscrew. This was purchased from B&H Photo for $6.

I must point out that B&H Photo has been very very helpful. I ordered the screw and it came with the wrong one. They sent me the smaller lens mount screw. I emailed them and the replacement was still the wrong one. This happened three times! They asked if they should send a fourth replacement and I said no. If the first three times were wrong, what's the chances the fourth one would be wrong as well? Finally, I told to check their inventory at the warehouse before shipping me out another one. They found the issue and fixed it and sent me the correct one.

This is how the Hejnar Photo F61-1b clamp looks like installed onto the MOZA Air gimbal with the Canon 5D Mark IV and EF 50mm f1/8 STM lens.

Whether you're using Hejnar Photo or Gudsen, and depending on the plate you're using, the dove tails for the Arca are typically facing towards the front and back of your camera. With this setup, the dove tails would need to be facing to the right and left of your camera. This means that you will need to rotate your plate in order for it to fit. However, if you have a plate such as Peak Design's Standard Plate, you don't have to worry about which way the plate needs to sit since it is a square and all four sides have Arca Swiss dove tails. I am using an older version of Peak Design's Dual Plate which is Arca Swiss and Manfrotto RC2 compatible.

Check out the video below of our unboxing, overview, app usage and test shots.

Conclusion : Overall, the Gudsen MOZA Air 3-Axis Motorized Handheld Gimbal is an awesome gimbal. It is reasonably priced for a gimbal that includes a dual handle and tripod stand. I know it is a bit pricey but I highly recommend getting the thumb controller. From what I have seen, there are no discounts if you purchase with or without the thumb controller as of this review. So if you purchase just the gimbal and decide to get the thumb controller at a later time, you'd still be paying the same price as if you purchased the bundle.

It would be nice if they included the cable for the Canon 5D Mark IV since Gudsen's User Manual PDF (page 39) requires 5D Mark IV owners to contact support to purchase the required cable. But if you need the cable, you can purchase one from Amazon.

Manufacturer: Gudsen
Site: Buy from Amazon / Buy from B&H Photo / Buy from Adorama / Buy from eBay / Buy from eBay (no thumb controller)

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