As you can see, almost everyone is becoming a filmmaker these days but though most footage are amateurish and horrible. The fact that smartphone makers have invested so much into packing great camera sensors with powerful software processing into their smartphones have made these portable devices very important photography tools we can quickly come to pick up anytime, anywhere.
Be it vlogging or a complete mobile filmmaking, the need for basic tools like lens, tripods and microphone is undisputed but what about a camera stabilizer, a Gimbal? That the point of this review as I’ve gotten with me the Moza Mini-S which we bought in order for this review.
Gimbals aren’t new anymore and they’re infact ousting tripods because they do have mini tripods that can be fastened to them for still photography as well as can be used for fiilmmaking of course which is why they were introduced.
One big problem is that there are tons of Gimbals out there today and many companies are trying out the industry but Gudsen, the company that made the Moza Mini-S essentially build filmmaking tools and equipment just like this one.
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Since the beginning of this year, there have been numerous gimbals introduced to us like the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, and Mobile 3, the Zhiyun Smooth Q, Smooth Q2, Smooth 4, the Movi Freefly and of course the Moza Mini-S and a host of others from Xiaomi, Feiyun Tech, AFI and much more.
Almost all gimbals perform the same essential functionality which is to balance your smartphone device when shooting videos because using your hand will definitely cause a wobbling effect on the video footage because the human hand isn’t meant to be used for holding camera on stills for a long period of time.
WHAT SETS THE MOZA MINI-S APART
Two main reasons why everyone seems to talk about the Moza Mini-S is because of it’s price tag and also it’s portability which can be achieved by folding it into a smaller device making it fit easily elsewhere. Aside this, other things I noticed on my own review unit of the Moza Mini-S includes the durability as well as battery strength which is really outstanding compared to others in the industry.
The Moza Mini-S also come with an application with which you can control the gimbal but can also be used as a video recording application as it offers high performing functionalities similiar to the Filmic Pro which is used by professional mobile filmmakers but the Moza Genie application is free 100%.
DESIGN OF THE MOZA MINI-S
Speaking on what sets the Moza Mini-S aside, the design is definitely what comes to mind. The fact that the likes of the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is so large and would definitely require a carry-case in order to transport it from place to places makes the Moza Mini-S a really compact device when folded into half.
One thing I noticed from the first day I interacted with the gimbal includes some of its strength and limitations. When fastened to it’s portable tripod which comes the device out of the box, it would sit leaning forward towards you but that’s how it’s designed even though I don’t have an idea why Gudsen had chosen such awkward look.
Another nice thing is that the buttons are well located at the right locations which makes it easy for you to quickly locate which one you want to use and then activate. It’s buttons are also limited compared to the Zhiyun Smooth 4 which is quite larger and then ridden with buttons and a big wheel at the left side which can be used to focus or zoom the camera.
The Moza Mini-S has a simple Joystick right at the top of the top of it’s circular buttons then the power/sleep button lies at the right side of the neck of the gimbal while the left side houses the zoom in and out buttons. The back is where the trigger button is located. The trigger button can function in multiple ways just the same way almost all the buttons on the gimbal has multiple functions which is what makes understanding the gimbal a little bit complicated.
Another big plus is that the motor of the gimbal is designed to withdraw a little backward rather than being an hindrance just as in the case of the Zhiyun Smooth 4 or the Xiaomi Mijia gimbal or even the AFI V5 smartphone gimbal from KingJoy.
Overall, the Moza Mini-S feels very sturdy an premium when held. Although it’s made entirely from plastic, it’s strength is unlimited and would carry a smartphone weighing up to 250 grams while weighing 500 grams itself. But the fact that it balances smartphones because there is no motor hinderance stopping the shift between right and left makes installing your smartphone very fast and quick.
Also to fold/unfold this gimbal would require two hands because one hand would unlock the clip which holds the body and the head of the gimbal together while still needing that hand to wist the head rowards the right position (anticlockwise) to unfold it and then the same process is required to fold the gimbal.
As for color, the Moza Mini-S comes in two different colors which includes black that is mainstream and then a white color which I barely found on any store on earth. Maybe Gudsen made the white for aliens because they looked better and more premium. Overall, the Moza Mini-S build quality is very premium and it feels very great when held.
PERFORMANCE OF THE MOZA MINI-S
One important feature of the Moza Mini-S is of course it’s performance which I really find interesting. First of all, I tried it with the native mobile camera application and it worked just had to do the control by myself while touching the screen during actions but then comes in the Moza Genie mobile application which is meant to control the device without touching your smartphone but interact through your gimbal control buttons.
Out of the box, the Moza Mini-S included a control cable which can be used to connect both the gimbal and smartphones together without the need for a bluetooth activation.
But without bluetooth connection, I’m still able to control the gimbal using the joystick as well as the button just unable to access some functionality buttons. Another problem is that it doesn’t integrate with the FilmicPro application which might be a big disappointment to mobile filmmakers which is where the Zhiyun Smooth 4 excels.
When I tried the Moza Geie application for Android, it’s not very great. It’s highest film rate is 1080P @30FPS. It also allows you shoot in 4k@30FPS also but compared to the Filmic Pro which doesn’t limit you. Also the Moza Genie app crashed mid-usage on two different occasions and I could only imagine if I was filming a live event and such happened. But that is issue with the software. One can always switch to professional filming applications.
Talking about the hardware, the Motors are great but sometimes, the gimbal goes haywire which would require resetting it back to the original state. Also learning curve could take constant practices because the gimbal just doesn’t feel amateurish as it demands professional understanding.
There are various shooting modes while using the gimbal and one of those modes which requires a 360 degree rotation of the camera would always get hindered by the motors colliding because it’s not made to rotate 360 degrees.
Also while trying to shoot from low angles, the motors would collide sometimes causing it to vibrate which might alter the smoothness of the footage and that would annoy me sometimes until mastered to never get to the extreme which is where the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 excels because of the design which is takes the side approach rather than the back approach on the Moza Mini-S.
The stability of the video footage depends solely on the videographer because if you’re not steady yourself you are definitely going to mess up your entire footage. The usability of the Moza Mini-S demands intermediate experience and eventhough a complete novice can pick it up, it would still require going through the process a step at a time before fully understanding how it works in it’s entirety.
WHO SHOULD BUY THE MOZA MINI-S
If you’re a fast learning and could easily master that triple tapping a button on the right does this and double tapping the trigger does another thing, then you’re fine. And of course the gimbal comes with a small booklet manual that has a list of instructions that you can read to have a better understanding of how things work. We got our units from China and so it was difficult to read.
And if you’re a vlogger, you’re great because the Moza Genie mobile application has a Livestream functionality that allows you to stream your movie straight to Youtube and Facebook which is a great thing.
Also if you’re a hobbyist filmmaker, you can also get one of this. Costing just $79 makes it even ore attractive compared to the Zhiyun Smooth 4 which costs about $100 and then the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 which costs about $150.
The Moza Mini-S is a truly great smartphone gimbal with lots of features that makes it a professional fillmmaking gadget that anyone should own meanwhile it has its pros and cons which almost all devices on earth have.
Though not 100% perfect in every senses, it still makes a top brand that is recommendable to both new and pro users. The quality of the Moza Mini-S is also one important feature that makes it outstanding and then the price tag is another thing on the other hand. I would recommend this to anyone meanwhile it’s not the very best because there are still others with even more capacity and strength.