Once I had bought my GoPro Hero 4 Black, it did not take me long to realise that I would not be able to shoot any stable video without something that would stabilise the video. It hit me hard that after shelling out Rs. 40,000 ($600) to buy the GoPro, I would have to invest a further Rs. 16,000 ($220) for the Feiyu G3 Gimbal for GoPro HERO. Considering the investment was huge and a bit novel, I decided not to leave any stone unturned in my research. Many instantly recommended the Feiyu G3 Gimbal but not with the sort of conviction that they could vouch for it. It seemed as if there was a huge void in the Gimbal market and somehow a mediocre product becomes the best option available.
I narrowed down my research to Feiyu G3 Gimbal for GoPro Hero and in this feiyu g3 gimbal review, my intentions are to present you with a clear and decisive review after using the gimbal for 4 months, having taken it on a trip to France and using it extensively I have a better understanding of how it works. I also take into consideration the after sales service of it so you can be prepared. I truly hope that for someone looking to buy a gimbal for their GoPro, my feiyu g3 gimbal review will come in handy and help in making a decision.
Feiyu G3 Gimbal QD for GoPro HERO – Features
The Feiyu G3 Gimbal for GoPro HERO I bought is the QD version, which is the Quick Dismantle version of their older version which supposedly needed a screw system to be managed to hold the gimbal in place.
Primary features include rechargeable batteries.
- Five modes with single button operation
- LED battery level indicator light
- Handle threaded to accept optional extension pole
- Four batteries and charger included
Pan Following Mode: Locks tilt and roll axes. Camera smoothly pans to follow the direction of the handle
Tilt and Pan Following Mode: Locks roll axis. Camera smoothly follows the pan and tilt motion of the handle
All Axis Lock Mode: Locks the pan, tilt, and roll axes of the camera in the position it is in when the mode is activated
Inverted Mode: Allows you to turn the gimbal upside-down. This mode is an inverted version of the Pan Following Mode
Standby Mode: The gimbal remains on but the motor is shut down
For more on the Feiyu G3 Gimbal for GoPro HERO, you can view the linked video which provides a good insight as to how to operate the gimbal and a run down of other information.
Performance and Practical Usage
It is one thing trying this out in the room and it is a completely different ball game once you take it out on your travels or to shoot video at a particular outing. I have found the video to be extremely stable under many circumstances, be it shooting from the bus, shooting from the car on a bumpy road or walking. Although, it has to be noted that there is a random jerk when you walk and the video is not actually smooth.
In regards to operating, the single button operation mode gets slightly confusing when you shift from mode to mode. I have also found the button to be no responsive at times or slow. In other words, when you want to shift mode, it does nothing when you press but when you press again, it skips the mode you wish to go to and moves to the next mode. Hence, I found it difficult to master.
The indicator that is supposed to blink to indicate the mode it is in is right at where you will hold the Feiyu G3 Gimbal for GoPro HERO and moreover, once you are out, you do not see the light, of course you can make out from the position the camera is at, but it takes time to get used to.
The GoPro is not a great camera without natural light and you need to keep in mind that this Feiyu G3 Gimbal for GoPro HERO is not waterproof and neither does it accommodate the GoPro in its waterproof casing.
The GoPro is an incredibly durable and robust camera, put it in its casing and you are good to play ball with it, there are instances where it has survived falls from an aircraft. On the other hand, the Feiyu G3 Gimbal for GoPro HERO is almost as fragile as glass. While it is built well, it is not something you can carry in your backpack or chuck it in along with the rest of your accessories. You HAVE TO carry this in its own exclusive casing and guess what, for $220, you don’t get any, so I worked out that it was best to carry it around in the foam padding it came in the box and trust me it is incredibly bulk, it will stick out of a backpack.
After some time, you just begin to think if its worth it. I was on a 15 days trip to France and most of the time I walked around, it was a nightmare trying to protect the Feiyu G3 Gimbal, put it in the backpack, it’s uncomfortable, hold it in hand, it is not safe as you can bump into something.
Either way, even after protecting it carefully, a screw came off and this was just after a few hours of usage which is ridiculous considering this is such an expensive unit. I realised that the Feiyu G3 Gimbal was not working as intended because it was not stabilising as it should but did not manage to realise that I had lost one screw and the second one was on the verge of giving up. Not knowing this, I was dangling my GoPro along with the Feiyu G3 Gimbal over cliffs, out of the car windows, over rooftops and river banks, imagine the horror that would have followed if the second screw had given way, I would have lost both the Feiyu G3 Gimbal and my GoPro Hero.
When I investigated further, one screw had been lost and the second one was on the verge of coming off. This was pathetic, unacceptable considering I had used the Feiyu G3 Gimbal for less than 10 hours overall. I screwed in the remaining screw and tried using it, that was it, I chucked it back in its box and decided that I bought some generic piece of garbage from a Chinese company and that it was a huge mistake. I did not want to risk losing the GoPro and the Feiyu G3 Gimbal.
Battery & Accessories
There are 4 batteries supplied with the Gimbal, the description on the Feiyu G3 Gimbal for GoPro HERO page mentions that the battery lasts for 6-7 hours but in spite of switching off when not in use, the battery hardly lasted me 2 hours. Considering the battery size, it was easy to carry the second set they thoughtfully provided. The charger they provide for the battery seems like something bought off the street, it is flimsy, not well built and is extremely fragile.
This is advertised to give battery life to your GoPro, although I did not use this feature because the cable that you need to connect needs to be bought separately, this is nothing but a gimmick because the GoPro is battery hungry and gobbles up energy
like a monster, imagine we connect the battery power of the Feiyu G3 Gimbal to the GoPro, I am not sure if this will make a difference to the charge it could provide to the battery.
I bought the extension rod for the Feiyu G3 Gimbal, the stick itself is quite well built, however, considering that you cannot access the power button once you screw in the stick, it makes you wonder what the designers of the Feiyu G3 Gimbal were thinking. On one hand, to connect the extension, you have to screw it in, meaning it is not a simple process. On the other hand, you cannot power it on or off, hence, you have to power it on, then add the extension stick and remove the extension stick and then power off. This is one of the worst designing issues I have ever come across.
As my Feiyu G3 Gimbal has been rendered useless and has let me down in the middle of my France trip, I decided to contact support once I got back to India. I wrote to them explaining the problem, along with a very clear photo of the missing screw. I must admit, exchanges with them have been funny although some almost drove me mad. To my mail with the photo, I get a response as below.
Sorry about that,could you make a video show the phenomenon directly ,
so that i can know clearer about the issue your describe .The video you can send it to me directly, Thanks.
Have a good day!
While I understand that the person who read my email and responded to my email might not be English speaking. However, I cannot refrain from asking the question, if your products are sold mostly outside of China, why would you not have a competent, experienced and a person well versed in the English language to respond to customer emails. The answer is, it because Feiyu doesn’t give a damn about after sales support, the only primary goal they have is to sell their gimbals.
I then responded with another email, this time very short but I circled the missing screw on the photo. The response to that was as follows;
Your gimbal can normal work now ?
You cannot do worse even if you used Google Translator so I was not quite sure where these guys were generating their English from and why they were unable to understand something so clearly written and illustrated with a picture.
I wrote again trying to explain further, the next response was even more shocking but not funny. They wanted $20 to send the missing screw to me. After this email, I tried explaining that I had only bought their gimbal 4 months back and I also had the invoice for it, and as it was under warranty, they should send the screw. But no, they would not send without the $20. I asked them politely, I threatened to write reviews sharing my experience, I reminded them of their duty towards their customer but all I got was a prompt NO.
Finally, when I asked them to name the screw so I can try it elsewhere, they responded asking me for you name, address, and telephone. Anyone would think that this was to send me the screw but no, it wasn’t for that. 20 emails later and 21 days after my first email, my email questioning them why they asked me for my address remains unanswered. I am also unable to find that screw on the web or locally, so I am stuck and will need to shell out $20 to have them ship the screw to me.
What else is wrong with the Feiyu G3 Gimbal?
This is a generic gimbal, meaning, Feiyu had nothing to do with the technology behind the gimbal. If you do a basic search you will see that the same units are labelled differently and sold under many brands. This is like buying a plain Tshirt from the manufacturer and branding it. I might be wrong and Feiyu could be the one supplying all gimbals but this is very unlikely.
The mechanism of the Feiyu Tech G4-QD Quick Dismantling 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro is terribly flawed. It is so bad that it will damage your GoPro. It is very difficult to install your GoPro without a proper base and it is equally difficult to remove it. I have had a horrendous experience and wished many times that I had another GoPro so I did not need to remove/install the GoPro on the Feiyu Tech G4-QD Quick Dismantling 3-Axis Gimbal for GoPro. If at all you have to get one of Feiyu’s gimbals, do get the regular version.
The Feiyu G3 gimbals will not house any other camera apart from the GoPro, it will not hold your iPhone, it will not accommodate other cameras which might slightly be different in dimensions. While it says similar actions cameras, there might be one or two more in the market. Considering the high price, it would have been good if they accommodate other units as well, but remember, this is a generic product.
The Feiyu G3 Gimbal is not water/rain proof. While the unit itself if not compatible during a light drizzle, snow or anything to do with water, you will also be dangling your GoPro naked on this. As the Feiyu G3 Gimbal does not house the waterproof casing, you will be risking both your GoPro and the Feiyu G3 Gimbal if you venture out in rain. This is ridiculous and there are many other gimbals out there that offer waterproof capabilities.
I use a mac and do not own a Windows computer, if I considered updating the firmware, I will need to go looking for a Windows computer. There are mixed opinions on the internet for this one, many feel it is not well documented and the process is a nightmare to go through. I am citing others as I did not do the Firmware update myself.
There are random whirring sounds, the sounds are quite evident and get captured on your GoPro. I researched to find that it was the motors that were making the noise. I could not find a solution to this problem. As this is random, I decided I will live with it, not that I have a choice of sending this gimbal down to China and then waiting for a year for this to get back to me.
I can live with some flaws in the Feiyu G3 Gimbal because it is not something like a phone or a car which gets used every single day or every single hour. However, the deal breaker here is that in spite of using it for a very limited amount of time, mechanics of the gimbal have failed. When is the last time your iPhone came apart because of a screw? When was the last time your car’s wheels fell off when you were driving? Pardon me if I am getting carried away but the crew coming off the gimbal can be associated with such incidents. You just don’t expect that to happen in the middle of your travels.
Considering that it was a one-off, you do not expect that kind of service from the company. This is a niche and premium product and the service and support need to be on par with the pricing their products carry. I will not recommend any product from Feiyu or in fact stay away from these generic gimbals which are being sold under many names.
Below are some gimbals and stabilisers for your consideration. Please note that I do not endorse or promote them. Neither do I use affiliate links, they are solely for reference purpose. Please do your research before you proceed. I would however highly recommend that you buy something not based out of China so if anything goes wrong, you can avail service without the hassle.