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Can’t decide between electronic or mechanical gimbals? Steadicam Volt is both

The camera stabilizer that made it possible to follow Sylvester Stallone up the steps in Rocky has been reimagined several times over the years — but now, the stabilization system is heading to smartphone video. Tiffen on Wednesday launched the Steadicam Volt on Kickstarter, an electronic gimbal with inspiration from the original Steadicam’s mechanical balancing stabilization system.

Unlike most smartphone gimbals, Tiffen says that the Steadicam Volt allows videographers to follow quick action without the lag time of other electronic stabilizers. That’s because the gimbal, while electronic, was inspired from the industry standard Steadicam first developed over 40 years ago. The center of gravity is positioned at the electronic gimbal component, with a balancing arm at the front.

While the stabilizer’s inspiration was from heavy Hollywood rigs, the Volt weighs one pound. The stabilizing arm folds down, allowing for more compact storage.

Tiffen, who partnered with drone manufacturer Yuneec for the Volt, says that the stabilizer is designed to be simple to use — just mount, power on and start filming. The gimbal accommodates smartphones from 58 to 80mm wide, with or without cases, that weigh up to 200 grams.

The Volt will connect with smartphones through Bluetooth, with both an iOS and Android app expected to help control the gimbal’s settings. The electronic component’s battery is expected to last eight hours and Tiffen says the gimbal can still be used manually if the rechargeable battery runs out.

The Volt isn’t Tiffen’s first smartphone stabilizer — it appears to build on the mechanical-only Steadicam Smoothee, which can mount both smartphones and GoPros.

According to its Kickstarter profile, the Volt is the first time the photography accessory company has launched a crowdfunded project on that platform. The campaign has already raised nearly $20,00 in one day, with a funding goal of $100,000 by March 5.

The Steadicam Volt, if fully funded, is estimated to ship out to the first backers in June. With the retail price estimated at $199, crowd funding backers can pick one up for pledges as low as $119 — provided the project reaches full funding.

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
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