What is the Feiyu Tech G5 Gimbal?
If you often find your action camera footage hampered by shakiness, you’ll want some form of stabilisation to level it out. While most high-end action cameras such as the GoPro Hero 5 Black include electronic image stabilisation, this doesn’t come close to the mechanical stabilisation offered by a gimbal.
The Feiyu Tech G5 proves itself to be an excellent alternative to GoPro’s official Karma Grip. Although the experience with a GoPro isn’t quite as seamless, the G5 does have certain advantages: it’s compatible with a wide range of action cameras from a variety of manufacturers and has a user replaceable battery to name but a few.
Feiyu Tech G5 Gimbal – Design and setup
The G5 is a much smaller and lighter gimbal compared to the likes of the Removu S1 or GoPro Karma Grip. However, its metal construction means it feels well built. The rubberised grip makes it comfortable to hold, with the controls placed conveniently within reach.
There’s a multifunction power button that lets you toggle between the gimbal’s various tracking modes, a dedicated ‘selfie’ button that can flip the view round as long as it’s held, and a four-way joystick that you can use to adjust the camera angle. Like the Removu S1, the joystick here works the opposite to what you’d expect, but you’ll soon adjust.
Attaching your action camera of choice isn’t as simple as it is with the Removu S1 or Karma Grip by virtue of compatibility with a range of cameras beyond the flagship GoPro. Where the others simply require you to simply slide your GoPro Hero 5 Black camera into the mounting frame, with the G5 you’ll have to deal with fiddly screws.
A black metal frame goes round your camera and is affixed by a pair of screws, with two longer screws included in the box for larger cameras. Alongside the GoPro Hero 5 Black, the G5 will be compatible with most similarly sized and shaped action cameras – such as the Yi 4K+ Action Camera. I had no problems attaching either of these models.
A set of counterweights is included in the box, and you’ll need to attach these to the gimbal for heavier action cameras. Once these are in place, you’re ready to get shooting. You also get a felt pouch for transporting the gimbal, but it’s too small to easily fit the G5 with an attached action camera, which is annoying.
The whole assembly is IP67 rated, so perfectly safe to use outdoors in the rain, which I did on a few occasions.
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Feiyu Tech G5 – Performance and modes
Using the multifunction button, you can toggle between the G5’s various modes. A single tap toggles between a Locked mode where there’s no pan or tilt, and an Unlocked mode where there’s pan. The latter is useful if you want to do a dramatic sweep around a subject. A double-tap activates Follow mode that also opens up the tilt, essentially letting you point the camera at a subject above or below you as well.
A triple-tap rotates the camera 180 degrees to face you, and a quadruple-tap resets the camera. Hold down the power button to put the gimbal into standby mode, ready to be more quickly reactivated with a single tap later on. It all takes a bit of memorisation and the timing of the multiple button presses can take a little getting used to, too.
Finally, there’s a ‘selfie’ button, which like a triple-tap rotates the camera around 180 degrees. This is really useful when you want to give a quick to camera observation before returning smoothly to a POV shot. I wish more gimbals had this feature.
Example footage shot in Follow mode
All of the G5’s modes worked well. The standard Locked mode is for when you want the camera pointing directly forwards and it keeps everything as steady as you want; and the Unlocked Pan mode can let you get some fantastic sweeping shots. The Follow mode also worked smoothly, with very little delay in the camera adjusting its angle to your movements. Any walking footage is also smoothed out completely, making it appear less like it was filmed on a boat at sea with a drunken crew.
Using the G5 inverted – by which I mean held upside down for low-angle shots – simply requires you to rotate the grip as if you were adjusting the hands on a clock, while keeping the camera pointing forwards.
But what really sets the G5 apart from the Removu S1 is how quiet the gimbal motor is in operation. Feiyu Tech recommends you put the GoPro Hero 5 into Wind Reduction mode, which leaves you with very little motor noise at all. Certainly, it was nowhere near as distracting as the Removu S1, and I’d say it was marginally better than the GoPro Karma Grip as well. That’s a pretty big advantage in the G5’s favour.
Compared to the Karma Grip or S1, the G5 is a little more difficult to mount for use that isn’t handheld. It is possible, however: there are actually two tripod threads available, one towards the gimbal motor and another on the bottom that can also be used with an optional extension pole. The G5 isn’t really set up for mounting out of the box, so you’ll most likely need to pick up a tripod to GoPro mount adapter, which at least isn’t expensive.
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Feiyu Tech G5 – Battery life and charging
The rubberised grip screws off to reveal the battery compartment, which will allow you to carry a spare unit if you wish. You charge the G5 over micro-USB; there’s a port on the side of the grip, tucked behind a rubber flap. You can expect upwards of eight hours of battery life from a single charge, which is impressive.
Best of all, you can actually use the G5’s battery to charge your attached GoPro. It isn’t the most elegant of solutions, requiring you to attach an included short micro-USB to micro-USB, or micro-USB to USB-C cable to your camera from a port in the head of the gimbal. Still, being able to top up the charge of your camera is great.
Should I buy the Feiyu Tech G5?
If you’re looking fed up of your footage being ruined by wobble, the Feiyu Tech G5 is one of the best gimbals on the market at a price that undercuts its rivals. It’s easy to use (once you memorise the button combinations), the stabilisation is fantastic, and the battery life is great. The ability to charge your camera is also really useful on the go.
Minor frustrations such as the ridiculously small travel pouch can’t undermine what is, ultimately, an excellent gimbal.
A great-value and easy-to-use gimbal that makes your action camera footage look far more professional