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How to balance a DSLR Stabilizer

How to balance a DSLR Stabilizer

Hector Caceres | May 29, 2015

In this video, we show you how to balance the Aperture Compact DSLR Stabilizer (SW-30261). But most of these techniques can also apply to our bigger Standard Camera Stabilizer (SW-30270).

Note: When deciding which stabilizer is right for you, make sure to consider the recommended weight limit on each stabilizer. A heavier camera on the Compact stabilizer will result in never being able to balance properly. Likewise, a smaller camera on a heavier stabilizer will result in much headache figuring out how to balance it.

Watch the Video

Before balancing

Make sure your camera is exactly as you will be using it. Remove the lens cap, and make sure your memory card and any lights, microphones or other attachments are exactly how you want them to be. Adding or removing any attachments after you balance it, will cause your stabilizer to become unbalanced.

Initial set up

  • Make sure bottom weights are tight and there is no play on them.
  • Make sure the knob on the telescoping pole is tight.
  • Loosen the knob on the side of the stabilizer head, and push it in to take out the plate.
  • Screw the plate to your camera, making sure the markings on the plate are on the same side as the locking knob.
  • Slide the plate back into the stabilizer and tighten the knob.

Balancing for the first time

  • Slowly pick up the stabilizer by the handle. If at first your camera seems heavier than the weights, you can move them in and out.
  • After the stabilizer seems a little more balanced, you can raise the telescoping pole to bring more weight to the bottom.
  • Once the top and bottom weigh about the same, Loosen the locking knob and move the camera backward or forward depending on the tilt you are getting. (Don’t worry about sideways tilt for now).
  • If the camera tilts back, you need to move it forward until the pole seems straight. Sometimes all it needs is to be moved just a little bit to make it balanced.
  • Do the same for the sideways tilt by loosening the front knob and moving the plate sideways until there is no sideways tilt.
  • Testing the balance

    You may test if it is balanced properly by holding the stabilizer horizontally and letting the bottom drop. The drop should be of about 2 to 3 seconds. If it drops too fast, then the bottom is too heavy and you should remove more weight, or make the pole a little shorter. If it takes too long to drop, or doesn’t finish dropping all the way, then the top is too heavy.

    Pro Tips

  • Use a bubble level to make sure it is perfectly balanced.
  • Use some kind of stand (Like a mic stand or light stand) to hold the stabilizer while you make adjustments.
  • Use a quick-release plate to avoid having to re-balance from scratch every time. (A little balancing will always be required each time you use it but it will generally not take as long as the first time balancing if it is still mostly set up the same way.
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