Camera stabilizing is important for filmmakers that are looking to reduce or remove the unwanted shaky cam. This is especially important when following a moving subject around. ProAm USA has a new stabilizer designed to solve this exact problem. As some of you know I have previously reviewed jibs from ProAM USA including the impressive Taurus Jr. Thus, I was excited to take a look at their stabilizer known as the Autopilot.
ProAm USA ’s Autopilot is designed to hold cameras up to 6 pounds, using a 3 axis precision bearing gimbal. The Autopilot is made from Aluminum and has a solid feel. The handle has a foam grip for better handling and comfort.
Autopilot Technical Specifications:
- Maximum Height: 22.5” (57cm)
- Minimum Height: 14.5” (37cm)
- Depth: 8.5” (21.5cm)
- Width: 3.25” (8.3cm)
- Capacity: 6 lbs.
- Mounting: 1/4”-20, 3/8”-16
- Style: 3-Axis Bearing Gimbal
- Material: Aluminum
- Weight: 4.6 lbs. (2.1kg)
The base plate holding the camera, along with the weighted adjustable plates at the bottom have both been powered coated for better longevity.
Adjusting the balance on the Autopilot for the weight of the camera is done with 4 small plates on each side of the telescopic column. Each plate weighs a quarter of a pound providing you with 2 pounds of total counter weight. These plates can be removed, switched or even angled to offset the weight on top. The telescopic column can also be adjusted lower to compensate for the weight up top. This is very handy especially while using some of my more heavier glass such as my Tamron 24-70 f/2.8.
- 1 – 1.5lbs None
- 1.5 lbs – 3 lbs 1 Each Side
- 3 lbs – 4.5 lbs 2 Each Side
- 4.5 lbs – 5.5 lbs 3 Each Side
- 5.5 lbs – 6 lbs 4 Each Side
The camera gets mounted to the base plate on top via a standard screw. The base plate can be slid back and forth to adjust for your camera size and lens type. However, I did find both the side mounted fasteners and the base screws had no washers or locking nuts. This gave me some concerns about whether or not they would loosen while spending the entire day shooting. After hand tightening the screws as tight as I possibly could, I was hoping to see if that would alleviate my concerns. Only after using it with my Canon 5DMKIII for a day, I was pleasantly surprised that the screws had not come loose.
Using the ProAm USA Autopilot is easy for anyone that has had previous experience using stabilizer or gimbals before. If you have no experience using a set up like this, just be patient as it may take time and practice to get the feel of it. Just remember, not to fully grasp the column at the base. All you need are a couple fingers, and a light touch to maintain balance and fluidity.
The ProAM USA Autopilot has worked very well over the past few weeks. The build quality has not faltered at all, and the simplicity of it’s use meant even a novice could pick it up and be off and running with it. ProAm continues to build excellent quality gear for a budget mined filmmaker. The Autopilot is a great small compact stabilizer that can be used either outside or even indoors in tight situations; simply, a great addition to any filmmaker’s tools.
The ProAm USA Autopilot comes in at $189.99 and comes fully assembled.