So after seeing so many people reaching out and asking for a Feiyu G5 vs Karma Grip comparison post we have decided to publish this dedicated article to try and help any of our readers who are considering adding either of these action camera gimbals to their collection of camera accessories. Now, in all honesty, you have to realize that both cameras are targeting different markets in the same niche so it is unfair to compare them directly to each other as the GoPro Karma Grips is focused towards the premium level market whereas the Feiyu G5 is more of an entry-level action camera gimbal stabilizer.
Since its release, the GoPro Karma Grip has gone from strength to strength within the community and being the official GoPro brand gimbal for their action camera range, it has been specifically designed to work with their products. This ensures optimal performance and although you would think this would be easy to duplicate for this party brands due to the dimentions and weight of the action cameras being easy to source, most brands miss the mark. Since its release, the Karma Grip has earned a solid reputation amongst the community for itself that continues to grow.
As we mentioned, the FeiyuTech G5 is more of an entry-level action camera gimbal and comes in at almost one-third of the price of the GoPro Karma Grip at the time of writing. Although it has a pretty rocky reputation within the community, you have to realize that due to its price point in the market, it will always have a lower level of performance and functionality when compared to the official Karma Grip handheld gimbal.
Additionally, the G5 is an old gimbal and the FeiyuTech G6 has been released onto the market and offers superior performance and functionality over the G5 and has managed to earn an excellent reputation for itself since its release. It is around $40 more than the G5 depending where you purchase it from but the additional $40 is well worth it due to the better technology in the gimbal offering better image quality for your action camera.
Now, before getting into the main article, we just want to say that in our opinion, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is one of the best entry-level gimbals on the market and there is a reason it has the reputation that it has amongst the community and is growing at an exponential rate. Although the Smooth 4 is primarily a smartphone gimbal stabilizer, there are a number of action camera adapter plates available for it to allow you to mount your GoPro to the gimbal. If you are looking for an entry-level, budget-friendly 3 axis gimbal for your action camera then we would highly recommend that you seriously consider taking the Zhiyun Smooth 4 over either of the Feiyutech products and even with the additional cost of the action camera adapter plate, it is priced between the FeiyuTech G5 and FeiyuTech G6 with much better performance.
Performance And Functionality
When it comes to the performance and functionality of each of these gimbals they both have their advantages and disadvantages depending on what you are actually going to use the stabilizer for. Now, as you would expect from the price point, when it comes to pure image stabilization and image quality, the Karma Grip absolutely blows the Feiyu G5 out the water.
If you are looking to capture the absolute best image quality possible for your social media profiles or a YouTube channel then the Karma Grip is the way to go. The superior image quality can really help your content stand out against the competition and help you convert viewers into subscribers and followers.
When it comes to maximum load capacity, both the GoPro Karma Grip and the Feiyu G5 support 0.3 pounds of load capacity and although this may not sound like much, it is plenty to support all of the different GoPro action camera models currently available on the market. Additionally, many of the cheap, third-party GoPro alternative action cameras often duplicate the GoPro form factor, weight, and dimensions so may also fit into both of these gimbals.
Now, in our opinion and as you will see in the video footage later in the article, the GoPro Karma Grips gimbal motors and balancing algorithm are much better than what Feiyutech provide when it comes to balancing the payload. In this day and age you would think the technology to balance such a lightweight camera unit wouldn’t be difficult but the G5 has been known to have some vibration issues when moving at a rapid pace too. If you are planning to use your gimbal to record various action sports, this can really spoil the image quality.
Moving onto the maximum battery life, the Feiyu G5 blows the Karma Grip out of the water with its Eight-hour maximum battery life compared to the 1 hour 45-minute maximum battery life of the Karma Grip. Unfortunately, the battery in the Karma grip can’t be removed either preventing you from hot-swapping a fresh, fully charged battery in when needed or replacing the stock battery with a high capacity battery.
Although we have not tried this workaround ourselves, many people within the Karma Grip owning community seem to have taken to packing a small, high capacity USB power bank in their kit. Then whenever they are not using their Karma Grip they jack it into the USB power bank to top its power levels up. This can be a quick and easy way to extend the battery life of the handheld gimbal to ensure it can last as long as you require.
The GoPro Karma Grip also supports a number of popular gimbal modes that you are able to use to help you further improve the image quality of your video footage with minimal effort required on your part. Now, these gimbal modes are not as advanced as something that you would get on the Zhiyun Weebill Lab or DJI Ronin S but they are solid additions to the gimbal that you can use to your advantage.
You have to keep in mind that the level of image stabilization provided by the G5 can drop off drastically for rapid-paced activities on rough ground. For example, if you are planning to try and record yourself doing some downhill mountain biking then the balancing algorithm may struggle to adjust the gimbal head correctly and the gimbal motors may not be quick enough to keep your camera stable. On the flip side of this though, if you are just wanting to vlog with your GoPro and capture some super smooth, slow-paced video footage of your day then the Feiyu G5 can be a solid little gimbal.
Both the Feiyu G5 and the GoPro Karma Grip are solid when it comes to the level of performance and functionality that they offer in regards to their price tags. As we mentioned back at the start of the article, both of the gimbal stabilizers have been designed for different price points with the features to match rather than as direct competitors for the same market share.
User Interface And Control System
This system is commonplace on modern gimbals as it ensures that someone brand new to using a handheld gimbal is able to pick it up quickly while still ensuring that a more experienced videographer can do any advanced tasks that they require too. On the off chance that this is your very first gimbal stabilizer, we are confident that you will be able to get to grips with either option with minimal time investment required.
In our opinion, the system on the Karma Grip is slightly better and a little more responsive but chances are, you won’t be able to tell during general use anyway. Additionally, due to the price difference between the gimbals, you would expect this due to the GoPro gimbal being almost three times the price of the Feiyutech gimbal at the time of writing.
As both gimbals have been designed for use with an action camera, steps have been taken to ensure that the control system is still fully responsive if your hands are cold or wet. This ensures that if your sport of choice involves water or cold weather that you will be able to get the most out of the gimbal and use its control interface no matter the conditions of your session.
One thing we would like to specifically point out is that neither gimbal is actually waterproof and they should never be fully submerged in water. Although the control system on both works fine if your hands are wet, and both gimbals will work fine in light rain, they are not fully waterproof as confirmed via the official GoPro twitter account seen below.
The Karma Grip is totally splash proof so it will work great on power days and in the rain! Just don’t take it underwater! 🏊
— GoPro (@GoPro) October 26, 2016
Now both gimbals have smartphone apps available for them but unfortunately, the Feiyutech app is in a very bad state of the time of writing and just getting it to sync up with your gimbal is a nightmare. If you do manage to get it to connect then it tends to randomly drop the connection too making the whole process even more frustrating.
Now, this is not just with the Feiyu G5 but the whole Feiyu gimbal range and with the new Feiyutech AK gimbal range having so many problems we doubt that they will be putting time and money into their smartphone app anytime soon. Keep in mind though, this can easily change and by the time you read this Feiyu may have overhauled their app and it may work totally fine.
Now, GoPro has an excellent track record with their smartphone app and similar to DJI, they are one of the only brands out there that have kept their app in a serviceable state since its release. The GoPro app offers some wireless remote control functionality for your Karma Grip as well as allows you to quickly and easily tweak your settings on the gimbal as required very quickly.
Build Quality And Design
When it comes to the build quality of the gimbals, you may have guessed that the GoPro blows the Feiyu out the water but again, you would expect this due to the price difference for each unit. The Feiyu G5 is pretty heavy for its size but it is tough and can take a bunch of punishment whereas the GoPro Karma Grip is just a tough but also much lighter.
That brings our Feiyu G5 vs Karma Grip article to an end and as we have mentioned a few times, both gimbals are solid options relative to their price points in the market. As you would expect, on a flat, linear scale, the GoPro Karma Grip is definatley the better option but it is also the more expensive gimbal of the two. If you are trying to do anything serious with the video footage that you record then the Karma Grip is definatley the best option if you have the budget available for it.
If you are on a tight budget or just want a cost efficient action camera gimbal stabilizer for regular vlogging with a GoPro then the FeiyuTech G5 is a decent option. As we mentioned back at the start of the article though, the FeiyuTech G6 is now available and is only $40 to $50 more than the G5 depending on where you purchase it and it is well worth the slightly higher price tag.