The Ultimate Feiyutech AK2000 Review!
We have decided to publish our ultimate review of the Feiyutech AK2000 gimbal as we have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of people reaching out on social media and on niche forums about this new offering from Feiyutech. The gimbal is essentially the upgrade to their A2000 (notice the lack of the K) that was starting to show its age against the latest gimbals from both DJI and Zhiyun.
Speaking of DJI and Zhiyun, at the time of writing, Feiyutech is generally considered to be a tier two gimbal producer along with Moza with DJI and Zhiyun being the tier-one brands in the niche. Although the two tier-one giants have much larger budgets available for both research and development as well as marketing, Feiyutech is coming closer and closer to being a real challenger to their dominance with each subsequent generation of gimbal that they release.
Many people were hoping that the AK2000 would be the prodigal gimbal that would push Feiyutech up into the big leagues and although it has managed to quickly earn itself a great reputation within the community the gimbal definatley has its faults that we will be covering in more detail as we work our way through our article.
Performance And Functionality
Now, it should be no secret that the main purpose of a modern gimbal stabilizer is to provide your camera rig with the image stabilization that it requires to improve your image quality and help to ensure you get the smoothest video footage possible. Although the AK2000 3-axis gimbal is definatley able to provide you with some excellent image stabilization, there are a few common bugs with the gimbal that can stand in the way.
The first thing standing in the way is the pretty common gimbal vibration issues that both the Feiyutech AK2000 and AK4000 suffer from. Although many people initially thought that this issue was down to a software problem in the gimbal’s firmware, it turns out that it is actually a physical issue with the Feiyutech AK range and can’t be corrected via a firmware update. Now, we want to stress that this issue is not present on every AK2000 but it does seem to be a common issue that you should not have to run the risk of getting with a gimbal in the $300 price range.
Now, the fact that this issue somehow managed to make it through both alpha and beta testing for not just the AK2000, but also their AK4000 (their premium flagship gimbal at the time of writing) sets alarm bells off for us as we would imagine it would for anyone else involved in this space. We really don’t understand how such a major issue that is being experienced by so many users could make its way to the final shipped version of not just one, but two of Feiyutech latest gimbals.
That said, there are mix of reports to how effective the fix in the video above actually is, although the majority of owners of the AK2000 do confirm that the process did fix the issue for their gimbal, there are multiple reports from people saying that although it does fix the issue, it is only temporary and they have to go through this process multiple times each day and there are some reports from people saying the process did nothing and they simply had to return the gimbal.
In addition to this, there is also an additional fault on the AK2000 that at the time of writing does not have a fix available. When using the gimbal in smooth mode to capture a timelapse, the gimbal will slowly start to pan to the left none stop pretty much preventing this feature on the gimbal from being used.
Considering that the Feiyutech AK range was meant to be their gimbal range to move them into the tier one level of gimbal producers, we can’t help but feel that they have massively let themselves down by releasing two of the products in the range with major faults that should easily have been discovered in initial testing. The Zhiyun Crane Plus (Click here to check for product prices and availability) is so close to the price tag of the AK2000 while providing very similar functionality without any of these issues we just don’t see how the AK2000 is going to hold its own even with the head start to the market that it had.
The sample footage was recorded using various combinations of the Sony a6300, the Sony a6500, a Sigma 16mm f1.4, a Sigma 30mm f1.5, and a Zeiss Batis 85mm f1.8. The heaviest combination of kit from that setup will likely come in at around the 2-pound mark giving you a good idea of what the AK2000 is able to provide the average mirrorless camera set up.
The Auto Focus Ring
The autofocus ring then allows you to quickly and easily adjust the focus of the gimbal to adapt to the situation via rotating the magic wheel on the handle of the AK2000 to meet your needs. This ensures that you are able to tweak the focus level of your lens using just your thumb to make sure you are constantly getting the best image quality possible.
Unfortunately, though, this does not really offer any competitive edge to the AK2000 as the Zhiyun range have their servo focus kit that performs a very similar function. That said though, the Zhiyun servo system is also a faff to mount to most popular lenses so for this section at least, the AK2000 is able to at least hold its own against the competition in our opinion.
User Interface And Control System
We mentioned the magic wheel seen to the left of the touchscreen in the image above earlier in the article. We absolutely love this feature and are actually surprised that other gimbal brands have not implemented it this well previously. Although it can be used to control the level of autofocus on the autofocus ring as mentioned earlier, it also has a few other functions to help make your life as easy as possible when using the Feiyutech AK2000.
One issue that we have with the interface for the AK2000 is that there is no percentage indicator for the battery life of the gimbal. When the gimbal detects that its battery power is starting to run low, it simply flashes a red light that can be a little annoying as you don’t have any rough idea of how much power you have left. We are not sure if this is something that Feiyutech would be able to tweak in a future firmware update as we don’t know if the tech on the gimbal is actually able to detect the percentage of charge left in the batteries. If it is possible though, it would be a nice feature to see implemented.
That said though, at the time of writing, the Feiyutech smartphone app is in a pretty solid spot and the image above shows the basic interface of the app. It offers you some basic remote control functionality and also allows you to tweak a few settings on the gimbal via your smartphone too.
On the flip side of this though, at the time of writing, if you power down your AK2000, it will lose the connection to your smartphone app once powered back up again. Although this does not sound like a major issue, having to repair your phone and gimbal very time you boot it back up quickly becomes a pain. We are hoping that Feiyutech gets around to releasing a firmware update for their AK gimbal range that will keep the pairing allowing you to save you the time and effort of having to repair your gadgets all the time.
Build Quality And Design
The gimbal is also pretty robust too and we have no doubt that it will be able to easily withstand any bumps or knocks coming its way in the future when in use. We know that the robustness of gimbal stabilizers has been an issue in some of the older generations of gimbals but thankfully, the modern products from most brands can easily withstand a few hits. That said, there is one thing that we absolutely HATE about the build quality/design of the AK2000 shown in the image below.
In addition to this, if you do not reseat the rubber grip on the handle of the AK2000, it eventually rides up further than you can see in the image above and eventually starts to come into contact with the control pad. Once it has ridden up enough, it ends up applying pressure to the tilt button on the touchpad and forces your gimbal to tilt backward until the rubber grip has been resat.
In our opinion, with the issues already covered earlier in the article when it comes to the performance of the AK2000, the last thing it needs is a build quality issue that further negates the performance that the gimbal can offer you. On top of this, unlike the gimbal vibration issue we covered earlier that does not affect every AK2000, this rubber handle issue is on every single one of them and more and more people are starting to comment about it online.
From some of the reports we have seen online, the rubber grip on the handle does not seem to slip up the handle if you are using a camera rig with a payload of around 2 pounds as it needs a heavier payload to start occurring. On the flip side of this though, you are essentially limited to having to use less than a third of the gimbals maximum listed payload to avoid this from happening.
Just imagine that you are doing a wedding videography gig, your camera has a decent lens, an external microphone, and potentially a lighting source too. Then every now and then you have to sneak off to have to drag the grip back down the handle which is no easy task in itself meaning that you are not capturing footage and can potentially miss a moment that your clients would want you to capture.
We have seen attempts at a workaround for this ranging from just outright cutting the grip off the gimbal but then the handle is not as comfortable to hold, especially for extended periods of time. A number of people have also reported trying various types of glue that did seem to help temporarily before the glue gave way and the problem started to happen again.
This is another area where the Zhiyun Crane Plus (Click here to check for product prices and availability) easily leaps ahead of the Feiyutech AK2000 as it does not have this issue while coming in at a similar price point and offering very similar levels of image stabilization without all of these issues.
That brings our review of the Feiyutech AK2000 to an end and unfortunately, we would not recommend this gimbal to our readers at this time. We feel that it just has too many issues to be worth the money, especially then the Zhiyun Crane Plus (Click here to check for product prices and availability) retails with a very similar price tag, has none of the issues the AK2000 has while also having earned an excellent reputation for itself amongst the community. If you like, you can also check out our full Zhiyun Crane Plus review that we published that goes into much more detail.
We really did have high hopes for the AK2000 and we hope that Feiyutech are able to fix the vibration issues, the unwanted left panning in smooth mode, and the issues with the rubber grip in the future. Even if they had to release something like an AK2001 or something, we feel it would have a decent chance against the Crane Plus but in its current start, it is blown out the water in our opinion.
If you own a mirrorless camera then you may want to check out our article going over the best gimbals for mirrorless cameras. We feature the AK2000 as well as four other popular gimbals in the post too.