With the recent release of the Feiyutech AK gimbal range a few months back, we have noticed a large number of people reaching out for information and advice on the gimbals in the AK range with a goal of adding them to their collection of camera accessories. We are aware that some of our readers may be considering adding one of the latest Feiyutech gimbals to their collection so we have decided to publish this dedicated review of the Feiyutech AK4000.
Now, as per usual with an article like this where we will actually not be recommending the featured gimbal, we will be potentially saving our readers time and recommending that you go with the DJI Ronin S or even the Zhiyun Weebill Lab instead of the AK4000 right at the start of the article. We feel doing it this way works better than you reading the whole article just to get to the end for us to recommend another product.
Even after the recent price reductions on the AK4000, we just don’t think that it has the performance to compete with the Ronin S or the Weebill Lab and the vibration problems that we will cover later just hold the AK4000 back against the competition. The Ronin S is only around $50 more and outperforms the AK4000 in every way offering superior performance so if you have a DSLR camera or a heavy mirrorless camera then the DJI Ronin S is the way to go. If you are using a regular mirrorless camera, a lightweight DSLR or a point and shoot then the Zhiyun Weebill Lab is probably the better option.
That said, we will still be going over our full Feiyutech AK4000 review to explain why we feel the way we do about this gimbal and to hopefully help bring the negative points of the gimbal to the attention of their readers so they can go with either of the gimbals linked above instead. Although the Feiyutech AK4000 has managed to earn some decent third-party reviews from the community, most professional videographers seem to share the same opinion as us when it comes to the gimbal.
Performance And Functionality
Speaking of battery life, the Feiyutech AK4000 seems to range between providing you with eight to twelve hours of power per full charge of its batteries depending on how much of the load capacity you are using. Now, to be fair to Feiyutech, this is a common thing with battery life and for its price tag, we would be expecting this type of battery life provided it can support the 8.8-pound load capacity. As it struggles with loads over the six-pound mark, we would be expecting a much better battery life for this price point in the market.
Once the battery has totally drained, the Feiyutech charging system has the same issues as their older A range of gimbals. The recharge time seems to just randomly decide how long it wants to take on any given day with recharge times ranging between five and seven hours! So one charge may take you five hours to recharge the gimbal while the next time you recharge it may take seven hours. There are multiple reports of this issue with the average seeming to be between five and six hours.
That said, again, for this price point, this is just not worth it. The DJI Ronin S can be fully recharged in just over two hours and offers superior performance to the Feiyutech AK4000 while only costing around $50 more at the time of writing. Now, keep in mind, the AK4000 was around the $700 price point on launch, since then it has had a price reduction to around the $500 point depending on where you buy it but in all honesty, we feel the $300-$400 point is more suitable for the gimbal. You can click here to check current prices on the Feiyutech AK4000 as we wouldn’t be surprised if it received another price reduction soon.
As you would expect from a modern handheld gimbal stabilizer, the Feiyutech AK4000 does provide some key gimbal modes to help you capture the best image quality possible. The manual mode in combination with the magic wheel on the control system of the gimbal is particularly solid and helps to provide you with a more natural-looking source of image stabilization rather than the robotic feel some gimbals give.
Fixing The Vibration Issues
Although it is an estimate from the various reports and videos online, we would guess between twenty and thirty percent of the gimbals have this same fault. Additionally, Feiyutech has confirmed that the fault is with the hardware of the gimbal, not with the software, this means you have to go through the process in the video above yourself to correct the issue rather than have a firmware update fix it for you.
Additionally, you may have to go through the process multiple times per session and there are also reports of the fix not correcting the issue anyway. As you would expect, we have seen many people confirm that they have simple returned their Feiyutech AK range gimbals for a refund and gone with the DJI Ronin S instead. At this price point in the market, issues like this shouldn’t even be making it our of initial manufacturers testing, never mind into the live production gimbal.
User Interface And Control System
The touch screen is responsive and has an easy to follow navigation menu that we are confident most of our readers will be able to use without issue too. If you can use a smartphone then you will have no issues working your way around the gimbal menu on the AK4000. That said, if you are out and about in wet or cold conditions, the touch screen can have a few issues with registering your touch but all in all, it is a solid bit interface.
The magic wheel is not just for controlling a focus ring like on other gimbals, it also provides you with additional functionality with various tilt controls as well as menu controls too. The wheel is easy to turn and very responsive too with just enough resistance so you don’t accidentally overturn when recording. We just wish that Feiyutech had held the rest of the gimbal to the same standards as its user interface system as they really have done an excellent job on it and it is one of our favorites on the market right now.
As we said though, this is unfortunately very common and many brands have the exact same issues with their own apps. We are not sure if they all use the same app development company whereas DJI stuck with an inhouse app creator and ensured the best possible quality. Its a shame as some nice wireless remote control functionality would have been nice but we doubt that Feiyutech are going to put time and money into their smartphone app any time soon when their AK gimbal range is having so many problems.
Build Quality And Design
As we have already mentioned the vibration issues in the gimbals head and had our mini-rant about it above, we will just move directly onto build quality. The majority of the gimbal is made from high-quality aluminum to ensure that you are getting the toughest gimbal possible that is also lightweight. That said, although the gimbal is pretty lightweight, we would always recommend the Weebill Lab for anyone expecting to have to travel often for the reasons we have just covered in the previous paragraph.
Although the basics of the balancing procedure as simple and easy to do just like most other gimbals, you do have to be much more precise when you level the gimbal head or the vibration issues will be worse and general performance can suffer. This is another reason that we would recommend the DJI Ronin S over the AK4000 for any heavy DSLR videographer as its balancing procedure is just as easy as the AK4000 but it is much more forgiving if you don’t get everything perfect
With the DJI system, you can pretty much get the balancing procedure around 80% correct and the balancing algorithm and gimbal motors will take care of the rest for you making our life much easier. With the AK4000, you have to be as close to perfect as possible or the performance of the gimbal will suffer and have a direct result on the image quality that you are able to capture.
That brings our Feiyutech AK4000 review to an end and as you can probably tell by what we mentioned way back at the start of the article, we would NOT recommend the Feiyutech AK4000 to our readers. It just has far too many issues to be a decent gimbal, especially when you factor in its current price tag and that the DJI Ronin S is only around $50 more while being the best DSLR gimbal going.
If you are a mirrorless camera user then the Zhiyun Weebill Lab is the better option and at the time of writing its around $200 cheaper than the Feiyutech AK4000 depending on where you purchase it from. As we mentioned earlier in the article, we fully expect Feiyutech to reduce the price of the AK4000 again in the future but in all honesty, even if it falls to the $300 to $400 price point, we would not recommend it over the Ronin S or Weebill Lab.