At the time of writing, GoPro have just confirmed their next generation of action cameras and with the rapidly increasing popularity of the DJI Osmo Action we are seeing more and more people reaching out for advice on various action camera gimbal stabilizers. Now, we have covered a fair few of the popular options over the last few months already but we have noticed a number of requests for a Feiyutech G5 review.
Now, although back in its day, the G5 was a solid little action camera gimbal that is able to support cameras from the GoPro, Yi Cam, and AAE action camera ranges, it is most definatley starting to show its age. Over the years since its release, the Feiyutech G5 has managed to earn a decent reputation amongst the community but amongst still competition in the action cam space, it never really managed to grow a large customer base.
Additionally, at the time of writing, the Feiyutech G6 has been released and is currently the latest in the Feiyutech action camera gimbal line. Not only does it offer much better performance and functionality but it is also only twenty to thirty dollars more depending on the retailer you purchase it from. We would highly recommend the Feiyutech G6 over the G5 if you are able to afford the slight increase in price as it is a solid gimbal, has an excellent reputation amongst the community and is steadily growing its customer base. We also have a dedicated Feiyutech G6 review online that you can read if you wish too.
All that said and done though, we honestly feel that the best budget-friendly action camera gimbal on the market right now is actually the Zhiyun Smooth 4 along with the action camera adaptor plate. It is currently around the same price tag as the Feiyutech G6 but offers the best image stabilization and thus image quality possible from its superior performance. Although it is a smartphone gimbal, the action plate adaptor allows you to mount a large number of action cameras to it and it probably has the best reputation in the space by a longshot right now.
Anyway, we know a number of our readers will likely still want a full Feiyutech G5 review so we have our full breakdown of the G5 below. We just wanted to get the recommendations out of the way as early as possible in the article rather than have our readers get to the end just to find out there are much better options available for only a small increase in price.
Performance And Functionality
With a maximum load capacity of 0.28 pounds, the G5 is also able to support the payload weight of a number of these entry-level action cameras too. That said though, many of those brands do use cheaper materials in the construction of their cameras to keep costs down. This can often mean that the cheaper materials are heavier and sometimes will come in at over the 0.28-pound load capacity of the Feiyutech G5. At the time of writing though, all of the premium level action cameras from the GoPro, Yi Action, and AAE ranges will mount without issue.
Although pretty dated by the standards of modern gimbals, the Feiyutech G5 offers a maximum battery life of up to eight hours with each full charge. We would imagine that this would be plenty of power for the majority of our readers to ensure that you are able to capture your action camera footage with the smooth image stabilization of the G5 but there is a way to extend it further.
More and more people in niches that may have them away from a power outlet for days at a time are starting to add a high output USB power bank to their camera accessories. This allows you to jack your devices into your power bank when required and top them up without having access to a wall outlet. Although it will depend on the output levels of your power bank, you can often recharge your gimbal from the higher quality ones too.
Now, recharging times from these power banks will depend on the output of the unit but the Feiyutech G5 can be recharged in around four hours via a regular wall outlet. This ensures that you are able to either extend your battery life as required or recharge your gimbal as quickly as possible to minimise downtime during use.
This is not only due to the technology available back when the G5 was initially released onto the market but also due to the Feiyutech balancing algorithm not being as good as what brands like Zhiyun and DJI are putting in their gimbals. For around five years now both Zhiyun and DJI have been way out ahead of the competing gimbal brands when it comes to their actual balancing algorithm and it really does show.
Now, if you are an entry-level videographer or vlogger, there is a good chance that this won’t matter to you and that you may not even notice it. On the flip side though, if you are a professional level videographer doing paid action sports gigs then this does have an effect on the level of image quality that you are able to capture. As we mentioned above, we feel that the Zhiyun Smooth 4 with the action camera adaptor plate is probably the best budget-friendly action camera gimbal solution on the market right now due to not having this lagging issue with its image stabilization.
User Interface And Control System
The G5 is very simple and is based around the regular handheld gimbal system of a joystick with some buttons to allow you to get the basics out of the gimbal while having to invest the minimal amount of time possible to do so. Feiyutech has done a solid job of achieving this on their action camera gimbal range and we would imagine most people can take their G5 out of the box and understand the basic principals from just looking at the gimbal.
Although the joystick on the G5 is not as responsive as modern gimbals, this is simply down to the technology available back when the G5 was initially released onto the market. All other competing gimbals released around that same time frame also had sensitivity issues with their joysticks and gimbal head movements and it’s not really until the last two generations of gimbals where brands have really managed to nail it.
All in all, we feel that Feiyutech has done a solid job with the control system for the G5 and is confident that it will easily meet the needs of our readers. When you factor in the target market for the G5, we can’t actually think of a single thing that we would change about the control system for it and would actually leave it as it is other than modernizing the joystick sensitivity.
That said though if you are planning to do a whole bunch of manual mode work with your gimbal then the Feiyutech G6 has a newer control system and its joystick is much more responsive to touch. It allows excellent control of your gimbal head and ensures that you are able to aim your stabilizer as required to get the best possible image quality for your footage.
There are a number of syncing and general connectivity issues with the Feiyutech G5 making it frustrating to use. There is nothing worse than going through a bunch of failed syncs just to initially pair your app and gimbal with each other just for it to disconnect again. We hope that their smartphone app is overhauled soon as it really does need it but Feiyutech is having problems with a number of their gimbals so we doubt that it will be updated anytime soon.
On the flip side of this though, the smartphone app is not essential in any way to get your Feiyutech G5 and really only offers some limited wireless remote functionality as well as quick and easy access to your gimbals settings. In addition to this, the gimbal config that is shipped with the gimbal as standard is probably going to meet the needs of the vast majority of entry-level action camera gimbal users anyway so there is probably no need to ever tweak your settings for normal use.
Build Quality And Design
Due to this, pretty much every gimbal brand decided to make robust, tough gimbals that could take a bunch of knocks without breaking without thinking of the weight issue. They used heavier materials to ensure that their gimbals were as tough as realistically possible resulting in a pretty heavy gimbal.
Now, in all fairness, as the vast majority of action cameras are light anyway, we would imagine that most people will still be able to use the Feiyutech G5 without issue. The problem comes when you are doing any extended recording that lasts for long periods of time. The weight of the gimbal really starts to show and your arm can easily start to get aches and pains.
That brings us to the end of our ultimate Feiyutech G5 review and in all honesty, we would not recommend that our readers add the G5 to their collection of action camera accessories. As we mentioned earlier in the game, the Feiyutech G6 is now available and improves on the G5 in every way without adding too much to the price tag. Additionally, a number of independent reviews of the G6 have been posted online and back up our opinion that it is a much better option than the G5.
That said, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is probably the best smartphone gimbal on the market right now and with the action camera adaptor plate it can also mount a large number of popular action cameras. Due to this, we feel that the Smooth 4 with the adaptor plate is probably the best route to take at the time of writing as it is a better handheld gimbal than both the Feiyutech G5 and G6 while also being a very similar price.