DJI's Inspire 1 hand-held gimbal brings its flying camera down to earth

DJI is perhaps best known for its drones. The company also makes some pretty sweet photography gear. Often, these two skill sets meet in perfect harmony -- like the 4K camera-toting Inspire 1 video drone. DJI thought it was a shame to keep that new camera limited to aerial photography though, so it's setting it free with a hand-held gimbal (motorized camera stabilizer). In fact, the gimbal part is the same as the one that's on the drone, but attached to a handgrip mount. The result is a small, yet extremely stable 4K video camera. Similar devices exist for GoPros, but DJI's design is not just more visually appealing, but also more practical and comfortable to use. We were lucky enough to get to try it out for ourselves in the desert.

Let's get back to how it looks for a moment. It's pretty cool. Naturally, it matches the design language of the Inspire 1 drone. As a standalone device, it's a smart-looking piece of kit, but there's definitely a whiff of "Stormtrooper" about it. The device we saw was only a prototype, but it's clear it'll be ergonomic and comfortable to use. There are a few controls on the handle within reach of your thumb, and it houses a mic too, as the camera doesn't have one (there's not much to record up in the air).

What makes the gimbal really smart though, is the addition of a clip for your phone. DJI has created a companion app that allows you to use your smartphone as a viewfinder. This makes the mini rig a surprisingly comprehensive, yet portable stabilized 4K video setup. What better way to test it than shooting side by side with a camera on a regular, non-stabilized grip? We did exactly that, stomping around the Nevada desert. The results speak for themselves. The footage is incredibly, dreamily smooth, but a few bugs in the app meant we could only grab a few short moments. Watch below to see for yourself.

The gimbal may just be a prototype, and we still have no idea of price, but we're sure this information will be available soon enough. What we do know is that DJI is thinking about ways to add real value to its existing kit. The addition of this device makes the Inspire drone package 100 percent more useful. Now you can theoretically use the same camera to complete a whole video project, and anything that improves our overall workflow is a welcome addition.

DJI Inspire 1 Gimbal Test