Can You Use A Gimbal As A Tripod?

Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Nurul

The world of photography and videography is vast, evolving, and laden with choices. Whether you’re capturing the Milky Way’s vastness or the nuanced emotions of a documentary, stabilization remains paramount. Among the many tools available, tripods and gimbals rise to prominence. But a lingering question often surfaces: Can a gimbal replace a tripod? Let’s delve deep into this fascinating discussion.

Should I get a tripod or gimbal?

Purpose and Need

Tripods have long been the stalwarts of the photographic world. Their primary applications include:

  • Stability for long-exposure shots: Ever admired a silky-smooth waterfall shot or the streaks of city lights? These are achieved through long exposures, and tripods are indispensable for such captures.
  • Stationary setups: Landscapes, portraits, product shots, and more. The tripod’s unyielding stability ensures the camera doesn’t budge, guaranteeing tack-sharp images.
  • Astrophotography or macro shots: These niche areas demand immense stability, where even the slightest movement can be ruinous.

On the flip side, Gimbals have recently gained immense popularity, especially among videographers. Here’s why:

  • Motion shots and smooth video capture: Moving through a scene while filming? A gimbal compensates for jerks and movements, ensuring buttery smooth footage.
  • Vlogging and active shooting: For the modern-day content creator on the move, gimbals are invaluable. They offer the flexibility to shoot on the go without the jitters.
  • Achieving cinematic shots: Those breathtaking, sweeping shots you see in films? A gimbal can help achieve that!

Budget and Investment

When it comes to cost, tripods:

  • Offer a broad range: From budget-friendly options for the hobbyist to the rugged, professional-grade models.
  • Typically represent a one-time purchase. With minimal moving parts, they seldom require maintenance or replacements.

In contrast, gimbals:

  • Can be significantly pricier, reflecting their intricate electronics and mechanisms.
  • Might demand occasional upgrades or maintenance, especially for professionals requiring the latest features.

Can a gimbal be used for still photos?


For the adventurous photographer, gimbals offer intriguing benefits:

  • Stability in the wind: Ever tried capturing that perfect shot on a windy mountaintop? Gimbals can help negate some of those unpredictable gusts.
  • Lower light without a tripod: If you’re caught without a tripod as evening falls, a gimbal can provide a level of stabilization to counteract slower shutter speeds.
  • Dynamic environments: Be it a bustling street or a festive parade, gimbals grant the freedom to move and capture simultaneously.


However, perfection remains elusive:

  • Despite their prowess, gimbals don’t match the rock-solid stability of tripods for super long exposures.
  • They’re generally bulkier and can tire out photographers unaccustomed to their heft.
  • Being battery-operated, there’s always a ticking clock on their operation time.

Why use a gimbal on a tripod?

Combining Best of Both Worlds

Merging a gimbal with a tripod might sound counterintuitive, but it can be a match made in heaven:

  • Imagine locking off your shots and seamlessly transitioning to dynamic motion shots without switching equipment.
  • Enhanced pan and tilt capabilities bring an added dimension to videos and time-lapses.
  • Creative endeavors like motion time-lapses become feasible.


However, tread with caution:

  • Not all gimbals might fit or work well with all tripods. Compatibility checks are essential.
  • Balancing becomes even more crucial. The last thing you want is your precious gear toppling over!
  • As always, monitor that battery life.

Disadvantages of a Gimbal

Learning Curve

Transitioning to a gimbal can be akin to learning a new instrument:

  • Balancing, understanding modes, and getting the hang of movements can be daunting initially.
  • Smooth, cinematic shots demand practice, patience, and a keen sense of motion.

Maintenance and Durability

Gimbals are intricate devices:

  • With multiple moving parts, wear and tear are inevitable over time.
  • Unlike the passive tripods, gimbals need regular battery charges and occasional firmware updates.

Price and Portability

For the budget-conscious and the traveler:

  • Gimbals can be a significant investment.
  • Their bulk might make them less travel-friendly compared to the compact travel tripods.

Do professionals use gimbals?

Cinematographers and Videographers

For those in the world of motion pictures:

  • Gimbals are often indispensable, especially for dynamic action sequences or fly-through shots.
  • Documentary filmmakers swear by them for capturing raw, real moments without the shakes.


Gimbals, while more associated with videography, have found admirers among photographers:

  • Event photographers benefit immensely, capturing candid moments on the move.
  • However, studio photographers or those specializing in still subjects might find little use for them.

Is a gimbal worth it for DSLR?

Weight and Balance Concerns

DSLRs, with their heft, bring about considerations:

  • Not all gimbals can manage the weight of a hefty DSLR and lens combo. Research becomes paramount.
  • Balancing a DSLR on a gimbal is a meticulous task, but it’s crucial for optimal performance.

Benefits for DSLR Users

For DSLR aficionados:

  • Gimbals can significantly enhance video capabilities, bringing in a professional touch.
  • They offer flexibility in challenging light, reducing the reliance on higher ISOs or wider apertures.


However, be wary of:

  • Battery life, as heavier gear can drain gimbals faster.
  • Potential add-ons or accessories that might be required to accommodate larger lenses or external mics.

FAQs: Can You Use a Gimbal as a Tripod?

Are gimbals designed to be used as tripods?

While gimbals are primarily designed for stabilizing motion and eliminating shakes during handheld camera operations, many gimbals come with tripod legs or can be attached to a tripod base, allowing them to function similarly to tripods for static shots.

Can a gimbal replace a traditional tripod in photography and videography?

While gimbals can serve some functions of a tripod, especially when paired with tripod legs, they may not fully replace the stability and sturdiness of a dedicated tripod, especially for long-exposure shots or specific videography needs.

Is it possible to mount a gimbal on a tripod?

Yes, many modern gimbals feature a standard tripod screw mount on the bottom, allowing them to be attached to tripod legs or other mounting systems. This hybrid setup can offer both stabilization and static support.

Can I achieve long exposure shots using a gimbal instead of a tripod?

Although gimbals can provide great stabilization for video, they may not offer the absolute stillness required for long exposure photography. For best results with long exposures, a sturdy tripod is recommended.

Is the battery life of a gimbal affected if used as a tripod for extended periods?

If the gimbal’s motors are active, even in a static position, they will consume battery power. Using a gimbal as a stationary tripod with motors off will conserve more battery, but it’s essential to check the gimbal’s specific power requirements.

Are there specific gimbal models designed to double up as tripods?

Some gimbals come with integrated or attachable tripod legs, making it convenient to switch between handheld stabilization and tripod functionality. Popular brands often offer these features to cater to versatile shooting needs.

Can a gimbal provide the same angle flexibility as a ball head tripod?

While gimbals allow for smooth panning, tilting, and sometimes rolling, they might not provide the same comprehensive angle adjustments quickly as a ball head tripod. Each tool has its unique advantages.

Is using a gimbal as a tripod a common practice among professional videographers?

While some professionals might use a gimbal as a makeshift tripod in specific situations, most would still rely on dedicated tripods for static shots due to their sturdiness and reliability.

Are there any limitations to using a gimbal as a tripod for DSLRs or mirrorless cameras?

Gimbals have weight limits based on their motor strength. When using a gimbal as a tripod, ensure the camera setup (including lenses and accessories) does not exceed the gimbal’s weight capacity. Overloading can damage the gimbal and compromise stability.

Can the stabilization features of a gimbal interfere when used as a tripod for static shots?

If the gimbal’s motors are active, they can introduce slight movements, especially if they are trying to correct for perceived instability. For truly static shots, it’s best to either turn off the gimbal’s motors or use a dedicated tripod.


The tripod vs. gimbal debate isn’t a matter of one being superior to the other. It’s about understanding your shooting needs, environment, and the stories you wish to tell. As technology evolves and the boundaries between photography and videography blur, staying informed and adaptable becomes essential. Whether you choose a tripod, a gimbal, or both, remember that the best tool is the one that helps you capture your vision to the fullest. Happy shooting!

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