FlyCam Nano 1st impressions

FlyCam Nano+ Canon 7d + Sigma 10-20mm
FlyCam Nano+ Canon 7d + Sigma 10-20mm
FlyCam Nano+ Canon 7d + Sigma 10-20mm + Hoya ND Filter + Gitzo MH621 QR

So over the weekend we received a FlyCam Nano to try out. First impression, love the size! It’s small enough to fit in my camera backpack along with all my other gear. This is a big deal as most of the time with larger stabilizers you’ll need to check with your bags when travelling, this can go into my carry on bag. It’s well made with mostly metal and a few plastics parts. Note that this is my first stabilizer, I wanted to get something that would last a few years so I can get practice using it before I make a larger financial commitment if need be. No need to jump into the deep end of the “gear” pool right away. So the FlyCam was the perfect solution and so far I see it looks like a great step.

Although it states that the little stabilizer can only handle small (and light) consumer video cameras like the Canon HG and HV series and the max weight it can handle is 700grams, we’ve also heard it can handle a little more weight than that. So we loaded it up with a Canon 7D DSLR (900 grams with battery) plus a Sigma 10-20 EX HSM wide angle (480 grams with lens hood), a Hoya ND filter (45 grams) and a Gitzo MH621 quick release plate (100 grams) which adds up to roughly 1525 grams easily doubling the estimated max weight it can handle. Will it still work?

Well after loading it all up I’m happy to say it DOES! Well with a little noodling to balance and adding all the 16 weights (8 weights per side), to the sled I went to tried it out down at the beach. Hoping to get a full day to try it out, I carry all my lenses and equipment as well as my normal beach gear (wetsuit, towel, boardshorts etc…) down to the beach but, I was bumped off the beach by a heavy marine layer (wet fog) that swallowed up everything within minutes with a grey haze. So capturing ‘pretty’ footage was gonna be out of the question, but while I was looking for something to try the stabilizer out, I noticed my close friend Jay Lightburne loading up his arms with all his girlfriends beach gear as well as his own. Well even though I was also loaded up with all my own gear, I decided to try out the stabilizer just to see if I can follow him up to his car while walking through a few different types of surfaces include soft beach sand, gravel, hard packed trail dirt, a wooden bridge and concrete. Now this wasn’t the best test to see if the FlyCam would stay stable as I was pretty worn out from carrying more than just the stabilizer and use of both hands was sometimes not in the cards, I was still able to get an impression of how it would work. There are a few times that the camera would bobble but I was able to later figure out the balancing to get it just right for a real test with both my hands free. A very important point about balancing the camera on the platform is to adjust everything by millimeters. This is the only way to get the stabilizer perfectly balanced. I’m not gonna get into how I balanced the sled right now but there’s nothing more important than to balance the stabilizer with millimeter adjustments, there’s really no other way to get it right…and be patient.

Here’s a little clip I put together while walking the 3rd point trail back up to the parking lot with the FlyCam Nano. I would normally not put a clip like this for all to see, but I got a little sentimental with Valentine’s Day, I figured that this clip shows true love…When your girl calls to tell you that she left her stuff on the beach and you gotta bring it back up to the car I call this clip, “I Left My Stuff”

I’ll post a real test but here’s my initial impression and I can see using it for added production value on some clips in the future. I want to thank, if it wasn’t for them, I’d probably wouldn’t even bother trying out the FlyCam Nano, but after their different reviews, I felt safe to try it myself.