Miguel de Sá

Moza Mini-S Essential, only 80 bucks?!

I guess Moza nailed the target audience with price and features of this gimbal Mini-S Essential. 2 Years ago I did buy a gimbal for 3 times the price for a 3rd of features… as we come a long way.

I have been using this gimbal for a week now, BUT only now I’m confident to share with you how this bad boy works and tell you the good, the bad and only 80 bucks?!

See here the video result from this collaboration ▶

Functionality

There is a lot to unpack, first, the layout and the app.
The grip is very grippy and wide. Also hides a simple feature that you can use this vertically. The battery will last for 5 hours, but if you balance the smartphone correctly it can get more than that.

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Turn it on by long-pressing the power button. Also, this button put the gimbal in standby between takes with a simple press. Shutt it down is long-press as well.
On the app press here to connect with the gimbal via Bluetooth. Now we can see the battery level from the gimbal and smartphone.
In the center of the image is 2 icons for focus and exposure from the areas they are in, so you can move them around, and by pressing once it will lock the focus and exposure. I wish other apps could do this as easy.
Tracking option is reasonably good, and nice to have on a low budget gimbal.

Exploring the app’s features we will find recording resolutions, frame rates, beauty modes, follow focus options, (the continuous focus is great on my Oneplus) zoom speed, calibration and so on. I won’t be spending much time showing you that.

The layout of the buttons is very well done distributed in a way that I can use it without losing the grip, and it has a trigger! So So Cool. the buttons on the center are multifunction… because this Moza Mini S Essential, it isn’t essential but a package monster modes gimbal. And let explore them:
Standard mode, just turn on and you are in this mode, horizontal movement is in follow mode, tilt is locked. To override use the joystick to tilt and pan smoothly. Double-tap the trigger to reset the position. If you hold the trigger, the tilt will follow your movement, double press and hold it looks all positions.
Pressing one time UP you will get the menu, press 2 times up it jumps between photo and video mode, long press it changes the camera.
2 times left you are in “POV mode”, horizontal and tilt follow your movements. In this mode, the double trigger takes you to the standard position. Press 2 Times left again to get back to the standard mode.
Press 2 times down to activate “sports gear mode”, in this mode you can see that is less smother and reacts more rapidly. And 3 times down to “inception mode”.

The products in the video, this is Amazon affiliate links:

Moza Mini-S Essential
US: https://amzn.to/2Sycos2 // FR: https://amzn.to/2OdikrH // UK: https://amzn.to/2OgfpPc // IT: https://amzn.to/2K3YHgn //ES: https://amzn.to/2YdArOf

The Smartphone used on this video OnePlus 6t:
USA: https://amzn.to/2r74Uz8 // UK: https://amzn.to/2zq290i // ES: https://amzn.to/2PZXA7C // FR: https://amzn.to/2ReTxR4

The Good

Okay, this good list will be very long!

The obvious is the small footprint to carry it around, it is a great design. Offsetting one of the motors is genius. This small decision makes this gimbal compatible with almost all smartphones with no extra counterweight. Plus, all the ports of your phone are accessible. The grip has a dent avoiding accidental pressing on the smartphone’s power and volume buttons. Very good!

I love this LED light here, it gives the information if it’s on, with the blue color, the battery level, and red for charging.

USB-c charge port! Low budget stuff has to leave the mini USB, and I’m glad to see that here. It’s possible to recharge using it.
Time-lapse that recognizes tracking! So it isn’t a time-lapse but an hyperlapse.

The universal ¼ screw on the bottom unlocks a lot of creative ideas, for example, I did also used it as a crane by attaching a boom stick.

Motion time-lapse, this very cool mode is hidden in the menu, but as you can record positions like keyframes and play through during a time-lapse… this is great!
The joystick is very smooth, I just wish it has a more gripping texture.

Cable options to use in 3rd party apps (has native camera app, OpenCamera, Instagram, and so on) In reality this cable is just using the volume rocket to start and stop recordings… I guess they could just use a Bluetooth connection for this, but if this solution is able to keep the price down, yes, please! I just wish they would use a normal jack 3.5 on both ends, as they are more common.

The Bad

I did also found not so good things… so… the bad list is a bit long as well, mostly because I really like this Moza Mini-S… and in this chapter, me and Moza mini S will have an honest friendly conversation… And let’s hope you listen to me, and… make at least some app updates…

You have to connect the Bluetooth every single time you open the app… the app is up, the gimble is on… just link yourself God damn!

Limit movement with big phones, I guess it’s the trade-off for being portable. As a safety feature, the gimbal goes on standby if the motor is forced into a movement is shouldn’t be. Also, the arm gets in the field of view of the Oneplus 6t camera sometimes, double tap on the trigger to reset the position fixed this problem, I don’t see this problem with the LG g5, so I guess this problem will depend on the field of view… otherwise, check out the Moza mini mi.

Tracking option only in HD 30p? No 4k time-lapse?
And if you have keyframe positioning time-lapse, why not video?!

The app doesn’t say which “mode” you are in… I find myself just power off in to standby and back on to reset the mode I’m in… because I’m stupid and I get lost easily…
Navigate the app with the gimbal buttons is too much confusing. I just use the screen.
So you are recording and to reset the position, Double trigger, and it just uses one axis correction at the time…
No raw photos… But will you use this for photos?

80 Bucks?!

Is the price… please is 80 dollars. 2 Years ago I did buy a gimbal for triple the price and a 3rd of the features… as we come a long way. You may find out other gimbals less expensive than this one, but I really doubt that it has all the features as this one has, has the payload as this one, or even if it has the three axles stabilization.
I guess Moza nailed the target audience with the price and features of this gimbal. The images you’ll have are ready to share, for example, the time-lapse is a video in the smartphone’s gallery, not photos that you need to be stitched into a video. The professional camera mode, it is just light compensation and manual white balance… no histogram, no shutter speed control, and no 24fps… this feature is for control freaks like me. I imagine that the target audience won’t give a F*** for these options. If these options are very important to you…well it won’t be an 80 bucks smartphone gimbal for sure…

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