Are you considering purchasing the Beholder DS1 DSLR gimbal? Then, you probably should read the review before making a final decision about your gimbal purchase. I prepared this detailed stabilizer overview on RightChoice hoping to help those filmmakers, who are still looking for the best DSLR stabilizer. In this Beholder DS1 review, I am going to analyze the key characteristics of a given gimbal. Here are the points that I am going to touch upon:
- Performance of the gimbal
- The stabilizer’s control panel
- Companion software
- The quality of construction
Does learning about these features sound interesting to you? If your answer is “yes”, make sure you are comfortable – the review is going to be long!
- 1 Beholder DS1: Introduction
- 2 Beholder DS1 Vs Competitors
- 3 Compatibility
- 4 Beholder DS1 Balancing Problems
- 5 Battery Performance
- 6 Beholder DS1 Stabilization Performance
- 7 Other Issues
- 8 Controlling Beholder DS1
- 9 Beholder DS1 Android Application
- 10 Beholder DS1 Construction Quality
- 11 Summary
- 12 Final Verdict On Beholder DS1
Beholder DS1: Introduction
The DSLR gimbal stabilizer has gained a controversial reputation during the years of its existence. You either love or hate it – there is no in-between. Some users have been reporting various issues with the Beholder DS1, others did not like its stabilization performance. However, there has always been a group that loved this gimbal. And there definitely were qualities to love it for.
Nevertheless, the group of this stabilizer’s fans was too small to let it build a decent customer community. Therefore, the gimbal has never become truly popular. Among a big number of competitors, it does deserve to be in the first part of the list. However, it has never been good enough to be the best.
Additionally, the Beholder DS1 is not a brand new device. Released a few years ago, it is older than many of its competitors. You might know that age is a key factor when talking about technological development. Newer devices always look more impressive and feature more characteristics.
Even when the device was first released, it did not look as good as some other gimbals. Especially, given its price, the filmmakers tended to make wiser choices and purchase other, better models of electronic stabilizers.
Beholder DS1 Vs Competitors
It is not a secret that the gimbal manufacturing brand has never been famous for its stabilizer production. Therefore, it is not a surprise that people tended to choose other well-established companies.
On top of this, the Beholder DS1 never offered any significant price discounts. It still costs $439, which is quite a high price for a stabilizer of this quality. In 2021, there are so many more impressive gimbals to purchase. Think of the Zhiyun Weebill LAB, for example. This stabilizer is well-known for its stabilization quality, battery performance, and construction. However, it is also $100 cheaper than the notorious DS1. Is not the choice evident?
Additionally, the Weebill LAB has earned excellent reviews from the filmmakers. Compared to the Beholder DS1 its charge can last longer. Moreover, it is compatible with a wider range of DSLR cameras due to the fact that it supports heavier devices.
I always recommend my colleagues to look at the reviews first and then order a gimbal. Reading reviews, listening to people’s opinions can save us from many mistakes. In the case of the DS1, you can purchase a better gimbal for the same money. As a reward, you will get many more impressive features and stable footage.
Even though the gimbal does not seem full of positive sides, I am still going to evaluate it. At the end of the day, any DSLR gimbal is worth looking at. They are not as popular as GoPro or smartphone gimbals are, so we have got to appreciate every device that sees the world.
To start your acquaintance with this gimbal, I am planning to elaborate on its performance. At the end of the day, the quality of stabilization and the way the device operates are the only things that matter.
The Beholder DS1 gimbal, unfortunately for the manufacturer, cannot be proud of its compatibility. Suitable for work with devices, featuring a total weight of up to 1700 grams, it is not compatible with many devices.
However, its poor compatibility stated on the paper is even worse in the real life. If you try mounting a camera that weighs about 1600 grams, you will see that the DS1 does not work as it should. Its motors will be overwhelmed by the weight of the camera. The gimbal will cease performing normally.
Therefore, you really should not expect your gimbal to perform well with the mounted devices that are heavier than 1500 grams. Meanwhile, typically DSLR cameras are much heavier than that, especially if you want to use them with a lens.
In my opinion, the pure fact of poor compatibility makes it difficult to recommend this gimbal to my fellow-filmmakers. The market is full of stabilization devices at the same price range, whose maximum payload is twice as high. Look at DJI Ronin-S or the aforementioned Zhiyun device, for example.
Beholder DS1 Balancing Problems
It is a widely known fact that balancing your gimbal might be a headache and the thing that you are going to hate the most. Yet, knowing that many gimbal manufacturers try to adapt their devices accordingly to make them more balancing-friendly. And, again, unfortunately for Beholder, the DS1 is not an example of a device that is easy to balance.
When I first purchased this DSLR gimbal, I had to spend more than 15 minutes balancing it. Later, it required me 5-10 minutes to make the device prepared for every shooting. In addition to this, if you dare to use your gimbal with a camera lens, you will see that it is almost impossible to reach the balance. The camera lens appears to be too heavy for this gimbal; therefore, it cannot serve properly.
Again, the Beholder DS1 did not do well in terms of its battery performance, either. The users have been continuously reporting various issues with the stabilizer’s time of operation at a single charge.
Surprisingly, the manufacturer is promising that the DS1 can last up to 10 hours. However, some users have reported that the battery of this gimbal could work for 4 hours only. Of course, there were other observations. Some filmmakers managed to shoot for 6 hours, others – for 5. On average, the battery could last up to 8 hours only.
I do understand that this time might depend on many factors. The weight of your camera, the shooting mode used may indeed affect the battery performance. However, it seems that the difference is too big. Therefore, the users that bought this gimbal can feel as if they were lied to.
Another factor that is important when talking about battery performance is the charging time. To reach a full charge on the Beholder DS1, you need to have your devices charging for at least 4 hours. Paying so much money for this device, it is logical to expect a better performance.
A rather weak battery is another factor proving that it might make more sense to look at other devices. For example, a gimbal by DJI, the Ronin-M can provide a long time operation. Meanwhile, you will get your battery full in a much shorter time. Given the price you will have to pay for DS1, you definitely should look for other options.
Beholder DS1 Stabilization Performance
At the end of the day, the stabilization performance is the main quality that matters the most when talking about a gimbal. I wish I could say that this is the area where the Beholder DS1 handheld stabilizer rocked. I even tested it more than I would normally do in a hope that it would provide some great results.
Nevertheless, it did not happen. The DS1 stabilization performance is just fine. Moreover, when I have tested the gimbal in less friendly conditions, I found that the footage had a noticeable shake.
Even though this is a 3 axis gimbal, it does not feature excellent stabilization. The Beholder DS1 will definitely not become your best friend if you like shooting on the move, in a bumpy car, or when jumping. But is not this something that the gimbals were made for?
I have been testing this gimbal for about a week. I did notice a few problems, and I have already shared my experience in this review on RightChoice. However, there were more problems than my fellow colleagues have been complaining about.
I did not notice that, but some users on the forums reported that the Beholder DS1’s motors are too loud. When you film with your audio recording on, you can hear the motor’s sound in the footage later. This might be true. To be honest, I did not pay much attention to the quality of the audio, since I do not need it.
However, if you appreciate the audio content in your footage (which might be the case for bloggers), this is going to be a problem. Of course, the unwanted sound can be cleared up when you start editing the video. But this is not the quality that you’d expect from an expensive gimbal.
Besides this, the gimbal makes a strange beeping sound when changing the shooting regime. I do not know what it is there for; however, it does affect the quality of your audio when recording footage. Also, please note that this sound is pretty loud and it is almost impossible to get rid out of it when editing the video.
So far, this gimbal DSLR has been quite disappointing. I wish I could add some positive points; however, the stabilizer seems indeed problematic. If you do not trust this review, you can always check out the comments of other videographers on specialized forums and social media.
Controlling Beholder DS1
Most of the modern gimbals feature simple control panels and employ various smartphone applications for advanced control. The Beholder DS1 is different. Most of its control functions are placed in special software, installed on a personal computer. The software interface is somewhat complicated. Yet, you can get used to it.
However, you might know that filming with a gimbal requires adjusting the settings multiple times in the course of one shooting only. Sometimes you use different cameras with different weights and have to quickly switch the settings. Having your control system in software makes the process significantly slower.
Additionally, the software occasionally fails to connect to a gimbal, which can make anyone anxious about their shoot. What is especially funny is that the program fails even in the official video, posted by the Beholder on one of its official social media channels.
This is another reason why the Beholder DS1 did not become a decent competitor to Zhiyun or DJI gimbals. The time of a videographer costs a lot of money and they have to switch quickly when working. Unfortunately, the DS1 complicated system fails to do this. That is why more and more filmmakers decide to go with the more modern stabilizers.
Beholder DS1 Android Application
I feel that I should note in this review that the Beholder DS1 does have an application designed to simplify its control opportunities. However, this app is compatible with Android devices only. As an owner of an iPhone, I had no chance to test this application.
However, thanks to the reviews available online, I found that the software for smartphones is not any better than the one made for personal computers. Sometimes the app refuses to connect to users’ devices, occasionally it stops working at all. It generally is buggy and difficult to use.
This is another weak point that DS1 features. I know that the apps are not always great, but given that this gimbal hardly features any good quality, it is an important thing to note. Just a few months ago, it was very common for gimbal software to be poor and buggy. However, gimbal manufacturers tend to be progressive and improve their devices for the users. I mean, look how great the DJI app is!
Beholder DS1 Construction Quality
Finally, there is something that DS1 did well. The gimbal features quite good and attractive build quality. I cannot say that it is very special from what most DSLR gimbals look like. However, at least the gimbal looks good and robust.
There are not many things that could be improved about this device’s build quality. However, if there was one thing to change, I want the design to make the camera’s screen less obstructed with the gimbal’s parts.
I know that this problem was common for many years. However, many manufacturers tend to make their gimbals’ arms angled to ensure that the camera screen is visible. This way you can control your frames and image, as well as change the camera settings easily.
Other than that, the stabilizer looks pretty durable. Its construction is made the way that it is both robust, but also light. Given the fact that the device does not support heavy setups, the whole construction with a mounted camera, will not be heavy. This makes sure that the operator will not feel exhausted during the shoot.
Also, since most of the control features are placed in the software, the gimbal’s control panel is very simple. In case you are not looking for any complicated advanced settings, you can intuitively use the Beholder DS1’s built-in control panel. This is a gimbal that would serve best those, who are afraid of complex technology. If you are looking for simple solutions, this gimbal might be worth a try.
Just as with any gimbal, the Beholder DS1 has its advantages and shortcoming. However, surprisingly even for me, this device has weaker points.
- Simple gimbal control-panel
- Good build quality
- Poor stabilization quality
- Bad battery performance
- Software connection
- Smartphone app (various issues; build for Android only)
- Gimbal’s elements obscure the camera’s screen
- Loud motors
- Balancing is a pain
- Low payload
Final Verdict On Beholder DS1
If you do not like dealing with complicated technical stuff while filming with your gimbal, you probably could consider purchasing the Beholder DS1. Its control panel is quite simple; however, it might be over-simplistic for you. If you are filming professionally, you will be facing continuous issues while using your gimbal.
First of all, it will be difficult for you to control it. Using the software is not always comfortable, especially, when it keeps disconnecting. The Android app does not suit everyone and has connection problems.
In addition, you are not going to love the Beholder DS1’s stabilization performance. In fact, I did not expect a modern 3-axis gimbal to perform so poorly. In general, the stabilizer seems to be very disappointing. Clearly, it cannot beat out its main competitors.
Buying a gimbal stabilizer for this price, you have a full right to expect to receive a more successful device. However, this gimbal is not likely to meet any of your requirements. It does feature one good thing. Its build quality is robust and reliable.
However, the gimbal elements cover the camera screen. At the end of the day, who is going to care about the build quality, if the gimbal does not fulfill its main duty – making the footage stable?
Drawing up a conclusion, I have to admit that it is difficult to recommend the Beholder DS1 over other devices. The gimbal is quite old, but it has never been successful despite its expensive price. Therefore, I recommend you consider other gimbals, presented in the same price category. The Beholder DS1 is the best DSLR gimbal for technophobes.
If you are looking for more successful devices, check out my complete overview of the best DSLR gimbals.