The Best Cheap Gimbal for Action Cameras? Zhiyun Rider-M Review

by Linus 0

Action cameras are great. They are very compact, easy to use and they can produce a high-quality footage. Also, my YI 4K action camera gives me the convenience of infinite focus and wide angle lens, just like a GoPro or any other high-end sports camera.

However, the handheld footage is usually shaky and wobbly but one of the best and the most mobile solutions is a gimbal if you don’t want to carry your bulky tripod everywhere you go. I just came across the Zhiyun Rider-M, which fits most of the action cameras and it is just a fantastic little device… and it’s pretty affordable. Learn more in our full review.

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Zhiyun Rider-M Gimbal Review: VIDEO REVIEW

Zhiyun Rider-M Gimbal Review: UNBOXING

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The device ships with all the stuff you need to start shooting videos. Some notable accessories include a high-quality selfie stick that is made out mostly of metal. Also, there are two sets of batteries, a charger, a really nice carrying pouch, video output and charging cables for GoPro cameras and the GoPro accessory adapter, so you can attach the gimbal to almost anything you want.

Zhiyun Rider-M Gimbal Review: DESIGN, FEATURES and FUNCTIONALITY


The first thing you are going to notice is the build quality. The gimbal is made entirely of metal and it doesn’t seem to break anytime soon.


We have some standard ports as the microUSB, GoPro charging and the video output port. The 1/4 screw mount allows you to attach the gimbal to all sorts of accessories. If you attach it to the tripod like I did, you will get some very smooth shoots.

What I love about the Zhiyun Rider-M is that it is very easy to use right off the bat.  All you have to do is to put your camera into the bracket, tighten up the screws, turn it on and you are good to go. We have just two control buttons. The power and the mode button.


The default mode is called the pan follow mode and I used it most of the time.

I have to tell you that the footage looks just stunning. I was simply walking normally and didn’t try to hold my hands steadily at all but the footage looks very smooth. Also, the gimbal is very responsive and even if you move it too quickly, you will still have smooth and slow panning or tilting motion. One mistake that I made was holding the selfie stick completely vertically. That’s why one of the axis of the gimbal was caught by the wide angle lens of my YI 4k camera in a few shots. If you don’t make this mistake, you will be able to shoot some awesome-looking videos.

If you press the mode button once, the gimbal will enter the locking mode, which is great for the smooth pan or tilt shots if you want to film a particular object. This mode works great with both landscape and product shots.


If you press the mode button twice, you will enter the pan and pitch following mode, where the gimbal moves towards the direction you point the camera to.  This mode works pretty well too. Even if you move the gimbal quickly, you will get a smooth shot since all the axes move slowly. The last mode is the selfie mode and it is triggered by pressing the mode button 3 times. A cool feature is that you can simply point the gimbal to the direction you want and hold it for 1 second and the Rider M locks that angle automatically.

Another great feature is that you can control the gimbal using your phone via the Bluetooth. Obviously, you can also switch from one mode to another but you can also control the gimbal manually to get that perfect shot.

Zhiyun Rider-M Gimbal Review: BATTERY LIFE


When it comes to the battery life, it’s just fantastic. You can always track the amount of juice left using the app but I have to tell you the batteries last forever and I wasn’t able to kill them in like 5 days. If you need to recharge them, the supplied charger fully recharges the batteries in about 2 hours.

Zhiyun Rider-M Gimbal Review: CONCLUSIONS


In my opinion, the Zhiyun Rider-M is a really great gimbal that has been working absolutely fine so far.

The shots it allows you to take look very smooth even if you don’t hold the gimbal steadily and simply walk normally. Also, the device doesn’t feel cheap at all since it is made entirely of metal.

The last things I wanted to mention again is a great battery life, the ability to control the gimbal using your phone and the ease of use of this device. You just take it out of the box and start shooting.


All in all, I can definitely recommend the Zhiyun Rider-M if you want to step your action camera video game up. I will be using this gimbal in some of my future reviews and I will update the description of this video if something goes wrong with this device. For now, I love the way it works and I think it’s well worth the price of $250.