Although it is not the most popular camera body on the market right now, the Pentax K1 does have a very loyal, die hardcore customer base of people who use it and is also seeing slow consistent growth of its core customer base with each passing month. Even though it has a smaller customer base than many of the camera bodies that we see people reaching out and asking for, we still see a fair few people reaching out and asking various questions on what camera accessories can help improve the performance of the K1.
One of the most popular questions that we have seen asked over the last few months is based around the best gimbal for Pentax K1 cameras and it seems to be slightly increased in frequency too. Due to the heavyweight and bulky nature of the K1, we have decided to dedicate today’s article to going over the gimbals that we feel you should be considering for optimal image stabilization and optimal image quality during use.
Now, in all fairness, there is a solid argument that can be made for the Zhiyun Crane 3 being the best gimbal currently available on the market right now for the Pentax K1. It offers some excellent performance with some great reviews from the community to back it up too. That said though, its unique design and large, potentially difficult to pack size has put a large number of people off the gimbal.
Due to the Pentax K1 being such a heavy and bulky DSLR camera body, the only other handheld gimbal stabilizer on the market right now that we are comfortable recommending to our readers is the DJI Ronin S. The Ronin S is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to DSLR camera gimbals and offers excellent performance for the heavier setups and has a more traditional handheld gimbal design making it easier to pack and store than the Crane 3. Over the years since it has been released, the Ronin S has managed to earn itself one of the best reputations amongst the videography and vlogging communities going.
Due to this, we feel that the Ronin S pushes out ever so slightly ahead of the Crane 3 making it the better option that should easily meet the needs of anyone using their Pentax K1 for videography or vlogging. Due to the Ronin S being our primary gimbal recommendation we will be taking a more in-depth look at it below for the rest of the article and not really touching on the Crane 3 much anymore.
Performance Of The Gimbal
Like we mentioned above, the Pentax K1 comes in with a camera body with a battery housed weight of 2.23 pounds making it on the heavier side of DSLR cameras when free from camera accessories. Its bulky design also means that at the time of writing at least, you pretty much have to go with either the Zhiyun Crane 3 or DJI Ronin S for optimal image stabilization and support. The Ronin S offers a maximum load capacity of 7.94 pounds of total camera payload weight making it ideal for use with your K1.
Once you factor in your actual K1 camera body weight as well as the camera’s battery, you usually have around 5.71 pounds of spare load capacity that you are able to use for your other camera accessories. This should be plenty for the vast majority of Pentax K1 setups can cover the additional payload weight of all of the camera lens, microphone, and video light combinations that we can thing of that are commonly used with the K1.
Although the DJI Ronin S is a few years old now and in all honesty if the K1 was not so heavy, we would be recommending the Zhiyun Weebill S over the Ronin S as it is a much better handheld gimbal, it still does offer some solid performance for its age. Even if you are using a longer zoom based lens that is heavy, the Ronin S will make light work of it and still be able to stabilize your K1 setup with ease too. Outside of the Ronin S and the Zhiyun Crane 3, there are few heavy lifting gimbals on the market that can support heavy long lenses with ease.
Thankfully, the DJI battery system that is used on the Ronin S is ahead of its time so still holds up very well against the compeating gimbals brands outside of Zhiyun and Moza and even then, they both only just push out ahead of the DJI battery technology. Anyway, the Ronin S is able to provide you with around twelve hours of battery life with each full charge of its battery and should be plenty for a large number of our users to capture the video footage that they require.
Even though the Ronin S is a few years old now, its battery is still able to provide you with around two hours more than the average battery life for the compeating brands outside of the top three too. When it comes to recharging the battery, you can take the cell from totally empty back to full in around three and a half hours with ease. This means that you get the average ratio of between three to four hours of battery life for each hour spent charging.
Unfortunately, due to the larger build and older tech, adding a high power USB power bank to your collection of camera accessories is not as effective as it is with some of the more modern gimbals. That said though, some of the higher output USB power banks on the market right now can still provide you with a way to extend the battery life on your Ronin S by charging it up while on the move with ease
Although the Zhiyun Crane 3 is around eighteen months newer than the DJI Ronin S, they both actually have a very similar detection and correction system to provide your Pentax K1 with the image stabilization it needs. Although the actual component parts are totally different from the ones on the Crane 3 being smaller and lighter, the actual concept and performance provide almost identical levels of image stabilization for a heavy camera body.
First up we have the gimbal sensors and although the technology on the Zhiyun system in the Crane 3 is better in our opinion, the actual performance is very similar to that of the Ronin S. Both sets of sensors are great at detection motion in the gimbals head and then accurately recording it before rapidly sending it off to their respective algorithms to be processed. The Zhiyun tech is smaller and lighter than the DJI tech but this is just due to the time of release and for most people, it is the actual performance that matters.
Next up we have the balancing algorithms and this is an area where the Zhiyun sneaks ahead in our opinion. Again though, this one is simply due to the fact that the Ronin S is older than the Crane 3 and there is only so far you can go with improving performance via firmware updates with older technology. Even then though, the difference in performance really is not that much but in our opinion, the Zhiyun is slightly better.
The final part of the detection and correction system on any gimbal is the gimbal motors and this is another area where Zhiyun sneak ahead simply due to the Crane 3 being newer than the Ronin S. Although the gimbal motors do perform very well on both gimbals and provide you with some excellent levels of image stabilization, the more modern motors on the Crane 3 are smaller, lighter, and slightly more power-efficient while having more torque.
This additional torque allows the Crane 3 to support total camera payloads of up to 10.14 pounds of payload weight whereas the Ronin S can only support loads of up to 7.94 pounds. That said though, we doubt that many of our readers who use the Pentax K1 will be getting over the capabilities of the Ronin S anyway and needing that additional power from the Zhiyun gimbals.
User Interface And Control System
In our opinion, when it comes to the user interface of the gimbals, the DJI Ronin S takes the win as it is much easier to use while still meeting the vast majority of people’s requirements. The DJI Ronin S follows the same traditional control interface system that has been used by other gimbal brands for the last decade and pulls it off flawlessly. The Crane 3, on the other hand, uses a split control system where you are unable to fully control the gimbal with one hand as the system is split in half with each half on each handle of the gimbal.
This is another area where the Crane 3 has seen some pushback from the community as a simple, more traditional system like the one on the Ronin S can easily meet the needs of most videographers or vloggers. If you are a professional level cinematographer then the Crane 3 does offer a few advantages with a few advanced things that the Ronin S does not offer but other than in this specific situation, the DJI system wins.
The joystick on both of the gimbals is a modern omnidirectional system providing the user with full directional control of their gimbal head when running the system in manual mode. This allows you to quickly and easily adjust the aim of the gimbal head as required or pan and tilt the head as needed with your Pentax K1 rig mounted to it. Unlike some compeating gimbals, the panning and tilting motion on both the Ronin S and the Crane 3 are very smooth and natural-looking and don’t have that slightly robotic look that some other gimbals can have too.
Although the navigation menus on both gimbals are totally different, they are both actually very easy to navigate and allow you to set the gimbal up very quickly. This is ideal for anyone who is looking to add their first handheld gimbal stabilizer to their camera accessories and has never used a gimbal before. On the flip side of this though, both the Ronin S and the Crane 3 also offer some solid advanced level customization too. As we touched on earlier in the article though, the Crane 3 does offer a few professional features that the Ronin S does not but we are confident that if you are a vlogger or videographer you will be fine with the Ronin S anyway.
As both of the featured 3 axis gimbals are relatively new models, they both have very simple and straight forward balancing systems too. Even though the Pentax K1 is a heavy camera with some popular sets of heavy camera accessories, you should still easily be able to balance your set up on either gimbal quickly and easily and in as little as one minute after having some practice.
Build Quality And Design
Although we would call it a draw when it actually comes to the build quality of both gimbals, we feel that DJI has a better design by sticking to the standard handheld gimbal form factor. As we mentioned earlier Zhiyun has had a little pushback on the design of the Crane 3 from the community and in all fairness, we can see why. Although the DJI is still large, bulky, and heavy it is slightly easier to pack if you are planning on traveling with the gimbal.
Moving onto the actual build quality, both of the gimbals are very sturdy and robust ensuring that they can both take plenty of bumps or knocks when being used without breaking. This offers you a little peace of mind when paying so much for an expensive camera accessory, the last thing that you want is for it to break within months of getting it.
Unfortunately, due to their heavier weight, neither of the gimbals are really comfortable to hold but third-party brands have released after market handle grips to try and make the whole process more comfortable on those longer sessions.
This brings our article going over what we feel are the best gimbals for Pentax K-1 cameras on the market right now. Although the Crane 3 is a solid option, we have to stick with the DJI Ronin S and recommend it to our readers as their primary consideration. It is one of the best DSLR camera handheld gimbal stabilizers ever made and performs very well helping to ensure that you get the best image quality possible.