Defy G2x in use.

Defy claims that “the DEFY G2x is the lightest, most powerful gimbal in its class.” Weighing in at 4.5lbs, the G2x certainly has other gimbal’s beat when it comes to operator usability. As anyone who runs around weddings with the Glidecam have surely experienced, weight can quickly become a problem on longer shoots.

What We Liked

Not only is the G2x light, it can also be operated with two hands, effectively halving the stress you need to put on your arms.

The G2x is also quite compact, as advertised, and fits neatly into the custom fitted shipping box along with all its accessories. This makes it a more discreet choice if you're shooting without a permit or want to ward off all those nosy wedding guests who want to ask you about your gear. We wouldn’t recommend trying to sneak it into Disneyland, but the G2x’s form factor certainly opens up more possibilities for discreet shooting.

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The G2x also allows for quick calibration based on the weight of your camera. Toggling through the three weight settings allow you to tell the gimbal how much weight you're throwing at it, and allows the gimbal to better smooth out your pans and tilts. The G2x also automatically senses its orientation — inverted or upright — and adjusts itself accordingly. These are huge timesavers and should help you to complete your permitless shoot before the cops show up.

Another neat jail-time avoidance feature on the G2x is the ability to use the side handles to create a makeshift stand which makes balancing cameras a lot faster. However, and especially for first-time gimble operators, we recommend you do all of your gimbal setup before you get to your shoot. More on this later.

The Defy G2x comes with the gimbal itself, two batteries, one battery charging station and a custom fitted box with plenty of foam for protection.

What It Isn’t

The G2x is not for designed to handle camera-lens combinations over 3.5 pounds. So don’t buy this gimbal if you're looking for something that’ll handle the Canon 400mm with your Arri Alexa. A7S, GH4  and other MILC owners will have no problem staying well under the weight envelope. DSLR owners will need to be a little more careful. We attached our 5D MKII and 50mm 1.2, and while the motor stabilized simple motion just fine, we did notice some sudden motor jumps when performing quick pans.

What’s Wrong

The G2x’s Tightening knobs are small and are difficult to lock down securely. Unless you are a seasoned gimbal operator and can handle the tediousness of first-time setup, you’ll want a set of gloves to prevent your fingers from blistering. Chances are, you’ll be spending the better part of an hour tightening and untightening to get your camera properly balanced. You may find yourself experiencing debilitating Glidecam setup flashbacks. Like the Glidecam, this is a device that you’d be well advised to leave alone after fine tuning. And it’s certainly not a device you want to be manipulating in the field after a lens change (zooms not recommended). Maybe it’s just our lack of gimble experience, but we’d pay good money to see a pro balance the G2X in three minutes as the folks at Defy claim is possible.

The charging apparatus is unrefined. When we first laid out all the pieces, the charger looked more like a “my-first-circuit” toy than a purpose-built battery charger. The menu system on the charger brain took a while to figure out, and we had to do some research to figure out the settings we needed to charge the included batteries. On the plus side, once we had them charged up, they lasted an impressive, and as advertised, 120 minutes, which was a surprise considering how much work the little motor was doing to keep things nice and steady. The Defy G2x was successful at helping us achieve some pretty amazing camera moves. However, at the end of the day we were hoping for a bit more fit and finish considering the $2,000 price tag.

Strengths:

  • Compact Form Factor
  • Light Weight
  • Ease of operation

Weaknesses:

  • Tightening knobs are difficult to lock down.
  • Long Setup time
  • Unrefined Charger

Technical Specs

General:
Weight – 4.5lbs
Load capacity – 3.5lbs

Power and Battery:
Powered by 4cell Lithium polymer 2250mAh 14.8v
Smart Charger via 110V wall outlet (accurate and fast charge)
Operational Time per Battery: 120 minutes (two batteries included)

Electronics:
32bit US Manufactured Controller Board
Mini-USB and Bluetooth connectivity
Port for Throttle Pan/Tilt Controller (sold separately)
Port for Radio Pan/Tilt Controller (sold separately)

Cameron Farboud is a documentary, wedding and narrative filmmaker and photographer.
 

Susan is the Art Director at Videomaker and YouTuber Magazines.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks a lot for the review! I got my G2X and there’s a slight buzzing noise everytime I move the handles which the internal A7S microphone or Rode videomic pro can easily pick up . Did you guys experience the same issue? I’m 100% sure the gimbal is balanced and i have it running in mode 3. Thanks in advance!

  2. .
    Here are issues I experienced with the Defy G2x:
    .
    == DELIVERY ==
    .
    I ordered and paid for the G2x gimbal from Defy on July 20, 2015.
    .
    They _never_ e-mailed or called me to let me know of delays in their shipping schedule.
    I had to make bi-weekly e-mails to find out why the G2x was not being delivered on the dates they said it would be shipped.
    .
    The G2x order was finally shipped to me on September 23, 2015.
    That’s a 2 month wait.
    .
    == QUALITY CONTROL ==
    .
    The G2x has a substantial, well-crafted, primarily metal gimbal body.
    .
    The G2x sent me had a frozen lock on the diagonal sliding arm.
    Because it was not a user-fixable item, they sent me a replacement unit.
    .
    Got the replacement on October 6, 2015.
    .
    The replacement unit had the shrink wrap missing on the very thin wires that go from the Roll Arm into the Gimbal Body.
    The wires are vulnerable as they can rub against the sharp, narrow space leading into the Body, when the gimbal moves around.
    I lessened the chances of wire rub by applying Self-Fusing Silicone Tape around the wires.
    .
    == OPERATION – MOVEMENT ==
    .
    Testing the G2x with a GH4 camera gave me some very nice, smooth shots. Bravo!
    I am used to balancing because of a long history using the GlideCam, several floatation devices I concocted myself, as well as using cranes and jibs.
    .
    While the G2x performed smooth shots, it also provided unacceptable noise, and vibration, at even the lowest (Profile 1) power setting.
    Profile 2, had excessive vibrations and very loud noise, even though it is not as powerful as Profile 3 (which was louder than 1).
    .
    The noise occurs when performing a very high camera tilt, very low tilt, moving quickly, and sometimes with no movement at all.
    .
    This level of noise means that no live audio can be used.
    All audio would need to be added in post.
    .
    == OPERATION – SETTINGS ==
    .
    The Control Settings for the G2x are all made via the SimpleBGC Program, which is also used by many gimbals, drones, and other radio-controlled devices.
    .
    The G2x comes pre-loaded with the settings.
    To change them — to lower the power for instance — you must download the free SimpleBGC v.2.43 b9 version of the program from simplebgc.org
    .
    The SimpleBGC Program is _not_ simple.
    The SImple Manual is very difficult to understand.
    .
    The settings Defy pre-loaded where for 14 magnets in the motors, even though the G2x has 22 magnets.
    Even when set to the lower-powered 14, the motors make excessive noise.
    .
    == TECHNICAL SUPPORT ==
    .
    Defy provided some very helpful suggestions for changing settings and physical setup.
    .
    However, most e-mail has been answered with more than a 3 day wait, and often responses can take 2 weeks.
    If you leave a phone message, do not expect a response.
    .
    == SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS ==
    .
    – Develop a far more responsive Tech Support system, which includes pro-actively informing customers of delays.
    .
    – Make a G2x Manual.
    Believe it or not, Defy does not offer a balance and operation manual.
    .
    – Include a copy of the SimpleBGC Program v 2.43 b9, and the Simple Manual, along with the USB key sent with the G2x.
    Also include an extensive Guide on How to Make Setting Adjustments with the SimpleBGC Program.
    .
    – 2 of the Adjustment Points on the gimbal arms require adjustment in 2 directions at the same time.
    Provide a way to lock adjustments in each direction independently.
    .
    – The Battery wires require hooking up to a charger which uses a tiny finger-macerating, motherboard-type connector.
    Change the Charger Connector to the same, or similar type of, kinder-to-fingers connector used to power the Gimbal.
    .
    – The handle grips need a more secure method of attachment to the Main Bar. They currently require constant re-tightening.
    .
    Demian
    Sweet Corn Productions
    December 18, 2015

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