The FeiyuTech AK2000S is a camera stabilizer from one of the up-and-coming camera stabilizer manufacturers who are trying to compete with the likes of DJI and Zhiyun in this increasingly competitive niche. However, FeiyuTech has the advantage that they focus solely on making gimbals and this might allow them to make up some ground on the big hitters.
The AK2000S weighs 1.2 kg unloaded and can handle a payload up to 2.2 kg which is well above the weight of most mirrorless or DSLR camera-plus-lens combinations. This is great for filmmakers who want to mount a microphone or an additional monitor or other accessories.
The AK2000S comes with a handy carry case, although it’s not the fanciest I’ve seen, and I’m not sure if the plastic hinge will last forever. It isn’t the easiest thing to set up and balance, but that’s basically true of all gimbals. You’ll probably need to practice a number of times while watching a video guide before get your process down pat. A couple of things that make this easier are the tripod foot and the axis locks which also give you a handy way to rest your gimbal when you’re taking a break from shooting.
The AK 2000S uses an Arca quick release base plate which is really handy for those who have a compatible tripod. All Manfrotto tripods, for example, use Arca plates (as far as I’m aware—please double check before you buy).
The AK2000S has a unique additional grip
One of the features I really like about the AK2000S is the additional hand grip which you can add that transforms the way you hold the stabilizer. Although most stabilizers come with a tripod handle that offers a secondary grip point, and indeed the AK2000S has this option too, the additional grip is so much nicer to handle. Fans of the DJI RSC2 which I reviewed recently might argue that a better initial design would make this grip defunct, but I’m not so sure. I genuinely think this is an awesome solution that improves the overall handling by quite a bit. Now I should also point out that I did have some moments when I felt like the additional grip was obscuring my view of the my cameras LCD screen, but ideally I would mount a separate, larger monitor anyway.
The additional grip is mounted using three bolts and the hex key which is included. And you can store the hex key in a magnetized groove in the handle, which is nice. When you remove the handle you can unscrew the tip of the handle and store the bolts in the body of the grip. There’s actually enough room in there for a few small items, like memory cards for example.
Shooting with the AK2000S
The AK2000S has an LCD touchscreen which allows you to choose your shooting mode, change some of your gimbal settings and also control some of the settings on your camera, provided that it’s compatible. I was shooting with my Sony A7 III and by using the FeiyuTech On app I was able to connect the gimbal to my phone and my phone to my camera. This allowed me to use the record button on the handle as well as change my ISO, exposure compensation and white balance. If you’ve used a stabilizer before you will know that changing settings on your camera while the stabilizer is on is not the best experience. Having the option to quickly do it on the gimbal handle is so much better. Also on the handle is a control wheel which you can use to focus the camera manually if you have the optional focus motor (not included with the AK2000S).
That control wheel can also be used to pan, tilt or roll the camera. You simply press it to enable pan mode, press again to enable tilt mode, and press again to enable roll mode. This is really useful to enable you to create very specific shots.
There are four basic shooting modes—pan follow, pan tilt follow, follow all and lock mode. I’m not going to into the specifics of each because you really need to experience them for yourself to understand them, and you need to spend quite a few hours practicing with the various modes in order to understand which one to use in various situations. The video below is a good introduction however.
The AK2000S also has ‘Inception’ mode where the stabilizer rotates the camera smoothly through 360 degrees. This is a cool feature but probably not one you’re going to use all that often. It would be great for videos where you need something unique and different, like music or fashion videos for example. You can also shoot in portrait/vertical mode if you are creating social media content. One of the things I like about the AK2000S is how easy it is to transition to underslung mode if you want to shoot close to the ground.
In terms of battery life, the AK2000S can run for up to 14 hours with a charge time of just 1.5 hours. These are excellent specs and I can report that I had no issues whatsoever with the battery life.
I was very happy overall with the AK2000S. I shot a number of real estate videos and they were way better than the ones I made without a stabilizer. I think real estate videos is actually one of the best uses for any stabilizer because a lot of narrative filmmaking and documentary work can be done hand-held. The AK2000S has all the features I would hope to find in a stabilizer and I found it pretty intuitive to use. I don’t think you will find anything to compare at this price point that includes a touchscreen.