DIY Steadicam + Nikon D90 Video

DIY Steadicam Years ago, I built this do-it-yourself poor man’s steadicam (which you can buy preassembled here) for about $20. It was for use with my mini-dv camcorder at the time. It worked pretty well and like that camcorder, has unfortunately been collecting dust in my garage for a few years now.

I thought it might be fun to see how it worked with the D90 in video mode. There has been a lot of discussion about using the VR mode (vibration reduction) on the D90 when shooting video (whether it hurts or helps stabilizing the video) so let’s try both ways. The video clips aren’t that exciting – I would have preferred to shoot it outdoors on some wider steps but if was raining out and the game was on…they should still convey the differences…I also thought they show the low light to brighter light transitions as well in video mode.

I’ll let the results speak for themselves but the $20 rig definitely makes a difference:

Handheld 18-105mm lens (no steadicam, VR mode on):

VR mode turned on with 18-105mm lens:

VR mode turned off with 18-105mm lens:

10.5mm fisheye (no VR – just for fun):

Bonus video – throwing the Zi6 on the steadicam (balance is way off):


  1. I don’t really notice much (if any) difference between the three videos…

  2. Tyler Ingram says:

    If i didn’t know better I’d say with each one there was a bout a beer or two consumed inbetween shots ;)

    And Peter’s expression seems to change too!

    You could almost rate the steadiness based on beer! The fisheye was about 4 beer, the Zi6 is about 6 beer ;) Then again I don’t think i could get up to the 4 beer, I need to woke on my skillz

  3. John says:

    Kevin: it’s mostly noticeable in the side to side shaking….the rig doesn’t eliminate it but definitely reduces it.

    Tyler: you’re funny….they weren’t shot in the order they appear here…see if you can guess the order. All were shot during one intermission….beer was consumed afterwards as my reward for all the running up/down the stairs.

  4. Tod says:

    The fisheye shot was supercool!

  5. JP says:

    Your footage looks great!
    The only thing is I’ve been searching the web for a DIY to make a STEDICAM and 99.99% of the people using the term steadicam are talking about a simple camera stabilizer based on a counterweight.
    A STEADICAM by definition includes an ISO-ELASTIC arm and a harness to minimize the vertical vibrations and bumps which none of the counterweighted camera STABILIZERS do. It’s like making a wood cart and calling it an SUV!!!

  6. VancityAllie says:

    I just saw this linked from your newest post… this is RAD, John!

  7. Hills says:

    This looks great! but i was thinking, it’s be a little awkward adjusting focus, zoom while having the steadicam attached?

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