When Gudsen Moza reached out to me to test the Moza Mini-MI smartphone gimbal, I was hesitant at first. I had the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 already, and to be honest I wasn’t using it very much. More importantly, I’d have my hands on a Zhiyun Smooth 4 soon which I was much more interested in using. I didn’t see much need for another gimbal. I don’t like the idea of taking offers of equipment that I may not actually use, in exchange for a blindly positive review that means nothing.
So, at first I declined the offer.
Then I began to ask myself the reasons why I didn’t use my DJI Osmo Mobile 2 more. My shooting style favors locked off camera positions, that’s certainly part of it. I have no issues with a pan or a tilt when following action or making a reveal. I also love a good dolly or crane shot when well executed. A gimbal can achieve all of this, and much more.
I didn’t use my Osmo Mobile 2 because I found it difficult to achieve what I wanted. My problem was with the Osmo, rather than gimbals in general. Learning to use any gimbal is hard work. It’s hard to pull off smooth movement well, and you’ll see that in my video samples shot with the Moza Mini-MI. However, some gimbals are definitely easier to use than others.
With an upcoming trip to Istanbul, I decided to give the Moza Mini-MI a try.
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The Moza Mini-MI
I will start by saying the Moza Mini-MI has changed my perspective on using a gimbal. The gimbal’s response to movement is very different from the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 and now I realize why I didn’t like using the Osmo. The Osmo may be a great gimbal, but I find it significantly harder to achieve the same shot with it compared to using the Moza Mini-MI. The Osmo requires more nuanced control from the user, the Moza Mini-MI does more by itself.
So much of the smartphone gimbal work I see online is very badly executed, and mine at this stage is certainly not very good either, but I don’t think it’s all the fault of the user. Some of it comes down to how the gimbal responds to the movement of the user.
If I’m going to move the camera, that movement needs to be perfect, and it needs to serve a purpose. If I’m going to use a gimbal, I expect it to make smooth movement possible without a slider, dolly or track, but effectively achieve the same result.
Moza Mini-MI Design
The Moza Mini-MI is not very different from any other smartphone gimbal in basic design, however it does provide wireless charging if you are using a phone that supports it. The Mini-MI also features continuous 360 degree rotation of the pan motor, which becomes a roll motor when the gimbal is held in flashlight orientation. This is one of the Mini-MI’s unique abilities, which is called “Inception Mode”.
The Moza Mini-MI is made from plastic, like every other similar smartphone gimbal, which is fine, but there are different qualities of plastic, and you can feel the low price when you handle it. I haven’t broken mine, but I can imagine it could happen quite easily.
The same can be said of the controls, they feel cheap, and I’m not sure how long the gimbal will really last if put up to constant use, packing, unpacking, and traveling.
However, it is easier to get great looking shots with the Mini-MI than with the Osmo Mobile 2.
Setup & Balancing the Moza Mini-MI
The Moza Mini-MI is easy to set up and balance, as long as you are just using a phone by itself or have lightweight accessories that don’t put too much mass to the top or bottom of the Phone’s overall centre of gravity.
I wasn’t able to balance the tilt axis with my Moondog Labs Anamorphic Lens on the iPhone 7 Plus, although adding a counterweight on the roll arm does allow the roll axis to balance. I can however achieve a good balance when using my PolarPro Iris ND Filters.
This means that I do use more than one gimbal. If I want to shoot anamorphic and need stabilized movement, I’ll still use the DJI Osmo Mobile 2, as I can balance it with the Moondog Labs Anamorphic Lens, but if I am not shooting anamorphic, I much prefer the usability and smooth movement of the Moza Mini-MI.
Using the Moza Mini-MI
The Moza Mini-MI has a number of interesting features, some of which have become standard across most smartphone gimbals now, and while I can mention them here, I have to also be transparent that I haven’t used them yet.
Primarily I am interested in basic smooth stabilization and movement of handheld pans, tilts, follow shots and walking shots rather than the additional creative modes.
The Moza Mini-MI includes a comprehensive toolset for specialised shots, with modes for Fast Tracking, Slow-Motion, Timelapse, Hyperlapse, a “Vertigo Shot” and Inception Mode. I need more time and a good reason to explore these modes.
I used FiLMiC Pro to record video, not the dedicated Moza app.
One of the most powerful features of the Mini-MI is the flexibility of the control system. The Mini-MI features independent control for Roll, Yaw, and Pitch axis, and it’s easy to set using the controls on the gimbal handle.
- Pitch axis follow / lock
- Yaw axis follow / lock
- Roll axis follow / lock
All or any of the individual axis can be set to follow or lock with a few presses of the control dial. Two presses on the left side of the dial will lock/unlock the yaw axis. Three presses on the left side of the dial will lock/unlock the yaw axis, and a long press will lock/unlock the roll axis.
Axis Parameter Settings
The Moza Genie app gives you access to Axis Parameter Settings, where you can adjust motor power, control smoothness, follow smoothness, blind angle (dead zone). However, I have not found a setting to control the speed of each axis.
There is a sport mode however, which provides faster reaction for use with high speed action.
Moza Mini-MI Pros and Cons
The Moza Mini-MI is not perfect, it has advantages and disadvantages that are important to consider when deciding whether or not it’s the gimbal for you.
- Easy to balance
- Easy to use
- Quick and easy calibration
- Fast locking and unlocking of axis with only a few finger clicks
- Wireless charging
- Battery life
- Simple iOS and Android app
- Simple firmware update procedure
- Excellent stabilization
- 360 degree yaw rotation (inception mode)
- Cheap materials and build quality
- Sometimes behaves erratically
- Cannot balance heavier accessories
The Moza Mini-MI has convinced me to use smartphone gimbals more. So that’s saying something. I don’t care about all the bells and whistles and gimmicky modes, I care about smooth motion and excellent stabilization, and the Moza Mini-MI does just that.
I just wish it was built more solidly, out of better quality materials, with better components. It’s a good enough gimbal that a higher price would be justified if the materials and build were improved.
If you’re looking for a smaller even lighter gimbal, take a look at the Moza Mini-S.
Buy the Moza Mini-MI
Use the link below to order your Moza Mini-MI from the Moza store and use my discount code MUDYM2YPV4 at checkout for 10% off.
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