GoPro Gimbal Shoot-Out: Removu S1 vs. GoPro Karma Grip

As mentioned in my previous blog post, when I decided to invest into an electronic GoPro gimbal I was torn between the Removu S1 and the GoPro Karma Grip to stabilize my new Hero 5 Black. They both sport similar features, but which of the two will prove to be the best GoPro gimbal?

The features of the Removu S1 are quite impressive, as Nino pointed out in his blog post. Being able to use it in wet conditions is a real plus, not to mention other neat features like the remote controller or exchangeable batteries.

The GoPro Karma and the Removu S1 gimbals in their respective cases, side-by-side.

As you may remember, I ended up pulling the trigger on the GoPro Karma Grip mainly because of its neat integration with the GoPro Hero 4, 5 and Session action cams. However, funnily enough, when I mentioned to Nino that I was planning to write about the Karma Grip, he asked if I could include the Removu S1 in the review, as he had one lying around at cinema5D HQ in Vienna. So I took both GoPro gimbals for a head to head comparison, the result of which you can see in the video above. Again, the test featured my dog as a main character, a role he seems to be getting more and more used to.


GoPro Gimbals – Observations

Both GoPro gimbals are about the same size and weight, and both come in a nice case. The Removu S1 gimbal in particular looks and feels like a quality piece of high-tech, and it made me wonder if had made the wrong decision purchasing the Karma Grip.

However, the head-to-head footage comparison clarified everything, with a clear win for the GoPro Karma Grip. As usual, putting priducts into real-world use reveals how good they really are, regardless of what the specs say on paper.

With respect to their respective carry cases, the Karma Grip’s is light-years more practical for me, as it accommodates the whole gimbal + cam assembly. The Removu S1 has to be disassembled to fit into its case, and it takes a little while to set everything up. The Karma Grip case is perfect for taking along on a mountain bike trip, but the same can’t be said of the the Removu case.

Although I did find some issues with the Karma Grip, I would rate the problems I found with the Removu S1 as quite severe:

  • First and foremost, the major task of stabilizing the footage does not work as well as with the Karma Grip. There are micro jitters all over the footage of the Removu S1.
  • The Hero 4 Black bumps into the Removu body at certain angles, which sometimes causes the gimbal to lose the horizon (see the test footage above). However, it auto readjusted during recording a little later.
  • At one point, the Removu went completely mad for no obvious reason, oscillating vertically and hitting the hard stops quite heavily. I felt I had to immediately turn it off to prevent damage. I could not restart it afterwards, as it would always oscillate heavily from side to side. I thought it was destroyed. Then, I went online and found the “calibration” feature in the manual of the S1. I performed the calibration having to use a small screwdriver, after which it functioned properly again. Not nice, as this never happened at all during my Karma Grip testing so far. If that happens in the field, you can forget the gimbal for the rest of the day. By the way, the test footage above was shot after this calibration process.
  • Strangely enough, when I fitted my Hero 5 Black to the Removu to check if the sound was better than on the Karma Grip (where you can hear the brushless motors), I found the footage to be completely unusable (see test footage around the 1:39 mark). Some housing vibrations (possibly of the brushless motors) were spoiling the audio on the Hero 5 Black video file. Luckily, I was using the “RAW” audio feature, which separately records individual WAV files from each of the 3 mics, and the front stereo track was OK and proved usable.

Unimpressed with me looking stupid comparing gimbals: My dog.

Conclusion

Hats off to Removu for offering such a rich, innovative feature set on the Removu S1 gimbal. Unfortunately, it doesn’t perform as well as the Karma Grip on the major task of stabilizing the footage. That’s why I am glad I purchased the Karma Grip. Despite some small firmware glitches, the Karma Grip performs amazingly overall AND comes in a very usable carry-on case that fits the whole assembly perfectly.

One issue which is not resolved yet, however, is audio. Here, the Removu has potentially an advantage, as this GoPro gimbal supports the Removu M1 and A1 microphone package. But this may be a story for a separate post.

If you are a video blogger, sound is probably more important to you than a rock-steady image, so I would recommend the Removu S1 and the Hero 4 Black, as this combo gives you much better sound than the Karma Grip. For everything else, I would definitely recommend the Karma Grip.

Will either of these be your new favourite GoPro gimbal? Have you had any experience with other similar products in the market? Let us know in the comments section below! 

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Alessandro James Dimas
Guest

Da is karma besser. Schau Feiyu SPG und SPG live, und kleine Platte für Action Cam bestellen…

Member
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 Lubomir CHRENKO
Member
Lubomir CHRENKO

OK. You prefer GoPro Karma Grip. How do you plan do mount Karma Grip to Cycling or Ski helmet? Or to bike handlebar?

 Ian Hunter
Member

– What I really need is a tripod head that can simulate handheld while locked off so I don’t have to hire three separate people for a three-cam interview.

http://m.imgur.com/NWRfEcg

 Rodrigue Llado
Member

Any chance for an other shoot-out, this time with the Feiyu Tech G5 (http://www.feiyu-tech.com/index.php/Product/detail/pr_id/77.html). I have used the original G4 and it works great, i’m just looking to upgrade to the Gopro 5. Also looking for the one that will handle really cold (sub zero) temperatures the best, any ideas ? Thanks !

Member

Hi Guys, i have the g5 and does not work great in really simple movement : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVBXPV-1Hko&feature=youtu.be

I have test lot of gimbal and really stab sucks. Will change it to the karma which looks really better.

See you

João Batista
Guest

I’ve contacted Removu about these micro jitters with this question: “I was considering the removu s1 gimbal but after some footage from YouTube and this review from cinema5d I found that the gimbal suffers from jitters. is this normal or it might be some malfunctioning units?” and they answered this: “Yes, this is not normal. We sent them a beta version of the S1 to do a review video a few months ago. They do not have a production version of the S1.” What do you think about this? Can this be solved somehow on the production units? Was yours… Read more »

Nino Leitner
Admin

Thanks João, I wasn’t aware we had a pre-production version for review. I will contact them again and hope they’ll send us a final production version for review.

João Batista
Guest

thanks. please keep us updated on what Removu’s answer is, as I am still not convinced on the Karma grip as well. That charging of the camera, and no replaceable batteries for Karma grip is a bad design decision in my opinion. I will end up having a dead gimbal after a couple of hours (at most), and the gopro fully charged, with a spare battery in my bag…

João Batista
Guest

Well, I believe this is not a pre production issue. I’ve been watching videos across youtube and they all have these micro jitters. It seems the gimbal is not perfect at stabilizing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyibf-ms038

and this at 13:00 the guy talks about micro jitters on the removu s1 as well

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da-t2eGbj4U&t=0s

Jakub Fibich
Guest

Hi,

I bought Removu S1 in e-shop 3 weeks ago. I don’t think I have pre-production version. Anyway there are jitters in my videos, eg:
https://youtu.be/I_ysN_1W2Qo

So it would be nice if some firmware update can fix it.

Jakub

João Batista
Guest

I believe this is not a pre production issue. I’ve been watching videos across youtube and they all have these micro jitters. It seems the gimbal is not perfect at stabilizing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyibf-ms038

and this at 13:00 the guy talks about micro jitters on the removu s1 as well

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da-t2eGbj4U&t=0s

Let’s hope a firmware update can fix these issues.

Member

I just got my Removu S1 today. Took some footage without really knowing how it works. Seemed to work fine however upon inspection of the video on the computer it definitely has micro jitters. I had to wait 6 weeks for this thing to arrive so I am not pleased.

Member

Hi!
I’ve ordered my removu S1 yesterday and now I read on the removu side the shipping starts on march 20th. But since I’m suppose to receive my package tomorrow – is it actually possible that It’ll be a pre-production version? Do you already know if yours was one?
I decided to get removu for one simple reason. Despite the awesomeness of karma grip as declared all over the net – removu is still the only gimbal which is waterproof and compatible with the waterproof housing.

Member

Beware, Removu – a fraudulent company. I did order S1 gimbal on 30th of January, and when I was making an order and paying for it, in Removu web page it was stated that this order would be delivered in 2-5 days. Well, it’s more than 1,5 months now and I still haven’t got it. I wrote a question to Removu support team via Removu website two times (one about a month ago, second about a week ago), posted a message on Removu FB wall (which, of course, was not accepted), wrote a post mentioning Removu FB account in my… Read more »

Member

Hi Karlis, Well in Poland they were suppose to start the sale of the production line at the beginning of march. They had a 2 weeks delay – but i did get my removu S1 last Monday (13.03). Already tested it and so far we are thrilled. We’re going to do some more testing next week in France while snowboarding. I’ve ordered it over an official polish gopro page ( gohero.pl) and I have to say their customer service is outstanding – they were mailing almost daily to give me an update on the order and they really regretted the… Read more »

Member

Good to see positive experience. I am hoping now on refund. Because – 1 long awaited trip with kids is done without gimbal (as I was counting on this to arrive as promised).
How about micro-jitters reported in this review? You don’t have them, or…?

Member

Haven’t noticed them so far. They were reported after review of the prototype – maybe this was fixed ( among other errors like calibration problems).
So far so good. We’ll see how it works when we will shoot more extreme footage in the mountains.