I was already impressed with Hohem iSteady M6 which provides great stabilisation for mobile phones (and possibly action cameras if you were willing to 3D print adapters). I took mine on holiday to Marrakech and I couldn’t be happier with its performance. Hohem decided to step up the game a little and offer a very similar video stabiliser for compact DSLRs and more. I have Hohem iSteady MT2 in my hands – and there is a lot to unpack.
The only one you need?
Despite arriving in a large box, Hohem iSteady MT2 is about the same size as my previous Hohem gimbal. It comes in a neat carrying case with compartments for add-ons and accessories. There is plenty to unpack, especially the two main features: the ability to carry a load up to 1.2 kg and the option to mount mobile phones, action cameras and mini DSLRs. That’s exciting, as Hohem iSteady MT2 could be the one gimbal for all your devices.
The gimbal’s handle is a carbon copy of the M6 design. It features a giant rotary encoder with a push button to control more intricate functions of the setup (set in menus), followed by two A-B buttons that handle instant time-lapses. The front of the gimbal features a decent OLED display, joystick, menu and record buttons, and a zoom widget. The other side of the gimbal brings a power button, a USB-C port for charging and the 2nd 1/4″ screw mount (the first one is located at the bottom of the handle). The control set is finished by a trigger button located under your index finger.
At a glance, the options may feel confusing at first, but I can assure you that within a day or two, they all will make sense and you’ll be thankful for all the buttons that enable the use of the Hohem iSteady MT2 without an app. The Hohem Joy app is supported, but if you have the AI module, I find it almost completely unnecessary.
I’m pleased to see a new take on the axis lock mechanism. Previews tabs on M6 were unusable after a month and Hohem iSteady MT2 addresses that with dedicated toggles to immobilise each axis. Another design improvement is the location of the AI module. Braced against a metal body the magnetic add-on is less likely to end up on the floor.
In fact, the entire load-carrying structure is made of metal. It adds some weight to the gimbal, but it increases the durability of the device. I have to compliment the way Hohem iSteady MT2 has been put together as it’s easy to assemble, can accommodate a wide range of cameras and the small details (like adding a tiny magnetic screwdriver to deal with setup screws) makes all the difference in use.
The AI module (sold separately or as a bundle) isn’t the only smart solution. Hohem iSteady MT2 comes with 2 USB-C ports located on the gimbal’s arms. One shares the gimbal’s power (2600mAh battery) while the other connects to supported cameras and assigns smart functions (like focus pull) to the gimbal’s rotary encoder. The kit includes various cables to facilitate these controls.
If your camera isn’t supported, you can settle for the basic trigger controls using the TRS cables provided. It won’t let you play with fancy options, but you’ll be able to take pictures and start recording using gimbals buttons.
The biggest advantage of the Hohem iSteady MT2 is that you can mount pretty much anything on it that is under 1.2 Kg and fits into the provided brackets. As the kit comes with extra clamps for the phone, a standard mount for the action cam and a dedicated plate for DSLR cameras, this gimbal is the most flexible handheld stabiliser I used to date.
Something like Panasonic Lumix GX80 or Sony A-series are the intended targets for Hohem iSteady MT2. The cameras fit really well and balance easily. As compact cameras hardly weigh more than 500g, it leaves a lot of room for extra accessories. Adding a mini shotgun mic like this one from Rode will add premium sound while the microphone is unlikely to get in the way thanks to various mounting points.
The AI module can provide extra light, but as its intensity isn’t great, slapping a small LED panel onto your setup also makes sense. It’s all doable in both vertical and horizontal orientations.
Hohem iSteady MT2 feels nicely balanced, nimble and able to follow the action despite the extra weight of the camera mounted in my system. I trusted this enough to take the setup on my bicycle to shoot butter-smooth flying shots.
DSLR actually fits
I didn’t think my Panasonic Lumix S5 would fit. It looked too big for my gimbal. The DSLR is at the upper weight limit, but it fits into the brackets provided. I had to extend the bracket to accommodate my camera’s size and push most of the balancing sliders to the extreme to account for the heft of my DSLR, but it balanced perfectly and Hohem iSteady MT2 handled it like a champ.
While it worked, I could tell I was pushing the limit of the device, as the DSLR-loaded gimbal was very top-heavy and less nimble than in other scenarios. I would consider this for less dynamic shots, I definitely wouldn’t want to run around with it. It’s perfect for walking pace footage, time-lapses and tracking shots.
The included adapter bonds to the camera plate. In seconds I can add pretty much any action camera and go nuts. I have an Akaso action camera that worked best without digital stabilisation enabled – and that’s a perfect candidate for it. At one point, my gimbal experienced vibrations despite perfect calibration. To fix that, I had to go to the advanced menu (hold Mode) and use the AutoTune feature to set the correct torque setting on each axis. I appreciate the option to adjust this.
Any action camera that comes with the popularised Go-Pro action mounts will work just fine, and weight isn’t an issue. If your action camera supports extra accessories like lights and microphones Hohem iSteady MT2 will accommodate for that. What’s even more interesting, is that Hohem supports some of the Go-Pro smart controls through their gimbal for easy navigation.
There is a dedicated clamp to use Hohem iSteady MT2 as a handheld gimbal for mobile phones. In this respect, nothing has changed. Hohem iSteady MT2 is a stronger and heavier version of the Hohem iSteady M6 which was made for mobile phones in mind. As the gimbal links to each phone via Bluetooth, basic phone controls and shortcuts are instantly available, even without installing the app.
Hohem iSteady MT2 brings exactly the same experience as the previous generation, so go ahead and check out my Hohem iSteady M6 for details.
With increased payload capability, the gimbal handles bigger payloads. Bigger mass brings bigger momentum. If you find your Hohem iSteady MT2 oscillating, balancing the gimbal correctly, then running a quick calibration in settings (press Mode 5 times) will set the device for the new camera.
In action, the footage is very stable. As I was very keen on using my Lumix GX80, the extra clarity and focus depth only enhanced how cinematic some shots felt. Regardless of the payload, the camera glides through the landscapes like a boat on a calm sea.
When switched over to the heavier Lumix S5, the extra weight of the camera grounded my hand even more removing some of the bobbing. I could feel bigger cameras taking a little longer to follow my hand, but the actual difference could be due to the combination of the momentum and the total weight of the system.
AI Module and tracking
The AI module available for Hohem iSteady MT2 is the same as for M6. It changes the way you interact with the gimbal, as it enables face tracking (and provides basic RGB illumination) without the need for an app (and connected phone). With M6, the case was weak as the Hohem Joy app would provide this and more through phone hardware but MT2 opens up new options.
Thanks to the AI module you can add face tracking to DSLR and action cameras. As DSLRs often feature face tracking systems for focus it opens up interesting opportunities for solo filmmakers and content creators.
There are 3 gestures supported by the module. I found out the hard way that if you have gloves or a helmet with a visor, these won’t work. You need bare hands and an uncovered face for this to work.
Once initiated, the tracking is quick and responsive. I had no problem tracking a single person but the AI module can get confused when it sees multiple people in the frame. AI module features the ability to re-frame the following movement with a gesture. I found this to be very helpful as at first, the AI module pointed the camera too low in relation to my face.
Hohem iSteady MT2 is going to be my go-to handheld stabiliser. Thanks to various attachments, it de-throned the M6. It’s equally awkward to carry but offers better flexibility for my cameras. With a starting price of £279, it’s still about half the price of my professional kit for the DSLR, but with compact DSLRs getting better each day – Hohem iSteady MT2 is bound to be a success. If you rather have something that you can fit inside your pocket, check the Hohem iSteady X2 instead. Let me know if you have any questions in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.