It amazes me at just how much technology has advanced the camera world. What used to involve carrying a shoulder-mounted equivalent of a TV studio camera now fits in the palm of your hand. Trouble is, handheld video suffers being handheld, and therefore is usually very shaky. Enter Snoppa and its new Atom three-axis gimbal.
What is a gimbal? This is a device designed to reduce the shaky effect inherently introduced by the nature of the camera being supported only by one’s extremity. Our hands and arms have limited support for the recording device, especially on long recording times. This leads to poor quality that could have been avoided by utilizing some sort of support for your smartphone. If a tripod is out of the question, you need a gimbal, and this is where a portable device such as the Snoppa Atom really shines. It is self-contained, fairly lightweight, offers incredible battery life, and is quite affordable. Its arms automatically adjust for movement along three axis and constantly keep the recording device keyed in on the shot.
I would put the new Snoppa Atom on the list of must-have gear for any videographer, be they up-and-coming or well established. If you shoot with a small recording device you absolutely need a gimbal for quality shots. And the functionality of the Snoppa Atom does not end with video as the unit also allows for Soduku-style photo sequencing as well as panoramic stitching. Atom can also be used for time-lapse and long shutter speed exposures for even greater creativity.
The Snoppa Atom is available in two colors: Black and Pink. Do not get the pink unit. This is the color Snoppa sent me and in no time did it begin showing dirt, not to mention you cannot read the silk-screening on the unit. The handle does feature a standard thread in the bottom for attachment to a tripod or other accessories and there is a 3.5mm jack for external microphone options to further enhance the quality of your recording. And no worries about phone battery life as the Atom features wireless charging in the adjustable device mount with wired charging also available from the 2,000 mAh lithium-ion battery. Gimbal runtime is rated for 24 hours on one charge with a 3-hour recharge time. The phone mount can accommodate devices 55-90mm wide and up to 9mm thick. My tester worked with my iPhone X with the case on. Atom has a max device payload of 310g.
There was no instruction manual that arrived with my tester and none was found online so I basically had to “wing it” out of the box. As I said, I would not opt for the pink color but I see it as popular with the online social media crowd. Atom folds nicely for easy storage and carrying and starts up in a snap. It is quite surprising how so much fits in such a small unit. You can use Atom for horizontal panning, vertical tilt shots, and any combination of the two. Use it for “selfie” shots or to shoot video or someone or something else. The free Snoppa app is available in both app stores and includes all of Snoppa gear on the market including Atom. Select your device and pair it via Bluetooth and you are off and recording. There is a photo and video mode with various sub-modes in each for varied effects or shooting situations.
The Snoppa Atom is currently available for pre-order on Indiegogo and offered in various kits, including those with a short tripod and external microphone. The introductory kits for October delivery sold out quickly but there are still units available for November 2018 arrival. This device is small but powerful and offers perhaps the best value on the handheld gimbal market. Pricing now starts at only $79 and this is quite the value. If you are even thinking about a gimbal in your future you need to jump on this bandwagon. Its lightweight will not fatigue the user quickly and the flexibility of the system is remarkable. And while there is no instruction manual currently available, you can learn quite a bit about its functionality from the Indiegogo preorder page.
Source: Review sample provided by the manufacturer.
What I Like: Flexibility; lightweight; functionality; design; outstanding value.
What Needs Improvement: Get the instruction manual printed (and the pink unit shows dirt too quickly).