Today’s cameras offer everything modern creators need, including top-notch video features. Because of this, the likes of DJI, and Zhiyun have flooded the market with affordable, feature-packed camera gimbals. Now, the Manfrotto MVG220 gimbal wants to get a slice of the pie.
The gimbal market is not an easy one to break into. The above-listed companies have already staked their claim. Manfrotto knows that it arrived at the party a little late. However, the new MVG220 and the larger MVG460 are incredibly compelling options. I’ve been using the smaller Manfrotto MVG220 for a couple of weeks now, and I have been pretty impressed. However, there are a few caveats, though. Let’s talk about it.
Editor’s note: Manfrotto sent us the MVG220 gimbal to review and keep. However, this is an independent review. All thoughts and feelings about this product are our own. We have not been influenced in any way. We tell you this as we always want to be transparent with you.
- Sturdy build quality
- Easy to use
- Smooth movements
- Briefcase handle and shutter release cables are included
- Quick charge time and great battery life
- Inception (360-degree rotation) mode
- Easy to use modes for Tik-Tok Instagram, and Time-lapse
- Easy to read LCD touch screen
- Competively priced
- Balancing your camera can be challenging
- The locking axes switches feel loose
- Badly written instructions
- No quick release for the briefcase handle
All of the technical specifications have been taken directly from the official Manfrotto website:
- Weight: 2.43lbs
- Dimensions: 2.80 x 8.23 x 13.78 in
- Capacity: 4.85lbs
- Tilting angle 230-degrees
- Rolling angle 360-degrees
- Panning angle: 360-degrees
- Controllable tilt range: 175 degrees to -55 degrees
- Battery life: Up to 7 hours
- Charge time: 1.5 hours
- Connections: Wi-Fi, USB-C, Bluetooth
- Max working temp: 113-degrees F
- Min working temp: 14-dgreees F
- Attachment type: 1/4″-20 standard tripod mount
- App: Manfrotto Gimbal App
Manfrotto MVG220 is for hybrid content creators
For a budget-friendly gimbal, the Manfrotto MVG220 boasts a lot of user-friendly features. There are built-in portrait modes for creators who like to create vertical videos for TikTok and Instagram. There are also time-lapse, selfie, and inception (360-degree rotation) modes. This is not found in all budget-friendly gimbals. There’s a large capacity battery that will last for seven hours (according to Manfrotto). I can say that after several hours of use, the battery is at the halfway mark, so this seems accurate.
There is a companion app that you can download to your Android device or iPhone. The app lets you control the MVG220 from your phone via an on-screen joystick. You can pan and tilt, adjust the strength of the motors, update the firmware, and more. It’s a little basic, but it’s a nice touch. For a gimbal that costs less than $300, you’re getting some cool features.
Manfrotto MVG220 — Handling and build quality
The MVG220 isn’t made directly by Manfrotto (FeiyuTech makes it), it still feels nice. You’ll be treated to sturdy, strong feeling metals, great feeling rubber grips and substantial axis clamps.
One big letdown is the plastic lock switches. The switches lock the three axes in place so that you can carry the MVG220 without everything flopping around. The switches feel incredibly cheap, and while they do lock and hold, they don’t inspire confidence. Confidence is one thing you want to feel when you have an expensive camera and lens attached to the gimbal.
Apart from the switches, everything about the Manfrotto MVG220 gimbal feels great. The buttons offer nice feedback. The control wheel has knurled edges and turns smoothly. The multidirectional thumbstick moves smoothly The briefcase handle and detachable tripod base are solid. Overall, the build quality is quite excellent. The Manfrotto MVG220 gimbal feels more expensive than it is.
Balancing your camera can be tricky
The first time I attempted to balance my Panasonic Lumix S5 on the Manfrotto MVG220, I quickly became frustrated. The instructions that come with the unit are poorly written, which makes them hard to follow. I finally found a video online that helped immensely. Now, after figuring out how to balance the camera I’ve had no issues.
Having said that, it can still be tricky. The various plates, knobs, and sliders you have to move to balance the camera do not move smoothly. This makes it hard to make the delicate changes that are often needed to balance the camera.
The Manfrotto MVG220 is capable of holding 4.85lbs worth of gear. I loaded up my Lumix S5 and my Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN and it held the weight of the combo well. However, the combo was too big in terms of overall size and I found that the eyepiece around the EVF would hit the back of the gimbal. Keep this in mind if you want to use a lens as large as the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN. That’s where the larger Manfrotto MVG460 comes into play. However, after switching to a smaller zoom, there were no clearance issues.
Manfrotto MVG220 Gimbal — Out in the field
Once you have your camera balanced on the gimbal, the rig gives a nice experience. As mentioned above, the MVG220 feels solid in the hand. You can get a nice grip on the unit thanks to the great textured rubber. The included briefcase handle is also a great touch. The only downside is that the briefcase handle does not have a quick release. If you want to remove it, you have to unscrew it. There is a magnetized storage area for the Allen wrench, though.
Adjusting the angle of the camera is easy thanks to the combo of the side-mounted control wheel and thumbstick. To use the wheel you simply press it to select the function and then you turn it to adjust the camera’s position. You can also attach Manfrotto’s Focus Follow Wheel (optional extra) and use the dial to manually focus your lens.
The LCD touch screen is nice and easy to read. However, it has a low resolution. You can use the touch screen to select Pan Mode, Pan, and Tilt mode, as well as All Follow Mode. You also use it to access other settings by swiping to the left or right. Still, I’m sure a firmware update can fix the amount of screen lag.
There are more features with the right cameras
Once you connect your camera to the gimbal with one of the supplied USB or shutter release cables you can use the shutter button on the MVG220 to take pictures or start recording. If your camera is compatible, you can also adjust basic exposure settings and the gimbal will follow focus. Hopefully, the list of compatible cameras will be increased with new firmware updates.
The footage you create with the Manfrotto MVG220 gimbal will be great. With good technique and the strong motors in this gimbal, you’ll be able to create incredibly smooth footage. I did notice a few small jerky movements from side to side when the gimbal was on a flat surface, which was odd. This never happened while the gimbal was being carried, though.
You can also create nice time-lapse videos too. You select the time, and start and stop points for both tilt and pan and off you go. The gimbal does the rest. The Manfrotto MVG220 gimbal does a lot of things very well for the price you pay. If smooth video is what you’re after, this gimbal will help you.
Is the Manfrotto MVG 220 the perfect entry-level gimbal?
Is the Manfrotto MVG220 Gimbal perfect? No. Manfrotto needs to fix some issues like the tight-fitting adjustment plates, the loose lock switches, and they need a better instruction manual. However, once you get the gimbal setup and you figure out the controls, the Manfrotto MVG220 gives videographers a nice platform to shoot very stable videos on.
The abundance of modes for Tik-Tokkers, Instagrammers, and time-lapse fans, will please. The build quality (apart from those switches) is great. Battery life is stellar. The included briefcase handle is brilliant and the tripod base makes the gimbal stable on flat surfaces.
For less than $300, the Manfrotto MVG220 takes on the DJI Ronin SC and the Zhiyun-Tech WEEBILL-S. You’ll be pleased to know that it competes well. With a couple of firmware updates to smooth out some performance issues, the Manfrotto MVG220 could well be the entry-level gimbal to beat.
Manfrotto MVG220 Gimbal
An entry-level gimbal for modern content creators. The Manfrotto MVG220 can hold 4.85lbs of gear easily, while its battery can help keep you creating for up to seven hours. Built-in modes for Tik-Tokkers, Instagrammers and fans if time-lapse videos will delight. The included briefcase handle makes using this gimbal easy. If you need smooth videos, check out the Manfrotto MVG220.