On the surface, the design aesthetics of the iSteady MT2 are partway there, insofar as there is some product design going on, but it’s function over anything else. This is a shame in many ways, as DJI has design nailed and ZHIYUN is catching up fast.
However, while on aesthetics Hohem can’t compete, when it comes to design function and features this small gimbal absolutely excels.
When I first started testing the MT2, I coupled it with the Sony A7 III and a 35mm f/1.4; the weight and balance were okay, but I did feel that I was just pushing the limits of the small and lightweight gimbal. However, switching to the Nikon Z30 with all the compatible lenses I own, this gimbal comes to life.
Through the test with the Nikon Z30 and Sirui Sniper lenses, the combo worked incredibly well. Add the AI features and tracking, and it’s hard for anything else to compete. When it comes to ease of use, this small gimbal has surprised me. Boost the aesthetics, and the other companies will have to play catch-up.
Limited Weight Capacity
What is the Hohem iSteady MT2?
Hohem is well-established in the gimbal market and aims the majority of its products at the mobile phone market. What has set these gimbals apart in the past is their AI tracking.
The MT2 is the first of the larger Hohem models that I’ve examined, and I have to say that from the outset, it’s not what I expected. The design and build are good, with elements that show product design has started to encroach on what would otherwise be a purely functional design. These design flares include the plastic formers that give the gimbal an ergonomic shape, and the red anodising, which is a nice touch.
With DJI and ZHIYUN both producing smaller, lightweight gimbals, Hohem has joined the field, bringing their AI system to the format. On the mobile versions of the iSteady gimbals, the AI tracking is outstanding, and hopefully, we’ll see that reflected here with the larger MT2.
Like its smaller competitors, the MT2 is designed for entry-level cameras, or more precisely, smaller mirrorless models, which are far better suited for handheld work. I’ve recently been using the Nikon Z30 and have been blown away by the size and versatility of this small camera for video work.
So, aimed at the entry-level, the Hohem MT2 is small, lightweight, and relatively cheap. However, it faces stiff competition from the formidable DJI RS 3 Mini and ZHIYUN Crane M3, both of which are also relatively inexpensive. But Hohem has that built-in AI tracking, and before I start this review, I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that this will probably beat the others hands down in a later vs test.
Main Material: Aircraft Grade Aluminum & High-Performance Composites
Payload: Up to 1200g (2lb or 10.3oz)
Camera Width Compatibility: 60mm~97mm
Mechanical Range: Pan – 360° Infinite Rotation; Roll – 200°; Tilt – 290°
Working Temperature: -10~45°C
Battery Capacity: 2600mAh 7.4V / 19.24Wh
Battery Life: Up to 17 hours (ideal conditions); 6-8 hours (with AI tracking and full brightness)
Charging Time: 3 hours with 5V 2A charger
App Compatibility: Hohem Joy
Build and Handling
Let’s get straight into the build and then the handling. Hohem already has a great name in gimbal stabilisers for mobile phones. However, when I’ve looked at some of the models in the past, while the gimbals themselves are great, the finish leaves a little to be desired.
The MT2 is different. The plastic-formed grip and surround all feel nice and well-designed, with a slight but not overly rubberised finish. The plastic itself is of decent quality, not the highest but decent, and overall, everything feels solid.
Looking over the rest of the design, you can see the red anodising to highlight levers and dials. The axes are all black anodised metal and again very nicely finished, but all of this just misses that extra element of design that you get with a premium product.
Likewise, checking over the buttons and dials, these are all simple and functional, as is the small LCD screen that displays information about the settings you’re using once powered on.
When it comes to handling, setup is easy enough, and there are some really nice design features, such as the magnetic plate that can be removed to tighten the camera’s base plate mount before being placed back into its slot. Then there’s the clever design of the vertical that enables you to switch the camera from portrait to landscape in a few seconds by just releasing one of the levers, flipping over the plate, and reattaching—all very neat.
In use, the handgrip is on the smaller side and nicely textured, so it’s very easy to hold, and the buttons, dial, and trigger are all well positioned. Really, the build is good, mid-range, and the handling is functional, with Hohem thankfully focusing on usability over design aesthetics, although some polishing of the product design would be nice.
The iSteady MT2 from Hohem is a fine example of a gimbal that tries to balance out competing demands of weight, functionality, and design.
Crafted from aircraft-grade aluminium and high-performance composites, this gimbal has a satisfyingly reassuring weight of 653 grams. It’s substantial enough to remind you that you’re holding a piece of quality equipment, yet light enough to prevent your arm from going into early retirement.
Switching focus to its payload capacity, it’s evident that this gimbal is suited for lighter camera setups. The MT2 allows for a payload of up to 1,200 grams, accommodating camera widths ranging from 60 to 97mm. During my time with it, I tested both the Sony A7 III and Nikon Z30. While the A7 III was a decent match, it was the Z30 that truly breathed life into this stabiliser, revealing its full potential, even though it lacked BlueTooth of cable connection directly between the two devices.
With 360° infinite pan rotation, 200° roll, and 290° tilt, the MT2 gives you the creative freedom you need to capture compelling shots.
The MT2’s 2,600mAh battery claims an ambitious 17 hours of operating time under ideal conditions. However, activate the built-in AI tracking and fill light, and you’re more realistically looking at a 6-8 hour window, which was more inline with my experience through the test.
It’s also worth noting that the MT2 is designed to operate seamlessly with the Hohem Joy app. This opens up a realm of possibilities, from exploiting its AI capabilities to fine-tuning the gimbal’s settings. This App is again functional and doesn’t quite have the design asthetics seen in other competitor apps.
AI however is where this gimbal excels, and any flaws or issues with the gimbal quickly get forgotten once you see the gimbal in action. Hohem has transferred the impressive tracking capabilities from their mobile phone gimbal range to this larger model. During my tests, the tracking was spot-on, adding a pro-level polish to shots.
But what about the design? While it may not outshine its counterparts from DJI or ZHIYUN in the looks department, it has its own subtle aesthetic touches. The red anodised levers and dials stand out against the otherwise all-black design, while the grip is formed from quality plastic, offering a nice tactile experience.
The Hohem iSteady MT2 isn’t just another stabiliser; it’s more of a tech-savvy partner for your videography. With its mix of robust build quality, mechanical prowess, and intelligent features, it certainly holds its own in a market brimming with stiff competition.
It’s rare to randomly grab two pieces of photography equipment from two different manufacturers only to find that they match up perfectly, as if they were made for each other. However, that’s exactly what happened with the small Hohem MT2 and Nikon Z30; this is an ultimate match, and one that has not only surprised me but also completely changed my opinion of the small vlogging camera.
But before we start with the perfect match, I’ll run you through its use with the Sony A7 III, as this was the first camera that I tried, fitted with the Sony 35mm f/1.4. This combo also worked well, but as the gimbal was manoeuvred around, I did get the feeling that although it wasn’t pushing the max payload and the gimbal could cope well with the weight, it had more to do with the distribution of that weight. Nevertheless, it handled the stabilisation well and was able to cope with relatively quick moves.
During the balancing process, it was evident that the body and lens combo I had chosen was just a little over what the gimbal had been designed for. Pop on the smaller 35mm from Sony, and the balance might have felt a bit better, but as it was, it all felt a little top-heavy due to the lightweight nature of the gimbal itself.
At present, I also have the Nikon Z30 for a feature. I haven’t given it much thought aside from rather liking the design. However, as the Sony had pushed the limits, I decided to try the Nikon Z30 as a smaller alternative choice. The difference was instant: the balance was perfect, the handling amazing.
Through the test, I ended up combining the Z30 with the Sirui Sniper range of lenses, and what a combination. Pop the Sennheiser MKE400 on top, and you almost have the ultimate vlogging combo. Well, it would be if you could control the camera from the gimbal, which unfortunately, you can’t.
That lack of direct gimbal control is an issue, mainly because in every other way it all balances and works perfectly. With the Sony A7 III, while not balanced quite so well, you do have that direct control through a USB cable or Bluetooth, which is incredibly handy.
It’s a little frustrating that the Z30 isn’t fully compatible, whether that’s due to Nikon and just a limitation of the camera, or something that will be updated at a later date with a firmware update, is unknown. Still, however you look at it, the Z30 and the MT2 are a great fit. No doubt the Z50, which does offer Bluetooth and cable connection, would be an even better fit.
Likewise, the Sony A7 series with a smaller lens would also work equally well. I trialled it with the small 35mm f/1.8, and that all worked incredibly well. Hohem does actually put a list of camera and lens combinations on their website, so it’s well worth a check. [Hohem Compatibility List]
So far, I’ve only covered the Hohem MT2 used with mirrorless cameras, but it’s equally compatible with smartphones, action cameras, compact cameras, and of course, mirrorless/DSLRs.
Keeping up to date with the latest filming fashions, the orientation of the camera can be quickly switched from landscape to vertical. Unlike some older gimbal systems that enabled you to click a button and the gimbal would flip to portrait, here the base plate can be released and manually flipped. It takes a couple of seconds and allows for far more movement after the orientation change than the older systems tend to use.
The most impressive part of the system is the magnetic fill light and AI vision sensor. This is held to the side of the gimbal by magnets and firstly enables a fill light to flood the scene; it’s well diffused and just powerful enough to be useful in lower light conditions. The brightness of the light can also be adjusted easily to meet the demands of the scene.
However, the really impressive part of the system is the AI tracking. Now, this is available as an extra on most other gimbal systems from DJI and ZHIYUN, but not like this. Those other systems require additional and expensive kit, whereas here it’s built into the AI light and comes in the kit.
It also doesn’t require loads of setting up through an app, wires, and cables; it just works out of the box. It works through gesture commands; make the ‘OK’ sign with your hands, and the gimbal will start to pan with you, and quickly. Out of the box, I found that it would cut off the top of my head, but then a custom reframe, activated by holding your hands in a framing gesture, and the gimbal corrects. I honestly cannot highlight how simple the system is and just how effective it is.
When you consider the price and the target audience, the Hohem MT2 doesn’t try to be something bigger; it fits perfectly into the market that it’s intended for. While the build quality is good, the design aesthetics don’t quite meet those of DJI or ZHIYUN. However, when it comes to practicality and use, I’d say the Hohem MT2 is out ahead.
I’ve had the Hohem MT2 for a month or two, and to be honest, it’s sat in the background while a mountain of other products has come through the door. Now that I’ve finally had some time to spend with this small gimbal—about three weeks—it’s gone from a quick play to me seriously considering getting another for self-shot video tutorials and other work where I need a second pair of hands.
The compact size is a significant advantage, as is the straightforward yet practical design. Build quality is good, although not as exceptional as the DJI RS3 Mini.
Where it truly shines is in stabilisation. Used with a Sony A7 III and a smaller or compatible lens, it performs incredibly well. The weight and balance mean that it’s easy for almost anyone to use. With the Sony A7 III, you can also take control of shooting and a few other features, such as start/stop and focus.
When used with the Nikon Z30, unfortunately, you don’t have that range of direct control from the gimbal to the camera. However, since this is only a start/stop feature in reality, it’s not a significant issue.
For me, the fact that it works so well as a gimbal for small mirrorless cameras, is lightweight, features a decent fill light, and includes that AI tracking, really makes it stand out. The AI tracking is what truly sells this product to me over competitors like the DJI RS 3 Mini and the ZHIYUN Crane M3.