Quick Field Review: GoPro Hero 9 and Media Mod, Zhiyun Crane M3 and DJI Mic

Sunset at Monkey Mia

Welcome to Monkey Mia

Come to Monkey Mia they said. It’ll be warm and sunny, they said. The fish literally jumpin’ into the boats, they said.

And there are dolphins. Lots of dolphins.

Except that right now, I am sitting in a large tent, walls flapping and banging, while a 50kph gale blows outside.

Sure, the first three days were fine. If include having a bout of COVID is fine, or at best, the same sorts of symptoms, as no RATS are available to confirm, here 1200Km from home in the north west of Western Australia on Shark Bay.

Actually, no. The first 3 days were NOT fine, COVID symptoms besides. For two of ‘em we had a family in the bay behind us at the caravan park with 2 families including 4 pre-pubescent girls who had decided it was OK to shout louder than the next one starting at 6am right through until 9pm, use part of our plot as a playground (a metre from our tent) and even move some of our stuff to make room for their games and sing-a-longs.

Pleas to them and parents had little effect, but thankfully they vacated yesterday. So we had a meal and a beer at the local bar. View; gorgeous. Food; bloody awful.

So tomorrow, we are cutting our Monkey Mia adventure short (this wind, which was not forecast even 24 hours ago is now destined to last another 4 days apparently) and heading back down south to Jurien Bay. The wind will still be blowing and there will be rain, but at least Jacqui, myself and Dougie the Dog will be warm and snug in a cottage by the sea.

So ,what to do to keep myself amused?

I know, why not have a play with a Zhiyun Crane M3 married to a GoPro Hero 9 Black with a Media Mod and a DJI Mic plugged in?

Product Descriptions

I am pretty sure most will be familiar with the GoPro camera. I am using the 9 here which is one generation behind the current 10, but still allows me to use the Media Mod accessory. This is a case the GoPro slides into (you need to take the side plate off and therefore you lose any waterproofing), and marries to the USB port. This then gives you a USB-C port, mini HDMI port and a 3.5mm audio in port as well as a built in mic.  The Media Mod I reviewed here.

The Zhiyun Crane M3 is a mid level gimbal designed for cameras in the smaller mirrorless / 4/3rds style such as those from Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, Nikon and Canon, but also is suited for Gopros and even comes with an adaptor for adding a smartphone. This was reviewed by Australian Videocamera here.

The DJI Mic is DJI’s foray into wireless microphones. It comes with 2 wireless mics and a single base station all wrapped neatly into a charging station the wat better earbud headphones such as those from Sennheiser are packaged. Cleverly, the whole kaboodle is re-paired when placed in the charger. The receivers and transmitters have a capacity of 320mAh and the charging case 2600mAh.  The transmitters also record also well as transmitting which is a really smart idea. Asl neat is the addition of a magnetic clamp on the transmitters along with the standard spring loaded clip.

I reviewed the DJI Mic here.

The Test

To test the combination out, I did a quick wander around the park at a time when the wind had subsided a bit. The GoPro was set to standard 4K video, so nothing fancy there.  As you can see and hear, the results were quite successful.

The audio recorded in three locations; in camera via the Media Mod built in mic, to the DJI Mic transmitter and receiver separately. I have used the DJI receiver version here. (You can hear by my voice that I am not yet back to 100%!)

Conclusion

The duo of the Zhiyun and GoPro was not too heavy and well balanced and although the party tricks of the Zhiyun controls could not be brought into play with the camera (full control via triggers and menus etc is not supported for GoPros) I could control the gimbal alone easily, and the pair was well balanced.

An important point to note here is that for any success with a gimbal and camera, you MUST manually rebalance before any shoot to get the vey best. Initially it seems time consuming and cumbersome, but you soon get the hang of it and it becomes a 2 minute job.

You also need to familiarise with the location of the axis locks on the gimbal by the way as on soime gimbals, they can be a bastard to find.

Overall, it was an interesting exercise and managed to use up a couple of hours…

By the way, the lead sunset photo is from the front of our tent. What a difference 3 days ago was.

This was shot on a GoPro Hero 10 with the Lens Mod (and that is reviewed here).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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