Review: Zhiyun Smooth5 S Smartphone Gimbal

If the speed with which DJI and Zhiyun release gimbals, there must be money to be made!

The latest to enter the Auscam Castle is the Zhiyun Smooth5 S, a gimbal designed specifically for smartphones.

As is the norm these days from companies such as Zhiyun, DJI, Hollyland and others, the packaging is almost a work of art in itself. In the box you get a black carry bag with an external pocket and a series of inside netted pockets for bits and bobs you might want to carry.

You get the main body of the gimbal, a screw in tripod, a magnetic light and coloured filters, USB cable that is branded Zhiyun so you can easily identify it as “special” USB-C for charging and connectivity purposes (I wish more vendors did this) a multi-language manual and a quick reference card.

I recommend a read of the manual and the quick reference manual as there are a couple of potential gotchas, especially if you are used to earlier Zhiyun gimbals or indeed, DJI ones.

As is the norm, you need to charge the Smooth5 S before it can be used and herein lies the first catch if you haven’t studied the manual and especially the schematic of the gimbal.

To charge, the first thing you need to do of course is plug the USB-C cable into the USB-C port and the other end into a suitable charger (none is supplied) right?

Well yes, but after an hour, nothing had happened, no lights came on and I was starting to think maybe I had a dud unit or cable, or for some inexplicable reason, my charger had suddenly failed. By a process of elimination, I discovered the culprit was the gimbal, so decided looking up any sort of trouble-shooter might be wise.

And .. lo and behold there are TWO USB-C ports, the second being on the main trunk of the gimbal and tucked away under a rubber flap, whereas the one I was using was on the main arm and open. Reading the schematic, this is supplied as a mobile phone charging port. In other words, you can keep the phone in the gimbal charged from the gimbal’s battery which is a very neat idea indeed..

Now that I had that sorted, another minor annoyance was the LCD panel which doubles as a mode indicator and a battery indicator. It is tiny, very tiny and set on the left side of the gimbal on the main control panel (each side of the squarish body has controls / ports of some description).

According to the manual, a single press of the power button will show the battery level with a series of dots. It doesn’t, it shows the abbreviations for each of the 5 modes, each abbreviation being a 20% battery level.

The specs state charging time is a maximum of 3 hours and 20 minutes is needed, so after that, I placed my Samsung A71 into the clamp on the arm and started to have a play.

This clamp has a two-way position – vertical or horizontal and a single balancing slide. Once the mount / smartphone is in the desired position, you undo a tightening knob and slide the arm up or down until the phone is perfectly balanced.

By the way, it is recommended not to power on the gimbal without a phone in place, something I have not seen before.

To get the best out of the Smooth5 S / phone combo, of course there is an app, called ZY Cami. When this is installed and activated, you are prompted to connect the Smooth5 S to your phone via Bluetooth; mine simply refused to find the A71 – or more correctly, vice versa. Which was odd as in the phone setting it COULD see the gimbal, so I bit the bullet and manually paired the two.

Back in the app, I was informed there was a firmware upgrade which is pretty normal. It downloaded OK but refused to install despite many attempts.

This was getting frustrating I have to say.

At this point you might think it is time to start slinging off at Zhiyun for releasing a product and app not yet ready for market.

And you’d be wrong.

You see, if I had thought to have a look at the compatibility table, I’d have seen the Samsung A71 is not compatible, and this would have saved me a number of hours of cursing and swearing.

So, rule of thumb, before buying anything electronic / gadgetry these days that requites a host and OS of any description, always check the compatibility list!

To rescue this review, odd as it may seem, an olde Huawei P30 I have IS compatible, so I dug that up out of its hibernation hole and charged it up.

Take 2

The Zhiyun Smooth5 S is a gunmetal grey in colour with a rubberised handgrip that gives a feeling of security. As mentioned, there are controls and ports on every side. What would be called the rear when holding it, and the smartphone facing forward  is the main panel I mentioned earlier. This contains a Menu button, light switch inside a rotary dial, a mode button, shutter release / record button and a joystick. Above all these are the teeny, tiny LED screen.

The joystick is graduated; that is, the harder you push it, the faster the camera will fact to the direction it is being sent.

The shutter button’s responsibility is pretty obvious. In photo mode it takes a photo and in video mode it starts and stops a recording. However, if you press and hold it, the camera will switch between the front and back cameras. This can only work though if you have yet to start recording.

The mode button is used to switch between the different gimbal modes, and effectively changes which axes are locked thus making the gimbal perform in a specific way. Rather than rehash old ground, I did a story on the various gimbal modes and their uses some time back and you can read that here.

The light button in the centre of the ring is used to turn on or off the external fill light. Simply press and hold for 2 seconds to activate the light.

Unlike the DJI Osmo 6 fill light which is an optional AUD$79 extra, the Zhiyun Smooth5 S comes with an add-on light that connects magnetically to the top of the gimbal. Four different coloured lenses are supplied – Red, Blue, Yellow and Orange, and these too snap magnetically on to the light.

To change the brightness, you can turn the dial clockwise and to decrease it, anticlockwise.

When the light is on, the rotary dial has a secondary purpose too. Depending on where you double press it (top, sides, bottom), it will let you change the frame rate, ISO, display the playback menu or finally, display all the technical settings information on screen.

If the light is off, these operations change. Now you use this same double press system on the left and right to change camera modes or open the main menu to change camera mode and / or gimbal mode.

You can also perform all of these actions on screen in the ZY Cami app on the smartphone. Additionally, there is a gesture control system to tell the camera to start or stop recording by holding up your hand or giving the two finger “V” salute.

Going around the base clockwise, the large rotary wheel has two functions; the default is that of a zoom control, and the faster you turn it, the faster it will zoom in (or out of course). The button in the centre changes the operation to become a focus wheel and again, the speed of the rotation will change the speed of the focussing.

On the front of the gimbal are the aforementioned USB-C slot for charging, a switch to lock the rotation of the gimbal for transportation and a small trigger. If you press the trigger once, it enables smart tracking with the app attempting to identify what’s in the centre of the frame to track.

This is where having the grid turned on assists. Similar to the DJI system, you can also draw a rectangle around the subject, and this will also enable smart tracking. Doing it this way means the object you wish to track does not need to be centred in the screen. Pressing the trigger once again will cancel tracking as will clicking the ‘X’ on the screen around any tracked object.

A double press of the trigger will re-centre the camera and a triple press will “flip” the camera to selfie mode or back again if already in that mode.

Finally, pressing and holding the trigger will enter Sport mode enabling the gimbal to react faster to your movements.

Finally, we have the last side, which has the on / off switch and a programmable function button which is currently disabled in the ZY Cami app.

In Operation

A major test of any gimbal to me is it’s measure of comfort to use. Being right-handed and having a banged up wrist due to a carpal tunnel op that didn’t quite work a few years back, this is somewhat important to me, especially in extended use.

The Zhiyun Smooth5 S comes through that test with flying colours. As I mentioned at the start, the handpiece is easy to grip, well sculpted and the ergonomics of reaching the controls on the main panel are straightforward.  Even the operation of zoom and focus can still be done with one hand as this wheel falls tight under the thumb.

There are a lot of modes / commands to remember, but this applies equally to any gimbal – or any camera for that matter – and like anything, practice makes perfect.

It is a worthy competitor to the DJI OSMO 6 it seems, but I will be putting the two side by side in a forthcoming shootout. I am especially curious as to how the tracking systems compare.

At $299 it is more expensive, but if you add the fill light factor in, becomes slightly cheaper than the Osmo 6. It is certainly as fully featured – and you get a better carry case to boot.

The caveat here of course is to make sure your smartphone is on the supported list; the Osmo 6 does support a lot more makes and models. Hopefully for Zhiyun fans, the company will add to the list sooner rather than later, especially widening the Samsung options.

You can get more information on the Zhiyun Smooth5 S from their website.

With its stabilisation can a GoPro benefit from a gimbal? Absolutely. Here’s why.

There was a question in one of the Facebook GoPro forums today. Someone asked which gimbal they should / could get that would suit a GoPro 10.

Various options were mentioned (my recommendation having tried it is the Zhiyun Crane M2S), but a couple of members scoffed at the thought.

Their reasoning was that the in-camera electronic stabilisation of the current GoPro is more than enough, and a gimbal would offer no advantages.

This is plainly not true if you think further than simple stabilisation.

A gimbal is also incredibly useful to get into tight places and still retain that stability. Think low down or high above your head shots, especially in a fast-moving environment. You get a much firmer “hold” of the camera than handheld will offer.

Another example is the “around the corner” type of shot where the camera is poked around a corner to reveal something. This is very hard to do handheld or even with a selfie stick and retain stability.

(I am guessing this is why Zhiyun use the “crane” moniker by the way as the gimbal is acting as a pseudo crane in many cases).

In low light, you retain stability even if the shutter speed has been slowed and the aperture opened, again giving better stability than in-camera will usually give.

Depending on the model, you can easily add other devices such as mics or lights, thus giving more flexibility (the M2S has a built-in video light complete with magnetic add on colour filters and other Zhiyun models even have a decent built-in mic).

So as you see, a gimbal can be a bit more than a glorified Selfie stick!

Released: DJI Osmo Mobile 6

Those DJI engineers  – and their factories for that matter – have been working overtime of late.

In the last few weeks we have seen the release of the new AVATA FPV drone (which just quietly is a fantastic little beast), the Action 3 (which I haven’t seen in the flesh as yet) and today, the Osmo Mobile 6 was announced.

If you have not been following the DJI story, the Osmo is a gimbal, something that the company of course specialises in, that is designed specifically for smartphones.

Unlike earlier previous iterations of the genre on the market, the 3 axis stabilized Osmo Mobile 6 is packed with what DJI are calling “creative tools”.

For example, a built-in extension stick coupled with a zoom / focus wheel lets you get some really dramatic and different angles that a simple gimbal just can’t offer.

And similar to the Action cameras (and GoPros for that matter) Timelapse, MotionLapse and HyperlLapse function are built in, as is the ability to shoot panorama imagery and even Gesture control is available. What I think is the best function is the ActiveTrack 5 utility letting you select a subject and the gimbal will faithfully follow it. DJI says it has improved the distance over which ActiveTrack will work too.

A single button press switches between landscape and portrait.

This is all driven by the DJI Mimo app which also has a built-in editor these days called LightCut, letting you create social media ready footage. A whole bunch of templates are right there along with shooting guides making it easy for beginners and also – the latest buzz word – “AI powered” editing.

For portability, the Osmo Mobile 6 folds up into a small and compact unit that will easily fit in your pocket. The phone is held on to the gimbal by a quick-release magnetic clamp that works with the phone in or out of a case.

A status panel has been added so you can quickly check battery levels (rated at over 6 hours usage) and which of the four gimbal modes is active. Switching between modes is achieved by pressing the ‘M’ button.

They have also made it that as soon as the phone is attached, the Mimo app will start automatically saving time when you need to capture something quickly.

DJI claims to have improved the ergonomics of the Osmo Mobile 6 and added a non-slip surface to it.

Optional extras include a light clamp, tripod and the DJI Mic which I reviewed some weeks back.

Pricing is pretty keen too, starting at AUD$239.

You can get more info, or even buy online at


Gimbal Modes Explained (updated)

I have been playing a lot with gimbals of late. I have models here for review from both DJI and Zhiyun, and each is aimed at a specific target, or more correctly camera type, from smartphone to a big bruiser such as my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K  and upwards.

I also have the DJI Pocket, which has become my day-to-day camera of choice due to its flexibility, feature set and of course the gimbal camera.

Now gimbals I have found, add a level of complexity many I gather find tricky to understand, at least in the beginning. All of a sudden you are thrown into a sort of 3D world in terms of gimbal movement, and it can be frustrating getting you head around it.

I know initially I did. So here goes a quick explainer.

There are 3 axes to a gimbal, and these dictate where the lens is pointing and at what angle. While a student of geometry would call them the x, y and z axes, in gimbal terms they are the tilt, pan and roll axes.

Rotate (Pan) Tilt Roll

With a camera and gimbal – or the DJI Pocket 2 – you have the ability to lock some of these axes and therefore force the lens to act and point in a specific direction.

Using the DJI Pocket 2 as an example, these modes are called FPV, Follow and Tilt Lock.

In FPV (First Person View) mode, all three axes are unlocked. This means that no matter what direction you tilt or rotate the camera, the lens will follow that orientation. The best analogy of how footage will look is to think of what you see when on a roller coaster. Your head (and therefore line of sight) will follow the curves, dips and so on of the roller coaster and when in FPV mode, this is how the gimbal will also react. With careful planning, using FPV mode allows you get some really creative shots.

In Follow mode, only two of the axes are unlocked. In Follow, the lens will stay in the same orientation as the camera body when tilted, but when you rotate or roll the camera, the lens stays in the same orientation, that is, it becomes independent off the camera body’s orientation. In short, the horizon will always remain level making this mode ideal for vloggers or if you are, well, following, someone or something (or yourself).

When Tilt Locked the gimbal is locked on two axes and unlocked on one, the pan axis. When the camera is tilted or rolled, the lens will hold its current orientation, but when you pan the lens will follow the camera’s orientation. Use this mode when you are filming something on the same level but want to have the option to move the camera up or down but still keep the horizon level.

There are two more things that make these modes even better and these are FaceTrack and ActiveTrack modes.

If you want to track an object, frame it up and then double click it on the Pocket 2 display screen and the gimbal will then follow that object. If it is a person, the Pocket 2 will automatically search out the face of the subject and track that.

If you have the Pocket 2 in Selfie mode (the lens facing you) it will automatically enter FaceTrack mode.

  Tilt Pan Roll
FPV Locked Locked Locked
Follow Unlocked Locked Locked
Tilt Lock Locked Unlocked Locked


Some good Zhiyun deals are begging apparently

I can’t keep up – nor really want to – with Black Friday, Mad Monday, Warped WEednesday and whatnot sales that seem to popuo once a week or so. But in case you are interested, this week is Amazon Prime Day (yes I knw that’s a tautology or something), and Zhiyun has some serios discounts on its gimbal range.



CRANE 3S — is a powerful redesign of previous ZHIYUN gimbals with the addition of detachable handle options, more powerful motors to accommodate up to large 14.3 lb payloads, an updated axis-locking system, an external power input, and the ViaTouch 2.0 remote control system.

Original price: $739

Discounted price: 27% – $539

CRANE-M3 — features upgraded motors with stronger torque guarantees stable movements and filming with cameras of different sizes. Readily compatible with smartphones, action cameras, compact cameras, and full-frame mirrorless cameras with certain lenses.

Original price: $369

Discounted price: 11% – $329

CRANE-M2 S — is highly portable, just like a phone gimbal, but with the capacity to hold cameras up to the Sony A7SIII with small prime lenses. The super-lightweight body is combined with stronger motors and extended axes compared to the standard CRANE-M2 series, making it a must-have for high velocity, run-and-gun filmmakers.

Original price: $269

Discounted price: 11% – $239

WEEBILL 2 — has enhanced responsiveness and stabilization capabilities to accurately eliminate shaky movements in a lightweight frame. It sports an industrial design that gives users maximum control through a flip-out touch screen.

Original price: $549

Discounted price: 27% – $399

CRANE 2S — is an upgraded version of the legendary CRANE 2 gimbal, featuring optimized motor control algorithms and improved power that handles cameras such as the BMPCC 6K, Panasonic S1H, Canon EOS 1DX Mark II, and Nikon D850 with total ease.

Original price: $599

Discounted price: 38% – $369


SMOOTH 5 — is the industry-standard 3-axis design allows movement through all angles to be amazingly smooth, even at the extremes.

Original price: $169

Discounted price: 12% – $149

SMOOTH-X — is the world’s first pocket-size selfie-stick phone gimbal that makes smartphone shooting incredibly fun. It comes with the ZY Cami APP featuring functions like gesture control, object tracking, beautification, and smart filmmaking.

Original price: $59.99

Discounted price: 50% – $29.99

SMOOTH-Q3 — includes a rotatable fill-light to 17 smart templates. This compact, feature-rich three-axis gimbal with simplified and detail-oriented design offers unrivalled functionality.

Original price: $89

Discounted price: 11% – $79

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Review: Zhiyun Smooth Q4 Gimbal

In 1983, three memorable things happened. Firstly, Australia won the America’s Cup via one Mr Alan Bond and a slippery yacht out together by a brilliant designer, the late Ben Lexcen. Second, Time Magazine awarded its (then) Man of the Year to The Computer (well the IBM PC in reality). And thirdly, my tenure at Tandy Computers was coming to an end after 5 years.

Who would have thought then what technology we could have now?

Cameras still took “film” and would for some time to come, data was stored on floppy disks, and hard disks, if you could get one, cost a fortune (around $6K for 8 MEGABYTES and mobile phones were a futuristic dream for StarTrek fans.

Now we have mobile phones with more memory than we could ever imagine, and that are also cameras (and many other things).

If ’83 then was the Year of the Computer, this is surely the Month of the Gimbal. In the last 6 weeks or so there has been an avalanche of gimbals appear on the market, notably from the two biggies in the game, DJI and Zhiyun.

The latest to arrive is the Zhiyun Smooth Q4 Combo a smaller unit designed specifically for smartphones.

And it has a particular suite of party tricks that take it above the norm.

At its most basic, the ZHIYUN Smooth Q4 is a 3-axis gimbal letting you tilt, pan and roll your smartphone). The roll x-axis is used to keep the smartphone’s horizon level. Of course there is more to it than just that.

As well as a screw in tripod, a nice touch is the built-in selfie stick. Sort of. Basically, the main body of the Smooth Q4 can be extended out to a length of 215mm thus giving more flexibility when shooting. Also clever is a magnetic detachable LED light (supplied with different coloured filters) that pumps out an impressive 141LUX.

Once you have the smartphone on the gimbal and balanced – a 30 second operation and a much easier process than some of its bigger brethren – the Smooth Q4 communicates with the phone via Bluetooth and an app. This means that no cables are necessary and also gets rid of the problem if you have an older phone not supporting USB-C.

To change operation, a Mode button on the Smooth Q4 changes how the gimbal reacts. Eg F mode kicks in pan and tilt whilst L mode locks the gimbal in a single direction. The front mounted trigger switches the smartphone orientation from landscape to portrait via a triple press.

But it’s when using the app that the Smooth Q4 really shines.

You can make the gimbal pan and tilt, zoom in or out of your subject and trigger the recording on and off all from the app.

Also clever is a Follow and Shoot mode. If you have the smartphone and gimbal on the tripod, by raising you palm it causes the gimbal to track your face, including panning and tilting as needed. Very useful for doing one person pieces to camera when you don’t want to be static but instead move around.

Hyperlapse mode is used for shooting a time lapse sequence and Pano shoots a sequence of images while rotating, and then stitches these together to form a single image.

People will undoubtedly compare the Smooth Q4 to DJI’s OM5 as they are similar in features and operation.

The major difference is DJI’s magnetic mount for the smartphone as against Zhiyun’s expandable clamp style and of course the OM 5, while it does have a magnetic light available, it is an extra purchase.

The Zhiyun Smooth Q4 as a combo set as described here is available for AUD$279 and you also get a nifty carry case. If you just want the gimbal and tripod, it is AUD$229.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

DJI RS-3 Combo Gimbal Kit – First Looks Pt 2

I had fully intended this First Looks to be in only 2 parts, but as things transpired, it is turning into a 3-parter if not 4.

 The reasons why will become clear as you read on…

Once you have the Ronin RS 3 gimbal assembled, the next step is to balance it with your specific camera. This is usually a four-part process and involves putting the camera on the quick release plate, removing things such as lens caps, straps and whatever, and adding anything that is to be on the camera eg a light, mic or other accessory.

In my case with the Blackmagic Pocket Camera 6K Pro  (BPCC 6K), this only meant removing the strap and adding the Canon 50mm lens sans lens cap of course.

From there it is usually a simple matter of adjusting the camera on the Tilt, Roll and Pan axes to get a perfect balance. This entails unlocking the relevant axis motor followed by the arm (roll, tilt or pan) and sliding the camera and base plate along until it is balanced, that is, neutral in position and not tilting forward backwards or left and right. Once each axis is balanced, you would then normally get the gimbals motors to check themselves and apply the correct tensions – an automatic calibration process.

And this is where the trouble started.  After 90 minutes of what should have been a 3 minute job, I still couldn’t get the BPCCC 6K Pro balanced. As soon as one axis was balanced, the next would bang up against the extremities of the gimbal.

I even stripped the gimbal back to its components and started again, but to no avail.

There were three courses of possible action. The first was to send an email to DJI Support to make sure I wasn’t missing something. At this point I have to say that the support folk at DJI are second to none and are always back to me within 24 hours and often less.

I have yet to hear back (it’s only been 20 minutes) but I have enacted a plan B which I was going to do anyway. According to the list of supported cameras, the BPCC 6K Pro is supported by the DJI Ronin RS 3, but there is no camera control. The Ronin PS 3 Pro version does support camera control.

But the list of Fujifilm cameras fully supported by the RS 3 is large, and so a second email was sent to the nice people  at Fujifilm to see if they would be happy to send me a camera that I can test with full control.

Thirdly, in order to at least get the RS 3 in operation, I added my Canon 5D to the base plate (with the aforementioned Canon nifty 50 lens).

Now this is worse than the BPCC 6K Pro in a sense as it uses USB-3 so is never going to work with any sort of camera control, but I did at least get a balanced camera on the rig. And it only took 5 minutes.

Once that was done, the auto calibration kicked in nicely and I was also able to add the briefcase mount as you can see in the photo.

Now I am going to have a play with the various modes and become familiar with them, and hopefully, very hopefully, I can have a camera that will take full advantage of the magic of the RS 3 by weekend and also get the BPCC 6K Pro working on it by tomorrow.

But at least I can at least start getting a feel for how it all comes together and fits into a workflow.

Stay tuned either way…

PS: I understand there is stock available at Videocraft



DJI RS-3 Combo Gimbal Kit – First Looks Pt 1

DJI has never been shy when it comes to adding goodies into their Combo versions of products. And so it is with the RS-3 Combo.

Not only do you get the base gimbal and quick release Arca-Swiss / Manfrotto plate with a grip that also contains the battery, also included in the combo kit is an extended grip-cum-tripod, and “briefcase’ handle.

Of course you will get the decent DJI carrying case with lots of pockets to snugly hold all those bits including the necessary USB charging cable and a multi-camera control cable.

But there is also icing on the cake as included in the package is DJI’s very excellent focus motor kit and all the necessary bits for that, like the motor rod mount kit, focus gear strap, lens fastening support and fastening strap.

The first thing I did was assemble the battery grip and tripod to the main gimbal assembly which took all of 30 seconds. The next task was to charge the unit. The battery grip has a USB-C slot down the bottom of the grip behind a water-resistant rubber-like flap. When it is plugged in, in typical DJI fashion a panel of 4 small greens LED flash to let you know it is charging, and when all 4 are on you know you have topped up the juice.

DJI says the 3000mAh battery is good for up to 12 hours and should charge in around 2 ½ hours with an 18W charger.

While it is charging, I did some investigation on how the RS-3 will fit into my workflow. Of course, the first thing you need is a camera, and ideally one that is compatible with the smarts of the RS-3’s software.

One thing they have done in this model is to add Bluetooth 5 support in addition to normal USB-C connectivity and I was keen to find out whether my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K could take advantage.

Under the website FAQs there is a link – – to check your camera against the Bluetooth support and while a whole swag of models from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Sigma and Olympus, sadly the BCCC 6K is not even though it does support Bluetooth. Helpfully on the website is a request form to add your camera and this was duly done!

Doubly sadly, nor is it controlled by the USB-C option (and nor is my Canon 5DS), so to test out this functionality I’ll need to either wait or try and get a model from Fujifilm that is supported.

Righto, once the RS-3 is fully charged, I’ll continue. In the meantime, if you want more info see

New Zhiyun Gimbal – Smooth Q4

At AUD$229, the new Smooth Q4 is said to provide an ideal solution for filming with a smartphone. A brand new foldable design makes it even more compact compared with the Smooth Q3. The Extendable rod allows you to shoot in a different view. Smart follow, Timelapse, Slow motion shooting and  find more fun with ZY CAMI app.






Interview: Zhiyun-Tech Gimbals

I recently reviewed a couple of gimbals from Zhiyun-Tech, the Crane M2S and the Crane M3. After this, I thought it might be great idea to ask the company some questions about itself, its plans for future enhancements and products and of course about the gimbal industry and video in particular.

AV: How did the company start?

ZT: Our company was founded in June 2015. We are dedicated to the innovative design and quality manufacturing of gimbals for cameras and smartphones, where we devised and published the very first industry standard.

AV: Do you only design and create gimbals?

ZT: Currently, yes, although our gimbal product line has grown rapidly since our incorporation. Our future roadmap also includes professional photography equipment that we are now designing.

AV: Are there plans for other products in the future?

ZT: Yes. Later this year we will introduce new products, expanding our product lineup.

AV: Why do you think that a videographer should have a gimbal ie: what are compelling reasons to purchase?

ZT: To achieve a professional looking video, you need to focus on at least two factors: image stability and shot creativity. For stability, there is no alternative to a gimbal. The inbuilt motor offsets unwanted movement in the camera while shooting, providing a much smoother momentum. Secondly, a gimbal also allows for creativity in movement that can never be achieved simply by hand.

AV: In your opinion what would be the perfect gimbal / camera combination?

ZT: It’s very difficult to judge the perfect combination since each filmmaker has their own unique needs, and ultimately, they always want to try more and do new things. That drives up to keep upgrading our gimbals. We’ve filled them with lights, microphones, using faster, more effective processors for more accurate and responsive movement, improved the handle for a more ergonomic grip experience. We are always attempting to create something closer to perfect each time, and that is what drives us to keep breaking the boundaries of innovation.

AV: You make gimbals for cameras, camcorders and smartphones. Which is dominant at the moment in terms of sales?

ZT: Overwhelmingly camera users want to use gimbals. Our best-seller, WEEBILL S, helps hundreds of thousands of compact mirrorless camera filmmakers record perfect moments. However, we also are extending our professional-grade products into prosumer and consumer-level products, so that everyone can improve their videography experience and film capture quality. The Crane M3 and SMOOTH Q5 are typical of our professional-grade technologies that have been successfully transplanted into consumer products.

AV: Will smartphones ever overtake a dedicated camera or camcorder?

ZT: There are some prestigious directors, such as Sean Baker and Steven Soderbergh, who have made films entirely using smartphones. Whichever product you choose to shoot, you must use a gimbal system to achieve professional-looking smooth and stabilized images in the film.

AV: What future enhancements may we see in gimbal firmware?

ZT: As we provide a wide range of products, it really depends. For each gimbal we offer continuous firmware updates to correct bugs, and sometimes introduce a new function. We intend to keep perfecting our existing products to meet our customer’s ever-changing needs.

AV: How do you suggest people who buy gimbals get the best usage? That is, how best to learn all the features and functions?

ZT: We offer a lot of educational content on our YouTube and Instagram channels: Zhiyun-tech. Our goal is to raise the awareness and we intend to continue teaching our customers how to capture great, professional-looking footage using our gimbals. Shooting like a pro really isn’t that hard. We present some tricks and shortcuts that have been proven by our pool of collaborative talents.

AV: Do you have any training available for using your products?

ZT: Yes. Our YouTube channel is full of tutorials for each of our products. These can also be found in our website, and our apps ZY CAMI and ZY PLAY. A lot of our collaboration partners also share their useful insights in their personal channels too.

AV: How can people buy your products? Online? In retails stores? Direct?

AT: We have an official online store in our website: Other major online platforms include AMAZON, B&H and AliExpress and we also have thousands of distributors supplying our products in major continents.

AV: What accessories are available for after-market purchase?

ZT: We offer different kinds of tripods, grip handles, an image transmission system, microphones, and fill light for our customers to accessorize their gimbals with to meet their filmmaking needs.

 AV: Can you point to any examples of footage shot on your products (and name the product involved) to inspire users?

ZT: This beautiful documentary was shot using a SMOOTH 5, our latest smartphone gimbal :


AV: Do you have any place your users can showcase their footage?

ZT: Yes, our Facebook group is a popular place where fans share their work. We also organize regular competitions to offer them an incentive to challenge them to create interesting films using our products. In our domestic market, we run a large, well-established content sharing platform called Lightollector:

AV: Do you accept suggestions from users to improve your products? If so, how do they submit them?

ZT: Of course! Working with filmmakers it is one of our biggest sources of inspirations for product innovation. Our customers can submit their feedback and suggestions in any one of our communication channels such as YOUTUBE, INSTAGRAM, Email. Our collaborative KOLs also submit their feedback on our products.

AV: If any Zhiyun product fails, how does a user get repairs or warranty? Is there an equivalent to something like DJI Care for example?

ZT: We provide a 7-day return and 15-day replacement policy. The free repair warranty period is one year, and two years in Europe. We have repair centers in America and Germany, while consumers in Asia can also send items to our headquarters in China.

AV: Are there any improvements / updates to our apps in the pipeline? Will it be made available for non-Android / iOS platforms eg Windows for use on the Microsoft Surface Go (Personally I’d love this!)

ZT: We are always working on updates for our software/apps. We base our decisions on what our customers use most, and at this time we have no comment on whether it will be available for a Windows system.

AV: Are there any 3rd party applications / products that complement the Zhiyun products you are aware of?

ZT: Yes, like SMALLRIG and FiLMiC Pro