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.

Review: Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm… and magnets. I talk about magnets.

Cast your mind back to primary school. Remember the first time you saw a strange horseshoe shaped piece of red metal that was grey at the ends? And then your teacher – Mr Phillips or Miss Smith or Mrs Ellicot – threw some metal filings on to a piece of card paper, placed the horseshoe object underneath and lo! Wonderous patterns suddenly appeared.

Of course, you and your classmates all gasped!  It was magic! How could this be?

We now know this is called “magnetism”, and even if we don’t know WHY it does what it does, we at least understand what is happening.

A few companies in the film and video making biz have successfully incorporated the properties of magnetism into their products, with to me, the most notable being DJI which is using it very successfully as an “attachment” medium; that is using magnetism to connect two or more devices together. The Action 2 used it extensively.

SmallRig also uses it to cleverly attach Allen keys to its rigs, so you don’t need to go hunting for one to assemble or dismantle or even remove a camera from the rig Zhiyun has done the same thing with a screwdriver on some of its gimbals.

Which leads me neatly onto the Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm.

I reviewed the Elgato Multi-Mount system back in July last year. This is a series of articulated arms attached to an upright with a clamp at the end to attach it to a desk or benchtop. The cleverness is the adaptability at the end to being to connect a mic holder of various types, tablet holders or even cameras as well as the option to add further different length reticulated arms.

Conversely, the Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm, whilst having standard ¼” thread at the end – and is supplied with a pair of adaptors for different sizes (¼ ” – 5/8” and ¼” to 3/8”) – it is primarily designed for microphones as the name suggests.

Again, there is a standard bench clamp – more on that in a second – and the Low Profile Mic Arm slides onto a vertical spigot allowing full 360° rotation. It has to be said this was a very tight fit and needed a bit of bash file persuasion to nub down correctly, but thankfully, was easily again removable for transportation to somewhere else.

A clever feature of the clamp is a button on the windy handle thing (called a ratchet apparently) that allows you reposition it after tightening so that it isn’t jammed up hard against something or otherwise difficult to get to.

The horizontal arm that extends from this has a joint halfway along allowing 180° rotation in the horizontal plane in the vertical axis will go from full vertical (90°) to 60° below the horizontal giving lots of flexibility.

As mentioned, on the end of this is a standard ¼” thread on a ball joint that has a range of 90° (vertical) to -90° (straight down).

It is thus relatively easy to set this up so that the mic is at head height no matter you are sitting or standing. I used the Elgato Wave:3 that uses a USB-C connector without issue.

So where does the “magnetism” thing come in you ask?

One of the banes of anyone involved in audio and video is cable management. We are all familiar with the site of extra cable being wound around the boom and mic stand, I am sure! What Elgato has cleverly done is create compartments in the two arms of the Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm in which the cable can be fed and thus kept out of sight.

Access to these compartments is via a pair of magnetically attached “lids” covering the top of the arm. Simply lift this off, run the cable through and pop it back on again.

Very nice and well thought out.

The Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm can be bought for around $150 – a bit less if you shop around. You can get more information from the Elgato website.






New Zhiyun Fiveray F100 and M40 Pro Lights

ZHIYUNhas launched the FIVERAY M40 pocket fill light and the FIVERAY F100 stick light. With their launch, ZHIYUN pushes the boundaries of lighting technology and performance to put studio-quality, ultra-portable lighting products in the hands of content creators. Used with ZHIYUN handheld gimbals, content creators can create silky-smooth footage with stable and soft lighting, even in dark outdoor settings, thanks to its stay-cool technology.

By raising the cooling efficiency through intelligent control, its two-way cooling system prevents overheating.

The palm-sized ZHIYUN M40 360° fill light epitomizes simplicity and utility. Based on the attitude-control algorithm applied on gimbals, DynaVort technology enables better heat dispersion, allows for smaller fans, and therefore, a compact device without compromising on its 40W power; whereas products of a comparable size currently only offer 5-13W. Weighing only 320g, it fits neatly in pockets, looks stylish and is the ultra-portable illumination companion for videographers, whether amateur or professional.

Yilun Liao, CEO, ZHIYUN, said: “we are passionate about using breakthrough innovations – whether it’s with our iconic gimbals or our new FIVERAY lighting devices – to simplify and reshape content creation. With several industry firsts under our belts including the M40’s DynaVort Cooling System™, our products offer full creative control and convenience for anyone wanting to experience and express their inner filmmaker.”

m40The ZHIYUN M40, embedded with 176 LED chips rivals the key lights provided by bulkier products on the market with:

  • Incredible illuminance of 14,000 lux at its peak
  • Adjustable dual color temperature ranging from 2,700-6,200K and consistent power output peaks at 40W with no strobing, ensuring a stable light source
  • A standard fidelity offering for both photography and videography with CRI reaching 96+ and TLCI reaching 97+*

ZHIYUN’s FIVERAY F100 is the second professional lighting stick in its FIVERAY product range, bringing power, portability and accurate color rendition in one versatile tool. Weighing just 950g, F100 is designed for one-handed control and comfort, offering a pro lighting solution without the need for complicated set-up or setting adjustment. Embedded with 5 times more LED chips, F100 gives you ultra-bright output compared to similar-sized lights, reaching 20,708 lux at its 100W maximum power. F100 offers six creative lighting effects that help build up the atmosphere easily when inspiration strikes. For maximum versatility, F100 can be mounted on ZHIYUN’s holder, H stand, tripod and light stand, fitting in various filming settings for lighting solutions and additional accessories, including a diffuser and grid, offer multiple lighting options.

The ZHIYUN F100 is packed with features:

  • One click operation of Hue Saturation Intensity mode via the control dial: HSI Mode. Adjust H-Hue (0-360°), S-Saturation (0-100%), I- Intensity (0-100%) via the dial and experience rich, vibrant colors.
  • Frosted casing creates a diffused, warm ambience while its groundbreaking structure integrates portability and performance.
  • Professional color rendition with the RGB increased by 47% from 2700K to 6200K in CCT Mode

Pricing and availability

Available from 23rd November 2022,

The ZHIYUN FIVERAY M40 is available for USD$99.

The ZHIYUN FIVERAY F100 is available for USD$249.

From December 7th to December 8th, the F100 and M40 will be available on a buy-one-get-one-free basis from Amazon ZHIYUN store, AliExpress, B&H, and ZHIYUN official store.

And two minutes later …

The SMOOTH 5S is the latest addition to ZHIYUN’s iconic SMOOTH range. As well as offering several upgraded features that make it more powerful, with superior image stabilization and support for larger smartphones, it features a new, high-performance fill-light built-in, plus two modular magnetic lights, providing an integrated yet simplified filmmaking experience for everyone.

Xin Wang, Product Manager, ZHIYUN, said: “Our creative tools enable content creators to realize their filmmaking goals and allow them to explore the furthest limits of their creativity. With its innovative features and its second fill light, the SMOOTH 5S elevates your smartphone into the perfect one-man day to night filmmaking tool. It’s perfect for content creators or anyone wishing to express themselves creatively.”

Illuminate any scene

The light, situated in the stabilizer’s tilt arm, offers a 5,000k color temperature, a 90+ CRI and 2W rated power. The new fill-light is in addition to its 300-lumen lights, with both illumination sources enabling 360° all round lighting for up to 15 square meters. This large fill area allows filmmakers to express their talent with varying shadows, contrast and brightness in any scene.

Unbreakable stabilization

The SMOOTH 5S offers superior anti-shake footage which preserves the original quality of the shoot. The magnetic steel motors with upgraded algorithms provide firm support for even larger sized smartphones, while the wider phone clamp supports external lens options.

Breadth of vision and full control

The position of the SMOOTH 5S’s rear motors and its professional cut-out design facilitate wider capture, and extreme-angle shooting, thus putting more creative options at a filmmaker’s fingertips. Filmmakers have full control thanks to ZHIYUN’s iconic, intuitive control panel and wheel allowing easy adjustment of gimbal parameters. Visible shooting modes combine with a round-cap joystick to get shot-ready with an effortless one-handed operation.


Up to 24 hours of uninterrupted shooting

Getting the SMOOTH 5S ready for a day out with 100% charge only takes 2 hours via PD fast charging, giving content creators a maximum of 24 hours of non-stop shooting.


Content that wows

The ZY Cami APP offers multiple templates, filters, music, transitions, and stickers, including:

  • Multiple quick switch shooting modes including PF, L, F, POV
  • Zoom and focus switch support as well as focal length adjustment via the control wheel – enabling entry level to film professional dolly zoom effect.
  • SMART FOLLOW – secures the spotlight for your subject. Remotely control the camera via gestures.
  • MagicClone Pano, Slow Motion, Timelapse features.

ZHIYUN’s StaCam professional app, dedicated to video filming has a simple yet multifunctional interface and intuitive operation. The app will brighten up your daily vlogs and can also make your videos more cinematic.

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!

Zhiyun Weebill 3 Gimbal Quick Tip

The things you find by reading the manual (and yes I do bang on about this – see here if you are interested further).

I have just discovered the Transmount Sling Grip is extendable. Simply loosen off the locking ring on the handle and pull it out. Lock the ring to hold in place.

Review: Canon EOS R10. A great intro to the EOS R world for those jumping to it.

My mate Rossco Gibb from Ross Gibb Photography is one of the best motor sport snappers in the country in my opinion. For years he has been supplying me images for use in Australian Videocamera, and every so often we do manage to get together.

Until recently he, like many pro photographers, has been welded to his Canon 1D through all its different Mark X iterations, but I learned recently he had switched to the new Canon R series.

My own weapon of choice is a Canon 5DS with a 70-200 lens or a standard nifty 50 nailed to it. In a recent email conversation with Ross, he waxed lyrical about the R series he had just invested in, so when Canon sent me a EOS R10 the day I was interested to see how this new series has changed things.

I received the “kit” version that comes with the body and a Canon 18-45 lens in the box and this costs between AUD$1469 and $1600 depending on where you go.

First Impression

My first impression is how light and small it is! Sure, I only have the benchmark of the 5DS to compare it to (from the Canon stable anyway) but nonetheless, I did expect a bit more heft in the hand but hey, a combination of durable plastics and magnesium alloy help the cause along.

It feels nice and balanced, and the right hand has plenty of grip on the body due to the shape. As you can see from the photos, the control layout is logical and straightforward, and all controls are easily available without too much wrist movement.

A couple of nice touches I appreciated; one is the MF/AF control on the front of the body that falls very nicely under the 3rd finger of the right hand and the other is the angled shutter release button that just seems to me to be a more comfortable arrangement as against the 5DS which is more steeply raked.

The 3” LCD screen flips out and twists giving lots of leeway but in bright sunlight it did suffer a bit. You could see it but seeing any detail to focus I found difficult and had to resort to the OLED EVF on which there is no tilt sadly.

The LCD is touch screen enabled and also lets you tap to set the point of focus when shooting and also trigger the shutter release. A quick menu can be popped up too allowing access to metering and focus modes as well as changing video mode and other options. You’ll need to mesmerise the options via their icons though. There’s a lot of ‘em!

All the standard ports are under rubberised flaps on the left of the camera – USB, mini-HDMI, 3.5mm mic and 2.5mm wired remote ports. Note though despite the seals, the R10 is not rated as weather resistant.

A single SDXC slot is available for storage.

You also get Wi-fi and Bluetooth as is the norm these days and you can use the Canon Camera Connect app for both Android and iOS devices for remote connectivity.

Finally, tucked away – I didn’t notice it initially – is a flip up flash unit over the top of the EVF.

Subject Recognition

Showing that things have come a long, long way, the R10 has bult in subject recognition; when a subject is recognised it draws the focus box around them. DougieTheDoggie was instantly picked up as was EmuTheChook, and apparently, but not tested, the aforementioned Mr Gibb might be happy that motorsport recognition is also available.

Ah, no, in hindsight, probably not …

In fact, the whole subject focus thing is fascinating to explore including allowing you to select what parts of the area being viewed can have the function applied such as Whole Area and progressively getting narrower.

The focus speed is too shabby either, locking on very quickly when a subject is picked out.

I didn’t have the chance to check this out against any other cameras, but a quick read around my peers’ reviews suggest that Canon has this right functionality spot on and its implementation is better than anything else on the market right now.


The still imaging overall I thought was up there too except when you cranked up the ISO a bit (sometimes regrettably necessary with a lens with a max aperture of 4.5) then some grain started to sneak in.

As you’d expect, in the video area, 4K is supported and Canon says the camera down samples a 6K image down to the 4K when shooting in 24 or 30fps and this gives excellent clarity.

The one drawback of this camera in video mode though is a lack of in body stabilisation, instead using a mixture of lens and digital cropping. This made handheld shooting a little jumpy in my opinion. My Zhiyun Weebill 3 is not compatible with the Canon R10 unfortunately, and nor is any other Zhiyun model at this point a check of their website tells me. You’ll need to get a DJI RS3 if you want a decent gimbal to counter this.


As mentioned, my review unit came with an 18-45mm lens as part of the kit, but you can get the R10 as body only and then choose your own les(es) from the RF range of which there is a number. Alternatively, if you already own a bunch of EF lenses, Canon has made available an EF to RF adaptor that’ll set you back around $170. Again shop that around.


All in all, I enjoyed the Canon EOS R10. As an entry level into the R series, it does an admirable job, is easy to learn and use, and the ergonomics I liked a lot. If there is one thing I did not like and never will is the way the SD card slot is next the battery and only accessible from the bottom the camera. Pleas, please mount it on the side somehow!

Personally, I would not get the kit lens model, probably instead opting to go for the RF 50mm F1.8 STM  along with a RF 100-400mm if I was being serious, but of course, this varies depending on exactly what you intend to shoot.

The stabilisation issue in video mode may be a problem for some. Battery life was also not that stellar in my usage, so I’d recommend having a couple of spares on hand and perhaps a power bank as well.

If you are jumping from a smartphone say to your first “real” camera, then the Canon EOS R10 is a very good choice. Canon build is legendary, you have a good range of lenses augmented by the EF-RF adaptor and the price is reasonable. If you are a Vlogger, it will work there too, but may be a slight overkill if that is all your thinking of doing.

There is more information complete with all the technical specifications right here.

First Look: Zhiyun Weebill 3 Gimbal. It’s A Winner.

Not all gimbals are created equal. I wonder how many people have purchased one only to find it doesn’t fit their needs.

How so you ask? Surely a gimbal is designed to do a single job.

And that is true. A gimbal is designed to give stability and fluidity of motion to your video footage, but there are different models for different purposes.

If you take the Zhiyun range for example where there are three distinct ranges called Crane, Smooth and Weebill.

The Crane range is designed for compact cameras and mirrorless smaller models, the Smooth for smartphones and the Weebill is the grandaddy of the series for use by professional videographers who have cameras such as a Canon Cinema or in my case, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro.

Zhiyun has just released the Weebill 3 and I have had the opportunity to test it out for a short period initially. As I tend to do, I try and have a quick play to get a ‘feel’ for a product and then do a more in-depth review later.


The first thing I noticed is how light and compact it is. Made almost entirely of metal, weighing at 1.1Kg it is 200g lighter than the Ronin RS3 for example.

With the new 2/0 “Sling” design and the addition of a wrist rest, the Weebill 3 is also very comfortable to use for longer periods.

A nice touch is that although a screw in tripod affair is supplied, the Weebill 3 will also stand by itself.


The majority of the controls are located on the rubberized grip and there are the usual mode and record buttons, joystick, trigger, control wheel and a menu button. The OLED screen is also located here and whilst I think it could be made bigger, it is adequate with an easy-to-follow menu system.

The Weebill 3 is charged via a USB-C port tucked away into the base of the unit, and Zhiyun claim to get 21 hours out of a single charge which is nearly double that of the RS3.

Two nice touches on the Weebill 3 are the addition of an inbuilt microphone that connects to the camera via USB and a 1000 lumens LED with colour temperature control. You also get a few coloured filters supplied for good measure.

There is also a 3.5mm audio input port and two extra USB-C ports (one of which is for the mic).

Camera Mounting and Balancing

You get the usual camera mounting plate, a quick release plate and the added bonus of a riser plate if needed. All are made from metal and beautifully machined with easy-to-use levers to lock in place.

Balancing a camera on a gimbal has always been a tricky affair potentially fraught with frustration. I am happy to report though the Weebill 3 is the very first gimbal I have not had to hunt for a 3rd party video to show me exactly how to balance it. The 3 axes all move smoothly to get the exact balance – so many in the past tend to be jerky – and once locked are very secure.

I managed to balance my Canon 5DS in under 2 minutes which for a first timer, is definitely a record.

I reckon once you have it off pat, even a camera change or a lens swap would get you rebalanced in under a minute. The design of the mounting plate system means that if you simply remove the camera and then replace it (with no changes to it such as a new lens say), there is no need to rebalance – although personally I would do a quick check just in case.

One small thing though. To get the best from a gimbal and its built-in software, that is, have the gimbal control the camera’s focus, zoom, aperture, shutter release etc it needs to be compatible.

At this time, this is limited to Sony, Canon, Nikon, some Panasonics and a small selection of Fujifilm. Hopefully this will expand over time – I was disappointed my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro is not in the list for example.

You can see the full list here.


As well as the on-board physical controls you can also control the Weebill 3 via the Zhiyun app for Android / iOS. The app will automatically find the gimbal and connect and then you can use it to pan, tilt and roll for example. The app is also used to update the gimbal’s firmware (which is the very first thing you should check of course!).


As it says on the tin, the Weebill 3 does what a gimbal should do and does it well. And that is good.

What sets it apart though is the comfort-in-use factor. For me, now particularly that is a major, major bonus as, because regular readers know, I suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and despite an op a couple of years back, there are still some symptoms of it. Adding insult to injury I recently also damaged my right shoulder so anything that assists taking a load of that is on my New Best Friend List.

The battery life is also a winner and the ease of balancing a big, big plus.

I’d like the OLED screen to be a little bigger, but that’s possibly just me and slightly dodgy eyesight.

You can buy the Weebill 3 as just the gimbal, or as I have it, with the sling arm. I highly recommend the latter and that will set you back $999. Without, it’s $899.

The Zhiyun Weebill 3 is obtainable from Videoguys in Melbourne. More information can be obtained from the Zhiyun website.

I’ll have a field review with sample footage in the next day or so (weather always permitting of course).






First Look: Zhiyun Fiveray FR100C

In fishing parlance, if you have a love of all things gadgety, and can’t resist buying that new brightly coloured lure, the new gizmo to remove a fish hook or the latest contraption to help you tie a hook on without jamming the point through your finger, then there is a name for you.

A Tackle Rat.

I wonder if there should be such a title for the same sort of folk who inhabit the film and video making world?

A Gadget Junkie? Think of a name and I’ll work out a suitable prize for the best one. Let me know at

But we all love a good gadget, and the latest to cross my desk is yet another product from Zhiyun called a Fiveray, also known by the not so sexy moniker FR100C.

Fiveray is a high powered and very portable LED fill light that comes chock full of party tricks and is a great tool for those who film live interviews or do still photography especially. It also makes a pretty damn good camping light just quietly, although it is NOT waterproof but it rated IP20., in other words, “the product is touchproof and will be resistant to dust or objects that are over 12mm in size. However, it has no protection whatsoever against liquids and will be susceptible to damage if it comes into contact with sprays of water”.

The Fiveray is powered by an internal Lithium battery and rechargeable by either USB-C or external 24v / 5A power supply. (This is an optional extra).

There are sadly no real figures given as to battery life under different conditions as with so many possibilities under so many potential circumstances, any indications would be wildly wrong in reality. All the manual tells us is that under maximum power you’ll get around 31 minutes.

Now that may seem like a copout, but when you discover the full potential of the Fiveray, you’ll see what I mean. So a complete physical description is in order.


The Fiveray is about ½ metre long and 50mm on each side and has a solid feel about it weighing in at almost 1Kg.

The body on one side is dominated by a frosted white lens-cum-light shade and on the other by no less than 6 cooling fans.

On the fan side and below them (with the Fiveray in the vertical orientation that is), is a control panel made up of a small, coloured LED screen and rotary switch with a central on/off switch. On the side next to the control panel are the pair of charging ports. And on the bottom, a standard ¼” threaded hole for light stand or tripod mounting.


Everything can be controlled from the combination on/off and rotary switch. And by everything, that means a LOT of things, thus showing of the versatility of the Fiveray.

Surrounding the rotary switch are four small labels – DIM, MAX, CCT and HIS. Taking these one by one:

DIM: A single press of the DIM button allows you to enter the brightness adjustment interface, also known as CCT mode. Here you can then switch between Brightness and Colour Temperature.

HSI:  Again, a single press enters the HSI full colour mode interface and here you are able to switch between Hue, Saturation and the Full Colour Interface.

MAX: This just does one thing – switches between the maximum power mode on or off, and that is a whopping 20708LUX!

CCT: A single press enters the colour temperature interface where you may switch between Brightness and Colour Temperature. The Colour temperature range is 2700K to 6200K.

In every process, the LED screen informs you of what mode you are in and the current settings as they change as well as the current battery level.


Okay, technical specifications and guff are all very well, but where can the Fiveray pay for itself?

I can think of a number oof places where having control over light such as this useful, especially in portrait and product photography for example. Being portable means you are not bound to a studio and 240v power. And with Power Stations being so affordable these days, carrying top up power around is not an issue anymore.

It can also be used for background lighting, with the options of different colours easily accessible letting you experiment quickly with different colurs and brightness to get just the “right look” – for still photography or video.

Something I did not think off until I saw it on the Zhiyun website was that with the ¼” thread, it is potentially easy to mount the Fiveray to a gimbal and using long shutter times and exposure, you have a fabulous way of “light painting”.

There are brighter people than me – pardon the pun – who much more understand lighting than I, and I am sure they will think of a myriad more ways it can be used.

Fiveray retails for AUD$399 for the base unit at AUD$499 for the “Combo” which also ships with a a240v charger, USB-C Cable and carry case.


I am very much looking forward to having a serious play with this under a variety of circumstances. I can see many, many uses for the areas I dip my toes into the water with, and the Fiveray is already one of those few items I think you should keep with your base camera / camcorder kit at all times.

If I had one criticism at this stage, it is simply this is definitely a product screaming out for an app to drive it from a smartphone. Fiveray v2 perhaps, or maybe there is Bluetooth embedded and a firmware upgrade may pop that into existence sometime in the future?

Speaking of firmware upgrades, to upgrade the Fiveray with any new updates (always wise to check out of the box), it uses the same firmware upgrade tool that Zhiyun gimbals use.

For more information and to purchase, go to

PS: It also comes in white.

PPS: Zhiyun has JUST announced a giveaway!


Fiveray Light Stick * 5 for lucky winners!

Entries close on August 10th 11:59PM PST, 2022

Click here for details

ZHIYUN Annual Short Video Contest 2022 Launches with 100K USD Worth of Prizes

Short videos have been the trend for many years. They are still attracting more people to join this community while many quality content creators have already dived into the short-video world. They look forward to posting their works on more platforms, telling their own stories, and sharing their life and attitude.

ZHIYUN has always been committed to providing excellent equipment for photography enthusiasts and photographers around the world. It strives to create an inclusive photography and filmmaking community, and hosts video contests to support and encourage budding creators. Last year, the ZHIYUN Annual Short Video Contest received 1024 entries from 864 groups/individuals in 47 countries/regions and created a buzz in the industry.

On July 5th, ZHIYUN launched its Annual Short Video Contest 2022. The contest is hosted by ZHIYUN with NIKON, and partnered by RØDE, Aputure, YC onion, Desview, SmallRig, iFootage, Thunderobot, Lexar, HOLLYLAND, UGREEN, and FiLMiC.


1) Visit: to register for the competition.
2) Filmmakers are free to submit videos of any duration and subject. The video is required to use the ZHIYUN pre-roll introduction for the contest, which is available to download during registration.
3) Post the completed submission to YouTube or Instagram using the hashtag “#ZHIYUN Annual Short Video Contest 2022”. Use the title and/or description to explain the background of the submission and the capture/filming devices used.
4) Contest runs from July 5th to October 20th 2022.


The judges of this year’s contest are: Tim, the founder of MediaStorm; director and cinematographer Olivier H.D; famous photographer and content creator Lin Haiyin; director and photographer Zhizhu.


After the judging, a total of USD 100K prizes will be awarded to the winners in the following categories:

  • First prize winner – total value $6,300 USD
  • Two 2nd-prize winners – total value $4,800 USD ($2,400 each)
  • Three 3rd-prize winners – total value $5,100 USD ($1,700 each)
  • Three Nikon Fresh Clip Award winners – total value $2,400 ($800 each)