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Mattias Burling

My Review of the Zhiyun Crane 3-Axis Gimbal

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Dumb question, but how many forum members are looking for a handheld stabilizer with a payload lower than 1,200 grams? I haven't seen anyone in the forums complain of not having a stabilizer built for a point and shoot camera...

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2 hours ago, jonpais said:

Dumb question, but how many forum members are looking for a handheld stabilizer with a payload lower than 1,200 grams? I haven't seen anyone in the forums complain of not having a stabilizer built for a point and shoot camera...

I do. 

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Back to the original Zhiyun Crane, some readers might be interested in knowing about their customer service. As several of you are already aware, communication with some of these manufacturers of gimbals and drones is not always a great experience. After owning the Crane for a couple of months, I discovered that the screw that tightens  the roll axis arm kept coming loose. Had I noticed the problem sooner, Zhiyun would have simply replaced it, but in this case, all they could do is repair it, which is fine. I sent the gimbal back to Zhiyun in China by snail mail (from Vietnam) on Oct. 8th and they received it on Oct. 25th. Rose over at Zhiyun kept in constant touch with me by email during the entire process. When they'd finished the repair, I requested they return the Crane by FedEx (because DHL Vietnam is incompetent and perhaps corrupt), which they did. I received the gimbal yesterday, and so far, it appears to work fine. The company also scrutinizes customer reviews online daily, so I know they are very interested in making sure users are satisfied with their products.

I've been eager to get the Crane back to test out my new Nokton 17.5mm F/0.95 on the GH4, which is just about at the limit of the gimbal's payload capacity. I haven't had the chance to shoot with it yet, but balancing took substantially longer than with the feather-light  LUMIX G X Vario 12-35mm F/2.8. If rotated 180 degrees, with such a heavy combination, the yaw motor will obstruct it, because the roll arm must be extended much farther, but it shouldn't matter during actual filming. Whith such a heavy load, it is possible to hear the motors straining when the camera is tilted very far in any direction, so I would really be hesitant about exceeding 1200 grams, at least with the GH4, because with an all-metal and glass lens like the Voigtlander, it is too front-heavy. Heavier camera/lens combinations that aren't so front-heavy might work fine for all I know. 

Update: I took the Crane out for a shoot this morning, and I'm still not sure whether the problem has been fixed: I had to adjust the roll arm screw once while I was out and about. Also, viewing the clips, they looked jittery as all hell, pretty much the same as the Vario G X 35-100mm f/2.8, so not sure what's going on. Maybe I didn't balance carefully enough? Maybe I've got to practice the ninja walk? Funny, 'cause I've seen a couple of videos on YouTube where the Nokton looks fine on the gimbal. I was hoping to upload a mini-review with various lenses on Thursday, but now I've decided to contact a buddy who does professional work to try this gimbal out and see how his stuff looks first. I'm still waiting for him to get back to me.

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One negative of using the Nokton with the GH4 on the Crane is, it must be re-stabilized each and every time it is refocused because the elements are moving, which is a pain in the butt. On the plus side, even when shooting at wide apertures, say between f/2.8 and f/4, when set at hyperlocal distance, the images are sharp as a tack. Which brings up a point I'd really like cleared up, if anyone can: why is it that so many here say to focus the camera at infinity when shooting with drones, which is obviously not a good thing to do, when what they should be doing is setting the lens at hyperfocal distance? Or have the rules of optics changed since I graduated in 1984? I hope to post the 100th review of the Crane since it was released a few months ago and move on. I'd really like to share some stuff shot with the iFootage Shark S1 slider, most likely the best slider on the market nobody's heard about, as well as their superb Wild Bull T7 carbon fiber tripod, not as sexy as the Olympus OM1 or Fuji XT-2 for some, but for me, they are.

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Hi, this thread has been really good, so I registered just to let everyone know that Alixpress is having a big sale in 5 days, the 11/11 (Asian time) so I have my eye on this one for US$550 or even a bit less with some coupon codes: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Zhiyun-Crane-Professional-3-Axis-Handheld-Gimbal-Camera-Stabilizer-for-Sony-A7-Series-for-Panasonic-Canon/32759135863.html?ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_2_10091_10090_10088_10089,searchweb201603_1&btsid=2b8be32d-dba7-4082-86de-e968f1b95142

I was thinking hard about the Crane M because I will mostly be using it with a EOS-M, maybe my Galaxy S7 and also a new Casio ZR5000 I bought with an ultrawide lens however the flexibility of a larger weight, and also the fact there is no discount on the Crane M makes the price difference only $50.  I am still torn though, between the 200gram weight saving and ease of use for a lighter kit.  

Also it would be good if anyone tried attaching lights and microphones, I saw some feedback that this doesn't really work well, but I would like to have an interview capable kit with my Tascam DR-05 and a cheap Neewer 160 LED light I got off Amazon.... if that sort of thing worked ok, then that pushes me towards getting the bigger Crane.

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4 hours ago, Adam Potaznik said:

Also it would be good if anyone tried attaching lights and microphones, I saw some feedback that this doesn't really work well, but I would like to have an interview capable kit with my Tascam DR-05 and a cheap Neewer 160 LED light I got off Amazon.... if that sort of thing worked ok, then that pushes me towards getting the bigger Crane.

I've been interested in attaching things to the handle but haven't come up with the best way yet. Perhaps something like the Daisho gimbal clamp system mentioned in the other thread by Cinegain or a long plate system or the upcoming two-handle attachment for the Crane.

In any case I don't see much reason to get the smaller Crane-M if there's any possible chance in the future you'd ever want to use a larger camera/lens combo on it.

FYI with the new "5D" firmware for stabilizing the pitch for heavier lenses, the Crane is now smooth and stable (including pitch which was previously bouncy) in ALL modes with my 70D + Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art! (755g + 811g = 1566g!) You can see before & after in another person's setup.

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On ‎11‎/‎06‎/‎2016 at 2:58 AM, lwestfall said:

I've been interested in attaching things to the handle but haven't come up with the best way yet. Perhaps something like the Daisho gimbal clamp system mentioned in the other thread by Cinegain or a long plate system or the upcoming two-handle attachment for the Crane.

The "Horn" in this kit, (which looks like rebranded Zhiyun)

https://www.amazon.com/Glide-Gear-Motorized-Mirrorless-Stabilizer/dp/B01IRLZDBE/ref=sr_1_1?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1478550898&sr=1-1&keywords=glide+gear+geranos

sells separately:

https://www.amazon.com/BV-100-Glide-Gear-Stabilizer/dp/B00NTH7H52/ref=sr_1_1?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1478550975&sr=1-1&keywords=glide+gear+horn

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So I just received my Zhiyun gimbal and i'm not sure if I received a defective unit or I'm just doing it completely wrong. The batteries I received were not wrapped in plastic, a video I watched had the batteries in plastic wrap, on top of that the batteries did not come fully charged. 

-Mounted my a7 II and balanced it (35mm 2.8)

-Fully charged batteries and put them in

-Held the button and it just kind of did a micro jerk and stopped as if it tries to give it power and then stops.

-Held the joy stick button down and it seemed to work for 5 seconds and all of a sudden it loses power

 

I would have this exact luck as I have a trip to Asia in two days.. ANY feedback on what is hopefully my own fault rather than a defective unit.
THANKS!

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4 minutes ago, Elijah Buns said:

So I just received my Zhiyun gimbal and i'm not sure if I received a defective unit or I'm just doing it completely wrong. The batteries I received were not wrapped in plastic, a video I watched had the batteries in plastic wrap, on top of that the batteries did not come fully charged. 

-Mounted my a7 II and balanced it (35mm 2.8)

-Fully charged batteries and put them in

-Held the button and it just kind of did a micro jerk and stopped as if it tries to give it power and then stops.

-Held the joy stick button down and it seemed to work for 5 seconds and all of a sudden it loses power

 

I would have this exact luck as I have a trip to Asia in two days.. ANY feedback on what is hopefully my own fault rather than a defective unit.
THANKS!

Shoot a video of the problem and email it to Rose at Zhiyun tech this morning. She'll probably respond this afternoon. [email protected]

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20 hours ago, Elijah Buns said:

has anyone had any experience with the Ikan DS1? I'm pretty desperate to get something before friday night.

Bit late but yes, I have one and it works great since a couple of firmware updates back. The motors are powerful and my GH4+12-35mm even with the most basic balancing flies nice n easy. The balancing is a breeze, especially since you don't really need to attain the perfect balance for smooth operation, perhaps unless your payload is close to the limit. I am not fond of the levers used for adjustments though, and in particular the fact that there are two of them for each adjustment.

I have been taking DS1 around on travels and although build quality isn't perfect, I found the gimbal quite reliable and robust while using outdoors in various weather conditions. Although one of the motors did break once (I suspect it turned on in my bag accidentally, have been always removing batteries while carrying since). It was relatively easy to arrange the repairs through TRD and the service itself was inexpensive too ($25), however I had to ship it to China, which cost me like £50-60 back and forth but was surprisingly quick. Maybe if you buy from a local dealer they will do it for you, however mine was already bought second hand.

Pondering if I should upgrade to Crane at some point.. The long handle being the biggest turnoff. I am quite happy with DS1 except that I am hoping I could gain even more stability with Crane: the rough ways I use my gimbal could benefit from encoder technology which supposedly makes it less affected by disturbances.

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Yeah, good idea to remove batteries from gimbal when traveling. ? I had a similar experience with Zhiyun's customer service. very fast turnaround time, but I did have to pay $25 for shipping the unit back to China. They returned it by FedEx free of charge within a few days of receiving it. The long handle on the Crane could come in handy if you do many shots in inverted mode, aside from that, I agree, it could be a bit shorter. 

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10 hours ago, jonpais said:

Yeah, good idea to remove batteries from gimbal when traveling. ? I had a similar experience with Zhiyun's customer service. very fast turnaround time, but I did have to pay $25 for shipping the unit back to China. They returned it by FedEx free of charge within a few days of receiving it. The long handle on the Crane could come in handy if you do many shots in inverted mode, aside from that, I agree, it could be a bit shorter. 

I also like the long handle because of the inverted mode... but I also like it because I can use the gimbal as a selfie stick (casey neistat style :-)

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Interesting addition, a cable that goes into the remote port of GH4 and allows to adjust focus and shutter (why not aperture?) from your phone via bluetooth connection. There is a version for some smaller Sony cameras too.

I wonder if the joystick and/or the bluetooth remote could be used for control as well..

zhiyun_crane_gh4_control_cable.jpgzhiyun_crane_sony_control_cable.jpg

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1 hour ago, mojo43 said:

I was told that you could not adjust focus? Or is that only on Sonys that you can't adjust focus?

Judging from the graphic, yes, focus adjustment only on GH4.. Power zoom on Sony.

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