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Mattias Burling

My Review of the Zhiyun Crane 3-Axis Gimbal

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What do you mean by 'moved by hand'? When turning on the gimbal? And what exactly are you referring to when you say the 'balanced' position? The balanced position should be everything level, so I'm not getting what is meant by flops down...

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1:58 of the video demonstrates what I mean. With the gimbal off, a properly balanced camera should not rise or fall when moved to different positions. Though I can get my camera to sit "level", I know it is not because it's heavily weighted and gravity flops it back to the "level" position. I guess I just need to really fiddle with it some more.

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Now I get it... Once you think you've balanced the gimbal, instead of staying in position, it swings back to the 'level' position. It's possible that when you are tightening the screw to the camera, you are changing the balance slightly. You'll figure it out, be patient. 

Here's a Korean cinematographer who shoots fashion, with lots of experience with the NX1 and GH4, who's quite impressed with the Zhiyun Crane. I only wish I hadn't stopped studying Korean...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcu7Kppvo8U

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@Herb I've been closely following this thread because I'm very interested in the zhiyun for my NX1 as well. I'd written it off at first because of the 1200g weight limit but apparently that's not as much of an issue as people initially thought, which is great. 

50mm (especially on crop) seems really long to me for gimbal use, I usually prefer much wider focal lengths than that, I'm guessing that could be a part of your problem, since tiny shakes will be amplified by a longer focal length? Have you tried it with any other lenses? Any obvious cons you've noticed? I'm getting more and more convinced its a purchase I need to make! 

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Thanks @jonpais.

@Parker, I'm sure you're right. 50mm is pushing it. Being my 1st gimbal, I hadn't stopped to think about it. So far, I am impressed with the build quality and packaging. Once I remove the dang user error, I'm sure it'll be as awesome as others have demonstrated. :grin:

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59 minutes ago, Herb said:

Thanks @jonpais.

@Parker, I'm sure you're right. 50mm is pushing it. Being my 1st gimbal, I hadn't stopped to think about it. So far, I am impressed with the build quality and packaging. Once I remove the dang user error, I'm sure it'll be as awesome as others have demonstrated. :grin:

I saw a video of someone comparing use of the canon 6D with the Sony a6300, and the heavier camera was definitely suffering more juddery movement, the lighter one was nice and smooth. Don't know if your NX1 + lens is at the limit of the gimbal capacity, but it is definitely bigger than the Sony.
Anyway, balance could be critical with bigger cameras

What is the longest focal length (35mm equiv) that anyone has used with this gimbal successfully? Would like to shoot action, but might be difficult to get near enough to the subject to use a wideangle.

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5 hours ago, Parker said:

@Herb I've been closely following this thread because I'm very interested in the zhiyun for my NX1 as well. I'd written it off at first because of the 1200g weight limit but apparently that's not as much of an issue as people initially thought, which is great. 

50mm (especially on crop) seems really long to me for gimbal use, I usually prefer much wider focal lengths than that, I'm guessing that could be a part of your problem, since tiny shakes will be amplified by a longer focal length? Have you tried it with any other lenses? Any obvious cons you've noticed? I'm getting more and more convinced its a purchase I need to make! 

Here's an excellent shooter who has used the NX1 with 16-50mm. Sorry, it's in Korean! And here's an assignment he shot using the combination. It makes me want to run out and get an NX1. :)

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14 hours ago, Herb said:

I got my Crane last week. I've been trying to balance it with my NX1 and Canon FD 50mm. With the Crane off, I can get the camera level on the various axis, but I cannot get it stay in position when moved by hand. It always wants to flop back to the "balanced" position. Been following this video: 

My footage has been less than stellar, but I know it is user error (not properly balancing) and not the Crane. Any suggestions?

Is it the pitch motor?  It sounds like the pitch motor is unbalanced.  Too bottom heavy.  Try raising the platform where the camera sits to where it can freely rotate.

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55 minutes ago, Michael Ma said:

Is it the pitch motor?  It sounds like the pitch motor is unbalanced.  Too bottom heavy.  Try raising the platform where the camera sits to where it can freely rotate.

That would be my guess too. 

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I just received my crane today. After charging the batteries and balancing my camera on the mount I turned the device on but the motors of the device never engaged. I tried looking around to see if I was missing a step but it seems like it just turns on without powering the motors.

 

anyone else have this problem?

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12 minutes ago, RNvideo said:

I just received my crane today. After charging the batteries and balancing my camera on the mount I turned the device on but the motors of the device never engaged. I tried looking around to see if I was missing a step but it seems like it just turns on without powering the motors.

 

anyone else have this problem?

If it's like my Z1 Smooth C, after switching it on, you gotta hold a button for a few seconds.  I'd give you more precise direction if I could, but my Crane is still on a road trip somewhere in a delivery truck.  I was hoping for it to be delivered today, but probably tomorrow.

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3 hours ago, RNvideo said:

I just received my crane today. After charging the batteries and balancing my camera on the mount I turned the device on but the motors of the device never engaged. I tried looking around to see if I was missing a step but it seems like it just turns on without powering the motors.

 

anyone else have this problem?

Right, press and hold the joystick for 3-4 seconds

On September 5, 2016 at 11:41 PM, Herb said:

1:58 of the video demonstrates what I mean. With the gimbal off, a properly balanced camera should not rise or fall when moved to different positions. Though I can get my camera to sit "level", I know it is not because it's heavily weighted and gravity flops it back to the "level" position. I guess I just need to really fiddle with it some more.

You've probably already figured it out, but if the camera keeps bouncing back to 'level' while balancing, you should adjust the baseplate:

image.jpeg

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9 hours ago, Michael Ma said:

If it's like my Z1 Smooth C, after switching it on, you gotta hold a button for a few seconds.  I'd give you more precise direction if I could, but my Crane is still on a road trip somewhere in a delivery truck.  I was hoping for it to be delivered today, but probably tomorrow.

I've tried holding the joystick down and initializing the device but it still doesn't activate the motor. I also can't get any readings from the device when I sync it to the app. I'm hoping it's still something simple I'm missing and it's not defective 

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I'd written before in my blog that, as excellent as the DJI Osmo might be for certain applications, I don't believe there is a single shot in the outstanding DJI Film School series on YouTube that couldn't have been pulled off with less hassle using the $600 Zhiyun Crane. And now comes along a video with a 'sort of' direct comparison between the two: sort of, because once the gimbals are good enough, the differences are going to come down to the individual skills of the operator. The guys in this clip certainly are good. 

 

25 minutes ago, RNvideo said:

I've tried holding the joystick down and initializing the device but it still doesn't activate the motor. I also can't get any readings from the device when I sync it to the app. I'm hoping it's still something simple I'm missing and it's not defective 

Did you insert the batteries? ??? Sorry, couldn't resist... But seriously, is the blue light blinking when you turn the gimbal on? Is Bluetooth enabled on your mobile? Have you tried removing the batteries and reinserting them? We're grasping at straws here now. Could you shoot a clip of the gimbal with your phone while trying to get it to work, or would that be too much trouble?

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Another (noob) question. I know that the gimbals are best used with wide angle and moving but how well would it work to stabilize a static shot, i.e. APS-C cam with a 50mm or even 85mm lens when just holding still? What if it's a system with optical image stabilization / sensor stabilization plus the gimbal and holding still for a static shot?

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2 hours ago, Phil A said:

Another (noob) question. I know that the gimbals are best used with wide angle and moving but how well would it work to stabilize a static shot, i.e. APS-C cam with a 50mm or even 85mm lens when just holding still? What if it's a system with optical image stabilization / sensor stabilization plus the gimbal and holding still for a static shot?

I've seen tests of the Crane with the Samsung NX1 and the Sony A6300, both with 16-50mm zoom lenses, and they look incredible. 85mm, I don't recall ever seeing. You're better off with a compact zoom or prime. And yes, as long as you don't exceed the weight limit, static shots can resemble those made from a tripod. I tried shooting with my GH4 and 35-100mm f/2.8, and even though it's under the capacity of the stabilizer, the shots just weren't steady. I was trying to do tight close-ups. It's possible that part of the problem was the lens itself, which has always been a bit jittery. But even for a camera with 5-axis IBIS, tight close-ups can be a tough challenge. Yesterday, I watched a review of the new Leica 12mm f/1.4 Summilux (no OIS) mounted on a GX85, and even with IBIS enabled, shots of a flower were shaky. So for now, I stick with the 12-35mm f/2.8, always at the wide end. Also, if I'm doing a static shot for longer than, say, 30 seconds, I'll often rest the handle of the gimbal on my knee, a table, a chair, or whatever's handy, since my arms tire quickly. In the following, unedited, ungraded shot, I wasn't going out of my way to hold the camera still, just tried to keep it pointed in the right general direction. (GH4, Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8, Hoya Pro 1 Digital UV filter, Crane)

P1050407.MOV

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2 hours ago, jonpais said:

I've seen tests of the Crane with the Samsung NX1 and the Sony A6300, both with 16-50mm zoom lenses, and they look incredible. 85mm, I don't recall ever seeing. You're better off with a compact zoom or prime. And yes, as long as you don't exceed the weight limit, static shots can resemble those made from a tripod. I tried shooting with my GH4 and 35-100mm f/2.8, and even though it's under the capacity of the stabilizer, the shots just weren't steady. I was trying to do tight close-ups. It's possible that part of the problem was the lens itself, which has always been a bit jittery. But even for a camera with 5-axis IBIS, tight close-ups can be a tough challenge. Yesterday, I watched a review of the new Leica 12mm f/1.4 Summilux (no OIS) mounted on a GX85, and even with IBIS enabled, shots of a flower were shaky. So for now, I stick with the 12-35mm f/2.8, always at the wide end. Also, if I'm doing a static shot for longer than, say, 30 seconds, I'll often rest the handle of the gimbal on my knee, a table, a chair, or whatever's handy, since my arms tire quickly. In the following, unedited, ungraded shot, I wasn't going out of my way to hold the camera still, just tried to keep it pointed in the right general direction. (GH4, Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8, Hoya Pro 1 Digital UV filter, Crane)

P1050407.MOV

Close up shots will be a problem as the stabiliser is compensating for angular movement, not lateral movement. If you keep your camera level but move it up and down by a few mm, then on a close up of a flower a few mm movement will show. In the distance a few mm makes little difference.
What would be interesting is if putting a gimbal on a cheap monopod to stabilise it further would give you the effect with a longer lens of using an heavy duty tripod. Needless to say, not having to carry around a heavy duty tripod with a fluid head is quite a cost and weight saving.

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6 hours ago, BasiliskFilm said:

Close up shots will be a problem as the stabiliser is compensating for angular movement, not lateral movement. If you keep your camera level but move it up and down by a few mm, then on a close up of a flower a few mm movement will show. In the distance a few mm makes little difference.
What would be interesting is if putting a gimbal on a cheap monopod to stabilise it further would give you the effect with a longer lens of using an heavy duty tripod. Needless to say, not having to carry around a heavy duty tripod with a fluid head is quite a cost and weight saving.

When I first got the Crane, I did a bunch of shots with it attached to a Gorillapod. Lightweight, you can carry it around in your back pocket. A monopod is also a good idea for locked off shots. Heck, I was even able to mount the contraption on my Edelkrone slider, and the shots were smoother looking.

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