When it comes to gimbal tech, Zhiyun is arguably the biggest brand out there. The Chinese company was started in 2015 and has been innovating and producing high-quality gimbals ever since.
If you are interested in entering the world of motorized camera stabilization and have begun researching your options, then you’ve likely come across the brand.
If you’ve decided that you want a Zhiyun gimbal, the good news is you’ve made a sound choice — Zhiyun gimbals are great for beginners, intermediates, and even professionals.
But Zhiyun makes a lot of gimbals and knowing which one is right for you can be confusing.
That’s why we’ve chosen some of the best Zhiyun gimbals to compare. This list doesn’t cover all of Zhiyun’s gimbals, but it does cover a range of the company’s best offerings.
Zhiyun Gimbals Compared
|Smart Phone Compatible
|Maximum Battery Life
The Zhiyun Smooth Q3 is a 3-axis gimbal designed to be used with smartphones.
This gimbal offers many of the same features as the Smooth 5, but at a lower price.
One of the Smooth Q3’s unique features is an integrated rotatable fill light. This light includes a touch button with three adjustable brightness levels.
The Smooth Q3 might not be “top-of-the-line” when compared to some of Zhiyun’s other products, but at a very reasonable price, it’s a great entry-level gimbal.
Surprisingly, despite having a lower price tag, the Smooth Q3 actually boasts a lighter build and heavier payload capacity.
That said, the payload isn’t as big of a deal when discussing smartphone gimbals as the majority of smartphones are relatively light.
Pros: Very affordable, good battery life with short charge time, heavy payload.
Cons: Can’t really think of any!
Best for: Vlogging, casual YouTubers, people on a budget.
The Zhiyun Smooth X2 is a small, 2-axis folding gimbal.
Like the Smooth Q3, the Smooth X2 is very much an entry-level gimbal, but takes things up a notch with some interesting features.
This gimbal is designed to be used with smartphones and features an extendable selfie-stick-style rod, making it ideal for travel vloggers and YouTubers.
The Zhiyun Smooth X2 is also small enough to fit in your pocket when folded.
This is a simple gimbal, but considering it’s clearly designed for casual gimbal users, that’s actually a good thing.
The Zhiyun Smooth X2 is an updated sibling to the Zhiyun Smooth X. This newer version comes in black or pink.
This version of the X gimbal also comes with magnetic attachments for connecting accessories.
Pros: Lightweight, simple design, extendable rod.
Cons: Short battery life, only 2-axis.
Best for: Vlogging, casual YouTubers, vacations.
The Zhiyun Smooth 5 is a small, 3-axis gimbal. This gimbal is designed to be used with smartphones.
It’s similar to its predecessor, the Smooth 4, but boasts improved stabilization, thanks to more powerful motors and a new algorithm. It also features a wider phone clamp than it’s the Smooth 4, making it better for larger phones.
According to Zhiyun, this gimbal features strong compatibility allowing a phone with external lenses to be mounted.
A notable feature of the Smooth 5 is its ability to shoot in both portrait and landscape modes.
For a smartphone gimbal, the Smooth 5 can handle a fairly decent payload, making it ideal for larger phones like the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
This gimbal’s design also features a rear motor, which is said to prevent any blocking while filming.
Pros: Long battery life, heavy maximum payload, shoots in portrait and landscape.
Cons: Long charging time.
Best for: Vlogging, YouTubers, casual filmmakers.
The Zhiyun Crane-M3 is a small, 3-axis gimbal designed for use with DSLR cameras, action cameras, and smartphones.
While not the most heavy-duty gimbal out there, the Crane-M3 is all about compact shooting.
At just 700 grams in weight, it boasts an impressive 6.5 kg payload.
That said, it doesn’t fair too well with longer lens cameras as they tend to throw off this gimbal’s balance, so stick to short, light, wide lenses on this one.
However, the gimbal’s compact size makes it great for “run-and-gun” shooting.
While the Crane-M3 only offers 8 hours of shooting time (low, compared to other gimbals on this list) it somewhat makes up for this with a charge time of only 2 hours (again low, compared to others).
Pros: Small, heavy payload capacity, short charge time, light.
Cons: Short battery life, bad for long lenses.
Best for: YouTubers, intermediate filmmakers.
The Zhiyun WEEBILL-2 is a medium-small, 3-axis gimbal designed primarily for use with DSLR cameras.
This gimbal’s predecessor, the WEEBILL-S, was a wildly popular gimbal that offered compact shooting and high-quality balance.
So, how does the WEEBILL-2 compare?
The WEEBILL-2 offers much of what made its predecessor great and builds on it.
This means beefier motors, heavier duty build materials, and a higher payload.
This gimbal also features a built-in touch screen for adjusting modes and settings!
While the Zhiyun Crane M3 doesn’t handle longer lenses well, this gimbal has no issue with zoom lenses like a 24-70.
This model is heavier than the WEEBILL-S, but it’s still on the smaller side and not as big as other Zhiyun gimbals like the Zhiyun Crane 2S.
Pros: Built-in touch screen, handles long lenses.
Cons: Somewhat short battery life, bigger than the WEEBILL-S.
Best for: YouTubers, intermediate filmmakers.
The Zhiyun Crane 3S is a large, heavy-duty, 3-axis gimbal.
This gimbal is one of Zhiyun’s beefiest models and definitely intended for serious gimbal users.
This beast of a gimbal can handle a 6.5kg payload, making it suitable for professional-level cinema cameras and gear.
Of course, with that mite comes some serious bulk — that’s to say this gimbal is heavy. The weight might not be an issue for some, but keep this in mind if you’re on the smaller side.
This gimbal also features detachable handles, an axis-locking system, ViaTouch 2.0 motion control system, and external power input (why can’t more gimbals have this?).
This gimbal is a newer sibling to the Zhiyun Crane 3 Lab and boasts a higher payload of almost 50 percent.
Pros: Super heavy payload capacity, many interesting features, handles pro-level cameras.
Cons: Bulky, heavy.
Best for: Professional YouTubers, professional filmmakers.
Final Thoughts On Zhiyun Gimbals
As you can see, Zhiyun provides a wide range of gimbals — offering options for casual smartphone bloggers, intermediate YouTubers, and professional cinema-camera operators.
While this list doesn’t cover every gimbal that Zhiyun has produced, it should have given you some insight into the company’s best offerings at each level.
Be sure to consider your shooting needs and pick a gimbal that best suits your shooting preferences and skill level.