Zhiyun Crane M Worth It In 2023? Gimbal Review

by | Reviews, Stabilization

The Zhiyun Crane M is a compact and versatile gimbal stabilizer that was released in 2015 and has been widely used among photographers and videographers.

But with the constantly evolving world of camera technology, it’s natural to wonder whether the Crane M is still worth it in 2023.

In short, the Zhiyun Crane M is still a great gimbal with excellent functionality and impressive features, considering its affordability and small size.

Keep reading as we take a closer look at the Zhiyun Crane M and compare it to other models on the market to help you decide if it is the right gimbal for you.

The Zhiyun Crane M At A Glance

  • Easy to use
  • Great for beginners
  • Approximately 12-hour battery life
  • Payload capacity of 1.433 lb
  • Compatible with action cameras, DSLRs, and smartphones
The Zhiyun Crane M

Is the Zhiyun Crane M still worth it in 2023?

One of the biggest selling points of the Crane M is its compact size and lightweight design. At just 740 grams, it is still one of the smaller and lighter gimbal stabilizers available, making it easy to take with you on the go.

This lightweight design is still a highly desirable feature in 2023, as many videographers prefer gear that is portable and easy to transport.

In terms of performance, the Crane M delivers smooth and stable footage thanks to its three-axis motorized gimbal.

It uses advanced algorithms to detect and correct for movements and vibrations, ensuring that your footage is always crisp and steady.

Overall, the Zhiyun Crane M is still a solid choice for videographers in 2023 — especially now that it can be found on the used market at very reasonable prices.

Its compact size, lightweight design, and reliable performance make it a versatile tool for capturing smooth and stable footage.

While it may not have all the advanced features of newer gimbal models, it is still worth considering if you are in the market for a reasonably priced gimbal stabilizer.

Crane M vs. Crane M2

If you’re in the market for a gimbal stabilizer, you may be wondering how the older Zhiyun Crane M compares to the newer models in the Zhiyun Crane series such as the Zhiyun Crane M2. Here’s a comparison of these two gimbals to help you make an informed decision.

The Zhiyun Crane M and Crane M2 are both professional gimbal stabilizers designed for use with mirrorless and DSLR cameras, action cameras, and smartphones.

Both gimbals offer advanced stabilization technology and a variety of shooting modes.

In terms of build quality, both gimbals are well-constructed and designed for professional use. Both gimbals have a similar design and offer similar levels of stability and smoothness.

However, there are a few key differences between the two.

The Crane M has a payload capacity of 1.433 lb, while the Crane M2 can support up to 1.58733. This means that the Crane M2 is able to support slightly heavier cameras and lenses.

While the Crane M2 is able to carry more weight, it also has some downsides when compared to the Crane M.

At 1.58 lb, the Crane M2 is significantly heavier than the original.

The Crane M2 also lacks the full 360-degree tilt that the original offers.

Lastly, the Crane M2 has a lower battery life of approximately 8 hours.

In summary, the Crane M2 is a newer model of the Crane M that is able to carry heavier payloads. However, the original actually has some advantages over the Crane M2. When considering the higher price of the Crane M2, the Crane M is actually a great (and potentially better) option.

The Zhiyun Crane M and Crane M2 are both professional gimbal stabilizers designed for use with mirrorless and DSLR cameras, action cameras, and smartphones.

Zhiyun Crane M Key Specs

Many of the key specs of the Zhiyun Crane M still hold up in 2023. While newer gimbals — like the Zhiyun Crane M2 — may have increased payload capabilities, the Zhiyun Crane M is still a capable device in its own right.

Battery Life

The Zhiyun Crane M will last around 12 hours on a single charge.

This is great news for anyone who wants to use the gimbal for an extended period of time without having to worry about recharging.


In terms of payload, or the gimbal’s maximum weight capacity, the Zhiyun Crane M is able to support up to 1.433 lb

This should be sufficient for most lightweight setups and likely all smartphone and action cameras.

Read More: Gimbal Payloads: Ultimate Weight Limit Comparison

Camera Compatibility

The Zhiyun Crane M has wide camera compatibility, working with almost any brand of camera, action camera, and smartphone

Zhiyun Crane M Stabilization Modes

Zhiyun Crane M offers three main modes of operation.

Pan Following Mode

In Pan Following Mode, the smartphone moves left or right in sync with the movement of the stabilizer, while the tilt and roll axes are locked. Pressing the joystick up or down allows for manual control of the tilt axis.

Locking Mode

In Locking Mode, all three axes are locked to keep the camera steady and stable. Pressing the joystick up/down or left/right allows for manual control of the tilt and pan axes.

Following Mode

In Following Mode, the camera moves in sync with the movement of the stabilizer, both in pan and tilt. Pressing the joystick left or right allows for manual control of the roll axis.

Read More: Gimbal Modes Explained: How To Pick The Right One

Zhiyun Crane M Advanced Features

The Zhiyun Crane M includes some interesting features that still hold up well in 2023 such as a one-minute balance adjustment and an all-in-one control panel.

All-In-One Control Panel

The Zhiyun Crane M was the first gimbal stabilizer to offer synchronous control of a camera through a dedicated camera control line. The control panel on the handle is user-friendly and allows for easy panning, tilting, rolling, zooming, and photo/video shooting controls.

One-Minute Balance Adjustment

The Zhiyun Crane M features thumb screws on all four sides, enabling quick and easy manual mounting and dismounting of the camera, without the need for a screwdriver. Furthermore, the camera balance adjustment is made more convenient through the use of scale marks and locating slots on each axis.

Where To Buy The Zhiyun Crane M In 2023

The Zhiyun Crane M is no longer available on the Zhiyun website.

However, the gimbal is available on the used market, just be sure to do your due diligence when purchasing a used gimbal.

Read More: Buying A Used Gimbal: The Pros, Cons, and Potential Risks

Bottom Line

The Zhiyun Crane M is still a good gimbal to purchase if you can find it at a cheap price.

While newer gimbals may offer more features and heavier payloads, this small gimbal is still capable of performing well with light DSLRs, action cameras, and smartphones.

So, if you’re looking for a gimbal at a low price, the Zhiyun Crane M may be worth considering in 2023.

Happy shooting!

New To Gimbals?

With so much to learn, mastering your new gimbal can be hard. Get started with our in-depth beginner guide to gimbal filmmaking.