We use affiliate links. If you lot buy something through the links on this folio, we may earn a commission at no cost to you lot. Learn more.
– Mobile filmmaking has taken off in the terminal few years but holding a phone, keeping it steady, and being creative with on-screen controls has e’er been a claiming. There are mobile cages you lot tin use to mount your phone and other accessories but they don’t necessarily aid you keep the phone steady. High-end productions have used Steadicams and other similar stabilizers for years simply those are way also big (and too expensive) for mobile filmmaking. Enter the gimbal. These have been fabricated for small camcorders for years but in the last few years, they’ve also been made specifically for smartphones. ZHIYUN is a company that has several models bachelor and today I’m reviewing their latest, the Smooth 5.
What is it?
The ZHIYUN SMOOTH five is a smartphone gimbal, which means it has sensors and motors to assistance detect and annul your torso’due south motion to keep your phone steady as you move effectually. This not only keeps your photographic camera steady but helps y’all become creative shots you can’t get on a tripod or handheld.
What’s in the box?
- ZHIYUN SMOOTH v Gimbal
- Mini Tripod
- USB-A to USB-C Cable
- Protective Purse
- Fill Light
- Fill Low-cal Filters x4
- Wrist Strap
- VIP Membership Carte
- Quick Kickoff Guide
These items are included in the ZHIYUN SMOOTH 5 COMBO package, which is what ZHIYUN sent for this review. The standard package includes the gimbal, tripod, and USB cable.
- Max: 8.4V
- Standard: 7.4V
- Min: six.5V
- Max: 3000mA
- Min: 70mA
- Max: 45℃
- Standard: 25℃
- Min: -x℃
- Standard: 5V
- Max: 25h
- Min: 4.5h
(The data is nerveless under the below conditions: a specified temperature of 25℃; the gimbal has been balanced and mounted with an iPhone XR (220g). When the fill light is set at the highest brightness level, the runtime of the gimbal is 4.5h. When the fill calorie-free is off and the gimbal is under standby country, the runtime is 25h.)
- Max: 4h
- Min: 2h
(When charging with a 15W Fast Accuse at a specified temperature of 25℃, the charging time is 2h. When charging with a 5V/2A rated power adapter at a specified temperature of 25℃, the charging time is 4h. The bodily charging time varies with environmental factors.)
Tilt Mechanical Range
- Max: 209°
- Standard: 349°
- Min: -140°
(including the folded state)
Roll Mechanical Range
- Max: 210°
- Standard: 300°
- Min: -90°
(including the folded country)
Pan Mechanical Range
- Max: 180°
- Standard: 360°
- Min: -180°
- 12.25 in x 6.61 in x two.05 in (311 x 168 ten 52 mm) (WxDxH)
Production Internet Weight (Individual device)
- 1.36 lb (615g) with battery
Design and features
The ZHIYUN SMOOTH five Gimbal is a smartphone gimbal, with a large handle at the bottom, a control section, including a focus/zoom control bicycle and other controls in the middle, and a yoke for belongings the camera and attachable light at the acme. At the bottom end of the handle is a tripod mount socket to attach the included mini tripod or to mount the gimbal to another compatible tripod.
Installation and setup
Before getting started install the ZY Cami app from the iOS App Store or Google Play store. Brand certain Bluetooth is enabled on your phone. Launch the app and requite it permission to use Bluetooth. To get started with the gimbal you have to unlock the tilt, roll, and pan axes. Once that’s washed, expand the phone clench and slide the camera in. The camera can exist mounted in portrait or mural orientation, depending on the type of footage you lot want to shoot. It’due south of import to get the camera every bit counterbalanced as possible before you turn it on to save bombardment power (ZHIYUN says it uses the motors more when the camera is off-balance, thus using more battery). Once the phone is balanced, plow on the gimbal and open the ZY Cami app, which should notice the gimbal over Bluetooth. Once it’southward connected, press the camera icon in the upper left to enter shooting mode.
In shooting style, there is a card button (three dots in a circle) that brings up three sub-menus, Shoot, Gimbal, and General. Nether Shoot you can turn the flashlight on or off, choose the internal or an external microphone, turn a grid on or off, choose white rest, and enable gesture controls. Gimbal gives you options for Scene Mode (Walk or Run), Follow Manner (PF, 50, POV, Roll and Pan Following Mode, Telephone Go Mode, and Vortex Manner), Joystick Speed (Fast, Medium, Slow), zoom speed, inverting pan & tilt controls, M button configuration (no explanation of what that is, and no configuration options are available), and Gimbal Auto Calibration. General gives Theme Settings, Remote Control (from some other telephone running ZY Cami), Pro Way (which launches StaCam, ZHIYUN’due south pro-focused camera app), Device Direction, Device Info. (both for the continued gimbal), and a Demo Style.
If you need a piffling extra light, the Philharmonic bundle includes a magnetically attachable light with four magnetic colored filters. These can be purchased separately and up to two of them can be mounted and controlled by the push in the heart of the adjustment wheel. These are 300 lumen lights so they’re not going to light up a room just if you need a piffling fill light, specially if you’re shooting in a dark room or in selfie mode, they’re a convenient accessory.
Video resolution can be set to 720P, 1080P, and 4K, at 24fps, 25fps, 30fps, and 60fps frame rates, depending on the capabilities of your telephone’s camera. ISO, shutter, and EV can be ready in auto or manual fashion, depending on your shooting situation.
A lot of the features of the app can be controlled with buttons on the gimbal, including bringing up the Smart card to utilise the Smart AI feature, changing resolution and frame charge per unit settings, adjusting shutter/ISO/white balance in the StaCam app, opening your photograph/video anthology and starting/stopping recording.
The ZHIYUN SMOOTH 5 Gimbal is uniform with iPhone 6S or newer with at least iOS 11, and Android phones running Android 7 or newer. A list of compatible phones is available from ZHIYUN. This is not an exhaustive listing of the Android phones that are uniform, yet, as I was able to use it with my Google Pixel 6, which is not on the listing.
I’ll admit to never having used a gimbal before. The concept has e’er intrigued me but they’ve always been out of reach and then when the opportunity to review the ZHIYUN Smooth five Gimbal came around I jumped at the chance. I plant the procedure of figuring out how to position the gimbal to install the photographic camera to be a little scrap tricky because it kept moving around and I wasn’t certain which direction to first in, simply one time I figure out that I could look at the picture of the gimbal on the forepart of the box and use that as a starting indicate it made a lot more than sense.
Holding the camera on pinnacle of the gimbal out in forepart of me and using the controls took a little getting used to but having the ability to shoot smooth footage while walking, following someone, or fifty-fifty using it equally a sort of camera boom, became second nature pretty speedily. I noticed later I had washed some test shooting that my camera was not perfectly balanced. I used the auto-calibration a few times and it didn’t seem to assist. It wasn’t until near the stop of the review process that I really read the role in the manual about what they call six-side scale, which seems like information technology would help me punch it in properly. I’ll make sure to go through that process before I do any more shooting.
On the left side of the ZHIYUN Shine 5 Gimbal is a large zoom command. Having the ability to control zoom from the gimbal is a convenient fashion to compose your shot before yous shoot or do a zoom live, although it takes some practice to practice a polish zoom. When using the StaCam app you tin can use the Focus/Zoom Switch to enable the controller to change focus or zoom.
There are two gestures you can use to take photos or beginning video recording. Holding up a peace sign or an open hand toward the photographic camera starts a three second countdown. The gesture tin can also trigger follow mode, where the gimbal will follow the person who triggered the gesture. In that location is no gesture to stop recording.
Creative shooting modes are extensive, including Vortex Manner, POV Mode, and Go Mode. The manual explains these modes better than I can here, only Vortex mode seems to be the most interesting. Information technology allows 360º rotation while shooting. They have a swell video showing Vortex Mode and many of the other features on their product page.
One matter I noticed later on I did my initial shooting testing is that there is an audible noise from the motors as they piece of work to stabilize the phone. You lot can hear this in the kickoff clip in the video below. This might non be as noticeable if the camera is perfectly level, simply information technology’s something to be aware of if y’all’ll be recording audio with the built-in microphone.
I liked using the joystick to control pan and tilt merely I constitute it to be a picayune piece of cake to push button too hard and overshoot or get too fast. Tightening up the touch sensitivity on the joystick would make it easier to hold a specific position to enable longer pans and tilts.
There’due south a user-friendly phone charging port at the top of the gimbal just I can’t imagine that yous’d be able to use this with your phone in mural, specially a plus-sized phone like my iPhone thirteen Pro Max. In that location might exist plenty room to utilize a right-angled plug but I don’t have one to examination that with.
Filmic Pro, a great video application available for both iOS and Android, has recently fabricated their app uniform with the SMOOTH 5. I oasis’t had a chance to exam them together but I wait forward to using this app using its in-depth professional features with the gimbal to exercise some fun shooting.
In improver to all the features mentioned here, there are Prime and Prime+ membership options, which enable more built-in templates and glamour furnishings, alive streaming, 4K uploads up to 30 minutes, remote command of the gimbal from another phone running ZY Cami or StaCam, and more. There are monthly subscription options from $i.99/mo and yearly plans up to $29.99/year. The best way to detect out more than about these plans is to go to the account settings in the ZY Cami app and showtime a i month trial because I couldn’t find many details online.
What I like
- Multiple shooting apps
- Auto/manual controls available
- Extensive creative shooting modes
- Manual zoom control
- Magnetically fastened calorie-free and filters
What I’d alter
- A lot of controls are available only through the StaCam app, or with Prime/Prime+ membership, which has a monthly or yearly fee
- Quieter motors for shooting with an internal microphone
- Slightly tighter joystick for effectively movements without overshooting
- More info. bachelor and the ability to sign upwardly online for Prime/Prime+ membership
Shooting with a gimbal opens up a lot of creative possibilities but you might not go there immediately. It’s going to take some time to get used to the shooting procedure and figuring out how the tools work, only if this is something you desire to learn, the ZHIYUN Smoothen 5 gimbal is a great tool to accept your mobile filmmaking to the next level.
As well check out our other ZHIYUN gimbal reviews.
Standard: $169, Combo: $219
Where to buy:
store.zhiyun-tech.com or Amazon
The sample for this review was provided by ZHIYUN. For more information visit their site.