Gimbals are the perfect tool for shooting smooth video — whether it be a wedding video, comedy sketch or a feature film. But although there are a lot of great gimbals for mobile devices and expensive cinema cameras, there aren’t many great gimbals in that ever-so-elusive median price range. Enter the Zhiyun Crane 2S — a gimbal that might just be exactly what you’re looking for.
Watch: Ultimate Guide to Camera Gear
Subscribe for more filmmaking videos like this.
Gimbal Crane 2S Zhiyun Specs
Zhiyun Crane 2S details
We’re going to touch on some of the Zhiyun Crane 2S’s strengths and weaknesses, but first let’s quickly run through all of the system’s technical specifications:
- Operation Voltage – Max: 12.6v, Standard: 11.1v, Min.: 9.8v
- Operation Temperature – Max: 45℃, Standard: 25℃, Min.: -10℃
- Battery Runtime – Max: 18h, Min.: 12h
- Charging Time – Standard: 2.5h, 2400mA
- Following Deviation in Motion State – Max: ± 0.1°, Min.: ± 0.05°
- Following Deviation in Static State – Max: ± 0.03°, Min.: ± 0.01°
- Tilt Mechanical Range – Max: ᐩ 185°, Min.: − 135°
- Roll Mechanical Range – Standard: 360°, Unlimited Rotation
- Pan Axis Movement Angle Range – Standard: 360°, Unlimited Rotation
- Valid Payload – Max: 7 pounds, Min: 1.1 pounds
- Stabilizer (1), 18650 Li-ion Battery (3), Sony Camera Control Cable (1), User Guide (1), Tripod (1), Micro to Micro USB Cable (1), Panasonic Camera Control Cable (1), Shoulder Strap (1), 18650 x3 Battery Charger (1), Micro to Mini USB Cable (1), Micro USB Cable (1), Storage Case (1)
- Product Dimensions (mm) – 210*118*450 (W*D*H)
- Packing Size (mm) – 502*141*270 (L*W*H)
- Carton Size (mm) – 640*565*345 (L*W*H)
- Product Net Weight (g) – 1250 /Units
- Product Net Weight (g) – 3700 /Units
- Packing Weight (kg) – 17.7 /Box (4 Units/Carton)
The Zhiyun Crane 2S gimbal is notably bigger and heavier than similar gimbals, such as the DJI Ronin SC. If you’re considering purchasing the Zhiyun Crane 2S gimbal, you should double-check the system’s size and weight to make sure it makes sense for your workflow needs.
UPDATE: BLACK FRIDAY SALE
The Crane 2S and Crane 2S Combo are on a Black Friday Sale. So, if you're ready to pull the trigger, now's the time.
Now that we’ve covered the system specs, let’s jump into some strengths and weaknesses.
What’s Good About the Gimbal Zhiyun Crane 2S?
Zhiyun Crane 2S gimbal strengths
We enjoyed our time using the Zhiyun Crane 2S. The gimbal doesn’t feel tacky and its modest weight gives the mechanism a sturdy feel. Here are some of the Zhiyun Crane 2S’s greatest strengths:
ROCK SOLID DESIGN
The Zhiyun Crane 2S is capable of carrying a max 3.2kg (7 pound) payload and includes the Instune Algorithm System which Zhiyun says realizes a 50% increase in motor torque and 20% improvement in noise reduction compared to the previous model.
What do those numbers mean? Are they just fluff? Or are they indicative of good design? Well, I’d say the body of the gimbal speaks for itself — it’s sturdy, solid and seemingly well-built. The system is compatible with all models of DSLR and mirrorless cameras according to Zhiyun so you shouldn’t have to worry about whether your camera will fit the rig (so long as it’s lighter than the max payload).
The Zhiyun Crane 2S’s carbon fiber finish gives it a good feel and the grip is easy to hold. We also loved the safety lock feature that keeps the camera locked in, which alleviated worries that our equipment would hit the gimbal.
QUICK RELEASE PLATE
The quick release plate, as the name implies, allows you to quickly release the camera and install it to the tripod within seconds.
Overall, we found that the stabilization on the Zhiyun Crane 2S worked quite well. There’s an auto-tune feature where the gimbal balances itself and we found it worked pretty well.
The Zhiyun Crane 2S isn’t quite as smooth as the best camera stabilizers on the market, but considering its price, it certainly does the trick. The 3-axes are generally well-balanced and easy to calibrate. You can also set the Zhiyun Crane 2S to “Vortex mode” to capture better barrel shots.
OLED INDICATOR SCREEN
I wouldn’t say that the OLED indicator screen is a strength in and of itself, but rather its utility is its strength. The OLED indicator screen allows you to see six things: the control mode, the battery level of the camera and the Crane, the EV, the AV, and the ISO. Having all of this information easily accessible saves a lot of time when shooting.
TACTILE FOCUS WHEEL/DIGITAL & MECHANICAL FOLLOW FOCUS
It’s always a good thing to have mechanical and digital focus options. The Zhiyun Crane 2S follow focus worked very well in our tests.
FULL RANGE CONTROL (360°)
The 360° full range control allows you to shoot from any angle.
LONG BATTERY LIFE
We were able to use the Zhiyun Crane 2S for about 3 days of intermittent use without needing to recharge. Zhiyun says the Crane 2S gets up to 18 hours of continuous-use battery life.
ZHIYUN CRANE 2S ACCESSORIES
Some of the Zhiyun Crane 2S accessories — like camera control cables, an aluminum alloy tripod, an EVA carrying bag, and Manfrotto quick release plate — come with the gimbal.
What’s Bad About the Gimbal Zhiyun Crane 2S?
Zhiyun Crane 2S gimbal weaknesses
The setup was a little tricky to figure out. It took a decent amount of trial and error but once we got everything going we rarely had problems.
The motor strength isn’t great. We found that when using the Blackmagic Pocket 6, the motor would frequently give out. It could have been a user error with balancing but it’s worth noting that heavier cameras might have similar problems.
If you’re wondering how to charge the Zhiyun Crane 2S, here’s a tip: the Zhiyun Crane 2S batteries are placed in the grip handle unlike the Ronin SC which uses USB-c to charge — so if you absolutely need to charge and you don’t have backup batteries, you’re going to be out of commission for a while.
OLED OVER LCD
I say this every time I see OLED on a product that doesn’t need it — why? OLED screens are notoriously expensive compared to their LCD counterparts — so why do gimbals need them? Perhaps it’s simply a matter of the company’s distribution partner, but alas I’d think the decision to go with an LCD screen could’ve saved a few dollars on the gimbal’s purchase price.
Gimbal Zhiyun Crane 2S Strengths Outweigh Its Weaknesses
Zhiyun Crane 2S gimbal final verdict
All in all, we were impressed by the Zhiyun Crane 2S. The gimbal has pros and cons, but for most filmmakers looking for a gimbal in the median price range, we think it’s a great option.
The Zhiyun Crane 2S’s sturdy grip, long battery life, and impressive max payload support make it one of the best gimbals in its price range — just be mindful of the drawbacks we touched on before purchasing.
UPDATE: BLACK FRIDAY SALE
The Crane 2S and Crane 2S Combo are on a Black Friday Sale. If it's time to take the plunge, better now than later.
Watch the Best DJI Ronin-S Footage
The DJI Ronin-SC is perhaps the Zhiyun Crane 2S gimbal’s greatest competitor. Before purchasing either gimbals, consider checking out DJI Ronin-S too. In this next article, we look at DJI Ronin-S footage shot in stunning locales all throughout the world.