The Chinese gimbal manufacturer Zhiyun-Tech first introduced the new gimbal design with the CRANE 3 LAB and Weebill LAB back in 2018. The aim of the gimbals was to improve the ergonomics for easier underslung filming mode – when the camera is underneath the gimbal. Since then, the smaller stabilizer Weebill LAB already got its improved successor with the Weebill-S compact gimbal in October 2019. Now the time has come to improve the larger model. Zhiyun-Tech just announced its new flagship stabilizer for higher payloads – the Zhiyun CRANE 3S. Let’s take a short look at its features and specs.
Zhiyun CRANE 3S
One of the most significant changes in the new Zhiyun CRANE 3S is its new, more powerful motors which allow it to handle up to 6.5kg (14.33 lbs) payloads allowing to use the gimbal with heavier camera setups. According to Zhiyun, the gimbal will be able to handle setups with Canon EOS 1DX, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras, Canon Cinema EOS, Sony FS and FX series, and RED Digital Cinema cameras. It should even be possible to balance a Blackmagic URSA on the gimbal, although it has to be mounted reversed.
CRANE 3S also features a modular design in the motor axis and handles. For larger cinema camera combos, users can attach the included extension module onto the roll axis. For smaller DSLR combos, the extension module can be removed to make the setup compact and portable.
With CRANE 3S, Zhiyun-Tech also introduces a detachable second handle with two options:
- EasySling Handle extends the grip for more comfort upright & underslung operation
- SmartSling Handle features an intuitive control panel and OLED screen, for direct camera & gimbal parameter adjustment
It is possible to combine both handles as they are easy to fit and remove. Both provide multiple thread holes in different sizes to mount accessories. The modular design makes the CRANE 3S compatible with motorized dollies, jibs, cable cams, EasyRig, etc. Especially the compatibility with EasyRig is important in my opinion as some setups with the CRANE 3S will be very heavy for handheld operation.
With three 18650-format batteries, CRANE 3S can run for up to 12 hours. A DC-in power port on the battery compartment allows input of up to 25.2V for direct charging. To support long shoots with larger setups, Zhiyun introduces the TransMount PowerPlus Battery Pack which houses six 18650 batteries and independently provides 18 hours of runtime for the gimbal.
The newly-designed locking system can lock all three axes without noticeable swinging. The modular design comes with double locks for additional safety. Larger lens support has been added to the zoom and focus system.
Image Transmission Module
Zhiyun-Tech’s TransMount Image Transmission Module is, of course, compatible with the CRANE 3S. With the transmitter, the video can be streamed to up to three monitoring devices including smartphones. The ViaTouch 2.0 system in the ZY Play app bridges the communication gap between stabilizer, camera and monitoring devices, allowing users to adjust camera and gimbal parameters remotely. The ViaTouch 2.0 system also enables a visualized remote motion control for the gimbal.
Pricing and availability
The Zhiyun CRANE 3S is now available for pre-order. There are three options (kits) available:
- CRANE 3S (with SmartSling Handle) priced at $739 (€849 in Europe)
- CRANE 3S-E (with EasySling Handle) priced at $649 (€769 in Europe)
- CRANE 3S Pro (with SmartSling Handle, PowerPlus Battery Pack, Zoom&Focus Controllers, Image Transmission Transmitter and Smartphone Clamp) priced at $1,149 (€1,299 in Europe)