Zhiyun are a Chinese company making various accessories for photography and helping people make videos. One of their latest offerings is the Smooth X, their 2 Axis smartphone gimbal, which works with the likes of iPhones as well as most of the Android devices. Featuring its own app with a huge amount of helpful features, great stability and nifty little features, this has it all. Retailing at just under £50 makes it a very attractive offer for anybody looking to get a great gimbal.
For those not in the know, a gimbal is a device used by videographers to help stabilise their videos. It is something that provides you with optical stabilisation in a video that may or may not have a lot of movement. It is the kind of thing you would have if you make parkour videos, or videos around bikes, skates, or pretty much anything which involves following a moving object.
Zhiyun Smooth X Gimbal – Features
- Provides great stability during movement.
- Build-in extend grip makes your arm up to 260mm longer.
- Unique, rotatable motor axis that can fold and hold its position at multiple angles
- Intelligent Object Tracking
- Can easily switch from landscape to portrait mode
- Gesture control
- Professional Editing software built into the app
- Folding design and very light, making it easy to pop in your bag.
- Charged via USB C, long battery life.
And here is a video of me trying this, apologies for the music!
As you can see, when operating, it is very stable. It also zooms in and out using the buttons on the device itself. Annoyingly, the zoom buttons don’t work in the native iOS app, but the record/take photo button does work.
How to use
I hate to admit it, but it took me a while to figure this out. I was always turning it on, and then popping the phone in, but you have to remember to have the phone in first, and then turn it on, and it automatically stabilises.
Look and feel
The device fits well in your hand, and the non-slip grip makes it easy to use. Even with the arm fully extended and a (heavy) iPhone 7 Plus in, it is weighted well and stays stable. The buttons are well placed and allow you to use it quite easily. More importantly, once you have used this a few times, you build enough muscle memory to focus on the important stuff, ie the subject in front of you.
The device is light, and folds well, so it can easily be popped into your bag or even squeezed into your pocket for when you’re on the move.
Under it is also a tripod mount, allowing you to fit this onto any tripod or mounting gear of your choice.
The device can be used with the native iOS app, but to get full features from this device, as well as to control its settings, you are better off installing the ZY Camera app. It can be installed via a QR code on the device, or searched for in the App Store.
The app not only lets you change the gimbal settings (e.g. walking vs running mode), but also ensures all buttons on the device work to their full potential. The app also allows gesture control (e.g. make a V sign to start recording/take a photo), and even lets you edit videos after all.
There’s also the option of filters!
The app pretty much offers you all you need from a film-making point of view.
More information on the Zhiyun Smooth X can be found on their website.
It retails for under £50, and can be bought from online retailers such as Amazon. Bundles are also available on Amazon.
A great device, at a great price. Great for the budding videographers of today, who need nothing more than their smartphone to do it all!