The convergence of photography and video has never been closer than it is today. Virtually any camera marketed towards enthusiasts and professionals is expected to have some form of video functionality.
The combination of large high-quality sensors and fast lenses has created a revolution in the way we produce video. No longer are we restricted to expensive broadcast quality camcorders. We can create cinematic video with pretty much any DLSR or Mirrorless camera on the market.
One of the biggest issues with this, however, is a fundamental difference in the way photographers and filmmakers capture their images. As photographers, we can handhold our cameras to capture high-quality images. However, hand holding to shoot video mostly ends in shaky, jittery footage with “jello-cam”
To get stable footage we needed video tripods. To get smooth movement we needed steady-cams or sliders. Both cumbersome to use.
In the last year or so, however, there has emerged a new type of handheld stabilizer, the three axis, brushless motor gimbal. I have recently bought one for myself, the Zhiyun Crane and this is my initial impressions.
Since initially writing this article, my original Zhiyun Crane has had a motor failure rendering it unusable. However, a combination of good service from my supplier, https://zadeshevo.com.ua/, and Zhiyun’s own customer service led to mine being replaced with the updated Zhiyun Crane v2
What Is A Gimbal?
Gimbals allow us to mount our DSLR/Mirrorless cameras on a handheld rig. The rig allows full movement in all three planes, horizontal, vertical and pan. By using powerful motors and attitude sensors, the gimbal will hold the camera extremely stable in the direction you point it, smoothing out much of your body movement.
The Zhiyun Crane is one of a number of these gimbals to hit the market. It is designed for Mirrorless cameras, but could conceivably carry a lighter DSLR model too.