ZHIYUN Crane 3 LAB camera Stabilizer. The comprehensive review + Quick Start tutorial
The Crane 3 LAB Design
The first thing I noticed is the new design. Usually these small gimbals are a single pole that you hold with one or 2 hands. The L shaped arm is at first unusual, but makes a lot of sense. Now with your hands further apart you can hold and move the camera is a much more stable and comfortable way and also reduce fatigue as both hands are bearing the weight. The handle has a small OLED screen that displays the camera and gimbal settings.
There are buttons on this joystick style handle that allow you to change camera settings such as ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture. I have tested this on both the Canon 5DMk4 and Sony A7III and confirm that it works on both.
You can also choose the different movement modes from the same handle.
- PF: (Pan Follow) Smoothly follows movement on the horizontal place, but with the fixed vertical position for panning. This is the most useful mode for the majority of shooting, you can tilt the camera with the joystick.
- F: (Follow) The camera ha both pan and tilt as it follows your movement.
- POV: (Point of view) this also allows for rolling of the camera
- V: (Vortex) in sling mode, you can continuously roll the camera which creates a spinning shot. (I would be sparing on this, as overuse is hard to watch.)
- Lock: The camera stays locked in position no matter how the gimbal is moved, make for a very stable shot. The joystick can be used here to move the camera however you like.
- PhoneGo: The motor speed is increased to follow fast motion.
The roll motor is angled to allow for unobstructed viewing of the screen. Also the way the baseplate is designed, you have full access to change the camera battery and card.
The motors are redesigned to be 50% quieter compared to the Crane 2, (I didn’t hear any noise at all on my tests). 100% increase in torque and 150% improvement in responsiveness.
Specs for the Crane 3
Here are the basic specifications
Battery Life: 7.5 hours
Weight: 4 lbs
Payload: 10 lbs
Wireless Image transmission: Full HD, 1920×1080
Price: $899 USD, Creator package $1199 (Includes both zoom and focus servos, Monopod, Phone holder, Quick release plates and belt.
Crane 3 Major features
Dual mechanical focus motors (creator package, or sold separately). This allows the use of the glow-in-the-dark focus wheel to do manual focusing and rack focus. You can also zoom using the rocker switch on the handle.
Wireless Operation. Via touch, the app allows for full camera control on a mobile device. You can change the camera settings as well as zoom, focus, pan. roll and tilt the camera remotely. The video image is transmitted in full HD. A real standout feature is object motion tracking. You draw a rectangle around an object, like a face and the camera will automatically move to keep the point of interest in the center of the frame.
Automated features. Time-lapse, motion time-lapse, long exposure time-lapse and panorama are all available in the ZY play app.
Locking latches on each of the 3 motors. This makes it easy to balance the camera, as well as lock in the settings for transporting.
Sling mode allows for one-handed operation in underslung mode. You simply move your hand down to go into this mode in a single easy movement. This is one of my favorites, as its well balanced and comfortable to shoot this way.
Onboard power: There is an 8v power outlet on the camera control unit to power a DSLR camera such as a Canon 5DMk4. There is also USB power on the shaft that can power your mobile device.
Pros: Overall, I was very impressed with the performance and smoothness of the camera movements on the Zhiyun Crane 3 LAB. The design is innovative and very user friendly, with lots of features that remove a lot of the annoyances on other gimbals. Great payload and long battery life, with the ability to drop in 3 more batteries if you are shooting for extended periods of time, such as a remote location, Full control over the settings on the Sony A73II and the Canon 5D MK4 (The 2 camera I tested it on).
Cons: I found it a little bit of a struggle to use the app to pan the camera exactly where I wanted because it moves pretty fast and there is a slight lag on image transmission, So you have to anticipate where you want to move the camera. With the physical joystick, it was very precise. The plastic cover on the battery compartment felt a little flimsy, but I haven’t had any problems with it.
Conclusion: I can say that as of this moment, this is my favorite camera stabilizer that I have used and it will be my go to gimbal for the foreseeable future for video work. I can recommend this without hesitation, as I’m sure you will also like it.
I am going to award the Zhiyun Crane 3 LAB a 5/5 and an editors pick award.
Purchase Creator package here.
Thanks for checking out my review and I hope you enjoyed the video