Zhiyun Crane M3 featured image

A Compact Gimbal Mighty Enough for Mirrorless Cameras

For these after an all-in-one skilled gimbal, the Zhiyun Crane M3 can significantly simplify your digicam equipment. Not solely does it supply assist for smartphones, motion cams, and mirrorless cameras; it appeals to these in search of built-in lighting and audio choices in a single inclusive set-up. Whereas there are just a few tough edges, for those who’re prepared to spend money on the Zhiyun Crane M3, it’s going to work for many use circumstances.

Key Options

  • Built-in twin temperature fill gentle
  • Compact mounting for smartphones, motion cams, and mirrorless cameras
  • Fast launch system 4.0
  • PD 12W quick charging

  • Model: Zhiyun
  • Selfie Stick: Not included, however could be hooked up by way of normal tripod screw
  • Class: Smartphone, Mirrorless, and Motion Cams
  • Most Payload: 4.85 kilos (2.2 kilograms)
  • Easy Movement: 3-axis (pan, tilt, and roll)
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Battery: 1150mAh
  • Digicam Management: Sure
  • Weight: Roughly 1.62 kilos (735 grams)

  • Good battery life and fast charging
  • Compact measurement makes portability and long-term use simpler
  • Built-in fill gentle offers management over brightness, shade temperature, and shade modifications by way of magnetic fill gentle attachments
  • Premium construct high quality really feel for each steel and plastic components
  • Responsive contact display screen

  • Preliminary balancing presents some frustrations
  • Battery modifications with normal fast launch plate require extra disassembly
  • Most equipment are locked to a particular bundle

Purchase This Product

When selecting a gimbal, there all the time appears to be a trade-off. Whether or not it is the value level, steadiness, or gadget protection, it may be difficult to sift via and steadiness the choices. Nonetheless, the Zhiyun Crane M3 seeks to rectify that difficulty by providing all of those in a single compact bundle.

However can the Zhiyun Crane M3 serve each your motion cams, smartphones, and mirrorless cameras with no efficiency dip?

Zhiyun Crane M3 Design and Sizing

zhiyun crane m3 size comparison

With Zhiyun’s gimbals, visible design components are essential to the ultimate product alongside performance. With the Crane M3, we see this not solely within the sizing but in addition in its shade distinction. Zhiyun has moved away from the standard black and grey colours gimbals use and towards a extra fashionable steadiness of black and white distinction with some pink highlights.

For the Zhiyun Crane M3 sizing, you will see it is round 11 x 6.2 x 3 inches (280 x 157 x 75 mm) when absolutely folded. Nonetheless, it expands to round 10.2 x 5.3 x 5.9 inches (259 x 135 x 150 mm). So this tiny gimbal with out its tripod is equal in measurement to round a regular water bottle.

In the event you evaluate this relative to Zhiyun’s Easy Q3 and Weebill 2, you may get a really feel for the sizing compromise that may nonetheless handle mirrorless cameras whereas weighing simply 735 grams.

Portability and Journey with the Crane M3

zhiyun crane m3 backpack camera packing

In the event you’re trying to capitalize on the compact nature of the Crane M3, it is easy to stash it on the go.

For purchasers of the Combo or Professional Package deal of the Crane M3, Zhiyun has continued their pattern of providing a transportable backpack that gives ample space for storing for the gimbal, digicam, lens, and equipment. As well as, for those who do not look after the default compartments contained in the bag, you may simply modify the velcro straps.


Nonetheless, for these trying to go together with Zhiyun’s normal bundle, on a regular basis tote baggage or a private backpack will adequately home the compact gimbal with none injury throughout transit.

Balancing the Crane M3

Balancing the Zhiyun Crane M3

Moreover the necessity to have a gimbal that may go together with you on the go, one of many extra necessary points is the convenience of steadiness of a gimbal. And for a compact gimbal just like the Crane M3, you would possibly surprise the way it handles the load of a mirrorless digicam.

With the Crane M3, testing Zhiyun’s camera compatibility list is extra necessary than ever. As a result of it is all about discovering a digicam and lens combo that works. On this case, you are not simply worrying about added gimbal function controls—it is about getting an applicable weight mixture that the gimbal motors can deal with.

Even when you’ve got a compact lens already, there are circumstances the place the viewfinder eyepiece cowl will hit the roll axis when tilted backward, so that you need to see in case your lens falls into that class.

zhiyun crane m3 build plates

For testing, I ended up utilizing a Sony a7R III with a Sony FE 50 mm F2.5 ultra-compact G sequence lens. For this, I experimented with each the Crane M3’s normal fast launch plate and the Crane M3 common fast launch plate accent.

Total, balancing did not closely differ between the 2 models. With each, you need to get the digicam near the lean axis as soon as mounted; you need to steadiness the lean vertically and horizontally like regular.

Nonetheless, there are some minor advantages to utilizing the common fast launch plate. First off, the extent mount lock screw situated on the entrance generally is a drawback through the preliminary steadiness. You need the digicam near the lean axis; the lock screw will hit the digicam physique.

It’s important to loosen the fast launch screw and transfer the digicam away; that is extra of a fiddly measure. With the common fast launch plate, you loosen the fast launch plate latch, slide the digicam out momentarily, and modify as wanted. Whereas a small comfort measure, it makes the preliminary steadiness a lot smoother.

A tougher matter comes with the roll axis. In the event you try the Crane M3 guide, it notes that you really want the digicam to remain nonetheless and simply horizontal to the bottom. However sometimes, with the roll axis, you’d prefer it to not fall when tilted to the left or proper.

So the roll axis by no means feels completely balanced on the Crane M3; it might throw off customers not utilizing the guide throughout their preliminary set-up. Nonetheless, this can be because of the arm size of the axis and the compact nature of the Crane M3; the gimbal’s motors are high quality to compensate for it. With that taken under consideration, balancing the gimbal is comparatively speedy and solely will get quicker.

zhiyun crane m3 smartphone mount

As soon as you’ve got managed to steadiness a mirrorless digicam on the Crane M3, every little thing else is far simpler. Sadly, I did not have entry to an motion cam for testing, however I did two separate cellular phone mount checks.

I used a Google Pixel 3 XL after which a Google Pixel 6 Professional to check the load capability. Each balanced a lot quicker than the digicam; I did have to concentrate to which of the smartphone grip’s totally different mounting holes. In case you have points balancing your digicam, these are a wonderful place to examine first since they’ll throw off the general steadiness.

Interacting with the Zhiyun Crane M3 Contact Display screen

Zhiyun Crane M3 touchscreen

The Crane M3 comes with a 1.22″ contact display screen; it is fairly snappish and responsive. Faucet enter responses are fast, and I by no means discovered myself unintentionally making picks from the compact major display screen or sub-menus. Equally, the display screen is sufficiently vibrant, so you do not have to fret about struggling to learn any of the textual content whereas actively utilizing the gimbal.

Whilst you can soar between modes rapidly by scrolling via the mode display screen, your first cease could also be to examine your steadiness or the display screen settings. You would possibly really feel inclined to run a fast auto-calibration from the display screen settings, particularly when working with a mirrorless digicam. After contemplating your digicam weight and lens from there, the gimbal will default to one of many low/medium/excessive presets for motor torque.

After working this, it is best to examine in case your gimbal’s motors appear to be working too laborious with a mirrorless digicam. As an illustration, the medium motor settings would trigger the gimbal to vibrate flippantly from the power of the motors whereas resting atop a flat floor on its tripod ft. If it proves distracting, you may decrease the motor torque to low till you are prepared to begin recording.

Shortcut Keys and Growth Potentialities

Zhiyun Crane expansion port

Past the contact display screen, the Zhiyun Crane M3 goals to maintain every little thing in fast finger attain.

To the left is the 1/4-inch growth port that enables for extensions resembling a grip, whereas beneath it’s the fill gentle management wheel. Lastly, your joystick, your M button, and the Picture/Video button are immediately beneath the contact display screen. In the meantime, the fitting aspect of the Crane M3 homes its energy button and Sort-C charging port.

In the event you’ve used a Zhiyun gimbal, the shortcut keys function in a well-known sequence of faucets. For instance, you may faucet the entrance set off button twice to reposition, thrice to enter selfie mode or maintain it down for fast entry to Go mode. The management wheel on the entrance simply supplied roll management by default; you may examine the Zhiyun Crane M3 digicam controls to see what choices can be found for particular cameras in coordination with the Crane M3 Bluetooth management unit.

On the entrance, the M (Mode) button works like Zhiyun’s different gimbals by permitting a fast toggle via varied gimbal modes. A single press of M permits you to go between pan comply with, lock, and comply with. Equally, a double press permits you to go between POV and vortex mode.

In the event you maintain down the M button, you may both put your gimbal to sleep or wake it up. The close by joystick felt prefer it had a very good weight and was attentive to minor tweaks. And when related by a camera-appropriate cable, the Picture/Video button offered fast entry to video recording.

Utilizing the Zhiyun Crane M3 Built-in Fill Mild

Zhiyun crane m3 fill light max brightness

Just like the Zhiyun Easy Q3, the Zhiyun Crane 3 options an built-in fill gentle, and its operation follows the same press-and-scroll sample. To activate the sunshine, press and maintain the fill gentle wheel.

After turning it on, a single press will will let you alternate between the brightness and shade temperature settings with a flick up or down the wheel to lift or decrease your picks. When altering the brightness, the Crane M3 will increase or decreases in intervals of ten p.c. Whereas the Zhiyun Easy Q3 had three brightness settings, this places the Zhiyun Crane 3 at ten totally different presets with a vibrant most of 800 lumens.

For the colour temperature, you may go between 2600 and 5400k. Moreover, there are magnetic fill gentle filters to regulate the colour of your gentle. These are available in pink, yellow, blue, and orange; you may pull from their lipped edge to peel them off.

The one use grievance with the sunshine comes from this similar settings menu. In the event you aren’t actively tweaking a setting, the Crane M3 will return to its default dwelling display screen. So for those who’re taking within the shade or gentle brightness for too lengthy and attempting to resolve it to your shot, you will should re-enter the menu every time to make changes.

Taking Video with the Zhiyun Crane M3

Holding the compact Zhiyun Crane M3

So how does it really feel to make use of the Crane 3 whereas taking video? The stable steel axes and the gimbal arm present sturdiness. The physique is a light-weight plastic with a cushty rubber gripping. The removable tripod additionally offers further stability and has a rubber coating for a cushty and non-slip grip.

I sometimes benefit from the outside by utilizing the gimbal in a pure atmosphere for check shoots. For a compact gimbal just like the Crane M3, tackling totally different inclines, strolling, and working offers a very good illustration of its smoothness. Plus, you need to contemplate that when heading again from a protracted off-trail journey, you don’t need an enormous gimbal to haul round, whether or not it is in your arms or a backpack.

In these respects, the gimbal succeeds properly resulting from its compact nature. Whereas I would not advise doing exceptionally aggravating photographs on the motors like an underslung shot, it did an incredible job at stabilizing uneven footing normally. Plus, you get all the advantages of a mirrorless digicam the place you would possibly in any other case restrict your self to an motion cam or a smartphone gimbal for portability.

Equally, for those who take the Zhiyun Crane M3 to a public location, you will discover its compact nature fairly helpful. In the event you’ve witnessed among the extra large gimbal rigs for mirrorless use, you may actually recognize the extra subdued look of the Crane M3 in public, in addition to the flexibility to pack it up rather more simply when not wanted.

Charging Your Digicam and the Zhiyun Crane M3

zhiyun crane m3 charging

The Crane M3’s normal fast launch plate covers the battery compartment when swapping out your digicam battery. So you will should dismount your digicam completely for entry. Whereas with the common fast launch plate, it is simple to slip it off the plate and swap batteries as wanted.

To elongate your digicam’s battery life, you can too examine in case your digicam helps charging by way of the gimbal’s included cables. For the Sony A7R3, the multi-USB dealt with this. Relating to charging the gimbal, the PD energy port means you may cost the Crane M3 in round two hours.

Whereas the Crane’s M3’s working occasions vary between six and eight hours primarily based on the motor utilization, charging your digicam alongside operation will rapidly deplete this.

Nonetheless, you can too connect the Crane M3 to an influence financial institution throughout its use and charge-up. So for those who’re planning to shoot for longer, you may actually prolong the battery lifetime of all of your units with some preplanning.

Ought to You Purchase the Zhiyun Crane M3?

So must you purchase the Crane M3? This relies on precisely what you are after—if you need a classy compact gimbal you should utilize for skilled functions with a number of gadget sorts, it positively fulfills there.

With that mentioned, are there any causes to not contemplate it? Regardless of its integration, you will nonetheless want a suitable digicam and lens. As well as, there could be some minor hurdles throughout preliminary balancing and most equipment are locked to the preliminary Crane M3 bundle you buy.

There’s a common quick-release plate that gives some comfort enhancements. Nonetheless, for those who’re wanting to make use of it with skilled microphones or for the wi-fi receiver, the growth base is not out there for separate buy right now.

However total, that is extra a matter of analysis, and Zhiyun’s package-based equipment could also be out there individually in time. So total, for those who’re after a compact but highly effective gimbal—there’s good cause to think about the Crane M3.

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