If you are a budding videographer or a seasoned professional, camera gimbals, like the CRANE 2S, might be the camera gimbal you have always dreamed of.
What is a camera gimbal?
A camera gimbal is a device used to allow a digital camera to rotate smoothly along a given axis. Usually equipped with motors and sensors, most gimbals today are 3-axis.
These devices stabilize a camera (usually digital today) while the user tilts, pans, or rolls it to create smooth footage while they are on the move.
Videographers have also historically used dollies, jigs, and other professional video-making equipment for similar purposes. While gimbals can't completely replace these devices, they are much more portable and are useful for on-the-go content creators.
Gimbals are great for shooting stills too from awkward angles and they are generally considered essential pieces of kit for videographers.
Gimbals work through a series of algorithms, gyroscopes, and motors, they are able to automatically correct for any unexpected jolts or bumps while filming or taking photos. Gimbal motors tend to be brushless which means they are silent when in operation -- pretty handy when filming with audio.
3-axis gimbals also use Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) to detect movement and then adjust the camera along a given axis on behalf of the user.
Some of the more advanced units on the market are even able to detect whether movements are intentional or not. This means panning scenes and sweeping views turn out as intended.
Such gimbals can allow you to create cinematic effects too where the camera can appear to be floating through the air. This is another reason that gimbals are a common feature in modern video drones as well.
Given their capabilities, 3-axis gimbals tend to be quite expensive. Depending on your budget you might want to opt for a 1- or 2-axis one instead.
One great example of these advanced camera gimbals is the Zhiyun Crane 2S. Let's take a closer look at it.
Why is the Zhiyun Crane 2S popular?
The Zhiyun CRANE series of camera gimbals are widely considered some of the best on the market. Being handheld, and offering 3-axis stabilization, these gimbals are used by professional filmmakers all around the world.
The CRANE 2S has a greater load and size capacity over most of the others on the market, and its upgraded algorithms have been fine-tuned to ensure reliable and excellent performance, even in the most challenging environments. This gimbal has been specially designed to handle larger cameras like the BMPCC 6K, Panasonic S1H, and EOS 1DX Mark II, to name but a few.
CRANE 2S also features something called a FlexMount System. This greatly simplifies the setup process while at the same time securing your valuable camera gear with a double safety mechanism.
This gimbal also comes with a quick-release mount along with a safety knob on the tilt axis which allows users to switch to vertical shooting in a snap without the need for additional accessory installation. It is lightweight, made of carbon fiber, meaning it is strong and incredibly light at the same time.
The CRANE 2S also features a 0.96-inch (2.4 cm) OLED screen that offers a wider view. It enables you to navigate through the entire menu system and switch between modes swiftly. Its axis-lock system also ensures that your camera will remain absolutely still when set.
It also comes with multiple mounting points to increase the options photographers and videographers have to choose from.
The CRANE 2S features a built-in focus control wheel and servo follow focus motor to provide the best quality footage possible from a gimbal. It offers six gimbal modes with buttery-smooth movement, that satisfy all demands from basic to advanced users including; pan following, locking, following, full-range POV, Vortex mode, and Go mode.
Its advanced cinematic effects such as Panorama, Timelapse, Motionlapse, and Long Exposure Timelapse are also a nice bonus.
The CRANE 2S uses three removable 18650 Li-ion batteries, providing a standard 12-hour runtime. If more power is needed, videographers can easily extend the runtime with backup batteries.
What do you look for in a gimbal?
If you are on the market for a camera gimbal, there are a few things you should look for before settling on a particular make and model.
- Not all gimbals are the same. Some are designed to solely stabilize a camera, while others are far more capable. For example, some are remote controlled meaning you can actuate them from a distance -- but do you really need this? Decide on your needs before investing in one.
- Check the weight of the gimbal. If the gimbal is handheld, you'll want one that isn't too heavy.
- What is their maximum payload? A decent DSLR and lens setup can be pretty heavy. Ensure a given gimbal can actually handle the weight.
- What balancing features does the gimbal offer? If you are planning on removing and reattaching your camera a lot, make sure you choose a gimbal with either quick-release or other features that make it easy to balance the camera when attached.
Is it worth getting a gimbal?
Whether or not you need a gimbal will depend entirely on your camera-using needs. If you are a budding professional videographer you'll probably want one in your arsenal, but if you just want to take some nice pictures, they might be a bit OTT.
You may be able to get away with using a simple tripod for most of your needs if the latter. However, if you want to take pictures of fast-moving objects, a gimbal is a great tool to get the best, and clearest shot, possible.
Other than that, there are some inherent benefits to camera gimbals. These include, but are not limited to:
- They’re quick to set up, compared to more professional stabilization gear.
- They’re lightweight and easy to carry, which is important if your videography often takes you on adventures.
- They let you comfortably film with your camera for longer periods of time.
- They help you to effortlessly change the direction of your camera, which can cut down on your shooting time.
- They allow you to mount other camera accessories, such as microphones.
- They give you a firmer hold on your camera.
- They’re brilliant for shooting underwater and aerial footage.
- Some gimbals are connected to apps that can open up a new world of creative possibilities, too.
Apart from the Crane 2S, there are some other great models on the market.
What is the best camera gimbal?
Some of the best camera gimbals on the market are:
- Zhiyun Crane 3S
- Zhiyun WEEBILL S
- Moza Aircross
- DJI Ronin S.
So, if you are on the market for a new camera gimbal, why not check out some of the above, and the Zhiyun's CRANE 2S, in particular?