The Zhiyun Crane V2 - The Peoples Gimbal

DISCLAIMER: This Gimbal was sent to me at a discounted rate from Zhiyun and I was not paid for this review.

Impression

I am excited to show you all Zhiyun Tech's version 2 of their iconic single handled crane gimbal that released in 2016. This gimbal features more cosmetic changes than functional upgrades and if you're already an owner of the original, you wont find much reason to purchase the new version. This gimbal was just released two weeks ago and most retailers have not received stock at the time of this post.

 

The Zhiyun Crane comes with a fitted hard-case that includes the gimbal, pistol grip, two batteries, battery charger, micro usb charger, 2 x 1/4"-20 screws for mounting and a lens support attachment.

Why am I excited? As a long time Fujifilm shooter, video has not been the strongest selling point. The X-T2 was their first camera to feature 4k recording up to 30p and record F-LOG externally. I have recently began shooting more video for work as well as for my own projects and have been looking for alternatives for the Glidecam HD-2000 (Which I will compare the Zhiyun Crane to later).

Cosmetically, the Zhiyun Crane is gorgeous. Black powder coating throughout with silver accents. Knurling on the pistol grip makes the gimbal comfortable to hold and the roll motor features - what I assume is their logo.

Changes from the version 1 include larger capacity batteries with a reported run time of 12 hours. Previously Zhiyun included two sets of batteries but now we are given one set of large capacity batteries. The controls now feature a dedicated mode button, a joystick, a power button and a zoom feature for cameras capable of micro USB control. The mounting plate is also adjustable forward and back to accommodate larger lenses with the help of an included lens support attachment. The largest upgrade functionally is the native load increase to 1800g. This increase is still available for the original model via firmware release.

Who's this gimbal for? Why do I call this the peoples gimbal? This is dedicated to the small camera shooter. By small camera's I mean anyone not shooting a C100, RED or SONY FS7. The price is affordable by stabilizer standards at $647.97 currently at BH and directly competitive for the more expensive DJI Ronin and Ronin-M ($999 and $1,999 respectively). I personally tested it with my Fujifilm X-T2 and prime lenses as well a D750 and 17-35 without difficulty.

The gimbal is quick to set up and involves tool less balancing and mounting. I personally added a quick release plate that matches my Arca Swiss type tripod plates for easy mounting but the gimbal includes two 1/4"-20 screws that can directly mount your camera to the plate. Balancing involves adjusting the tilt, roll and yaw access via thumb screws which I will demonstrate in the video below. Once the gimbal is balanced you're ready to turn it on.

 

Modes

The gimbal features three modes. Pan-Following mode, Locking mode andfollowing mode. These can also be performed inverted. Inverting the gimbal is as easy as turning the pistol grip opposite the tilt motor quickly. To return, bring the handle back down in the same direction.

Pan-Following mode - The gimbal will pan with twisting the handle but will not tilt without the joystick. This is the default mode once the gimbal turns on.

Locking mode - All motors are locked in position but can be controlled via joystick. Pressing the mode button once from Pan-Following mode will bring the gimbal to Locking mode

Following mode - The gimbal will follow your movements with tilt and pan. Double pressing the mode button from either of the other modes will bring the gimbal into Following mode.

Triple tapping the mode button will bring the gimbal around 180 degrees to an unofficial "selfie" mode.

Personally I use the Pan - Tilt following mode and the Pan - Following mode the most. I haven't personally found a use for the Locking mode.

 

Summary

 

What I love about the Zhiyun is that it's small, lightweight, easy to balance and feels intuitive to those how have never used one. Following mode is especially intuitive as it follows your natural hand movements. The controls are responsive and can be calibrated to user preference via the free app.

What I dont like about the Zhiyun Crane. I cannot use the X-T2 battery grip on the gimbal due to it becoming too tall which limits both my battery life and recording time. The arm that controls the roll axis extends too far and the gimbal often bumps the tilt motor into the pan motor when packing (Scratches from this seen below). Therefore, you must re balance every time you pack the gimbal into its case. Finally, a minor inconvenience would be that the roll motor does obstruct the LCD sometimes but it does not affect shooting.

 

Glide cam Vs Zhiyun Crane

 

Pros of the Glidecam

Less shaking up and down due to pivot handle. - The micro jitter from walking can be noticable on the Zhiyun Crane.

More human response - you're able to quickly react to changes in motion and create human like movements.

Greater Durability due to no electronic parts - Glidecams do not have any electronic motors which can be damaged.

Able to hold larger cameras with external monitor and mic if necessary.

 

Pros of The Zhiyun Crane

Smaller - The Zhiyun Crane can easily breakdown into a camera bag and even fits in my backpack fully assembled.

Easier to balance - The Zhiyun Crane is able to tolerate slight variations if off balance due to strong motors.

Ultra smooth footage - The ultimate reason to use any gimbal is the buttery smooth motion.

Easier to film lower angles - The Zhiyun Crane is easily inverted for low angles where the Glidecam must invert the camera to perform low angles which is difficult to balance.

 

Conclusion and Sample Footage

 

Bottom line - I love this gimbal. I've shot with the gimbal almost every day and have used it on three professional video shoots without hassle. It's easy to handle with one or two hands and I have been able to mount a shotgun mic onto my camera for vlogging. Any complaints I have are minor and include not being able to use the gimbal with my X-T2 battery grip. Anyone looking for a professional gimbal and doesn't want the heft and price of a DJI Ronin-m, this is your gimbal. Below is some personal sample footage. No post stabilization was applied in premiere. All footage shot a 1080p on a Fujifilm X-T2

 

Dance in Detroit

I have had the idea of photographing a formal dancer in Detroit after following the beautiful work of Omar Z Robles (see it here www.instagram.com/omarzrobles) photographing dancers in New York City and the rest of the world. Omar, a well studied mime, photographs these performers in the most beautiful way against a hard but equally beautiful city.

Detroit is a beautiful city with a rich history that is often overlooked due to the high rate of crime and abandonment of many of its closest neighborhoods. I wanted to photograph the beautiful skills of a dancer with the city in the ways that Omar colors his performers.

I contacted Emily to see if she would like to participate and she was more than excited to help. We met downtown and she was no where afraid to destroy a pair of pointe shoes for the sake of beautiful portraits.

I am looking to photograph any other dancers in Detroit. Please email me through my contact page if you would like to help.

 

All photos below were taken with a Fujifilm Xpro2 and Fujifilm 56mm 1.2 at 1.2

 

 

 

Coach 2017 and "Influencers"

Instagram has been my living portfolio for the last 13 months. I post the most images there and feel its an interesting way to keep focus in both style and subject matter. Instagram is also an amazing way to connect with possible clients and other photographers in your areaand worldwide. Just this year alone i've made friends with people over Instagram and had a beer with a few of them.  My instagram following has grown exponentially in the last year and that subject is for another blog post.

Instagram is what lead Coach to me.

A representative for Coach reached out to me earlier this Winter and asked if I wanted to shoot as part of their upcoming campaign. Naturally, I said yes. I love shooting for brands and commercial work in general because I love both story telling through images but representing the brands style. Coach wanted photos of a beautiful leather tote and gave me total creative Freedom.

Perfect

I contacted my good friend Dennis whom I met in a general chemistry class a few years back. Dennis was actually one of my earliest shoots and I was the first photographer he had ever worked with. Dennis is now working steadily in the Acting and Modeling world and is always looking for new jobs.

We met downtown Detroit in front of John Varvatos and shot along the new areas of Woodward. All images below were taken with the Fujifilm X-T2 and Fujinon 56mm 1.2 lens.

 

Follow Dennis on instagram @dennisaur_1

 

 

Hicks Family

Date: 10/29/2016

 

Yasmeen and her family contacted me through a local Facebook group after I posted looking to find more families in the city of Dearborn to photograph while the weather was still pleasant. Yasmeen and I had to battle with Michigan weather for a bit due to the wild weather swings from freezing rain to sunny and near summer weather all in the same week. We finally had a break so we headed down to a local park to get some family photos.

 

Family photos are one of my favorite types of sessions to shoot. Most of the time, families don't know what to expect. Everyone immediately thinks back to the horror of stuffing everyone into JCPenny in front of backdrop wearing the Sunday best for that before Christmas portrait. I love giving families the enjoyable experience of being in a non stress outdoor environment so I can capture them as they are. I also love hearing, "We haven't done any photos like this before" or my other favorite, "Man, It's been xx years since we've had photos of the kids."

Both kids are into sports of their own and we had fun pulling that into the photos and having a little bit of play time.

 

Gear used: Fuji X-Pro2 and 56mm 1.2

 

 

Nadia - Senior Session

Date: 10/18/2016

Location: Detroit, Michigan

 

Nadia and her mother reached out to me looking to have a session built around the Detroit urban environment without using the typical tourist destinations. Detroit is an eclectic city in both its architecture and inhabitants. After rescheduling a few times due to late summer rain we settled hoping to capture some light fall color as well. We started in the Corktown neighborhood and then moved to the up and coming area's around Woodward avenue. Finally, we ended up in Eastern market just as the sun set for some gorgeous light and Supino's pizza.

 

Gear used - Xpro-2, 56mm 1.2 and 23mm 1.4

Nathan - Senior Session

Word of mouth is your strongest referral source. Whether you're looking for the best place for coffee, where to take your car for the best oil change or for job references someone always knows someone. Nathan's mother contacted me after being referred by a former coworker of mine who had been following some of my personal and commissioned photography through my personal facebook page. Again, word of mouth is strong.

 

For this shoot we decided to meet at the Z-lot garage on Gratiot in downtown Detroit for a short session. The lot is new relative to the surroundings and feature 10 stories that each could be their own works of art.  At the top you have a prime view of the works of Shepard Fairey and Hownosm. This is a prime destination for photos in the city.

 

Thanks Nathan and family for having me out.

 

All images were taken using Fujifilm Xpro2 and 56mm 1.2

(Except one was the 14mm 2.8)

 

 

Let's Chat...

I've now had my own "Corey Boland" domain for over a year and I have yet to dump thoughts into the blog. When deciding to be a "photographer" I had no idea what I wanted to focus on so I began to take on every job from architecture prints to newborn portraits. I was shooting concerts, seniors, cats, food or anything I could if someone wanted to hire me. I didn't have a focus, I didn't have a theme or style, I just was shooting.

From now on you'll see more posts on this page highlighting the process of portraiture and the stories of theclients that I meet along the way. I've found myself drawn to people and their stories which has strengthened my love for portrait photography.

On top of my love for portraiture, I also love all things Fujifilm. I love their camera bodies, photographer culture, film sims (oh god the film sims..) and everything else Fuji. You'll be seeing Fuji reviews and quick blog posts about my experience with Fujifilm gear over the last year. Just this summer I've gotten an X-pro2 and I will tell you this I could rant about the thing all day.

So here's to saying hello, lets work together. If you have a crazy idea that you'd love to see come to life or you want to update your headshot for linkedin. Lets shoot.