ZHIYUN Smooth Q3 3-axis Stabilizer: Best Gimbal for Phones
ZHIYUN Smooth Q3 3-axis Stabilizer: Best Gimbal for Phones | ZHIYUN
Driven by the fascinating art and the advanced intelligent interaction, SMOOTH-Q3 announces a comeback of a classic, offering a smarter experience in shooting. With SMOOTH-Q3, a smartphone is all you need to make a great work of art with amazing effects.
Whole-new clearer button layout that better suits when using single-handed. Three-axis structure for a surprisingly stable and smooth footage
Classic sliding design for you to shoot and pack anytime as you go so you don’t have to miss any important moments that need to be captured.
Integrated rotatable fill light with touch button to light you up from all angles with three adjustable brightness levels. A guarantee for a brighter you in the front, back or 180° all around.
Always stay in the spotlight. Activate the SmartFollow 3.0 with just one tap via the App*.
Too much to handle for your hands? Use just a single gesture to start the shooting while you can just be yourself anywhere anytime. Available in multiple panorama modes*.
Wanna add easy but mind-blowing effects that make your videos stand out? Get instant Dolly Zoom and create cinematic short films with just a few simple steps in the app*.
You deserve a wider world in your hand. Shoot it with ultra-wide angle for your vast landscapes or low-angles*.
Clone yourself up to show different sides of you. With MagicClone Pano, now you can shoot multiple images and arrange them on the same screen*.
Whatever ways you want in panorama, SMOOTH-Q3 got it: Landscape mode, portrait mode, front & rear camera, 180°, 240°, 3X3…² *.
Perfect your videos with amazing templates, music, special effects and filters. With SMART, everyone can be a video-editing pro³ *.
Copy, reverse, add stickers, subtitles and background music.
Add spice to your videos and make masterpieces. Shoot and edit all you want in ZY Cami*.
One app for all platforms. Use AILive in ZY Cami to achieve face-tracking in multiple live streaming platforms. Face tracking is also available in cameras, glamour effect apps, and short-video apps*.
Zhiyun Smooth-Q Gimbal Review – Capture Guide
Smartphone cameras have been getting better and better, with the likes of the iPhone X line and the Samsung S9/S9+ delivering fantastic 4K recordings at a smooth 30 fps. It’s no wonder then that more and more phone users are beginning to take photography and filmmaking with their phones more seriously.
The Zhiyun Smooth Q is a feature packed 3-axis gimbal that is now available for under $90. The mere fact that it’s a 3-axis motorized gimbals means it will provide far better stabilization than any EIS or OIS that is built into any smartphone.
A sub-$90 3-axis gimbal simply didn’t exist a couple of years ago and will no doubt be very tempting for a whole new generation of smartphone cinematographers.
Zhiyun are a big name with a good track record when it comes to their gimbals. Despite being a budget gimbal, I definitely have high hopes for the Smooth Q. Let’s see how their new ‘consumer grade’ gimbal, the Smooth Q, turned out this review.
Inside the Smooth Q’s box are a charger, Micro USB cable, user manual and finally the gimbal itself. The gimbal is packed in a silver, semi-hard case that almost looks like a scaled-down electric guitar case.
The plastic build quality of the Smooth Q means it won’t really handle a beating, but it does contribute to its lightweight 440g construction. The hand grip does not feature a rubberized grip, and thus feels a little less comfortable in the hands than some other smartphone gimbals like the DJI Osmo Mobile.
Mounting smartphones is easy and simply a matter of sliding your camera in and making sure it sits tightly.
Powering the gimbal on by holding down the button for two seconds will automatically make the Smooth Q calibrate and balance the mounted phone into a leveled position. For a entry level smartphone, I was impressed that the motors were powerful enough to balance larger phones like my iPhone 8 Plus without any problems.
With a max supported load of 200g, the Smooth Q supports most smartphones around. However, phablet sized phones like the iPhone XS Max Galaxy Note 9 which weigh above 200g will run into issues.
The Smooth Q can also be used with GoPros or action cameras if a suitable case adapter (purchased separately) is used.
Zhiyun Smooth Q Features
The Smooth Q’s built-in battery has outstanding battery life. With a 26650mAh capacity, it lasts around 12 hours from a full charge which takes approximately 3 hours. The Smooth Q also doubles up as a 5V, 2000mA powerbank, which makes a lot of sense given its battery is so good.
On the hand grip you’ll find a digital zoom slider that means you don’t have to pinch in and out on your phone’s display. Unfortunately, this feature is only usable if you’re recording through Zhiyun’s ZY Play App, and the zooming in isn’t particularly smooth.
Another impressive feature of the Smooth Q is its range of motion. Fully capable of panning 360-degrees, the Smooth Q is good for taking those wide panoramic shots. Moreover, you can easily switch between landscape and portrait shooting modes, the latter becoming more and more important as the likes of Instagram now enforce portrait videos.
Controlling the Zhiyun Smooth Q
The Zhiyun Smooth Q has a fairly basic control setup. By default, the gimbal starts in pan follow mode, which keeps the horizon level but follows any movements you make in the pan axis.
The follow mode is activated by clicking the mode button twice. This is the same as the pan follow mode, except it will also follow movements in the tilt (up and down) axis.
Finally, there is the locked mode. This mode will keep the camera’s orientation locked, and the camera will stay focused on what you’re pointing it at.
Like most other smartphone gimbals, the Smooth Q also features a joystick that allows you to electronically adjust the pan and tilt. Personally I never use the joystick as using my hands is both smoother and feels more natural.
Zhiyun have claimed to feature a much improved stabilization system over previous Smooth gimbals which makes it more responsive.
I haven’t used any of the older Zhiyun smartphones gimbals so cannot make a direct comparison, but the Smooth Q’s motors definitely felt snappy. There was no significant lag produced by the Smooth Q when making quick changes of direction.
The motor noise was roughly the same as the DJI Osmo Mobile, making it neither loud nor especially quiet.
Overall stabilization was very reliable from the Smooth Q. However, keep in mind the gimbal’s motors can only support a weight of up to 200g. Those with heavier phones might want to consider gimbals which aren’t cutting things so close.
Zhiyun ZY Play App
Zhiyun’s companion app is fairly basic. Its latest update lets you record 4K video from the app on Android as well as iPhone. However, it lacks some of the custom settings you ideally want in a video recording app.
That’s why I’d recommend using a stock iPhone/Android camera apps or a third-party one. iPhone users may want to check out popular third party options since you cannot disable OIS (which can interfere with the gimbal’s stabilization) in the stock iOS camera app.
However, it does the job for updating the gimbal’s firmware, adjusting follow speeds and configuring other settings.
Currently priced below $90, the Zhiyun Smooth Q is a great budget smartphone gimbal. The long battery life is perhaps its best feature, but it is certainly no slouch in other regards. Its build quality feels somewhat cheap, but it looks able to withstand casual use.
- One of the cheapest options for a smartphone gimbal
- Decent image stabilization and quiet motors
- Doesn’t play well with heavier phones
- Poor build quality
Zhiyun Smooth Q 3 Axis Smartphone Gimbal
Looking for a gimbal for your iPhone? Check out my list of recommended gimbals for iPhone.
I’m a photographer and the chief editor of Capture Guide. After spending several years in parts of South America with my trusty old Nikon D7100, I’m now back home patiently waiting for borders to re-open.
Stabilizers Portable Gimbal Stabilizers Extended Handgrips 4th Axis For 3 OSMO MOBILE 2 Zhiyong Smooth 4 Feiyu Vimle
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Zhiyun Smooth 3 test – 3-axis gimbal for smartphone
Zhiyun Smooth 3
Axles: 3 axles
Smartphones: 58 – 85mm
Action Cameras: yes
Capacity: 75g – 260g
Tilt Angle: 320°
Roll Angle: 320°
Pan Angle: 360°
90 007 Battery
Capacity: 4600 mAh
Run time: up to 14 hours
Charging time: 3 hours
Tripod connector: 1 / 4 inch
Operation: handle + app
Size: 13.4 x 9.7 x 30.3 cm
Hard case 1x
Micro USB cable 1x
1x 26650 battery
1x instruction manual
First impression of Zhiyun Smooth 3
Lieferumfang 9 0098
Compared to the recently reviewed “Feiyu Vimble C” consumer gimbal, Zhiyun Smooth 3 offers a value-for-money package consisting of a stabilizer, hard case with cord, micro USB cable, and an English instruction manual. A replacement 26650 battery has already been inserted into the gimbal.
Design and craftsmanship
Zhiyun Smooth 3 is made entirely of aluminum and impresses with its cleanliness and at the same time high workmanship. You won’t find unsightly gaps, stuck threads, or sharp edges on CNC-milled aluminum parts.
The Smooth 134 measures 97 x 303 x 3 mm, slightly larger than both its predecessor Smooth 2 and its consumer counterpart Smooth Q. The weight of the gimbal is 520g with battery inserted, but without smartphone. Due to the relatively narrow and long shaft, the stabilizer is easy to hold in the hand. If you want to extend the shaft, you have the option to screw on the extension using the ¼” tripod thread located on the underside. All control buttons, such as the joystick, selection buttons and steering wheel on the side, are located close to each other and can be easily reached with one hand. Somewhat unfortunately decided that the micro USB connector, which is also on the handle, does not have a cover and is open unprotected. I would like to have at least a small rubber cover here. The same goes for the micro USB connector on the tilt axis motor. A connected device, for example, can be charged via this USB connector. An appropriate USB adapter cable is not included and is only sold separately. According to Zhiyun, a suitable adapter cable will be available as an official accessory soon.
Smartphones from 3 mm to 58 mm wide can be inserted into the Zhiyun Smooth 85 clamp mount. For example, iPhone 5 (58.6 mm) or Xiaomi Mi Mix (81.9 mm) fits easily into the clamp bracket. The load capacity is from 75g to 260g. The adjustment of the bracket can be changed with the adjustment screw. If you align the bracket horizontally, the cams can also be stabilized. The bracket is rubberized with respect to all contact surfaces, so the smartphone does not slip and at the same time is protected from scratches.
Zhiyun Smooth 3 Review | Unpacking and Practice
Dieses Video auf YouTube ansehen
Preparation and Commissioning
It is extremely important to never operate the stabilizer without a counterweight installed, otherwise the brushless motors may be damaged. If you want to enjoy your gimbal for a long time, heed this advice! This important point is again pointed out in the instruction manual for Zhiyun Smooth 3. It also explains how to insert a smartphone and how to operate the gimbal in a very fan friendly manner.
Depending on the size and weight of the inserted device, the stabilizer must first be balanced. To do this, the X-axis rail can be moved using the adjusting screw. The scale on the staff helps you quickly find the position you found earlier. Unlike many other gimbals such as the Feiyu Vimble C, Smooth 3’s strong motors don’t need to achieve perfect balance. Even an unbalanced smartphone is stabilized. However, it should be noted that this increases the load on the engines and at the same time reduces the battery life.
Zhiyong’s functions and assistant
Without connecting the stabilizer to the app, it offers a total of 3 control modes. Using the joystick, Zhiyun Smooth 3 can also freely rotate and tilt 320° (roll and tilt), and rotate 360° (pan).
After turning on, the gimbal is in “pan following mode”. In this mode, the tilt and roll axes are locked, so only horizontal pan movements are performed. However, all axes can be freely moved using the joystick.
Pressing the mode button will enter “Lockout mode”. In this mode, all axes are locked. No matter how you move the gimbal, it always stays horizontally aligned on the line. The axes can also be moved freely with the joystick in lock mode.
By double clicking on the mode button you get into the “Tracking Mode”. In this mode, the gimbal follows all pan, tilt and roll movements. Joystick control is retained.
Pressing the mode button three times in succession automatically rotates 180°. Once you become familiar with the different modes, switching between modes is easy. There is no separate LED indicator to distinguish the currently selected mode. Lock mode only is indicated by a solid blue LED above the joystick. At the same time, the LED indicator shows the current battery level. Unfortunately, the indicator does not show the difference between Pan Follow Mode and Follow Mode.
Zhiyun Assistant / ZY Play
If you want to enjoy all the features of Zhiyun Smooth 3, you can’t avoid installing Zhiyun Assistant or ZY Play app. Zhiyun Assistant is available for Android and iOS devices from their respective app stores. The redesigned ZY Play app is currently only available for iOS devices. Next, I refer to Assistant Zhiyun.
App connection via Bluetooth. There were no problems with this in the test. The smartphone was connected to the gimbal in a few seconds. There are no security questions during pairing. On the one hand, the connection can be established in a very short time, on the other hand, anyone can theoretically connect to the stabilizer.
If you are connected, you are greeted by a clear start screen that provides information on remaining battery life, axes and active mode, among other things. The sub-item “Control” leads to the control surface of the stabilizer. All physical control buttons are here in a virtual form. Individual axes can be configured in the Zhiyun Assistant settings. Among other things, here you can adjust the speed of movement. Another sub-item is “Calibration”. If the stabilizer is adjusted, it can be calibrated here.
The application also has a built-in camera function. In addition to general recording options, ISO, white balance, and exposure settings are also offered here. One feature that is only possible through Zhiyun Assistant’s camera feature is object tracking. If you focus on an object or person and mark it, the stabilizer will remain permanently fixed on the mark. The zoom function with the wheel attached to the handle only works with the camera function in Zhiyun Assistant!
After seeing the functions of Zhiyun Smooth 3, let’s see how the gimbal works in practice. For this gimbal accompanied me a week in Tenerife and 2 more weeks at home.
Smooth 3 took less than a minute to prepare. Thanks to the counterweight, the stabilizer balances quickly, and the scale makes it easy for me to remember the balance point. As already mentioned, the connection with the application is also established within a few seconds.
Zhiyun Smooth 3 Review | Sample footage
Dieses Video auf YouTube ansehen
Stabilization is in the truest sense of the word “smooth”. Full 320° or 360° can be savored without the slight rumble of engines. Even on steep descents, there was no noticeable vibration due to the overload of the engines. Fast running and even sharp panning of the camera are well balanced. This makes Smooth 3 ideal for cinematic films. Stability in high winds was also surprisingly good. Even then, records remained largely stable. After several weeks of testing, I still haven’t had to calibrate the gimbal.
The only downside is the ZY Play app, which is not yet released for Android. Unlike Zhiyun Assistant, it offers advanced camera features. However, Assistant Zhiyun should not be underestimated. Object or face tracking was particularly impressive in the test with its high accuracy and speed of recognition. Another disadvantage of Zhiyun Assistant is the maximum selectable video resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps.
Zhiyun Smooth 3 battery type 26650, 4600 mAh, replaceable. Zhiyun specifies a maximum run time of 14 hours. With perfect balance, more than 12 hours can be achieved.