Zhiyun Crane M3 – Smartphone Gimbal Review & Tutorial – vs Smooth 5
If so, then this might be the answer. Music. A few weeks ago june released this new hybrid 3 axis gimbal, the crane m3. Following on from the previous version, the crane m2 ive already got the korean m2 and i also made a video about it. So i was keen to try out the update. The crane m3 is quite different to the cranium too. Even the design is like something from nasa or a star wars movie the m3 here on the arm of the gimbal, even lights up and just the feel and the quality of all the components. This really feels, like top level theres, also a couple of new features which i think are really great to have in a gimbal. But im going to talk about those later so lets. Take a look at the gimbal and see how it compares to the zhiyun smooth 5, which also just came out. Music first thing, youll probably have noticed, is the introduction of a mini touch screen after you, power on the screen is divided into four buttons, with each opening menus or displays. The top two are probably the ones youre going to be using most of the time. Top left allows you to choose mode. Of course, you can also change mode with the button, but you might find this quicker going directly to the mode you want rather than tapping through each one, theres. Also various other settings you can get to through these buttons.
The crane m3 is heavier than the smooth 5. jion lists the weight of 700 grams. But when i weighed the gimbal to include the mounting plate and clamp, it actually came to almost a kilogram which is 380 grams more than the smooth 5, which weighs 615 grams. But when you compare the size of the two gimbals when theyre unfolded, the smooth 5 actually comes out a little bit. Bigger both come with a case, but only if you pay extra smooth 5 case is pretty basic, while the crane m3 case is really nicely designed. Not just like the gimbal, as well as being a bit shorter and fatter as made from a washable material as well. If youre worried about it getting dirty, the smooth 5 has a listed max payload of 300 grams. So how does that compare to the crane m3? Actually, the crane m3 doesnt have a maximum payload because its all about balance instead jiren have a list of compatible cameras, but for smartphones. As long as you can balance it, the motors will handle pretty much whatever weight you load onto it. From my initial tests, it was certainly able to handle a big smartphone plus as many extras as you can fit on it here. I have it loaded with an iphone 12 pro max, a small rig cage, a moment: anamorphic a k, f, variable, nd filter and a rode videomic ntg shotgun. You can see it handles the weight just fine.
The only problem i can see is if you wanted to use a depth of field adapter, because that would mean a lot of weight hanging out the front and nothing to compensate at the back. If i had a depth of field adapter on here, plus the lens thats going to be pulling down on the tilt motor, but that will depend a lot on how long and how heavy the lens is depth of field. Adapter aside, i would say the crane m3 should be able to handle pretty much any smartphone setup. The smooth 5 also does a really good job handling your smartphone plus extras, but you cant mount a phone with something like this small rig cage its too big. So you need to use this screw that you get with the crane m3 Music, like with the smooth 5. All three motors need to be unlocked, one on the pan motor one on the roll motor and on the top for the tilt motor. The top one is a bit harder to find, but just slide it away from the motor to mount a phone. The crane m3 combo version, or pro version comes with a smartphone clamp which then attaches to the mounting plate, like you would mount a camera, but you could use your own clamp here. I found that the clamp that comes with it is really sturdy. Its partly made of metal, but it was a slight struggle to get my iphone 12 pro max with thin case mounted, but you can use any smartphone clamp design to be used with a tripod.
The only difference is that the clamp that comes with the m3 is really solid, and also has these two screw holes in the bottom so that you can adjust the placing on the gimbal for balancing purposes. So once you have the clamp on the quick release mounting plate, you need to unlock, then the plate slides in and the lock automatically springs back into place. One problem i had using the crane m2 with a smartphone was balancing, which i found to be pretty tricky to mount an iphone 12 pro max with extras and to get it to balance. I had to get inventive and i even made my own customization to the gimbal compared to the crane m2. The crane m3 is much easier to balance, but compared to the smooth 5, the balancing process is a little bit more long. Winded the smooth 5 definitely wins. The points for faster setup time you can adjust the position of four different arms here, theres one at the base, the second one on the roll motor, which is really the most important for a smartphone, then two on the tilt motor backwards and forwards, plus up and Down each one has some kind of lever to lock the position, starting with the up and down tilt arm for a smartphone. I believe its best to have this right at the bottom. Next adjust the main roll arm until its roughly balanced, so the other two arms. I set so that the smartphone sits right above the bottom pan motor the balance of the arm on the tilt motor all depends on the weight you have at the front heres.
The second useful touch screen feature called balance. This opens up meters showing you how well balanced each axis is. This is great for getting your balance as perfect as possible. When i set up the gimbal, i mount the phone and then get it as close to balanced. As i can power on open up the balance screen and if you see one of the motors is out of balance a little, you can adjust it while its still powered up adjust in small movements. Until you can see its not leaning to one side or the other, if i put a little pressure onto the tilt axis, you can see the little meter here, moving from one side to the other. So basically, you want us to stay as near to the middle as you can when you move around youll, also see it moving and you can see the color changes to orange and then i guess to red when its too much weight. But actually this showed me how strong these motors are compared to the crane m2. If you put a little bit of pressure on the motor on the m2, it starts beeping and then it shuts down with the m3. It seems to be able to cope with some imbalance as well, compared to the cranium 2 theres more room to move this balancing arm to accommodate the device and any extras you add, on Music. Gimbal makers, like smartphone and camera makers, are really pushing for the vlogger market these days and the crane m3 is no exception.
Theres the now expected fill light included. Although this one is not detachable like the smooth 5, and neither can it be switched to face the opposite direction, the crane m3 is really designed to film only in one direction, however, like the smooth 5, three taps on the trigger rotates, the gimbal 180 degrees to Use the fill light on the m3 press and hold this wheel at the side to turn it on once its on. The touch screen shows your brightness, as well as the color temperature of the light just use the wheel to adjust brightness or temperature tap the wheel to switch between each setting. You also have a fill light on the smooth 5 and a brightness control, but it doesnt have adjustable temperature with the smooth 5, which can handle some extra weight when the phone is mounted. The port of the phone you might want to use for a microphone is covered to cut a long story short. You need to choose between extra weight or using a mic with this uncrane m3. You can connect a microphone and it even has microphone features built in to connect the microphone. One option is to mount the iphone upside down either that or leave enough room between the phone and the tilt motor. Otherwise, the microphone port will be blocked. On the subject of microphones, the crane m3 comes with a 6.5 millimeter audio port, which supports connection with a wired microphone thats. If you have this thing, which is called the transmount expansion base, which attaches to the end of the gimbal and supports various functions, this has a mic input which connects to the output at the top of the gimbal, allowing you to connect a microphone through the base.
The extra bass also has a port for a camera controller, but thats for dslr and mirrorless devices and, on the other side, a quarter inch port for attaching extras. So the crane m3 comes in three different packages: the standard, the combo and the pro version. The standard version is the basic gimbal, the combo comes with the bag, a slightly bigger tripod and the smartphone clamp, considering you can buy a clamp for about ten dollars and the combo set is 80 extra. You might want to ask yourself how much you really want this bag, but if you want the base extension, you will need the pro version, which also comes with a shotgun mic. One thing to note about the crane m3 is: there is no camera app support for a smartphone. Xuron has two apps for gimbals, and this one uses the zy play app. While the smooth 5 uses the zykami app when you first set up the gimbal connect using the zyplay app and you will be taken through the activation of the gimbal and then it will ask you if you want to install any firmware updates. But what you get then, is basically just remote control functions. This is so you can control the gimbal with a smartphone. While you have a regular camera mounted. Usually, if you connect a gimbal to your smartphone via bluetooth, you at least get to use the record shutter button, but not in this case the shutter record button actually only works with a compatible regular camera.
Personally, that doesnt really bother me too much. All it means is tapping the screen to start recording instead of the button on the handle as well. I rarely use the apps which come with gimbals, as i find i get better quality video with the native camera app. Another thing i really like is this wheel at the front, just above the trigger of the gimbal using the touchscreen, you can assign this wheel to control the gimbal in some way. I dont know if further options will be added in the future, but at the moment your only option is the roll axis. For me, this is really useful because its great to be able to set the roll angle on the fly without fiddling around with settings – and this is so easy, quick and instinctive, for example, if youre filming in a location where the ground isnt level. But you want the camera to be level with the ground. You can just quickly adjust that with the cranium three or maybe i just want to shoot a dutch angle, which is a pretty standard shot in filmmaking again, its just so easy with this wheel. So this gimbal doesnt have all the smartphone controls you get with the smooth five or the features that you get in the app. For example, it doesnt have the focus or zoom wheel and also compared to the smooth five, its not as quick to get set up and filming. On the other hand, if youre someone who uses smartphones as well as bigger cameras or maybe youre thinking, you might take that step at some point, then this gimbal will have you covered because you can use it for both.
So, in my opinion i would say this is definitely an improvement on the m2 and if youre going to be using lots of extras like the case and the lens and all the rest of it, then the cranium ii has a little bit more capacity than the Um, the smooth five, which i have here and also i really like having this little touchscreen. It just makes it a bit easier to get some controls and also having this wheel here, because i personally want controls that are easy to find and instinctive to use. I dont want to be lost in loads of settings when im filming, so for me just using the native app that comes with the phone and having some basic controls on the gimbal, its kind of more creative and more fun to use. So, while this gimbal is heavier than the smooth 5, there is actually an advantage to having a heavier gimbal, because having more weight in your hand, actually helps you to keep it stable now, one other thing: if you go for the pro version of this gimbal, you Actually get a microphone a shotgun microphone with it as well, so im testing it out here and im going to compare it to my sennheiser 416, which is the microphone that i usually use for my videos uh. So the sennheiser 416 is a 700 pound shotgun mic. So obviously you would expect it to be better quality than this jion, which comes as part of a package um with a gimbal and definitely isnt 700 pounds worth so see what you think of the quality there.
So if you want to learn more about smartphone filmmaking, you can join us on patreon, where i have got some extra resources for you. There uh 170 page book from beginner to advanced smartphone filmmaking and whether some other stuff, the film look color grading. I just want to say a big thank you to all the members on patreon who have been supporting this channel because it just helps me to spend a little bit longer on each video.