During IBC last year we caught a glimpse of the oddly shaped Zhiyun Crane 3 LAB. It’s Zhiyun’s new flagship 3-Axis gimbal. With a price tag of $899.00, 1.8kg weight, and 4.54kg load capacity it’s not a gimbal for everyone. But if you need a gimbal for a heavy rig, this is a gimbal you’d want to consider.
Even before balancing and running the gimbal, you can see that it’s oddly shaped. Well, oddly by 2018 standards, I think that this form factor is going to become the norm soon enough. Our initial tests proved that it’s more comfortable that the “stick” configuration and allows holding the gimbal and camera closer to the body, as well as better distribute weight on both hands.
We were pleasantly surprised (again) by the generosity of Zhiyun with their offering. The basic Crane box contains:
- The actual Zhiyun-Tech CRANE 3 LAB Handheld Stabilizer
- TransMount Crane 3-Lab Handheld Tripod
- Quick Release Camera Plate
- 3 x 18650 Battery
- Battery Charger
- 6 x USB Control Cable
- 2 x HDMI Cable
- Cable Storage Case
- Semi-hard Carrying Case
This is actually everything you need to not only use the gimbal “out of the box” but also to safely store and transport it. We particularly liked the semi-hard case, it is similar to the one that the WEEBILL has, only about twice the volume. The only thing I wish the basic box had was the phone mount. But even without it, it’s a very complete package.
The box that we showed is called the “Zhiyun-Tech CRANE 3 LAB Master Package”, it will shave $1,299.00 off your bank account and it also includes the following items:
- TransMount Phone Holder for Monitoring
- TransMount Focus and Zoom Servo Combo
- TransMount Multifunctional Gimbal Bag
- TransMount Telescopic Monopod
- TransMount Camera Belt for Monopod
- 2 Quick Release Tripod/Monopod Adapters
- TransMount Quick Release Baseplate
If you ask me, this upgrade has significantly more value than what Zhyun are charging for it.
We ran a few quick tests with the Sony A7III, the FS5, and a RED Dragon. The gimbal handled them all pretty well. We had to bump the motor power for the heavier cameras, but it all felt very stable and if you have the biceps for a heavy rig, it is not the Crane 3 that will hold you back.
Looking at the other optional accessories, the Crane 3 LAB can be fitted with two servo motors, one for focus pulling, and one for iris or zoom. The focus wheel is conveniently placed on the side of the gimbal. The other servo is controlled by a rocker on the back handle your index finger rests on it.
This is where I have to stop and leave something for the actual review. I’ll give you a hint though, we are pretty happy. Anything you want to know for the full review, ask us in the comments.