Zhiyun shrinks their smartphone gimbal even further with the new Smooth XS

Sep 4, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Zhiyun shrinks their smartphone gimbal even further with the new Smooth XS

Sep 4, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Zhiyun has announced their new Smooth XS gimbal. Like the Smooth X launched earlier in the year, it’s a 2-axis gimbal designed for smartphones, although the Smooth XS is actually even smaller while seemingly offering the same feature set.

The Smooth X offers up to five and a half hours of battery life from its internal battery that charges in three hours. It provides 290° in the pan access and 268° in roll with a payload of up to around 200g. Oh, and there’s an over-the-top launch video that very much signifies who the target market is.

YouTube video

It’s aimed more towards the younger, social media-savvy crowd who want to document their every waking minute quickly and easily with their smartphones. As such, it’s available in four colours including Ivory White, Pearly Pink, Lemon Yellow and Navy Blue.

The Smooth XS uses the new Zhiyun ZY Cami app, not ZY Play like Zhiyun’s larger gimbals. It offers gesture support to start and stop recording, as well as facial tracking to make sure you’re always in focus and the camera’s always pointed towards you. It supports both horizontal for more traditional video and vertical shooting modes for your Instagram Stories, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.

Like the Smooth X, the Smooth XS also has a telescopic handle, letting you essentially turn it into a stabilised selfie stick to provide more range between your phone’s camera and you and provide a wider field of view, or to let you reach over the tops of crowds and film what’s going on in front of you.

As well as offering various shooting modes including panoramic, slow-mo and timelapse, the ZY Cami app also lets you edit footage right on your phone, too. Sure, you’re not going to get the same level of features that you would if you were using DaVinci Resolve or Premiere Pro on your desktop, but you do get a nice set of quick editing options, including cutting, music, text and image overlays.

The Smooth XS also supports the native and 3rd party camera apps on your smartphone, too, by acting as a standard Bluetooth trigger when you’re not using the Zhiyun ZY Cami app.

I don’t imagine there’ll be a rush of Smooth X users going out to swap their gimbals, but if you’ve been thinking about a tiny smartphone gimbal and don’t already own one, the Smooth XS looks like it could be a fantastic alternative to the Smooth X, especially if space in your pockets is at a premium. For the most part, they seem quite similar in capability.

The Zhiyun Smooth XS is available to buy now for $74.99 and comes with a mini tripod and pouch to keep them in. It’s shipping now.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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