Zhiyun has refreshed its popular Crane-M with a new model. Not surprisingly, it’s called the Zhiyun Crane-M2. Designed to be as versatile as possible for travelling filmmakers, this lightweight motorised 3-axis gimbal is designed for use with small mirrorless cameras, compact cameras, phones and action cameras.
It offers up to 8 hours battery life, features “enhanced camera control”, Bluetooth and WiFi control, and a Crane 2-style OLED display. Zhiyun says that the Crane-M2 is “a revolution in affordable camera stabilisation technology”.
The Zhiyun Crane-M2 includes many of the shooting modes we’ve come to know and love from Zhiyun’s other gimbals, including Full-Range POV Mode for 360° movement on all three axes, Vortex Mode for barrel shots, and Go Mode for faster pan & tilt movements for things like sports and action. It also features a Selfie Mode for when you want to vlog.
Zhiyun’s list of highlight features also mentions a new quick-release system for getting your camera on and off the gimbal easily when needed.
- Great compatibility: compatible with compact cameras, light mirrorless cameras, smartphones and action cameras (A phone holder is included in the box).
- Whole new quick-release system – Lite: enable users to quickly mount or dismount camera with a single press of the lock button.
- Scale mark and memory lock: facilitate balance adjustment, saving much trouble of readjustment every time.
- Unique locking mechanism: a unique locking pin and latch design to prevent the axes from swinging around during travel.
- A variety of creative options: Full-Range POV Mode, Vortex Mode, Go Mode, Pan Following Mode, Following Mode, Locking Mode.
- WiFi-and-Bluetooth control module: allow you to control your camera wirelessly through the gimbal handle.
- Zoom in/out: a single push of the slider on side of the handle, you can zoom in/out to capture smooth footage at a distance.
- Two 1/4 threaded holes: allow you to add various filmmaking rigs to it
- Intuitive OLED display: for display of gimbal mode, Bluetooth & WIFI status, battery level and various gimbal parameters.
As for the actual specs…
- Payload: 130-720g
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.2
- WiFi: 2.4Ghz
- Battery capacity: 1100mAh
- Battery life: Up to 7 hours
- Charge time: 2 hours
- Weight: 499g
From the payload capacity and Zhiyun’s own description, the gimbal should be able to handle mirrorless cameras up to something the size of a Sony A6500 with a small lightweight lens. But its minimum load capacity also means that it should work equally as well with your phone or small action camera, like a GoPro Hero 7.
The built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, Zhiyun says, “provides seamless wireless camera control through the gimbal handle and Zhiyun’s exclusive app”. Hopefully, the app has been developed a little better for the Crane-M2 than it has for some of Zhiyun’s other gimbals. Certain features still aren’t working quite as intended for many users, who’ve pretty much given up on the app now. With a bit more focus on phone usage for the Crane-M2, though, Zhiyun might finally surprise us with decent app integration.
As with many of Zhiyun’s other gimbals, the Crane-M2 has several 1/4-20″ threads for attaching microphones, lights, monitoring equipment, etc. Although, being such a lightweight gimbal, you probably wouldn’t want to load it down too much. The battery lasts for up to 8 hours, and can also charge cameras, phones and other devices. The Crane-M2 itself can be charged from power banks while you’re on the go, too.
The Zhiyun Crane-M2 is available to pre-order now $269 in the USA and for £259 in the UK, which is significantly cheaper than the $499 price tag on its predecessor at launch. There’s no word on an exact release date yet, but Amazon estimates I should receive it by August 8th if I order today.