Zhiyun’s Smooth Q4 brings improved ergonomics for faster use on location
Zhiyun has announced the new Zhiyun Smooth Q4 gimbal for smartphones. It comes with some ergonomic improvements over its predecessor with a redesigned arm that lets you deploy and start shooting with it very quickly when you’re out and about. And like many of Zhiyun’s smartphone gimbals, it features a built-in extendable selfie stick for when you want to get a bit more vlogging range with a wider background.
It’s available in two packages. The Standard Package contains the basic gimbal, mini tripod and power cord. The Combo Package also includes a small magnetic LED fill light with gel covers, a wrist strap and a case in which to keep everything safe. The gimbal itself offers a multi-function control wheel as well as intelligent shooting modes and one-click switching between landscape and portrait orientation.
Measuring only 181.7 x 107.7 x 56.3mm and weighing in at 370, it’s a pretty compact folding gimbal that should slip into many pockets or pouches on backpacks. Zhiyun says this newest member of the Smooth Q range “offers unrivalled interactivity and control” with one-handed operation thanks to a multifunctional control wheel. This allows shooters to adjust brightness and focus mid-shot without having to touch the app on the phone screen itself.
The Zhiyun Smooth Q4 runs on a full charge for up to 15 hours. Obviously, the runtime will depend on the size of your phone, how well balanced it is and how hard the motors will have to work to keep it steady. Once it’s flat, it takes 2.5 hours to charge it back up to full again.
The Zhiyun Smooth Q4 also expands the SmartShooting functionality with an updated and dedicated ZY CAMI App and a new Smart Templates BTS (Behind The Scenes) feature. This feature allows the app to demonstrate to filmmakers how to move the gimbal in order to shoot the templates. And once you’ve shot it, you can compare your footage side-by-side with the template on a split-screen to see how well you did and let you see where you need to practice and improve.
Of course, you get all the usual filters, music, special effects that you might already be used to if you’re an existing Smooth Q series user, as well as SmartFollow 3. This feature tracks your subject to make sure they’re always in the centre of the frame. You also get Gesture Control (when using the Zhiyun app) to start shooting with simple movements. A “Live Stream Master” also provides facial tracking to make sure your gimbal always follows you as you move around in front of it.
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.