The Zhiyun Crane 2 handheld stabilizer is made to help you shoot video with your DSLR or mirrorless camera. This model is an updated version of the original Crane. It features many improvements such as a revised camera control interface, a wider focus range, and a new following mode. You might find the Zhiyun Crane 2 to be ideal for you. Keep reading our Zhiyun Crane 2 Review to get full of information about this masterpiece.
Zhiyun Crane 2 Overview
- External rod-mount motor with focus motor to allow for mechanical focus/zoom control
- 360deg pan adjustment, 320deg tilt adjustment, and 360deg rolling adjustment
- 7 lb payload
- Use the included batteries for an 18-hour runtime
- Digital follow focus control available for select Canon cameras, the Nikon D850 and compatible autofocus lenses
- Manfrotto quick release plate
- The “Slow-fall” feature protects your camera against sudden drops when the Crane-2’s power is turned off
- Stabilizes mirrorless and DSLR cameras
- Balances are easy
- Optional vertical video mounting
- Swappable batteries
- Optional USB-C charging
- 360-degree roll
- Follow focus and the other add-ons
- Tools needed for setup and breakdown
- Bulkier than DJI RSC 2.
- The model of the USB camera controller varies.
A gimbal is a powerful stabilization system that produces steady handheld footage for video editors and cinematographers. It can be used to produce Steadicam-quality results without as much fuss. To produce professional-quality handheld footage, the Zhiyun Crane 2S ($599) can be used in conjunction with SLRs or mirrorless cameras.
Although it’s not as compact, such as the $499 DJI RSC 2 Editors’ Choice winner (our Editors’ Choice winner), we found it easier to balance, particularly if you are using a full-frame, heavier camera system.
The Zhiyun Tech Crane-2 is a handheld gimbal stabilizer that supports mirrorless and DSLR cameras up to 7 lbs. Mount your camera onto the Manfrotto-standard quick release plate and balance it. You can then shoot for up 18 hours with the provided batteries.
Optional remote control for Crane 2 or the handwheel of the gimbal can control the rod-mount mechanical focus motor. You can align it to your zoom ring or focus ring for zoom control or follow focus. The support rod, USB cable and two universal lens gear rings can be used to attach and connect the focus motor to almost all lenses.
Digital follow focus control via the Crane-2 is possible with select Canon DSLRs or the Nikon D850 equipped with compatible autofocus lenses. After adjusting the camera settings, you can have direct focus control by connecting the camera to the USB cables.
The Crane-2 has a 360deg pan, tilt adjustment, and roll adjustment. The gimbal has multiple special shooting modes that allow you to be more creative. Full-range POV mode allows 360deg synchronous movement across all three axes. The camera will follow your movements and lock you in a single position, rather than allowing you to move around. This allows for POV capture.
The OLED screen and onboard controls allow for quick adjustments to the gimbal settings. A “slow fall” feature protects your camera against sudden drops when the Crane-2’s power is turned off.
Zhiyun Crane 2 Review
Super Simple to Use
You’ll need to balance your camera first, and then you’ll be ready to shoot after approximately 30 seconds of tweaking. The Crane 2 is equipped with a standard Manfrotto tripod mount with quick release, making it simple to attach and remove the camera. Spring-loaded thumbscrews are a good feature, allowing you to tighten or loosen the screws even while your camera is in the way.
There are only three modes to be aware of when you turn it on: PF (Panning Follow), which follows your horizontal movement while keeping the camera perfectly still; L (Locked), which locks all axes and keeps the camera pointed where you want it; and F (full follow), which tilts and pans the camera based on your movement.
If you have a suitable camera, you can use the joystick to modify the tilt and rotation depending on the mode, and the dial to access the menu and camera settings (Canon, for now). On the handle, you’ll also discover a follow focus wheel, which is currently only functional for Canon users.
Everyone appears to believe Zhiyun is working on introducing this capability to other systems, although it will most likely be an aftermarket add-on rather than a software update.
Simply select a recording mode, begin filming, and point your camera at something. You’ll get much smoother film than if you shot entirely handed, and it might even look better if your lens or camera body has image stabilization.
The Crane-2 has a 360deg pan, tilt adjustment, and roll adjustment. The gimbal has multiple special shooting modes that allow you to be more creative. Full-range POV mode allows 360deg synchronous movement of all three axes.
The camera will be locked in a single place and follow your movements without limits. This allows for POV capture.
The OLED display and onboard controls allow you to easily check the state of the stabilizer, battery level, and control mode. A “slow fall” feature protects your camera against sudden drops when the Crane-2’s power is turned off.
There are many options for stabilizing cameras. You can use monopods or tripods to stabilize your camera. Shoulder braces and mounting plates such as the Platypod also work.
They are used by photographers for sharp, blur-free results and purposeful compositions. Videographers simply need to get rid of jitters.
Powerful gimbals are a popular choice for cinematography. The silent brushless motors will keep your camera steady and level even when the camera is moving. One allows you to get certain types of shots you cannot get with a camera by itself, even one that has a stabilized sensor.
Zhiyun’s mid-range solution for mirrorless or SLRs cameras is the Crane 2S. The Crane 2S falls below the Crane 3 family in terms of pricing and payload support. The Crane 3 can carry a 14.3-pound camera, while the 2S can only hold around 7 pounds. This is a lot for a larger mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor.
It is simple to design. The Crane 2S features a cylindrical body that has a tripod socket at its bottom and mounting platforms at its top. Mounting plates, hex wrenches and cables are all included in the Crane 2S.
The Crane 2 is approximately 17.7 x 8.3 x 4.7 inches (HWD) and weighs in at 4.1 pounds. The Crane 2S is quite heavy, so you can expect it to put some strain on your muscles when you use a heavier lens and camera with it.
Zhiyun also offers a smaller option for lighter cameras: the $400 Weebill-S. This is great if you have an APS-C system or Micro Four Thirds. The DJI RSC 2 is lighter than the Crane 2S and can be folded down to a smaller size. This makes it a great choice for travel.
It’s Constructed Like a Tank
Except for the battery cage and a few dials, everything is made of solid aluminum, including the small tripod, which allows you to balance the gimbal on a flat surface or acquire a static shot. It feels like a really solid piece of equipment, which is reflected in the 1.25KG unit weight (around 2.7lb). Most people won’t find this excessively heavy, but if you use it for an hour or longer, your arms will get a workout.
It’s not the easiest piece of equipment to transport due to its size and weight. Zhiyun thought of everything and included a soft-yet-sturdy carrying case that holds the gimbal, accessories, batteries, and all wires. It even has a neck strap to make carrying it more convenient, but it’s still quite large.
I’ve been looking for a “go bag” to cover the gimbal for run-and-gun shooting, but nothing that provides adequate protection and quick access has come up. I’ll most likely have to create my own bag, which is something to take in mind depending on your shooting style.
The Crane 2 is substantially more compact than DJI’s Ronin M, despite its weight and size, and competes more closely with the recently revealed Ronin S. The Crane 2 is a breeze to learn, hold, and utilize when compared to a glidecam and other pro-level stabilizers.
If the weight of the Crane 1 v2 or the Moza Air bothers you, and you don’t need to carry a 3.2KG payload or are traveling light, you might be better off with a lighter piece of gear like the Crane 1 v2 or Moza Air instead.
Built-in Controls and loads of Add-On Options
The Crane 2 includes a few buttons to control your camera, Record being the most prominent. To connect your camera, you will receive USB cables. You can find a table that breaks down the functions of popular systems here.
An M button switches the stabilization mode. A thumb pad allows for tilt and pan. A directional pad lets you navigate through the menu system. A small monochrome display allows you to adjust the settings of the gimbal.
The Crane can be controlled remotely via the ZY Play app. The app is free to download for both iOS and Android devices.
This will ensure that you have all the essentials covered. You’re ready to go if you are an autofocus videographer. You can also add a follow-focus motor to make serious video work. It works with the wheel on either side of the camera to focus manual lenses. A wireless video transmitter can be added, as well as a rear handle that allows for low-angle work.
Zhiyun bundles accessories and sells them as the Crane 2S Pro. The package is more expensive over $800 but it’s worth it for professional use. You also get a Dual Cam Mount, which allows you to mount a second camera above your main one. This is a more niche-specific scenario than the mainstream, but it is worth looking into if you are.
Superb Stabilization and Swappable Battery
The Zhiyun Crane 2S provides quality support for SLRs as well as mirrorless cameras. The gimbal smoothes and stabilizes your video with greater precision than image sensor stabilization and lens. This allows you to explore new angles and still enjoy the freedom of motion.
The Crane 2S is heavy and bulky so you will need to bring a screwdriver/hex key in case you have to set it up on-site. Although it’s easier to balance than the smaller, folding DJI RSC 2 (which is much more difficult), the Crane 2S’s interchangeable batteries allow you to change them as they age, while the RSC 2’s cannot be changed.
There are many things for cinematographers, vloggers, and videographers to enjoy here. The Crane 2S is ideal for mirrorless cameras enthusiasts and consumers. It has enough payload capacity and full-frame rigs to support F2.8 zoom lenses and full-frame rigs.
Some Accessories Included
The Crane 2 doesn’t come with a dual-handle grip, but Zhiyun sells one separately. Other available options include a Wi-Fi remote, monitor clamp, and shoulder mount. A spring-loaded dual-handle grip could also provide a fourth axis of stabilization.
However, the Crane 2 comes with a lot of goodies, including the world’s greatest mini tripod. It screws into the bottom of the camera and serves as a stand as well as an extended grip for even smooth footage. I’ve even used it as a makeshift handle to suspend the Crane 2 in an inverted position. Zhiyun, you did an excellent job.
A box of cords for Canon, Sony, Nikon, and Panasonic cameras is also supplied. You may control various functions of your camera, including focus control for Canon cameras, by connecting it to the Crane 2. Users may change practically every camera parameter on the fly, while users of other systems (such as Sony) can start and stop recording in the same way.
If you don’t require the Crane’s heroic battery life, you can charge your camera using the Crane’s own power supply, which is a great addition (or you have a Sony camera, since many Sony cameras have terrible battery life).
Check out our other model’s reviews:
Zhiyun’s latest gimbal, the Crane 2, is from the same company that created the Smooth Q. This stabilizer can be used with smartphones and smaller cameras and is great for filmmakers as well as vloggers.