- Dream Cheeky
The Crane M2 handheld stabilizer is Zhiyun’s latest product. Zhiyun is one of the most trusted brands in the industry. This Crane M2 is a major update to the original Crane and features many new improvements. Is it worth the upgrade? Let’s be with Dreamcheeky to find out about the Zhiyun Crane M2 review.
The Ultimate Zhiyun Crane M2 Overview
Highlights from ZHIYUN-CRANE-M2
- Small body and high payload (up to 720g).
- Compatible with many video gears including action cameras, mirrorless and compact cameras, as well as smartphones and action cams.
- 6 creative modes + Selfie mode;
- 360-degree rotation of the PAN axis in continuous motion
- Simply balance your scales using the memory lock
- Quick-release plates
- OLED status display;
- Remote control via an APP or wireless connectivity
- Seamless camera control (compatible model);
- Battery life up to 7 Hours
- Excellently made
- Stabilization is possible for cameras up to 720g
- There are many creative shooting modes.
- Fiddly is simple to set up
- The app is not intuitive
Zhiyun Crane M2 Review
Performance and Functionality
Let’s move on to the review. We will be looking at the performance and functionality. As you would expect from a Zhiyun gimbal the Crane M2 performs flawlessly and has been assembled with great care. The gimbal’s compact and lightweight design has been maintained while still delivering the best image stabilization for its weight class.
The Crane M2 can support 1.58 pounds of camera payload weight. This means that the device can easily support all versions of the Canon G7X or Sony RX100 ranges while still having ample load capacity. The latest additions to both camera ranges include an external microphone input, Jack.
This means that this product has the capacity to support something like the Rode Video Micro without sacrificing image stabilization. The Zhiyun M2 can also be used to support popular camera configurations if you are an intermediate videographer, vlogger, or social media influencer.
However, a heavy to medium-weight mirrorless camera rig can cause vibrations in the image stabilization capabilities of the Zhiyun Crane M2. We recommend the Zhiyun Weebill S to anyone who plans on using a mirrorless body with their gimbal regularly. This stabilizer is better for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, and we believe it is the best 3-axis stabilizer.
The Crane M2 is the best gimbal if you are only going to use point-and-shoot cameras. We noticed that some reviews overlook the fact that the Zhiyun crane M2 has a minimum load capability. It will not balance anything below this limit.
The Crane M2’s 0.29-pound minimum weight capacity can work in your favor depending on your needs and the activities you plan to do. This allows you to mount most smartphones on the market today. You can hot-swap between the smartphone and your point and shoot the camera to alter the video footage you are shooting.
If you plan to use your Zhiyun Crane M2 exclusively, we recommend you get the Zhiyun Smooth 4. You don’t need to support the heavier weight of a point-and-shoot camera so it is better to choose a dedicated smartphone gimbal such as the Smooth 4 instead.
The device’s minimum load capacity is 0.29-pound. This means that you might not be able to mount any action cameras to it. Most action cameras are below their maximum load capacity. To increase your Crane M2’s weight, you can put your action camera in a waterproof case before mounting it to the gimbal.
If you’re looking for a gimbal that can be used exclusively with an action camera, the Hohem iSteady Pro 2 might be a better choice. It is a small and lightweight gimbal stabilizer. All clips in the above sample video were captured using a camera attached to the Zhiyun Crane M2.
We believe they offer a good example of what the gimbal can do for you. The gimbal’s professional image stabilization allows for outstanding image quality. This will allow you to capture your adventures no matter where you go. This can be a great tool for videographers to keep their clients happy.
However, if you’re involved in vlogging and social media, the Crane M2 could also be a good option. You probably already know that the social media influencer and vlogging space are getting more competitive every month.
Gimbal image stabilization can make your content stand out from the rest and convert viewers into subscribers or followers to allow your channel to grow faster. We’ll now move on to the Crane M2 functionality. This is the most important feature of the gimbal.
Although the Crane M has a maximum battery life of roughly twelve hours and the M2 has a maximum battery life of around seven hours, this is by design to keep the M2’s size and weight as minimal as possible. It was designed to be a travel gimbal, so a lighter and smaller battery was the obvious choice.
However, even with newer technology, a smaller and lighter battery will result in shorter maximum battery life. In addition, content creators are adding a good USB power bank to their camera accessories. If your power bank output is sufficient, you can charge your camera or gimbal even if you’re not near a power outlet.
Gimbal manufacturers are reducing the maximum battery life across their entire range to cut down on weight and size. You can recharge your Zhiyun Crane 2 in just two hours if it runs out of juice. It takes about half the time to recharge the Crane M2, so depending on your needs, it may be a compromise.
The USB power bank option will require a longer charging time, but the M2’s quick charger technology ensures that it charges as quickly as possible. The Zhiyun corrections and detection system is our favorite system at the moment. While the DJI system and Moza have improved tremendously over the years, the Zhiyun system remains slightly ahead.
Although the Crane M2’s gimbal sensors are smaller than those on larger load capacity gimbals it uses the same lightning-fast balancing algorithm. Zhiyun used smaller motors and sensors for the M2, to keep it as compact as possible. However, they still work well and are perfect for lightweight cameras.
These sensors are very sensitive and can detect any movement in your gimbal quickly and send relevant data to Zhiyun’s balancing algorithm for processing. The algorithm determines how the gimbal can correct the detected movement, and then sends the appropriate commands to the motors.
Although the gimbal motors on the higher-load capacity gimbal stabilizers are smaller, they still have high torque and are extremely powerful. The M2 image stabilization is fast and can support light mirrorless camera rigs as well as the point-and-shoot range.
Take a look at our post Zhiyun Crane Plus review if you want to learn more info about this model.
The Crane M2 is one of the newest 3-axis stabilizers on the market. It supports all of the most popular gimbal modes. These include the classic modes of most gimbal stabilizers, such as full follow, pan follow, and lock, as well as new modes like the point of view and vortex.
The Go and Vortex mode may seem a bit gimmicky, and might not be used by many readers. However, the Zhiyun Crane M2’s point of view mode is outstanding and provides some of the most precise manual control of a Gimbal Head that we have ever seen.
It helps to minimize one of the disadvantages of a motorized gimbal over a manual one. You may be aware that manual stabilizers tend to look more natural, but the Zhiyun Crane M2’s point-of-view mode makes your footage look natural while still offering all the benefits of a motorized gimbal.
When you consider all this, it becomes clear how the Zhiyun Crane M2 has become the dominant gimbal of its weight class within a matter of months. It also earned an excellent reputation among videographers. The product also has received excellent reviews from the community over the past few months that provide valuable insight into its performance.
The gimbal is performing well at around two hundred dollars depending on the retailer. We doubt it will ever lose its top spot to a competitor. However, it will continue to serve you well for many years.
Quality Construction and Design
While the Crane M2 still retains the Crane M2’s traditional Crane design, which is a handheld 3-axis stabilizer, Zhiyun made every effort to make the Gimbal as small and compact as possible during design. We know of no other Gimbal that is smaller and lighter than this one, with a payload weight below two pounds. It also offers outstanding performance.
If you are involved in niches such as travel vlogging or travel videography, you can add the Crane M2 to your existing equipment without taking up too much space. You will not be charged for extra baggage because of the lightweight of Gimbal.
Zhiyun did an excellent job of making sure that the Crane M2 was as strong as possible. This will ensure it resists bumps in transit or use and prevents any long-term damage. Gimbal manufacturers strive to be as competitive and offer image stabilization in conjunction with their accessories.
After it was so popular with the Weebill, Zhiyun also added their Crane M2 locking pin system. This allows you to lock all three-axis with a variety of locking pins.
It prevents your Gimbal from being damaged or rotating if it is placed in your bag during transit. The axis is locked in place and the Gimbal can’t rotate freely. The system also includes a balance lock, which locks the system. After you have released the pin locks, your Gimbal will still be balanced and ready to go.
The Crane M2 supports the following axis ranges during use:
- Tilt mechanical range: 220deg, Roll mechanical range is 324deg
- Mechanical range: 360deg infinite turn / tilt Angle adjustable: -45deg260deg
- Roll Adjustable Angle: >70deg>70deg (Use a 40deg angle to switch between portrait and landscape mode).
- Adjustable pan angle: -180deg ~ 180deg
Gimbals have a wide range of movements so you can use them for all your needs. Even if you have a mirrorless camera equipped with an extended lens, the Zhiyun Crane M2 offers comparable movement to other stabilizers. You can freely move and receive superior image stabilization with it.
Zhiyun was also able to reduce the Gimbal’s size by a few inches. It measures 10.5×2.7×5.4 inches. It can be carried in your bag, backpack, or pocket depending on what you need. You won’t notice the Gimbal at just 1.1 pounds.
The Zhiyun Crane M2’s handgrip is worth mentioning. It is extremely comfortable and allows you to work for longer periods without feeling sore. The handle grip is also very comfortable, even when your hand gets cold or wet. This ensures your Gimbal remains in your hands and decreases the likelihood of it being dropped.
Below the status screen is a decently-sized 4-way joystick with record and skips buttons. To the right of your hand is the power switch. This is a soft switch. Push it up for a few seconds to turn it on/off. You will also find the menu button to the right. It opens the following screens WiFi history, Motor torque WiFi history, Joystick, About, and WiFi history.
The trigger switch can be found on the back just below the gimbal lock. These functions are available to it.
- Press once to enter Full Following mode; press again to return to the original model.
- To trigger Full Following mode, hold for at least 2 seconds. To return to the previous mode, release.
- Double-press the button to bring the motor back to its original state.
- Triple-press to rotate pan axis motor 180deg. (portrait mode).
- You can toggle between different modes of operation by pressing the Mode button. Press once to toggle between L and PF. To switch to V, press twice.
Zhiyun-Tech claims their Crane M2 can be used in six modes: Pan and Follow, Lock, POV, Lock. GO, Vortex, Lock, POV. GO, Vortex, and POV The selfie mode has 7. YouTube has many videos explaining the Crane M2’s functions as well as how to use them. Because there are so many, I won’t go into details.
My favorite mode is “VORTEX”. When activated, the camera aligns with its central axis. The tilt axis automatically rotates up to 90 degrees. The axis then rotates in the direction you choose (clockwise, anticlockwise).
Gimbals respond to movement more effectively by increasing their motor speed in “Go” mode. This mode is great for capturing moving subjects such as your dog.
The Zhiyun app for smartphones has been plagued with connectivity problems in the past. Zhiyun completely redesigned its app in response to the Weebill range’s release. This added functionality allowed them to track their latest gimbals. This was also an opportunity to fix the app’s issues and make the navigation menu easier to follow.
The Zhiyun is performing well and is currently in a good state at the time of writing. It is a great accessory for your gimbal that you should download if you decide to buy the Zhiyun Crane M2. It offers solid functionality, such as the ability to use it as a wireless remote controller for your gimbal, and also allows you to quickly access the settings of your Crane M2 as well.
The default shipping configuration on the gimbal should be sufficient to satisfy most of our readers. However, the app can be very useful for videographers who like to tweak settings or modify them. This app allows you to adjust settings in seconds, rather than taking minutes. It can also save you time if you’re doing long sessions where you need to change your settings frequently.
We often see new users of gimbals worry about the balancing process. Fortunately, Zhiyun has had the easiest balancing processes for many years and the Zhiyun CraneM2 is no exception. It is very simple to balance the gimbal. The manual includes a detailed tutorial that will help you balance it properly. Zhiyun also has the video below on their YouTube channel explaining how to balance your gimbal. It is a simple process and it is unlikely that you will have any problems.
According to manufacturer labor testing, the 1100mAh lithium batteries can provide approximately 7 hours’ worth of work time when used with Minolta X700 cameras and 45mm F2 lenses (520g+125g). These numbers may fluctuate depending upon the camera weight, balance, camera weight, movement, and rotation of the head.
After three hours of testing, the battery was still at 25% (on line 4). Because the battery is integral, it cannot be replaced. An external power bank will allow you to continue filming for hours.
User Interface and Control System
Zhiyun is a pioneer in innovation for control systems and user interfaces for their gimbals. To make the Zhiyun Crane system even more efficient, they have made some improvements to it. They did a great job. It is simple to use and ideal for those who have just bought their first stabilizer.
This model supports all advanced features that advanced videographers may need for their Gimbal.
The LCD panel’s control interface is the same as the one for the Gimbal. The interface also has a joystick and a few buttons. You can see the push slider on the left side, which Zhiyun made easier to use in Crane M2. This allows you to quickly zoom in and out without having to use a heavy magic wheel.
This Gimbal’s LCD screen is bright and easy to see. This LCD screen allows you to see all relevant information even in low light situations. Some users can remove the joystick cover.
This is not an issue. Some people report that their joystick covers have been attached to the Gimbal. This is only a small percentage of people. This is a minor oversight in Crane M2 batch building, but we want it to be highlighted.
To make it quick and easy to navigate the options menu on the M2, the standard Zhiyun navigation menu will be used. With a modern smartphone, you will be able to navigate the Zhiyun Crane system M2 easily. It was designed to be as simple and straightforward as possible.
Additional controls are available from the grip controls to make your life easier. These features work with the following camera bodies as of the writing:
- Sony ILCE – 5100, 6000, 6300, 6400, 6500
- Sony DSC – RXO, RXOM2, RX100M4, RX100M5, RX100M6, WX500, HX90, HX99
- Panasonic DMC – GX85, ZS110GK, LX10GK, GF10KGK
- Panasonic DC – GX9KGK, GX9GK, GF9KGK, GF9XGK, ZS70GK, ZS220GK, LX100M2GK
- Canon – M50
- GoPro – HERO 5, 6, 7
Please note that even though your camera body isn’t listed in the Zhiyun Crane M2, you will still be able to achieve excellent image stabilization. Some features, such as auto zoom or gimbals handgrip, will not work. Zhiyun releases firmware upgrades on a daily basis in order to increase the number of supported cameras. The list below may not be current.
Availability and Price
The Crane M2 is available from Zhiyun’s Aliexpress site or Amazon UK for PS259/$269 (direct).
It costs far more than similar smartphone gimbals. The latest DJI Osmo Mobile 3 costs 119/PS99, which is still quite low by mirrorless stabilizer standards.
To install a GoPro, you’ll need a separate camera cage. This box does not cover all three types of cameras because Zhiyun only supplies mounts for smartphones or mirrorless cameras with M2.
Despite the fact that I had a bad experience trying to stable my camera and connect it to WiFi, I’d be happy to let that go. If it fits your style of photography and, more importantly, your camera, this gimbal can be quite beneficial.
I needed something that could make my videos or tutorials more dynamic, even though I’m not striving to become a professional cameraman. That’s exactly what this gimbal accomplishes. I believe the footage will suffice for my purposes. I’m thinking of bringing it along on shoots so I can include some video footage in the final gallery.
The Crane M2 is an excellent choice for anyone who wants a high-quality, reliable gimbal. It is easy to use and produces great results. This makes it the ideal tool for anyone who wants to improve their video quality.