Zhiyun Crane 2 Review - 3 Axis Gimbal

by 13. April 2018
The Zhiyun Crane 2 is the new 3-Axis DSLM / DSLR gimbal from the Chinese manufacturer "Zhiyun". This gimbal from its predecessor, the Zhiyun Crane V2, to which we published a detailed review only a few months ago, is strictly to be separated. This review covers the Zhiyun Crane 2, which has a few surprises in store.



Zhiyun Crane 2


Axes: 3 axes
Material: Aluminum
Capacity: 500g - 3200g

Tilting Angle: 320 °
Rolling Angle: 360 °
Panning Angle: 360 °

Type: IMR 18650 lithium ion
Capacity: 6000 mAh
Running time: up to 18 hours
Charging time: ~ 3 hours

Tripod socket: 1 / 4 inch
Operation: Handle + App + BT Remote
Size: 21 x 11.8 x 45 cm
Weight: 1250g

What's in the box

1x gimbal
1x Hardcase
1x Softcase
1x Micro USB Cable
2x Canon interface cable
1x Sony Interface Cable
1x Panasonic Interface Cable
3x 18650 battery
1x charger
1x lens support
1x Tripod
1x user manual

Foreword: Zhiyun Crane 2

Camera stabilizers have been around for a long time, but until a few years ago, steadycams and gimbals were mainly found in the professional film industry. Only in recent years, a market for so-called 3 axes gimbals, which are now also available at affordable prices. Whether for DSLM / DSLR, Action Cam or Smartphone, 2 or 3 axes image stabilizers are available in every size and for every application.

The Chinese company "Zhiyun" is one of the best known manufacturers semiprofessional camera stabilizers, In addition to the inexpensive and functional, as well as qualitatively convincing smartphone stabilizers (eg Zhiyun Smooth 3), the manufacturer also leads a steadily growing range of professional DSLR and DLSM stabilizers. Of the Zhiyun Crane 2, the successor of Zhiyun Crane V2, appeared in October 2017.


Zhiyun Crane 2 vs. Zhiyun Crane V2

Before we turn to the actual review, let's take a look at the Differences between the two Zhiyun DSLR and DSLM stabilizers a little closer. For confusion could already provide the product name. The Zhiyun Crane V2 sees itself as Zhiyun Crane in the revision 2. So it's a slightly improved model of the Zhiyun Crane. The Zhiyun Crane 2, on the other hand, is a completely new product.

Zhiyun Crane 2 VS Zhiyun Crane V2

In general, there are the following differences:

  • First differences are obvious after unpacking. The Zhiyun Crane 2 will be in a stylish EVA carrying case delivered, in addition to the typical accessories also contains a tripod and connection cable for all compatible camera models. Especially with the Zhiyun Crane V2 these parts have to be bought separately!
  • Furthermore there is Design differences, The Crane 2 works in spite of the same height overall more powerful, which is mainly due to the wider handle. At the same time, the handle offers a practical operating element including joystick, command dial and OLED display.
  • There is also a decisive difference when it comes to Quick change system, The Crane 2 uses a Manfrotto quick release plate, the Crane V2 uses a fixed mounting plate instead!
  • Also important is the different Capacity, The Xeumx Xeumxg has almost twice the lifting capacity of the Xeumxg crane as the Crane V2 (3.200g).

If you agree with that too previous model Interesting, it is worth taking a look at this review. By clicking on the following button, the review opens in the new tab.

To the Zhiyun Crane V2 review

Design, workmanship and delivery

Anodized aluminum elements

Like the previous Zhiyun Crane models, the Crane 2 is completely made Aluminium, This puts the gimbal on Total weight of 1.250g, The workmanship is first class. Unsightly gaps are looked for in vain. Thread and set screws run without play and grip extremely soft. Due to the anodized aluminum parts, the gimbal not only looks chic, but also proves to be particularly resistant to dirt and corrosion.

Zhiyun Crane 2 in hard case with included

Construction of the Zhiyun Crane 2

The gimbal is constructed as follows:

Roughly, the Crane 2 consists of one Handle, The control and the camera mount including the brushless motors. The handle is removable. The underlying battery holder is firmly connected to the control and can be equipped with a total of three 18650 batteries. On the underside is the handle with a ¼ inch tripod thread provided.

The control was also significantly improved in contrast to the previous model and extended by additional functions. Especially the lateral ones stand out "Follow Focus Controller" and the recently existing one OLED displaywhich shows the status of the gimbal and the camera parameters. Below the display is a 4-way joystick for motion control. Again below are the Mode button, to select the control mode, and adjacent to the Power buttonwhat can be started simultaneously a video recording. Finally, there is a below the control buttons rotatable operating element, which serves the menu control and also the control of the camera parameters. Center of the control is a pushable release button, On the opposite side of the Follow Focus Controller are one 8V DC current output and MicroUSB jack, which is intended purely for loading new firmware updates. Both bushes are provided with rubber covers and thus protected from external influences.

Zhiyun Crane 2 gimbal

The camera mount including the three brushless motors is firmly connected to the control. Pan, tilt and roll axis can be manually adjusted to the respective attached camera. Printed scales help with position finding. A particularly interesting feature is the Manfrotto quick release plate of the Zhiyun Crane 2. Cameras can be connected even easier and, above all, faster with the gimbal. To avoid too high overhanging weight of the lens, an additional and also included in the scope of delivery can be attached to the quick release plate lens mounting flange be screwed on. To establish a connection between camera and gimbal, the motor of the tilt axis is the "Camera Control Interface" in the form of a microUSB socket.

Zhiyun Crane 2 UNBOXING German (1. German video!) | Best DSLR Gimbal 500 € (+ voucher)

A detailed unboxing on the Zhiyun Crane 2 can be found on the YouTube channel of "UNCUT Reviews"

What's in the box

The scope of delivery includes a EVA transport case with carrying strap for a safe and easy transport, connection cable for various Canon, Sony and Panasonic camera models, one MicroUSB cable, three 18650 lithium-ion batteries, Charger, Tripod and Manual.

What's in the box

Preparation and commissioning

It is crucial Never turn on a gimbal without a counterweight, otherwise damage to the brushless motors can occur. If you want to enjoy your gimbal for a long time, take this hint to heart! The operating instructions point out this crucial point again. The recommended load capacity is between 500g and 3.200g.

Manfrotto quick release plate

The predecessor model used to attach the camera still on a fixed camera mount. The Zhiyun Crane 2 uses one instead Manfrotto quick release plateso that camera and gimbal can be connected even faster. An additional Fuse prevents the plate from falling out. Before each use you should balance the gimbal. While not absolutely necessary, this step relieves the strain on the engines and improves battery life. By the scaling Quick release plate and all axes, the respective orientation can be easily remembered.

field test

For the practice test of the Zhiyun Crane 2, I took quite a few 3 months. I have used the gimbal with various camera models, including the ultra-light YI M1 DSLM (650g) and also a much heavier one Canon EOS 550D (1200g).

Fixed assembly

Like the Zhiyun Crane V2, the Crane 2 is not a gimbal that you just take on vacation trips. Especially because of the size and weight of the Crane models are especially for air travel mostly uninteresting, even if the gimbal can be transported in a compact and practical case. As already indicated, the gimbal is ready to go after only a short time. The Manfrotto quick release plate makes commissioning a lot easier. A change between gimbal and tripod succeeds fluently.

camera mount

OLED display

A clear advantage over the predecessor models is the OLED displaywhich informs the user about the current status of the gimbal as well as the camera (if compatible). It is especially useful that the application does not have to be used to change engine performance. Almost all settings can be conveniently made via the gimbal thanks to the display. At the same time, the display is sufficiently bright, making it easy to read in all weather conditions and lighting conditions.


The Zhiyun Crane 2 is first class in the hand. Compared to the predecessor model, the gimbal can through the much thicker aluminum handle be kept even better. The additional included Tripod Can also be used as an extension or weight support, making an even smoother one-hand operation is possible. Despite the thicker aluminum handle, the control buttons are close together and are easy to reach even with one hand.

Handle OLED

It gets more complicated with the numerous settingsthat can be made directly through the gimbal. If you have additionally connected a compatible camera, you lose just at the beginning quickly overview. Here you should first familiarize yourself with the respective control buttons and generally the function selection. The user manual provides sufficient information. After a short settling in, the Crane 2 is fluent.

By that very much high dead weight and the additional camera weight depending on the application, the Zhiyun Crane 2 is only partially suitable for Vlogger and IRL streamers. After just a few minutes of one-hand operation, you can clearly feel the Crane 2 in the arm and wrist. On double handle is available as a separate accessory.

Handle focus wheel


The stabilization performance of the Crane 2 is remarkable. Due to the extremely strong brushless motors, liquid pan, tilt and roll movements are no problem even with high load capacity. Pan and Roll movements are up to 360 degree possible. Of the Tilt movement range lies between -135 degrees and + 185 degrees (320 degrees).

The power of the engines is in 3 levels customizable. Even at the lowest engine level, a Canon EOS 550D, which brought it together with lens on 1200g, could be easily stabilized. Mikroruckler have never occurred. Also engine noisewhich can be a problem with many gimbals and can be a problem especially when recording videos, you will not notice the Zhiyun Crane 2.

Functions and Zhiyun Play

The Control of the Zhiyun Crane 2 can be done through different ways. The most common control option is the direct control over the Control buttons of the gimbal, Furthermore, there is a remote control option via the so-called Zhiyun Play App and via a separately available Bluetooth Remote, The following movement modes are available:

Pan following fashion

After switching on, the Crane 2 is initially in the "Pan Following Mode" (PF), In this mode, the tilt and roll axes are locked, so only the horizontal pan moves are followed. However, the tilt axis can be moved freely via the joystick.


Locking fashion

By clicking on the Mode button you switch to the so-called Locking Mode (L), In this mode, all axes are locked. No matter how you move the gimbal, it always stays horizontal on a line. Even in Locking Mode, the axes can be moved freely via the joystick.

Following fashion

By double-clicking on the Mode button, you enter the "Following Mode "(F), The Crane 2 follows all pan, tilt and roll movements in this mode. The control of the roll axis is still possible via the joystick.


Bottom Up Fashion

Also on board is the so-called "Bottom Up Fashion", This mode allows that Overhead films, Due to the high hanging weight you usually have even better control over the gimbal.

By three times pressing the mode button, will automatically turn on 180 ° swivel carried out. The active mode can be read on the display and is with PF (Pan-Following Mode), F (Following Mode) or L (Locking Mode) characterized.

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See the Zhiyun Crane 2 in action? Then check out the video review of "UNCUT Reviews" on!

Zoom, shutter and recording

Many of the features of the Zhiyun Crane 2 are only special Camera models from Canon, Sony and Panasonic to disposal. The most comprehensive compatibility, according to Zhiyun Canon models 5D2, 5D3 and 5D4, Except for the zoom, all camera parameters of these Canon camera models can be controlled via the Crane 2 button.

Models of Sony (with multi-interface) and Panasonic (GH3 / GH4 / GH5) On the other hand, they only offer the possibility to trigger photo and video recordings via the gimbal. In addition, the Crane 2 allows Sony models to manually zoom in directly through the gimbal's control unit.

The test-connected Canon EOS 550D could be fully controlled via the gimbal, despite not mentioned compatibility. All the features of the Canon models, such as manual focusing, the choice of ISO or the light value, were directly controllable via the Crane 2. Photo and video recordings could be triggered at the push of a button.

Zhiyun play

One way of remote control is the "Zhiyun Play" Appthat both for Android, as well as for iOS Mobile devices available in their respective app stores. The connection is made completely uncomplicated device.

The app includes the possibility all gimbals of the manufacturer to control it. Accordingly, the app is also equipped with many features that are purely intended for the control of Zhiyun smartphone gimbals. The fact that these functions are also present when selecting the Crane 2 and although they are displayed unusable quickly leads to confusion.

Options that the app offers to control the Zhiyun Crane 2 include, among others virtual joystick with appropriate mode choice, Setting options for engine performance and gimbal calibration and recently also Panorama modewhich places the gimbal in a timed and automatic 360 degree motion mode.


Operated the Crane 2 with three IMR 18650 lithium-ion batterieswhose Total capacity 6000 mAh is. The running time gives Zhiyun up to 18 hours at. This value is quite realistic. In the practical test 8 residual battery bars were left after about 2 hours of running time. The battery level is communicated via the OLED display. Anyone who simultaneously charges his (Sony) camera via the interface USB slot or his Canon via the 8V DC output reduces the battery life accordingly. The charging time the battery, via the included charger, is in about 3 hours.

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Prices last updated on: April 5st, 2020 05:00

Final Words


Very good build quality
Camera holder with scale
Manfrotto quick release plate
OLED display
Easy to use
Very high load capacity
Very precise stabilization
Very good battery life


Compatibility with camera models
App to be improved

First impression
beginner friendly
Battery life

The Zhiyun Crane 2 is an all-round DSLM / DSLR 3-Axis Camera Stabilizer, which has a lot of new but improved features compared to its predecessor. Starting with the quality of workmanship, the scope of supply and also the handling and commissioning, the Crane 2 convinces right down the line. The stabilization performance is first class and due to the very high load capacity of 3.200g nearly every consumer camera including lens can be stabilized with the Crane 2. The newly introduced OLED display and the Manfrotto quick release plate simplify commissioning and operation immensely.

The biggest criticism of the Zhiyun Crane 2, for which the gimbal manufacturer, however, can do less, than the camera manufacturers, is the severely limited usability of the control functions. For example, the new Follow Focus Controller can only be used with certain Canon models. Although the Crane 2 is also compatible with models from Sony and Panasonic, the functions supported by the Camera Control Interface are manageable.

All in all, the Zhiyun Crane 2 is an excellent and very recommendable gimbal, which is almost unrivaled in the price range under 800 €.

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Jürgen Krämer
Jürgen Krämer

I am in despair now. Since my camera is crooked, I try a calibration ... but I can not get beyond the step 1. Step 2 is not completed, no matter what I do ... who has any advice?