Zhiyun Smooth 3 Test - 3 Axis Smartphone Gimbal
The Zhiyun Smooth 3 is a semi-professional 3-axis smartphone and action cam gimbal that aims to add a touch of professionalism to amateur photography with full image stabilization. What features the Smooth 3 offers and what else the gimbal has on the box, more on this review.
Zhiyun Smooth 3
Axes: 3 axes
Smartphones: 58 - 85 mm
Action Cams: Yes
Capacity: 75g - 260g
Tilting Angle: 320 °
Rolling Angle: 320 °
Panning Angle: 360 °
Capacity: 4600 mAh
Running time: up to 14 hours
Charging time: 3 hours
Tripod socket: 1 / 4 inch
Operation: handle + app
Size: 13.4 x 9.7 x 30.3 cm
1x Hard Case
1x Micro USB Cable
1x 26650 battery
1x user manual
First impression of the Zhiyun Smooth 3
Scope of delivery
Compared to the recently reviewed consumer gimbal "Feiyu Vimble C", the Zhiyun Smooth 3 offers a - reasonable price - delivery consisting of the Gimbal, One Hard case with lanyard, One Micro USB cable as well as an English-speaking one Manual, A changeable one 26650 battery was already inserted in the gimbal.
Design and workmanship
The Zhiyun Smooth 3 is completely off aluminium Made and convinced by a very clean and high-quality workmanship, Unattractive gap dimensions, clamping threads or sharp edges are looked for in vain on the CNC machined aluminum parts.
With Dimensions of 134 x 97 x 303 mm the Smooth 3 is slightly larger than the predecessor Smooth 2 and the consumer counterpart Smooth Q. The Weight of the gimbal is with inserted battery but without smartphone already included 520g, Due to the comparatively narrow and long shaft, the gimbal fits comfortably in the hand. If you want to extend the shaft, the possibility of the underside located ¼ inch tripod thread to screw on an extension. All control buttons, such as the control stick, a selection keys and the side Steering wheel are placed close to each other and can be easily reached by one-handed operation. Somewhat unfavorably solved is that the Micro USB socket also located on the handle has no cover and is exposed unprotected. At least a small rubber cover would have been desirable here. The same applies to the Micro USB socket on the motor of the tilt axis. For example, a connected device can be charged via this USB socket. A corresponding USB adapter cable is not included and is only available separately. According to Zhiyun, a matching adapter cable will soon be available as an official accessory.
Into the clamp of the Zhiyun Smooth 3 can Smartphones with a width from 58 mm to 85 mm be inserted. For example, an iPhone 5 (58.6 mm) or a Xiaomi Mi Mix (81.9 mm) fits easily into the clamp. The load capacity is between 75g and 260g. An adjustment screw can be used to change the orientation of the holder. Aligning the mount horizontally, Action Cams can be stabilized. The holder is rubberized to all bearing surface, so that the smartphone rests non-slip and at the same time is protected from scratches.
Preparations and commissioning
It's essentially a gimbal Never switch on without the counterweight inserted, otherwise damage to the brushless motors can occur. If you want to enjoy your gimbal for a long time, you should take this hint to heart! In the Manual The Zhiyun Smooth 3 is again referred to this crucial point. Also very amateur friendly explains how to insert the smartphone and how to operate the gimbal.
Depending on the size and weight of the inserted device, the gimbal must first be balanced. For this purpose, the rail of the X-axis is displaceable via an adjusting screw. A scale on the rail helps to quickly find the previously found position. Unlike many other gimbals, such as the Feiyu Vimble C, the strong engines of the Smooth 3 do not need to achieve perfect balance. Even a not properly balanced smartphone is stabilized. However, it should be noted that this increases the stress on the motors and reduces the battery life at the same time.
Functions and Zhiyun Assistant
Without having the gimbal connected to the app, it offers a total 3 control modes, On the Joystick In addition, the Zhiyun Smooth 3 is free 320 ° roll and tilt (roll and tilt), as well as around Pan 360 °.
Pan following fashion
After switching on the gimbal, it is in the "Pan following fashion", In this mode, the tilt and roll axes are locked, so only the horizontal pan moves are followed. However, all axes can be moved freely via the joystick.
By clicking on the Mode button you end up in the "Locking Mode", 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.
Double-click on the Mode button to get into the "Following Fashion", The gimbal follows all pan, tilt and roll movements in this mode. The control via the joystick is retained.
If you press the Mode button three times in a row, will automatically turn on 180 ° swivel carried out. Once you become familiar with the different modes, changing modes back and forth is easy. To distinguish the currently selected mode, there is no own LED indicator, Only the locking mode is indicated by a constant blue LED above the joystick. At the same time, the LED indicator reflects the current battery level. Unfortunately, the indicator does not indicate a distinction between Pan Following Mode or Following Mode.
Zhiyun Assistant / ZY Play
If you want to use all the features of the Zhiyun Smooth 3, you come to an installation of the Zhiyun Assistant or the ZY Play App not around. The Zhiyun Assistant is available for both Android and iOS devices in their respective app stores. The advanced ZY Play App is currently only available for iOS devices. Below I refer to the Zhiyun Assistant.
The connection to the app is over Bluetooth manufactured. There were no problems in the test. Within seconds, the smartphone was connected to the gimbal. A security question does not exist during the pairing. On the one hand, a connection can be established within a very short time, on the other hand theoretically everyone could connect with the gimbal.
If you are connected, you will be clear Home screen Welcomes, inter alia, information on remaining battery life, The axes und dem active mode supplies. The sub-point "Control" leads to the control surface of the gimbal. All physical buttons are there in virtual form. In the settings of the Zhiyun Assistant there is the possibility to configure the individual axes. Among other things, the movement speeds can be adjusted here. Another subpoint is the "Calibration", If the gimbal is misplaced, it can be recalibrated.
Within the app there is also an integrated camera function, This offers in addition to general recording options as well Setting options for ISO, White Balance and Exposure, A feature that is only possible via the camera function of the Zhiyun Assistant is the Object Tracking, If you focus on an object or a person and mark them, the gimbal remains permanently fixed on the marker. The zoom function on the handle attached to the wheel works only on the camera function of the Zhiyun Assistant!
After getting acquainted with the functions of the Zhiyun Smooth 3, let's take a look at how the gimbal works in practice. For this the gimbal accompanied me a week on Tenerife and 2 more weeks at home.
By the time I got the Smooth 3 ready, not even a minute passed. Due to the counterweight is the gimbal quickly balanced and by the scale I could just remember the balance point. The Connection to the app is, as already mentioned, also produced within a few seconds.
The stabilization is literally "Smooth". The full 320 ° or 360 ° can be savored without a slight grunt of the engines. Even with strong inclinations has no typical vibration due to overload the engines noticeable. Fast running movements and even rabid camera pans are well balanced. This makes the Smooth 3 perfect for cinematic film movements, Surprisingly good was the Stability in stronger winds, Even then, the recordings remained largely stabilized. After several weeks of testing, I did not have to recalibrate the gimbal yet.
The only downer is not yet released for Android ZY Play app. This offers in contrast to the Zhiyun Assistant advanced camera features. Nevertheless, the Zhiyun Assistant should not be underestimated. Especially that Object or face tracking convinced in the test by a high accuracy and recognition rate. Again a disadvantage of the Zhiyun Assistant is the maximum selectable video resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 30 pictures-per-second.
The Battery of the Zhiyun Smooth 3 is of type 26650, has a capacity of 4600 mAh and is interchangeable. Zhiyun gives a maximum running time from 14 hours. With perfect balance are quite over 12 hours reachable. The charging time via the micro USB charging socket of the gimbal was included in the test 3 hours, Faster charging times can be achieved with a separate charger. Practically that is the battery Level can be read directly from the app and the gimbal displays the remaining capacity via an LED indicator.
►High quality of workmanship
►Suitable for smartphones and action cams
►Easy commissioning and operation
►Easy functioning object tracking
►Very good battery life
►No USB to USB adapter cable included
►USB sockets not protected
►No LED indicator for modes
►ZY Play for Android not yet available