Zhiyun Smooth 4
After DJI and FeiyuTech, Zhiyun-Tech is also releasing a new 3-axis smartphone gimbal that is in the price range around € 150. This means that the Smooth 4 costs almost half of what was released in 2017 Zhiyun Smooth 3 , Compared to the previous model, the manufacturer has completely revised both the design and the functional scope.
Design and operation
Having started with the choice of materials, Zhiyun does not rely on full metal, in contrast to the previously released models. The handle is mostly made of plastic, but the actual stabilizer with the 3 brushless motors is still made of metal. The shape of the handle has also been changed from round to rectangular. According to Zhiyun, this enables better grip and faster access to the controls. A tripod can also be attached via a 1/4 inch thread on the bottom of the handle.
The new controls include a focus and zoom wheel, an improved control wheel and numerous control buttons for controlling smartphone camera functions. The operation of individual camera functions and that of the gimbal can thus be carried out entirely without resorting to the touchscreen of the mobile device.
With the focus and zoom wheel, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is able to create a so-called vertigo effect or dolly zoom. By moving and adjusting the zoom on the focused object in the opposite direction, the background appears larger or smaller, whereas the focused object remains unchanged. Here is a sample recording from the official Zhiyun YouTube channel.
PhoneGo mode is a performance mode. The full potential of the motors is developed at the push of a button, allowing rapid movements to be followed. At the same time, the PhoneGo mode enables scene changes that are otherwise only possible in post-production.
Furthermore, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is able to actively track objects (object tracking). With the help of the Zhiyun app, people, faces and other objects can be marked. The gimbal takes care of the tracking completely independently. Different time lapse modes (timelapse, motionlapse and hyperlapse) ensure a greater variety of shots. The user can freely determine over which period of time the gimbal takes a time-lapse recording.
Carrying capacity and battery
The gimbal can be aligned both in vertical portrait mode and in horizontal landscape mode. The load capacity is between 75g and 210g. In PhoneGo mode, the Smooth 4 achieves a maximum load capacity of 500g and is thus well above one Feiyu Vimble 2 or the DJI Osmo Mobile 2. Zhiyun specifies the operating time as up to 10 hours. A multi-level battery status display provides information on the current battery or charge status. A two-way charging system allows both the smartphone (connection to the tilt motor) and the gimbal (connection to the handle) to be charged simultaneously. Charging via power bank is possible. The charging socket is of the USB-C type. The charging time is around 3 hours.
Price and availability
The Zhiyun Smooth 4 is scheduled to be released in mid-April 2018. The retail price is approximately €113. It remains to be seen how the Smooth 4 performs alongside the “Feiyu Vimble 2018” and “DJI Osmo Mobile 2” stabilizers, which were also released in 2. A detailed comparison test has already been planned!