March 19, 2020

The Zhiyun Crane 3S Gimbal Gets A Big Bump in Payload Capacity

The Zhiyun CRANE 3S fills a need for filmmakers working with heavier cine gear.

Zhiyun has introduced the Crane 3S for filmmakers seeking a 3-axis gimbal with a higher capacity payload that won't break the bank. While it's not a replacement for the Crane 3 LAB, it echos its design. The Crane 3S is not only a traditional handheld gimbal, but can be easily integrated with a jib, cable cam, or car mount. 

Key Features 

  • 14.3 lb Payload (6.5 kg) 
  • Zoom and Focus Wheel
  • Detachable Handle
  • Updated Axis Locking System
  • ViaTouch 2.0 Remote Motion Control

Modular Design & Motors 

The updated motor design has a payload capacity of 14.3 lbs (6.5 kg) that makes it compatible with the ARRI Mini LF, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras, Canon Cinema EOS, Fujifilm G and X series, Nikon Z7/Z6, RED, Panasonic S1H, and Sony FS and FX cameras. The full compatibility list can be found here

A new algorithm is said to improve overall responsiveness and smoothness. The familiar 55° titled roll axis design is also found on the Crane 3S allowing for unobstructed views while operating. There is a new locking system that locks all 3 axes in place to ensure a safe setup. Larger lens support has been added to the zoom and focus system as well. For larger camera setups an extension arm can be attached to the horizontal arm of the Crane 3S for a wider range of compatibility.  

EasySling handle and SmartSling handle

What separates Zhiyun from DJI gimbals in general (excluding the Ronin 2) is its underslung operating mode. In my opinion, it's easier on the Zhiyun when comparing it to the DJI Ronin-S. Not saying DJI gimbals are not capable, they do an excellent job, but because of the handle design on the Zhiyun models, there's a slight edge in performance, especially during long takes. 

The Crane 3S improves on it further with a detachable handle. There are now two handle options, the EasySling handle and SmartSling handle. EasySling extends the grip for easier operation in upright and underslung modes. SmartSling has the control panel and OLED screen to adjust parameters. You can also combine both handles on the rig which is a smart move by Zhiyun. 

​Updated Battery Pack 

On its own, the Crane 3S can run for up to 12 hours via three 18650-format batteries. To support longer shoots, a TransMount PowerPlus battery pack houses six 18650 batteries, and Zhiyun states it provides 18 hours of runtime. There's also a DC-in power port on the Crane 3S battery compartment that allows input of up to 25.2 volts for direct charging. It is important to note the Crane 3S does not support third-party 18650 batteries because it is a different size, so only Zhiyun batteries are recommended. 

Image Transmission Transmitter 

The Image Transmission Module can transmit video wirelessly to up to 3 different devices, including smartphones, and is compatible with the Crane 3S. The system comes with a transmitter, receiver, and motion sensor remote controller. Each transmitter sends out a Wi-Fi signal with a range of about 328 feet (100m) and has a latency around 150ms. Video is topped at 1080 30p and is encoded in H.265. The ViaTouch 2.0 system in the ZY Play app (Apple or Android) communicates between the devices allowing you to adjust the camera and gimbal parameters remotely. 

Live Stream 

Zhiyun planned on releasing its Crane 3S stabilizer at NAB 2020, but with the show canceled, the company teased it days before its official announcement and will host a live demo on March 20, 2020 at 8PM (GMT+8). 

No Film School expects more companies to follow a similar path over the coming weeks and we'll keep you to date. Sony has announced its live stream for April 20, 2020 at 8AM PT / 11AM ET.  

Zhiyun Gimbals for Cameras

Zhiyun Gimbals for Smartphones 

Pricing & Availability 

The Crane 3S is available in three different models directly from Zhiyun

  • Crane 3S with SmartSling handle: $739 USD
  • Crane 3S-E with EasySling handle: $649 USD
  • Crane 3S Pro: $1,149 USD (includes both SmartSling and EasySling handles, PowerPlus battery pack, zoom and focus controllers, Image Transmission Transmitter, and a smartphone clamp)

The higher payload capacity is a welcome addition, though it will be interesting to see how long you can operate a fully rigged setup.

What do you think about it? Let us know below.      

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