The Zhiyun Crane 2 is the company’s high-end DSLR gimbal, packed with plenty of features. I have had the Crane 2 for just over a week now so I’m going to share my initial impressions and thoughts on using it.
The gimbal itself is all metal, which gives it a premium look and feel as well as making sure it has a rock-solid construction for mounting heavy DSLRs. The gimbal can take up to a 3.2kg payload so it will be able to comfortably hold something such as a DSLR with heavy lenses.
The Crane 2 has camera control features built in which was one of the main selling points of the gimbal for me. I am able to focus whilst recording as my camera doesn’t have continuous auto-focus during video recording. There is also a built-in OLED screen with a control dial so I can also change settings such as my aperture and shutter speed on the go as well.
I was a little uncertain whether my Canon 7D Mark 1 would work properly and give me camera controls, which were essential, and I’m pleased to say that it works flawlessly.
The Crane 2 also came with a little tripod that can be screwed into the bottom of the gimbal so you can stand it on a surface, as well as a carrying case that it is stored in. That is a nice touch as it means that I can travel to filming jobs and know that everything I will need for the gimbal will already be in its space in the carrying case.
Using the Gimbal
Using the gimbal is relatively simple and straightforward, watching YouTube videos and reading the manual will definitely help with getting to grips with it and its different modes faster. One thing that you will need to do before you even use the gimbal is to manually make sure everything is balanced, this ensures that you get the best results using the Crane 2 and also makes sure there is less work for the motors to do.
I found a useful video that shows you how to easily balance the Crane 2 which I will link here, and I’d also recommend noting down the measurements of the various sides for quick configuration.
There are a few different modes that can be used to control the gimbal, the main ones are Pan Following and Locking. PF essentially will pan when you turn the gimbal and you can use the joystick to adjust the tilt of the camera. Locking mode will keep the camera fixed on a single point and the joystick will adjust tilt and pan. There are other modes but I’m learning the button combinations for switching into those and getting the hang of them.
There is also a mobile app which you can download, this gives you some extra functionality and also lets you fine-tune settings if you’d like to. The main attractive feature of the app for me is that I can set a point or an object for the gimbal to stay fixed onto and the app will use the phone camera to track the object.
That’s my experience with the Zhiyun Crane 2 so far, I may do a review in the future sharing my thoughts on using it over a longer time span.