Have you ever wondered why videos shot in Hollywood or at least by professionals look like they were shot by professionals? The footage we see seems to be very stable, no weird shakes or jitters (unless done on purpose), and the ability to pan from left to right, forward and backwards, all without any camera shake is just downright impressive.
You probably think that you’ll need super expensive gear and fancy equipment to achieve that, and while you might not be completely wrong, you probably won’t need to sell off a kidney to achieve that effect. In fact, all you need is a smartphone and a gimbal like Zhiyun’s Smooth Q3.
What is a gimbal?
For the non-photographers or videographers out there, a gimbal might not be a term you’re familiar with. It is essentially a tool that helps balance a camera to prevent shakes and jitters. This means that you can walk and pan around and the resulting footage will look smooth, almost like it was professionally done.
Some gimbals are simple where it uses counterweights to manually balance out the camera, while others are smarter, like what Zhiyun is offering in the Smooth Q3, an electronic gimbal that will only cost $90.
The design of the Zhiyun Smooth Q3 is pretty straightforward. It is offered in a gray finish and comes with a mount for you to clamp your smartphone on. The best part about this clamping system is that it makes it easier for you to lock your phone into place, instead of having to rely on tightening screws, so snapping a phone on and off will only take seconds.
The Smooth Q3 has also been designed to be relatively compact and measures 10.24 x 6.3 x 2.36 inches, and weighs about 340g, so slipping it into your pocket or backpack won’t be a problem and you shouldn’t feel it weighing you down.
It also sports a textured grip to make it easier to hold when you’re filming, and there are also buttons so that you can control the panning and tilting of the gimbal without having to reach for your phone and interrupt your footage.
So remember all those cool filming techniques we mentioned earlier that might only be achieved with expensive equipment? With gimbals like the Smooth Q3, you will be able to achieve and mimic some of that. The Smooth Q3 comes with three-axis stabilization so whether you’re moving side-to-side or up and down, the resulting footage should be pretty smooth.
Zhiyun has also included their own app with the gimbal that will come with features like the ability to track someone on the screen, so that they are not only kept in focus, but the gimbal will move automatically as well to track your subject smoothly.
There are also other fun features that take advantage of the smooth panning, like Dolly Zoom and MagicClone Pano that makes it look like there’s multiple copies of you in the photo.
Last but not least, Zhiyun also has the presence of mind to include a fill light on the gimbal itself. This fill light can rotate so you can use it to illuminate your subjects in the front, or use it to take selfies at night.
Since phones come in different sizes and weights, not all handsets will be supported by the Zhiyun Smooth Q3. The good news is that it appears that most of the major phone brands and flagship models are covered. This includes:
- iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone SE2, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s
- Huawei: Mate 40 Pro+, Mate 30 Pro, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20X, Mate 10 Pro, Mate9, P40 Pro+, P30 Pro, P20 Pro, Nova 5Pro, Honor 30 Pro+, Honor V20, Magic2, Honor 8
- Samsung: Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy S10+,Galaxy S9+,Galaxy S9,Galaxy S8+,Galaxy Note10+,Galaxy Note9,Galaxy Note8
- Xiaomi: Mi CC9 Pro, Mi 10 Pro, Mi 10 Ultra, MI8 Explorer Edition, Mix3, Mix2, Redmi K30 (Ultra)
- OPPO: Reno3 Pro, Reno2, Reno, Find X, Find X2 Pro, R15; VIVO: NEX3, NEX S, X27, X50 Pro+, X30 Pro
- Realme: Realme X50 Pro, Realme X
- OnePlus: OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 6T, ,OnePlus 8 Pro
- Google: Pixel 3XL
Zhiyun is not alone in creating gimbals designed for smartphones, but the company does have arguably one of the more affordable gimbals compared to its competition.
Sure, it might lack certain features that maybe more seasoned videographers might need, but if you’re just after a gimbal that can take stabilized photos and videos that won’t break the bank, it’s hard to argue that the Zhiyun Smooth Q3 is one of the best value for money smartphone gimbals out there today.
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