Zhiyun CRANE 3 LAB gimbal – IBC 2018

High payload gimbals are all the rage and Zhiyun is stepping it up with a new design: the CRANE 3 LAB. We saw a mock-up behind glass at BIRTV but at IBC this year Zhiyun were sharing a few more details. The gimbal is different to what we are used to seeing, with a vertical handle added to the back that integrates several camera control features.


The CRANE 3 LAB will support larger full-frame cameras such as the Canon 1DX and Nikon D850. The maximum payload the gimbal can handle is 4.5kg (9lbs 14oz) and the gimbal motors are described as ‘aviation grade’ for reduced noise and improved torque.

Phone-based Control System

The CRANE 3 LAB connects to your smartphone via an app which will allow you to control timelapses, motion lapses and panoramas. Zhiyun say you’ll also be able to use your phone for focus and zoom control as the gimbal has an HD image transmission system built in.

The wireless image transmission technology in the gimbal supports video streaming up to 1080p and is compatible with both iOS and Android. A smartphone can also be used as a motion sensitive remote control. When you move the phone the gimbal follows the movement, controlling the gimbal in real time.

Zoom & Focus Control System

The CRANE 3 LAB is equipped with both zoom and focus controls on its quick release plate. Once you’ve hooked up your camera to the gimbal via a cable you can adjust zoom and focus via control wheels. You can also control zoom and focus on the smartphone app.

To help get the gimbal balanced the CRANE 3 LAB has a latch on each axis. You can lock one axis while balancing another – the system is also designed to make setting up easily repeatable.

PhoneGo Mode

Pressing the gimbal’s ‘PhoneGo’ button makes the gimbal become more responsive. PhoneGo mode enables the gimbal to maximize its follow speed – this sounds similar to the ‘Sport mode’ in the DJI Ronin-S.

CRANE 3 LAB Initial thoughts

The CRANE 3 LAB is certainly packed with a lot features not found on other gimbals – though the design  is very different to Zhiyun’s earlier gimbals and I think it will require some practice to get used to operating it. The vertical grip on the back looks like it will make shooting in underslung mode a little easier and the idea of tracking a subject in a similar way to what a DJI drone can do is interesting.

We’ll be taking a closer look later in the year when we get a model in for testing – in the meantime let us know what you think in the comments below.

Subscribe to our newsletter