Zhiyun CRANE 3S Gimbal for Large Payloads

Zhiyun has just unveiled their newest gimbal, the CRANE 3S. The CRANE 3S has a payload capacity of 6.5 kg (14.33 lb) which allows it to handle cameras such as the Canon EOS 1DX, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras, and even larger cameras like those from the Canon Cinema EOS, Sony FS and FX series, and Red Digital Cinema series.

An online debut will be happening on the 20thof March 2020.

This is a smart move by Zhiyun as it fills a gap in the market between one-handed gimbals and larger gimbals such as a Ronin 2 or Movi Pro. With so many people using mid-sized digital cinema cameras there is a real need for more compact gimbal solutions that are also affordable.

The biggest caveat, of course, is going to be how long are you going to be able to hold onto a gimbal with a 6.5 kg payload. I struggle to hold up the CRANE 3 LAB with a reasonably heavy mirrorless setup for more than about 3-5 minutes.

The CRANE 3S tips the scales at 2.47 kg (5.44 lb), which makes it 590 g heavier than the CRANE 3 LAB.

The CRANE 3S builds on Zhiyun’s existing gimbals

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The CRANE 3S builds on Zhiyun’s existing gimbal platforms. Even though the design is new, you can certainly see how the gimbal resembles the CRANE 3 LAB.

The biggest difference between the 3S and other Zhiyun gimbals is that the 3S utilizes new motors that allow it to carry payloads up to 6.5 kg.

Modular Design to meet different needs

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The CRANE 3S features a modular design for the motor axis and handles. For larger cinema camera combos, users can attach the included extension module onto the roll axis. For smaller DSLR combos, the extension module can be removed to make the setup more compact and portable.

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The modular design makes CRANE 3S highly compatible with motorized dollies, jibs, cable cams, Easyrig, etc.

The previous LAB series, which included the WEEBILL LAB and CRANE 3 LAB, introduced a new way of holding a gimbal in underslung mode with the second handle. With the CRANE 3S, Zhiyun has now tweaked the design and introduced a detachable second handle.

There is now an EasySling Handle and the SmartSling Handle. You can either mount the EasySling handle to extend the grip for more comfortable upright and underslung operation or choose to mount the SmartSling handle, that features an intuitive control panel and OLED screen, for easier camera and gimbal parameter adjustments. You can also choose to use both at once, or combine them together.

The handle mods are easy to fit and remove, and both provide multiple thread holes that allow you to mount a variety of accessories.

Zhiyun also has an Extension Arm that attaches onto the horizontal arm that allows users to create more space when running larger digital cinema camera setups.

New Battery Pack

The CRANE 3S uses three 18650-format batteries, that allows you to run it for up to 12 hours. There is also a DC-in power port on the battery compartment that allows an input of up to 25.2-volts for direct charging.

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To support long shoots with larger setups, Zhiyun has also introduced the TransMount PowerPlus Battery Pack, a compact yet fast-charging
power bank for the gimbal and camera. This houses six 18650 batteries and independently provides a claimed 18 hours of runtime for the gimbal.

Double Axis Locks

Zhiyun’s CRANE 3S features a newly-designed locking system that can lock all three axes without noticeable swinging. The modular design comes with double locks to ensure safe setup and adjustment.

A larger lens support has been added to the zoom and focus system.

Enhanced Performance

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The CRANE 3S uses a new algorithm that is claimed to enable phenomenally responsive speed and smoothness. Zhiyun says that in fast action shooting situations, the CRANE 3S can resist high winds and strong movement.

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The 55° tilted roll axis is designed so that users can have an unrestricted view of the camera screen. It also allows enough space to mount larger cinema camera combos.

Image Transmission Module

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The previously announced Zhiyun TransMount Image Transmission Module is compatible with CRANE 3S. With the transmitter, video can be streamed to up to three monitoring devices including smartphones. The ViaTouch 2.0 system in the ZY Play app bridges the communication gap between stabilizer, camera and monitoring devices, and allows you to adjust camera and gimbal parameters remotely and more intuitively.

The ViaTouch 2.0 system also enables a visualized remote motion control for the gimbal.

What are the main differences between the CRANE 3 LAB and CRANE 3S?

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Online Debut Show

Due to the Coronavirus, Zhiyun will host a CRANE 3S debut live show on its official YouTube on March 20th. Here they will introduce the gimbal and showcase field tests. There will also be a Q&A section at the event.

Pricing & Availability

The CRANE 3S will be available in three options and it is available to order from the ZHIYUN official store:

  • CRANE 3S (with SmartSling Handle) at $739 USD
  • CRANE 3S-E (with EasySling Handle) $649 USD
  • CRANE 3S Pro (with SmartSling Handle, PowerPlus Battery Pack, Zoom & Focus Controllers, Image Transmission Transmitter and Smartphone Clamp) $1,149 USD

The CRANE 3S looks like an interesting gimbal. What do you think about the CRANE 3S? Let us know in the comments section below.

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