A new 3-axis gimbal named the Zhiyun Weebill S has recently been announced by a leading gimbal manufacturer the Zhiyun-Tech. Zhiyun is the pioneering company that created the world’s 1st camera stabilizer for GoPro. Zhiyun’s mainstream product line includes Crane series of 3-axis gimbal stabilizers for DSLR and mirrorless cameras. This new gimbal is equipped with new motor units and an upgraded high-precision algorithm, which apparently contributed to a 300% improvement in motor torque and 50% increase in responsiveness while cost you around 400 dollars or less on Amazon. The Zhiyun Weebill S is a gimbal for your mirrorless cameras equipped with heavy lenses and other accessories. The Gimbal works really well and allows you to take buttery smooth footage with your mirrorless and DSLR camera. Anyways, without further ado, let’s start with the unboxing.
So, in the package, you obviously will find the gimbal itself, which is very tiny and compact in size, takes up very little space, and is also very lightweight than most gimbals out there. There’s a small tripod, a few spare parts, and cables as well along with a quick-release system. There are also two 18650 interchangeable batteries that allow the gimbal to run for up to 14 hours. There’s also a charger for the batteries.
The design of the WEEBILL-S takes inspiration from the WEEBILL LAB and has a very similar appearance. You can use this gimbal in an upright position with either one hand or both hands and in an underslung position depending on how you configure it by repositioning the included tripod, which doubles as a bottom handle. This made it easier to maneuver the Gimbal since you don’t have to do crazy maneuvers like the one-handed gimbals that came out first. Although, most new gimbals offer this underslung option, however, Zhiyun certainly offers a fresh new different perspective in their gimbal design. Whether you like this design will depend on personal preference. But with this type of design, Zhiyun is giving you options as to how you can hold and use the WEEBILL-S.
Another thing we liked about the design is that the rear motor is offset so the back screen of our camera wasn’t obscured while shooting. Another interesting thing about the gimbal is that it can be folded down into a very small footprint. And all of its motors can be locked so that it’s a lot more convenient to travel with as it didn’t take up a lot of space in my bag and stays securely locked. The Weebill S is a very well-made gimbal with the excellent build quality. All the buttons, switches, latches, and knobs are pretty solid, and we hardly had any complaint regarding its build quality. The quick-release plate to mount your camera is now Manfrotto and Arca-Swiss compatible.
There is no official confirmation on how much payload the gimbal is capable of handling. However, the Weebill S features new motors that offer a 300% increase in motor torque and a 50% increase in responsiveness. Thus, it should be able to handle a pretty heavy camera setup, quite well. In my opinion, from the brief usage time using this gimbal, a mirrorless camera setup with a heavy lens weighing from 1.8 kg to 2.2 kg will be the maximum limit for the camera. My primary camera is Sony A7 3 mirrorless camera and the Weebill handled the camera which was coupled with the 16-35-millimeter Vario-Tessar lens quite well. This gimbal is also capable of recognizing the setup weight automatically and auto tune its power to best adapt according to the weight of the carried camera and lens. However, in my opinion, this gimbal is better suited for smaller-sized mirrorless cameras running native lenses.
If you’re familiar with gimbals made by Zhiyun-Tech, then you will notice the control layouts are similar to their previous models. On the main handle, there is a small display, a record button, a POV button, the joystick control, and the buttons for navigating the menu. The screen shows you information about the gimbal and the camera settings. You can adjust camera settings like ISO, shutter speed, and few other settings from the screen. However, the position of the screen is in such a place where you probably won’t be able to see it. On the left side of the handle, you will see an on/off switch, the Go button, and another switch to put the gimbal into either locking mode or pan following mode. While on the front of the main handle, there is a trigger button that changes the following mode depending on how many times you press it.
Now that we’re done with the technical aspect of the product, let’s talk about its features. Weebill S features an upgraded 8th Instune Algorithm that is said to deliver increased responsiveness while eliminating jitter when the gimbal is being used in a fast-moving situation. The camera offers Pan follow mode, where the camera pans either left or right following the movement of the stabilizer while the tilt and roll axes are locked. In locking mode, all three axes of the camera are locked to keep the camera fixed in a shooting position. In POV mode, all three motors rotate 360-degree following the movement of the stabilizer. While in follow mode the camera pans and tilts following the movement of the stabilizer. In Go mode, the camera pans left and right and tilts up and down, following the movement of the stabilizer at a faster speed while the roll axis stays locked. And, finally, in Vortex mode, the camera tilts with a 90-degree angle and pans to follow the movement of the handle with unlimited 360-degree rotation while the roll axis remains locked.
The Weebill S connects to the Zhiyun Play app available for iOS and Android and connecting to the app is relatively easy. The app offer options to adjust parameters such as motor strength, motor calibration, and other modes and settings. The app also offers Sync Motion that allows you to control the movement of your gimbal in real-time by virtually moving your smartphone in the direction you choose. This is an awesome and impressive feature that it is a free built-in feature in the app. However, this does take a bit of time to get used to this feature and it is not the most intuitive way to operate your gimbal. But, once you get the hang of it, the feature works pretty well. The app also has another feature which is the Smart Follow 2.0, which allows precise object tracking with no need to balance your phone onto a camera or gimbal. All you have to do is box the wanted object via phone screen and let the gimbal do the rest.
The Zhiyun Weebill S is a great camera gimbal that offers incredibly stable videos. This gimbal goes head to head with the DJI Ronin SC and offers similar features like object tracking, time-lapse, motion time-lapse, and POV modes among many other features while keeping your video buttery smooth. In the case of the Ronin SC, it offers better object tracking than the Weebill S. However, the Ronin S requires you to attach your phone to the camera, which can be problematic. While with the Zhiyun Weebill S you don’t need to attach the phone to your camera or the gimbal. With the help of the transmission module, you will get a highly synchronized 1080p live stream at 30 frames per second for up to 100 meters. Although DJI’s OcuSync transmission offers much better and lag-free image transmission. However, the Weebill S is a much smaller and compact gimbal than the Ronin SC. Also, its design is much more suitable for underslung footage taking than the Ronin SC or other popular gimbals like the FeiyuTech AK4000 or the AK2000. The Weebill S will cost you around 399 dollars same as the Ronin SC. Both are great gimbals. Which one to choose will depend on your need. If you need to take buttery smooth footage in an underslung position most of the time and not much object tracking, then the Weebill S is the way to go. And if you need to do a lot of object tracking then the Ronin SC is the better choice here.
While the FeiyuTech AK2000 comes at around 280 dollars, that offers a lot of features and superior stabilization at 100 dollars less. While the AK4000 will cost you around 500 dollars or more, however, it is a different gimbal with a much heavier payload option and features. Overall the Zhiyun Weebill S is a great gimbal with amazing stabilization and is a perfect alternative for the DJI’s Ronin SC.