With all the new gimbals appearing on the market it seems the gimbals wars have started and the consumer will definitely be the winner. Gimbals used to be very expensive and priced out of reach of many, that is not the case anymore. It seems all the company’s that manufacture gimbals for GoPro’s, Smartphone and even larger DSLR’s have really stepped up their game in both features and competitive pricing. Zhiyun recently introduced their latest gimbal geared towards mobile filmmakers. It is packed full of features that have never been seen on a consumer gimbal before all while still keeping the price tag under $150.
Now in the written version of our review, I am not going to go all the new feature they have added, you can watch our full in-depth video review for a complete walk-through. But I will highlight some of its key new features such as the focus/follow wheel and “Gimbal Locking” just to name a few. For me, the most useful new feature they added was the ability to quickly lock the gimbal in an upright position when you won’t be using it for a bit. We have all been there, say you walking around filming a festival and you want to stop filming for a few minutes. You power off your gimbal to save battery power, but now you walking around with this device that is flopping around and you could potentially damage its sensitive motors. Now, something interesting is happening but now you have to go through the whole powering up procedure and you end up missing half of it. Zhiyun came up with a brilliant solution for this with the Smooth 4. Now when you are done filming you can just fold the main arm down and lock it into place. Doing this prevents the gimbal from floppy around like a fish out of water and also powers down the unit. Once you pop it back out it comes right back to life and you can continue right where you left off…brilliant. This is definitely a feature I would love for all gimbal manufacturers to add, it would make filming with a gimbal so much easier and less frustrating.
Another interesting new feature is the follow/focus wheel. This allows you to get really creative with your gimbal and smartphone and do things that normally were only reserved for expensive DSLR’s. The wheel can be used to perform creative focusing effects and also used to control the zoom. Creating stunning shots like the vertigo effect or dolly zoom has never been easier, albeit it does take a little practice to master it.
Zhiyun does have an intuitive app that makes using the smooth 4 with a smartphone a very powerful tool for hobbyist filmmakers. There are many filters, effects and shooting modes built right into the app such as time-lapse, pano mode, motion time-lapse and hyper-lapses. I found the app to be well laid out and easy to use.
The Zhiyun Smooth 4 does work with a GoPro Hero 5 Black or Hero 6 Black and should also work with the yet to be released GoPro Hero 7 series of cameras. There is no need for any adapters, simply put the cradle into portrait mode and I will hold the GoPro perfectly. Personally, I found using a GoPro with the Zhiyun Smooth 4 to be decent, if you will be using a GoPro for most of you filming there are better choices for you such as the FeiyuTech G6. But if you primarily film with your smartphone and just occasionally with a GoPro then the smooth 4 is a great choice.
The Smooth 4 by Zhiyun really is a nice gimbal for the price, the only negative thing I can really say about this gimbal is that it is a little larger than other gimbals but not by much and not that it makes it uncomfortable to use. It does come with a foam style case but a nice leather case would have been nice as well. Watch our full in-depth YouTube review with an unboxing, sample footage and a complete walkthrough of the buttons and menu. We even have some samples of the focus wheel in action.
Zhiyun Smooth 4: https://amzn.to/2KsgE7q