Review: Zhiyun Smooth 5 Combo – Finally, a Gimbal for All Ages
The Zhiyun Smooth 5 is the next addition in smart phone gimbals in the Zhiyun collection. It is fresh and new and can be purchased by itself for roughly $170 or in a combo pack for $220. It is significantly more expensive than its previous builds so should you take the leap into purchasing this product?
Unboxing this piece of equipment was a treat! The box is nice and the carrying case that the combo offers houses the Smooth 5 beautifully. The case itself perfectly holds the gimbal and all of its accessories. The black and gray cloth case comes with a side pocket that has Zhiyun’s emblem characters in white on the left side. It is surprisingly sturdy and durable while keeping everything safe.
The Zhiyun Smooth 5 is incredibly gorgeous! It has a solid gray and black design with the same beautiful Chinese characters on it. Each button is labeled well and is easy to access. When I first took it out of the case I was shocked at how flimsy it was when you unlocked the gimbal controls. Not to mention I was somewhat overwhelmed with the number of buttons and knobs on this device. There was also an instructions manual that stated what each piece of the device was, but gave very little detail about how to actually use this device. I felt it was way over my head.
To be honest the Zhiyun Smooth 5 is not a device I would normally purchase. I barely even knew what a gimbal was before this device came into my hands. I am not on TikTok or Instagram and don’t usually take videos on my phone, but this device got me excited to start. The instructions given by the booklet and PDF manual found on the App were slightly vague, but luckily I found a very helpful video on YouTube that was easy to follow.
After learning about this device, I was completely blown away by the Smooth 5. When your phone is in place and you turn the Smooth 5 on, it instantly snaps into position and stabilizes itself. The first time I witnessed this, I remember questioning this “black magic” and even now, when it turns on, I still smile at how cool it is to watch it stabilize itself.
There is almost too much to cover in a single review about how incredible this product from Zhiyun is, so I’ll go over a few key features I used the most. In order to achieve the full potential of the Smooth 5, you will need to download the official App. The app itself leaves some things to be desired, but when it works, it works well. You can also do almost everything from the Smooth 5 itself, so you wont have to awkwardly try to hit prompts on your phone to access different features.
Lights, Camera, Action!
When you have a good understanding of the device and the app is setup correctly, you’re on your way to feeling like a professional videographer. The app connects both your phone and the gimbal over Bluetooth, so everything is wireless. I mostly kept the device set to the pan follow (PF) or lock (L) mode. Taking regular videos of walking around the house or through the great outdoors were pretty cool. I rarely had an issues with it stabilizing properly or any kind of drift with the camera. With the ability to use the joystick on the back of the gimbal to change the direction and angle of my phone, I was able to do mostly everything and capture what I wanted to with one hand. The quality of the videos were shockingly well done.
Probably my favorite feature of the Smooth 5 would be the smart follow. With this you are able to lock onto a subject, be it a person or object, and the Smooth 5 will do all of the work for you to keep it in frame. It will follow what you chose if its moving or if you’re moving around it. I was able to take some pretty impressive videos of some random backyard games with my family that looked honestly like a professionally made video. I would barely even consider myself an amateur. Sometimes the person I was recording would go out of frame for a second and the device would start searching, in an attempt to find them again, which would always end unsuccessfully but I blame my lack of skills as the problem.
There are also several templates set up on the app to get you ready for making TikTok’s or other social media videos you are interested in making. They are a bit limited but you can customize and make your own templates however you want. The templates themselves were enough for me and my family. I had my young niece and nephew making fake TikTok’s within minutes of showing them the Smooth 5. It is so easy to use, that I had my niece making videos alone using the gimbal. If my 11 year old niece can figure it out, that’s definetly a pretty good sign.
Vlogging and Streaming
The Smooth 5 also includes a tripod accessory that can screw directly into the bottom of the handle. It makes it great for taking videos, long exposures, panoramic pictures, landscapes and so on. Personally, I tried using the tripod so I can make a video of myself. With the fill light peripheral that comes included with the combo you can really focus on yourself regardless of where (or when) you are making a video and you can even use one of the several colored light filters to set the mood. (Example: My niece had me record her with the red light while she was telling a scary story). I preferred not using a different color with my videos.
If you have an Apple Watch, it can make the process of recording yourself with the Smooth 5 on its tripod even easier. When you download the app onto your phone it also downloads onto your watch. You are able to see what is recording on your watch screen as well as start or stop recording. This way you can ensure you are in focus and clear view of the camera without having to get up and check your phone. The only downside to this is the fact that you are using your phone, so if you get a call the recording can get interrupted, plus any video you make is limited to how long your phone stays charged and/or connected to the device.
The Zhiyun Smooth 5 is an incredible piece of technology and the combo takes it to the next level. You can purchase it on the official Zhiyun Website or on Amazon. I am by no means a videographer, but once you get passed the initial learning curve this device is easy and fun to use. It is a little expensive and considering it is only as good as your smartphone allows it to be, some users might want to look into a better camera setup. If you have the money and enjoy making videos on your phone then the Zhiyun Tech Smooth 5 is a must have. I personally will be recommending this product to my friends, as I have already recommended it to my family. Excellent buy and looking forward to updates on the app for this device as well.