Review: Zhiyun-Tech Crane 4 – Your Ultimate Gimbal Stabilizer with Built-In Fill Light

Elevate Your Visual Storytelling with Zhiyun-tech's Newest Gimbal

The landscape of content creation has evolved significantly, with accessibility and widespread participation driving the need for the right tools to elevate the art of capturing the perfect shot. If you’ve been following my articles, you’re well aware of my genuine admiration for Zhiyun-Tech. Their commitment to understanding their customers’ needs and crafting products that seamlessly integrate those desires is truly commendable. Let’s take a look at their newest edition, the Zhiyun-tech Crane 4, a state-of-the-art gimbal stabilizer that promises to enhance the way you shoot videos and photos.

When gearing up for a professional video shoot, a whole array of essential equipment needs to be assembled: cameras, gimbals, batteries, chargers, lenses, remotes, lights, and the list goes on. Unlike its predecessors, the Zhiyun-tech Crane 4 distinguishes itself by incorporating an internal battery into its design, a notable departure from their norm. This internal battery not only ensures smooth shooting but can last an entire day of use. Among the numerous critical elements of filmmaking, lighting remains paramount, whether for indoor scenes, night shots, creating specific atmospheres, or, most crucially, illuminating the subject flawlessly. So, what has Zhiyun-tech done to alleviate this concern? They have added a Built-in 10W Fill Light. Let’s start with that.

Lighting the Way

The Zhiyun-tech Crane 4 sets itself apart with its innovative built-in 10W fill light, enhancing the portability of quality shooting to new heights. This integrated feature introduces a lightweight experience, combining the convenience of a gimbal with professional-grade LED lighting. The fill light, showcasing a 10W output, ensures optimal illumination for your shots, allowing for the creation of a well-lit shooting environment. With the added benefit of a light cover, the Crane 4 delivers an ideal light effect, addressing the nuanced needs of content creators by providing a versatile solution for various shooting scenarios. Whether you’re capturing content in challenging low-light conditions or aiming for a cinematic look, the built-in fill light on the Zhiyun-tech Crane 4 proves to be a notable addition that simplifies your setup while elevating the overall quality of your footage.

Stabilization Excellence

The primary function of any gimbal stabilizer is, of course, to provide stability, and the Zhiyun-tech Crane 4 excels in this aspect. Its standout performance is attributed to a meticulously crafted combination of an enhanced algorithm and powerful motors. These components work seamlessly in concert, ensuring that your footage is not only stable but also exceptionally smooth, regardless of the shooting conditions. The improved algorithm contributes to precise adjustments, mitigating any potential disruptions to your video quality. Even when faced with challenging environments or tasked with stabilizing heavy camera setups, the Crane 4 remains steadfast, showcasing its reliability and adaptability. It’s not merely a stabilizer; it’s a testament to cutting-edge technology and engineering finesse. The Zhiyun-tech Crane 4 undoubtedly leaves a lasting impression, setting a new standard for what we can expect from a gimbal stabilizer.

The Crane 4 offers a range of shooting modes as well, from the standard follow mode to the versatile point of view (POV) mode. The follow mode ensures the camera smoothly tracks your movements, while the POV mode adds a cinematic flair to your shots, allowing you to capture dynamic and dramatic scenes effortlessly. The transitions between these modes are buttery smooth, thanks to the Crane 4’s advanced design.

Speaking of design, the intelligent engineering of the stabilizer is not only evident in its exceptional stability but also extends to its impressive battery life. With a promised runtime of up to 12 hours, this feature addresses the constant worry of recharging during your shoots. Personally, I’d recommend planning for around 10 hours, depending on where you live and how extreme the weather conditions are. Living in hot places like Florida, batteries tend to overheat faster than we’d like. The good news is, recharging is a breeze; it takes just under 2 hours to recharge the battery for another 10-12 hours of shooting. This quick turnaround is outstanding for content creators, ensuring they can maximize their shooting time without prolonged downtimes.

A Versatile Partner

What sets the Crane 4 apart is its adaptability to various shooting scenarios. Whether you’re a professional filmmaker, a vlogger, or an amateur photographer, this gimbal can accommodate your needs. Its maximum payload capacity of just over 11 Lbs (5.2kg) makes it compatible with a wide range of cameras, including mirrorless and DSLR models, as well as hefty cinema cameras. This flexibility ensures that your creative vision is not limited by your gear. Additionally, the Crane 4 offers convenient features such as auto-tuning, which simplifies the setup process, and it’s compatible with a mobile app for remote control and firmware updates. The mobile app is user-friendly and provides access to various shooting modes and customizable settings, allowing you to fine-tune your stabilizer to suit your unique shooting style.

The Zhiyun-tech Crane 4 comes equipped with a new intelligent Balance Indication feature, that includes indicator lights on the motors that offer timely reminders for precise balance calibration. If things aren’t leveled, these indicator lights will give you a heads-up. Beyond this, the Crane 4 has an innovative quick-release module that integrates a horizontal and vertical lock structure, which is used for effortlessly switching between horizontal and vertical shooting modes. The versatile sling grip is extendable and adjustable, making it easy to switch between sling mode and two-handed modes. And there’s a 1/4″ screw hole on the grip for attaching lights and accessories, opening up more creative possibilities for your shots.

Dynamic Timelapses and Panoramas

One of the standout features of the Zhiyun-tech Crane 4 is its ability to facilitate stunning timelapses and panoramas. With the Crane 4, you can capture breathtaking landscapes and cityscapes, creating awe-inspiring content sure to impress your audience. The stabilizer’s motorized movements ensure precise and fluid motion, eliminating the need for manual adjustments and minimizing the risk of unwanted shakes or wobbles. The Timelapse function enables users to set up their desired parameters, such as the duration of the shot and the interval between frames. Once configured, the gimbal smoothly pans and tilts the camera, resulting in professional-looking timelapse sequences.

For panoramic shots, the Crane 4 offers a dedicated mode that automates the process of capturing wide, sweeping vistas. This mode is perfect for capturing landscapes, architecture, and group shots. The gimbal’s accuracy and smooth movements ensure that your panoramas are not only crisp but also visually captivating. All these featured combined definitely pushes the boundaries for creative film making.

Advanced Focus and Zoom Control

Zhiyun-tech offers a useful upgrade for the Crane 4 called the TransMount Focus/Zoom Control Motor 2.0. If you decide to purchase this with your Crane 4, it provides precise control over focus and zoom directly from the gimbal, eliminating the need for manual adjustments. The TransMount Focus/Zoom Control Motor 2.0 is a compact and lightweight addition, making installation easy and offering a portable follow focus experience for creators. With an innovative function-switch lever, it allows an instant switch between focus and zoom control in one step, simplifying your shooting process. The motor’s optimized gears ensure secure installation and steady focusing, contributing to greater stability. Compatible with all ZHIYUN stabilizers, this upgrade enhances versatility and performance in your creative toolkit. It’s a crucial addition for achieving professional-level video footage, working seamlessly with the Crane 4’s existing features like the follow focus wheel and integrated zoom rocker. Whether you’re maintaining focus during dynamic movements or adding a dynamic touch with smooth zoom transitions, the Zhiyun-tech Crane 4, with the TransMount Focus/Zoom Control Motor 2.0, takes your videography to new heights.

Once your Zhiyun-tech Crane 4 is set up, taking advantage of the auto calibration feature is a crucial step for optimizing its performance. The auto calibration process ensures that the gimbal is finely tuned and precisely balanced, aligning it with the specific weight and configuration of your camera setup. By engaging the auto calibration, users can fine-tune the stabilizer to their unique shooting requirements, enhancing its stability and responsiveness. This user-friendly feature simplifies the setup process, making it accessible for both seasoned professionals and beginners. Whether you’re capturing dynamic action shots or delicate cinematic scenes, the auto calibration feature of the Crane 4 ensures that your gimbal is operating at its optimal performance level, allowing you to focus on capturing stunning footage without the hassle of manual adjustments.

Pros:

  • Quick Setup with Auto-Tuning: This quick & efficient calibration ensures optimal performance without the need for manual adjustments.
  • Excellent Payload Capacity: With a maximum payload of 10 pounds, it accommodates a wide range of cameras, from mirrorless to cinema cameras.
  • Innovative Fill Light: The built-in 10W fill light is a unique and practical feature that enhances the gimbal’s usability, especially in low-light conditions. It adds an extra layer of convenience for creators who need to adjust lighting on the fly.
  • Long Battery Life: The 10-12-hour runtime minimizes downtime during your shoots, ensuring you capture all the content you need.
  • User-Friendly Mobile App: The accompanying app simplifies setup, customization, and remote control.

Cons:

  • Price of Accessories: While the Crane 4 itself is an investment, some users might find the additional cost of accessories, such as the TransMount Focus/Zoom Control Motor 2.0, to be on the higher side.
  • Learning Curve: The Crane 4, with its advanced capabilities, may have a steeper learning curve for beginners. 

Conclusion

The Zhiyun-tech Crane 4 is undeniably an outstanding upgrade in the world of gimbal stabilizers. Its impressive stability, adaptability, and creative features make it a valuable companion for content creators, from professional filmmakers to enthusiastic vloggers. While the price of accessories may be a hurdle for some, the Crane 4’s impressive performance without these extras, are some of the best in the world . Whether you’re aiming for silky-smooth videos, breathtaking timelapses, or a gimbal to carry your bigger cameras, the Crane 4 delivers with style and finesse.

With the Zhiyun-tech Crane 4 by your side, you’ll unlock new possibilities and elevate the quality of your content. Having witnessed numerous enhancements from Zhiyun-tech over the years, I can confidently say that this is their best gimbal to date. If you’re in the market for an all-encompassing gimbal, this might be the one you’re looking for. It’s available for purchase on the official Zhiyun-tech website or through authorized retailers, starting at $669.00. Take advantage of the ongoing Black Friday Sales; as of today, November 21st, the Crane 4 is already discounted to $599. This is the perfect time of the year to invest in electronics, so don’t miss out on these savings! Bid farewell to shaky footage and welcome a new era of creative possibilities with the Crane 4.

About Author
Bruce is a seasoned tech reviewer with a passion for exploring the latest gadgets and innovations. With years of experience testing and reviewing technology products, Bruce has become a trusted voice in the tech industry.
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