The Nikon d500 is an extremely popular intermediate camera body that is very popular amongst photographers, videographers, vloggers, and social media influencers due to the outstanding image quality that it can provide. Although there are a few cameras on the market from compeating brands that rival it, in our opinion, the d500 still pushes out ahead for its price point in the market making it the obvious option leading to its constantly growing core customer base.
Just like the other articles going over the various camera accessories for the popular cameras bodies out there, we always see people who own the d500 reaching out and asking about how they can improve their image quality. For today’s article, we are going to be going over what we feel is the best gimbal for the Nikon d500 to try and help any of our readers who are videographers or vloggers and using the d500 and wanting to add some image stabilization to their camera accessories.
Now, in our opinion, the weight of the d500 does put it on a weight point where you are going to have to factor in the other camera accessories that you will be using with your camera. Although some of our readers may have to folk out and go with the DJI Ronin S if they are using a super heavy camera setup, we feel that the Zhiyun Weebill S will be able to meet the needs of many of our readers. Not only has the Weebill S managed to earn itself a great reputation in the five months since its release amongst vloggers and videographers but it has also proven to be very popular with people using the lighter weight DSLR setups.
Two more advantages that the Weebill S has over the Ronin S is that the DJI gimbal is a few years old now and its technology is definatley starting to age out compared to what Zhiyun are offering, especially on their Weebill S that is their newest addition to their range at the time of writing. On top of this, the Weebill S can also be as much as half the price of the Ronin S depending on the bundle and the retailer you purchase it from too allowing you to potentially save hundreds of dollars while getting a very similar level of performance. Due to this, we will be primarily focusing on the Weebill S throughout the rest of the article but we will also be touching on the Ronin S at times to point out where it offers advantages.
Performance Of The Gimbal
As we touched on above, the Nikon d500 comes in with a payload weight of around 1.90 pounds for just its camera body and battery without having any other camera accessories mounted to it. Thankfully though, Zhiyun have done an excellent job with the gimbal motors on the Weebill S and it is able to make light work of anything up to 6.61 pounds of total payload weight. This means that even though the d500 is heavy, the Weebill S still has the load capacity available for around 4.7 pounds of camera accessories.
Although wear confident in saying that this will be plenty for many of our readers, depending on what you are planning to do with your d500 as well as the niche you are working in, your total camera payload weight may be higher than 6.61 pounds. If this is the case or even if you are getting over the 6.3-pound mark, we would recommend that you go with the DJI Ronin S instead of as it is a great heavy lifting handheld gimbal stabilizer.
Although the camera body of the Nikon d500 is large and a little bulky, the tweaked design of the Weebill S over the older Zhiyun gimbal frame designs means that it can still house the d500 and offer a full range of movement. On top of that, if you like to use a heavier or longer lens with your camera when recording, both the Weebill S and Ronin S can easily provide great stabilization even with the long lens mounted.
When it comes to gimbal battery technology, Zhiyun really is leading the way and taking no prisoners, although the DJI system is decent, the Zhiyun is easy better in our opinion. Not only are the batteries in the Weebill S smaller and lighter but they can provide a maximum battery life of around fourteen hours with ease coming in at around four hours longer than average at the time of writing. They also come with the Zhiyun rapid recharge technology allowing you to charge them back to full from totally empty in just over three hours via a wall-based power socket too.
Although we would guess that fourteen hours of battery power will likley be enough for the majority of our readers, you can also add a USB power bank with a high output load to your collection of camera accessories too. If you work in a niche where you will be out hiking to remote locations on a regular basis without access to a traditional power socket this can be a great way to extend battery life.
Although the DJI detection and correction system on their Ronin S is great, we just feel that the system on the Weebill S has a number of advantages, especially if your Nikon d500 setup is light enough for the Weebill S to support. Due to the Ronin S being years old now, the gimbal sensors and gimbal motors are starting to show their age and let the gimbal down as the Weebill S is only a few months old with all of Zhiyuns latest technology.
The gimbal sensors on the Weebill S are slightly better than the ones on the Ronin S in our opinion but it is a close call. They are both great bits of kit and are able to quickly detect even small movements accurately to ensure that you get optimal image stabilization. Both sets of sensors also respond well to very small but rapid vibrations too such as rising in a car or other vehicle while recording while some compeating gimbals can still struggle with this.
Next up we have the balancing algorithms and although Zhiyun and DJI used to leapfrog each other on a regular basis, Zhiyun has been on top for the last few years due to DJI not releasing any new gimbals to their lineup. Although a few firmware updates have been released for the Ronin S, there is only so much you can do with the technology on the gimbal. This means that Zhiyun takes the crown again and comes out ahead with their lightning-fast balancing algorithm.
The final part of the system is the gimbal motors and in all honesty, both DJI and Zhiyun have great gimbal motors that beat the other in various areas. As we mentioned above, if you are using a heavier setup with your Nikon d500 then the DJI Ronin S gimbal motors will be a better option. On the flipside of this though, if you are using a lighter rig that comes within the Zhiyun Weebill S load capacity range then we feel the Weebill S motors are better.
Not only are they smaller and lighter making it easier to travel with and meet airline luggage restrictions but they are also more power-efficient. This means that even though the physical size of the battery on the Weebill S is smaller than the one on the Ronin S, you actually get a longer maximum battery life out of the Weebill S due to its energy-efficient gimbal motors.
Although the DJI Ronin S has managed to earn itself a great reputation amongst videographers and vloggers, it has had years to go this. At the time of writing, the Zhiyun Weebill S has only been available for four to five months but has already managed to earn a similar, if not better reputation amongst the community that is just increasing with each passing month.
User Interface And Control System
Both the Ronin S and Weebill S use the same type of joystick based control interface and in all fairness, both of them work flawlessly so we are going to call a draw for the interface section of the article. Both gimbals use an omnidirectional joystick allowing you to tilt or pan your Nikon d500 when mounted with ease without having that slightly robotic look to the video footage that some of the older handheld gimbal stabilizers used to have.
Both of the stabilizers also have a great little LCD panel that both are backlit as well as covered in some anti-glare coating. This ensures that you can clearly see the information on the panel no matter what conditions you are working in and ensure that you are able tweak settings and see what you are doing on the panel.
The actual navigation menu on both gimbals is also very similar and easy to learn too making them both ideal for anyone who has never used a gimbal stabilizer before. That said though both of the menus offer some great advanced functionality as well as customization too but each do it in their own way. Personal preference will come into how you use the advanced functionality on each gimbal but in all fairness, both are quick and easy to do and in our opinion, that’s the better thing to do.
The balancing systems on each gimbal are essentially based around the same principals but we feel the Zhiyun system is slightly more streamlines helping it edge ever so slightly out for people. That said though, this really is a very marginal advantage and no matter what gimbal you opt to go with, after running through the balancing process with your Nikon d500 rig a few times, it should be quick and easy to balance with most people being able to get it done in less than a minute.
Build Quality And Design
In our opinion, when it comes to design, the Zhiyun Weebill S takes the win with ease and in all honesty, we don’t think it is even close. The DJI Ronin S is the standard, old school handheld gimbal stabilizer that is big, bulky, and heavy. Many of the older Zhiyun gimbals from their Crane range had these same issues and problems but their new Weebill range has been designed from the ground up.
Although it initially looks like a regular handheld 3 axis gimbal, it is much smaller and lighter than any compeating gimbal with this level of load capacity or battery life available on the market right now. In addition to this, the handle on the Weebill S is also fully detachable and the gimbal has multiple mounting points for its handle. You can mount it to the bottom plate for regular handheld gimbal functionality or you can mount it to the rear plate for underslung functionality without having to purchase an additional third-party accessory.
Another great feature that Zhiyun has added to their Weebill range that has proven so successful, compeating brands are already adding it to their own gimbals is the new individual axis gimbal locks. This allows you to quickly and easily apply the locking system to each of the three independent axis on the Weebill S to hold them in place when required. This is ideal if you are on a session and have to walk between locations with your Nikon d500 mounted as it stops the rig spinning uncontrollably when powered down.
Another great use of these axis locks is for traveling, especially if you are going via plane and baggage handlers will be packing your kit on the plane. These locks allow you to lock the axis on your gimbal in place prior to travel allowing you to know for a fact that they won’t randomly spin in transit and potentially break. Although this is rare, we have seen reports from people reporting that one or more of their axis unintentionally rotate when packed away leading to damage of their gimbal.
The Weebill S is also much lighter than the Ronin S meaning that you have a much easier time of supporting the rig when recording. The main drawback of the Ronin S is that it is so big and heavy whereas one of the main advantage of the Weebill S is that it is so small and light. Due to the Nikon d500 being a heavier camera body, we have no doubt that using it with the Ronin S for longer recording sessions will leave to some issues with aches and pains in your arms and shoulders.
That brings our article going over what we feel are the best gimbals for Nikon d500 camera owners to a close. As we have mentioned throughout the article, if you d500 rig is over say 6.3 pounds then the DJI Ronin S is likley the better gimbal stabilizer, if it is under that then we would recommend that our readers check out the Zhiyun Weebill S.
There is a reason that the Weebill S is one of the most popular handheld gimbal stabilizers on the market right now with tons of excellent independent reviews from videographers and vloggers. It is able to provide some of the best image stabilization that we have ever seen provided your d500 rig is light to mid weight and can easily make a great addition to your collection of camera accessories while also being cheaper than the Ronin S too.