Although it is definatley showing its age, the Sony a5100 is still a very popular camera body and although it can have some issues with overheating depending on what you are doing with it, the camera can still offer some solid image quality when used for videographer or vlogging. Due to this, we have noticed a number of people reaching out and asking about what the best gimbal for Sony a5100 cameras on the market right now is.
Thankfully, the a5100 is one of the lightest camera bodies in the Sony Alpha range at the time of writing meaning that it has a ton of suitable handheld gimbal stabilizers that you can use it with. That said though, in our opinion, if you are looking to add a gimbal to your collection of Sony a5100 camera accessories, there is no better option than the Zhiyun Weebill S.
In our opinion, the Weebill S is without a doubt the best gimbal made to date and has only been on the market for a matter of months at the time of writing. Although it is able to support a large number of heavier DSLR camera rigs, it is optimized for use with mirrorless cameras like the Sony a5100 and performance flawlessly ensuring you get the best image quality possible. When it comes to performance, it blows the DJI Ronin S out the water in our opinion and the only compeating gimbal that comes close is the Moza Aircross 2 but its higher price point and lower level of performance make the Weebill S the obvious option.
Although the Weebill S has only been on the market for little over four months at the time of writing, it has just kept on going from strength to strength amongst the videography and vlogging communities, especially with the mirrorless camera owners. This has ensured that the Weebill S has managed to rapidly earn a great reputation amongst the communities while seeing rapid growth of its core customer base too.
We will not be taking a more in-depth look at the Weebill S and why we feel that it should be your primary gimbal consideration for any of our readers who use the a5100. Zhiyun really has done a great job of putting the gimbal together and ensuring that it is able to offer everything a videographer or vlogger will need from their gimbal without breaking the bank or add a bunch of size and weight to their camera accessory bag.
Performance Of The Gimbal
You Sony a5100 will come in at around 0.62 pounds of payload weight before you mount any of your additional camera accessories to it. Thankfully, the Weebill S offers one of the best maximum load capacities available relative to its small size and weight and can effortlessly support 6.61 pounds of total camera payload weight. This ensures that you have plenty of spare load capacity available for your other camera accessories such as your camera lens, video light, and external microphone.
This helps to ensure that you are always getting the absolute best audio and video quality possible for your clients without your image stabilization quality suffering due to getting close to your gimbals maximum load capacity. On top of this, the motors on the Weebill S are excellent and can easily balance your a5100 with ease even if you do use a longer or heavier camera lens that may cause other gimbals to vibrate or suffer to stabilize the weight of your camera rig.
Zhiyun are also well known for their innovation in the gimbal space and the Weebill S has a ton of innovation in various areas. Our favorite way that Zhiyun has pushed the gimbal market forward with the Weebill S is with their battery technology as the battery cell is without a doubt the best we have seen to date. Not only does it provide you with four hours more juice than the average battery at the time of writing coming in with a battery life of around fourteen hours but it is also up to a third smaller and lighter than the compeating batteries on the market in other gimbals.
This make the Weebill S an ideal option for any videographers or vloggers who know that they will be working those longer sessions and need a longer battery life. On top of this, you can also purchase a USB power bank with a high load and the ability to charge up your gimbal and a5100 while on the go too. If you are working in a niche where you will be traveling or away from civilization for days at a time this is a great option to keep all of your devices topped up with power as required.
The battery cell used in the Weebill S also uses the Zhiyun rapid charge technology too meaning you can take it from totally empty to totally full in around three hours via a wall-based power outlet. The recharging time via a USB power bank will depend on the output of the power bank but the higher output banks can also recharge the gimbal in three to four hours too. This means that the Weebill S has one of the best battery charging ratios going offering around 1:5 for hours charges into usable hours of battery life.
If you have used gimbal stabilizers previously you may know that there has been a mini-battle between Zhiyun and DJI for the dominant gimbal system for around five years now with each overtaking the other with each subsequent release of their gimbals. In our opinion though, DJI are going to have a hard time beating the Zhiyun Weebill S as well as the Moza Aircross 2 as both gimbals have an excellent detection and correction system on them so DJI is going to have their work cut out for them.
Although Moza have done an outstanding job with the Aircross 2 considering they have not been established as long as Zhiyun, the higher price tag of the Aircross 2 as well as the slightly better performance of the Weebill S kind of rule it out unless it gets a price reduction in the near future from Moza.
Zhiyun has upgraded all three areas of their detection and correction system with both the gimbal sensors and Zhiyun balancing algorithm receiving small upgrades to them since the previous generation of Zhiyun gimbals. The actual gimbal motors have been totally redesigned though and pretty much blow everything the compeating brands have out the water with ease.
The gimbal sensors are extremely sensitive and accurate at quickly detecting any motion in your gimbal head before the system rapidly processes the sensor readings via the Zhiyun balancing algorithm. The algorithm then sends the correct counter-movement to the gimbal motors and they adjust the positioning of the gimbal head with your Sony a5100 mounted to it as required. These next-generation gimbal motors are a quarter smaller, a third lighter, and three times stronger than the previous generation of Zhiyun motors and is the main reason that the Weebill S is dominating right now.
Just like the vast majority of handheld gimbal stabilizers released over the last five years or so, the Weebill S also supports the follow, pan, lock, and manual gimbal modes in addition to the newer vortex and track modes too. Now, we still feel that the vortex mode is overrated but it seems to be a hit with the vlogging and videography community but the Zhiyun tracking mode has definatley leapfrogged the DJI system to become the best tracking mode on the market right now.
When you look at the level of performance and functionality available as well as the small size and lightweight of the Weebill S it is easy to see why it has so many excellent third-party reviews. A large number of independent vloggers and videographers who use the Weebill S as their handheld gimbal stabilizer of choice have decided to share their thoughts on its performance and those reviews offer some excellent insight into just how well it performs.
User Interface And Control System
Thankfully Zhiyun has not tried to do anything fancy with the control interface of the Weebill S and have just stuck with the regular system that is based around an LCD panel, a joystick as well as a few supporting buttons. We know that Feiyutech has tried to add touchscreens to their AK range of gimbals but so far, it seems to have a ton of bugs and issues with it and has totally ruined the gimbal. The joystick system is so popular with the videography community due to the simple fact that it works and it works very well. Although we are confident that touchscreen systems will overtake it in the future, they will have to be flawless and the Feiyutech system is far from it.
The Weebill S uses a fully adjusted omnidirectional joystick that offers optimal control over the gimbal head when using in manual mode. At the time of writing, a few other gimbals do also offer these omnidirectional joysticks but outside of the Zhiyun Weebill S, the DJI Ronin S and the Moza Aircross 2, they have been implemented very badly holding the compeating gimbals back.
If you are going to be using your gimbal in manual mode on a regular basis then the omnidirectional joystick definatley plays into your hands. It offers super smooth, natural-looking panning too that even the Ronin S from DJI slightly struggles with. This removes the main weakness of the mechanical gimbals that was the slightly robotic feel to the image stabilization when panning. With Zhiyun having managed to overcome this, manual Steadicam style stabilizers have lost the only remaining advantage that they had over mechanical gimbals.
Although some brands do still have a very poor balancing system, the DJI, Moza, and Zhiyun balancing systems are very easy and straight forward. The high torque motors on the Weebill S make balancing your Sony a5100 even easier and with a little practice, you should easily be able to get the gimbal balanced in less than a minute and be ready to go.
The actual navigation menu and user control system on the Weebill S also makes it very easy for you to be able to get to grips with the gimbal is you have never used a gimbal before. With the age and lower price point of the a5100, we would imagine a number of our readers may be first-time gimbal users and something like the Weebill S or Aircross 2 are ideal due to their ease of use. In addition to this though, both of these gimbals also allow you to quickly access their advanced features and gimbal modes while also offering quick and easy config moderation for any advanced gimbal users too.
The quick release plate system that is used on the Weebill S is also quick and easy to use too allowing you to seamlessly mount or unmount your a5100 from the gimbal as required. This ensures that you are able to quickly switch between gimbal footage to handheld or tripod footage within seconds and not miss an opportunity.
Thankfully, Zhiyun have put an absolute ton of work into their smartphone app over the last year or so and they have finally managed to correct the various problems it had. Unlike last year when it had a bunch of problems with initially syncing with the Zhiyun gimbal range and would randomly disconnect, the app not quickly and easily syncs and holds its connection as you would expect.
In our opinion, the only thing you actually require their smartphone app for is their tracking mode anyway. If you don’t plan to use the intelligent tracking system then everything else on the Weebill S will work flawlessly without ever downloading the app. If you do plan to use the tracking technology on the gimbal then having the app on your smartphone definatley makes your life much easier and as its free, it is well worth downloading.
The app offers the standard wireless remote control mode to wirelessly control the movement of your gimbal head if required. Our favorite function of the Zhiyun app is that you can literally press a button and have all of your gimbal config settings on your smartphone screen in front of you and be ready to make tweaks within seconds. Although the default config on the gimbal is great, especially for a mirrorless camera as light as the a5100, some people may want to make little tweaks and adjustments.
Build Quality And Design
Zhiyun managed to build their brand reputation up with their excellent Crane range of gimbals that have been one of the main dominating force in the gimbal space for years now. Around eighteen months back they started to released gimbals from their Weebill range that are as small, compact, lightweight, and robust as possible while also having the smallest possible price tag as well as offering the best possible performance.
Although this sounds too good to be true, the community really have taken to the Weebill range and judging by the number of excellent reviews that the Weebill S has managed to earn in the few months since its release, it would seem that many videographers and vloggers agree with us that Zhiyun have achieved their goals for the Weebill range.
This is particularly useful if you have to pack all of your gear up and travel by air on a regular basis as the lightweight of the gimbal and small size allow you to store it in your luggage without issue usually, especially if your airline supports media rates. The tough and robust build and materials use on the gimbal also give you peace of mind that it can likley take a knock while in the hold of the plane without breaking too.
Another new feature of the Weebill range is that the handle is detachable with two mounting plates on the gimbal. One of the bases just like a regular handheld gimbal stabilizer and one on the rear to allow you to use the Weebill S in underslung mode. This makes it very easy to capture any low angle video footage that you require with your Sony a5100 and you can switch between the two within seconds without having to purchase any aftermarket third-party accessories.
Zhiyun has also taken the basics of 3 axis gimbal safety one step further and added three small, easy to activate axis locks to each of the three-axis. This allows you to quickly and easily lock them in place for travel or when walking between recording locations to prevent your a5100 from spinning around. Although it is such a simple idea, Zhiyun and their Weebill range of gimbals are actually the first gimbals to add this feature but compeating brands have started to implement it to their own ranges in their latest releases now too.
Although an underrated feature on a gimbal, the handle grip on the Weebill S is solid and paired up with the lightweight of the gimbal body and the lightweight of your Sony a5100, we are confident that you will easily be able to hold the weight of the rig for long sessions without having pains in your arms or shoulders. The comfortable handle grip should also ensure you are always able to have a firm, comfortable grip of the gimbal too without getting cramps in your hands too.
That concludes our best gimbal for Sony a5100 camera users article and as we have mentioned, there are a few suitable gimbals on the market but in our opinion, the Zhiyun Weebill S is definatley the best option and should be your primary consideration by far. It offers some of the best image stabilization that we have ever seen in a gimbal and its already excellent reputation amongst videographers and vloggers just keeps on getting better and better as the months pass.