Just like the other camera bodies in the Sony Alpha range, the Sony a6500 has managed to go from strength to strength within the photography and videography communities and constantly grow its core customer base with each passing month. It is a great little camera body that offers some great image quality in a number of different situations while also being very easy to use. Due to the absolutely huge customer base that the a6500 has, we are constantly seeing large numbers of people from both the photography and videography side of things reaching out with a number of questions.
For today’s article, we have decided to focus in on one of the more popular questions that we see asked from the videography and vlogging side of things that is what the best gimbal for Sony a6500 cameras is. Although there are a few solid options on the market right now, in our opinion, the Zhiyun Weebill S should definatley be your primary consideration as other than the Moza Aircross 2, it pretty much blows all of the competition out the water at the time of writing with ease.
Although the Weebill S is also popular with a number of people who own a lightweight DSLR camera, it is optimized for use with mirrorless cameras like the Sony a6500 and performs very well. It provides you with excellent levels of image stabilization and can be a great little handheld gimbal stabilizer to add to your collection of camera accessories without having to break the bank.
Although Zhiyun have been active in the gimbal space for a large amount of time now, their Weebill S has only been available for a number of months and at the time of writing, is the latest addition to their gimbal lineup. This means that it has all of the latest technology and the best design available to ensure you get optimal performance for your a6500. On top of this, even though it has only been available for around four months, it has managed to establish itself as the dominant gimbal in its weight class while also earning a great reputation that just keeps on getting better and better as time goes on.
Performance Of The Gimbal
Being a mirrorless camera, the Sony a6500 has a very low camera bodyweight coming in at one pound with its battery in its housing. This means that the huge maximum load capacity on the Weebill S of 6.61 pounds should easily be enough to support your a6500 once it has all of your camera accessories mounted to it. After taking the payload weight of your actual camera body into account, you have around 5.61 pounds of spare load capacity to support your lens, external microphone, and video light as well as any other camera accessories you use for optimal image quality.
Zhiyun has made a few tweaks when it comes to the Weebill S too over their previous design to help ensure that if you are using a long or heavy lens that you still get optimal image stabilization. A large number of compeating gimbals on the market right now can still have problems, even once balanced correctly with stabilizing your camera if you do need to use a long or heavy lens. Thankfully though, the Zhiyun team has thoroughly tested the Weebill S with longer lenses prior to launch it to ensure that you get the very best performance no matter your camera setup.
Zhiyun has also put a ton of work into their battery system on the Weebill S too and in our opinion, it is definatley one of the best power systems of all of the gimbals available on the market right now. The gimbal can provide you with up to fourteen hours of battery for each full charge while only taking around three hours to recharge back to full from empty. This means that for each hour you charge your gimbal, the cell gets just under five hours of usable battery power offering on of the best charging ratios going right now.
Although fourteen hours of battery life will likley be plenty for a large number of the vloggers and videographers who own the Sony a6500 and are reading this, some niches tend to also add a high powered USB power bank to recharge their gimbal, camera, and other devices while out and about. Although this will not be essential for most people, if you are doing something like travel vlogging or wildlife videography where you may be out and away from a PowerPoint for days at a time, a decent USB power bank can be a solid investment.
Although Zhiyun has done a solid job of innovating in a number of areas when it comes to the Weebill S, in our opinion, one of the best things that they have improved upon is the detection and correction system that they use on the Weebill S. This is what makes the gimbal so versatile and ensures that no matter what you are doing with your a6500, the Weebill S can provide you with some absolutely flawless image stabilization.
First up we have the Zhiyun gimbal sensors and although there have only been a few minor tweaks made to them, their accuracy in detecting any movement in the gimbal had has definatley increased over what the older gimbal sensors can pick up. They are also very quick to detect even the slightest movement while also being very sensitive to pick up tiny little changes that some other gimbals may not be able to detect.
Then we have the industry-leading Zhiyun balancing algorithm and although the DJI and Moza algorithms are close, we do feel that the Zhiyun algorithm does push out ahead ever so slightly making it the leading system at the time of writing. It is lightning fast and in addition to simply working out the best counter-movement to stabilize the gimbal head with your Sony a6500 mounted, it also efficiently works out the most power-efficient counter-movement. This is why the smaller and lighter battery on the Weebill S is able to provide you with such a long battery life.
The final part of the Zhiyun detection and correction system is the next generation Zhiyun gimbal motors that simply outperform everything else out there at the time of writing. They are around a quarter smaller and third lighter than most of the compeating gimbals while also providing up to three times the torque. On top of this, they are also very power efficient helping to ensure you get optimal battery life out of the gimbal no matter what you are doing.
With Zhiyun being the leading gimbal brand in the world right now, it is not surprising that they include the standard manual, lock, follow, and pan gimbal modes that perform very well. On top of this, the Weebill S also fully supports their vortex mode that is a little gimmicky in our opinion as well as their excellent tracking mode that outright dominates the other tracking modes on the market right now. Although the usefulness of these gimbal modes will depend on what you are trying to get done with your gimbal and Sony a6500, the manual and pan modes are useful for most niches and situations.
When you look at what the Weebill S is able to provide for your a6500 performance-wise as well as the small compact design and low price tag relative to the compeating gimbals, it is easy to see how it is such a popular option and has managed to push the compeating gimbals out and dominate its weight class. It has proven to be so popular amongst other videographers and vloggers that a large number of people have chosen to publish their own independent reviews of the gimbal. Those reviews are well worth checking out as they offer some great insight into just how well the gimbal performs in pretty much any situation that you can think of.
User Interface And Control System
Although Zhiyun has made a few changes to the system as user-friendly and easy to use as possible, for the most part, the Weebill S uses the same standard joystick based control interface that has proven to be very popular amongst the gimbal using communities for years now. Not only is it extremely easy to use but the traditional joystick systems are better for manually controlling the head and movements of the gimbal when used in manual mode too.
One upgrade that the Weebill S and the other more recent gimbal releases offer their users is a fully omnidirectional joystick that is smooth and very easy to control. This outright destroys the performance of the old school four way joysticks and overcomes the last remaining main weakness of the motorized gimbals, their poor panning ability. By adding an omnidirectional joystick to the Weebill S, you can smoothly pan and tilt your Sony a6500 when mounted with ease with your footage looking as natural as possible without having that robotic feel that some of the older gimbals used to have.
The actual LCD panel on the Weebill S is great too with its clear and sharp display, you can quickly and easily see any settings that you are trying to tweak as required. On top of this, its backlit screen is great if you are working in low light conditions as you can still see what you are doing while it’s anti-glare coating also ensures that you can clearly see its information in direct sunlight too.
Thankfully, for the three main gimbal brands (Zhiyun, DJI, and Moza) issues with balancing their gimbals is a thing of the past. Gone are the days when balancing even a small and light camera rig could be a pain. Zhiyun have refined their balancing process over the years and their latest system on the Weebill S is excellent in all fairness to them. It is straight forward meaning that even someone who is brand new to using a gimbal should easily be able to get their setup balanced in under sixty seconds after getting a little practice.
The navigation menu on the gimbal is also very simple and easy to follow too. This ensures that if you are shopping for your first handheld gimbal stabilizer then you should easily be able to work your way around its settings with ease. On the flipside of this though, as a large number of professional-level videographers and vloggers also use the Weebill S, the menu offers advanced settings, features and customization to meet the needs of advanced gimbal users too. All in all, Zhiyun really has outdone themselves with their user interface system and we really can’t fault it.
Although the Zhiyun smartphone app has definatley had a rocky past going from being almost totally useless less than a year ago to being a great little gimbal accessory today, Zhiyun do seem to have finally fixed all of the issues and bugs that it had. They have pushed out a number of updates to the app over the last few months to fix everything as well as revamp the navigation menu to make it easier to work.
Now, the Zhiyun smartphone app is not essential for the vast majority of the features on the gimbal and the only one that we can think of where we would highly recommend that you download the free app is the tracking mode. Everything else can work just as well without having the app with you but that said, in our opinion at least, it is definatley worth downloading to your smartphone.
The main thing that we like about the Zhiyun smartphone app is that you can literally press a button on it and all of your gimbals config settings will be displayed for you. Although the default setting should be ideal for most of our readers, this allows any advanced gimbal users to quickly and easily tweak settings as required and save a bunch of time over doing it via the control interface.
Build Quality And Design
As most videographers and many vloggers will be aware, the Zhiyun brand established their dominance in the gimbal space with their older Crane range of 3 axis gimbal stabilizers that have dominated the space for over a decade now. Although this range is still a solid line and can overtake their newer Weebill range in some areas, especially if you are using a super heavy DSLR camera rig, the Weebill range just offers too many advantages when it comes to mirrorless cameras like your a6500.
For example, the Weebill range has been designed to be as compact, lightweight, and tough as possible to make it the perfect travel handheld gimbal stabilizer while still providing professional-level image stabilization for the user even with Sony a6500 setups towards it upper load capacity limits. This means that if you are a travel vlogger or travel videographer or working in any other niche where you have to travel around on a regular basis, the design of the Weebill S pushes it well out ahead of the compeating gimbals on the market right now.
The light nature of the gimbal also makes sure you have the easiest time possible with any long videography or vlogging sessions too. Something like the DJI Ronin S is insanely heavy compared to the Weebill S and can often cause problems with aches and pains in your shoulders and arms. Due to the Weebill S being so light, this is not really an issue, especially with a camera as light as the Sony a6500. Zhiyun has also improved the handle grip on the Weebill S too with it now having increased comfort levels while still offering the same firm grip. This helps to prevent any aches in your hands when using the gimbal too helping increase comfort levels even further.
That brings our article going over what we feel is the best gimbal for Sony a6500 cameras top a close. As we mentioned back at the start of the article, in our opinion, the Zhiyun Weebill S is the obvious option as it is the undisputed king of mirrorless camera weight class gimbals and we doubt it will be knocked off the top spot soon. It offers excellent image stabilization for such a small and cheap handheld gimbal stabilizer to ensure you get the best image quality possible with your a6500.
If you are still apprehensive about adding the Weebill S to your collection of a6500 camera accessories then we would highly recommend that you check out some of these independent reviews. They have all been published by independent, third-party vloggers and videographers who use the Weebill S with their camera body of choice. They go over how well the gimbal is performing for them, share through own thoughts on the gimbal and cover a number of very common videography and vlogging situations too.