Zhiyun has rightfully earned one of the best reputations that we have ever seen amongst the videography and vlogging communities due to their outstanding range of gimbals always offering their users great performance for the best possible price tag. Over the last decade or so, the Zhiyun range has absolutely dominated the gimbal space with the brand releasing successful gimbal after successful gimbal one after the other with each new generation.
At the time of writing, the Zhiyun Crane Plus is one of the newest gimbals in their Crane range that has improved on the Crane range of gimbal in every way. It has also received a number of recent price reductions too due to a few new releases from Zhiyun making the Zhiyun Crane Plus a great bargain due to its low price tag. As you would expect with a gimbal as popular as the Crane Plus, whenever it receives a price reduction, we see a number of people reaching out and asking for a dedicated Zhiyun Crane Plus review.
Due to this, we have decided to publish our own dedicated review of the Crane Plus in an attempt to help any of our readers who are considering adding it to their collection of camera accessories. At the time of writing, it is one of the most popular gimbals one the market with an absolutely massive core user base and an excellent reputation amongst the videography community. Zhiyun has improved on the older Crane gimbals in every way with the Crane Plus making it smaller and lighter while also improving its maximum load capacity as well as giving it more battery life as well as better levels of image stabilization.
That said though, although we feel that the Zhiyun Crane Plus is probably the best budget-friendly gimbal on the market right now by a long shot, the Zhiyun Weebill S is the newest release to the Zhiyun rang of gimbals. Their Weebill rang has been specifically designed to be smaller and lighter than all of the Crane range gimbals while offering the best image quality possible during use. It also has an outstanding reputation amongst the community and is well worth purchasing over the Crane Plus if you have the slightly higher budget available.
That said though, we will now be taking a more in-depth look at the Crane Plus and what it has to offer you if you do choose to purchase it as your go-to handheld gimbal stabilizer of choice. Although we will be comparing it to what the Weebill S has to offer at times, we will be going into the Crane Plus and its features and why we feel it is currently the best budget-friendly gimbal on the market by a long shot.
Performance Of The Gimbal
As we touched on earlier, the Crane Plus was a huge step forward for Zhiyun as not only did they manage to reduce the size and weight of the gimbal from the older Crane stabilizers in their line up but they also managed to increase the load capacity and battery life at the same time. The Crane Plus is easily able to stabilize total camera payload weights of up to and including 5.5 pounds of payload weight without running into issues. Another thing going for the Crane Plus is that the 5.5 pounds listed load capacity is the actual load capacity with no small print saying only use eighty percent of the listed load capacity like some gimbal brands specify.
This ensures that the Crane Plus can easily support the weight of pretty much very point and shoot or mirrorless camera setup with ease while also supporting a large number of the lighter DSLR rigs and a fair few of the middleweight class DSLR rigs too. With the Zhiyun Weebill S being a newer addition to the Zhiyun lineup, it has the more recent technology and offers a maximum load capacity of 6.61 pounds to payload weight taking everything one step further while also being smaller and lighter than the Crane Plus too.
Both the Crane Plus and the Weebill S are able to easily keep your camera rig stabilized if you need to user a longer and heavier lens when recording your video footage too. Although the Crane Plus is a few years old now, Zhiyun were sure to nail this technology early while some compeating gimbal brands such as Feiyutech still struggle with cameras using longer lenses today. This ensures that no matter what camera lens you need to use with your camera body, the Zhiyun should easily be able to provide you with the image stabilization that you require.
One of the main advantages over the competing gimbals on the market for the Crane Plus is that it is able to provide you with up to eighteen hours of battery life with each charge of its battery! This is an extremely long battery life as the majority of compeating gimbals only offer a maximum battery life of around the ten-hour mark. Depending on the niche that you are working in, this can be a massive advantage for the Crane Plus as ensuring you always have the juice required to capture the video footage you need can be a major selling point for some videographers who work in remote locations.
That said though, the technology in modern USB power banks has definatley progressed a long way since the release of the Zhiyun Crane Plus and is only getting better. Although the Zhiyun Weebill S has a shorter maximum battery life coming in at fourteen hours per charge, many videographers and vloggers tend to go with the Weebill S due to its smaller and lighter size makes it much easier to travel with or hold for long periods of time. They then add a high output USB power bank to their collection of camera accessories to get that additional power they need if they are working in a niche where they are unable to recharge their gimbal each night.
Although we have said it time and time again, we feel that Zhiyun have been leading the way when it comes to the detection and correction systems on gimbals since the release of their Crane Plus. Although DJI with their Ronin S were a solid competitor, DJI have not released a new gimbal for a few years now leaving Zhiyun to innovate away and extend their lead in the gimbal space over them. At the time of writing, we feel that the only gimbals that offer a better detection and correction system than the Crane Plus is the Weebill S and the Aircross 2 from Moza with the Ronin S being just as good in some niches depending on what you are doing.
This is the main reason that we feel that the Crane Plus is dominating the entry-level 3 axis gimbal price bracket right now as nothing in its price range is able to even come close to the levels of image stabilization that it is able to provide for you. Everything starts with the high-quality gimbal sensors and although the sensors on the Weebill S are two generations newer than the sensors on the Crane Plus, for the entry-level price point, nothing is as accurate, responsive, or fast as the sensors on the Crane Plus.
Next up we have the market-leading Zhiyun balancing algorithm that only just pulls out ahead of the algorithms from DJI and Moza. Zhiyun has also released a few firmware updates over the years for the Crane Plus too so if you do choose to add it to your camera accessories, be sure to update it to its latest firmware release for the best balancing algorithm. That said though, the algorithm on the Aircross 2 can be a little faster than the one on the Crane Plus due to the Aircross 2 having some of the latest technology available but the Aircross 2 is also twice the price depending on the retailer.
The final part of the gimbal detection and correction system is the gimbal motors and for back when the Crane Plus was released onto the market, the Zhiyun motors we outstanding. Although they are pretty heavy and a little bulky making the gimbal larger than the more recent releases, they do their job very well. That said though, if you are doing any kind of paid videography work or you are looking for a travel gimbal then the Zhiyun Weebill S is definatley the better option.
The gimbal motors on the Weebill S are the best we have ever seen, they are smaller, lighter, and more power-efficient than everything else on the market right now while also offering over three times more torque than what some of the compeating gimbal motors are able to provide for you. This is a massive advantage over the Crane Plus for anyone who is going professional level work or needs to travel as light as possible as the Weebill S is only one to two hundred dollars more than the Crane Plus depending on retailer making it well worth the money in our opinion.
The Crane Plus also offer the standard follow, manual, pan, and lock gimbal modes as standard but also includes the Zhiyun intelligent object tracking system. Now, due to the age of the gimbal, it is one of the very first releases of the tracking system and the newer gimbals from Zhiyun have improved upon it by a large margin, it is still very easy to use and performs very well. Nothing in the entry-level gimbal price bracket even comes close to the tracking technology on the Crane Plus either helping it just cement the dominant spot over the competition.
It really is easy to see why the Crane Plus is growing its user base at an almost exponential rate right now. There is simply no other gimbal on the market in its price range that even comes close to it leaving it free to clean up and dominate. Due to the user base of the Crane Plus being so large too, many to of the videographers and vloggers who use the gimbal have also chosen to publish their own third-party reviews of the gimbal.
If you have the time then going over a few of those can be well worth it as there are a large number of reviews going over the performance of the Crane Plus in pretty much every niche and situation that you are able to think of. On top of this, they have all been published by third-party, totally independent users of the gimbal who simply like it so much that they decided to publish their own review offering a truly external insight into its performance.
User Interface And Control System
As you may be able to guess due to the age of the Crane Plus, its control system follows the more traditional style of using a joystick, an LCD panel, and a few buttons to offer the user maximum control over the gimbal during use. Our regular readers will probably know that we prefer this style of gimbal control system over the touchscreen systems as the touchscreen technology available does not integrate into a gimbal interface as well as it needs to for optimum control over your gimbal.
Although the newer Weebill S and Aircross 2 do offer better manual control of your gimbal head due to having sixteen highly sensitive points of contact as well as an omnidirectional joystick, the Crane Plus can still hold its own. If you are an entry-level or even intermediate videographer or vlogger than the manual control offered via the Crane Plus should easily be good enough to meet your needs.
The balancing procedures for the Zhiyun, DJI, and Moza gimbals are all modern and easy to use too meaning that you should easily be able to get your camera rig balanced on the Crane Plus without issue too. Even the less popular gimbal brands such as Feiyutech and Evo use very simple and straight forward balancing procured for their gimbals these days making your life much easier. If you are an entry-level gimbal user then we are confident that you won’t run into issues with balancing your Crane Plus as it has been designed to be very straight forward and easy to balance.
The quick-release plate system on the Crane Plus is the same as the majority of other Manfrotto designed quick-release plate systems on the market right now. This allows you to mount or unmount your camera rig to or from the Crane Plus within seconds without having to waste valuable time. On top of this, it also allows you to switch between various camera accessories as required. For example, from your gimbal to your tripod then back to your gimbal as required without wasting time.
Build Quality And Design
One of the main reasons that the Zhiyun gimbal stabilizer range has proven to be such a consistent hit with the videography community is that they don’t slack off when it comes to the build quality of their gimbals. A few other brands focus on performance and performance alone and then offer their potential customers a sub-par build quality that really lets an otherwise solid gimbal down. Thankfully, the build quality of the whole Crane range is excellent and Zhiyun has produced some great thought gimbals.
As we touched on earlier in the article though, although the Crane Plus is one of the smaller and lighter gimbals from the Zhiyun Crane range of gimbals, the Weebill range of gimbals are smaller and much lighter too. If you are wanting to pick up a travel gimbal for your camera accessories that is as small and light as possible while offering the best possible image stabilization then you really should be looking at something from the Weebill range.
Zhiyun has also implemented a few tweaks to the standard gimbal handle grip on the Crane Plus too that help to ensure that it is as comfortable as possible to hold. With many vloggers and videographers having to be out and about recording their video footage for long periods of time, it really is not surprising that gimbal brands have started to make their handle grips as comfortable as they possibly can.
The grip on the Crane Plus is solid and allows you to get a firm hold of your gimbal with ease. Additionally, the comfort level helps to prevent any aches, pains or cramps in your hand, even when recording with a heavier camera rig to allow you to work for longer periods of time in comfort if required. On top of this, the lighter weight of the Crane Plus over the other gimbals in the Crane rang also helps to prevent any aches or pains in your shoulder, back or arm when recording for long periods of time too.
That concludes our ultimate Zhiyun Crane Plus review and we hope that you have found it helpful. Although the Crane Plus is a fair few years old now, it can still make a great addition to your collection of camera accessories if you are after a cheap, budget-friendly handheld gimbal stabilizer. For its price range on the market, it definatley offers some of the best image stabilization going to help ensure you get the best image quality possible. As we touched on earlier, the Crane Plus also has a number of independent reviews online that you can read here if you wish.
As we have mentioned throughout the article though, the newer, smaller, lighter, faster Weebill S is definatley the better gimbal and is not that much more when it comes to price. If you are doing any kind of professional level, paid videography work then we feel that you should be going with the Weebill S over the Crane Plus. The Weebill S also has a ton of independent reviews from the community online that you can read here if you wish to get some independent opinions on its performance.