Review: Crane 3-axis stabilizer lets anyone shoot smooth footage on their DSLR

In the past, we’ve taken a look at countless gimbals for your iPhone, but some readers have been on the lookout for something a bit… bigger. We’ve gone hands-on with the Zhiyun Crane V2 gimbal that can handle anything up to a 3.9 pound DSLR.

The gimbal itself is crafted largely out of metal.

It comes in a handy carrying case which makes transporting it slightly easier than tossing it in your bag. The fact is, it’s still a big device and not something that you’ll be able to just stick in a back pocket.

But first, check out our hands-on video showcasing the gimbal and our sample footage.

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As another benefit, the gimbal comes apart into two pieces at the handle. This not only makes it slightly more compact, but is where the batteries are inserted as well.

When you first set up your gimbal, it’s important to properly balance everything. There are quite a number of fine adjustments to account for but once you are setup, you should be good to go.

For instance, if you have a bit of a larger lens and your camera is situated a bit too far forward, the camera will bounce a bit as you move the gimbal around.

In use

Once balanced, you’re ready to shoot some ultra smooth video.

The front of the gimbal has several controls making it easy to get the shot you need. There is a mode button, a joystick, zoom control and your shutter button. There is one big limitation though.

The zoom and shutter button will only work if you are using a supported camera, namely specific models from Panasonic and Sony.

I look at this as more of a positive than a negative.

If you don’t have those cameras, you can still use this accessory as a normal gimbal. If you do happen to have one, you gain additional functionality.

Wrapping it up

Crane V2 is quite a hefty beast, large in size as well as in weight.

While it’s something you can easily hold in your hand, the mount on the bottom lets you easily affix it to a tripod or mount. If you are planning a time-lapse, long exposure or something similar, this can make a big difference.

As someone who shoots a ton of photos and videos, I’ve been immensely pleased with the performance out of Crane V2, both with my Nikon D500 and my more compact Sony a6000.

This isn’t necessarily for everyone though. Previously, we took a look at the Smooth-II and Smooth-C—and found them to be excellent gimbals in their own right, designed for GoPros and smartphones.

If you’re looking for something more portable, the aforementioned gimbals have similar build quality and performance to the Crane device.

Now that even legendary filmmakers are shooting on iPhone, maybe these larger gimbals like Crane aren’t as needed as they used to be?

The price of gimbals and stabilizers used to be astronomical.

Crane V2 is one of a few pieces of gear capable of making professionally-looking buttery-smooth footage, and those capabilities are now readily available and easily accessible to nearly any aspiring filmmaker.

You can find the Crane V2 3-axis stabilizer on Amazon for $399, which is kind of shockingly affordable.

Let me know your thoughts, and if you pick one up, down in the comments!