Review: Zhiyun's Smooth II 3-Axis Gimbal Gives iPhone Video Footage Better Stability

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Digital image and video stabilization features have been included in modern smartphones for a while now, with each new generation offering improved correction for jumps and jitters that typically occur during handheld shooting.

    Still, even the latest handsets can't quite match the benefits that can be gained from using a motorized mount specifically designed to reduce vibration and unwanted shake.

    Smartphone gimbals are made for just this purpose. Phone gimbals look similar to selfie sticks, but incorporate special motorized axes that keep shooting balanced and steady by adjusting for tilt, roll and tracking movements.


    One brand that's been steadily gaining plaudits for its gimbals is Zhiyun. The Chinese firm's gimbals in its Smooth range have been noted amongst video aficionados for their robust design, multiple operational modes, and relative affordability compared to the competition. Here, we looked at the company's latest Z1-Smooth II ($329) to see what advantages a gimbal offers for iPhone owners.

    Click here to

    Article Link: Review: Zhiyun's Smooth II 3-Axis Gimbal Gives iPhone Video Footage Better Stability
  2. roboats, Nov 21, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016

    roboats macrumors member


    May 22, 2015
    Long Island, New York
    DJI Osmo Mobile is better, plus it has a far better companion app, I know from experience. Plus it's cheaper at $299
  3. BellaPass macrumors newbie


    Nov 21, 2016
    I own the DJi osmo mobile - 299 and twn times better quality.

    This Chinese knock off junk is simply that, knock off junk.
  4. Telos101 macrumors regular


    Apr 29, 2016
    Not sure what the feature difference is with this one but I used the Zhiyun Smooth C in a college course project and was amazing - I want one.

  5. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    I've always wanted one of these but they're too expensive to justify the extra benefit, especially now that my iPhone 7 has image stabilization. Sure, this is better, but not better enough for the cost. It's good for daily vloggers.

    One time at work I rented a nice gimbal to do some sweeping tracking shots through campus with our 5DMkIII. It was my first time using one and it was incredible. Wish I could do more video stuff.
  6. mrbossman macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2010
    There are major stabilization issues with the DJI Osmo & the iPhone 6 or 7. The automatic image stabilization cannot be turned off on iOS devices which leads to unusable footage as it in effect double stabilized. I would assume this is the same for all mobile phone gimbals when using an iPhone.
  7. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    A GoPro is a superior solution for an action camera.
  8. munishp macrumors member


    Nov 16, 2015
    I also prefer the DJI osmo mobile. Just overall a better product and quality
  9. kikyuu macrumors newbie

    Nov 21, 2016
    Isn't DJi also a Chinese company?
  10. macrescue911 macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2016
    Florida, USA
    Yes it is :)
  11. Freida macrumors 68000

    Oct 22, 2010
    Is the dji one not mechanical? If the gimbal stabilisers are mechanical then there is no way to have double effect. It would be as if you were having super steady hands
    However, if it's electronical and the video gets processed through an app then maybe you could have a point. Can someone clarify, please?
  12. Canubis macrumors regular


    Oct 22, 2008
    Vienna, Austria
    Wondering how this performs when the camera-person moves more quickly, since all the demo scenes are either from a fixed perspective or with actually quite slow movements. Gets me thinking.

    Especially interesting would be how this performs compared to Red Dot Design Award winner LUUV. They seem to have specialized on action filming and do a lot of stunningly looking fast-paced clips.

  13. Michael Scrip macrumors 603

    Mar 4, 2011
    I dunno man... this is their third handheld gimbal for smartphones (after the original Smooth and the Smooth-C)

    And Zhiyun has been making GoPro gimbals for years as well.

    Plus... their larger gimbals for mirrorless and DSLRs are highly rated too. Take a look at reviews for the Zhiyun Crane and Crane-M on Youtube.

    This may be one time where the Chinese "junk" is actually pretty good.

    (DJI is a Chinese company, too, ya know) ;)

    Here's a review of the original Z1-Smooth... it looks good to me:

  14. NanoTubeReturns macrumors newbie

    Dec 14, 2011
    Zhiyun in Hebrew is ****ing. So, ****ing Smooth II !
  15. Michaelgtrusa macrumors 604

    Oct 13, 2008
    They paid for this advert. Sad but not surprised.
  16. OldSchoolMacGuy Suspended


    Jul 10, 2008
    The review clearly says:

    That's not a paid advertisement.
  17. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    Just received mine today, got an open box on Amazon. Looking forward to comparing it to my Yuneec typhoon handheld.
  18. newyorkone macrumors 6502


    Jun 10, 2009
    The sample footage sucks. You can see the bounce when the operator is walking. I don't need the gimmicky battery powered stuff. Just need a steady, smooth phone holder, and it clearly isn't that.
  19. Michael Scrip macrumors 603

    Mar 4, 2011
    You can mitigate the bounce by holding your arms loose yet steady and using the ninja walk.

    But the real point of these gimbals is eliminating the horizontal rotation that makes the image wobbly.

    So while you might still get the bounce... without a gimbal you'll get bounce and a wobbly image.

    I don't see how not using a gimbal will result in smoother images.
  20. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    The problem with the Ziyun product is that you can get the same thing for 200 RMB on Taobao (Chinese Ebay). That's like $35.
  21. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    How does the hand feel, weight and overall response compare between the two? I have only used the Osmo 4K, not the phone model. I liked it, but, I find it nice to be able to use the Smartphones I currently own, as well as older models I have sitting around.
  22. zellxak macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2014
    I use
    Filmic Pro with my OSMO at times. It has the ability to turn off image stabilization.
  23. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    I have never experienced that with the DJI on my 6S (Digital IS only), nor with my iPhone 7 (Digital and Optical IS). After using my Smooth-C for about an hour on 3 phones (slightly different model than reviewed in this link), I can report no issues with how the 7 reacts to this gimbal.

    It doesn't go all wonky like my Canon IS lens when using a Tripod, it is actually quite smooth. I am not sure exactly what algorithms they use, however it acts like the accelerometers and gyro's are feeding reliable information to the phones lens system.
  24. Corrode macrumors 6502a


    Dec 26, 2008
    Calgary, AB
    This. There are issues with the 6s Plus and 7/7 Plus using gimbals where the balancing counteracts the optical image stabilization inside the phone's lens causing the video to bob. Since there's no way to turn off optical image stabilization, it seems to be an issue with any gimbal.

    MacRumors used a 6s so they wouldn't see an issue. Would love to see this tried with a 7.
  25. chanoe, Nov 22, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016

    chanoe macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2015
    I have DJI OSMO Mobile and iPhone 7 Plus. I can tell you from my experience that the footages shot with DJI is unusable. Every now and then the images bob and jerk, as if the mechanical thing that controls the OIS is engaged whenever the gimbal compensates for jerky movement. Though, it's not entirely DJI's fault nor any other mobile gimbal manufacturers' as all phones with OIS suffer from this. And the sad thing is that there's no getting around it.

    If you are going to use the footages shot with these gimbals for any degree of professional use, don't bother. They can't be used. But for hobbyists trying to capture moments of family functions, children or pets... it's fine. No one will notice.

    Too bad, Apple does not allow developers to disable the mechanism that enables OIS. I'm using my DJI with GoPro and the results have been much better as the GoPro does not have OIS.

    Also, Filmic Pro and some other apps that disable IS only applies to the software IS, not the OIS.

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