Shining a lightweight on cellular creators

Patrick

The smartphone gimbal conflict is now a battle of more and more lighter and lower-cost merchandise. On the increased finish, DJI leads the area with the Osmo Cellular collection and the $149 OM4. However you don’t must spend that a lot to get a smartphone gimbal that does a lot — if not all — of the identical stuff. Enter the $89 Zhiyun Clean Q3 gimbal, which is just 60{2d266c2b7f7b21b9d5247541775384085ff4c78fbe34d1f6195ea0b207eacd24} of the worth of the DJI OM4 and appears to be each bit pretty much as good — however is it? That is Android Authority‘s Zhiyun Clean Q3 overview.

About this Zhiyun Clean Q3 overview: I used the Clean Q3 for 14 days, paired to the ZY Cami app, model 1.2.5. The Zhiyun Clean Q3 overview unit was supplied to Android Authority for this overview.

What you might want to know concerning the Zhiyun Clean Q3

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

  • Zhiyun Clean Q3 (A_SM113_HK): $89/£85/€89/Rs.7,999
  • Zhiyun Clean Q3 combo pack (A_SM113C_HK): $109/£99/€109

The Clean Q3 is Zhiyun’s newest three-axis smartphone gimbal. It’s the successor to the Clean Q2 and a direct competitor to the DJI OM4. At $89 the Clean Q3 is cheaper than each its predecessor the Clean Q2 at $119 and the DJI OM4 at $149.

You should buy the Clean Q3 gimbal by itself or as a part of a combo pack. The combo pack features a inflexible carrying case, a wrist strap, and a 12 months’s subscription to Zhiyun Prime. The Zhiyun Clean Q3 solely is available in grey.

What’s new for the reason that Clean Q2?

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 with phone mounted horizontally

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The primary new addition here’s a built-in fill gentle, which may rotate 180 levels. This implies you may gentle your self when vlogging in low-light or nighttime circumstances. It additionally helps you to illuminate topics and objects on the opposite facet of the digicam. The deal with is now extra ergonomic than its predecessor.

Sadly, the opposite important adjustments are downgrades, relying in your perspective. The construct materials is now plastic and the battery is 1,300mAh, down from the 4,500mAh cell within the Q2. This sadly means you may now not reverse-charge your telephone from the gimbal.

The Clean Q3 additionally has a shorter battery life — about half that of the Clean Q2 in my expertise. Zhiyun claims an identical max runtime for each gimbals, though I didn’t even get near that in the summertime warmth. On a optimistic be aware, the Clean Q3 is now a lot lighter.

What’s the construct high quality like?

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 in carrying case with tripod

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Q3 might not really feel as strong as its predecessor nevertheless it’s additionally 20{2d266c2b7f7b21b9d5247541775384085ff4c78fbe34d1f6195ea0b207eacd24} lighter than both the Q2 or OM4. In the case of portability, particularly for cellular creators, weight and compactness are king. With that mentioned, the Clean Q3 collapses through a sliding mechanism for compact storage. It additionally comes with an included tripod.

The built-in subtle LED gentle on the gimbal clamp is definitely fairly good.

The built-in subtle LED gentle on the gimbal clamp is definitely fairly good. It has three brightness settings that present good management over the lighting impact. Merely long-press the sunshine to energy on and faucet to cycle via the choices. From a mushy ambiance for portrait capturing to brighter illumination in darkish environments, it’s a terrific built-in addition.

There’s not a lot else to say concerning the Clean Q3’s gentle apart from it really works as marketed — it’s only a gentle in any case. My solely gripe is that whereas the sunshine can be utilized dealing with forwards or backwards in panorama orientation, it’s not so for portrait.

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 with phone mounted vertically

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Clean Q3 defaults to portrait orientation if you energy it on. Sadly, the sunshine will get obscured by the gimbal arm when dealing with forwards except you tilt it on a humorous angle. This looks like a bizarre oversight for a gimbal focused at vloggers and cellular creators who more and more shoot vertical video.

See additionally: The perfect digicam telephones

The Clean Q3 has a well-known button setup on the deal with. It presents a joystick, file/shutter button, mode button with LED indicators, a zoom slider, an influence button, and a multi-function set off button.

The construct high quality feels quite a bit flimsier than some other Zhiyun gimbal I’ve used. Plastic doesn’t must really feel flimsy however right here it does, particularly on the first joint on high of the deal with.

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 vs Smooth Q 2

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

A 1/4-inch-20 screw thread on the bottom of the deal with permits you to mount the Clean Q3 on a tripod for easy panoramas or lengthy exposures. The included tripod additionally capabilities as a deal with extender. There’s a USB-C port for charging however you may now not reverse-charge your telephone with the gimbal.

The plastic construct is actually lighter than its steel predecessor nevertheless it feels far flimsier too.

I can’t say I’m thrilled by the shift again to a plastic construct for the Clean Q3. I get why — it’s a lot lighter — however I want the sturdier development of the Clean Q2, which is extra according to Zhiyun’s bigger digicam gimbals. For that added sturdiness I’m prepared to pay the worth of additional weight, though many wouldn’t.

How you can arrange the Zhiyun Clean Q3

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 locking screw and buttons

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Setup is a breeze as there’s no advanced balancing required. Prolong the gimbal arm and tighten the lock screw. Then “unlock” the opposite motors from their journey place and insert your telephone within the spring-loaded clamp. Your telephone ought to, roughly, sit within the orientation you need it to earlier than you energy the gimbal on. This reduces put on on the gimbal motors.

It’s at all times a good suggestion to make these changes you probably have time however they aren’t completely needed. This is likely one of the nice advantages of cellular gimbals. Pairing to the ZY Cami app is fairly simple too. As soon as the gimbal powers on together with your telephone inserted, launch the app and hit the digicam button on the high left. Your Clean Q3 ought to seem within the accessible gadgets checklist.

Setup is a breeze as there is no advanced balancing required.

All through my Zhiyun Clean Q3 overview interval I continually needed to reconnect the app with the gimbal through Bluetooth. I’m unsure if this can be a bug or anticipated habits, nevertheless it’s very annoying. The worst half is the affect it has on having the ability to begin capturing shortly.

What capturing modes does it assist?

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 video settings

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Zhiyun Clean Q3 gimbal presents the identical suite of capturing modes as most different smartphone gimbals:

  • Pan comply with mode locks the lean and pan axes so your telephone solely pans left and proper.
  • Lock mode locks all axes: Use the thumb-stick to manage tilt and pan axes.
  • Observe mode solely locks the roll axis so tilt and pan comply with the motion of the gimbal deal with or are managed by utilizing the thumb-stick.
  • Go Mode is activated by holding the set off button down on the gimbal deal with. It’s like Observe mode however quicker.
  • POV Mode makes all three motors comply with the motion of the gimbal deal with. Twist the deal with to pan left or proper, tilt forwards and again to tilt up and down, and rotate left and proper to roll.
  • Vortex mode is just like POV Mode the place all motors comply with the gimbal deal with motion however you may management the roll and pan motors with the thumb-stick.

The Clean Q3 helps as much as 4K 60fps capturing (relying in your smartphone’s capabilities) with Full-HD and HD choices and 24fps and 30fps as effectively. You can even tweak white stability, add grid traces, and way more.

What’s the stabilization like?

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 controls with hand

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The primary issues to think about with any gimbal are how secure is it and the way straightforward is it to make use of? The primary query has a quite simple reply right here: very. Like different Zhiyun gimbals I’ve used — each for smartphones or conventional cameras — the Clean Q3 supplies wonderful stabilization.

The motors are responsive and highly effective sufficient to deal with bigger smartphones however they appear way more delicate than the Q2, steadily “flopping” underneath load (for instance, when utilizing attachable lenses). That is odd contemplating the Clean Q3 has a better max payload than its predecessor (which didn’t undergo the identical points). It’s potential that the Clean Q3’s motors are tuned this technique to keep away from burnout. I additionally had extra haywire motor freakouts than I’ve with some other gimbal.

The Zhiyun Clean Q3 supplies wonderful stabilization.

I can’t assure you gained’t see the gimbal arm on the wide-angle lens of each smartphone available on the market both. I like to recommend you check out a Clean Q3 first if you happen to plan on capturing ultra-wide or with attachable lenses. This may keep away from any surprises if you set it up together with your explicit equipment.

You possibly can decide the stabilization for your self through the pattern footage under.

The entire fundamental modes listed above functioned as anticipated and had been usually fairly dependable. I did get the occasional video stutter within the ensuing footage, which I later realized was all the way down to the ZY Cami app. Once I switched to my telephone’s default digicam app the issue disappeared.

The one different concern I observed was the occasional “lurch” from the lean motor motion. The motion can be easy for the primary 45 levels or so, then the gimbal would all of a sudden tilt ahead or again as soon as I went previous a specific angle. This may be labored round nevertheless it does put a slight blemish on an in any other case very succesful cellular gimbal.

Associated: What to search for in a smartphone digicam

A living proof: whereas making an attempt to shoot some jib-like photographs, I needed to start out as near the bottom as potential, however it doesn’t matter what I did the Clean Q3 would tilt the telephone down as I arrange my beginning place, or tilt it up as soon as I reached the shot’s highest level. The one answer was to start out my photographs increased and end them decrease to maintain the telephone in its authentic place.

How straightforward is it to make use of?

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 clamp closeup

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The second massive query — how straightforward is it to make use of — is the place issues get a little bit murkier. When reviewing the Clean Q2 I had come to phrases with the quirks of the ZY Play app (rated 2.7 on Google Play). The Clean Q3 makes use of the brand new ZY Cami app as a substitute which is rated an much more dismal 2.5 stars.

The ZY Cami app is definitely the weakest a part of the Clean Q3 expertise.

The ZY Cami app is definitely the weakest a part of the Clean Q3 expertise. Thankfully, you should use a lot of the important options of the Clean Q3 with out the app. You’ll lose some performance, notably the file and zoom buttons on the gimbal deal with and a few superior options within the app. For most individuals, I’d suggest utilizing the ZY Cami app solely if you want one of many Clean Q3’s app-specific modes like hyperlapse.

If you’re prepared to regulate to the ZY Cami app, you’ll get a number of extra options that are price determining, even when solely to see how they could mesh together with your artistic workflow. Probably the most notable choices embody:

  • Dolly mode: Zoom in or out on a topic as you get bodily nearer or additional away, preserving the topic the identical measurement within the body because the background expands or contracts.
  • SmartFollow 3.0: Activated with the set off button, the Clean-Q will begin auto-tracking a shifting topic.
  • Gesture Management: Begin recording with a hand gesture if you happen to’re capturing by yourself with the gimbal on a tripod (or in case your gimbal operator has a lightweight or increase mic of their different hand).
  • MagicClone Pano: Put your self within the body a number of instances.
Zhiyun Smooth Q3 settings

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The ZY Cami app additionally supplies loads of extra stuff like video modifying, tutorials, timelapse and hyperlapse, panorama modes, and way more. A few of these, like cloud-based modifying and live-streaming, require a Zhiyun Prime membership.

In case you purchase the combo pack (see Verdict part under) you get a 12 months’s free Prime membership — or you may enroll individually. Probably the most helpful facet of the Prime membership for me was 4K uploads and assist for importing 30-minute movies.

Zhiyun ZY Cami app settings

Even if you happen to do get into ZY Cami, one other concern continually raises its ugly head: lag. The delay between urgent buttons and a response is oftentimes so lengthy you assume you have to have missed the faucet goal and find yourself urgent the button once more. This can be a actual disgrace because the app itself is comparatively effectively laid-out and feature-rich. Hopefully, Zhiyun pushes some updates, however I’m not holding my breath.

All the pieces else

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 USB C charging port

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

  • Zoom slider: The zoom slider on the facet of the gimbal deal with is a bit janky. I wouldn’t suggest utilizing it in order for you the very best high quality stabilized footage.
  • EIS points: You may want to show off your smartphone’s digital picture stabilization (EIS) if you happen to discover it “preventing” with the gimbal’s bodily stabilization. That is particularly noticeable when doing barrel-roll strikes.
  • Cable issues: The orientation of the gimbal arms has been modified to permit simpler entry to the ports in your telephone. This can be a good factor, however if you happen to really plug a dongle, headphones, or a mic in they’ll doubtless nonetheless get in the best way.
  • Inverted place: It’s potential to invert the gimbal however you need to do it fastidiously to keep away from the motors freaking out. Maintain the gimbal usually, then slowly rotate the deal with from six o’clock place to 12 o’clock place as you decrease it in the direction of the bottom. This course of appeared way more delicate than on different gimbals I’ve used.
  • FilmicPro incompatibility: FilmicPro just isn’t at present suitable with the Zhiyun Clean Q3. If that’s your digicam app of alternative you may nonetheless use the Clean Q3 as a “dumb” gimbal however you’ll lose the file button and zoom performance on the gimbal’s deal with, in addition to the extra options within the ZY Cami app.
  • No quick-release: There’s no quick-release mechanism right here so that you’ll must unclamp your telephone each time you’re taking it out. That is a lot much less handy than the quick-release lever on the Clean Q2 or the magnetic clamp on the DJI OM4.
  • Battery life: Zhiyun says the Q3’s max runtime is 15 hours, however I’m unsure how doubtless that’s exterior excellent lab circumstances. Zhiyun’s normal battery expectation is seven hours, down from 13 hours within the Clean Q2. My common was round 7-10 hours.

Worth and competitors

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 render

Zhiyun Clean-Q3 gimbal

3-axis smartphone gimbal

The Zhiyun Clean-Q3 presents light-weight supplies, compact development, and a built-in fill gentle for cellular content material creators.

So what’s the competitors like? Stiff. Whereas the Zhiyun Clean Q3 handles the fundamentals of smartphone gimbals effectively, the app actually lets it down, as does the flimsy construct high quality and motor sensitivity. If you need a cellular gimbal that may do the fundamentals and gained’t break the financial institution, the Clean Q3 remains to be an excellent possibility.

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 carry case

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

If, nevertheless, you intend on doing extra technical gimbal capturing, want a extra responsive and dependable app, or plan to shoot wide-angle quite a bit, particularly with attachable lenses, I’d counsel trying out both the Clean Q2, the Clean 4, the DJI OM4, or the Hohem iSteady Cellular Plus.

The Clean Q3 does the fundamentals and will not break the financial institution.

The Clean Q2 ($119) has higher motor stability and construct high quality however an equally unhealthy app expertise. The Clean 4 ($99) is a bigger and fewer transportable however extra well-rounded gimbal to my thoughts than the Clean Q3. The Hohem iSteady Cellular Plus ($89) is one other contender, nevertheless it too suffers from an affordable plastic really feel and disappointing companion app. The DJI OM4 ($149) remains to be plastic however feels sturdier and presents a slightly higher app expertise.

Zhiyun Clean Q3 overview: The decision

Zhiyun Smooth Q3 with phone mounted on tripod

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The Clean Q3 is a little bit of a let-down for me. I actually needed to love what Zhiyun’s making an attempt right here — going toe-to-toe with DJI — however the execution leaves a bit to be desired. I used to be actually into the Clean Q2 and the Q3 appears like a downgrade to me in some ways. The Clean Q3 can’t compete with the OM4 both in my view, besides on value. Different gimbals, together with from Zhiyun itself, supply a greater price-performance ratio.

I actually needed to love what Zhiyun’s making an attempt right here however the execution leaves a bit to be desired.

The worth is the true promoting level right here, together with the built-in gentle. If you need in on the smartphone gimbal sport on the lowest potential value whereas nonetheless getting loads of superior options and good stabilization, the Clean Q3 is price trying out, particularly if you happen to’re into TikTok or some other vertical video-based platform. Simply make sure you try the Clean Q3’s competitors as effectively and determine what you’d be prepared to go with out to be able to get that fill gentle.

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