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Zhiyun CRANE 3S: a modular gimbal for small DSLRs and large cinema cameras

An evolution of the original CRANE 3 LAB, the new Zhiyun CRANE 3S offers offers a wider range of applications and more intuitive control, along with a new battery pack to support intense shooting.

Zhiyun CRANE 3S: a modular gimbal for small DSLRs and large cinema cameras

Whether you use a Canon EOS 1DX or a Sony FS and FX series, the Zhiyun CRANE 3S has you covered: it’s a modular gimbal ready, says the company, for any challenge.

Debuted online this March, in a live presentation streamed through Zhiyun’s official Youtube  channel, the Zhiyun CRANE 3S is the company’s latest gimbal solution, building on Zhiyun’s heritage of innovation with a brand new modular design, aiming to make it usable for a wider range of applications while offering more intuitive control.

Zhiyun’s original CRANE 3 LAB, the first generation of gimbal with built-in image transmission, introduced new ways of holding and controlling a gimbal for creative filmmaking. But Zhiyun still felt that the gimbal could adapt even better to the strict and unpredictable filming environment, and the CRANE 3S is announced as that gimbal, a versatile equipment that is ideal for anything from intense chase shots to studio work, adaptable to every shooting environment and its own special demands.

Demanding shooting tasks may require the use of a variety of cameras and accessories in complicated shooting environments. CRANE 3S is reengineered with new SUPER motors, says the company, “which allow it to handle a 6.5kg payload for more ambitious camera setups–including Canon EOS 1DX, Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras, and even Canon Cinema EOS, Sony FS and FX series, and Red Digital Cinema Cameras.”

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A gimbal with a  modular design

The modular design in the motor axis and handles offers extra flexibility and cross-compatibility and makes the CRANE 3S, potentially, the only gimbal you need for most situations. For larger cinema camera combos, users can attach the included extension module onto the roll axis. For smaller DSLR combos, the extension module can be removed to make the setup compact and portable.

The previous LAB series created a new way of holding a gimbal in underslung mode with the second handle. The CRANE 3S rethinks the structure and introduces a detachable second handle with two options: the EasySling Handle and the SmartSling Handle. You can either mount EasySling handle to extend the grip for more comfort upright & underslung operation, or choose to mount SmartSling handle featuring an intuitive control panel and OLED screen, for direct camera & gimbal parameter adjustment, or combine them together.

The handle mods are easy to fit and remove, and both provide multiple thread holes in different sizes to mount accessories. The modular design makes CRANE 3S highly compatible with motorized dollies, jibs, cable cams, Easyrig, etc.

Zhiyun CRANE 3S: a modular gimbal for small DSLRs and large cinema cameras

The CRANE 3S  offers 18 hours of runtime

A new battery pack to support shooting for longer hours is another feature that filmmakers will appreciate. With three 18650-format batteries, CRANE 3S can run for up to 12 hours. A DC-in power port on the battery compartment allows input of up to 25.2-volts for direct charging. To support long shoots with larger setups, Zhiyun introduces the TransMount PowerPlus Battery Pack, a compact yet fast-charging power bank for the gimbal and camera. This houses six 18650 batteries and independently provides 18 hours of runtime for the gimbal.

Zhiyun claims the new gimbal is a dependable and responsive system, providing ultimate reliability that users can count on. The newly-designed locking system can lock all three axes without noticeable swinging. The modular design comes with double locks to ensure the setup is 100% safe. Larger lens support has been added to the zoom and focus system. CRANE 3S is driven by a new algorithm which enables phenomenally responsive speed and smoothness. In fast action shooting, the CRANE 3S can resist high winds G-forces without compromise. The 55° tilted roll axis is designed for an unrestricted view and allows enough space to mount large cinema camera combos.

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Available in three options

Zhiyun TransMount Image Transmission Module is compatible with CRANE 3S. With the transmitter, the video can be streamed to up to three monitoring devices including smartphones. The ViaTouch 2.0 system in the ZY Play app bridges the communication gap between stabilizer, camera and monitoring devices, allowing you to adjust camera and gimbal parameters remotely and intuitively. The ViaTouch 2.0 system also enables a visualized remote motion control for the gimbal which Zhiyun claims is a first in the industry.

The Zhiyun CRANE 3S is available for purchase at ZHIYUN official store Pricing and availability in three options:

  • CRANE 3S (with SmartSling Handle) at $739
  • CRANE 3S-E (with EasySling Handle) at $649
  • CRANE 3S Pro (with SmartSling Handle, PowerPlus Battery Pack, Zoom&Focus Controllers, Image Transmission Transmitter and Smartphone Clamp) at $1149

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…
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