New Zhiyun Crane 2 – Bigger Payload, OLED Display, and Follow Focus

Handheld gimbal stabilizers. They are everywhere. Everyone and their grandma has one. Or two. And most producers nowadays expect cameraman to own at least a singe grip stabilizer. For those already confused – excluding the most compact ones designed for smartphones, the ones designed for actual stills/hybrid cameras and proper digital cinema cameras come in generally two form factors – larger two-hand stabilizers such as the DJI Ronin 2 (which has a massive payload of 30 lbs, but is hella expensive) or smaller and way more affordable DJI Ronin M, and single, or as they are often called, pistol grip gimbal stabilizers.

As a Ronin MX owner, I am often envious if Zhiyun Crane operators, who can easily carry their stabilizer in the same backpack (or on the side) as their camera. Me on the other hand – I have to lug the Ronin MX around in the boot of my car. I am not complaining, as I can carry larger payloads on my MX, and generally prefer the form factor, but as someone who used to own the Zhiyun Crane V2, I am really excited about the newly re-designed, Zhiyun-Tech Crane 2.

Not to be confused with the “facelift” V2 version, the Zhiyun Crane 2 is a much beefier and has quite a few new features. According to the manufacturer, the Crane 2 features a 6th Generation Instune Algorithm System which results in approximately 50% gain in motor torque and 20% improvement in noise reduction, the Crane 2 therefore gets a massive new max. payload of 3.2kg, enabling users to balance cameras ranging from the Panasonic GH5 and even much beefier Canon 5D Mark IV in addition to plenty more (of course all is relative to the lens you will be using, as the payload includes that too, but you already know that, I presume).

Zhiyun Crane 2 Features

  • Integrated 3-Level Follow Focus Control
  • Maximum Payload: 7 lb
  • Great for Canon 5D Mark IV or Panasonic GH5
  • Pro-Grade Image Stabilization
  • OLED Display
  • Camera Control via Handgrip Buttons
  • 6000 mAh Battery Runs up to 18 Hours
  • Power Select Sony Cameras via Gimbal
  • Quick Release Camera Plate
  • Gradual Power-Down Protects Camera
  • Price: $749 at B&H
  • Ships October 17th, 2017

Zhiyun Crane 2 OLED

Other notable new features include an integrated follow focus knob and an integrated OLED screen to help you easily identify the connection status, battery level, control mode and multiple camera params, giving you full control over every detail. For me personally, the OLED is a huge deal, as anyone who’s ever used either the Zhiyun Crane V1 or V2, or any other single grip gimbal by other similar companies, can attest to the pain and uncertainty one feels when having to guess what more you’re in or how much of a battery you have left.

Speaking of batteries, the new Crane 2 has a massive 18 hour battery life according to Zhiyun-Tech, giving you easily a full day and some change of usage, and is now powered by 3 x 18650 Li-ion batteries, instead of 2 as on the V2. As far as the focus knob, yes that is a first for a gimbal of its kind, but functionality is limited to Canon EOS cameras at the moment, such as the 5D Mark IV.

The Crane 2 is integrated with a 32-bit x 3 high-speed MCU parallel control technology which apparently gives you 100% improvement in respond speed, and some serious anti-shaking stabilizing performance.

zhiyun crane v2 zhiyun tech

The quick control dial on the control panel is like an integrated extension of your camera. You can either press or rotate the dial to make various camera parameter settings such as TV, AV, ISO and EV, giving you seamless camera control independently from any software applications.

The Zhiyun Crane 2 comes standard with a comprehensive accessories kit, including camera control cables to connect with various brand cameras, an Aluminium alloy tripod, an EVA carrying bag, as well as a MANFROTTO standard quick release plate that allows quick camera installation to the stabilizer or tripod within seconds, ideal for videographers stepping up their game.

Pricing at the moment is set at $749 US and you can order yours from authorised resellers such as B&H or direct from Zhiyun Crane.

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  • schnellman

    Will the follow focus work with Panasonic GH4 or GH5? Or is it only for Canon cameras?

    • ” functionality is limited to Canon EOS cameras at the moment, such as the 5D Mark IV.”

      Focus is controlled by usb and it will not work with other brand for sure. It’s not the first time a focus is controlled by usb, they just put the usb control inside their own software, but this is not ground breaking tech. You can buy plenty of USB focus control for EOS camera already.
      I used such device for a gimbal I have designed but was not able to find a similar remote for Panasonic camera over the time, so I guess it’s quite unlikely they will support the GH camera in the futur.

      I was very excited to read at first about a follow focus integrated to a light gimbal, but I saw the USB system instead of a real motor to clamp on camera as other manufacturer do, so, quite disappointed…

      • schnellman

        Too bad. I was thinking a great design would be a real follow focus. Then you could use speed boosters, vinage lenses, manual lenses, etc… And it would work for all cameras. Oh well, guess I was hoping for too much.

        • Rhys Ludlow

          I have been asking them repeatedly when or if they will support focus on gh4. This company apparantly doesnt belive in answering questions. If the answer was no, I had planned to buy the previous version. But their lack of response to pre sales questions makes me think support would be non existent. So Im soured on them. And putting it off.

          • Yeah @rhysludlow:disqus I’m thinking the same thing. I’ve got the GH4 and if it’s not promising this thing will follow focus with GH4 soon I’m gonna go with the older version and save my money. Can snag another lens for the difference in price too. 🙂

      • disqus_3zX228QrvV

        I use the GH5 with the Crane 2 and the Atomos Inferno at 4K 60p. You can use the imaging app from Panasonic and your phone as a follow focus monitor. Just press the screen of the phone and get the right focus point.

        • So, you need a phone in one hand (and pinch focus on the screen), an inferno in your back and a crane on your second hand…
          But the concept of the focus wheel on the crane is still not useful to you. Thank you so much for your help.

          • disqus_3zX228QrvV

            I didn’t say that the follow focus wheel isn’t useful. At least untill it works. I only pointed out that the Imaging app can be used to set focus while the camera is on the gimball. I personally would let someone else control the focus on the phone, while I film.

  • Innovative design? LOL, only people who buys this chunk, is people who never had a rig like this before. Trust me, after 5 mins, your wrists will hurt so much you will understand what i just said.
    Not to mention the arm that covers hald the already small screen 😉
    Good luck!

    • Eric

      Do you have exceptionally tiny wrists?
      How is this any different (ergonomically/weight-wise) from a stabilizer like a glidecam? I suppose it might be more difficult because you have the weight of the camera directly above without much to counterbalance it on the bottom (except for maybe the batteries in the handle), but seeing as the payload is still relatively small I can’t imagine it being much of a problem…

    • Pardal Linho

      Get an assistant bro!

    • T A

      I’ve used the Zhiyun for extensive periods of time and while your arm does get fatigued, it’s not as short as 5mins. I can easily go for about 35-45 mins before I need to rest. That being said, you can easily rig this to a monopod with feet (I suggest the Sirui 204S) and attach a field monitor along (I don’t use mics since I remote mic). This will allow you to rest when you can and easily pick it back up and film (also, added bonus – you can get “jib” shots using a monopod). As for tight shots, just add a quick release plate and disconnect when needed and you’re good to go. Seriously looking into getting the Crane 2 once I can figure out the focus pull for Sony cameras.

  • Ian McPhee

    Wondering how this would work with an A7S. We have a Blackmagic video assist 4k attached so there’d be a HDMI cable coming out the side. Do you think the system would cope? Would there be balancing issues?

    • Brock

      FWIW we have the Crane V2 with an a7sii hooked up to a SmallHD Focus monitor and don’t have any issues with the cables messing with the balance. There’s a cable from the dummy battery as well as the HDMI out of the side and everything works fine. I would imagine since this gimbal has a much higher payload that you would be fine with your current monitor setup.

      • Mariano Brusa

        Work follow focus with a7s2?

  • Andreas Schwarz

    …will this work with sony Z90, too? Any ideas?

  • Debating whether this is an investment for the Nikon D810, asked multiple times but Zhiyun don’t get back to you about anything, wondering if will get the most functionality out of it

  • Harold Benitez Mina

    Will the Follow Focus work on Canon 80D or is it really limited to 5D Mark IV?

  • Mike

    Hi Will the crane 2 be able to carry a Canon EOS M5 with a stanard lens setup?