Smartphone gimbals have slowly been penetrating the market for the last couple of years, as they present advantages when it comes to stability. Yes, OIS in many smartphones has helped to smooth things out, but these smartphone gimbals ensure that steadiness is achieved during all sorts of motion. We've been checking out the Zhiyun Smooth 3 for a little bit now, which is in the same price bracket as the highly touted DJI Osmo Mobile.
Honestly, there's not a lot to the design of the Smooth 3. In fact, you can kind of say it's rather generic looking for the most part – very similar to the designs of other gimbals meant for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. While it won't weaken your arms during long period of use, the aviation-grade aluminum body of the Smooth 3 does make it a little heavier than others. But then again, that contributes to its solid built quality and substantial feel.
It's weighty, but it has a solid build quality with its metal construction.
Adjusting the gimbal to accommodate a smartphone is simple process that requires us to merely adjust the length of the arms to properly balance the phone in place. All in all, the balancing process takes no more than a minute at best, which is great! Better yet, the Smooth 3 allows for a larger payload than other models – allowing it to even remain balanced when add-on lenses are attached to the smartphone.
When it comes to the controls, it doesn't deviate from what we're familiar with. There are three primary modes, which consists of a panning, lock, and follow modes. Out of the bunch, we found ourselves using the panning mode for following a subject, since we can also manually adjust the tilt of the gimbal using the joystick. Using the accompanying Zhiyun ZY Play app, it adds a zoom feature using the scroll wheel on the side of the gimbal – while another button is using to snap photos.
Interesting, though, the follow feature in the app is only available with the iOS version of the app, but we hope this useful feature comes to Android as well. This feature allows us to track a subject using the app, wherein the gimbal will automatically move accordingly to ensure that the subject is in frame – so there's no intervention on our part.
From some of the quick footage we captured with the gimbal, it manages to do a great job in keeping things stabilized. From those sweeping panning shots, to some low angle ones, it's impressive what kind of cinematic shots you can achieve using this gimbal. However, we can make out just a teeny tiny amount of bobbing movement while walking.
Now, if you're interested in the Zhuyin Smooth 3, just know it'll set you back a whopping $300 to pick up from places like Amazon. That's the same price as the DJI Osmo Mobile! There are certainly some advantages to the Smooth 3, like its larger overall payload, but it'll more than likely come down to personal preference with their designs.