Since the introduction of handheld gimbals into the prosumer market, videographers of all levels have been able to create stunningly smooth and shake-free footage. Zhiyun-Tech has been a leader in this market and their wide range of gimbal products, like their Smooth series for phones and Crane series for cameras, have revolutionized the way people take videos. Zhiyun’s newest gimbal looks to continue the company’s legacy of innovation.
The Zhiyun Weebill Lab drastically redefines handheld gimbals. Certainly, it still holds true to what a gimbal is – a 3-axis stabilizer designed to remove camera shake through automatic adjustments – and the algorithm used to correct shake is surprisingly sharp for its price point. However, Zhiyun designed this gimbal with consumers and consumer use cases in mind.
The most noticeable innovation is the new form factor. The battery is placed above the handle, rather than being an extension of it. In doing so, Zhiyun effectively minimized how much space the gimbal would take up. Not only that, but this new design allows for a smooth transition from Upright to Underslung mode. By attaching the tripod to the battery compartment, the gimbal will naturally rest. This is more ergonomic and comfortable for the user, as it feels similar to carrying a briefcase or bag by the handle.
Another big change is the axis locks. Simply stated, it’s surprising that this isn’t a more common feature; it made balancing the gimbal so much easier and kept the axis from rotating when traveling.
Zhiyun did incorporate some of the best features from previous models. The OLED screen is bright and intuitive. The button layout and joystick setup made it easy to transition from one of the 6 different capture modes. Each mode – Lock, Pan Follow, Follow, POV, Go, and Vortex – would also display on the screen, making it easy to tell what mode the camera is on.
- My camera set up was a Sony a6500 mirrorless camera with an FE 24-70 f/3.5-5.6 and it worked smoothly.
- Its maximum payload is 3kg (6.6lbs) but the cradle is on the smaller side so longer lenses may not work even with a lighter setup.
- The battery lasts 10 hours fully charged, long enough for a full day shoot.
- While the handle is made of plastic, it feels premium thanks to the leather like grip on both the handle and tripod.
- The tripod can be locked so there’s no fear of it accidentally unscrewing itself.
In initial tests, the Zhiyun Weebill Lab surprised me. Its small form factor and weight belied its powerful motors and not only that, but it also was so convenient for me to take anywhere on the go. As a beginner, the button layout helped tremendously as it was easy to go from one shooting style to another.
Overall, if you’re looking to up the quality of your footage without breaking the bank, the Zhiyun Weebill Lab might be the way to go. It’s a great gimbal for any travel videographer with lightweight camera setups. The innovation of the Weebill Lab has me excited to see what Zhiyun brings to the table in the future, whether that be their Crane 3 Lab or another project.
- The Zhiyun Weebill Lab is the perfect solution for anyone looking to create cinematic shots on a budget.
- The new lightweight form factor is perfect for travel videographers and anyone who works more run & gun.
- Quality of life changes like the axis locks and tripod mount for underslung mode drastically improves ease of use while returning features – OLED display, intuitive button control system, to name a few – bring the best of Zhiyun’s current technology.
- Footage is extremely smooth and getting to the different modes was as easy as a click of a button.
- While it didn’t perform well as consistently as I would have hoped, especially on Go Mode, the Weebill Lab still showed a bunch of promise. Firmware and software updates are sure to come.
- Anyone with a heavier camera setup might want to wait for the Zhiyun Crane 3 Lab.
Zhiyun-Tech provided a copy of their Zhiyun Weebill Lab for review. We were not compensated in any other way for this review.