Zhiyun is a relatively new name in the world of photography, founded only eight years ago, Zhiyun has rapidly become one of the most exciting and innovative brands to watch. One of the leaders of the new wave of Chinese innovation, rapidly pushing forward emerging technology and disrupting the industry that is still dominated by camera companies a century old.
Zhiyun recently held its first Middle Eastern Summit to coincide with the announcement of its latest trio of products, the Zhiyun Crane 4, Zhiyun Fiveray V60, and Zhiyun Molus G200, and the company was generous enough to invite me along. Set against the fitting backdrop of the Museum of the Future in Dubai, this international summit is one of the first chances to get to know the up-and-coming brand better, and a chance for Zhiyun to show off what it has in store for its own future.
Out of its three most recent announcements, the one that is most exciting is the new Zhiyun Molus G200, its most powerful light yet, with up to 300W of boosted lighting power in a box that fits in the palm of your hand, this is a light that challenges some of the best professional lights in the industry. Zhiyun’s lights are now renowned for their unconventional designs and the G200 is no different, I asked Zhiyun why it chose to take a risk on potentially divisive designs:
"I believe time will definitely allow [users] to understand the innovations of the technology, and being an innovative technology company, at Zhiyun it is always our objective and our ambition to be the pioneer in terms of new innovations of the technology. So, if you want to look at some of the designs of the recent lights that we have actually launched, I think this is a really good breakthrough in terms of how we can actually design these lights to be so small, so compact, but yet able to deliver the power from the light itself. So, I think this is something that our R&D team has done a really amazing job to be able to create such an innovative technology and this is what I always say, this is definitely a game changer in terms of the future of lighting equipment."
Zhiyun’s second new light is the Zhiyun Fiveray V60, its new entry in the lesser-appreciated segment of light sticks/wands. If you’ve followed Zhiyun’s lighting solutions, then you might be familiar with the Zhiyun Fiveray F100, and on a quick glance, the lights look very similar. Why has Zhiyun launched the V60, well according to Zhiyun;
“some professionals need just to focus on the needs for the most basic color and sometimes less is more”.
Having bi-color lights allows the lights to reach higher brightness and more accurate color, so for users who appreciate the most consistent output for their color-critical work, the Fiveray V60 is now the best option light wand. The Fiveray F100 is in fact currently the only colored light in Zhiyun’s lineup, but with other manufacturers jumping headfirst into the market of RGB lights, I asked if we were going to see any other RGB lights from Zhiyun in the near future.
"We do have full-color lights now in terms of the model F100, but when we launched the X100, it was actually catered more to a different group of users, especially, for outdoor users for live streamers, and we just wanted to keep it simple in terms of bi-colors so that we get the maximum output from this really small light…. RGB is also the trend now and I think for us, RGB is definitely in consideration for more products in the near future."
With the X100, F100, G60, M40, and now V60 in Zhiyun’s range, I wanted to know the logic behind the letters in the product names.
"I think the main difference, for example, for the G-Series, we are actually putting the G series more towards DC powered lights, so any of the future G-Series lights will all be actually powered using DC power. We will actually sort of promote this light more as a studio light where DC power is no problem… so that is going to be the G-Series will be positioned as a studio light. And for the X series where we have portable power solutions, we will actually promote the X series for more of an outdoor use, like a kind of running gun outdoor use…. And in terms of the V series, and even the F series, It's going to be a wand light… so the F-series will be an RGB stick light… and the V series will be a bi-color stick."
The final product from the Summit is the latest in Zhiyun’s professional gimbal lineup, the Zhiyun Crane 4, this is the most professional gimbal in Zhiyun’s lineup, made for heavier DSLR, mirrorless, and cinema cameras, this is the gimbal for serious filmmakers. Zhiyun’s recent developments have all made it into the Crane 4, with the Zhiyun Weebill 3S’s much-improved grip and wrist rest being the most prominent addition to the Crane 4.
With the growing prevalence of in-body and optical stabilization in cameras, including the incredible digital and optical stabilization combinations on the latest phones, I asked if Zhiyun believes that gimbals will always have a place in filmmaking.
"Optical and digital stabilization only works in certain movements such as Ninja walk…. but when you need to shoot or create cinematic shots, a gimbal is a must… there are certain limitations of how digital stabilization can work, but when it comes to creative movements, in terms of having POV shots, these are some of the movements that you will not be able to achieve with digital stabilization."
Well, what is next for Zhiyun? Well, they have confirmed that they will increase their focus on LED lights in the short term, looking for new and inventive ways to use lights to increase the creative opportunities for content creators and pushing into new lighting areas. And earlier hints suggest that the next light might be more focused on RGB color output too. I am always excited to see what Zhiyun does next, and as a reviewer, I recently gave full marks to the Zhiyun Molus X100, so hopefully they can continue the momentum into the future. Check out below all the latest releases from Zhiyun.