A new heavyweight champion? Zhiyun unveils the Crane 4 gimbal

Zhiyun Crane 4
(Image credit: Zhiyun)

Fresh off the back of releasing upgraded Crane M3S and Weebil 3S models just last month, ZHIYUN isn’t resting on its laurels and is back with an upgrade to the biggest and badest gimbal in its range with the new Zhiyun Crane 4.

The Crane series encompasses both the Crane-M range of smaller and lighter gimbals for small to mid-sized mirrorless cameras and also the regular Crane series, for larger and heavier camera setups. The last Zhiyun Crane we saw in the latter category was the Crane 3S back in 2020, and Zhiun has shown that two years is a long time, with the new Crane 4 coming with a raft of updates.

The feature that grabs my attention most is Zhiyuns new built-in balance indicator lights, giving you at-a-glance calibration status for each motor on the Crane 4. This seems like a game-changer for gimbals, as one of the most frustrating aspects is getting a gimbal perfectly balanced, and then keeping it that way! Gimbals have a bit of a learning curve to them, but if this feature comes to lower models then will surely encourage more people to use a gimbal for the first time.

(Image credit: Zhiyun)

Zhiyun claims they have made the Crane 4 lighter than the previous generation and you can work one-handed or two-handed, although this will strongly depend on your camera setup and upper body strength as I find holding even smaller gimbals and cameras hard to maintain for long periods of time. The Crane 4 does have an ergonomic wrist and an adjustable sliding grip which Zhiyun claims allow for more comfortable operation and faster switching between sling and two-handed modes.

The Crane 4 doesn’t seem to have an official payload, but Zhiyun says it is able to take heavier full frame DSLR cameras and compact cinema cameras, such as Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, ZCAM, and SIGMA FP series. It sounds like the Crane 4 will comfortably take a lot of modern camera setups, but there will be a tool launched on Zhiyun’s website to see if your camera setup is compatible.

(Image credit: Zhiyun)

Other new features include an integrated 1.22-inch color touchscreen, which allows you to change the different stabilization modes, see feedback from the gimbal such as balance, as well as fine-tune the motors. Zhiyun has used this touch screen on their most recent models when reviewing the Crane M3S, I found it the easiest way yet to control a gimbal, although it did register a lot of accidental touches, so we will have to see if the Crane 4 screen is less sensitive. The Crane 4 can connect via Bluetooth wirelessly to your camera (so long as it is compatible) and allows you to have direct shutter control and start and stop recording directly from the handle.

Another feature making it over from Zhiyun’s content creator-focused gimbals is a first for a pro Crane series gimbal, the Crane 4 includes a built-in 10W fill light mounted to the side of the camera. The light has a max illuminance of 3200 lux, a CRI of 95+, and a CCT between 2700K-5500K.

The Crane 4 is powered by four high-capacity 18650mAh batteries that provide up to 12 hours of runtime (although expect this to vary based on your camera setup, gimbal settings, and movement) The Crane 4 can be fully recharged in under two hours via USB PD fast charging using any PD charger, although Zhiyun doesn’t list the maximum fast charge wattage.

(Image credit: Zhiyun)

The Crane 4 will be available in two options, with the Crane 4 alone costing $669 / £669, and a second Crane 4 Combo kit will be available with MasterMove accessories and a storage bag for $749 / £749. Both are available to order right now.

Looking for the right stabilizer for your camera, check out our guides for the best camera gimbals. Or if you are looking to change up your filmmaking equipment, then check out our guides to the best camera for video or the best camera for filmmaking

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Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.