Zhiyun Crane 3S gimbal stabilizer gives champion weight-lifting performance

Zhiyun Crane 3S gimbal stabilizer
(Image credit: Zhiyun Tech)

The Zhiyun Crane has always been one of the best gimbal stabilizers (opens in new tab) for use with big camera set-ups, but the latest version sets a new record for the amount of weight that it can take whilst ensuring you can shoot smooth handheld video. The Zhiyun Crane 3S can not support a payload of 6.5kg – but amazingly can now pack away into a smaller bag or case than the Crane 3 LAB that it will replace.

Whilst its predecessor could carry a 4.5kg rig, the new 6.5kg limit means that the Crane 3S is able to carry substantial cinema camera (opens in new tab) set-ups, or full-frame professional DSLRs with big lenses – and without the need for additional counterbalances to be used. It uses new SUPER motors which allow it to take all the additional weight, and keep it stable.

(Image credit: Zhiyun Tech)
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The previous LAB series introduced an innovative way of holding a gimbal in underslung mode with the second handle. The CRANE 3S rethinks the structure and introduces a detachable second handle with two options – the basic EasySling Handle and the more expensive SmartSling Handle. 

You can either mount EasySling handle to extend the grip for more comfort upright & underslung operation, or choose to mount SmartSling handle featuring a control panel and LED screen, for direct camera & gimbal parameter adjustment, or combine them together. The removable handle allows the 2.47kg gimbal to be packed away into a more manageable size for transportation than its predecesssor.

The Crane 3S now offers nine different mount points (up from three) onto which you can attach accessories, such as LED panels (opens in new tab), external screens (opens in new tab) or microphones (opens in new tab).

Another improvement is a longer running time. With three 18650-format batteries, ZhiyunCrane 3S can run for up to 12 hours (the Crane 3 ran for 7.5 hours max). A DC-in power port on the battery compartment allows input of up to 25.2-volts for direct charging. To support long shoots with larger setups, there is a new optional TransMount PowerPlus Battery Pack, a compact  fast-charging power bank for the gimbal and camera, that  houses six 18650 batteries providing up to 18 hours of runtime.

The Zhiyun Tech Crane 3S was originally scheduled to launch at The Photography Show 2020 (opens in new tab), which has now been postponed until September.

(Image credit: Zhiyun Tech)
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Price and availability

The Zhiyun Crane 3S is available for sale this month, in three different configurations.

The basic kit with the EasySling handle will retail for $649 / £659. The step-up option is with the alternative SmartSling handle, which will sell for $739 / £729. Alternatively you can opt for the Pro kit which comes with SmartSling Handle, PowerPlus Battery Pack, Zoom&Focus Controllers, Image Transmission Transmitter and Smartphone Clamp for a total of $1149 /£1149.

Preorder the Zhiyun Crane 3S at B&H Photo (opens in new tab)

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.