Zhiyun Smooth 5S review

The beefy Zhiyun Smooth 5S smartphone gimbal makes light work of big phones and wide lenses, and even has its own fill light

Zhiyun Smooth 5S
(Image: © Rod Lawton)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Zhiyun Smooth 5S handled our iPhone 13 Pro Max and its 3-camera array with no problems, and its fill light is both powerful and simple to use. But with the phone’s accessory port jammed up against the tilt motor for horizontal video, it makes using mic impractical, plus there are not one but two matching apps and the 5S has tiny mode lamps you can barely see in daylight.


  • +

    Quick to set up and balance

  • +

    Smooth operation, good choice of modes

  • +

    Powerful fill light

  • +

    Zoom/focus control wheel


  • -

    No screen

  • -

    Button functions depend on the app used

  • -

    Mode display is tiny

  • -

    Phone port is blocked for horizontal shooting

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

The Zhiyun Smooth 5S is Zhiyun’s top smartphone gimbal, replacing the Smooth 5, we guess, with a wider clamp for bigger phones, wider-spaced axes for wide-angle and add-on lenses, and new algorithms for the motors to cope with larger phones.

You can buy it on its own, or as a Combo kit which includes an additional magnetic fill light. You can actually add two of these, though you’ll have to buy the second separately. These supplement the built in fill light, which is one of this gimbal’s claims to fame. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com