Chinese electronics company Zhiyun which specialises in camera and smartphone gimbals for filmmakers has unveiled its latest innovation, the Smooth 5S. The company’s new 3-axis smartphone gimbal contains a whole raft of improvements and boasts brilliant lighting capabilities, which will prove hugely valuable to content creators.
The Smooth 5S is the latest addition to Zhiyun’s renowned Smooth range of gimbals. It comes with many new and exciting features, including the ability to work with larger smartphones, enhanced image stabilisation and something that particularly excited us, far greater flexibility when it comes to scene lighting.
Some of our readers will remember the feature we did on the company’s Fiveray FR100C light stick, which literally dazzled us with its incredible brightness and colour palette. Zhiyun’s design team have clearly taken notice of how well FR100C was received and has incorporated some of the things they learned from the light stick’s development into this brand-new and upgraded gimbal.
There are fewer things more frustrating when trying to produce a great-looking video than having to do it when the lighting is poor. Fortunately, Zhiyun is helping to eliminate this with the upgraded light output in its latest gimbal.
The Smooth 5S can have three light sources on the gimbal, allowing content creators to capture the exact scene they envisaged without the hassles of carrying around bulky lighting. It’s also a major positive for those who like to talk to the camera, as the magnetic fill light option can be positioned wherever you need it to be on the gimbal, making switching between shots far less of a problem.
The lighting capability in the Smooth 5S is quite excellent, considering its small size. It offers a 5,000k colour temperature and, in combination with its 300-lumen lights, is said to be able to light up an area of approximately 15sqm.
ZHIYUN’s Product Manager, Xin Wang, realises the importance of additional features and said that he wants the company’s products to help filmmakers to reach the furthest limits of their creativity. He said that the second fill light makes it an ideal filmmaking tool that can be used throughout the day into night.
Another of the features we found very useful on the Smooth 5S is the ability to charge your phone directly from the USB port on the gimbal during filming. It is a feature rarely found on other gimbal brands and provides extra peace of mind. This brings me nicely to the gimbal’s impressive battery life. The Smooth 5S is said to be able to offer up to twenty-five hours of non-stop shooting power and, thanks to the fast-charging option, takes only two hours to get to maximum battery capacity.
Usually, products with exceptional battery life also come with something else, and that’s added (unwanted) weight. Fortunately, the Smooth 5S doesn’t suffer from this problem. Its size of 311 x 168 x 52 mm makes it easy to transport, and it weighs just 660gms, which will please those filming outdoor first-person-perspective content.
Obviously, we can’t write about the Zhiyun Smooth 5S without talking about its stabilisation. Frankly, it is excellent, and we expected this given our previous experiences with their products. The Smooth 5S produces incredible footage thanks to its magnetic steel motors and upgraded algorithms. The gimbal’s rear motors offer a wider field of vision compared to its rivals, which gives more creative options to filmmakers. Controlling the Smooth 5S is effortless thanks to its well-thought-out control panel and wheel, coupled with the round-cap joystick.
As with their other models, the Gimbal can utilise the brilliant ZY Cami App, which offers filters, multiple templates, music, stickers and transitions. In addition, it also provides quick-switch shooting modes, including PF, L, F and POV, slow motion, timelapse, MagiClone Pano, and smart follow in 4K recording mode, which can be controlled via gestures.
Zhiyun feels that this new addition to their smartphone gimbal lineup will turn the user into a one-person film crew, and it does come very close to doing this. Ultimately, for it to be the perfect one-person shooting tool, some kind of audio function will be necessary. Zhiyun’s move into lighting could prompt them to dip all their toes into the audio world. The Smooth 5S, coupled with a Zhiyun-branded, high-quality wireless microphone kit, would be almost impossible to beat.
Pricing and Ordering
The Zhiyun Smooth 5S is available in two colours, white and grey, as a standalone or in a combo kit. The combo kit comes with an attractive protective bag, a fill light with a fill light filter, a wrist strap (Q2), a USB charging cable, a tripod (M2) and a membership card.
The Smooth S5 is currently priced at $169, €189, £169 and the combo kit is priced at $219, €239, £219.
For more information, www.zhiyun-tech.com or subscribe to the company’s YouTube channel.
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