A gimbal is one of the most efficient tools any videographer can use to open up a wide range of potential shots to add to their filmmaking repertoire.
As a landscape photographer and videographer, I rely on the versatility and speed a gimbal affords me for quickly creating smooth tracking and panning shots to reveal stunning locations.
With the Zhiyun Weebill S 3-axis gimbal, these shots can be pulled off with minimal fuss using lightweight cameras and a range of high-quality lenses.
In this Zhiyun Weebill S 3-axis gimbal review, I’ll give a full breakdown of the build quality and various modes you can use to take your filmmaking techniques in new directions.
Let’s see if it’s the best gimbal for your camera this year.
Zhiyun Weebill S 3-Axis Gimbal Specs
- Lightweight handling
- Ergonomic design
- Great functionality through well-positioned controls
- Good value for money
- Impressive calibration options for fine-tuning performance
- Long battery life
- Axis locks can be unresponsive
- The camera screen isn’t always easy to view
- The setup process takes a little getting used to
- The app needs some improvement
- Following Deviation in Static State – Max: ± 0.04° / Min: ± 0.01° /Max: ± 0.3°
- Following Deviation in Motion State – Max: ± 0.3° / Standard: ± 0.1° /Min: ± 0.05°
- Tilt Mechanical Range – 314°
- Roll Mechanical Range – 314°
- Pan Mechanical Range – 360°
- Operation Voltage – Max: 8.4v / Min: 6.8v
- Operation Current – Max: 3000mA / Min: 250mA
- Output – 5V, 1A
- Battery Runtime – Max: 14h / Min: 12h
- Charging Time – 2.5H
- Product Size (W*D*H) – 190*140*298mm
- Net Weight – ~895g/unit
The Zhiyun Weebill S gimbal delivers excellent build quality considering the price point. The gimbal arms and motor surrounds are solid metal and it has a robust plastic body.
While the axis locks can sometimes be a little on the fiddly side to both lock and unlock, the overall construction is well put together and feels sturdy to handle.
At the same time, it’s a lightweight gimbal that can fit neatly in a relatively small rucksack when set to its storage position, making it a great portable gimbal for ad hoc filming.
Calibrating a camera on the Zhiyun Weebill S takes a little getting used to, but fine-tuning adjustments on the quick-release plate becomes second nature after a few times setting it up.
The controls of the gimbal are all responsive, with a monochrome display for the options and a scroll wheel that can be used to control focus and zoom.
Aside from the issue with the occasionally awkward locks, the Zhiyun Weebill S is a well-constructed gimbal that you can confidently use an expensive mirrorless or DSLR camera with.
- Read more: Are camera gimbals worth it?
Size & Handling
With the unit weighing in at 895g, the Zhiyun Weebill S isn’t so heavy that it becomes uncomfortable to hold over longer periods of time, taking into account the approximate weight when a suitable camera and lens are mounted.
The handle and controls feel firm when gripped, while the buttons are positioned where they can be easily accessed. You’ll find a trigger and control wheel where the forefinger and thumb respectively can easily access them.
Once the gimbal has been activated, it glides effortlessly, with strong and responsive motors keeping the camera oriented as intended.
The option to fine-tune the strength of the motors across each axis is an essential feature. This allows you to make sure your camera pans and tilt and roll axes are at the correct speed.
It’s built around an L-shaped handle and body, with the option to open up the handle to place the gimbal down on a tripod, as well as set up and balance the camera and lens combo before you boot it up.
You can also use the tripod setup to control the gimbal remotely, moving the roll axis and tilt axis via the Zhiyun Weebill S mobile app and using your phone screen to monitor the footage.
The handle can also be repositioned to be used in underslung mode, so you can achieve those low-tracking shots over the ground without having to walk in a crouching position.
Most importantly, once you’ve played with the motor strength adjustments to tailor them to your shots, the Zhiyun Weebil S gimbal delivers the smooth footage it’s intended to create in all shooting modes.
Read more: Zhiyun Smooth 4 smartphone gimbal review
The Zhiyun Weebill S has an impressive selection of camera control settings that help you to achieve a range of shots for your video content.
They also allow you to customize performance to your camera setup.
Once you’ve balanced your camera, you can select your camera’s brand from the menu to sync it to the gimbal and also use the auto sync feature to ensure the motor functions are optimised.
These on-device controls, including the aforementioned ability to alter motor strength for perfectly smooth motion, can all be accessed when using the Zhiyun Weebill S application.
Zhiyun Weebill S shooting modes
Gimbal modes available include pan follow mode, following mode, locking mode, point of view mode, vortex mode, and go mode, each of which has its own button for quick access.
Modes can also be activated by tapping specific buttons more than once. For instance, double pressing the trigger will return the camera to its central position, while triple tapping the POV button will spin the camera around into selfie mode.
Using vortex mode requires you to either point the camera forwards or switch to underslung mode, and spin the camera clockwise or counter-clockwise by using the small joystick underneath the monochrome display.
While it can take a little time to become accustomed to all the settings associated with these features, this is more on account of the variety of modes than because of poor design choices on the part of Zhiyun.
Learning the best application for each of these shooting modes doesn’t take long, and a few test runs shooting footage in each mode will quickly demonstrate which ones are practical for each type of shot.
Once you’ve determined which modes fit your shooting style and how to move between them using the controls, the Zhiyun Weebill S becomes great fun to use. You can unleash your creativity and experiment with different cinematography techniques.
One issue with the Zhiyun Weebill S in certain shooting modes is the lack of visibility of your camera’s screen, although this is less of an issue if you’re using a wide-angle lens with your camera.
Using the gimbal with a Sony A7 III and Sony 35mm prime lens, I found that checking the framing and distance from the subject before hitting record created nicely composed shots without the need to view the screen.
If you have the opportunity to rehearse shots – for instance, if you’re making a short film – the gimbal’s many shooting modes can be put to great use to produce cinematic camera motions.
Battery life and peripherals
The long battery life – which lasts up to 14 hours – allows you to keep the camera and gimbal running for long takes, with the camera’s battery life more likely to be an issue than that of the gimbal.
With the option to use the gimbal’s battery to power certain camera models on the go, it also serves as a handy backup power source for continuous filming over a long shoot.
There’s also a good selection of peripherals you can use with the Zhiyun Weebill S gimbal for greater ease of use and shot options, which can be picked up for reasonable prices.
As well as the option to mount a mobile phone to the side of the handle, it can be fitted with a dedicated monitor for remote viewing and a TransMount Image Transmission module.
Zhiyun sells a complete TransMount Image Transmission package that includes a remote control in addition to the transmitter and receiver, so you can monitor footage from a distance while a camera operator does the legwork.
The option to add a zoom and focus motor to control these elements on the camera via the gimbal means you can further optimize the Zhiyun Weebill S gimbal to push your skills toward professional-level filmmaking.
In addition to the range of controls available via the gimbal’s monochrome display, the Zhiyun Weebill S gimbal can also be controlled via the free mobile app.
All the options you can access on the device, including motor strength on all axes, smoothness, deadbanding, and recording footage, can be set to the mobile app for remote activation and adjustment.
The app is a little on the basic side and can be unresponsive, lacking the level of detail and features found in some of its competitors, but it serves its purpose of offering quick access to camera settings.
The Zhiyun Weebill S gimbal is an excellent tool for video content creators and amateur filmmakers working with small DSLR and mirrorless cameras, and one of the best in its price range.
If you have a little more budget to play with, the DJI Ronin-SC is a popular gimbal from a brand known for its high-quality build and optimized features, albeit with a slightly chunkier design.
Videographers using much larger DSLR cameras and video cameras will need to consider a larger gimbal with a higher weight threshold, such as the Zhiyun Crane 3S Pro. However, expect to pay closer to US$1,000.
The additional size and weight associated with pro-level cameras makes them overkill for casual use but a necessary upgrade for anyone who’s considering turning professional.
Value for Money
The Zhiyun Weebill S is arguably one of the best-value gimbals on the market, coming in at around US$330, with this price frequently discounted.
It offers professional-level features and functionality along with the versatility to handle a wide range of cameras and lenses for a variety of shooting requirements.
The various shooting modes open up everything from precise object tracking to the more gimmicky vortex mode, giving the Zhiyun Weebill S a huge amount of longevity.
I’ve covered all the key points in this Zhiyun Weebill S review, but if you have any uncertainties about the gimbal, the answers to these frequently asked questions should have it covered.
Is the Weebill S better than the Ronin-SC?
The Weebill S gimbal is considerably smaller and more portable than the Ronin-SC, making it a better choice for filmmakers who prioritise weight and versatility in their equipment.
It also features the ability to detach the handle and use it as a secondary handle for alternative shooting modes and features an L-shaped design compared to the Ronin’s more classical central column design.
Does the Weebill S have object tracking?
Yes, when using the Weebill S with the TransMount Image Transmission module, it can be set up for real-time monitoring and utilise precise object tracking via SmartFollow 2.0.
To do this, simply select the desired object in a box on the screen, and the gimbal and camera will track it while you record.
What is the maximum payload of the Weebill S?
Despite its relatively small size and build, the Weebill S has an impressive total payload, capable of holding a maximum weight of 3.5kg.
Zhiyun Weebill S Review | Conclusion
A gimbal is an excellent way to broaden your filmmaking palette with impressive tracking shots and other techniques that can’t be accomplished in other ways.
The Zhiyun Weebill S is a budget-friendly gimbal that combines a lightweight yet robust design with relative ease of use on a wide range of DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
With six shooting modes to explore, it comes highly recommended as a feature-rich portable gimbal for YouTubers and hobbyist filmmakers who want to flex their videography skills.