Zhiyun – makers of the popular Crane stabiliser for lightweight mirrorless cameras – have now entered the iPhone stabiliser market. I’m a big fan of the DJI Osmo Mobile, but the Zhiyun Smooth-Q is less than half the price. It includes some useful features that the DJI device lacks.
The cheaper stabiliser has a long-lasting battery and a USB output for powering the phone or accessories. In theory this only works when the phone’s in vertical (portrait) orientation. But I suspect you could use a USB cable with a right-angled Lightning plug, as I do when connecting a power bank to an iPhone on my Osmo.
It can also pivot continuously through 360 degrees, unlike the Osmo which has to switch between modes.
It comes with a remote control and you can also control it from an app on another device. That’s really useful when the stabiliser is in an inaccessible position such as on a boom pole.
Its tripod socket is on the base, so you can connect it without extra attachments.
But it lacks the Osmo’s motion timelapse feature, and Zhiyun’s build quality isn’t as good as DJI’s magnesium alloy.
This detailed review from Matthew Allard of newsshooter.com compares the two devices. He found that, while the Zhiyun was a bit more awkward to set up and use (though easier to pair) and object tracking isn’t nearly as smooth, it was hard to justify paying twice as much for the Osmo.
At only $139/£129 it’s great value: it’s what I’d choose if I was buying now.
It’s due to ship April 9th: you can pre-order it now.