Zhiyun Crane M2S Review: The Do-It-All Gimbal

The Crane M2S is the newest multi-device stabiliser from Zhiyun aimed toward vloggers armed with an arsenal of telephones, motion cameras and mirrorless cameras who need one gimbal that works with all of them. 

Easily collapsible, the Crane M2S may also be briefly packed up and may also be purchased with a raise case, so that you’ve someplace to stash the tripod, mounts and cables between shoots. As smartly as saving on house, the Crane M2S guarantees over 10 hours of battery energy, so is perfect for probably the most gruelling of capturing days.

Features & design

  • 3-axis gimbal
  • 4-way handbook keep watch over
  • LED fill mild
  • Tripod integrated

As with the Crane M2 and its larger sibling – the Crane M3 – the primary promoting level of the Crane M2S is its versatility – it’s meant to paintings with a variety of gadgets, however naturally, there are some boundaries. 

Zhiyun helpfully helps to keep a listing of supported cameras on its website online so you’ll be able to in finding out whether or not your mirrorless gadget is supported, even supposing it’s essential run into issues for those who connect some huge, heavy lenses. Oddly, in contrast to different Crane fashions, Zhiyun does not post the utmost gadget weight which means that you’ll be able to want to take a look at that listing quite than going via weight.

The Zhiyun-branded clamp that’s integrated with the mix equipment connects to the mount with a quarter-inch screw, and will amplify to kind of 90mm (3.6in) broad. This will have to suffice for many telephones, even supposing for those who’ve were given a large phablet wrapped in a corpulent case, you will have to appear in other places.

I had some bother balancing my Google Pixel 6 all the way through the setup procedure, as it is a huge phone. Removing the phone’s case helped, however the loss of coverage made me really feel relatively frightened. Perhaps if the integrated quick-release plate were just a little larger, it wouldn’t were as tight a are compatible.

On that be aware, you’d almost definitely need to get separate clamps and plates for the entirety for those who’re this sort of individual Zhiyun is aiming this at, i.e. you’ve were given a variety of gadgets you wish to have to switch between them briefly. It’d save time simply unclipping gadgets already fixed to quick-release plates quite than having to unscrew and re-mount the entirety. 

Once the entirety’s balanced, thumbing at the Crane M2S sees it briefly stabilise, earlier than letting you comprehend it’s in a position to be used; for those who’ve now not as it should be balanced it, it’ll beep and flash an ‘axis lock’ message at you. If you ever see this at any level, flip it off, re-balance, and get started once more.

Controls, capturing modes & app

  • Three same old modes
  • Four specialist modes
  • ZY Play app provides you with far off keep watch over

By default, a press of the ‘M’ (mode) button at the Crane M2S will cycle via 3 same old modes, Pan Following (PF), Lock (L), and Following (F). Pan Following locks the lean and roll axis whilst panning the digital camera as you flip. Lock helps to keep the entirety locked, letting you tilt and pan manually with the joystick, whilst Following provides you with a little of each, robotically rolling the digital camera whilst letting you manually pan and tilt. There’s no option to manually regulate the roll axis in any of the Crane M2S’s modes, regardless that. 

All modes are simple to get aware of, however a double-tap of the mode button unlocks a unique tier of settings; Point-of-View (POV), Vortex (V) and Portrait (P) modes. 

POV mode doesn’t lock the digital camera to any explicit axis, and necessarily means that you can shoot extra freely than the opposite modes, and may well be to hand when filming fast-moving topics.

Vortex, because the identify implies, is a a laugh mode which sees the digital camera spinning in a circle while you keeping left or proper at the thumbstick. Held horizontally, you’ll be able to file barrel roll-type clips, or, with the gimbal held upright, you’ll be able to level your digital camera on the sky or the bottom to file a spinning ‘eye of the typhoon’-type clip.

Portrait mode is aimed toward capturing with smaller gadgets which aren’t telephones. It’s designed to shoot video content material in portrait mode, whether or not that’s destined for Instagram, TikTok or one thing else.

In order to shoot in Vortex mode, I needed to re-balance my Pixel 6, which necessitated some exact changes earlier than it labored correctly. Frustratingly, as a way to use Portrait mode, the clamp must be turned around 90 levels, another way your gadget will simply level immediately up on the ceiling. This calls for re-balancing your phone, one thing we have now now not noticed on different gimbals: you stability the gadget as soon as and it really works in each panorama and portrait modes. 

Finally, there’s Go mode, which is accessed via urgent and keeping the cause button. This necessarily locks the lean axis whilst making an allowance for clean rolls and pans. It’s an motion mode, designed to allow you to monitor fast-moving items. This takes a little extra being used to, and having to stay your finger at the cause feels restrictive to start with. 

The cause, just like the mode button, is a multi-purpose keep watch over. Double-tapping the cause will go back the gimbal to its default place, whilst a triple faucet will see it execute a 180° pan, surroundings you up completely to do a work to digital camera. 

Getting used to the entire double- and triple-taps required to execute brief pans and mode switches may also be baffling, however the comfy form way it shouldn’t take lengthy earlier than you somewhat actually familiarize yourself with issues. 

Other bodily controls at your disposal are a file button (to be used with appropriate cameras) a pink transfer for the fill mild, and the menu button. The LEDs are an invaluable addition: they are relatively brilliant and also you get some a laugh, colored gels integrated. The Crane M2S’s menu could be very easy; there are calibration choices, choices to regulate motor pace and thumbstick sensitivity, and that’s your lot. The show may be now not very brilliant, which would possibly motive issues when capturing on sunny days. 

The ZY Play app means that you can flip your phone right into a far off Bluetooth keep watch over, and is to hand for scenarios the place you want to stay the Crane M2S static, perhaps since you’re looking to stealthily seize photos of your cats, even supposing the controls listed here are overly delicate. The first few instances I used it, I inadvertently despatched the gimbal spinning in circles when all I sought after to do used to be a clean 90° pan.

Battery lifestyles

  • 1150mAh battery

  • Promised 10 hours of energy in PF mode

  • Closer to seven hours when the use of a couple of modes

Zhiyun says that you just’re intended to get 10 hours 35 mins out of the Crane M2S’s battery, however that determine is in response to it being stored in PF mode, the use of a Sony A7C with a Sony E F4 10-18mm oss lens. 

After a number of days of taking part in round with the Crane M2S, I were given someplace between seven to 8 hours in step with consultation, however I’m chalking numerous that as much as attending to grips with the item, switching between and checking out out the entire modes, the use of it with the Pixel 6 by the use of Bluetooth and different stuff that’s not essentially customary, real-world use. I’d say that someplace round seven hours is a extra practical expectation. 

The excellent information is, from close to empty, the Crane M2S fees again as much as complete in underneath two hours the use of the provided mains adapter, because of 12W PD immediate fee reinforce. 

Price & availability

The Zhiyun Crane M2S is in the stores without delay from Zhiyun’s UK retailer for £259, which contains all of the cables plus a tripod, or as a part of a £329 combo equipment which contains the entire above plus a raise case, and a clamp. 

Buyers in Australia too can select up the usual equipment from Zhiyun for AU$469, however on the time of writing, it used to be now not in the stores from the Zhiyun US retailer. 

Amazon UK has each the standard kit and the combo kit in the stores now for a similar costs, and Wex Photo Video additionally shares each the Zhiyun Crane M2S by itself and as a part of the mix deal.

Amazon US has inventory of the Crane M2S standard kit and combo kit, for US$269 and US$349, as does Amazon Australia, the place you’ll be able to get the Crane M2S for AU£427 and the combo kit for AU$539.

For choice suggestions, see our roundup of the most efficient gimbals.


The Zhiyun Crane M2S has so much to supply, particularly for those who go for the mix equipment, which provides first time videographers so much to get cracking with. Battery lifestyles is excellent, and regardless of some confusing-at-first menu choices, the Crane M2S is straightforward to get aware of. 

You will most likely run into issues when capturing with larger telephones, and it’s most likely that larger, heavier cameras with lengthy lenses could have the similar drawback, as there’s now not a substantial amount of clearance between the bottom of the Crane M2S and the quick-release plate. 

People who’ve been across the block a couple of instances would possibly favor to take a look at the dearer (however extra succesful) Crane M3, which helps extra mirrorless cameras, and includes a touchscreen show. On the opposite hand, this is a lot costlier than the Zhiyun Smooth Q3, which prices an insignificant £90.


Zhiyun Crane M2S: Specs

  • 3-axis gimbal
  • Weight: 549g
  • Dimensions: 240 x 68 x 150mm
  • Tilt Mechanical Range: 320 levels
  • Roll Mechanical Range: 320 levels
  • Pan Mechanical Range: 360 levels
  • Battery capability: 1150mAh
  • Battery lifestyles: 10 hours 35 mins
  • Charging time: 1 hour 41 minutes (with 12W PD immediate fee)
  • Bluetooth
  • ZY Play (iOS, Android)

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