Well, our regular readers will probably know that we are huge fans of the Zhiyun Weebill range of gimbals and thought very highly or the original Zhiyun Weebill Lab and although it did have a few flaws, we felt that it was one of the best gimbals made when initially released. Now, with Zhiyun being Zhiyun and the lack of any real competition to the Weebill Lab being released from the compeating gimbal brands they decided that they would simply compete with themselves.
Just under a year after the release of the original Weebill Lab they have released their Weebill S that not only fixes the bugs and issues that the original Weebill Lab had but also builds on the gimbal in every way. In our opinion, the Weebill S is without a doubt the best handheld 3 axis gimbal stabilizer made to date and blows almost everything from the competition out of the water with ease.
Now, before going any further into our article and coming across as Zhiyun fanboys, we want to give an honorable mention to the Moza Aircross 2 as it is also an outstanding gimbal stabilizer and a great bit of kit. In our opinion, Moza had the original Weebill Lab beaten with their Aircross 2 and made a number of improvements that pushed the Aircross 2 ahead. That said though, no one was aware that Zhiyun were even developing the Weebill S until around a month before its release and the areas that Moza had the original Weebill Lab beaten in, the Weebill S built on and took even further pushing it ever so slightly ahead of the Aircross 2. This resulted in the Aircross 2 being released just before the Weebill S and being the dominant gimbal for a few weeks before the Weebill S hit the shelves and took the top spot.
It seems that a large number of videographers agree with us as the Zhiyun Weebill S rapidly grows its customer base at an almost exponential pace while rightfully earning an excellent reputation for itself amongst the community. On the flip side of this, the Moza Aircross 2 is managing to earn a great reputation for itself but its customer base definatley seems to be growing at a much slower pace than the Weebill S even though the Aircross 2 was released first.
Anyway, with Zhiyun being one of, if not the most popular brand in the gimbal space right now we are pretty confident that a number of our readers will be interested in our dedicated Zhiyun Weebill S review. After waiting a few months since its initial release we have decided to set some time aside to sit down and actually publish our review in the hope that we are able to help any of our readers who are considering adding this great little gimbal stabilizer to their collection of camera accessories.
Performance And Functionality
Not only does this allow the Weebill S to support larger load capacities but it also allows the gimbal to do so while requiring less battery life leading to an increase in both the total camera payload weight and battery life of the gimbal. The Zhiyun Weebill S is able to support a maximum load capacity of up to and including 6.61 pounds of camera payload meaning that it can easily support all popular mirrorless camera setups as well as a large number of popular DSLR rigs too.
Although the DJI Ronin S is definatley starting to show its age, it still has the reputation as one of the better gimbal options for the DSLR camera market with its solid image stabilization and maximum load capacity of 7.94 pounds. That said though, the Ronin S is absolutely massive in comparison to the Weebill S while also being much heavier too.
In our opinion, if you are a DSLR user and your camera payload weight comes in at under the 6.61-pound maximum load capacity of the Weebill S then you should seriously be considering it as your handheld gimbal of choice. If you are a mirrorless camera user then the Zhiyun Weebill S is a no brainer and definatley should be your primary gimbal option.
One of the few weaknesses of the original Weebill Lab was that the torque of its gimbal motors could struggle to stabilizer a camera rig with a longer lens due to the center of gravity being slightly off. Thankfully, with the gimbal motors on the Weebill S being three hundred percent stronger this is no longer an issue and the Weebill S can provide you with its excellent, butter-smooth image stabilization even if you use a longer lens.
On top of this, the only other real issue that the original Weebill Lab had was that its design could be a problem if you were using a longer lens and you would not be able to get a full range of movement during use. Thankfully, Zhiyun has taken constructive feedback on board and tweaked the design for the Weebill S so even long lenses get the full range of movement while mounted to the gimbal.
As we touched on earlier in the article, with the higher torque gimbal motors on the Weebill S the battery has an easier time resulting in a higher maximum battery life of fourteen hours. This is one of the highest maximum battery durations in the gimbal space at the moment and off the top of our heads, the only gimbal that we can think of that beats it charge for charge is the predecessor to the Weebill range, the Zhiyun Crane Plus with its sixteen-hour maximum battery life.
We are confident that the vast majority of our readers will easily be able to capture all of the video footage that they need with their gimbal within fourteen hours and easily be able to recharge it as required. When the battery is empty, it can be charged back to full in less than three hours due to the quick charge technology that Zhiyun has developed over the years. This means that for each hour of charging the gimbal you get almost five usable hours helping to minimize downtime while out and about.
On top of this, if you are working in a videography or vlogging niche such as travel where you may be out and about for days at a time away from and power outlets, there are also various USB power banks available on the market that can charge your gimbal and camera on the move. These new, next-generation USB power banks have a higher output so they are able to charge a bunch of larger devices while you are away from civilization. That said though, the recharge duration from a power bank will depend on the output level and likley be longer than three hours.
In addition to the improved gimbal motors on the Weebill S, Zhiyun have also made a number of other improvements to the gimbals detection and correction system too. These include upgrades to both the gimbal sensors and the balancing algorithm too with this being the eight iterations of the Zhiyun algorithm that offers some of the quickest processing that we have ever seen.
The gimbal sensors used on the Weebill S are excellent and Zhiyun has done an excellent job of developing the technology to be as rapid and sensitive as they are. The sensors can detect even the slightest movement with ease and then have it processed via the Zhiyun balancing algorithm before the gimbal motors kick in and make the required correction to keep your camera as stable as possible during use.
The gimbal also fully supports Bluetooth 5.0 and allows you to sync up to five external monitoring devices to see what you are actually doing. This means that you can send the display data to your smartphone, an iPad or a compatible field monitor to keep an eye on what’s happening and adjust your actions accordingly if needed.
With all of these excellent features, it’s not surprising that the performance of the Weebill S is second to none and that its customer base is growing at such a fast pace. In addition to this, it is also easy to see why so many videographers who use the gimbal have chosen to post their own independent, glowing reviews of the Weebill S online that you can read if you want independent opinions and insights on the gimbal.
User Interface And Control System
If you are wanting to take advantage of the excellent Zhiyun intelligent object tracking system then having your smartphone in an easy to reach location makes the process so much easier. Additionally, the intelligent object tracking system from Zhiyun is probably the best one available at the time of writing although we have heard some whispers that the next DJI system will be able to rival the Zhiyun system.
Anyway, the interface on the Weebill S is based around the regular joystick, LCD panel, and button system that has been developed over the last few years to become the dominant gimbal interface used by all brands. Zhiyun have tweaked the joystick slightly for the Weebill range to prevent its cover randomly falling off during use as it used to for some of their older gimbals too.
The LCD panel on the Weebill S is very clear and bright allowing you to easily see the data that it is displaying even in low light conditions so you can always quickly and easily adjust your settings as required too. The joystick and buttons are very responsive even if your hands are cold or wet and the joystick offers some of the best manual control of a gimbal head that we have ever seen allowing you to get the exact angles that you want while recording.
The quick-release plate on the Weebill S has also been upgraded to a two in one system allowing you to quickly and easily mount or unmount both Manfrotto and Arca-Swiss style quick release plates from the gimbal. Now only does this allow you to switch between various camera accessories such as your tripod and your gimbal quickly but the two in one system allows you to use a wider range of camera accessories with your camera rather than being locked into one quick release plate system.
We are pleased to report that at the time of writing at least, the Zhiyun smartphone app is actually a great little gimbal accessory that we would definatley recommend downloading if you do choose to add the Zhiyun Weebill S to your collection of camera accessories. As we touched on earlier, it is essential for the gimbals intelligent object tracking system but it also offers other solid functionality too.
For example, the app offers some wireless remote control functionality too. This allows you to position your Weebill S in one location and wirelessly control it from another. An example of where this may be useful to you is if you are a wedding videographer and you have been asked to record the vows of the happy couple without being on the alter. You can pre-position your gimbal prior to the ceremony and then control the gimbal head from your phone to capture the frame that you want.
The next feature that the app offers that we feel is well worth using is the quick and easy access to your Weebill S gimbal settings. As this gimbal is more of a professional level gimbal there is a decent chance that a fair few of our readers will want to get in there and tweak their gimbal settings for the best possible image stabilization. Now, the default config is excellent, especially if you are using a mirrorless camera or light DSLR set up but we know people like to tinker.
Although there are a few different ways that you can tweak your gimbal settings, the app allows you to do it within seconds rather than minutes. Depending on the niche you work in and what you will be doing with your Weebill S, you may actually be using multiple gimbals setting configs so the time saved by tweaked settings with the app can really build up over the course of a long working day.
Build Quality And Design
On top of this, Zhiyun has also made the Weebill S smaller and lighter with a few tweaks to make the design even more compact compared to the Weebill Lab. The Weebill S comes in at only 14.2 x 10.9 x 4 inches making it very easy to add to your videography kit bag without having to take up much space. If you are working in a niche that involves a large amount of air travel then the small size and lightweight help to ensure you can easily stay under your luggage restrictions and avoid fines for having your gear weigh too much too.
Zhiyun has also tried to be as ergonomic as possible with the design of the Weebill S to maximize the comfort level of the user while holding the gimbal. So many other gimbal brands either completely disregard this or put it low in their priorities but Zhiyun has made it one of their main goals and it really shows.
Even with a camera rig getting close to the maximum load capacity of the gimbal, the majority of people should easily be able to hold the gimbal and support the total weight for longer periods without feeling any discomfort. The handle grip on the Weebill S is also very comfortable too and reduces the chances of you getting any cramps in your hands while working too.
Zhiyun has also put a solid effort in to ensure that the Weebill S is as robust as possible and it really does have a very tough build quality. We have absolutely no doubt in our mind that it will be able to take any bumps or knocks while in use or during transit without breaking any time soon too. This offers you the peace of mind of knowing that if you do invest in the Weebill S then your new gimbal will last you for many years to come and provide you with its excellent image stabilization.
Another new feature that started on the Weebill range but is now being added to the various other Zhiyun gimbal ranges is their axis locks. This is such a simple and easy to implement feature that we are very surprised that gimbal brands did not start adding them to their stabilizers years ago. Essentially, all it is is a set of little axis locks that you can activate to lock each of the axes of the gimbal in place.
This allows you to lock your rotating axis in place when the gimbal is being packed for transit to prevent parts randomly rotating and potentially taking damage. Additionally, you can also easily activate the locks to prevent your gimbals axis from rotating between scenes when recording. This helps to save your battery but also keeps your camera and lens relatively secure and prevents those annoying and risky random rotations.
That brings our ultimate Zhiyun Weebill S review to a close and as we mentioned back at the start of the article, Zhiyun have done an outstanding job of improving on the weaknesses of the original Weebill Lab to make the Weebill S an absolute beast. As we mentioned, we feel the Weebill S is the best 3 axis gimbal stabilizer made to date and feel that it can be an excellent addition to any videographers camera accessories. It offers some of the best image stabilization available while also having an excellent maximum battery life while also being very small and lightweight too making it the obvious option.
We know that people often like to get their information from multiple sources, especially when considering purchasing a camera accessory that costs hundreds of dollars so we would recommend that you check out some of these independent reviews of the Weebill S if you are still on the fence. They offer an excellent insight into the performance of the Weebill S in a large number of situations from videographers and vloggers who have used the Weebill S as their gimbal of choice for months.