Hands on Preview: Zhiyun Crane 3S The new big boy of gimbals, the Zhiyun Crane 3S

It is a very strange time to announce a new product, but Zhiyun-Tech is willing to risk it and introduce the new heavy-duty gimbal and the bigger brother to the Crane 3 lab called the Crane 3S with much higher carrying capacity and several other improvements that makes it ideal for situations where you need a larger stronger gimbal with more power and speed.

Photographer Alexander J. Cheung had a chance to get an early pre-production unit of this huge new gimbal and do an interesting comparison to the existing Crane 3 lab (which we can tell you from experience, isn’t exactly a small gimbal on its own).

The Crane 3S was designed from the ground up to be able to carry cinema cameras like the RED Raven, Canon C200, Sony FS7, and large body DSLRs like the Canon 1DX Mark III. Cheung used the new gimbal with the RED Raven for some test footage.

The Crane 3S with a Blackmagic Ursa camera

The Crane 3S is larger and heavier than the original Crane 3 lab at 2.47 kg (5.44 lb)or about 590 g (20oz) more than the original version but can carry a lot more weight – about 6.5 kg (14.3lbs) compared to 4.58 kg (10.14 lb) of the CRANE 3 LAB. You do need to keep in mind that holding this setup is going to be very hard for more than a few minutes even for an experienced, strong operator (we struggled to hold the original version for more than a minute or so with a large DSLR on Photokina 2018).

Extremely modular design

Other features of the Crane 3S include:

  • Stronger motors and a rod system for connecting longer rods for longer lenses.
  • Both zoom and focus wheel
  • A new detachable back handle
  • Updated 3 mode locking system
  • New buttons and buttons layout.
  • ViaTouch 2.0 Remote Motion Control
  • New DC charging (25.2V for direct charging).
  • 12 hours of battery (or extra 18 hours with an optional new external battery). Do note that the Crane 3S doesn’t support many third-party 18650 batteries because it requires the slightly shorter kind made by Zhiyun-Tech, so only Zhiyun-Tech 18650 batteries are recommended.
  • Modular design compatible with motorized dollies, jibs, cable cams, and EasyRig systems.
  • Extendable arm (for under sling mode with larger, longer camera systems).
  • Detachable 2’nd handle with two options: EasySling and SmartSling (with an OLED display)

As for pricing, the Crane 3S is actually very affordable compared to other gimbals with similar carrying capacities on the market. The basic version with a regular handle called Zhiyun-Tech CRANE 3S-E cost just $650 while the more advanced handle with the OLED display adds another $90. The Pro version with the Zoom and Focus Controllers and wireless transmitter sells for $1150.

Official Crane 3S video

You can find many more photography gear announcements and new products on our photography gear section here on LensVid.