Zhiyun weebill 3 & FiveRay Light Review One step forward one step to the side

Today we are taking a look at a gimbal we have been using for a while on LensVid and we even took with us to cover IBC in September. The Zhiyun Weebill 3 was announced back in June 2022 and we are going to review it alongside the Zhiyun ultra-powerful FiveRay 100W “tubelight”.

Background

Zhiyun has become a popular name among gimbals. We have already reviewed their Weebill 2 with the visual controller and the small M3. They’re also branching out into lighting with this new FiveRay 100W light. After working with the Weebill 3 and the FiveRay for some time now, here’s our review.

Gimbal concept

This version of the Weebill is completely redesigned. It’s really compact and lightweight but offers interesting accessories and ergonomic controls with useful additional onboard tools.

Zhiyun weebill 3

Zhiyun-weebill-3

In the box

Zhiyun ships the combo kit in a special duffel bag. The top section includes the gimbal itself. In the padded bottom, Zhiyun includes cables, release plates, a telescoping handle, a wrist pad, and mini-tripod.

Design and build

The body of the gimbal is made of plastic with rubber inserts. It feels pretty solid and is easy to grip. The bottom of the handle features a base, allowing you to set the gimbal down on a flat surface without a tripod. The charging port is hidden in the front of this base.

The base is a useful addition, but you do have to be careful because it’s not very stable. We’ve had the setup almost topple a couple of times.

The controls have been redesigned, and feel very ergonomic. The joystick, record button, and mode selector are on the right side, easily reachable by the right thumb. The trigger and the customizable wheel are on the front.

This version features a double release plate, allowing an easy battery change and a quick placement to the previous balance settings.

The joystick on the Zhiyun weebill 3

Zhiyun-weebill-3-controller

Features

Among the innovative features of the Weebill 3 is the majorly-improved battery. This internal battery promises up to 21 hours of runtime, which is really great for a gimbal of this size. Another improvement here are the powerful motors and a redesigned stabilization algorithm.

The motors can easily operate pretty heavy setups, like this A7Siii with a 24-70 G-master lens. We tested the stability of the Weebill 3 without balancing the camera, and it worked just fine. We actually had to lower the motor strength in the settings, because it was too aggressive. The footage looked very smooth, even when bumping into people.

Another very welcome addition to this gimbal is the onboard light. This is a tiny light that comes in very handy since it delivers around 1000lux at 30cm. There is a controller wheel on the right side of the gimbal to turn the light on and off, dim it and change color temperature.

Results for the Zhiyun weebill 3 LED at 5600K @30cm:

  • Color temperature: 5311K.
  • Output: 1010lxu.
  • CRI: 92.2 (R9 – 62.5; R12 – 69.5).
  • TLCI: 90.
  • TM-30 RF: 88; TM-30 Rg – 96.
  • SSI: 68.

Results for the Zhiyun weebill 3 LED at 3200K @30cm:

  • Color temperature: 3174K.
  • Output: 907Lux.
  • CRI: 92.3 (R9 – 68.7; R12 – 78.8).
  • TLCI: 92.
  • TM-30 RF: 90; TM-30 Rg – 98.
  • SSI: 76.

Here’s a test of the onboard mic. It’s definitely better than the camera microphone, but we wouldn’t say it gives very good audio. Just as a test, we enhanced this audio recording with Adobe’s new AI tool, and it actually sounded pretty good.

Another important feature of the Weebill 3 is the record button. This is nothing new, of course, but in past versions, it wasn’t always compatible with our cameras. We tried it with the A7Siii and the A7Riv and it worked fine.

The LED on the side of the Zhiyun weebill 3

Zhiyun-weebill-3-LED

Setup

The setup is pretty standard. The base plate goes onto the gimbal, and the release plate slides on top. There are markings to remember the position for later placement. There is a new magnetic tool on the bottom of the carriage to help secure the setup.

There are 2 USB-c ports on the gimbal, the one in front is for a follow focus, and the back one for camera control. The audio jack to connect the camera to the gimbal’s onboard mic is on the back.

We tried Zhiyun’s follow focus from the Weebill 2 setup, and it worked seamlessly. To set it up, go to the “wheel” menu and choose “focus”.

Two control wheels on the Zhiyun-weebill-3

Zhiyun-weebill-3-wheels

In use

In action, the Weebill 3 feels sturdy and carries the payload with ease, providing really smooth footage. It does take some getting used to when attaching the accessories. While the wrist pad was really useful in some situations, the telescoping handle kept getting undone and moving around. Not too big of an issue, but it is distracting.

The ZY play app works seamlessly after updating and upgrading the gimbal firmware. It features remote recording, tilt, pan, and roll controls, and has a mimic mode. One thing missing here is the ability to control the onboard light and enter into sleep mode.

The small monitor and handle on the Zhiyun-weebill-3

Zhiyun-weebill-3-monitor

The FiveRay tubelight

The FiveRay is an interesting concept based on the form factor of the tube light, but packing some serious output.

The unit comes in a plastic enclosure (available in black and white) and works in RGB and CCT modes (2700K – 6200K). It features an internal battery that can keep it running at full power for close to an hour. There is a DC connector, but the power supply is sold separately. We tried various D-tap to DC cables, but none fit.

The USB-c port on the side allows charging while in use, but in our tests, the light wouldn’t stay on connected to a power bank for more than a few minutes after the battery indicator dropped to 1 of 4 bars.

The FiveRay-Light

FiveRay-Light

We tested the output of this light at 1 and 3 meters at 5600K and 3200K, and these are the results that we got.

This form factor is great because it allows for covering a big area due to the tube’s length. It’s very compact and can fit into tight spaces [¼’’ mount on the bottom], hiding it out of the frame.

Because of the power that it packs, there are 6 small fans on the back of the FiveRay. They are not very noisy, but you can definitely hear them. Dimming the light past 50% will keep them from turning on very often.  At max power, the light does get pretty warm, but not too hot to hold in hand.

FiveRay-Light screen

FiveRay-Light screen

Update: color and power info for the FiveRay tube light at 4 different modes:

Results for 5600K max/normal modes @1m:

  • Color temperature: 5554K.
  • Output: 1380Lux (max) / 1190lux (normal mode)
  • CRI: 95.9 (R9 – 85.6; R12 – 95.7).
  • TLCI: 98.
  • TM-30 RF: 96; TM-30 Rg – 104.
  • SSI: 77.

Results for 3200K max/normal modes @1m:

  • Color temperature: 3222K.
  • Output: 1560Lux (max) / 1080lux (normal mode)
  • CRI: 95.3 (R9 – 90.9; R12 – 96.7).
  • TLCI: 97.
  • TM-30 RF: 95; TM-30 Rg – 105.
  • SSI: 86.

Conclusion

In conclusion, these new innovations from Zhiyun are well-built and deliver great results. The only extras we could ask for are a few tweaks to the ZYplay app and adding Bluetooth control to the FiveRay light.

The back of the FiveRay-Light

FiveRay-Light back

Pricing

As for pricing, the Weebill 3 combo kit sells for $530, the basic kit with no accessories goes for $450 and the FiveRay FR100c light is $200.

You can check out more LensVid exclusive articles and reviews on the following link.

Art Podolski is a photographer and video editor with an interest in marketing, technology and all things cinema. After shooting wedding photography for 5 years, he transitioned into creating video content for online projects and collaborating with various production companies.

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