Are you tired of trying to walk around with your camera, holding it still but still ending up with shaky footage? Then you should probably get a gimbal.

And I know what you're going to say "there's no great gimbal that fits my small device". Well, that's just not true anymore. Because ZHIYUN designed the CRANE–M3 with small devices in mind. Read along and learn all about it in this ZHIYUN CRANE–M3 review.

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Petros Ioannou

ZHIYUN Crane M3 Pro: Hands-on Review by Petros Ioannou from Leon Films

Explore the Crane M3 together with Petros and learn more about its features, purposes and pros and cons 📷

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Features

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Pros & cons

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Gabriel Miranda

ZHIYUN Crane M3 Pro: The Ultimate Review by Gabriel Miranda

In Gabriel’s ultimate review learn more about the key features, excellent connectivity, mic, integrated LED lights and more 🎉

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Unboxing

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A gimbal is an excellent asset in your gearbox but far from the only one. Explore what else there is of essential camera equipment.

If you're looking for a new gimbal but aren't sure which one, you could always rent or subscribe to one on Wedio!

zhiyun crane m3 overview review lightweight compact gimbal

ZHIYUN CRANE–M3 key features

  • Weight: 1.87 lb / 700 g
  • Dimensions: 8.2 x 4 x 11.4" / 208 x 102 x 290 mm
  • Battery runtime: approx. 8 hours
  • Battery charging time: approx. 2 hours
  • Output: 5V, 1A
  • OLED-Touchscreen 1.22"
  • Built-in Fill Light
  • Fill light color temperature: 2600 - 5400 K
  • Fill light brightness: 650 - 750 lumens
  • Compatible with: action cameras, compact cameras, full-frame mirrorless cameras, and smartphones.

ZHIYUN CRANE–M3 review: pros and cons

Advantages

  • Awesome design
  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Long battery life
  • Quick charging
  • A versatile built-in fill light
  • Compatible with a wide variety of cameras and phones

Disadvantages

  • Pricey
  • Can be dicey to adjust
  • Can be hard to balance

zhiyun crane m3 review best gimbals

Design, size, and handling

The ZHIYUN CRANE–M3 is made with transportability in mind. It is lightweight and compact and great for using while walking around.

It's size also means that you can't use cameras with large lenses or too heavy cameras. But that's not a design flaw it's just not what it's made for. As the size and weight suggest, the CRANE–M3 is designed for handling smaller devices.  

And it handles devices pretty well. Whether it's a smartphone, a GoPro camera, or an A7III with a smaller lens, the camera handles the stabilization smoothly.

Other than being functional, the ZHIYUN CRANE–M3 also just looks good. It is black with a white finish and has a very modern look to it.

zhiyun gimbal model crane m3 review advantages disadvantages

Mounting and balancing

As mentioned earlier, the gimbal is designed for smaller types of cameras, such as smartphones, action cameras, or smaller digital cameras.

What does this mean for the gimbal?

It means that it handles lightweight devices much better than other gimbals. Whereas you'd typically see other gimbals struggle to balance "underweight" devices the CRANE–M3 is specifically designed to handle these.

The gimbal allows you to do a 360° pan, 333° roll, and 309° tilt. Each motor can be locked in various positions, allowing for an easy balance between them.

Intuitive touchscreen

The ZHIYUN CRANE–M3 also has a touchscreen on the back, allowing several options. Besides selecting one of several modes, you can also monitor the balance, calibration, and many other things.

The touchscreen is a 1.22-inch LCD screen that's pretty intuitive. However, if you have big fingers, it might be a bit difficult to properly use them.

Expansion possibilities

When ZHIYUN makes gimbals, they also make sure that they're as functional as possible. And if they're not, they create designed it to be modular, so you can always expand. And the CRANE–M3 is no different.

With the regular version, you get a 1/4-inch expansion port for things like an external grip.

But if you buy the pro bundle, you can get an expansion base that allows you to get an extra expansion port as well as a holder for Bluetooth camera control and mic input.

gimbal review zhiyun crane m3 fit smartphone camera

Integrated light

The ZHIYUN CRANE–M3 comes with integrated light in the form of built-in fill light. The fill light has a color temperature of 2600 – 5400 K and a brightness of 650 – 750 lumens.

So there's plenty of variability in the type of lighting it allows for you. It has a separate dial on the front of the gimbal handle, which allows you to manually adjust the brightness.

This fill light is such as great addition, as it adds something to your videos and makes sure that whatever you're filming is always in somewhat good lighting. This makes it especially great for vlogging and filming in dark areas if your camera doesn't have great low-light capabilities.

Final verdict: Is the ZHIYUN CRANE–M3 worth it?

The ZHIYUN CRANE–M3 retails at $369,99, which sounds like a lot, but it does have loads of great functionalities.

First of all, if you have a large camera or a camera with a large lens, don't bother buying the CRANE–M3. It's just not made for that.

Now that we've got that out of the way, consider how much you'll use this gimbal. If you're a newly started videographer, this gimbal can do wonders for your work. This also goes for if you're doing stuff like travel filmmaking.

It's basically great for any videography job where stabilization is required.

However, if you're mainly using your camera at home for your YouTube videos or rarely use your camera, you should consider if spending $370 is the right thing for you.

zhiyun crane m3 review review discover pros cons rent

Rent or subscribe to a ZHIYUN gimbal

I hope this article helped you realize the pros and cons of the ZHIYUN CRANE–M3.

If you want to get a ZHIYUN gimbal, but don't want to spend hundreds of dollars, consider renting or subscribing to it on Wedio.

Camera Rental: Save Money with Wedio

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About the instructors

Petros Ioannou

Petros Ioannou

Filmmaker

London, United Kingdom

Petros Ioannou is a filmmaker, director, producer, actor, and founder of Leon Films. Leon Films is committed to telling original stories through varying mediums.

Gabriel Kaunitz

Gabriel Kaunitz

Director

Columbus, Ohio, United States

Gabriel Kaunitz is a filmmaker, colorist, editor, and animator out of Columbus, Ohio. With almost 10 years of experience, he has worked with brands like O.A.R, Nationwide, and Velvet.

Kristian Kettner

Kristian Kettner

Film Creator

Risskov, Denmark

Kristian Kettner is a colorist, workflow specialist, and film creator. He started with wedding videography to being the lead colorist on a feature film.

Mazdak Luyeh

Mazdak Luyeh

Creative Philosopher

Copenhagen, Denmark

OUTFOX, founded by Mazdak Luyeh, is a bold Danish PR and communication agency that gathers clever ideas and tell amazing stories with visual expressions that focus on quality.

Gustav Sloth

Gustav Sloth

Filmmaker

Aarhus, Denmark

Gustav Idun Sloth is a filmmaker and a co-founder of Movimentum together with Marcus Hasselgaard. They are two creative minds who are passionate about making movies and telling stories.

FAQ

Are ZHIYUN gimbals good?

Yes, ZHIYUN gimbals are good quality, with great features!

Is ZHIYUN Crane M3 worth it?

Yes, the ZHIYUN Crane M3 is worth it if you have a device that fits.

Can you use ZHIYUN Crane M3 for iPhone?

Yes, you can use the ZHIYUN Crane M3 for the iPhone.