Zhiyun Z1 Smooth-C 3-axis Smartphone Video Gimbal

Discussion in 'Smartphones and GPS Navigation' started by xcel, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    An interesting update as I just purchased what is possibly the best 3-axis smartphone video gimbal available for a reasonable price that I know about today.

    That being the Zhiyun Z1 Smooth-C for $187 shipped.

    I decided to complete this purchase given the multiple San Diego Auto Show Vids I produced from the show floor. 1080p all the way to 4k including pretty good quality is all there. What is not is stabilization despite an OIS solution being built in.

    See the lack of image stabilization? The 3-axis gimbal should remove almost all of it. I hope?

    2016 VW Passat and Jetta 1.4L S - Nissan Lineup

    2017 Audi Q7 - Hyundai Sonata PHEV-27, Tucson, Tucson FCV and 2017 Elantra​

    2016 Toyota Prius plus the 2016 RAM 1500 EcoDiesel and 2017 Jaguar XE

    Once I receive the 3-axis gimbal, I will see what if I can find a lightweight tripod similar to the iKross Monopod Extendable Pole with smartphone Mount & Mini Tripod. It has to be really light and portable or I will never use it.

    I may move to an LG V10 for some audio features that are lacking on the G4 but that will have to come later.

  2. seftonm

    seftonm Veteran Staff Member

    The gimbal should make a big difference. The camera guy who rode with me on our Northwest Rally was telling me that he was considering getting one, and a few of the benefits of having one. I've seen gimbals in action on quadcopters and it's amazing how much smoother they can make the video.
    xcel likes this.
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Mike:

    I sure hope so. I am a little concerned with the size as I do not want to be carrying around much more than can fit in a small pouch or hanging off belt loops with D-rings. With a < 1/2 pound monopole/tripod for stills and presentation recording and the Z-1 gimbal for walk arounds, I think the two are an overall solid solution. Other than charging the Gimbals batteries.

    Marian picked me up a small 5,200 mAh portable charger for the LG G4 which as a power user has about 3 to 3.5 hours of pic/video/design/rendering and upload use available to it. One of its few shortcomings but it is severe.

    I am still considering an LG V10 since it has three mics - one hidden - and can be tuned to the record best from the front - presentation recording - or the rear for my walk around goofiness. There is a Bluetooth mic option on that phone but apparently few of the V10 reviewers have ever tried it and the few consumers that have had problems. When the price drops some, I might jump on one of those. Or wait for an upcoming LG G5? The LG G4 was just $324 on T-Mobile a few weeks ago and if that deal arrives on a V10, I think I will buy it and finally put the S5 to bed for good. LG V10 for vids and the LG G4 for the stills while the V10 is recording.

    The V10 is missing front/rear camera recording capability at the same time like the G4 so it is not entirely perfect yet either.

    Next up, I am looking for a car attachment - not for a GoPro but for an LG G4/V10 smartphone - for my own very short interval B-roll and internal mount for vehicle discussion. There are some DIY solutions for just a few $s using a dual suction cup mount that I can drill and add a longer 1/4x20 bolt for smartphone mount holding but are too large for my needs. Considering some Panavise solutions but they are not cheap. Than I have to worry about hard mounting a smartphone to that attachment and tethering the whole thing just in case.
    Internally the following looks good for that 4-in-1 Car Dashboard/Windshield/Airvent /Sun Visor Mount Holder although smartphone recording with the display to the rear is kind of a kludge. Front facing cameras from LG incl. the dual std. and wide angle LG V10s, Samsung, Nexus and Apple are not good enough yet.

    With the server Hosting mostly dead for the past 36-hours, I had some time to do a little research. :)

  4. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Mike:

    The 3-axis motorized Gimbal is shipped and now time to looking into all of this smartphone mounting stuff in detail.

    And there is no perfect solution for anything.

    One of the better smartphone grips is not only expensive, it is a bit bulky and pricey: ShoulderPod S1 for $35.00. Concerns? No way to lock the clamp screw and the handles extension is about 3" to short so it is kind of useless as a grip. One of its intended functions. It really looks great though.

    Next is the GoWorx Free Ride Mount. Great that they have both a GoPro and 1/4-20 mount for tripods and all kinds of GoPro attachments Genuine Car mount but the cheap bolt to lock the phone in is cheesy. I would replace that with something a lot nicer with a handle of some sort. Designer really F'ed that one up. I am leaning towards this but that top knob with a std. screwdriver head is really cheap - cheap - cheap.

    A simple but effective Aluminum Smartphone Mount can be found for just $8.00 but if that screw comes loose, by by smartphone. Another guy picked up one for just $2.00 somewhere and has added springs to ensure that thing does not let the phone go.

    A similar but fancier mount is the Velocity Clip but like the simple aluminum clamp above, a simple knurled screw comes loose and your camera is gone.

    The RetiCAM mount for $25.00 is on the right track but again the top knurled knob is BS. Those aluminum screws strip so damn easy...

    I really should configure one of these for myself because none of these designs got it right and I have only been researching for three days.

    Regarding the tripod, the one I linked above is a POS. People can buy professional DSLR tripods for $120 to $150 including aluminum legs and fluid heads. I found a Lillipod that almost fit the bill: Lollipod small/lightweight smartphone Tripod for $47 to $60. All the boxes are checked but the head is a plastic knurled screw POS. :( If only it had a real head on it, it would fit my needs. Small is good, light sure but I would gladly carry a few more ounces for a much better head.

    What I am leaning towards is the professional Sirui P-204S Monopod with the lower tri-pod legs for $135.95. Here is why. Best Video Monopod Sirui vs Benro vs Manfrotto

  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG]Hi All:

    The tripod/monopod for smartphones to a full DSLR is completed with the Sirui P-204S Monopod for $129.95 shipped.

    I ended up picking up the Shoulderpod S1 smartphone clamp for $29.83. The Chinese should have that thing knocked off in weeks for 1/4 the price if they have not done so already. I hope I am not one of the first 10 to be buying a Chinese knockoff but I could be.

    Still working out digital audio mic recording however and this is where even the best Android phones fall short of what the latest iPhones can do. Considering the RODE smartLav+ to move the bar quite a bit on that front too.


  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    A bit extravagant addition and no guarantees but the mic on the LG G4 is its Achilles heel and this should cure about 80 to 90 percent of its shortcomings. TRSS jack ensures compatibility but you really never know until you hook it up. Nobody has apparently connected it up to an LG G4.

    Picked it up for $74 incl. shipping and a 2M extension cable.

  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    I am still looking for a std. Panavise/RAM/GoPro suction cup mount to use both inside and outside the car with the ShoulderPod. The three major mounts are uber expensive but the Chinese knockoffs are not up to the same standard when it comes to outright grip. I will tether the phone and mount but does anyone have any experience and recommendations?

    This is one of the < $5.00 Chinese knockoff mounts with the 1/4-20 but I saw some stories online that these are garbage.


    Mount + Tripod Adapter Suction Cup For GoPro HD Hero2 Hero3 Hero3+ Hero4 Camera

  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    The gear I should have brought to the #NAIAS2016... The Monopod/Tripod, carrier, 3-D gimbal, Lav mic and cables are all in but some of it came two days to late. :(


  9. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    I added a few more pieces to the CleanMPG multimedia puzzle over the last few days.

    First up is a RODE VideoMic Me with furry wind cover for outdoor noise reduction to go along with the smartLav+ mic I picked up last week. This was not cheap at $59.00 on top of the $74 for the Lav mic and an extra 6’ of cable shipped last week.

    Then a high quality yet somewhat inexpensive ($120.00 shipped) Sirui VA Series (VA-5) compact video fluid head.


    With a maximum load capacity of up to 6.6 lb it is the ideal fluid video head for use with DSLR, system cameras and small camcorders. And I might add, smartphones. ;)

    Due to the sophisticated fluid system, it allows for a soft, quiet and vibration-free movement whilst filming.

    The friction of the tilt movement can be adjusted continuously. The rotary motion is fixed. The head works extremely smoothly and allows for very precise adjustments to be made and is intuitive to use. The Safety Lock system prevents accidental removal of the release plate. In contrast to the VH series the VA Series is equipped with Arca Swiss compatible removable plates.

    For a precise alignment 2 bubble levels are mounted.
    • Fluid system provides soft smooth movement
    • Safety Lock system - prevents slippage on the plate
    • Tilt friction is continuously adjustable - lockable 360 ° panoramic rotation
    • 2 spirit levels for perfect alignment
    • Sliding release plate (69mm) with 1/4 "and 3/8" thread, Arca Swiss compatible
    • Removable plates glide path: 70mm
    • Rubberized arm (23cm)
    • 3/8 "tripod socket at the bottom
    • Counterbalancing (Counter Balance) included
    With the above other than the gimbal, I can always purchase a Canon T5i or T6i for much of it as well.

    BillLin likes this.

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