Looking for a gimbal that's capable of stabilizing your mirrorless camera, phone, or action camera, all without taking up too much space in your bag? Zhiyun's newly announced Crane-M2 S brings the unique features of the larger M3, including a fill light, USB-C fast charge, and a built-in display, to the more compact form-factor of the Crane-M2. Want to see what makes this gimbal such a powerhouse?
Coming in at just $269, the Zhiyun Crane M2-S is a really affordable option for stabilizing cameras up to the size and weight of mirrorless bodies with primes and compact zooms. While full camera compatibility info is available from Zhiyun, I noticed that it's capable of supporting the a7C with a wide range of primes, and up to the 28-70mm lens. Meanwhile, it's still small enough at just 549 grams to make sense when using a compact camera, action camera, or iPhone.
The use of the gimbal in combination with a phone or action camera makes the option for the built-in light particularly relevant. Instead of having to rig a setup for a separate light, the gimbal lets you get up to 1000 lumens of brightness from a little fill-light built into the gimbal. It's got a CRI of 90+ and a color temperature of 5500K, so I'd expect the light quality to be good, although the small source may be a bit harsh without softening.
On the back of the gimbal is a .66 inch display that offers a battery readout, as well as indications of the gimbal's mode. It supports a variety of options, like pan follow, lock, POV, vortex, and others, letting you create dynamic moves with ease. Powering all these features is a battery that's the same size as the Crane M3, with a 1150mAh capacity, which is rated for over 10 hours of use. While I suspect that using the built-in light might run this down quicker, that's still a pretty great run time. If you need to recharge, USB-C PD enables 12 watts of power delivery for a full charge in less than 2 hours (and it's always nice to see new devices using USB-C).
Overall, the gimbal looks like a great option for contemporary content creation with small devices. If you're shooting with small lenses on mirrorless bodies, this gimbal presents a really affordable option to get excellent stabilization, along with the latest features. If you haven't stepped up to filming on mirrorless bodies yet, this gimbal should still stand out to you. At about the same size as a phone-only gimbal, this one offers a way broader range of features, as well as the opportunity to grow with your gear. I personally got a phone-only gimbal a while ago, only for it to be rendered nearly useless by the latest size and weight increase in phones. This one, on the other hand, wouldn't have that problem, thanks to the far higher weight capacity.
The Zhiyun Crane-M2 S is currently for $269, while the Crane-M2 S Combo, which adds a backpack, is available for $349.