Fstoppers Reviews Zhiyun-Tech WEEBILL LAB Gimbal: Imperfect but Brilliant

Most gimbals that have been released in the last few years have had a similar design and aesthetic. For the most part, they've had a long handle where the batteries go in and the gimbal head on top. Recently, Zhiyun-Tech released their latest gimbal and I believe this will have quite the impact on the gimbal industry as a whole. 

The biggest design change we've seen in gimbals was when companies started to lower the back motor, so, it didn't block the camera's screen. This was and still is a very useful change and one that many including myself still appreciate. Zhiyun-Tech has take things a step much further now with their gimbal the WEEBILL LAB mirrorless stabilizer. Although the WEEBILL isn't perfect, I have to say that this is without a doubt the best gimbal I have ever used. 

Ergonomics and Design

The design and form factor of this gimbal is arguably the most unique element. Most aspects of this gimbal have been really well thought out. The obvious feature of this gimbal is the fact that it's relatively tiny. This is especially noticeable when you compare it to many other gimbals that in the same market segment. The compact size and design mean that I'm able to comfortably pack the WEEBILL with a full frame camera, two lenses, and some minor accessories in a messenger bag. This is extremely useful if you're a run an gun videographer and need to travel light. Even if you're not traveling light, it just means you're not necessarily lugging around your gimbal in a huge carry case. 

Usability

From a usability standpoint, this might be the easiest gimbal to set up and use. This is predominantly because the WEEBILL LAB has a number of lock mechanisms which hold individual sections of the gimbal in place. This is especially useful when you're balancing the gimbal because it allows you to lock all movements except for the one you're focusing on. For example, if you're trying to balance the tilt you can lock everything in place so only the tilt section will actually move. The locks functions are also super useful for when transporting the gimbal in anything other than the original case. All movements can be locked, therefore there's little risk of the gimbal moving and this prevents any potential damage to the gimbal or anything else you may be transporting.

One of the best features of this gimbal and definitely my favorite is the fact that you can attach a mini tripod to two individual sections of the gimbal. This is without a doubt the most useful feature I have ever used in any gimbal. The benefit of this is the fact that you can comfortably and easily switch from having the gimbal upright to underslung. Zhiyun only provides one mini tripod which is reasonable, however, I recommend having a mini tripod attached to both sections at all times when in use. The reason for this is because having to switch where the tripod is mid-way through filming is a little bit of a pain. For this reason, having two tripods attached at all times means you can change from upright to underslung without needing to stop filming. The other benefit of using the mini tripod is that it drastically improves the ergonomics of the gimbal. 

Ergonomics

The WEEBILL LAB has some of the worst ergonomics of any gimbal I've ever used so far. The compact design plays a big part in this and although it is a feature it's also a drawback. The handle is difficult to hold because of its shape and also the fact that the buttons get in the way. Trying to use this gimbal without the mini tripod is extremely difficult. The buttons and will get in the way and affect the footage. The joystick is another thing that I really don't enjoy using and I try and avoid it in most situations. The joystick isn't precise or smooth and I highly recommend against using it. The flat design means that trying to move the gimbal in any precise manner is very difficult or not at all possible. Although your thumb can rest on it relatively comfortably it slips a lot when trying to use it. The other issue is the control wheel; it reminds me of ones you'd expect on some really cheap entry level cameras. The control wheel is also not that precise and difficult to use too. Fortunately, when you attach the mini tripod to the gimbal many of these issues are minimized significantly. For this reason, I would recommend having the mini tripod attached to this gimbal at all times. Although this does increase the overall size and weight of the gimbal when in use, it is removable meaning that transporting the gimbal is still much easier than any other gimbal I've used. Overall the ergonomics are relatively bad but the included tripod fixes many of the issues making usability fairly pleasant. 

Footage 

This is obviously the most important aspect of any gimbal and the WEEBILL LAB does not disappoint. Footage produced from this gimbal is some of the best I have seen. Some gimbals that I have used in the past seem to produce footage with odd jerky looking footage or contain micro jitters. The WEEBILL is one of the very few gimbals that does not suffer from this. The only issue I have found is that it's mostly unusable if you haven't balanced it properly or correctly. The footage will suffer greatly with odd movements and jitters when the camera isn't balanced. This isn't a major issue because of how easy it is to set up, however, I would have preferred the ability to film with this gimbal without the need to balance it every time I use it. There are occasions when I may not have the time to sit and perfectly balance the gimbal before filming and it's those situations where speed is an extremely valuable feature. Even still, I don't consider this to be a major flaw as most gimbals on the market require proper balancing before use. Only a select few are relatively fine if you don't balance them correctly. 

Thoughts on The Specifications

The WEEBILL LAB is described as a mirrorless gimbal as in it's designed predominantly for smaller lighter cameras like the Sony a7R III. Although the specifications state that this gimbal can hold up to 3kg I would mostly take this with a pinch of salt. This is not to say that I doubt the weight capacity, it's more to say that in practical terms this extra capacity doesn't offer any obvious benefits. Most mirrorless camera systems will probably not exceed 2kg and if they do, it's very likely, that system will not actually balance on this gimbal. Having really long front heavy lenses on your camera will probably not work on this gimbal and didn't work in my testing. I found that trying to balance the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art lens wasn't possible. The results were the same when I tried to balance that lens on the Sony a7R III with the Sigma MC-11 adapter.  

I believe the 3kg capacity is not there so that you can pile on heavier systems on to this gimbal but more about ensuring stability when using the gimbal in "normal" weight ranges; up to 2kg. I think this works because the WEEBILL LAB is by far the most stable gimbal I have used when balanced correctly; the footage was also the smoothest most pleasing. 

The other aspect was battery life. The gimbal has been rated up to 10 hours which I do doubt. The reason I say this is because I'm consistently finding that the battery life on this gimbal is noticeably worse than several other gimbals I use. Although I haven't done any controlled tests on the WEEBILL, I estimate the battery life to be around 6 hours as opposed to 10 hours. I do believe that Zhiyun should have included 4 batteries with a 4 bay charger instead of the 2 that are included. This gimbal isn't exactly cheap and the extra batteries would have useful. 

What I Liked

  • Compact design 
  • Lock mechanisms, these are incredibly useful. 
  • Two tripod section. 
  • High weight capacity of 3kg
  • Can produce some of the absolute best and smoothest footage. 
  • The ability to switch back and forth from filming underslung. 

What I Didn't Like

  • Ergonomics are pretty bad. 
  • Battery life isn't the best. 
  • Only comes with two batteries
  • I'm not personally a fan of the gimbal case although this is a very minor point
  • Smartphone clamp is not included. 

Final Thoughts

The number of gimbals that are available on the market can make it a little confusing when trying to decide which gimbal you should buy. Fortunately, companies like Zhiyun and several others are now categorizing gimbals for specific camera types. The WEEBILL LAB is predominantly designed for smaller, lighter camera systems. I prefer to shoot with a smaller lighter setup and the WEEBILL truly aides with that aim. The compact design is extremely useful. I absolutely love the fact that I'm now able to comfortably packs most of what I need including this gimbal into a messenger bag. This provides a level of freedom that was wasn't afforded to me before. The most wonderful thing about the WEEBILL is that there are no compromises when it comes to the quality of footage it can produce. Although I've made recommendations in the past, This latest gimbal from Zhiyun has changed my mind. The WEBILL LAB isn't perfect, but, it's still the best mirrorless gimbal that you can buy. 

You can purchase yours using the link here for $599.00 

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19 Comments

David Love's picture

WHERE'S THE FOOTAGE?! I never use my case. I use my Crane 2 with a monopod and shoot most of my shots like a flashlight for easy jib moves, so buttons wouldn't bother me. Is a gh5 with a speedbooster and 25-70 too heavy for it? I suck at math.

Usman Dawood's picture

It may be difficult to balance that combination. I'll try a similar weight on the gimbal and see if it works. I have some footage in the video linked above.

Usman Dawood's picture

Tried it and unfortunately, it's difficult to balance the 24-70 on this gimbal.

David Love's picture

I have a good setup with the Crane 2, monopod and SmallHD with my GH5 so not hurting. The weight doesn't bother me and compared to a Glidecam, it's a breeze.

I have the Crane 2 since the moment it came to market in the UAE. And while I do hate the same flat joystick, the overall size and the axis lock features on the Webill plus the dedicated mode buttons and trigger button are a huge upgrade over the Crane 2. I used the button layout on the Smooth 4 and I prefer this over the button layout of the Crane 2.

Having said that, the lower battery life is something we will have to compromise on until DJI or Moza make a similar model with better overall features.

I recently bought into the Canon M system with the M5 and I feel that camera with a cage, an NP-F to LP-E17 adapter with the smaller NP-F 550(2xxxmAh) and a Rokinon 12mm f2.0 would be a great combination.
(Currently I don't need 4k and also most likely will not get into Full Frame due to weight and budget issues. Weight is so big of an issue for me that I sold my 18-35 and 50-100 which I used on my 7Dii and 80D)
Just set the aperture to 5.6 and focus just before infinity if with the Rokinon.

Alternatively, you could use the 11-22 EF-M which has AF and IS and shoot even better in good light. Not to mention the amazing 22mm and 32mm fast primes that are super light weight. Add the nifty fifty 1.8 and you get a wonderful 80mm equivalent field of view without any weight penalties.

Lastly from my experience, I would say to hold on for a few months if you can, to purchase this gimbal because Zhiyun prices will come down eventually and they might even add one or two of the accessories to the main kit.

Also, with the Crane 2, the Follow focus modules in my experience are not really that great in a pinch. It's a pain to set them up and quite frankly are better suited to a two person team in a bigger production.

I reckon in the Weebill Lab the follow focus module will drain the battery even faster given your experience and as such would recommend against it. But of course I haven't used the Webill so more reviews to be checked for that.

But overall, once the prices come down I may consider getting rid of my Crane 2 and it's accessories and just buying the Webill with a mobile phone holder and an extra tripod. And perhaps buy a couple extra batteries for this system.

Conclusion: I do like that it has a ton of stuff that the Crane 2 doesn't and the overall size and weight advantages are something no gimbal buyer should overlook.

bryson wolfe's picture

So I preordered this gimbal and it did not arrive with the phone clamp, but about a month later one came in the mail. I don’t know if it was B&H that sent out the free clamp or ZY but I did get one included just a bit delayed

That's great to hear.:)

Sounds like they didn't make the motors strong enough. Doubt it'd work with the classic GH5/SB/Sigma18-35 combo either 😔

Usman Dawood's picture

Unfortunately, it won't work with that combination. I tried the 18-35 on the Sony a7r III and the lens is far too front heavy and long to balance on the gimbal.

What do you think of this versus the Moza Air 2 for a Fujifilm X-H1 or XT3 with 23mm f1.4 or 16-55 f2.8 zoom. Zhiyun says the Weebill is fully compatible with the XT3 and either setup and the XH1 with the 23 but fully with the 16-55. Both setups are under 2 KG. Bottom line, I like the size of the Weebill but will get annoyed if it does not function or handle as well as the Moza Air 2. Any advice is appreciated

Usman Dawood's picture

I’m actually in the middle of reviewing the Moza Air 2 and man it is huge and heavy.

It has some awesome features but it’s pretty overkill for most mirrorless cameras. In regards to using longer heavier lenses it would work much betterment but it too has an upper limit.

I find the weight capacity of the moza air 2 might be an exaggeration. With setups that it’s designed for it has struggled but I haven’t used it long enough yet so still under review. Other then that my biggest annoyance with it is that it has no case lol. It’s huge and no case.

The Weebill lab does suck with longer lenses but it’s super compact so it’s difficult to compare the two and give a good recommendation. I do prefer the Weebill because I only shoot with primes.

The Moza however would be ideal for you if you plan on shooting with really large lenses allot but it’s a big commitment.

Thanks. I think the WEEBILL could work with some zooms I use especially with the XT3. While I like the features of the Moza I think the size may keep me from using it. I’ Give the WEEBILL a shot

Would this work with a T7i? Seems everyone running this uses Sony.

Usman Dawood's picture

Should work perfectly fine with that camera depending on the lens. It’s difficult to balance with the sigma 18-35mm other then that the camera is perfectly fine.

In fact works great even with the 5D mark IV with many prime lenses.

Awesome. Thank you for the quick response. I mostly use a 24mm and 50mm prime lens on that camera. Thank you, once again.

Usman Dawood's picture

You’re very welcome :-).

Usman -- I was caught a bit off guard by the complaint about the 5D Mk IV and the sigma. So off guard that I started looking at the Crane 3 Lab instead. I am glad to see in the comments that it will balance the 5D, just not with a very long and heavy lens. If possible, you may want to edit this article to state that it works with the 5D and some prime lenses. There is not a whole lot of content out there about the Weebil lab discussing DSLRs, as much of the focus is on mirrorless. I personally shoot DSLR, and I am holding out for a mirrorless with the hopes that Canon can eventually develop something that will persuade me to stick with their line of product (otherwise, I am moving to sony). I suspect there are many more out there like me who are still using DSLR while awaiting future mirrorless developments, and we are looking for a gimbal that can serve both types of camera bodies.

Thanks for the detailled information about the weebill lab. I have a question: Is it possible to use the Sony a7 III with a cage from smallrig and the sony 24mm f1.4 gm? Is there enough space for the camera and the cage? And is the weightlimit surpassed or is it within the limit? Thanks!