While you can use the Zhiyun-Tech Smooth-Q gimbal stabilizer to capture smooth handheld footage with your smartphone, the Smooth-4 has been designed to provide cine-style functions to content creators who want to take their film making game to the next level. Let’s see how the Zhiyun-Tech Smooth Q compares with the Smooth 4.
Functionality and Performance
When comparing, the Smooth-4’s controls are more ergonomically laid out and better labeled with icons than the Zhiyun-Tech Smooth 3. Smooth 4 also has a significantly larger focus/zoom wheel, a PhoneGo mode for quickly grabbing the action, multiple time-lapse functions, and object tracking.
Using the free, downloadable ZY Play app, you can use a control panel that lets Android and iOS users control the gimbal and smartphone camera functions such as time-lapse, focus, zoom, and still photo settings. The Smooth-4’s controls reduce the need to touch your phone’s screen, thereby minimizing unintended jostling while recording. In addition, a dedicated “Vertigo” function encourages the perspective-shifting, dolly/zoom effect dear to many filmmakers.
Based on filmmaker-centric design, the Smooth-4’s large focus wheel even has a witness mark that can be lined up to focus marks you place on its textured band. The wheel is on the left side of the handgrip, with a button on its lower right that lets you toggle between focus and zoom functions, with a button light indicating zoom mode. The Zhiyun-Tech Smooth-4 offers 240° of tilt roll for nimbly capturing your action shots and a 300° pan, or for smoothly gliding with tranquil scenes. To adjust your level of axis control while shooting, you can choose between Pan-Following, Locking, Full-Follow, or the full-speed PhoneGo mode.
When it comes to the Smooth Q, balancing is done with one button controlling the roll axis. The Smooth Q is a 3-axis hand-held gimbal, specifically designed to work with iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy and phones between 4.7 and 6 inches big and up to 220g heavy.
The phone can easily be attached to the gimbal and doesn’t require a complicated setup. All you need to do is mount the phone either horizontally or vertically and then press the ON button and the 3-axis gimbal will automatically adjust the phone’s position and angle. The 3 axis gimbal can be controlled manually or automatically. Just push the joystick to switch between all kinds of shooting scenarios.
Overall the gimbal does a good job and there are not too many bumps or shakes visible. It’s not perfectly steady but overall very usable. But keep in mind that the result also depends on which phone you use. Rolling shutter and the lack of image stabilization can still be an issue even when using such a stabilizer. It’s definitely great to see how good the video quality is of newer phones. A manual camera control majorly impacts how the footage looks, this is because the exposure or the white balance doesn’t change every 2 seconds which also gives the video a much more professional look.
Key Features of Zhiyun-Tech Smooth Q:
- Supports up to 7.8-Ounce Smartphones
- Charge via USB While Shooting
- One-Step Balancing Knob
- 12-Hour Run Time
- Quick switch to vertical mode for a portraits
- Powerful torque motor can eliminate the need for counterweights in iPhone 7 Plus or when using accessories
- USB port to charge your phone as you shoot
- Face-tracking, panoramic, and time-lapse
- Quick auto-focus
- Zhiyun-Tech ZY Play app
Key Features for Zhiyun-Tech SMOOTH 4
- Smartphones up to 7.4 oz and up to 3.35″ in height
- Large Left-Side Focus/Zoom Wheel
- Quick-Response “PhoneGo”
- Dolly/Zoom “Vertigo” Effect
- Large, cine-style focus/zoom wheel
- ZY Play app to control select iOS/Android
- “Vertigo” effect, and quick-response PhoneGo modes
- Multiple time-lapse and follow-mode
- 320° of pan, 240° of tilt, and 240° of roll
- 12-hour runtime with ability to use an external power pack
- Charge your phone as you shoot
The Zhiyun Smooth Q weighs 450g and is made from plastic so the built quality is not very high compared to the Crane gimbal series. But considering the price point, it seems to be a good tool if you really want to get steady and smooth shots while walking or even running. The gimbal can be charged via USB and the internal battery lasts around 9 to 11 hours. According to the manufacturer, the battery lasts up to 12 hours. An app from Zhiyun Tech called “ZY Play” also allows extra control towards shooting modes.
The Smooth-4 Smartphone Stabilizer from Zhiyun-Tech measures up to 3.35″ high. Designed in black, it has been manufactured to provide cine-style functions to encourage vloggers using their smartphones for video capture.
The Smooth 4 supports smartphones weighing up to 7.4 oz and is compatible with almost any phone. But the Smooth Q supports more weight with a maximum load capacity of 7.8 ounces, meaning it can handle heavier smartphones such as the iPhone 7 Plus or accessories such as add-on lenses.
Final verdict- Which one should you go for?
Clearly, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is an upgrade to the Smooth Q, but there isn’t a big noticeable difference except for the algorithm and some advanced features for the pro users. However, if you’re looking for a decent handheld stabilizer for your smartphone, both models do justice to the use case.