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Zhiyun-Tech WEEBILL 2 Gimbal Review

Compact But Powerful

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

Zhiyun-Tech is one of the biggest names in the world of gimbals and for good reason. Its camera stabilizers have consistently delivered exceptional results while also being user-friendly enough for newcomers to pick up and start creating. There are more gimbals than ever on the market, so having novel features is more important than ever. The WEEBILL 2 delivers with its flip-out color touchscreen, underslung handle, and fast recharge time. At $549, it doesn’t come cheap but it’s a unique offering in a sea of same. Find out how it fares in our review. 

Specifications

Current Price: $549 (Amazon

Key Features 

  • 7.3 lb weight capacity
  • 2.9-inch rotating touchscreen
  • Built-in support for panorama, motion lapse, and time lapse
  • Programmable control weheel
  • Portrait, Landscape, and Underslung modes
  • 9-hour battery life
  • Improved processor for enhanced responsiveness and stability 
  • iOS/Android app support

Battery

  • Operation Voltage: 
    • Max:12.6V 
    • Standard:11.1V
    • Min:9.8V (Lab Data)
  • Operation Current: 
    • Max: 6000mA 
    • Min:160mA
  • Operation Temperature: 
    • Max:45? 
    • Standard:25? 
    • Min:-10?
  • Battery Runtime
    • Standard: 9h (The data is collected at a specified temperature of 25?) 
    • The WEEBILL-2 is fully charged with 18650-2600mAh battery
  • Output Voltage: Standard:5V
  • Charging Time: Standard:1.6h (This test is conducted with a 24W PD Fast Charge at a specified temperature of 25?. The charging time is 1.6h)

Stabilizer

  • Weight Support: 7.3 lbs
  • Following Deviation in Motion State
    • Max:±0.3° 
    • Standard:±0.1° 
    • Min:±0.05°
  • Following Deviation in Static State
    • Max:±0.04° 
    • Min:±0.01°
  • Tilt Mechanical Range
    • Max:+190° 
    • Min:-150°
  • Roll Mechanical Range
    • Max:+80° 
    • Min:-260°
  • Pan Mechanical Range: Standard:360°

Dimensions

  • Unfolded: 13.8 x 8.9 x 5.9 inches 
  • Folded: 12.6 x 8.9 x 2.4 inches  
  • Weight: 1.47 KG

Unboxing and Overview of the Zhiyun WEEBILL 2

The WEEBILL 2 is a compact three-axis camera stabilizer but manages to pack a serious punch in the amount of weight it can hold. Despite its small 14 x 9 x 6 inch size, it’s able to hold a full 7.9 or something as small as my Canon M6 Mk. 2 with a compact lens totaling 508 grams. I’m confident it could hold less with adjustments to the motor.

The range of weight support is really one of the WEEBILL 2’s greatest strengths. Whether you’re a small-time creator with a pocketable camera or in the middle of your videography career with a full-size, full-frame mirrorless lens, it’s going to support you to deliver smooth, versatile footage. Zhiyun even went so far as to include a weight support system in the box, so if you’re using a longer lens, you won’t have to worry about it stressing the mount or throwing off your balance. 

The gimbal is ideally suited for mirrorless camera systems. It’s entirely possible to strap a DSLR onto it, provided you’re below the weight limit, but it’s depending on how extensive your rig is, that’s where you’re most likely to hit ceilings in the capability of its motors. Sticking with mirrorless systems, however, will open the door to even fairly extensive camera rigs that include mounted follow-focus and wireless video transmission systems. 

Like most of Zhiyun’s line-up, the WEEBILL 2 uses a three-axis stabilization system. Using a series of motors and linked articulating arms, it can control for pan, tilt, and rotation. This setup opens the door to the traditional camera modes, including Pan Follow, Follow, All-axis Lock, POV, Go, and Vortex (Inception) mode. The camera is also able to switch between portrait, landscape, and selfie modes without remounting the whole camera. In addition, you can also engage Time Lapse and Motion Lapse modes for more creative shoots.

So far, most of these qualities can be found on other gimbals, so let’s look at what set’s it apart, starting with the flip-out LCD screen. The WEEBILL 2 is the first gimbal to feature a full 2.9-inch color touch screen. This screen allows you to easily access all of the modes and settings without having to use a supporting app (which is available and worth downloading also). When it’s not in use, it flips horizontal and is rotated flush with the body of the gimbal to protect the screen. It’s a smart feature that makes using the gimbal that much easier, especially for newcomers. 

The other core feature is the underslung handle, which connects directly to the control layout. Most gimbals feature a single handle. The WEEBILL 2 features a second, that extends upwards from an L-shaped control layout (that also lines up with the screen when it’s folded away. This handle makes getting shots low to the ground much easier and is also useful for distributing the weight of a heavier camera system between both arms for more stable footage. The standard package comes with a second screw in tripod that can work as a handle here, but the Combo kit includes an ergonomic sling-grip handle, which is pictured above. 

Below the sling handle is the control layout. If you’ve used other gimbals with traditional control schemes at the top of the base handle, you’ll be in for a treat. The layout here is so well considered that I didn’t even realize how much I had been missing going into this review. All told, you have a joystick for controlling gimbal movement, a multi-function control knob that can be mapped to different functions of your camera (focus, exposure, ISO, aperture, etc), a record button, and a switch to quickly swap between key modes. These buttons are positioned so you won’t accidentally hit them mid-record and wreck your take. I found them extremely intuitive and easy to access while tracking my shot with the other hand. 

Inside the unit is the electronic brain of the gimbal, the Infineon sensor. This new system uses two-filter interruption vector splitting to detect even the smallest bits of shake and jitter and corrects for them in real time. This allows the WEEBILL 2 to respond faster and deliver even smoother footage that its predecessor, the Weebill S. This computer brain also allows for signal passthrough using USB-C ports on the top-most arm, providing camera control to the gimbal and video pass-through to the touchscreen with the AI-based video transmission unit.

Accessories and Bundles Worth Buying

The WEEBILL 2 has is ready to bit fit with a number of different accessories. For this review, I was sent the WEEBILL 2 Combo Pack, which includes the Sling-Grip handle and a padded carrying case. I would highly recommend that anyone purchasing this gimbal also buy the carrying case as well. It has enough storage to hold the gimbal, as well as all of the cables and tools that come with it, in addition to the TransMount Video Transmission Transmitter (AI).

This is where things really get fun. The video transmitter expands the potential of the WEEBILL 2 by sending 1080p60 video to up to three different sources (including smartphones using the app) up to 328-feet away. When connected to the camera, it also sends a video signal to the WEEBILL 2’s touchscreen, turning it into a large camera monitor. This transmitter attaches via a bracket directly below the camera, keeping cabling clean and access easy. It’s also powered through the gimbal itself, so you won’t have to worry about your video feed dying mid-stream.

I found this to be extremely useful. One of the most challenging parts of recording with a gimbal without using an external monitor is making sure your subject is framed correctly and in focus. Depending on the position of the gimbal, it’s very easy for this screen to get obscured. The WEEBILL 2’s transmitter solves all of that. It’s not the brightest screen, so direct sunlight can make it difficult to see, and it isn’t as high resolution as those included on high-end mirrorless cameras, but it is perfectly sufficient to make sure you’re actually capturing the shot you’re intending to. 

This device also opens up SmartFollow 3.0. This system, in combination with the app, allows the gimbal to track your movement from a stationary position. If you’re recording yourself, that means the WEEBILL 2 can act as its own camera operator, allowing you to walk around and articulate without accidentally stepping out of the center of the screen.

Another very cool accessory is the new MasterEye Visual Controller VC100. This device is a mobile monitor and control unit for the WEEBILL 2 and it’s specced to win. It features a 5.5-inch FHD touchscreen with 1000-nits of peak brightness and 400 PPI pixel density. It features matching controls for the WEEBILL 2, as well as dedicated camera controls, allowing you to control both the camera and gimbal at distance of up to 150 meters. This is absolutely perfect for wireless shots in church settings or other live performances where you can’t be center stage. The MasterEye VC100 also features built-in storage for mobile screen recording, a headphone jack for live audio monitoring, fast charge support, and even motion controls.

The accessories do come at an additional cost. The Combo Bundle with the Sling-Grip and travel case raises the price by $100. The Pro Bundle, which includes all of that, plus the Follow Focus motor and video transmission transmitter raises the price by $350. Pro + adds in the MasterEye VC100 for bumps it up by another $550. Here’s how the prices break down:

  • Standard Package: $549 
  • Combo Bundle: $649
  • Pro Bundle: $899
  • Pro+ Bundle: $1099

That said, buying the accessories in a bundle with the gimbal itself does result in some significant savings. Here are the prices to buy those accessories separately:

  • Portable Storage Bag: $89
  • Sling Handle: $59
  • TransMount Video Transmission Transmitter (AI): $219
  • TransMount Focus/Zoom Control Motor 2.0: $79
  • MasterEye Visual Controller VC100: $349

Creating Content with the Zhiyun-Tech WEEBILL 2

Straight to the point: recording videos with the WEEBILL 2 is fun and easy. You don’t have to be a gimbal expert to record smooth footage. Despite owning multiple gimbals and far too much camera equipment for one person, I am far from an expert on camera technique and admit to being pretty darn rusty when I first unboxed the WEEBILL 2. Even despite that, I had no trouble getting started with it because it’s designed to get you up and running fast. 

Also — fans of the Manfrotto mounting plate will be happy to hear the WEEBILL 2 uses the same design here. If you already have mounting plates, it should slot right in here.

Running a gimbal begins with balancing the camera. You have to adjust the length of each arm and position of the camera until it sits flat and straight even with the gimbal turned off. This is usually one of the most annoying and time consuming parts of using a gimbal, but the WEEBILL 2 made it easy with locks align each axis. Working from the top down, you can balance each arm segment (axis) before unlocking the next, preventing it from moving while you’re making adjustments. Without the manual, for the first time, I was able to balance my Canon M6 in just under 10 minutes. It was genuinely the easiest balancing experience I’ve had on any gimbal. These locks have also been improved from the WEEBILL 1 according to the user reports I’ve read, so that’s another improvement here.

Getting down to recording, I was extremely impressed at how fluidly the gimbal could transition between modes and positions. Swapping to underslung mode with the Sling Grip is seamless. Taking it from millimeters from the ground to stretched over my head was equally responsive. 

Likewise, I loved how easily I could swap between follow modes. The touchscreen made it easy, but so did the hardware switch which I could easily flip with my thumb. There’s also a trigger button on the front of the handle that allows you to double-tap and re-center the camera or triple tap and go into selfie/vlogger mode (the Sling Grip was visible in this mode, so it’s worth leaving it home if you’re planning on doing a lot of vlogging). This type of easy navigation allows the gimbal to get out of the way, so you can focus on being creative in the moment.

Another high point of my time with the gimbal was the Transmount video transmission system. I didn’t send the video wirelessly often unless I was using the MasterEye VC100 or my smartphone, but frequently used it to take advantage of the flip screen as a monitor. 

This is the killer feature, the big, game-changing differentiator. If you’re not running a bulky rig with an external monitor (which can be quite expensive on top of the gimbal itself), this is an excellent way to make sure your subject is centered and in focus. On every other gimbal, I always found myself craning to see the screen or trying to make adjustments mid-record. The WEEBILL 2 saves all of that and could keep you from picking up a focus monitor if you’re a casual creator. 

My only disappointment is that the transmission system is required to use the screen as a monitor. Let’s be real here: the transmitter is expensive and without it, the screen is controls and parameters only. 

That said, it’s worth buying, especially if you’re a solo creator who addresses the camera like I am. Using the SmartFollow system, I was able to walk around the scene and have the WEEBILL 2 follow me, keeping me centered. Rather than rely on motion controls like the Feiyu-Tech gimbal I reviewed previously, this much more reliably and smoothly kept me in the frame.

When the time came to change cameras and settings, the screen also made that easy. The WEEBILL 2 uses an intuitive menu system that’s easy for a novice to figure out with some basic directional vocabulary under his belt. I was able to adjust my motor strength, smoothness, and responsiveness within simple taps on an adjustment line.

I was also impressed with the battery life. The gimbal had a runtime of between 8 and 9 hours with the video transmitter running intermittently alongside it. The WEEBILL S had a 12 hour battery life, so there is a reduction here, but that’s made up for with a fast recharge time of only an hour and forty minutes from dead to a full charge. Zhiyun shifted to an internal battery this time, which is a bit disappointing as this battery life will surely go down as the unit ages. 

At the end of my first day, during which I recorded the video you’ll see below, I had come to grips with the WEEBILL 2 as a tool and could then focus on getting up to speed with my technique. It left me excited. The WEEBILL 2 was fun to use, easy to come to grips with, and made me feel empowered to get creative and try new shots.

Video Demonstration

One important thing to note about the video above is that all of the footage was captured in the first hour of using the gimbal. I didn’t use any careful steps. When I was running, I was slamming me feet like I didn’t have a gimbal in my hands. I hadn’t come to grips with any of the more advanced techniques. Put another way, I was doing it wrong. And yet, with the gimbal doing 99.9% of the work, it still came out nice, even for a complete newbie.

I chose to embed this demo because 1) I’m proud of my son and it’s National Son’s Day and 2) I wanted you to see the starting point. Even knowing nothing about gimbals, the WEEBILL 2 will essentially carry you through your first videos as long as you are even somewhat aware of the motion of your body. After only a few days and learning about proper technique, it literally makes the camera appear as if it’s floating.

Final Thoughts

The Zhiyun-Tech WEEBILL 2 exceeded all of my expectations. I currently own four different gimbal systems and the WEEBILL 2 delivered the smoothest results. More importantly, those results were the easiest to achieve thanks to the excellent new sensor, control system (wired and wireless), sling handle design, and impeccable locking arms for easy balancing. The WEEBILL 2 doesn’t come cheap, and I wish it was capable of sending video through to the screen right out of the box, but you can’t argue with the results. This is an outstanding compact gimbal that any creator in the market for a new gimbal should absolutely be taking a close look at. 

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
 
9.0Amazing
Pros
  • Easy and intuitive setup and balancing
  • Exceptionally smooth footage possible, even for newcomers (watch your steps!)
  • Versatile for different kinds of shooting
  • Lots of value-adding accessories
  • Touchscreen is a great addition that pushes the industry forward
Cons
  • Video transmitter (separate purchase) required to use touchscreen as a monitor
  • Non-replaceable batteries
  • The full package becomes quite expensive


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight