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ZHIYUN Weebill 3 Gimbal Review

Go smooth or go home...

Christopher Coke Updated: Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

A little less than a year ago, we took a look at the excellent ZHIYUN Weebill 2. Never one to rest on its laurels, ZHIYUN is back with the Weebill 3. In that short time, the Weebill has undergone a complete redesign and aims to push the envelope even further. The flip-out screen was left on the cutting room floor, but in its place, we have a renewed focus on comfort, build quality, and the one-two punch of an integrated fill light and a high-quality microphone.  

Specifications

  • Current Price: (Amazon)
  • Stabilizer
    • Tilt Mechanical Range: 310°
    • Roll Mechanical Range: 340°
    • Pan Mechanical Range: 360°
  • Battery
    • Operation Voltage: Max: 12.6v, Min: 9.8v
    • Operation Current: Max: 6000mA, Min: 160mA
    • Output: 5V, 1A
    • Battery Runtime: Max: 21h (lab data)
    • Charging Time : 2h (lab data)
  • Size & Weight
    • Product Size (WxDxH): 342x207x73mm
    • Net Weight:  Approx. 1130g/unit

ZHIYUN Weebill 3 - What Is It?

The Weebill 3 is immediately reminiscent of the Weebill 2, and given how great its predecessor was, that’s a great thing. It uses the same 3-axis stabilization system we’ve seen on previous gimbals, allowing its built-in motors to keep your camera steady even as you move throughout a shot. Even more so than the Weebill 2, the Weebill 3 gives your footage that smooth, gliding on-air feel. 

But more on that soon.

The Weebill 2 already felt durable and well-made. It has been a regular piece of my videography kit since September and still feels just as robust as the day it was unboxed. The Weebill 3 takes that up a notch further. The body is slimmed down and easier to carry, but the mix of plastics and metal feels sturdy and impeccably well built. This is a piece of kit that’s priced in the middle of the mainstream market but feels downright professional and ready for rigorous use.

One of the biggest changes this time with this release is that the flip-out screen has been removed from the design and replaced with a more traditional, 1-inch LCD touchscreen built into the handle. I admit to being disappointed when I discovered this as I quite liked the flip-out screen, but using it as a video monitor was difficult due to the size of the screen. For most users, transitioning back to an integrated design is going to be a better choice for actual functionality.

While the flip-out screen was neat, the additions of the Weebill 3 are much more practically useful. Flanking the camera is a new bi-color fill light and high-resolution cardioid microphone. While professionals will likely stick with their high-quality wireless mics and LED panels, these are excellent additions for YouTubers and creators that want to travel light. The light is able to shine up to 1000 lumens with colors ranging from 2600K to 5400K. The microphone was also much better than the built-in mic on my Canon M6 Mk. II. The light also works well, but as a small source, it’s not as diffuse as larger frosted panels but gets the job done and even includes some colored gels for creative lighting setup. 

Controlling the gimbal is as easy as it has ever been. The screen can be tapped to navigate modes and settings before you start filming. To the left of the screen is a joystick that can direct the camera, a record button, and a dedicated mode switch button. There are seven modes to choose from: Lock, Pan Follow, Follow, Portrait, Vortex, POV, and Go mode.  On the front side is a trigger, which can be held to force the gimbal into Follow mode, double-tapped to center the camera, or triple-tapped to put it into selfie orientation. The gimbal also supports ZHIYUN’s ZY Play app for further customization, including digital and motion controls, scene modes, a remote recording trigger, and more. 

A gimbal can be feature-rich and smooth, but it doesn’t amount to much if it’s heavy and difficult to use. The Weebill 3 addresses that in such a simple way that it makes you wonder why it hasn’t been done before: a wrist rest. Available as a secondary accessory (included for free for a limited time), a wrist rest can attach to the bottom of the gimbal, allowing its weight to be distributed up your arm. ZHIYUN estimates this reduces the effective weight by 40% and you can immediately feel the difference when performing any kind of angle. The sling bar has also been redesigned to make it more ergonomic and length adjustable. 

ZHIYUN doesn’t state the upper range of the motors, but I strapped on my Lumix G5 with a large telephoto lens with no difficulty. Carrying that weight should reduce battery life, but instead, it is surprisingly long-lasting. It’s rated for 21 hours of use on a single charge and supports PD fast charging to completely restore the battery in two hours. 

ZHIYUN Weebill 3 - Performance

I’ve been a fan of ZHIYUN gimbals for some time. They’re reliable, work well, and often lead the way in overall features. After using the Weebill 2 for most of a year, I didn’t expect the Weebill 3 to be quite as impressive as it actually is.

The wrist rest and Sling 2.0 system seem small, but they make a tremendous difference when actually filming content. Being able to use your whole arm not only reduces the strain you would usually feel, but it also leads to smoother footage. Those small extra points of contact make the Weebill 3 one of the most effective and easy-to-use gimbals I’ve ever filmed with. 

It’s also one of the most refined pieces of kit I’ve encountered at this price. There are so many small touches that make filming with it easier. The thick locking mechanisms on each arm make balancing a breeze. The quick-release plate and integrated wrench make adding and removing the camera quick and simple. Since the camera mount leaves the battery door for the camera open, you don’t have to dismount the camera to swap batteries. The built-in mic and fill light mean you don’t need to pack and strap extra gear. And the controls make filming feel intuitive. 

Put all of this another way: the Weebill 3 lets you focus on creating. You don’t need to spend all of the time and effort you usually would getting ready to film or managing the process that you usually would with other gimbals. And once you get started, you don’t need to worry about dealing with a shaky arm after you’ve been flying through shots for most of a day.

That isn’t to say it’s perfect, however. The base package doesn’t include the wrist rest (or won’t after the limited time bundle ends) or the adjustable sling grip. These are core features that help set the Weebill 3 apart, and it’s too bad that you need to spend extra for them. I also would like to see user-replaceable batteries. The battery life is great, but like all rechargeables, it will eventually drop.

Final Thoughts

The ZHIYUN Weebill 3 is an outstanding gimbal. At $449, it’s very fairly priced for what’s being delivered here. This is a product that’s clearly the result of years of iteration and refinement, and every bit of that translates through to the user experience. If you create content with a mirrorless or DSLR camera and want footage that seems to glide on air, you owe it to yourself to give this a closer look.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes. Some articles may contain affiliate links and purchases made through this will result in a small commission for the site. Commissions are not directed to the author or related to compensation in any way.

9.0Amazing
Pros
  • Robust and well built
  • Built-in fill light and microphone
  • Wrist rest and sling grip make it easier to use and improve footage
  • Feature-rich and easy to use
  • Well-priced for what’s being offered
Cons
  • No more flip out screen
  • Wrist rest and sling grip are add-on purchases (after limited time bundle expires)
  • Batteries are not replaceable


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