Reviews |ZHIYUN WeeBill 3

ZHIYUN WeeBill 3 Review

ZHIYUN WEEBILL 3 Review
Review

Price when reviewed

£449

$391

Our Verdict

When the WeeBill 2 was released, I was impressed with the function and features of the small, single-handed compact gimbal stabiliser and the huge range of advanced accessories available. Items such as the focus puller and video transmitter transformed the compact stabiliser into a cheap and worthy consideration for professionals. Now the WeeBill 3 enhances the abilities of the WeeBill 2 with a new design and ergonomics that vastly enhance comfort, making using this single-handed gimbal stabiliser even better?

The base technology of the WeeBill 3 seems to remain much the same, and balancing the camera, a Sony A7 III with 35, 50 or 85mm f/1.4 works without issue. The real feature winner here, however, isn’t any enhanced technology; rather, it’s the straightforward comfort of the design.

A new bolt on the handle sits on the left-hand side of the device and provides a little more stability; this alone is lighter and makes the gimbal more agile than before. The small bolt-on pad at the base of the gimbal really transforms the use; this wrist pad helps to support the weight and easily transforms the ease of use of the WeeBill 3 easily, making it the most comfortable single-handed gimbal stabiliser on the market.

For

  • Comfortable to use
  • Lightweight
  • Powerful

Against

  • Video transmitter needed for live feed

What is Zhiyun Weebill 3?

The Zhiyun Weebill 3 is the update to the excellent WeeBill 2 single-handed gimbal stabiliser. Surprisingly, considering how good the WeeBill 2 was, the 3rd edition sees a complete overhaul of the design. The progression between the WeeBill 2 to 3 is as large as the leap in features and performance from the original WeeBill to the 2nd edition.

I think the WeeBill 2 is one of the market’s best single-handed mobile gimbal stabilisers; it just provides solid performance and is incredibly well made. It’s also compact, relatively lightweight, and with the accessories, transforms into a formidable filmmaking tool.

Now the WeeBill 3 raises the bar, and it needs to as the wave of new gimbal releases pushes the quality and features of these handy filmmaking devices to a level that I didn’t think would be possible at this budget a year ago.

Weebill wrist support

The new WeeBill 3 is another step up in build quality; this feels like a professional piece of kit, despite the very reasonable price. It also takes a decent payload. As ever, Zhiyun doesn’t state the upper payload limit, but in this test, it was more than capable of carrying a Sony A7 III with f/2.8 24-70mm fitting.

While the design has changed, the core technology, motors, and reaction speed are all on par with the WeeBill 2, although the battery life has been extended. The main difference with the WeeBill 3 is the new design which focuses on the comfort of use over any new technology features, and this focus on comfort makes a big difference to the use. But with new gimbals by other manufacturers also leaping forward, are the design tweaks focusing on comfort enough to keep the WeeBill 3 in the game?

Build and Handling

The new WeeBill 3 feels far more refined than the previous generations; it’s more streamlined, losing the bulk that came with the 2nd generation and returning to the more compact feeling of the original, albeit more refined and professional.

The design of the main body can only be described as robust yet refined, with high-quality plastic with matching anodised metal used throughout. The quality all around is superb.

It’s worth pointing out that each of the three-axis is secured by a small lock, and once activated, the lock holds the arm securely, ready for easy storage or transport.

Weebill grip adjustments

Zhiyun has also decided to make the WeeBill 3, like the WeeBill 2, a right-handed device with the joystick mounted to the right of the handle. This makes controlling the axis with your right thumb nice and easy if you’re right-handed. Left-handed people will find that it won’t feel as natural but will still be an improvement over the centre-mounted joystick position that many manufacturers started with a few years back.

On this model, Zhiyun has gone for a small LCD screen, which enables you to select settings etc., quickly, but the flip-out screen of the WeeBill 2 has gone, which is a shame but does make the device that much sleeker.

Essentially everything on the WeeBill 3 has been updated; it might be the same size as the WeeBill 2, and the accessories from the previous version are fully compatible, but somehow, the WeeBill 3 feels more professional and robust.

ZHIYUN WEEBILL 3 Review

Zhiyun is keen to highlight their work on the comfort of use, which comes across when using the gimbal. The big design feature around this new comfort direction is the Sling 2.0.

Essentially this refers to the rejigging of the main handle to give it more of an L shape. This makes it more comfortable to hold, and the rubberised grip offers a good purchase. The gimbal is also lighter, so it feels far more agile.

Then there’s the wrist pad, which is a small attachment with a pad on; on first look, this seems like a simple attachment, which it is, but when it comes to using it, it’s surprising how much such a small addition can make to the comfort of holding the gimbal. The pad removes some of the stress that usually falls on the wrist when holding the camera’s weight and gimbal.

ZHIYUN WEEBILL 3 Review

The final bit of the new Sling 2.0 design is the telescopic sling grip. This is completely different to the old handle style grip. It’s far simpler in design and offers some extra support, especially when panning. The design of the new handle is far less product designed than the rest of the WeeBill 3, but there is no arguing that the lightweight approach works.

Features

The WeeBill 3 has come a long way since the release of the original WeeBill back in 2018. The new version features a return to the streamlined workhorse approach of the original, and while the new release may lose the built-in full-colour screen of the WeeBill 2, it does boost comfort and ease of use.

A new SLING Structure 2.0 sees a wrist pad and new handle that, while seemingly simple in design, makes the new ZHIYUN WeeBill 3 much more comfortable to use than any other gimbal on the market.

The new shape and design also make it more stable when supported on the micro tripod base than its predecessor. This is particularly noticeable when using the tracking system with the video transmission system, available separately.

Weebill 3 single handed gimbal

The new grip also features better expansion options so support arms for monitors and other accessories can be easily attached.

One of the big features that we’ve seen with the new ZHIYUN gimbals is the integration of modelling light. This light emits 1000 lumens, more than enough for most situations. What’s nice about this iteration of the lamp is that you can adjust the colour temperature.

A new addition to the design is the built-in microphone. This is Noise cancelling; Hi-Fi, cardioid, and a 3.5mm audio port are added for monitoring.

ZHIYUN WEEBILL 3 Review

Compared with the already decent motor power of the WeeBill 2, the WeeBill 3 features enhanced motors and while the company has yet to say how much of a boost these give, the WeeBill 3 is more than capable of holding and balancing a Sony A7 III with 24-70mm f/2.8.

Other notable features include the new quick-release plate that lets you attach and remove the camera. This is a vast improvement on the previous design and enables you to pack the gimbal away balanced and ready to go in the future.

Alongside the release of the gimbal is the WeeBill eco-system of accessories. These include the TransMount Follow Focus, Zoom motors TransMount Image Transmission System, and TransMount Transmitter/Receiver. MasterEye Visuyal Controller VC100 and ZY Play App.

Performance

The design of the WeeBill 2 was futuristic with its large L-shaped design, side-mounted control wheel and joystick making it look like a phaser from Star Trek. The new WeeBill 3 design steps back a little in time to make it lighter and more agile. While this design move is welcome it’s a shame that this new version loses the small monitor.

That aside the focus of this release has to be the comfort and from the outset that ergonomic is instantly apparent. The wrist rest really does help to take the weight of the gimbal and camera. Add in the effect of the simple Sling handle when fully extended and you have a gimbal system that is nicely weighted due to the counterbalanced design.

That’s really what this release is about, and the more you use it, the more you realise just how well those design changes work. It may look simple but those tweaks make a big difference to the use. Handling the new gimbal is smooth due to that wrist support and it’s easy to control with the thumb joystick in easy reach for controlling the arm position. As ever a quick dip into the menu system is required to tame the speed of rotation on all axis.

WEEBILL 3 joystick control

As with all gimbals using the base gimbal in isolation does enable you to get those smooth panning shots that would otherwise be difficult to get, but then what really pushes this and the DJI Ronin RS 2 to the next level are the accessories.

Attach the TransMount video transmitter and activate tracking through the ZY Play app and you instantly have a very powerful filmmaking tool, and to be honest it doesn’t cost a great deal of money.

Really the possibilities with the video transmitter attached are endless and it just makes things really easy add in the focus motor and the system really comes together.

WEEBILL 3 light weight gimbal

Going back to using the WeeBill 3 in isolation and the new quick-release mechanism is excellent. Essentially the small base plate enables the camera to be clicked in and out as needed, without the need to adjust the balance of the arms. That way you can balance and pack away, and as long as you use the same kit on the gimbal then you’ll never need to balance again.

ZHIYUN has really thought about the ease of use and a small touch that I really liked is the inclusion of a small magnetic wrench. This simply unclips from the frame and can be used to tighten the baseplate to the camera or remove it. The fact that it’s there and integrated into the design just shows the depth of thought that has gone into the usability of the device.

in use, the WeeBill 3 performs well. I used it with the Sony A7 III with 35mm f/1.4 attached. The gimbal had no issues at all with the relatively light payload and using the gimbal in a variety of situations it holds the weight and changes of direction extremely well.

ZHIYUN WEEBILL 3 Review

Drop it to a low level and the sling handle enables you to easily position the camera as needed. It’s all light enough to swing in whichever way you need to get the shot.

My one issue is the loss of the screen and returns to a mono display. The screen was handy for navigating features and using video transmission. Now what I really want is a blend of the WeeBill 2 and 3, a gimbal with a screen that can use object tracking without the need for a video transmission system.

Final thoughts

In use the WeeBill 3 feels quite simple – the design has been streamlined in a good way and the lighter weight and attention to design comfort are all very well considered.

As with the previous iteration, the WeeBill can be at the centre of a very effective video ecosystem. While the design has changed all previous accessories remain the same and work just as well with the new release.

Out in the field, the gimbal provides the instant stabilisation that you want. It’s fast to react and will help to transform your footage. There are also plenty of additional features for shooting stills or producing motion video effects that can be accessed through the ZY Play App.

ZHIYUN WEEBILL 3 Review

Ultimately the WeeBill 3 feels like a different model from the WeeBill 2, it feels solid, well made and professional.

 

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Oscar
Oscar
5 months ago

Thank you for this detailed post. I love this new Gimbal, especially the new feature [the hand rest].

Oscar
Oscar
5 months ago
Reply to  Ali Jennings

I do hope that they will never leave out this feature in the other models in the future.