More than just a stabilizer: Review of the Zhiyun Smooth 4 smartphone gimbal

The Zhiyun Smooth 4 is a 3-axis hand-held gimbal designed for smartphones. Besides being able to stabilize and reduce shaky motion when shooting video, the gimbal offers quite a few useful features and tools.

The main features include the dramatic vertigo effect, the ability to pull focus and zoom, object tracking as well as different timelapse modes. Watch our five minute video review in 4K!

On the front side of the grip are different buttons such as the record button. Switching between Pan Following Mode and Locking Mode is very easy and done quickly thanks to the switch at the front. Most gimbals require you to press a mode button a certain amount of times to change between modes which can be confusing at times so it’s good to see that Zhiyun simplified the mode change.

The so called PhoneGo mode is probably the most useful motion feature because it’s something I end up using all of the time. The phone’s movement is locked which means you can move the gimbal how ever you want to without any delay. This especially comes in handy when walking fast or capturing fast scenes.

Gimbal grip with controls

The Vertigo effect is a dramatic tracking shot in which the camera moves towards a subject and zooms out at the same time or the camera moves away from a person or subject and zooms in. We used this effect in the past on different commercial and timelapse productions and it’s a great way to improve the cinematic quality of a video. The effect can be done manually or can be setup in the ZY Play app.

ZY Play app

The internal battery of the gimbal lasts for around 10 to 12 hours depending on the shooting mode and can be charged via USB Type C.

It’s a big advantage to be able to access and change the settings without having to physically touch the phone. Pretty much all features can be adjusted by pressing the buttons on the grip. There’s even a button to turn of the phone’s light or to switch between the regular and the selfie camera which is a necessity for vloggers.

Smooth 4 with smartphone

Even though the Smooth 4 is a gimbal it’s much more of a tool that turns your phone in to a proper camera. Of course the video quality is limited by how good the phone’s camera is but it’s impressive to see how far technology has come in the past decade.

You can purchase the gimbal HERE from B&H Photo!

Written by Moritz Janisch on June 2, 2018