Zhiyun Weebill-S full review
The Weebill-S is a pretty simple proposition: a fully featured gimbal that can handle either DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, but features a compact, lightweight(ish) design that avoids as much bulk as possible.
This isn’t the gimbal for you if you want something to stabilise your phone photography, but if you’ve got a ‘proper’ camera and want to expand your video options there aren’t many better options.
Design and build
This is above all where the Weebill-S triumphs, with a design that’s compact, portable, and yet still feature-rich.
The gimbal includes locks for each of the three axis for individual calibration and tuning, with a two-part quick release plate for the camera that’s easy to remove and compatible with other tripod systems in case you need to move from one platform to another.
It’s a little fiddlier to remove the plate entirely from the camera - there are three screws to deal with along the way - but it’s painless in terms of moving the camera on and off the gimbal itself on the fly.
Calibration and balancing is relatively simple - though not helped much by the rather cryptic included instructions - though a few of the calibration points can be a little stiff, making fine-tuning occasionally tricky. Otherwise build quality is top notch though - a necessity if you’re going to trust a several-grand camera to it - and this feels as sturdy and reliable as you’d need it to be.
The tripod base feels sturdy and secure, and you have the option of attaching it below the gimbal for a traditional upright mode, or at an angle on the rear in a sling mode.
The trigger shaped main handle includes the battery compartment, basic controls, menu for changing on-device settings, a scroll wheel that controls the optional zoom-and-focus attachment, and a small monochrome display.
At 895g the Weebill-S is also lightweight by DSLR gimbal standards, though once you’ve slapped a big camera in there you will still begin to feel the burn as you sling it around. That’s especially true if you have a large lens on too, as this supports some fairly hefty camera/lens combos.
Obviously the weight is less of an issue if you use a mirrorless camera, but if you’re using a mirrorless then you honestly might be better off with Zhiyun’s own Crane M2, which is designed for mirrorlesses, smartphones, and action cameras. It’s cheaper and lighter, but the lack of DSLR support makes it less useful for professional work.
Features and performance
So the Weebill-S is well-built, but what does it let you do? For starters, you get six shooting modes: the standard PF, F, and L, along with Go, Vortex, and POV. That gives you plenty of options for whatever you’re filming, with just about every possible combination of locked and open axis available.
To make it easier to switch modes on the fly they’re dotted around between different buttons on the handle a toggle for PF and L, a trigger for Go, a dedicated POV button… It saves you from cycling through the modes one by one, but will mean you have to memorise which button does what if you want to change quickly as you go, especially since the mix of buttons, toggles, and triggers is maddeningly inconsistent.
That’s fairly typical for recent Zhiyun gimbals, but what’s more impressive is tucked behind the mini OLED display on the Weebill-S. As before this gives you access to on-device controls, but now there are perhaps more than ever.
You can adjust motor strength (with a great auto tuning option), follow speed, smoothness, deadbanding for each axis individually, and more. If you prefer you can also tune all of this through Zhiyun’s app, as before, but now it’s far quicker to tweak things without faffing about with your phone first.
Zhiyun suggests a battery life of about 14 hours with the included rechargeable Li-ion batteries. This will of course vary depending on the weight of your camera - and how well you balance it during setup. You also have the option to use the gimbal to keep your camera charged up, but of course this will drain the gimbal faster in turn.
A second battery compartment is included (though not the second set of batteries) to make it easier to swap things out on the fly, so you can keep shooting with minimal interruption.
Then there are all the accessories. The one you’ll probably want is the focus/zoom controller, which lets you use the dial on the Weebill’s handle to adjust the camera’s focus/zoom, as you might guess. It works, and works well, though the included USB-C cable to power it is only juuuuuust long enough to stretch round a DSLR, and depending on the camera I fear it might not make it at all.
The TransMount Image Transmission Module is a little more exciting. It can sync [email protected] video up to 100m, to up to three devices simultaneously, for live monitoring complete with zebra stripes, histograms, reference lines and more.
The separate phone mount then lets you mount your phone to the gimbal, and when paired with the Image Transmission Module you can use your phone both as a monitor screen, and a full controller for the gimbal.
Buying all that kit stretches the price up, but at £369/$439 the base price for the Weebill-S isn’t bad at all for what you’re getting: a fully featured professional gimbal that’s compact, lightweight, and versatile enough to handle mirrorless cameras and most DSLRs.
It comfortably undercuts the £459/$559 DJI Ronin S - the closest comparable rival - making it a relatively affordable option.
If you need a portable gimbal for light professional filming with a DSLR - or, perhaps more likely, to step up the quality of your hobbyist filming or YouTubing - the Weebill-S is a solid shout.
At just under a kilo it’s still a hefty piece of kit, but lighter than most alternatives that will handle a DSLR, and it’s packed with smart touches that make it quicker, easier, and more convenient to use.
A few minor design irritations hold the Weebill-S back from full marks, but otherwise it’s easy to recommend.
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