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Hardware Info:

Zhiyun Smooth-Q4 Gimbal Stabilizer
Developed by: Zhiyun
Release date: May 25, 2022
MSRP: $149 for the combo edition
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Zhiyun for sending us a review sample!

Most high-end cellphones these days have multiple cameras with double-digit megapixel resolution. Cellphones are slim and easier to carry around than high-end cameras that cost well over a thousand dollars. With the ability to take professional quality videos and photos in the palm of your hand, it makes sense to offer an affordable gimbal for people who rely on their phones for capturing exciting content. Zhiyun’s Smooth-Q4 Gimbal Stabilizer is under $150 and can help you take your videos/photos to the next level.

This is the third Zhiyun gimbal we’ve been blessed with an opportunity to review. The previous two were designed for DSLR cameras and used an app called ZY Play. While the ZY Play app supports other mobile gimbal models, you’ll have to download the ZY Cami app to fully utilize this gimbal stabilizer. The app requires registration and I was unable to get past the captcha (which I successfully solved numerous times) to get a confirmation code to complete the setup process. For this review, Zhiyun provided me with one of their accounts to access the software with.

After logging in, you’ll be prompted to activate your device. There may be firmware updates as well. I had three firmware updates to run. The first one went smoothly, but the second to 1.8 kept failing until 1.8.1 released.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Reasonably priced; easily switch from portrait to landscape; selfie stick extension
Weak Points: Difficult to use without the app; cannot register an account with the app


Included with the Zhiyun Smooth-Q4, is a VIP membership card to Zhyun prime, which gives you access to templates, live streaming tools such as restream.io, and online editing capabilities. The VIP card grants you one-year membership.

Before using your Zhiyun Smooth-Q4, you’ll want to make sure that it’s fully charged with the included USB-C cable. The four green LEDs will indicate the battery charge level. The battery can last up to fifteen hours and take a couple of hours to fully charge if depleted. The LEDs also let you know which of the four modes the gimbal is in. You can change modes by pressing the mode button.

The five modes are:
PF – Pan Follow, Tilt axis is locked
L – Lock, Ideal for focusing on one target object
F - Follow, Tilt, and Pan Axis are enabled, great for top-down shots
POV – Point of View, Roll axis control, 45-degree angles on right and left side
V – Vortex, 360-degree roll movement for barrel rolls!

The Zhiyun Smooth-Q4 has three axis:
Roll Axis – Switches the phone from portrait to landscape mode and vice versa
Tilt Axis – Up and down movement of your cellphone
Pan Axis – Horizontal angle of your device

A common requirement when filming or taking pictures with your phone is switching between landscape and portrait mode. To do that, you need to press the trigger button three times. Another cool feature is to extend the gimbal out 215mm like a selfie stick.

If you need more lighting, you can attach the magnetic fill light on the top or bottom of your horizontally positioned phone. The fill light provides 5500K color temperature with four levels of brightness. If you have the combo bundle, you’ll get four light filters to adjust the hue of the fill light. The carrying case included with the combo pack is nice too!

Here's a video of one of my bee hives that I recorded using my cellphone and this gimbal:

Using the gimbal without the software is possible, but you may get some unexpected results like impromptu rotations or the device putting itself to sleep mid-recording. The ZY Cami software suite is really nice and offers lots of tutorials to help you make the best videos possible. I thought sharing the screen with software while recording would be annoying, but it’s quite the opposite. I love how you can drag and drop on the screen to lock in on a targeted area and the gimbal (in Lock mode) will adjust the proper axis to keep it steady and in focus.

The Zhiyun Smooth-Q4 is an impressive and well-designed device. It’s a shame that the account creation portion of the ZY Cami app is broken. Despite being offered to register with your e-mail address or social media profile, the verification process never completes. Thankfully, the camera portion of software works without a login, but you won't be able to use the rest of the application's features.


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