A small, pocket size gimbal is an essential tool for all vlogger using their smartphone. DJI and Zhiyun, both well known manufacturers of gimbals, released their latest version making their gimbals even smaller and therefore easy to carry with you. But which one is better to get Zhiyun Smooth Q2 or DJI Osmo Mobile 3?
When comparing the specs both seem to be almost equal, but the difference is in the detail. Therefore pay attention to them as one item on one of those gimbals might be the main item for you to decide!
Zhiyun Smooth Q2 and DJI Osmo Mobile 3 are designed to be compact and easy to use. Both have a unique feature that stands out. DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is foldable to make it even more compact for travel:
But is it really pocket sized? Is Zhiyun Smooth Q2 even smaller and goes into your pocket? Well, this is a great comparison:
Zhiyun Smooth Q2 has another feature for easy use: a quick release plate. Remember with older gimbals you always needed to clamp your phone into the gimbal every time you wanted to use it. And then take it out of the clamp for other things to do? With Q2 they added a quick release. The clamp stays on the phone and easily attaches to the gimbal, while the clamp is not disturbing when doing other things like phone calls. Another note on the design: Both have a standard 1/4" tripod thread at the bottom.
Wide Angle Lens: Due to the design of Zhiyun Smooth Q2 with the motor facing forward you could get in trouble with wide angle lenses. Most newer phones come with that feature, so just to be aware of. You can avoid this problem by tilting the grip forward (Flashlight Mode).
Gimbal Tilted Forward (Flashlight mode): I like to hold my gimbal tilted forward to stabilize the up/down movement of my arm. While DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is tilted 15° forward you can't hold it titled forward do to the construction of the arm holding your phone.
One major change done by Zhiyun: For the first time ever, you no longer need an app to control the mounted phone! Zhiyun Smooth Q2 can connect to your phone via Bluetooth so you can control iOS and Android phones with the native camera. (Without using the ZY Play app). The App still exists for additional features like active track but you can also use 3rd party apps like Filmic Pro or the Moment Pro Camera app. Smooth Q2 simplified all the controls to one LED indicator, two buttons and one 5 way control joystick. The LED light shows the mode you are in: pitch follow, lock, follow and POV, there is a joystick to manually control the gimbal's head and a trigger button that works, as mentions, also with the native camera app!
DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is focusing on the active track feature with a dedicated trigger button on the back of the gimbal. In contrast to Zhiyun, DJI also offers a zoom lever.
Both gimbals offer similar modes like Active Track, a very convenient feature where you can mark a subject on your screen and the gimbal automatically tracks it and keeps it within the frame. With DJI Osmo Mobile 3 there is a dedicated button - the trigger button - that activates active track. Of course popular features like Panorama Photos and Motion Time-lapse are available on both of them. A feature only offered by Zhiyun is Vortex Mode where you can do a barrel roll.
+ Exchangeable Off-the-shelf Battery
+ Quick Release
+ Unlimited 360° Pan Rotation
+ Works with any photo app
+ Aluminum Body
- no zoom lever
Even tough Zhiyun Smooth Q2 doesn't fold it is more compact than DJI Osmo Mobile 3. It uses an exchangeable off-the-shelf battery in its aluminum body, so you can get inexpensive replacement or a second battery in case you run out during a shoot. DJI has a built in battery within its plastic body. Smooth Q2 offers unlimited 360° rotation, which I prefer as it not only gives you more flexibility, it also can be used to mount an action camera. It's great that you can use Zhiyun with your favourite photo or video app and you don't have to use the dedicate gimbal app. So you can use the native camera app that saves photos/videos straight to your camera roll. Only downside is that there is no zoom lever, but I don't use it anyway - why? Because phones (and action cameras) have fixed lenses and therefore only use digital zoom. And with digital zoom there is always a loss in quality. That's why I go for Zhiyun Smooth Q2 for as smartphone gimbal!