Sunday, 22 May 2016

Zhiyun Z1 Rider-M: Unboxing, Review, test footage and guide!


Hello all you lovely, creative people! 

What a month! 

Bad news - it appears that the NR domain names are all down for the foreseeable future, so I'm back to http://downloadnatureclip.blogspot.co.uk until that gets fixed....so probably for a while! 

Good news - I bought a new toy to get some sweet stable GoPro footage! I am using this in my line of work so bought with my own money (annual donations wouldn't cover a domain name, never mind this beast) but don't worry, I'll be sharing super stable stock footage with you all very soon. I got a slight discount from EachShot for an impartial review, so here goes:

Click the image to view, or follow this link: https://youtu.be/6nhoDOTtPjU

Firstly, a quick disclaimer – as you know, I share FREE stock footage and review the items that I use to create my free content.

I bought this Zhiyun Z1 Rider-M gimbal with my own money (not through any donations to NatureClip) and got a small discount from EachShot for writing an impartial review. I’ve owned the product for 14 days at the time of writing. So my review is subject to change but if it hasn’t been updated, it means the below still feedback applies. Now onto the good stuff…

Summary:
If you are looking for a wearable gimbal for action shots (hence the need for 3-axis), you will very happy with the Zhiyun Z1 Rider-M. I would certainly recommend it. Your videos will be much smoother without any hassle or time spent balancing it before each shot. 

Why I chose to buy the Rider-M over other gimbals:
I was very tempted with the Feiyu FY G4S (not wearable)  and the Feiyu FY WG (still tempted if I could afford it) but the Rider M clinched it because  I can wear it and it’s versatile - it can be used with similar shaped cameras as the GoPro 3+/4 AND it can be adapted to the GoPro 4 Session (I haven’t tested this out as of yet but plan to get the adapter and will update this review if I do). This bodes well should GoPro choose to use this sort of shape with newer models. I don’t think the FY WG can be adapted to the Session 4 but happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

First impressions:
Solid build, even the buttons are metal. It feels like a quality product. It was really easy to use from out the box, switch it on and click the mode button to get the stabilisation option you need for your shoot. 

Negatives:
To be honest, I’m  being a bit picky with these comments but I want you to be informed:
- The app could be better. It may have just been bad luck, but it crashed during the firmware update so had to manually update it. So I would advise you update through your computer. Download the software from Zhiyun , the latest firmware and it does it in seconds (I’ll add a tutorial on my channel should you need it - www.youtube.com/natureclip).  It controls the gimbal fine, but as I would like to see the footage, I’ll be buying the remote. 

- It is pricey, so if you are thinking of casual handheld footage, there are 2-axis gimbals available which are much cheape

- No low battery indicator? 

-The adapter for the GoPro Session 4 can’t be bought direct from Zhiyun, Amazon and I’m still looking for someone who sells this separately. This is a shame as it’s a key reason for buying

(-) I’ve seen smoother footage with handheld gimbals BUT I think this either had additional stabilisation in editing or just comes with practice. Either way, until I compare the items myself I’m adding this as a potential negative.

Positives:

+ The stability is incredible. You do get a bit of motion from body mechanics but it is greatly reduced (You have to see if to believe it - I’m pulling together footage and will add the link here if I can, if not, search my channel/website). 

+ Super quiet motor, none of that grinding sound from the mechanism 

+ Can be used upside down (easy to do so too

+ Battery life is very good (will update when I’ve pushed it to its limits).

+ Solid build (all metal casing) 

+ Easy to use – Just switch it on, no need to balance it. I calibrated it for the review  but I don’t think I needed to

+ Small and very light (you don’t notice you’re wearing it)

+ You can easily adjust the angle with your hands (don’t need the app or remote)

+ It comes with a GoPro attachment adapter

+ Good value for money – it isn’t cheap, but the impact on footage sure is worth it!

+ Versatile – the threads are easy to adjust and allows for the LCD screen to be added. Can also be used with other action cameras.

+ Easy to change batteries 

+ Once you set the angle, you can forget about it. I came across a car fire when out cycling (check out the video review!) and forgot it was recording. I was turning my head to talk to the car owner, looking around, checking my watch but the camera kept steady the whole time. 

Why did I buy from EACHSHOT?

+ EACHSHOT replied to my pre-purchase queries very quickly (which is the main reason why I bought from them, I got an offer of a similar discount elsewhere but not quite as quick).

+ EACHSHOT delivered this item the next day.

- They didn’t have the remote in stock at the time so bought separate and have to wait longer (no big deal).

I hope you found this useful. If you did, please add a like on the video. If not, please add a comment with what you would have liked me to include. 

Questions and queries are welcome, add them in the comment section. I’ll usually respond over the weekend. 

Want the test footage in the video? Leave a comment below, if I receive enough requests I'll release the footage under Creative Commons.

5 comments:

  1. Hi - you say your Rider M is completely silent. Do you have any test footage without music and wind noise that you've recorded to show how silent it is? Other people have said it doesn't affect audio, but I have bought two and having to return both because the motors make enough noise to be easily picked up on my videos, ruining them. An electronic whirry kind of noise that's difficult to describe. It's very noticeable just indoors and someone talking. It's like the noise that you can hear on this video:

    https://youtu.be/PkYpHm255a8?list=WL&t=48

    and this one:

    https://youtu.be/SEu0bOWSMNI?list=WL

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    Replies
    1. Hi Graham, just watched your clips - that does sound noticeable. Most of my footage is outdoors but I'll record some indoor test footage and update the review accordingly. Will upload the clips too. Thanks for the feedback - which stabiliser did you choose to replace it?

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    2. Hi Graham, just watched your clips - that does sound noticeable. Most of my footage is outdoors but I'll record some indoor test footage and update the review accordingly. Will upload the clips too. Thanks for the feedback - which stabiliser did you choose to replace it?

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    3. Update: You can now view some of my latest stock footage recorded using this gimbal and a macro lens attached to a GoPro. One video has no sound, the other two have the sound recorded by the GoPro. It was outdoors and a little windy but comparing them with your video, I don't think it is as noisy. See what you think.

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