Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

The Zhiyun Smooth Q in Kichijoji

Recently I bought a Zhiyun-Tech Smooth-Q Smartphone Gimbal.  What’s a gimbal?  Well, videos shot handheld often look quite jerky, especially if do them while walking.  A gimbal is a device you attach your camera to and it smoothens everything out for you while you move around. They are incredible.  The one I bought is a lightweight, for smartphones.  Perfect for my iPhone 7 plus.

The technology that is used in gimbals like the Zhiyun has opened up the world of film making to everyone, as it allows the creation of some very professional looking material.  I honestly think it is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made in photography and videography.

This gimbal is so easy to use.  Charge it, which takes a few hours, by attaching it to your computer via a USB cable which will give you enough battery life for around twelve hours!  Put your smartphone into the holder, balance it which takes just a few minutes, power it up and you’ll be good to go.  There is an app that you can use, but it is not completely necessary, however it does add a lot of nice features.  It’s true that the gimbal and app have a few quirks, but for the price I think they can’t be faulted.  There are so many features including a joystick with which to control the direction of your camera.  It even has tracking and selfie modes too.

The Zhiyun Smooth Q gimbal for smartphones

There are so many videos on YouTube that review the Zhiyun Smooth Q, so I won’t go into full details here.  The only thing I will say you need to be aware of that is that it supports smartphone up to 7.8 ounces in weight.  My phone is an iPhone 7 plus and it is okay, but if you had something bigger the gimbal would probably cease working.

When I received it, I played around with it for an hour before going to work, then the following day I used it to make a short movie in Kichijoji for my YouTube channel.  The movie, might not be that great, but the gimbal worked extremely well, and I found it very easy to use.  It is a very light device, so you can carry it and your phone for an extended amount time with no worries (I could anyway, and I don’t have a lot of muscles!).  My arm never got tired.

The video was shot in 4k and I used to the Filmic Pro app to make it.  The quality is surprisingly good.  It’s sometimes difficult to believe how far and how fast technology has come over the past few years.  When I was a kid I never would have believed, that one day, a person would be able to create high quality videos by themselves – no crew needed.  I think it is amazing that it is now possible to make incredible images of the world completely by yourself.

If you are wondering about Kichijoji, it is a very popular area on the Chuo line, which puts it on the west side of Tokyo.  It is one of the smaller stations in the city, but it is very popular and a great place to spend your free time.  This video was made, not to show those things, but to show what “normal” life is like in the city.  So you’ll see shops opening up, people going to work etc.  You can see another of my articles about it here.

Currently I’m in the process of making more videos for YouTube and you can see my channel here.  If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them!  Please don’t be shy and post them below.