Counter weight on gimbal for zoom lenses

This counter weight idea happened because of a completely different reason. I wanted to balance my 5D Mark IV on my Zhiyun Crane 2, still while being able to fold the gimbal flat. I needed to this for my travels, so I could easily close the gimbal and velcro it closed.


Since the Crane 2 does not allow for left to right adjustments on the camera plate, the only way to balance left and right camera weight, is by using the adjustment on the gimbal that is directly behind your screen / viewfinder. It's called the tilt motor adjustment. When my camera / lens combo is properly balanced, my tilt motor hits the pan motor, preventing it from closing. If I am shooting a wedding, it's not that big of a deal because I am always using the gimbal. But when I travel, I am constantly pulling the gimbal in an out of a backpack. I don't want to have to re-balance the tilt adjustment every time. So by adding a weight to the camera on the right, I was able to move the gimbal adjustment arm to the left, which prevented the tilt motor from hitting the pan motor. I even added a small piece of self adhesive padded foam to the top of the pan motor, this way, when the gimbal is closed, it was a nice tight fit.

When I first added the counter weight, it was hitting my camera slightly, and it prevented me from sliding the camera on and off using the quick release plate. I needed the make the weight higher so it missed the camera. Looking through my adapters, I was just trying to raise the counterweight, but I ended up using a mini ball head. By adding the weight to the ball head, I am now able to shift the weight in multiple directions. I knew this would be helpful if I needed to switch lenses during a shoot and didn't want to rebalance. To my suprise, the weight I am using (170g), is almost exactly the difference in weight when my zoom lens was extended or not. So I just balanced my camera with the weight facing forward while my lens was zoomed out to 24mm. Then when I zoom in to 105mm, I can quickly shift the weight to the back. The Crane 2 is powerful enough to actually hold the camera up even if you don't move the weight, but you might get micro vibrations at some angles. If I am doing a quick 5 second shot zoomed in, I won't even bother moving the weight, cause I know the gimbal can support the camera even if it's not balanced properly. But not adjusting the weight so its properly balanced will also make the batteries run out faster (and it's more wear and tear on the tilt motor.)


Having the adjustable counterweight also let me switch lenses without rebalancing the gimbal. I can use the counterweight to quickly balance the camera with a new lens.


Zhiyun 100g Counterweight: https://amzn.to/2yeYrq2
Counterweight (better option since there are 3 weights!): https://amzn.to/2RSJAK8
Mini Ball Head: Option 1: https://amzn.to/2ycwoaE
Mini Ball Head: Option 2: https://amzn.to/2yeYDFM

The weight I am using in the video and the photos is from the cheap stabilizer (since I had them from a long time ago). This crappy stabilizer comes with 3 counterweights in 2 different sizes, so it's a much better deal than the Zhiyun one.