I had to modify my Crane 2 gimbal to use with 1D X Mark II

New Zhiyun Crane 2 (do not confuse with old v2 – an improved version of the first generation) can handle 3.2kg of a load. Canon 1D X Mark II with battery and card weights 1.53kg. That means we have a whopping 1.67kg spare for the lens and microphone. Which means almost any EF lens. Right? Not really. Largest capacity of some gimbal is related to the power of the motors. But balancing can be a problem even if you use a lighter camera.

Zhiyun Crane 2 unmodified
Zhiyun Crane 2 unmodified
Zhiyun Crane 2 modified
Zhiyun Crane 2 modified


With the light lens, Canon 1D X Mark II can weight 1.8kg in total and you will have a problem with balancing Crane 2 gimbal. Bear in mind that Crane 2 is so powerful that can work very good using sheer motor power. Maybe I will cover this in some other blog post, how Crane 2 can handle badly balanced setup. But I am not recommending this because motors get quickly warm if you have bad balance. You should balance any gimbal as better as possible before turning on.

L bracket, tilt axis

Zhiyun Crane 2 cannot be perfectly balanced with Canon 1D X Mark II out of a box with 99% EF lenses. And after small modification, you can attach even heavy lenses. The problem is tilt axis. Canon 1D X Mark II is a very tall camera with a lot of weight in the upper half which makes the center of gravity very high. Balancing gimbals is all about putting the center of gravity on the center of axis. If you have a tall camera you have to lower that center of gravity. The problem with Crane 2 is L bracket that holds the camera and is used to balance tilt axis. This bracket doesn’t go low enough to equal center of gravity of tall camera like Canon 1D X Mark II.

crane 2 canon 1d x mark ii

Good news is that this bracket has enough space to go lower. It is just held high by the metal bulge. Bulge is there for safety. To stop camera sliding down and falling out of gimbal if you lose adjusting screw too much. Which is ok. The second reason is to protect gimbal from crashing its arms to each other if you extend them too much. Again, fair enough. But we are missing just a little bit to balance Canon 1D X Mark properly. There is space to put L bracket lower without hitting the base of the gimbal.

Crane 2 modification

crane 2 bulge

You will need to take out four hex screws to see this bulge and to lose an arm for modification. You can use an easier way. Just remove the bulge, but you will be risking camera fall eventually. Or you can use harder way, which is closer to production solution. This way you can put camera lower with safety bulge still there. L bracket is made from aluminium, so some small metal or wood shaping machine will be OK. If you have an adequate ending. All you have to do is to take off about two centimeters out of this L bracket. Width is not important, just be sure depth is the same as non modified part.

crane 2 l bracket tilt axis

That’s it. I was able to perfectly balance 1D X Mark II with Canon 24mm f1.4L. That is the heaviest combination I have. I am pretty sure that this will be enough for even heavier lenses like 16-35mm f2.8L III, or 24-70mm f2.8L II. You will be safe with 16-35mm f2.8L II and 16-35mm f4L IS for sure, but I cannot comment about 11-24mm f4L. And as I said, Crane 2 is powerful enough to handle the partially bad balance. So it is not a problem if some of the combinations are slightly off balance before you turn gimbal on.

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