ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 Tutorial: Every Feature Explained

The desire to enhance media content creation is the sole reason behind the release of ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3. This mobile phone stabilizer enables content creators to encounter buttery-smooth shooting and a seamless user experience when using their smartphones to make videos, all at an affordable price.

The ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 comes with substantial upgrades not only in hardware but even in the software department. Suppose you are looking to buy this smartphone stabilizer or have already made your purchase, and you are wondering how to take your smartphone cinematography to the next level. In that case, this post covers all you need to know about the highly versatile ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3.

Gets to Know ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3

The ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 enters the market as one of the most feature-packed yet cost-friendly cell phone gimbals out there today.  Its robust and easy-to-use functions make content creation and cinematography accessible to just about anyone. Let us explore more about this device.


What is in the Box?

The package of the ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 depends on your kit selection. The standard kit package, which costs 89 USD, contains a foldable 3-axis gimbal, a USB-C cable, and a mini-tripod. While the more expensive combo kit pack costing $20 extra at 109 USD comes with all the items in the standard kit, including a compact bag, wrist strap, and ZY Cami prime card.

Key Features of ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3

The ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 is feature-packed but a worthy place to start its extensive payload support of 280 grams, making it one of the highest amongst smartphone gimbals, especially given its lightweight. It also has a diffuser light situated above the phone clamp to illuminate its subject in low light conditions. The Smooth-Q3's 1300mAh battery coupled with USB-C support ensures you can quickly charge the device after the 15-hour battery energy is depleted.


ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3’s 3-axis motors let the gimbal rotate in several directions, enhancing the user’s ability to shoot captivating videos. From the software side, the ZY Cami app for the ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 packs in numerous features from the Smartfollow 3.0 that lets you keep subjects in focus to a variety of shooting modes such as gesture control panorama, time-lapse, dolly control, and a host of others.


How to Set Up ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3?

Setting up the ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 for use with your smartphone is pretty straightforward. Anyone can be up and running in these three steps. A precursor to setting up the Smooth-Q3 involves ensuring that you download and install the ZY Cami app from your respective app store to gain access and control the device. Once that is done, proceed to:


1. Mount your device to the ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3

Start by first losing the vertical arm screw and pulling the pan axes motor downwards while holding the tilt and pan axes motors until you hear a click. Then you can proceed to tighten the vertical axes screw back.


Next, rotate both the tilt axes arm and the phone clamp (90 degrees) before extending to the clamp to insert your smartphone.


2. Attach the grip tripod to the ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3

You can also attach the mini tripod that comes with the Smooth-Q3 by screwing and fixing the tripod into the small mount at the gimbal's base till it is tight and sturdy enough to support your smartphone.


3. Activate the ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3

Activation is usually a one-off process for your new gimbal. To activate the Smooth-Q3, ensure that your smartphone is connected to the Internet and the Bluetooth is switched on. Next, proceed to mount and balance the smartphone on the gimbal, then launch the ZY Cami app to connect the Smooth-Q3 with your smartphone via Bluetooth.


Once this is done, you will be prompted to log in or register your device on the ZY Cami app. Make sure you do this to get the activation sequence. After this, all you have to do is tap the activation button, which will complete automatically.


Now the ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 is activated and ready for use.


Functional Buttons of ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3

Using ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 for shooting cinematic content is quite simple, especially with the ZY Cami app's intuitive user interface. An excellent way to start is by first understanding the buttons that are present on the gimbal. These buttons are spread across the stabilizers and control several functions.


1. Power Button: The power button is the first button on the outer side of the stabilizer’s handle. You can long press this button for a few seconds to turn the device on or switch off the Smooth-Q3 stabilizer.

2. Trigger Button: The trigger performs a couple of functions. A single press of the trigger button selects the target for Smart Following, while double-pressing this button resets the motor back away from Smart Following to its start point. You can also triple-tap the trigger button to switch between portrait and landscape mode.

3. Mode Button: The mode button also performs a host of functions that enables switching from one mode to another, depending on a single or double press action.

4. Zoom Rocker: Zoom rocker is located at the left side of the stabilizer's handle and enables you adjust the focal length and subsequently the sort of view from a long shot to a close-up view.

5. Photo/Video Button: As the name implies, this button takes action to shoot videos or capture photos. A single press of the button starts or stops video recording, while double-pressing this button captures images.

6. The Joystick: The Joystick is a quad-directional controller that enhances navigation when using the gimbal. You can toggle up and down for selection and move back and forth to access previous and next options.


Critical Gimbal Modes of ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3

The ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 comes with several modes that are designed to give creators a variety of shooting options. Some of these modes include:

1. Standby mode:

ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 enters standby mode when powered once you rotate the roll or tilt axis to its fixing buckle. It does this to conserve battery charge, so to wake the device, unlock the fixing buckle of the roll and tilt axis.

2. Lock mode:

Entering the lock mode with a single press (when in pan follow) locks the three motors. Therefore, keeping a subject in focus irrespective of any movement from the gimbal’s handle. You can also access lock mode while in follow mode by double-pressing the mode button.

3. Follow mode:

Once the Smooth-Q3 is in lock mode, a single press of the mode button locks the roll axis motor but enables the tilt and pan axes, thus placing the gimbal in follow mode. In this mode, you can fiddle with the joystick to control the tilt and pan axis.

4. Point of view mode:

POV mode enables all three motors of the Smooth-Q3 to follow the stabilizer’s handle movement. To enter point of view mode, single press the mode button when in follow mode or double press the mode button when in vortex mode.

5. Vortex mode:

Switching to vortex mode on the Smooth-Q3 can be done by single pressing the mode button when in POV mode or double pressing the mode button when in pan follow mode.

6. PhoneGo mode:

This mode allows your smartphone to pan and tilt as the stabilizer moves while the roll axis remains in a fixed spot. You can enter into the PhoneGo mode by long-pressing the trigger button till a flashing indicator emerges.


How to Update the Firmware of ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3?

ZHIYUN releases regular firmware updates for all the devices, and the Smooth-Q3 is no exception. You can either upgrade the firmware for this device using your computer or the ZY Cami app on your smartphone.


For the first method:

1. Visit ZHIYUN's official website to download the last firmware for your device.

2. Download the calibration upgrade tool and USB drivers

3. Once that is done, connect the Smooth-Q3 to your PC via USB.

4. Then, power on the device and place it in standby mode.

5. Open the ZHIYUN gimbal tool and "firmware upgrade" option from the "Open"

Tab, then click the destination when the downloaded firmware is stored.

6. Click on "upgrade," and the process will commence concluding in a few minutes.


Using the ZY Cami app is much easier. Just connect the Smooth-Q3 to the ZY Cami app and choose the firmware upgrade option whenever the prompt comes on.

(Note: The app upgrade process requires a functional internet connection to work.)


Wrapping Up

ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 prices at $89. It provides content creators with the capacity to shoot vibrant cinematic shots at an affordable starting price. What is more, this lightweight smartphone gimbal, which supports a huge payload, makes it suitable for almost any smartphone, irrespective of its size.


Most importantly, ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 comes with USB Type-C and a 1300mAh battery which can last up to 15 hours, making it convenient for extended shooting projects like hiking, road trips, etc. Whether professional or amateur, any content creator looking for an affordable yet capable option to shooting videos on their smartphone, the ZHIYUN Smooth-Q3 is the best choice for you. 

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