DJI Ronin S
Hi folks I’m back again to tell you about another new addition to our inventory and I’m actually quite excited about this one, so much so I’m going to start with my coolness rating.
10 out of 10 is what this one is getting and at least 9 of those points are for looks alone, this thing looks cool, feels the part and from all accounts does exactly what its designed to do really well. I’m talking about DJI’s all new stabilized selfie stick (sorry make that gimbal) the Ronin S.
We’ve all seen gimbals before including a good few from DJI so we know what the score is and what they do, take the shakes away no matter how many coffees you have skulled that morning and keep your movement super smooth even if you aren’t feeling particularly smooth yourself. From what I can tell the Ronin S does this exceptionally well. Being designed for DSLR and Mirrorless cameras the Ronin S is never going to replace a steady cam or large gimbal set up for big productions as it simply doesn’t have the capacity but for payloads up to 3.6 kg it’s perfect.
Setting up a gimbal has always been a time-consuming task generally necessitating a prep day before the shoot, stands to support the kit while you fiddle with it and then more adjustments just because the DOP wants to swap a lens out, all time-wasting hassle when you should be shooting. The Ronin S is super simple to set up and calibrate, a smart phone app connects simply using Bluetooth to the Ronin and from that you can perform balance checks and tune in the amount of stabilization required even program up to 3 pre-sets. With each of the gimbles arms having clear reference markings it possible to record the exact set up for future replication easily. Once set up the Ronin S will even perform an Auto Tune to configure how aggressively each of the gimble motors counteracts any camera movement.
Having mounted your camera the first thing you notice is that the camera sits up high, well clear of the handle and motors, this is great as it gives an un obstructed view of the rear or the camera, helpful if you want to see what you are filming.
By using over powered motors, the strongest DJI has ever used in a hand-held gimbal the Ronin S is able to compensate for slightly miss balanced loads, this means you don’t need to fully re calibrate the set up just because you want to change the zoom on your lens, that’s a really great feature and will save so much time.
Once set up the Ronin S will transform the way you work and allow for shots that just are not possible without it. Equally at home functioning with the camera above the gimbal (upright) or beneath the gimbal (underslung) the Ronin S opens up a range of shots that would be next to impossible to create without heaps of expensive grip, dollies tracks and so on. Movements like full 360-degree pans, flips, barrel rolls and the like become achievable easily with no need for expensive specialist kit so your creativity is enhanced not limited.
The controls of the Ronin S are simple and intuitive, the thumb operated joystick feels like it’s come from a drone remote control and allows for independent camera movement. The M button serves a few purposes, a single click will cycle through 3 operator defined pre-sets or can be held down to activate Sports Mode for those sudden fast paced subjects, in sports mode the gimbal switches to give the most stabilization possible. A trigger also offers various controls from centering or locking the camera to spinning it through 180 degrees for a super stable selfie, well why not lol. Lastly a natty focus knob can be fitted on either side of the handle and will allow for focus adjustment (supported camera and lens combinations only).
DJI have included plenty of points to attach the Ronin S to tripods etc and the included mini tripod legs fit into the base of the handle to support the kit or can be folded together to help form a longer handle (in case you need to club an actor / director into submission). Various kit such as microphones, external monitors and lights can be mounted directly to the Ronin S and DJI have even included is a S-bus port for third party accessories.
Having a modular design, the Ronin S can be easily converted to be used as a stabilized remote head on a boom or slider as required, so that adds to its versatility (please note that the remote camera control required for this will only work for some camera / lens combinations but DJI are adding to this list all the time).
The 12 hrs use from a 2-hr charge, the included mini tripod / handle, the ambidextrous focus knob and even a Manfrotto compatible camera plate all give me the impression that DJI have really thought about this product from a user’s point of view, and that’s great. I can’t think of anything they have missed to be honest. Perhaps a mug holder and a bike mount so I could have a coffee on my Brompton in the morning as I ride over the cobbles of Geffrye street (DJI you can take that as a challenge if you like).
In conclusion the Ronin seems to be the ideal solution to any stabilization needs for the DSLR user, it will help you capture super smooth shots with a professional edge and even allow you to create breathtakingly amazing movements in camera with ease that you just couldn’t do before. I shoot stills but have to admit I fancy taking this home for a bit of fun one weekend it’s that good.