DJI has finally released the world's first single-handed Gimbal stabilizer for hybrid cameras, the DJI Ronin-S. The following device has been the dream for many filmmakers and it's finally here, with its exciting features and the ability to support payload up to 3.6 kilos. Before we start an in-depth review of this incredible product let me give you an official video which demonstrates all the new technologies which DJI has included in their new invention.
DJI Ronin-S comes in a nicely designed box, which looks similar to the Phantom 4’s case and is very useful, especially if you are traveling a lot or shooting daily vlogs outside and you need to carry your camera gear with you all the time. Inside the case, DJI includes a 24W USB power adapter, camera mounting plate, and other accessories. Including the tiny plate for removing the focus wheel, multi-camera control cable (Type-C)/(Type-B), USB-C cable, lens support, Allen wrench, velcro strap, extended grip/tripod, the grip/battery and the new Ronin-S itself.
Max Operating Speed
Tested Payload Capacity
Max Battery Life
Setup and Balancing
The actual setup and balancing process for the Ronin-S is pretty simple and straightforward. You can attach the battery grip to the gimbal using the locking latch, which is a really convenient feature since the main module is separated from the moving part. In addition, the new DJI gimbal can be charged in 2 hours and 15 minutes and the company claims that the battery can last for 12 hours. Thanks to its modular design the following Gimbal can also power your accessories and support a broad range of camera models while maintaining the precision and accuracy.
After assembling the Ronin-S and securely attaching all the required components such as the camera, lens, focus wheel, control cable you can start balancing the device. The following procedure involves the number of important steps such as finding the center of gravity so that your device stays steady with its lens attached. In order to achieve the perfect balance, you have to adjust the mounting plate first and then secure the camera locking latch. If you feel that additional adjustment is required you can always fine-tune the gimbal to make sure that camera remains still no matter which angle you move the gimbal. Once you feel that both tilt and roll axis are balanced and the camera stays still at any angle, then the balancing procedure is complete.
Furthermore, if you would like to attach the gimbal to the vehicle you should first attach the hotshot bracket before balancing the device. Then follow the same procedure for balancing the tilt and roll axis by tightening locking screws on the plate. The last procedure is to actually fine-tune the motor which starts by moving the gimbal either forward or backward until the pan axis stays still. Once the Ronin-S is fully balanced then you should consider balancing the motor for the best performance. The following can be done easily through the app or by holding down the M button for 3 seconds until the profile indicator starts blinking. Once the indicator turns solid green Autotuning is complete and you can truly experience its real power.
Professional Stability and New Features
Once you turn on the device Gimbal will automatically switch to the follow mode, but you can pretty simply alter the settings by triggering the button. The first mode simply locks the camera orientation, which is a pretty useful feature when you are doing the fast transition from the low to high camera angles. Another alternative is double tapping gesture for centering the camera and finally, the triple tap for switching to the selfie mode. In addition, the new Ronin-S now features improved multi-directional joystick to precisely control the camera movement, which you can fully customize inside the Ronin-S app and reverse the direction or completely remap the buttons depending on your needs.
The dedicated record button can be used to start and stop recording. Plus if you half-press the button you will trigger the auto-focusing feature which is really convenient. Right now to be able to use that button with your Sony cameras you have to get the infrared cable and enable the remote control feature on your camera. An infrared connection is very annoying so before using your camera first double check DJI’s website to see if your current device is supported. The Ronin-S also includes the three operation modes (Upright, Flashlight and Underslung) which can be used for different cinematic shots by giving you the maximum freedom of movement while simply pressing the front trigger button on the handle.
The new M-Button switches on the handle enable you to choose between three customizable user profiles. Each profile can individually store different parameters for a smooth track and control settings. It's worth noting that while choosing the current user profile you have the option to take advantage of sports mode which can be easily activated by holding the current profile indicator button until the yellow light starts to blink. The following feature enables the gimbal to respond to your movements pretty fast and track the fast-moving subjects in the frame. The sports mode is available regardless of which user profile you are using and enables you as a filmmaker to catch quick movement with high precision. It's also worth noting that the Ronin-S has exceptionally good ergonomics, plus it's really quiet so, you cannot hear the sound of the gimbal while the device is operating at its maximum speed.
The New App From DJI
Image courtesy of DJI. Available at App Store.
The Ronin-S app complements the gimbal giving filmmakers even greater control over their creative work. The addition of the special App expands the endless possibilities of Ronin-S and provides the set of different operation starting from pretty basic to more advanced. Once you open the program you have direct access to all the functions which are laid out pretty nice, giving the user the ability to control their gimbal in a more intuitive way than ever before. When you first open the Ronin-S app you have direct access to configuration settings, where you can adjust the motor parameters and fine tune the gimbal performance for each of the three axes.
Balancing your Gimbal is extremely important since a badly balanced gimbal will never work properly. To solve this issue Ronin-S has included the set of automated features directly in your app, to set all the recommended parameters for your gimbal. When launching the auto-tune feature gimbal will determine the optimal stiffness based on the payload and you will provide you with visual feedback of the progress. Moreover, if you would like to adjust the basic parameters you have the option to manually adjust the motor settings. The following feature enables you to tune the stiffness of the motor, but it's worth noting that excessive stiffness will result in a vibration. Therefore it's recommended to follow the basic auto-tuning procedure and set the parameters by default.
In order to configure how the gimbal reacts to your movement on all three axes, you can use an intuitive orientation adjustment feature. By adjusting the responsiveness you can set new values for the Deadband, Smoothing and Max Speed which is really convenient for professional filmmakers. In addition, you can map out the control of the three axes along different channels. Plus you can switch between handheld and car mount mode, change user profiles, restore the factory settings and create customizable user profiles for different scenarios.
Advanced Creative Functions
In addition to the basic functions, the Ronin-S app provides more advanced features which enable the operator to individually program the virtual joystick as well as the shutter and record button. Moreover, there are 4 additional creative functions that you can use for your future projects.
One of the first creative function which you have access to is the panorama. The following feature enables the gimbal operator to set the sensor type and focal length in accordance with your current setup. Furthermore, you can use the overlap setting to adjust the overlay for each photo, so that higher the overlay the more accurate panorama you get. In addition, you can adjust the delay which represents the time needed to take the shot, in order to get a professional looking panorama.
The following feature is far more advanced and gives you access to more settings in order to precisely adjust the gimbal. First of all, you can individually set the interval, frame rate, and duration. The app will automatically calculate the amount of time required for a perfect time-lapse and will display information on the screen. Furthermore, inside the app, you can control the shutter button, ISO settings and the starting position of the gimbal.
Motionlapse is pretty identical to the time-lapse since we get exactly the same settings with two additional features. One of which is the visual representation of the grid which indicates the five waypoints that can be individually adjusted to change the camera angle.
The final function of this exciting app is the Track, which is primarily used for video and has the same features as the Motionlapse, but with the ability to add ten waypoints and to view your current settings. As a professional filmmaker app, you also have access to duration feature which sets the time for each waypoint to move to next chosen point. In addition, you can also adjust the endpoints, which are fantastic for video recording, since the gimbal will stop to your desired position.
When Ronin-S was first announced DJI said it was going to be less than $1000 and they kept their promise. Personally, I was a very impressed that they waited so long to perfect every detail before releasing the final product making the Ronin-S perfect gimbal for beginners or professionals. Moreover, this product gives the filmmakers greater control over their creativity, with endless possibilities.
I hope you enjoyed reading the following article, and don't forget to share your thought about the new DJI Ronin-S in the comment section below.