If you’re a gimbal operator like us, then you’re fully aware of the frustrations that come with brushless motor gimbals. DJI was able to provide us a sneak preview of their new gimbal, that supposedly will fix all of our frustrations.
So what’s the main difference between this gimbal and all others? The big difference is the Ronin gimbal auto calibrates all calibration (P.I.D.) settings and what took us many painful hours of testing and tweaking, completes this process within seconds with one button. This is the largest highlight for me. The Ronin gimbal also has some other nice features that I are my favorite. I’ve listed them below:
- Balancing setup within 5 minutes or less.
- Flip-able orientation for easier head level shooting.
- Clean setup (minimal wires).
- Mobile Device App for quick software changes and other settings.
- Can hold 16 lbs. payload.
Lets go over these features in more depth… shall we?
Balancing setup within 5 minutes or less
Those of you who have been on movie sets know that everything and everyone is on a tight time schedule and the directors and producers don’t need anything slowing them down. We’ve been on set many times, and have had the director “nagging” us asking when will we be able to fly. Mind you, this is when we are flying their camera and are balancing the camera on set. Otherwise we would have had it ready to go before hand to save time. So with 30-40 minutes to balance and calibrate the gimbal holding something heavy like the Red Dragon, burns up a lot of time. And time is way to precious to waste on a film set, let alone on an outdoor shoot with an aerial drone while burning daylight.
If by using the Ronin gimbal saves us 30+ minutes, it’s almost worth buying for that reason alone. The fact also that the Ronin is “tool-less” meaning all adjustments can be made without using any allen wrenches. How many of us have been on set and needed to make a quick adjustment and reach in your back pocket for your allen wrench kit and sadly it wasn’t there? Can I see a show of hands? The “tool-less” setup… BIG thumbs up!
Flip-able orientation for easier head level shooting
All of our ground shoots typically require tracking talent’s walking, and when doing this, you have to use just about all of your strength lifting the gimbal way above your head so that it’s level with your talent’s head. And if your talent is a basketball player… just forget it. The Ronin gimbal allows you to flip it any time and it actually knows you’re flipping the rig to make for easier filming. Again, without any setting changes, any old time you need to. Amazing! And an added bonus, the Ronin can even rotate to the side so that you can walk through doorways easier without busting any of your knuckles. Perfect!
Clean setup (minimal wires)
Most gimbals by themselves have many wires hanging out that need to be wire tied, along with the gimbal controller stuck to the back. It can get pretty complex over time, especially when you start adding radio receivers, HD downlinks and remote follow focuses. The Ronin gimbal appears to be very clean right from the start with minimal wires. This will help your gimbal to remain clean, safer and more professional overall.
Mobile Device App
I remember when getting stoked when my Alexmos controller supported a bluetooth module. Then there was no more need for a usb cable to get tangled on anything when making software changes. Well DJI just raised the bar… shocker! Supposedly, you can make software tweaks directly from your iPhone or Android via bluetooth, on the fly, without ever having to leave set. No need for a laptop on set! Sweetness!
This feature is my second favorite. Being able to support 16 lbs, not including the gimbal. This is huge! Those of us lifting Red Dragon/Epic with heavy summicron cinema lenses need all payload capacity we can get. Now the Movi had it’s own bragging rights being able to support 12 lbs with their M10. The Ronin gimbal can support 16 lbs, which is plenty if you ask me. I’m sure the Movi M15 will support at least 16 lbs. at this point. Time will tell.
So yes, we’ve seen the Ronin gimbal on the ground, but what can it do in the air? From the test footage I’ve seen so far (ground only), I’m going to guess the Ronin would handle just fine in the air. My question is, will we be able to attach stationary tripod legs to it easily with yaw control added to the legs, or are we going to have to go with re-tracts again? From all of the X8’s coming to the market, 75% of them have retracts. This is mainly so that wind will not drag on stationary landing gear. This is affected on faster flights (30 mph+), however, 90% of the time we never go faster then 30 mph. My solution… build tripod retracts.
I will say that I believe the Ronin is very air worthy, with the right kind of ship. I would be concerned with a S1000 or even a Cinestar. Your ships frame needs to be extremely rigid, and that’s why we would use it on our Droidworx Skyjib 2. We’ve been really happy with our Skyjib… it’s the tank of the skies. That’s right, a tank that flies!
So yes, it all boils down to the price. Well, we haven’t seen a price yet, but according DJI, it’s going to be less then $5,000. Again… shocker! I will hand it to DJI, they do have very competitive prices. Now if only they had decent tech support, right? 😉
So how does this price compare to other gimbals that can carry the same payloads? I have a small list below:
- Ronin Gimbal: $5,000
- BG Flex F10 Gimbal: $5,000
- Movi M10: $15,000
Now it all looks promising, but I do have some concerns. First off, DJI has always been more of a consumer company, rather then a professional company. Thus making their prices so affordable for most folks. This raises a question of the quality of the Ronin gimbal. Will the Ronin be a solid build that can take a beating? We never beat our gear, but it’s a piece of mind knowing the durability of our gear. Overall though, DJI does seem like they’re upping their game and are becoming more professional.
From the reports I’ve read and videos I’ve seen, everyone has been impressed with the Ronin’s build quality and ruggedness. Again, time will tell.
Do I think the Ronin is worth purchasing for the pros? From what I have seen so far, yes. I don’t see any deal breakers at this point, not to mention it blows away anything else we’ve seen up to this point.
It seems to be a huge time saver to setup as well as carry just about any camera.
Based on what I know so far, you have my stamp of approval!