Content creators have taken amateur video platforms such as YouTube from being merely a hobby, into a legitimate career option. This has seen an increase in demands for affordable, professional-grade camera accessories. Gimbals are a prime example, used primarily to keep the camera steady while creating a moving shot. The removal of bobbing motion in videos is an easy way to boost the overall quality of a project. Always looking for ways to enhance our creative ventures, we checked out the new DJI Ronin-S. An affordable but premium option that offers incredible performance for filmmakers of any level.
It’s obvious before you even open the box that the Ronin-S is a premium piece of hardware. The gimbal comes in a rugged polystyrene carrying case that should withstand the bumps from regular travel with ease. Each module is made from a durable lightweight metal with a sleek, powder-coated matte black finish. To assemble the Ronin-S, you have to connect the three main sections: the 3-axis gimbal itself, a combined handle and battery, and a tripod extension. Assembly is simple, and all adjustments and tightening can be made without any extra tools. The levers for adjusting are very easy to modify, which is particularly handy as the system needs to be rebalanced each time you change a component such as a lens or a camera.
The gimbal itself is not light, weighing 1.8kgs with the handle attached. This has the benefit of allowing it to hold larger cameras but when you combine the gimbal weight with a camera and lens on top, prolonged periods of use become more difficult. In saying that, the weight distribution is even and the tripod down the bottom doubles as an extended grip, so we found it didn’t tire our arms nearly as much as expected.
The battery offers 12-hours of use and can be charged to full again in just two-and-a-half hours. Just above the handle, you’ll find the joystick for controlling the orientation of the gimbal, along with the mode and record buttons. Provided your camera supports it, focus can be controlled entirely by the wheel on the left-hand side, a more convenient way to make adjustments while recording. DJI have also angled the roll motor to allow space for bigger cameras and an unobstructed vision of the camera’s display.
As with any gimbal, you have to set it up on a flat surface using the tripod to balance the camera correctly before you should use it. From there we couldn’t help but marvel as we moved the handle around like a gear stick and watched as the camera remained completely upright. The excitement continued when we took it outside for a stroll and a light jog. The DJI Ronin-S has a maximum operating speed of 75km/h so it’s no surprise that it could easily handle us at our meagre full-tilt sprint, but it’s reassuring to know that if your project is more demanding that the Ronin-S can definitely keep up.
Controlling the movements of the camera with the joystick is easy with instant response and smooth movement. It lets you move the camera up and down, left and right, so you can hone in on the perfect angle for a shot. It works so well that we often found ourselves using the joystick to turn the camera to our left rather than physically moving ourselves.
It’s not just the excellent build quality that separates the DJI Ronin-S from other gimbals, it also features an incredibly easy to use app that delivers outstanding results. You can make impressive time-lapse shots with ease, all you have to do is configure the parameters in the app, set the gimbal up and press start. It’s just as easy to create stunning panoramas. Simply adjust the size of the rectangle and the camera will take all the overlapped shots automatically. All you really need to do is provide the scenery.
The app also lets you customise the mode button to change the joystick speed, allowing you to store three customised settings. This is excellent if you find the default movement is too loose or stiff for a particular shot and need to fine tune it. If multiple people are using the same Ronin-S, three user profiles can be stored in the app and loaded instantly, so the current user can cycle through their own personal speed preferences on the mode button.
DJI Ronin-S Review | The Wrap-Up
For anyone looking to step up the quality of their videos, a gimbal is a great way to do so. DJI have hit it out of the park with the Ronin-S. It’s beautifully built, easy to adjust and set up, and the accompanying app is one of the best around.