Back at this year's NAB, DJI, known primarily for their unmanned aerial system, introduced their new 3-axis gimbal stabilizer, Ronin, which is not only relatively inexpensive, but its multiple operational modes make it quite the versatile tool (especially because it can handle cameras big and small). We've been waiting patiently for three months for more information on this rig, especially an official price and ship date, but today DJI made the announcement that this handheld gimbal is now available for purchase -- and for less than previously thought.
Ever since the MōVI came out, companies and individual concerns have been in a mad scramble to make 3-axis gimbals cheaper and easier to use (because not everyone has $15K to spend on a stabilization unit). For those who might be hesitant to drop even $5K on piece of gear made by a company that is relatively unknown, or at least new to the game, DJI shows a great track record when it comes to gear to which you have to entrust your expensive cameras (flying through the air, no less).
The Ronin maintains stability using the "industry-leading" ZenMuse stabilization technology that DJI developed for its aerials. It boasts a quick 5-minute setup time, as well as support for many different cameras systems, including heavier ones like the RED EPIC, of up to 16 lbs (7.26 kg). It itself is a little over 9 lbs, which means that some setups might require some 24-inch pythons, brother! (Okay, maybe not, but you catch my drift.)
One of the most exciting features of the Ronin (in my humble opinion) is its 3 operational modes; "Upright", "Underslug", and "Briefcase". Depending on the mode you have it in, you can get high angles easier, low-to-the-ground tracking shots, or operate it like a traditional gimbal with two hands on each side at chest level.
If you're unfamiliar with the Ronin, this video will get you two acquainted:
You can check out the full list of features and specs on the Ronin's site, but here are a few to give you an idea of its capabilities:
Completely Tool Less Adjustment: Measurement markers, adjustable knobs, and quick release latches
Power Distribution Box: Use additional camera peripherals, including follow focus and video downlinks, through two 12V P-taps, one 500mAH full size USB connector, and also a connection point for the DJI Lightbridge Long Range HD Video Downlink built into the Ronin.
One Button Parameter Adjustments: Using the DJI Ronin app, which connects with the Ronin via Bluetooth, simply tapping the Auto Tune Stability button intelligently adjusts parameters based on your camera rig’s weight on each axis.
Here's Zeb Tao with a demo video. He used the Ronin with a RED CARBON DRAGON, and reports that switching out RED cameras took him only 7 minutes to adjust and calibrate.
For more test footage, check out this video from Freeway Prod.
Check out some behind the scenes footage of the Ronin being used to shoot the short film Brainstorm, as well as the film itself below:
The Ronin will start shipping this week and is available for $4,499 from the dealers listed on DJI's website, down from the $5,000 price originally given at NAB. The price puts it in the same ballpark as many other gimbals like it (except for the crowdfunded Ghost that comes in at around $2,000). But features like the multiple operational modes might make the Ronin that much more desirable.