July 8, 2014

Ronin is Here! DJI's Versatile 3-Axis Gimbal is Now on Sale (& at a Lower Price)

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.

Link:

Your Comment

46 Comments

The DJI Ronin has been losing fans since the Letus Helix was announced, which is going to absolutely kill off these old helicopter gimbal-based stabilizers.

July 8, 2014 at 6:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mac

Try going into a low-mode with the Letus. Seriously, I'll just sit here waiting for you to do that. No solution is perfect. The Helix might be nice had it NOT been made by well...Letus.

July 8, 2014 at 6:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Isaac

Couldn't you just get low to the ground yourself? Yeah it might not be the easiest way to do things but I know I have basically had to squat down and walk for a shot before. Again like you said no solution is perfect but the Helix seems cool and possible to do some things the other stabilizers can't.

July 8, 2014 at 6:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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No solution is perfect as he said. It's why these gimbals haven't killed off steadicam, especially for weight capacity reasons alone.

July 8, 2014 at 7:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thom

Try raising the Ronin up past eye-level.

July 8, 2014 at 7:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mac

Not true. I walked around NAB with the Ronin. I walked over to MOVI and they told me that I couldn't lift it and I did that right in front of them.

They were like "Oh, well, we aren't like technicians or anything so yeah"

I don't fully trust DJI but, at that price range, you don't really have to.

July 9, 2014 at 11:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Josh

The Helix has a 4th axis version that adds a top bar and handle. It'd be fine with that, but yeah I could see it being awkward with the 3 axis version.

July 9, 2014 at 9:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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alex

Yikes! 9lbs without a camera. The Ghost weights 3lbs without a camera and it still seems to get heavy after operating for a little bit.

July 8, 2014 at 8:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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neat, I wonder how this compares to the movi M15...

July 8, 2014 at 8:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hahaha, "24 inch Pythons", love the tongue-in-cheek links, V.!

July 8, 2014 at 9:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jeff

This will be very heavy...but still an interesting option, cheap for a permanent install (ie. stabilized motor head for crane//car mount etc). Not sure about DJI service.

July 8, 2014 at 9:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pietro

I don't think DJI services their products very well. I can't seem to find how to get a Zenmuse gimbal repaired. I think customer service is extremely important when deciding what equipment to buy, especially when the product is this new.

July 8, 2014 at 9:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Elliot Kramer

DJI was working on improving on this, at least that's what I remember reading a few months ago as they were working on setting up a new warehouse in California with better tech support.

But I agree with you, and I'm hoping they solve this situation asap, as I've applied to become a dealer with them and it's a bit troublesome to hear about the continual lack of support, even though their products are fantastic. I would also like to see the option to be able to buy replacement parts for when you have a defective Zenmuse gimbal (specially when you crash your rig) as right now you can't do this, you will have to send the gimbal back to service, so it would be nice if we had this alternative

I'm sure they'll do the right thing as they settle down here in the States.

July 9, 2014 at 12:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I just had my gimbal fixed by DJI and it should be shipping soon. You can submit a support request and they'll give you the information for shipment.

July 12, 2014 at 4:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Might be great if they were not fighting in an international court over the USA dealerships with the former North American import agent. Closed out most all of their sales and support chain when the court order happened. Settle up and get back in the game DJI.

July 8, 2014 at 11:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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craig

As a gimbal builder using simplebgc controllers, I have to applaud DJI for this new gimbal, it should bring some needed competition to the market to improve on the hardware we have available.

The auto tune is what sets this gimbal apart from anything else, it's actually the first gimbal with an auto tune setup. What the auto tune means is that you won't have to re-balance the gimbal when you swap a lens or a camera, as the controller should compensate for the new COG/weight difference. For situations where you need to do a quick swap of equipment and you don't have the time to re-balance the gig, this will be great!

We are also looking forward to the upcoming Phobotic Centerpiece gimbal controller, as this one also features auto-tune and has been in development for as long as the Ronin has. It should be a plug and play experience for those of you who would prefer to build a kit from scratch rather than buying a turnkey system. We plan to offer it on our site with ready to go gimbals, and we'll also offer it with more economically assembled kits. With such new tech you won't have to go nuts messing around with PIDs and other advanced settings that make absolutely no sense to newcomers.

But very exciting news indeed, the Z15 is a great gimbal, and so I trust it will be so with the Ronin, which is based on the same tech as the Z15, but much improved upon.

Having come from using servo driven gimbals years ago, you don't know how easy you have it nowadays!

July 9, 2014 at 12:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Please tell me your name is Joey. Cause if so, your name is awesome! Joey Fandino... sounds like an old film noir name.

July 9, 2014 at 8:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Will

Hi:

Freefly has auto calibrate and should release it very soon.

July 10, 2014 at 9:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Augusto Alves d...

This thing seems really really awesome. I'm not too concerned about weight myself, but the ability for it to handle 16Ibs, quick setup, versatile modes, clean build, and 5k price outweighs the other negatives. this is in 1st place for me right now but I still would like to see more actual user experiences and reviews.

July 9, 2014 at 2:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I am going to share my experience so far with 2 units and a few days operating on long day jobs. It is just one opinion coming from my buying and limited use of 2 units. I work in small teams on corporate and fashion work, small "d" director and I like to operate but would not call myself a dop. I've 15 years experience as a commercial photographer and 4 as film maker.

I ordered a defy G5 in December after attending a demo in my city. Then I waited 3 months and received my unit when Defy came through for another demo. I saw the Ronin release and wondered if I had made a wrong choice, if I should buy something that could carry a heavier camera. Defy announced the g12 and it was way over what I could afford. The G5 was still a stretch and in the end I felt I couldn't justify 2x+ cost and wondered if I would be able to carry that much weight in front of me.

My G5 arrived and a first it seemed great but as I got into it there were a few things I didn't like. My u-plate was not a perfect fit and due to that it did not slide evenly through it's adjustments. That tension due to fit meant I couldn't freely slide the plate when making adjustments. In the end I felt perhaps it was rushed through and they hadn't spent the time vetting it, I do recall seeing 3 hours mentioned as the testing time each unit was to go through. I was able to get it balanced in about 30 min the first try and a good part of that time was watching the videos as I went along. But after that I could never get it quite right and I tried about 5 other times with various lenses. Let's say I spent about 7-8 hours with it. It also started to feel like the u-plate was pinching more and more due to it's not perfect fit. I returned it.

As I was already heavily financially at this point and the M5 had just come out. I might never have decided to buy one if I had not already put aside the sum for the G5. At that point another $1200 didn't seem that bad if I was getting something that would work for me, so I took a deep breath and bit the bullet.

Big difference, IMO it is a much better thought out product and better build. It is lighter ( and feels lighter the specs suggest) the difference is as it is completely CF and the plates that come are super light and rigid. The adjustment are made with lightweight clips and not aluminum like the G5 and the clamps on the CF on the M5 adjust very smoothly with the right amount of drag. I had to use more force with the G5 and found fine tuning much harder.

Like a well tuned road bike the M5 has been built with attention to each gram/ounce. The battery charger is better, the batteries are smaller and lighter and it is extremely well finished. The m5 has also eliminated 3 of the 6 adjustments you have to make in balancing.

The Defy g5's arms adjust to fit larger cameras that the M5 cannot, so that's important if you need that. But that also means another adjustment. Then the G5's main crossbar adjust side to side and up and down. The m5 does not, meaning 2 less adjustments I need to factor in. Another key is the main arm with comes down from the handles. On the Movi m10 and the defy G5 this arm moves back and forth for your final adjustment, but it also swings left to right and you have to be careful to make sure it stays pointed to 6 0'clock, which is not always easy. The m5 is slotted so I only have to worry about back and forwards. It also moved easier than the defy and again Movi wins IMO due to their detailed thinking. The grip points on the M5 are grooved so that my fingers grip making the movement easier. In short I feel it easy to adjust the M5 where with the Defy it was a struggle to not go past where I wanted to be.

I got the movi balanced in about 25 min first time through but I was already comfortable with the principles I just needed to learn who they set it up. Once balanced you then tune the tension settings in the motors so that it is optimized for your camera/lens package. The M5 has much more range of possible adjustments that the G5 does, I suggest you watch their tutorial video to learn the specifics. In short I like that I can adjust how much play there is before my movement affects the M5 and that it can be changed to suit the situation. Once the camera is balanced once I can change a lens, re-balance and tune the software in about 5-7 min and I'm still new at it. I've shot primarily with a 50mm ( with a Mark III) on it and have done some with my 85 and 100 mm

I shot 2 days with it last week. I set up a light rig of a Mark III ( ML on it) with a 50 MM f 1.4 from canon and a small HD AC7, add clamps and batteries and the whole rig was a touch over 9 lbs. I exercise regularly have good posture and pay attention to the small muscles and rotator cuffs and this small amount of weight can feel heavy quickly. I know how and what I shoot and my feeling is I will continue to use smaller camera packages like the Mark III or the A7s and whatever else comes along in this range. If I need a RED we'll find another way to move it. This is just the conclusions I came to , how I work, what I shoot and what type of work I see myself going after in the future. I am completely happy and thrilled with the M5, how it works and how it was designed and the care and thought of how it was built.

If you have a larger camera that the m5 can't take then perhaps the Ronin is the unit for you, but as it's 9lbs to start with I suggest you grab a 12 or 15 lb weight at your gym and hold it or carry it around for an hour. Put it down where you can just keep using it and see how that feels. I think you will end up wanting some type of body brace in the end if you'll use a lot during any one day. But more than that see if you can find one to try first. The 2 times i held a G5 before I bought it I thought it was wonderful and impressive. Then I tried the M5 and it was a whole other level. I am making a leap here, looking at something on paper. But I already personally find M5 9-10 pounds heavy when held in front of me. I'll get used to it and stronger but it makes me cautious about going too much heavier.

I offer this up simply because reading other people's hand on experience and thoughts have helped me in the past.

July 9, 2014 at 2:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I'd love a comparison of this, the Helix, and the Ghost. It's awesome that we have so many choices now.

July 9, 2014 at 3:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Velocidactyl

Yep, it's time for a full "gimbal shootout" :P

July 17, 2014 at 2:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mr.Floppy

Having bought the CAME-TV 7000 and seeing this one, I'm putting my gimbal for sale right now.
Only wondering can camera's like the C300, FS700 also go up this system. According to the specs it can but i'm wondering what is really possible.

July 9, 2014 at 6:01AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You might want to check out this thread on reduser:

http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?118200-DJI-RONIN-independent...

They have a red on it, with sample footage. The footage looks pretty good. The whole thread is worth a look. Very informative.

July 9, 2014 at 3:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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steve

Thanks, Steve! Did read the tread really helpfull. Only nothing to confirm my hopes if the FS700 fits on it. The user manual states 140 mm from the center of the baseplate. And the smallest set-up I could think of is in total 320mm (speedbooster and a small 35mm prime lens.) Thanks for the help.

August 1, 2014 at 7:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Was looking very hard at the CAME 7000 for my GH4.

http://www.came-tv.com/32bit-came7000-3-axis-gimbal-dslr-video-stabilize...

Why would you want to sell the 7000? What's the problem?

July 10, 2014 at 11:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan

Hi Dan, for the GH4 the CAME-TV 7000 is great for the price. Only we are selling it because of the camera's we use more often. The came-tv gimbal is worth it. It has the new 32bitt module on it an a new joystick, things we missed before.

Hope it suits your needs.

August 1, 2014 at 7:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ah, I want this so bad...
Then again, I need to stop buying so much gear already!!

July 9, 2014 at 6:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I'm doubting between this and the Gremsy H14 which is half the weight and can carry about the same camera weight. This one is seriously heavy. Anyone some good advice on the Gremsy?

July 9, 2014 at 8:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Cmp

I've used the Gremsy H10 with an Epic and PL glass and remote FIZ, it was about 12lbs and the Gremsy handled pretty darn well. We were going down stairs and around a couple sharp corners. The setup, albs over the weight limit, would sometime turn over on itself-so it took a few tries but overall it was very smooth. I've held the H14 and it feels a lot smoother but never used it on set. Here's a link to the video we shot with the Gremsy: http://tarproductions.com/#!/housecall-explainer-video

Tim

July 9, 2014 at 1:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tim

Thanks! Nice shot(s?!)

July 11, 2014 at 10:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Cmp

I have the Gremsy 14 and LOVE it. Set up time is less than 5 minutes. I can even change lenses with my RED Epic and not rebalance. A huge plus for me. I can't write enough nice things about it.

July 9, 2014 at 2:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Placed the order, hope to feel the same in a few weeks;-)

July 11, 2014 at 10:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Cmp

Though only slow mo footage on wide lenses makes it much harder to evaluate, there's a lot to like about this I think. Love the look of the power solution and in other regards it seems on par with the new upgraded M10 but for a third of the price.

However having shot over 50 days with the MOVI over the past 6 months - rigged with a stripped down RED, smaller still lenses and the essential WFF accessories - the significantly increased weight of the Ronin unit would be a deal breaker for me.

It's the creative moves the MOVI clearly comes into it's own for, and while I'm a pretty strong guy, it's already very physically demanding and we've had several ops who simply can't manage. If your able, it's definitely worth it for the creative possibilities it opens up and the ability to respond to the needs of the shoot quickly. But 9 at lb's before a camera is put on it... for all but some seriously buff ops, it will limit it's best creative asset as a stabilising tool far too much imho for anything but very light camera rigs... and even then you still need to add WFF units, Paralinx (or such) and a monitor besides your camera body and lens...

Someone mentioned about the level of control...
I'm not sure if the Ronin allows delayed responses in it's equivalent "majestic mode", hopefully so, as I do know that in creating differing moods and or responding to the needs of the blocking that this has proven to be a pretty crucial tool on set.

FreeFly customer service has also been truly out standing. Which for us was pretty critical after some initial glitches with our unit.

I can't wait to upgrade to dial in adjustments, so this looks great too, but we've found the adjustment time changes massively once you become very familiar with the unit. These days if we swap a lens out - in all honesty the rebalance is usually only a matter of seconds and not minutes unless something has been drastically thrown out - and even a completely different rig is only a few minutes in terms of a balance.

But i appreciate the cost of a MOVI is likely to much for many, (I had to go into partnership myself) so if I was entering the 3 axis stabiliser market now and looking for one under 5k, presuming they all can effectively stabilise, my chief focus would be on the weight, then reliability, ease of use, and customer service.

Unfortunately, though the Ronin looks terrific on a number of levels, I would not consider purchase of this unit due to it's weight.

July 9, 2014 at 10:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Lliam

At this point, having read enough about these devices and having tested one myself (defy g5) I'm totally convinced that gimbals aren't made for hand held operation for any long stretches of time, that means more than 5 minutes. For those who never held one in your hands yourself: don't underestimate the weight!!! Do exactly like Christopher Wadsworth's comment says, hold a 10+ pound weight in front of you and try to move with it - in a steady manner! As stupid and/or counter intuitive it may sound, the best way to use a gimbal is to mount a single axis roll rig on top of a Steadicam sled as the roll axis is a tough one to keep steady. If you need even more steadiness, then combine a three axis gimbal with a Steadicam and control it remotely.

July 9, 2014 at 12:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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mariano

While this rig seems exciting, I think 9 pounds without a rig is a dealbreaker. Also, there are SO many of these systems that it's kind of foolish to buy an expensive one before the R&D dust settles on this technology.
Even CAME (of whom I own a CAME 7500) is coming out with one for the Red Epic soon. It'll be only $2000 though not as elegant in its implementation of pass-through power and other options seen here.

July 9, 2014 at 1:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Harry Pray IV

Harry, what's your impression of the CAME 7000? Does it do the job?

July 10, 2014 at 3:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan

2014. Year of the gimbal. Next year 4-axis gimbals will make 3-axis gimbals obsolete. Also a new form of body harness will be developed specially made for gimbal operators.

July 9, 2014 at 2:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Check out FlowCine and Nebula, both use an EasyRig / its facsimile)
http://vimeo.com/74517928
[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhjH3m3dy94 ]

July 9, 2014 at 7:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

on ebay you can buy the same stab system for 1200-1500 the same motors, the same system.
people have no shame to seel something for 5K that cost in production under $400 (with salary to worker, supplies and etc).

July 9, 2014 at 4:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I have some money set aside for the Ronin. I was considering the group buy at reduser.net, but I want to wait a bit before plunking down my $$. I don't like to be the early adopter.

I have have looked into building my own. I have done a lot of DIY stuff in my life, and frankly I am kind of tired of it.

That being said, when I buy the ronin it isn't for the hardware as much as it is for the software. I have used some of their gimbals and heli products, and I personally feel like their software/engineering is what sets them apart. Same with Movi - I haven't tried the Helix.

July 9, 2014 at 4:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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steve

it's CNC stuff, there is no "their" software.
we was developing "russian hand" head analogue and "eat" a lot of crap during the process.
in the end the head that cost officially $500K+ ended up for us less than $12000. all the englines and etc was completely the same. and it was that expensive because we was building the analogue of that head first time and there were a lot of unnessesary expenses.
about that movi and ronin - chinese completely the same. but $1.4K instead of 5K.

July 12, 2014 at 8:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dji Ronin seems the best bang for the buck...in terms of its weight I would definitely considering using an easy rig with it!

July 9, 2014 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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drazen

A separate body suspension rig for the MoVi types - [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smmROe7V1EY ]

July 9, 2014 at 7:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Anybody used at Atlas Camera Support to hold up the gimbal?

http://www.atlascamerasupport.com/

It's like a strong fiberglass fishing pole mounted on your back that arcs over top to support camera weight. Seems if it were combined with the gimbal's stabilizing ability you could use it for a longer period.

You get a sore back instead of sore arms....

July 10, 2014 at 11:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan

Looking forward to see the Ronin in action. Just finished a commercial with the Defy G5 and it was a nice tool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBH5T9Sfvto&feature=youtu.be

August 5, 2014 at 6:55AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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