You’ve been shooting handheld video for awhile and you’ve noticed that whenever you need to move around to create better content your footage is shaky. So you’ve tried to move around less or hold on to your camera a little tighter and now you don’t have dynamic enough content.
We’ve all been there and we’ve all done the research on what to do next and that is how you find yourself in the crazy world of stabilizers and gimbals.
Now we could give you a list of which stabilizer or gimbal you should purchase and why but we won't. What we are going to do is tell you which one we use and why and let you decide if that works for you.
Introducing the DJI Ronin S!
Designed in a single handed form factor for DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras, the Ronin S empowers creators to shoot with the freedom of stabilized shots on the move!
That's the tagline off the DJI website and we can tell you more from there, like that it has maximum payload of 3.6 kg, that it has a maximum operating speed of 72 kph and that it has a maximum battery life of 12 hours but that’s not really going to tell you why you should buy it.
What's in the box?
So the most unexpected thing here might be the box itself! Well calling it a box might be an insult really, the DJI Ronin S comes in a sleek styrofoam case which locks everything up safe and sound.
One of the first things you will notice about the Ronin S is that it utilizes the “angled” design of the roll motor at the back and its placement being further back than other one-handed gimbals. The advantage of this is that it lets you access the on camera screen rather than having to add weight of an external screen.
As we mentioned before the battery on the Ronin S will last you a good 12 hours and believe me not having to worry too much if your gimbal is going to last through the day is a life saver. The battery also doubles as an extension to the handle which helps distribute the weight of your payload. Speaking of payloads, while theoretically the Ronin S can handle the weight of a Canon C200 we would advise that you don’t. Worry not though we’ve strapped a Canon 1DX on it and it’s run flawlessly.
Still not convinced on payload?
Watch Josh Yo mount a 400mm mammoth on the Ronin S.
The Balancing Act
The Ronin S utilized a manfrotto-style camera plate that makes balancing a breeze. Of course it takes a little time to get the three axis balance right but with time and practice this becomes like second nature.
The Ronin S utilizes extremely strong brushless motors which do amount for a large portion of its weight but this also means that the gimbal is more forgiving when it is not perfectly balanced.
Now we don’t suggest you shoot even slightly off balance, there are instances where you won’t have a choice.
Need a quick change of batteries or a quick lens change and you’re worried you’ll miss that perfect moment? ( to all you wedding shooters reading this you know what I’m talking about) The Ronin S has got your back and you will have steady, jerk free footage. Once you do capture that moment though we recommended you take a moment to balance it before you keep shooting.
Pro Tip - download the Ronin App, it lets you run a balance test and also lets you make small adjustments to really make the Ronin S your own. The app also lets you run a moving time lapse which looks pretty epic!
The Ronin S has three user modes which you can flip through by clicking on the “M” button. You can make slight adjustments to each of the modes through the app depending on how you shoot or the content that you are shooting.
The joystick is useful and sensitive enough to make fast and slow movement. With a little bit of practice you’ll find yourself utilizing the joystick to create movements that you would not be able to without.
The Trigger Button
The trigger button has a few key functions that we utilize more often than not.
A quick double tap and regardless of what position you are in the Ronin will reset and center the camera.
A quick triple tap and the Ronin will turn and face you giving you the perfect vlog setup or the worlds best selfie.
Keep holding the trigger button, it will lock the pan and tilt axis of the gimbal – which is very useful if you want to keep your camera looking straight into one direction.
The Ronin S is perhaps the most used piece of video gear we take on our shoots irrespective of what we are shooting, it’s also been the most reliable and effective way for us to generate smooth cinematic moving shots.
I remember when we first started using our Ronin S, I thought it was the most interesting piece of tech out there and that its capabilities were boundless; that was 2 years ago and that statement still holds true.