Although it’s principally identified for drones, Chinese big DJI additionally has an in depth line of digital camera equipment. The newest is a digital camera stabilizer known as the Ronin SC. It is much like final yr’s Ronin S, nevertheless it’s constructed particularly for smaller mirrorless cameras and geared toward content material creators. If you’re a kind of, this may be the proper gimbal for you.
Gimbals was once the sort of accent reserved just for skilled video makers and their huge skilled cameras. But as cameras saved getting smaller and lighter, developments in gimbals adopted that pattern. The $440 Ronin SC is a gimbal that may fulfill most mirrorless digital camera house owners’ wants.
At 2.7 kilos with no digital camera hooked up, the SC is straightforward to make use of for lengthy durations of time. It’s designed for use with one hand, however I have a tendency to depart the tripod legs hooked up and maintain on to it for added assist. Still, relying on which digital camera you employ (I examined it with a Fujifilm X-T2, Sony A7S II, and Canon EOS R), you would run into some points should you don’t steadiness it completely the primary time.
Trying to suit a bigger digital camera rig on the SC doesn’t work as a result of it’s not designed to deal with it. Using my Fujifilm X-T2 with an ultra-wide 8-16mm lens, which is a heavy and ponderous lens, doesn’t work that nice. In order for it to be balanced correctly, the digital camera has to sit down pretty deep on the gimbal, which then causes both the attention cup or the tilting display to get in the best way. The footage itself has a bit extra shake to it. It’s not so unhealthy to be unusable, however you’ll be able to inform the gimbal was struggling extra with this setup than another lenses.
If you add a battery grip to it, it doesn’t work in any respect, regardless of weighing in at 3.5 kilos, which is means below the 4.4-pound most payload. I don’t assume that is solely as a result of weight of my setup; moderately, the digital camera with the battery grip hooked up merely throws off the middle of gravity. The level is it is best to positively take a great take a look at your gear earlier than choosing one up. The full camera and lens compatibility list is here, with most fashions from Sony, Canon, Nikon, and Panasonic absolutely supported.
Overall, the Ronin SC’s construct is improbable. The deal with feels good and is snug to carry, the button format is sensible, and the main target motor feels clean, though it has a brief journey and typically could be a bit too delicate. It has a black matte end, which does get scratched up simply however nonetheless seems good.
More essential than the seems are the Ronin SC’s intelligent design bits. The means to lock all axes helps if you steadiness it and with transporting the gimbal. The battery additionally detaches to make it much more moveable. DJI says the battery will final 11 hours, which is simply an hour lower than the bigger Ronin S. Battery life will largely depend upon how nicely the gimbal is balanced and if motors must work further laborious to maintain the digital camera regular. In my testing, it simply lasted greater than a day’s price of filming. DJI additionally added slightly clip on the digital camera plate, which suggests the following time you place the digital camera on, you gained’t have to rebalance it. All of these little issues begin to add as much as make for an pleasurable filming expertise.
The SC helps a number of filming modes like pan and tilt comply with, FPV and 360 roll. You can regulate the pace and deadband for every of these and smoothing for the 360 roll, and I really like 360 rolls on this gimbal. One factor that’s laborious to drag off is getting it completely straight when finishing the complete rotation. I do want I may crank up the pace a bit extra.
The Ronin SC comes with a bunch of different options you’ll be able to entry by means of the app, reminiscent of panorama and time-lapse modes, however there are a couple of you gained’t discover elsewhere.
Let’s begin with Active Track. If you’re acquainted with DJI drones, you most likely acknowledge this one. It mainly enables you to lock on to a goal, like a automotive or an individual, after which have the digital camera comply with that topic. In order to make it work on the Ronin SC, it’s a must to connect a cellphone on high of your digital camera. That’s when issues get a bit difficult.
Balancing the cellphone on high of the digital camera wasn’t a straightforward process. The complete setup felt very unstable, even with numerous lenses at totally different weights. The app was in a position to monitor topics nicely, however the gimbal had points altering instructions making an attempt to maintain up. Tweaking the motor parameters positively helped, however I nonetheless really feel like I wouldn’t use this function that usually until I actually wanted to do one thing particular. The few instances it did work, nevertheless, it was very cool.
The second new function known as Force Mobile, and it’s wild. It means that you can remotely management the gimbal’s actions by shifting your cellphone within the course you need the gimbal to go. It works surprisingly nicely, nevertheless it’s additionally the sort of function I’d hardly ever use and is at the moment restricted to iOS gadgets. Still, should you’re capturing with an even bigger crew, you’ll be able to give you some enjoyable photographs to drag off. And devices that allow distant motion management often price upward of $1,500, like DJI’s personal Force Pro.
Lastly, the Ronin app is simply actually good. It is well one of many higher companion apps on the market. It is steady, it connects to the gimbal virtually immediately, it has loads of customizable choices, and it has a number of person profiles. Most importantly, it’s easy to make use of. If you’re a Fujifilm person, loads of these options gained’t work as a result of each Ronin SC and the older Ronin S don’t assist Fujifilm cameras. So options like time-lapses, movement lapses, and panoramas gained’t work. DJI says it’s engaged on enabling extra Fujifilm assist, nevertheless it’s not clear when these might be obtainable.
Even with out having the ability to make the most of all of these options, I nonetheless saved my X-T2 on it for a lot of the week. I simply love filming with that digital camera, and I genuinely cherished utilizing the Ronin SC, too. It’s sufficiently small to convey round, and it appears like a chunk of drugs that may final for years.
Here’s the underside line: the Ronin SC is barely costlier than a number of the different gimbals on the market, however it’s well worth the funding. Even although some options really feel like gimmicks, I feel there might be a time if you’re out capturing, and also you’re glad they’re there. If you’re solely focused on getting steady photographs and nothing extra, you’ll be able to most likely save a couple of bucks and search for alternate options just like the Zhiyun or Mizzou. But if you would like a gimbal that’s virtually as carefree because it will get, constructed like a tank, and filled with enjoyable options, that is the one to get.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media could earn commissions for merchandise bought through affiliate hyperlinks. For extra data, see our ethics coverage.