First, Why Did I Choose the Ronin?
1. The price was right. The Ronin's price dropped from $2500 to roughly $2000 this past December, so I pulled the trigger. That's about a $1000 less than the Movi M5 which can only handle the weight of smaller cameras.
2. I was trying to future proof. I own a GH4 and C100 MarkII now, but if I upgrade to a heavier camera in the future, the Ronin can handle up to 16lbs.
So What Do I Love About the DJI Ronin?
1. The DJI Ronin comes in a really nice hard case. It may be a trivial thing if you are a weekend enthusiast, but if you travel from job to job, day after day, having a protective case with wheels is a huge bonus. Everything for the Ronin has a place in one of the two trays inside the case which makes packing and unpacking easy. The case's shell is not quite as thick as a Pelican, but it's sturdy enough to do the job.
2. One of my early hesitations in buying a gimbal was the setup and balancing process. I didn't want to waste time on a shoot balancing the gimbal. I was reading comments in forums and blogs about extra lengthy set up times, but that hasn't been my experience with the Ronin. The first time obviously took the longest, but with some experimentation, and a little practice, I can now get the Ronin set up, balanced, and ready to shoot within 7-8 minutes.
If you've never set up a gimbal before, the process really is pretty straightforward and while the documentation that comes with the Ronin is shit, the videos on their Youtube site will get you up and running quickly. In a nutshell, prep your camera and attach it to the Ronin baseplate. Set up the Ronin stand with the handlebars and such. I also attach my Atomos Ninja Blade to the carbon fiber top rail. Then you balance your camera on a bunch of different axes (this is the time consuming part). Once it's balanced, you turn the battery on, turn the DJI app on your phone and connect, and your ready to go.
3. The shots you can pull off are amazing. Cinematography is about moving the camera, but not just moving because you can. Depending on what you are shooting, if you plan ahead, you can pull off some really great shots with the Ronin, by yourself, passing it off to someone else to continue a complicated move, or with the help of someone controlling the pan, tilt, and roll with the included controller. It's great to include motivated camera moves in your work and I've gotten some really cool shots with this thing. I've included some in this video above.
4. Client perception is real. I've mentioned it a few times before. Clients who see big cameras or a camera on a Ronin get excited. A lot of people ask about it and then they ask for it, which means the Ronin is easily paying for itself.
IS THERE ANYTHING I DO NOT LIKE ABOUT THE RONIN?
1. This thing is heavy. It gets heavier depending what camera you put on it. Right now, I've flown a 5D Mark III, GH4, and C100 Mark II on it, and it is heavy. I can imagine if I had a heavier camera like a Blackmagic or RED, it would be a real bitch. I can shoot with the Ronin for about 6 minutes before my back starts screaming and I need to set it down for a minute. If you want to set it down, you need to have the stand nearby.
Other than the weight, this was a solid purchase that gives me more options than a bunch of boring locked off shots. Thinking about purchasing one? Have questions? Thinking about the DJI Osmo with the Zenmuse x5? Start a conversation below.