Filmmakers with compact mirrorless cameras may be interested in DJI's new lightweight gimbal, the Ronin SC. Weighing just 2.4 lb (1 kg) it does all the regular gimbal business, plus a couple of interesting features in ActiveTrack and Force Mobile.
If you've used something like the Moza AirCross, you'll be familiar with the basic operations of these hand-held stabilizers, which keep cameras level during moving shots and allow some interesting creative opportunities for video makers.
The new Ronin SC is specifically designed for smaller mirrorless cameras, with a view to single-handed run-and-gun shooting. Thus, it handles camera and lens combinations up to 4.4 lb (2 kg), which will basically handle all the Sony alphas, Nikon Z series, Canon's EOS R, Panasonic's GH-series and Fujifilm's X-H and X-T rigs with small, wide-angle lenses without any problems – and longer lenses too, on the lighter bodies. DSLRs, however, are out.
As with many other recent gimbals, the roll arm is designed to sit out of the way when you're filming – an annoying issue that plagued early models. Like Moza's Air 2, it's got a nifty quick-release plate to make it easy to get a camera on and off the thing in a pre-balanced state. And there are the usual combination of simple controls, multiple modes allowing different kinds of shots, and a sport mode that reacts quickly and decisively to your movements while smoothing out the motion as much as is practical.
This gimbal also talks to your phone in an interesting way we haven't seen before. You mount your phone on top of the camera, and connect it through an app to the Ronin gimbal. The gimbal then uses your phone's camera and processing capabilities to enable ActiveTrack subject tracking much like you can do on DJI's drones. Draw a box around your subject, and no matter what you do with the gimbal, it'll make sure your subject stays in frame. Well, in the frame of your phone camera, anyway – it's not clever enough to help you frame things on your actual camera.
On a similar note, the SC introduces a feature called Force Mobile, that lets you split the job of moving the camera away from the job of aiming it, giving control of the gimbal to a separate operator who can simply move their phone around to aim the shot.
The Ronin SC handles timelapses, motionlapses, panoramas, motion control shooting and all the other bits and pieces you'd expect, and you can buy it with accessories including a follow focus if that's your jam. The battery is said to last for up to 11 hours, so it should be good for most all-day shoots. It's on sale now for US$439, which is pretty good for this sort of thing.
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