DJI brings 4-axis stabilization and LiDAR focusing to 8K cinema camera
DJI is bringing its stabilization know-how to cinematic content creation with the launch of the Ronin 4D system, which rolls a new full-frame 8K or 6K gimbal camera, 4-axis stabilization, a LiDAR focusing, and video transmission and control into a single package.
The first component of the 4D system is the Zenmuse X9 full-frame gimbal camera, which is being made available in 6K and 8K flavors – the former managing 6K at 60 frames per second, or 4K at 120 fps, while the latter can grab 8K footage at up to 75 fps. Either way, the X9 can record footage in H.264, Apple ProRes and ProRes RAW formats.
In addition to accepting DJI's proprietary DL mount glass, the camera is compatible with Leica M mount lenses as well as other short-flange mounts, which the company reckons will put "ultra-large aperture lenses, anamorphic lenses, and vintage manual lenses" at the creator's disposal.
Dual-native ISO at 800 and 5,000 makes for more than 14 stops of dynamic range, while the DJI Cinema Color System offers color consistency when a shoot calls for the use of different cameras, and the X9 has ND filters built in for location lighting versatility.
Camera shake during shoots is kept at bay by what DJI is calling "the industry's first active-vertical 4-axis stabilization system" that, as that description suggests, incorporates an active Z-axis. The company has developed a new algorithm that takes inputs from downward ToF sensors, visual sensors that point down and forward, a built-in IMU, and a barometer to help keep things steady whether the operator is walking or running.
ActiveTrack Pro taps into artificial intelligence smarts to keep track of subjects, while also optimizing framing, and the system also rocks a newly-designed LiDAR rangefinder to assist with focusing, casting more than 43,200 ranging points up to 10 meters (33 ft) ahead for quick and accurate subject acquisition, even during low-light shoots.
In manual focus mode, the system provides the operator with LiDAR assist to locate focus points, autofocus is also available and keeps the subject in sharp focus throughout, and DJI has also included something called Automated Manual Focus that essentially combines the best of both worlds – automatically rotating the focus wheel to follow a focus point but allowing the operator to intervene manually at any time to get the desired shot.
The 4D system can store recorded footage to SSD over USB at 4K resolution, there's CFexpress Type-B card storage offered too, and DJI has also made a 1-TB PROSSD unit available for "the best performance and highest stability for internal recording at maximum resolution and frame rate."
Onboard audio needs are satisfied with built-in microphones for 2-channel, 24-bit recording, and there are two 3.5-mm jack and two XLR ports on the Expansion Plate to cater for external sound recording hardware as well.
A new transmission technology is being rolled into the 4D system too. The O3 Pro video transmitter can wirelessly send a Full HD/60p feed to remote monitors up to 6,000 m (20,000 ft) away over 2.4 and 5.8 GHz, with AES 256-bit encryption cooked in.
Multiple receivers can be served from the same transmitter, and the company's 1,500-nit, 7-inch High-Bright Remote Monitor has a gyro built in – which means it can be used for wireless motion control of the camera unit. Proxy footage at 1080p/60fps can be stored on a microSD card via the included slot, and a bunch of add-ons can be attached too, including hand grips, to make shooting easier.
One final spec before we get to the all-important pricing – the battery is reckoned good for up to 2.5 hours of per-charge recording time on location.
The 6K Ronin 4D system goes on sale in December, and includes a Zenmuse gimbal camera, LiDAR rangefinder, High-Bright monitor, hand grips, top handle, battery and carry case for US$7,199. The 8K version adds 1-TB PROSSD storage to the package for $11,499, and will be released "at a later date." A 4D transmitter is available as an optional extra.
Product page: DJI Ronin 4D