CES 2018: Handheld Gimbals - DJI Returns!

With the ever expanding market of 'handheld' gimbals being made by the likes of Zhiyun-tech, Ikan, Nebula and Came-TV - the space is getting crowded with a lot of powerful, stabilised devices at even more affordable prices.

I remember when Freefly came out with the first Movi Pro - let's not get into how much that cost - but Soon after however, DJI designed the Ronin - a Movi like, 3 axis gimbal built for anything from a 5D upto some of the lighter set-ups with REDs DSMC2 cameras.

These devices were absolute game changers for filmmakers. They became - somewhat - affordable glidecams for indie shooters and small productions. Finally something else people could get their hands on, and during their introduction to the market - as with everything - the technology has developed and come a long way.

However, this handheld market has been absent from the 2 powerhouses of stabilisers - until now.

The Ronin-S is DJI's new entry into the market, designed to compete with the likes of the Crane-2 or the Moza air, this handheld gimbal looks to be the sort of tool you would have expected from DJI. It looks impressive, and it boasts a unique feature set.

Designed to be used with DSLR or mirrorless cameras, the Ronin-s will balance with a whole bunch of combinations from the usual suspects (Canon, Sony and Panasonic ).

After using the Crane 2, that thin grip looks to be a great design choice - after using Zhiyuns first and second iteration of their Crane gimbals, I can tell you that a thinner grip is definitely a lot more wieldy. - Generally I've also found these style of gimbals to be fairly easy to set up, it's nice to see DJI enter this kind of market.

The gimbal also doesn't obstruct view from the camera's LCD (hallelujah!).

Moving down the device is - I think - is one of the best features. You're actually able to remove the handle and fix it to something else. DJI mentions on their website an RC buggy or as a remote jib head - back working for a rental house we had a lot of enquiries about jibs with remote heads - so for this to double up as an alternative means that we're onto a winner.

The usual dual-handle accessory will also be available for those of you who want to have that classic Ronin feel, but fancy something shiny and new.

At time of writing I believe that the Crane 2 is the only gimbal where you can simultaneously control the focus from the gimbal itself (although, that feature is currently only available to Canon until there's some firmware updates for Sony & Panasonic) - the wireless follow focus DJI make is a fantastic device which I love using - it's exciting to see that tech become implemented into the Ronin-S (as an optional accessory, of course).

The Ronin-S also borrows the Ronin-2's ability to hot swap batteries on the go. I've not found battery life to be too much of a problem with gimbals, but it's a great feature nonetheless.

As with all other DJI equipment, expect smartphone integration with the ability to control deadpan and responsiveness - the Ronin-S now features custom settings and intelligent modes to keep up with you should your pace change.

Additional shooting modes can also be selected, with panorama, hyperlapse, track and an anchor feature that lets you designate different set positions and flip between them instantly.

Other hardware buttons include mode toggle, record start / stop and a joystick for controlling the pan/tilt while you're moving for dynamic silky smooth motion.

It's interesting to see DJI's take on the handheld gimbal, it packs a very promising feature set along with the reliability of the DJI brand. It looks to be another solid product from DJI, so lets hope the price isn't too high.

Speaking of price, no indication of a figure has been given as of yet, and no solid release date - Q2 2018 is the closest we're going to know for a while - so keep your eyes watching this space,

and as always - happy shooting.

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