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DJI Ronin SC vs. Ronin S first impression

I held the DJI Ronin S in my hand at the DJI flagship store in Shenzhen on release day in China and wanted to buy it right there and take it with me. But unfortunately at that time only a pre-order was possible. Back in Germany I had to wait 4 months for my device until it was finally there. So big was the demand at that time.

In the meantime the Ronin S accompanied me to Japan, Czech Republic, Great Britain and the Netherlands and served me well.

Unfortunately the Ronin S with its 2.3kg was my heaviest utensil and therefore an enormous burden on journeys.

One year later, this time without much attention DJI introduced the Ronin SC and I ordered it without much thought and less than 3 days later it was already there. The main argument: The low weight of 1.1kg!

How’s the new little Gimbal holding up to his big brother?

What you notice at first glance is the choice of material. The Ronin S is mainly made of solid metal. DJI has given the new Ronin SC much more plastic. This makes it lighter on the one hand, but on the other hand a bit more unstable which you will notice.

I have to say that I operate the Ronin SC close to the load limit. It is actually intended for system cameras. I run it with a full-grown DSLR (Canon Eos 6D Mark II with a heavy Canon EF 24-70mm f/1:4L IS USM lens). Together they have 1.3kg with a maximum of 2kg allowed for the gimbal. It is clear that I am operating a device almost at its load limit. But the Ronin SC is mainly for mobile travel use and every gram counts.

The axles twist easily under the high weight and the base (which is now made of lighter plastic) allows the Ronin SC to sway slightly when you bump into it. Not bad at all if you hold it in your hand for filming. But I mostly use it standing up for timelapse shots and now it is a bit more susceptible to wind. I am thinking about using the stand of the Ronin S although it is a bit heavier. But the stability of the new plastic foot disturbs me slightly.

You can clearly see that the Ronin S has more power. If the gimbal is not 100% calibrated it forgives the user a lot before he starts complaining. The Ronin SC, on the other hand, needs to be calibrated very well so that it can cope with the high weight. But once it’s in the balance it also moves softly and very gently.

DJI has learned from many mistakes. The Ronin SC has axle locks, which make it pleasant to stow the gimbal easily again. Put the axle lock in, pack it away and just flip the switches again to get started. No ugly twisting of the axles in the backpack. Super! The carriage on which the camera can be moved now has an adjustable end stop, so you can find the set position faster. This saves a lot of time, as long as you don’t switch between several cameras.

But DJI could have gone a bit further. A slot screw is included to mount the camera on the carriage. Who the hell would take a screwdriver to film or photograph? DJI doesn’t even include a suitable tool for this. What is this?

I bought a quick-release screw for this. So I can change the camera at least tool-less by hand. It also fits inside the sled.

Sorry, DJI. Do you read in the DJI Forum at all?

The battery is much smaller and you can see that. I never had to recharge the Ronin S during my travels. The battery was simply a tireless monster. But that was also due to the situation that the Ronin S could serve as a power bank for the cameras or accessories. The Ronin SC, on the other hand, I got in my first tests within 1hour of usage from 100% to 75% down. This seems to make 4hours of usage. This might require more intermediate loading in the future. But he will make it through the day, so I don’t see a problem here, just a conspicuous thing.

The gimbal is smaller! Pros and cons at the same time. It is space-saving but my big Canon Eos 6D Mark II just fits into it. The eyecup touches the axis during the swivel. The lens must not be much heavier and bigger than my Canon EF 24-70mm f/1:4L IS USM. Just fine for me – just fine!

The Ronin SC comes with a holder for a smartphone. How I will use it outside of the Active Track mode is not yet clear to me because none of my cameras can get a smooth Live View via WLAN and therefore the screen of the camera is still indispensable.

The Active Track mode is a dream! The connected smartphone is simply strapped to the camera, connected to the Ronin SC and in the app an object is selected from the window to be tracked. The gimbal automatically follows even fast moving objects. You can move freely and the direction to the object is kept simple. Incredibly good (if you get the heavy smartphone calibrated on the Ronin SC) I can do it with my iPhone X, as long as I don’t move the camera too far back. From an inclination of about 45° to the rear the motors simply give up because the weight can no longer be held.

If you know that, and can cope with this limitation, you have a great new feature added. To be honest, the purchase was worth it for that alone. No fiddling with the joystick and several attempts until you get a clean pan. The gimbal simply swivels after the object.

My Canon Eos 6D Mark II is not officially supported by DJI for the Ronin SC. The rudimentary functions like triggering images or starting and stopping the video work fine with the included cable. Also the focus wheel, which I will take over from the Ronin S in any case, works exactly the same as with the Ronin S. Here you notice that most of the software comes from the Ronin S.

conclusion

In short, a successful new product that personally replaces the Ronin S for me. The low weight, the just enough power and the successful new feature “Active Track” make me a lot of fun. It remains to be seen whether the device will withstand the strains of my upcoming travels.

Would I use the device for professional purposes? No! DJI does not replace the Ronin S with the Ronin SC. With the Ronin SC only a new category of Gimbals was opened.

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12 Comments

  1. Roman

    Hi, i have a 6d and a 7d , do you think it will work with this gimball? Im afraid it gets stuck during the swivel. Thanks

    • admin

      Hi, i think it’s less about the camera alone than about the combination of camera and lens. In my case the camera (EOS 6D mk2) weighs 776g and the lens (Canon 24-70mm L4 IS USM) 625g.
      I would avoid putting a longer or heavier lens on the Ronin SC. With this you would have to move the camera further back on the slider and then the camera really bumps when panning. I would say my configuration is really the maximum that the Ronin SC can handle.
      I hope this pictures help to understand the dimensions we talk about:
      https://konkludenz.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/img_4943-e1564034972881.jpg
      https://konkludenz.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/img_4944-e1564034988103.jpg
      https://konkludenz.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/img_4942-e1564034999456.jpg

      • Wil

        Hi! Thanks so much for the review. I own the same body and lens you have so am seriously debating. Do you feel like you have to be more careful or recalibrate more often on the SC? Is the new software and lighter gimbal worth it for the lack of guaranteed stability? How do you feel a couple months in?

        • admin

          The Ronin SC is definitely more sensitive to calibration. With the combi EOS 6D mk2 + Canon EF 24-70mm f/1:4L IS USM it is a good combo with the SC.
          But in the meantime I switched to heavier Sigma lenses and the SC is much too weak now. Thats why i use the Ronin S atm.

          • Wil

            Thanks Silvan! So I actually went and tried it out in the store and realized you’ve got the 24-70 f/4 L and I have the 28-70 f/2.8. Difference is 1.5lbs vs my 2.1 lbs~ which seemed too much for the SC. At that point though, it made me consider using only primes since you can’t really adjust the zoom without rebalancing anyways… but I currently only have the 50mm prime. I did see how the S has gotten the software update so I can add my smartphone and still get the cool new active track software which is fantastic. Reasons to consider the S were to be able to add a microphone and light to the rig but even on the S when anything was mounted to the cold shoe on the camera we were getting some shake so I’m looking into mounting everything from the base… but it obviously adds some cost to get the small rig mounts… While obviously the lighter weight and locking mechanisms are nice on the SC, I also didn’t love how the roll axis was combined into one latch with the baseplate. One of the reasons I really wanted the SC was because the pro combo includes the rails and focus motor – I also have a rokinon lens that would benefit from it. So I’m split between buying a wide prime or 17-40 and the SC or the S pro along with DJIs $170 focus controller. Let me know any additional thoughts/suggestions on how you place any of your aks/monitor. Thanks again for the blog!

          • admin

            Yeah, with the lense you already own you will be so much more happy with the Ronin S. I did not have to recalibrate it when i was zooming the lense it just was strong enought to handle the small change in balance.
            I would go fot the S and see if the focus motor or any other parts you need are already avaliable second hand.

  2. Roman

    Thank you very much for the quick answer, been hesitating about buying this gimbal because the size of my gear, love the features and its almost half the cost of the ziyun crane 3 which Im tempted to buy.

  3. I really do appreciate you took the time to create this blog, it gave me a better perception of the ronin I’m buying!

  4. Michal

    Hi, i just purchased a ronin sc and will be using it with my canon 750d, so far im very pleased but i wantet to try other functions like motion lapse etc, hovewer 750d does not have a micro usb or usb c output so none of the cables provided fit do you think that there is any chance functions will work if i match the cable? And which cable would be best? Thanks

      • michal

        thanks for your reply,

        i purchased and tried multiple cables/adapters and unfortunatelly none of them seem to be working 🙁

        • admin

          I´m sorry for that. Maybe your Camera is not compatible to the Ronin SC. What Model do you have?

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