DJI Ronin SC review: a gimbal worth buying

It’s time for a Ronin SC review, which means you’re about
to see a lot of these. (chill bass music) Okay, before we go back
to more sample footage, let’s go through some of the things that you need to know up front. This is DJI’s third gimbal. It’s not a successor to Ronin S, per say, but a newer, smaller
sibling to the Ronin S, specifically built for mirrorless cameras. It comes with some unique features and, yes, some compromises. (groovy rock music) Gimbals used to be the kind
of accessory reserved only for professional video makers. It was the sort of thing you’d
consider spending money on, but often end up investing
in something like a new lens. I know I would. For $440 or $540, which includes
a few extra accessories along with the Focus Motor, you get a gimbal that will
satisfy most people’s needs — as long as those people
aren’t Fuji users like myself. I’ll get into that later. But my first issue is not
a Fuji-specific problem, but more an issue with the payload. I’m using my Fuji X-T2 with an ultra-wide 8-
to 16-millimeter lens, which, mind you, is a heavy, bulky lens. It just doesn’t work that great. And you can see that
from this footage here. It’s not perfectly stable, but
you can still make it work. And if you add a battery
grip to your camera, it doesn’t work at all, despite weighing in at 3.5 pounds, way under the recommended
4.5-pound payload. And I don’t think this
is due to sheer weight, but rather that the camera
with the grip attached to it simply sits too tall for the gimbal. You could add and include a lens support to distribute the weight more evenly, but it actually doesn’t
fit with that setup. Plus, the eye cup just gets
in the way of the gimbal. Another thing that will get in the way of the gimbal is if your
camera has a tilting screen. The point is, you should
definitely take a good look at your gear before
picking your ideal gimbal. But switching to other lighter lenses and filming with the Ronin SC was a blast. At 2.7 pounds without a camera attached, it’s easy to use for a
longer period of time. You can also use it with one hand. It’s basically designed for that, but I tend to leave the
tripod legs attached and hold on to it for added support. Still, depending on which camera you use — I used my Fuji XT-2,
Sony A7S II, and EOS R — you could run into some issues if you don’t balance it
perfectly the first time. That was mostly the case with the EOS R, as you can see from some of
the time-lapse videos I tried. There are a total of three
standard filming modes. There’s pan and tilt follow, there’s first-person view, and a 360 roll. You can adjust the speed and
deadband for each of those and smoothing forward the 360 roll. And I do love using that feature. The one thing that is hard to pull off is to get it perfectly straight once you complete the full rotation. And I do wish you could
make it spin faster. There are three presets for
speed and the custom one, but this one was a bit too
slow for the shot right here. Overall, build is fantastic. The handle feels nice,
button layout makes sense, the Focus Motor feels smooth, although it has a short travel and sometimes feels a bit too sensitive. It has a black matte finish, which does get scratched up
easily, but it still looks good, although that’s less important than a few nifty engineering
tricks that Ronin SC has. First one is the ability
to lock all access. It helps with balancing the gimbal and also with transporting it. The battery also detaches and
makes it even more portable. DJI says the battery will last 11 hours, just an hour under what the Ronin S had. That will largely depend on how
well you balance your gimbal and if motors have to work extra hard to keep the camera steady. And for my testing, 11
hours sounds about right. It’ll easily last you for more than a day’s worth of filming. The last little thing that I like is that DJI added a little
clip on the camera plate. So next time you put the
camera on the gimbal, you don’t need to rebalance it again. All those things do make for an enjoyable filming experience. (relaxing downtempo music) As I mentioned, the Ronin SC
comes with a bunch of other features you can
access through the app. There’s stuff you’d expect, like shooting panos or time-lapses, but there are also a few that
you won’t find anywhere else. So let’s start with Active Track. If you’re familiar with DJI drones, you probably recognize this one. It basically lets you lock on to a target, like a car or a person. In order to make it work on the Ronin SC, you have to touch your
phone on top of your camera and that’s where things got a bit tricky. Balancing the phone on top of the camera wasn’t an easy task. The whole setup just felt very flimsy. I tried a few different lenses
to make the setup lighter, but I wasn’t having a lot of luck. That said, the app was tracking well, but the gimbal had issues
changing directions and trying to keep up with the subject. But I still feel like I
wouldn’t use this feature that often unless I really
needed to do something specific. The second new feature is called
Force Mobile, and it’s wild. What it does is tracks the
movement of your phone, reads the gyroscope data, and
mimics that onto the gimbal. It works surprisingly well, but it’s also the kind of
feature I’d rarely use. Still, if you’re shooting
with a bigger crew, you can come up with some
fun shots to pull off. I’m just not that creative. And it’s worth noting the gear, which enables remote movement control, usually costs upward of $1,500,
like DJI’s own Force Pro, so props for making that accessible. Lastly, the Ronin app is also really good. It’s stable, it connects to
your gimbal almost instantly, it has a lot of customizable options, it has user profiles, too,
and it’s just simple to use. But if you’re a Fuji user, a lot of those features won’t
work since both the Ronin SC and the older Ronin S don’t
actually support Fuji. So things like time-lapses, motion lapses, and panos just won’t work. DJI tweeted that they’re working on it, but no clue when that’ll be available. So if you’re like me, and all
those 12 other Fuji shooters, you’re going to be bummed about this one. Even without being able to take advantage of all those features, I still kept my Fuji on
it for most of the week. I just love filming with that camera, and I genuinely love
using the Ronin SC, too. It’s small enough to bring around, and it just feels like a piece of gear that’ll last you for years to come. If you’re only interested
in getting stable shots and nothing more, you can probably save a few bucks and look for other options,
like the Zhiyun or the Moza. But if you want a gimbal that’s almost as care-free as it
gets, built like a tank, and packed with fun features that’ll actually push your creativity, this is the one to get. (chill downtempo music)

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