DJI’s Ronin 2 is hard to beat, but perhaps the latest option comes close?
The new Ronin RS 3 Pro finally gets a handheld gimbal back to the payload capacity of the older Ronin-MX. You could fit a Sony FS5 on the original Ronin-M and MX, but that became a challenge on the newer style of gimbal. Thankfully, the RS 3 Pro has extended arms, and DJI touts the ability to fit Sony’s FX6 on it.
With the upgraded dimensions in mind, I was wondering if the new RS 3 Pro could compete with the beefy Ronin 2? The last time I rigged up a Ronin 2, we only had Blackmagic’s 6K Pro on it, and I’m pretty confident that these middle-ground productions should be considering the smaller gimbal setup now.
Upgrading the Ronin Rs 3 Pro to Match the Ronin 2
The Ronin 2 has many helpful professional features, for example:
- Large, hot-swappable batteries.
- D-Tap and Lemo-style power outputs under the camera platform and by the batteries.
- Wireless control of the gimbal with an included remote.
- SDI input under the camera, with an SDI output by the top handle.
Here’s a list of items that would bring the RS 3 Pro a little closer to the Ronin 2. A user may want to use a Ready Rig or otherwise with either setup.
Tilta’s Ring Grip
This aluminum ring is the biggest upgrade you can bring to the table. It will allow the gimbal to be powered via a V-Mount adaptor (or Gold Mount). In addition, it means a Ready Rig can be easily attached, which will help remove footsteps from your footage. Finally, it will run power to a monitor and transmitter from an additional power output accessory. If you pair this with a D-Tap splitter, you’re getting closer to the Ronin 2’s capabilities.
Since you can’t run an SDI cable through the gimbal itself, you may want a wireless video solution attached to the camera or its platform. Vaxis offers a kit for less than $500 that’s lightweight enough to work. Thankfully, the transmitter can be powered via USB-C, which the gimbal can provide.
Then, for wireless gimbal control, Tilta’s Remote Control Handle should do the trick. I find it helpful to have a gimbal remote near the focus puller, as it can help speed things up between resets. This remote can also be slotted into Tilta’s ring should the operator be working alone.
Alternatively, DJI’s own monitoring system can be paired with the Ronin 4D’s handles, which offers plenty of control. In fact, this will also control Sony cameras. This isn't an affordable option, though, coming in at $3,300.
Who the Ronin 2 Is For
DJI suggests that you can get an ARRI Alexa XT on the Ronin 2, which is simply never going to happen on a smaller gimbal. Similarly, there are a few features which are going to be difficult to recreate on a smaller gimbal. The Ronin 2 has a 30 lbs payload capacity, versus the 10lbs on the Ronin RS 3 Pro. The former’s motors are also much stronger, which helps combat wind at high speed.
Nonetheless, a rigged out Ronin RS 3 Pro will cost just over $2,000. While the Ronin 2 is the best option for bigger productions, $8,400 puts it in another league. You may rent the Ronin 2, of course, which costs less than $200 a day usually. In fact Lens rentals will rent it for about $500 a week, with a Ready Rig thrown in for a further $200.
However, a rigged out RS 3 Pro gets owner-operators closer to the Ronin 2 than ever before. I could see this rig being the favorite for 2023. Its versatility, availability of accessories, and updated tech will give a lot more flexibility to users.