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DJI’s new $439 Ronin gimbal is made for mirrorless cameras

The Ronin SC is lighter and cheaper than its predecessor, but still pretty powerful

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DJI has announced a successor to its Ronin S handheld gimbal that’s smaller, lighter, and cheaper, starting at $439 and available today. It’s called the Ronin SC, with the “c” standing for “compact,” and it’s more tailor-made for mirrorless cameras than its predecessor.

The Ronin SC largely shares the design of its predecessor, with a single stalk that leads up to a big 3-axis gimbal, all made of magnesium, steel, aluminum, and composite plastic. There’s a joystick and some buttons, which let the user change how those gimbals move (or control the movement directly). And this time around there are lock switches on each arm of the gimbal, which not only will help users store the Ronin with less chaos, but also should make it easier to initially balance.

The big selling point is that the Ronin SC has essentially been shrunk down to a more manageable 2.4 pounds, nearly half the weight of the Ronin S. That means its payload capacity is more limited — it can only carry a total of 4.4 pounds worth of cameras and lenses, compared to the Ronin S’s nearly eight pound capacity.

But that tradeoff will likely be worth it for anyone who’s spent the last year tiring out their arms shooting with a mirrorless camera on the Ronin S. (They’ll still have plenty chance to do that, though, as a full battery should last around 11 hours.) It still might be a little heavy to use as a vlogging rig, but there’s no doubt that the SC will be less of a drain to use. The Ronin SC even packs away in a case that is 40 percent lighter and 38 percent smaller than the one that stows the Ronin S.

DJI describes the Ronin SC as the “smallest, lightest, and most intelligent handheld stabilizer.” It’s even smarter than the Ronin S, in the sense that it has two new features. One is the ability to track subjects via a smartphone, just like DJI’s drones and Osmo cameras can do. Users can mount a smartphone to the hot shoe of their camera, and the DJI app will track a subject and tell the gimbal where to move to keep it in frame.

The other new feature is called Force Mobile. It’s a pared down version of the Force Pro, which professionals can use to remotely aim their cameras while mounted to one of DJI’s more advanced gimbal rigs. On the Ronin SC, Force Mobile will let users stand up to 82 feet away and move their smartphones around to control where the camera and gimbal are pointing.

The Ronin SC will also be sold in a $539 “Pro” configuration that comes with a focus wheel on the side of the rig. Users can run a plug into their cameras and use this wheel to manually adjust focus on the fly for more specific control. The Pro version of the SC comes with an external focus motor, too, that can be connected to the exterior of a manual lens,

DJI has been selling professional gimbal rigs for years now, and a surprising amount the knowledge and value the company’s developed in that area seems to be trickling down into the SC. Users will be able to tweak the motor output to compensate for smaller or larger cameras, set custom profiles, and the SC can even automatically test the balance and report back on what adjustments need to be made. Competitors like Zhiyun might be able to constantly undercut DJI on price when it comes to handheld gimbals, but the Ronin SC is an example of a giant tech company flexing its full might in order to compete all the way down to the lower, more approachable end of its product lineup.

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