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January 7, 2018

DJI built a one-handed stabilizer for your SLR or mirrorless camera

by John_A

DJI hasn’t just been working on smartphone stabilizers ahead of CES — it also built its first single-handed stabilizer for SLRs and mirrorless cameras. As with the refined Osmo Mobile, the new DJI Ronin-S is all about keeping things simple in the field, and it’s set to launch in the second quarter of this year.

While the original Ronin system required users to build potentially complex rigs to mount cameras on, the Ronin-S is essentially an Osmo Mobile built to accommodate bigger cameras and lenses. Exactly how much weight the Ronin-S can handle is still a mystery, though — the company says its high-torque motors can work with “the most popular camera and lens combinations” and specifically cites compatibility with Canon’s 5D line, Panasonic’s GH-series mirrorless shooters and Sony Alpha systems. While you probably shouldn’t throw a massive telephoto lens onto a Ronin-S, DJI’s stabilization system should work fine with more standard zooms.

We haven’t tried the Ronin-S yet so we can’t vouch for how smooth it is, but DJI’s trademark three-axis gimbal has been a life-saver on shoots in the past — consider us cautiously optimistic. Actually controlling the thing seems like a pretty simple affair though: you’ll use a tiny thumbstick for panning and framing shots, while intelligent shooting features like Panorama and Hyperlapse modes have been offloaded to the Ronin’s mobile app. New to the mix are a Sport mode meant to handle frenetic motion while remaining locked onto a subject and a Push mode so you can (as DJI puts it) “adjust the pan and tilt axis by hand” while the Ronin is on. Even better, the Ronin-S is compatible with certain DJI Pro accessories in case you need additional control over your focus or want to attach other components with a cheese plate adapter.

While the idea of handling an SLR on a stick sounds a little clumsy, DJI already has some competition in Chinese rivals like Zhiyun and Feiyu, which offer seemingly similar gimbals for about $399. Here’s hoping we get a little hands-on time with the Ronin-S this week to see how well this thing really works.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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