Everything you need to know about DJI's new Ronin M

I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to get DJI's new Ronin M, the original Ronins little brother thats half the weight and designed for smaller cameras. 

Canon 5D3 Balanced on DJI's Ronin M 

Alright, so the goal of this post is for me to be able to explain how to use the Ronin M. I will also give my brief thoughts on it and discuss some good uses for it. 


Set Up and Balancing 

DJI actually has a really good video that goes over how to balance the original Ronin which functions the same as the Ronin M. During my original setup, I just followed the steps outlined in this video. Its pretty straight forward and you can expect it to take about 20 Minutes.

Once you balance your camera on the ronin a few times it becomes second nature and you can actually just write down where you locked the camera in and just plug and play. I will include a few measurements that I got when balancing my Ronin M so that you all can skip a step. Feel free to add your own measurements to the doc for additional camera and lens combinations. I will do my best to add in additional cameras with time. Currently I only have measurements for the 5D3 and a few lenses. 

Google Docs Measurement Chart

The DJI Assistant app is really helpful to fine tune the gimbal. Its really straight forward and the first time you set it up, there is actually a whole walkthrough of the app. I have been tweaking the settings around quite a bit to see what works best for the way I shoot in certain situations. Coming from a Glidecam background I am used to a quick response from my stabilizers. The app is really intuitive and has a really helpful auto calibrate feature that sets all the motors to their highest efficiency. The data entry when changing values is practically instantaneous so there is no worry with restarting the gimbal after every micro adjustment. The Smooth Track function works great.


Settings

These are the settings that I have been using and I find that they are about as responsive as the glidecam i was previously using was. Also note that when your camera is balanced correctly on your gimbal, the motor power will be close to zero. I find it can fluctuate up or down 5 power increments but if it's more than that I would suggest a readjust.  


Troubleshooting

I haven't had too many problems with the Ronin M quite yet. Currently I haven't yet had the time to fully test the wireless remote as it doesn't have so much use for me, but it's still really awesome that DJI still includes one. All I can say about it is that it feels great in the hands and is made really well. The cool part is that in the assistant app you can tune the remote separate from the gimbal itself. 

There was one instance when I was using the autotune function the bluetooth on my phone cut out and the gimbal kept trying to tune and wouldn't shut off. I was able to reconnect my phone to the ronin and used the motor kill switch inside of the app and was able to resolve the problem. 

Unfortunately with the smaller form factor of the Ronin M, bigger cameras just don't balance very well.  I had trouble getting the 5D3 to balance with a grip and couldn't get it to work just right. I almost had the FS700 balanced with a pancake lens but the tilt movement is very limited to its pretty pointless. 

In one instance when I was using a fisheye, I found that if I left the handles down they would come into frame when I did quick pans. This can be simply fixed by moving the handles backwards or upright and using the top handle. 

I am currently looking into a way to mount a mic and recorder on the top handles. it looks like cinemilled has an option that adapts the accessory mount from the original Ronin. Cinemilled also offers some accessories to help mount your Ronin M onto DJI's S1000 for aerial shots. I was a bit worried that the cable on the Videomic Pro wouldn't reach the top bar but it has plenty of clearance. Ill update this section once I have a solution. 

Unfortunately the Ronin M does not come with a carrying case unlike its big brother. I have found that It is best stored on the stand whenever possible. When traveling with the Ronin M I like to tie it up with the included velcro straps so that the whole assembly lays flat. So far that method hasn't given me any hiccups. 


Overall Thoughts

After using the Ronin M for about a week now, all I can say is dang, I have been missing out on the three axis gimbal game. The Ronin M has completely changed how I look at cinematography and given me the opportunity to make shots that I have never dreamed of come to life. I have found that the ronin works unbelievably well at walking to jogging speeds on just about any surface. If you are looking to really run with the ronin, I would suggest doing it on a flat surface to eliminate movement on the Y axis. 

Ronin M balanced on location


Additional Comments

Whether you are on the market for a Ronin M or you are just curious about what I have to say about this wonderful tool, I cannot recommend it more. It blows a glidecam out of the water, yes it can be heavy after a few hours of work, but hey its a good workout. I have been so blown away at all of the results this gimbal has given me. Its so good that I'm even considering buying a second hand C100 for the continuous AF to take this tool the next step further. 

Putting some finishing adjustments on the Ronin M

Thanks for taking the time to go through my tutorial. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments section below and I'll do my best to respond to them. I will also try and update this post as much as I can with new information.