We loved DJI’s gimbal camera called the Osmo Pocket a lot. In fact, it was our favorite video camera last year. Their recently released Ronin-SC gimbal though? It’s great and a lot of reviewers pointed that out, but what they were missing was the videographer’s perspective of things that actually that for many make this gimbal not worth it.
A Gimbal That Solves a Lot of Issues
The Ronin SC brings what a lot of people were looking for. A smaller, more compact solution to their smaller cameras such as the Sony a6400 which we recently reviewed.
At a weight of only 1.1 KG, it really makes a tremendous difference when traveling with a backpack, especially to those that travel with a lot of equipment, and even a great difference on shoot days where you need to deal with a gimbal for hours.
Due to its size, the gimbal also is more backpack friendly, and from that perspective, this gimbal makes a lot of sense for many creators.
With this release, DJI also fixed some issues that were present on the previous bigger version of this gimbal, the Ronin-S such as the lack of locks which resulted in the gimbal moving too freely, putting it at risk when traveling.
But that’s what every review that came out after a week of the release said.
What most didn’t mention are the issues that this gimbal has that can very often get in a way of serious content creation.
It’s Not Usable Enough (Our Biggest Issue)
If we lived in a world where we could adjust camera settings with our minds, the Ronin SC would be an incredible gimbal. We, however, don’t live in such a world and adjusting things such as shutter speed and ISO is essential. Well, unless you shoot with automatic settings, but who shoots with automatic settings and gets a gimbal?
…When you don’t need to adjust the settings on the Ronin-SC, it works great. When you do, you either turn off the gimbal, adjust the settings, and then turn on the gimbal which can ridiculously annoying when shooting documentary type of projects, or you touch the camera while the gimbal is on, and you mess up the entire function of the gimbal for your entire shoot.
Either of these options is not ideal and could have been easily avoided if DJI provided a few simple buttons that allow you to control aspects such as ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Something that has been done with the ZHIYUN Crane 3 LAB 3.
Of course, the basics are there such as the ability to focus, take pictures, and to record as well to move the gimbal with the joystick.
If you are serious about videography, we would right away skip a gimbal that is limited like that, as while sure, you can technically connect your phone to a camera and adjust settings like that, but really?
One of our favorite features on the DJI Osmo Pocket was the active track. It combined the abilities of a camera and a gimbal together allowing the camera to move with subjects. This is also here on this gimbal, except you need a phone for this, and that isn’t ideal especially if you already have a microphone on your camera.
That is, however, one of the many innovative features that DJI has been implementing whether that’s their drones, gimbals, or smaller cameras. Another interesting feature is the ability for you to control the gimbal’s movement with the movement of your phone.
Our favorite feature? It’s the ability to do motion control which is essentially you pre-programming how the gimbal is going to move. We love this feature because it’s very practical as it fits into the work of a professional, as while being able to do 360 rolls are cool, let’s face it, they are more of a gimmick as you rarely ever see them used. This on the other hand? With enough creativity, it can allow you to shoot some incredible video shots that, sort of like what YouTube’s most loved tech reviewer, MKBHD does with his big robot.
And then there are also features such as the infinite 360 rolls, but let’s face it, those are more of a gimmick features as while can be used, out of the next 100 videos you watch, the chances of you seeing a video with this type of a shot are almost non-existent.
Instead of shooting footage for a test, we shot footage for work, to get a proper picture of the potential of this gimbal.
And most of the time, it shoots some incredibly content whether it’s when shooting sports content or shooting interviews.
But the issue of not being able to adjust the settings right from the gimbal, and the fact that due to its smaller weight support, it often doesn’t like working well with microphones, well it often resulted in content that wasn’t ideal, with obvious shakes, or otherwise, the gimbal doing crazy stuff, even though calibrated.
Here’s an example of that:
Great Quality Build, but…
The Ronin-SC feels of much higher build than any camera bodies or tripods we ever tried. What do they call it? Oh, yes, military-grade. That’s how it feels.
However, while the overall body is like that, the smaller parts are a lot more fragile.
During just a few months with this gimbal, we had to replace the mounting plate on the Ronin-SC twice. Meanwhile the little wheel for remembrance of where you set the plate, it is now broken to the point that you can’t screw it in so it doesn’t move.
Oh, and the cable doesn’t work too well with it, most of the time, often resulting in us having to re-plug it.
With an 11-hour battery life and a USB-C port, we have nothing bad to say about the battery life on this gimbal. We don’t imagine you will shoot for 11 hours straight so you are good to go for an entire day of shoots. We can’t say the same about your camera’s battery though.
Is the Ronin-SC Gimbal Worth It?
We love to compliment products that make life easier. This gimbal? It does make life easier as it makes stable footage on the go much more convenient as far as size is concerned. However, while this gimbal is amazing when it works well, it’s the thing such as having to get replacement parts for it, the cable not working well, and lack of buttons, that is an issue that’s worth considering when getting this gimbal, especially considering there are some more budget-friendly options out there that perhaps don’t offer 360-rolls, but that do offer what people looking to get serious video content actually need.