A few months ago, Steadicam announced the Steadimate S. It’s a device to attach your DJI Ronin-S or Zhiyun Crane 2 to a Steadicam arm and vest system. Steadicam was exhibiting at IBC 2019, so we paid them a visit to find out how it all works, how to set it up and why you might want to use one.
I couldn’t not have a gimbal in my filmmaking toolkit now. I don’t always use it, but when I need it, there’s really no other substitute. They’re quick to set up, and if you’re moving around a lot, especially over rough terrain, they help you to get a pretty stable shot very easily. But they have one big problem. Z bounce.
It’s not so much a design flaw with the gimbal, but the inherent structure of humans. People naturally bounce up and down when we walk, and so does anything we’re holding. It’s referred to as the Z-axis or 4th-axis bounce. And Steadicam has a solution to help eliminate it!
The DJI Ronin-S has been a very popular gimbal ever since it was first released. But one of the biggest complaints against it is its weight. After trying the Ronin-S side-by-side with my Zhiyun Crane 2, I can certainly sympathise with those complaints. But it looks like DJI might be getting ready to announce a newer, lighter gimbal for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
The teaser image at the top of this page was posted to the DJI website with a link to sign up for notifications. It obviously shows a gimbal with a DSLR mounted on it and the claim “Lighter and Smarter than Ever?”. A short teaser video was also posted by DJI to Twitter.
Gimbals are fantastic tools for filmmakers. Personally, I’m quite partial to Zhiyun, having a Smooth C, Crane 2 and Crane 3 LAB at my disposal. In this video from Mango Street, we see five shot transitions that you can only really get easily if using a gimbal. They’re using the DJI Ronin-S in the video, but you can apply these transitions to just about any gimbal these days.
The Zhiyun Crane 3 LAB comes with some pretty noticeable physical differences as well as tech upgrades over the Crane 2, and I recently posted a video on how those two compare. But how does it stand up to the DJI Ronin-S? That’s what Parker Walbeck discusses about in this video after spending some time using both of them out in the field.
DJI’s line of Ronin camera stabilisers, however, is very well regarded, and they work pretty flawlessly. So, when DJI announced a handheld 3-axis stabilised gimbal for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, a lot of people got excited. But the big concern was the price. DJI’s gimbals haven’t exactly known for being low budget. Now, though, we learn that the Ronin-S is actually less expensive than its closest competitor, the Zhiyun Crane 2.