Image Credit (dji.com)
DJI Ronin S Easy Setup Guide | Ronin-S Quick Start Guide
The DJI Ronin-S can be a bit of a daunting tool to a newcomer, but once you get the hang of it then it becomes a really valuable filmmaking tool.
Locking the Ronin S to its battery
The battery slides in to the top section of the Ronin-S and they communicate when the metal pins are aligned. Once they are slid together you need to lock the battery in place using the silver locking lever. The lever doesn’t catch or click when it is in place which is a bit disconcerting, but you just need to lock it in place gently and then just test that it is firmly attached. Don’t over tighten it as this can result in the level being snapped, rendering the gimbal unusable. Most importantly, make sure it is attached firmly before using it or the top section can come loose, tumbling to the floor with your camera and other equipment which is an expensive lesson to learn.
Charging the Ronin S
The Ronin-S comes bundled with a charging adapter plug and USB-C cable to attach the plug to the Ronin. You need to be sure that you always use the included cable and charging adapter as using 3rd party cables and adapters could damage the battery. The battery cannot be charged directly or independently, it needs to be connected to the top part of the gimbal as that is where the USB-C port is located. This is slightly annoying as it is a big and clunky gimbal to have lying next to a plug socket and the lead is relatively short. The next thing to note is that it cannot be powered over USB directly, so plugging it in to a laptop directly will not work as it cannot draw enough power. You can always be sure when the Ronin-S is charging because the lights on the battery will be stepping up to show it is charging.
Register the Ronin S
To use the Ronin app you will first need a DJI account if you don’t have one. You also need Bluetooth and GPS enabled to find your Ronin or you won’t be able to connect to it. Then connect in the Ronin app by selecting it from the list and the default password is 12345678.
Upgrading the Ronin S firmware
Download the Ronin S assistant for Mac or PC from here. Then you can plug the Ronin S into your computer using the USB C cable. It does not need to be switched on to do this. From there you can check the current firmware and upgrade it if necessary
Balancing your camera on the Ronin S
Loosen the screws and push the plates along make the camera balance as well as it can on all of the axis. Make sure that the plates do not touch when moving the axis and that it has fully free movement all around. Any wires from mics or accessories must be kept clear to avoid them getting tangled in the gimbal as it rotates fully. Remember that every time you add something to your camera, you will then need to re-balance it.
Switching on the Ronin S
Once you have the camera balanced and sitting straight, you can hold down the power button on the gimbal to switch it on, it will beep to say it is on. Then you can double tap the power button to get the gimbal motors to engage.
Calibrating the Ronin S
Now the gimbal motors are working you can go into the Ronin app (you will need GPS and Bluetooth enabled with permissions given to the app). Select ‘Connect to Ronin’ and then head into the ‘Configuration’ section of the app. From here you can use the ‘auto tune’ feature to let the gimbal fine tune the balancing on each axis.
Connecting your camera to the gimbal
Compatible cameras can plug directly into the Ronin S using the Multi-Camera Control Cable supplied. Once connected, the camera will ask what you would like to do with the connection. All cameras are different, but there should be an option to tether or use a PC connection. This then allows you automatically focus, start and stop recording as well as pulling focus manually on focus wheel. Not all cameras yet support the full range of features but firmware updates are extending the feature sets for some cameras. If you are unsure of your camera’s compatibility with the Ronin S then you can download the camera compatibility list here.
Pulling focus using the Ronin S focus wheel
The Ronin-S focus wheel comes as standard but it’s only compatible with a specific set of cameras. To use this feature you will have to be connected as mentioned above and also be sure to have the lens set into manual mode or it will not work. For automatic focus, you can simply push the record button down half way and it will use your autofocus mode to refocus. The focus wheel just gives you a little more creative control to pull focus on subjects.
You can use the ‘M’ button to cycle through speeds making joystick movements faster or slower.
Flashlight mode allows you to lock the position of the camera’s pitch axis whilst allowing you to move on the other 2 axis. This allows you to do large sweeping movements emulating rig shots. You do this by holding the trigger whilst moving the camera.
Underslung mode lets you take Flashlight mode to the next level by holding that position using the trigger and turn the gimbal handle fully upside down. This allows you to get amazing low stable shots.
Roll 360 needs some modifications to the settings in the app to make it available.
Switching off the battery grip
The Ronin-S gimbal and battery grip work independently so you will need to make sure you power down the motors on the gimbal and then switch off the battery.
To do this you simply need to do a quick press followed by a long press and the green lights will do the countdown like on the gimbal. One press will simply show the battery life remaining and not switch the battery off.
Packing and storing the Ronin S
Once you have balanced your camera you will realise that the gimbal will not fit back into the box without being re-adjusted. As nice as the case that comes with the Ronin S is, it is not practical to carry around a huge hard case just for a gimbal.
To pack it into a bag I would recommend removing all cables and covering the ports to avoid any dust getting in and avoid cables bending unnecessarily. Use the long velcro strap provided to tie the gimbal up tight and disconnect the battery and tripod mount. Then you can just pack that carefully into a padded camera bag or hard case.
Please only take this as a rough guide as functions and features can change and vary between models. For further information, you can refer to the DJI Ronin S instructions online here.