Ronin

Hello to the Ronin A7S Combo

A frame grab to see the fine noise/grain.

A frame grab to see the fine noise/grain.

 

Regular camera tests, although quite informative, are boring. So I decided to do something a bit different.

After quite a while of waiting, my DJI Ronin came in (it’s a stabilizer like the MoVI) and it happened to arrive the same day as the Sony A7S, which I have been eagerly awaiting.

I’ve been thinking about this combo for a bit, as even though the Ronin can support the weight of my fs700… it would certainly be extremely heavy. I toyed with the idea of dedicating the hacked 5D3 RAW to the Ronin, but the idea of dealing with THOSE file sizes when free-shooting on the gimbal, well, no thank-you.

Of course, the big draw and my reason for getting the A7S is the lowlight. Unfortunately the 7Q can’t take the 4k signal from the A7S, but once the Shogun ships I’ll be able to just replace it. Kinda funny isn’t it… Ronin… Shogun…. no?

Anyway, to see what I could do with this setup, I decided to film 2 different things. First up was just filming walking around my building, and trying various settings and kind of going blind. My goal was for everything to be in focus, so I set the aperture to f/7.1, and basically let the camera decide on the ISO. It ended up pushing it into the 64,000 ISO range (yes, those numbers are not a typo!) in order to be visible. This became a bit too noisy and murky. Using Neat Vision’s Noise Reduction I was able to get the footage to “alright”. It’s not stellar, of course, but given that you can actually SEE what’s happening AND keep it all in focus, it’s pretty good. That’s the first video here. At the end of it, are a few different combinations I tried.

Using my findings, I decided to shoot something else… keep the aperture to f/4 (i may have knocked it to f/4.5) and set the max ISO to 16,000. This produces some noise, but I think it’s actually much closer to grain than digital noise. The second video has no noise-reduction at all, but some color-grading is applied. Instead of shooting the exact same thing, I asked Kat to go skating in her derby shoes around Marina. Partly for fun, and partly to see how much Dynamic Range I could get out of the footage (at night, in 16,000 ISO)… she wore a black dress and a white wig. I exposed for the wig in this case.

It’s important to note, in the second video, there is ZERO stabilization done in post… it’s all the Ronin. In the first video though, where were a couple, just to see how it would react.

 

  • How did the combo behave? What about the ronin weight?

    • llirik

      It was definitely tiring if shooting for extended amounts of time. But unless you get hired for an event (where a steadicam would still make more sense), it really shouldn’t be that big of a deal while shooting.

      During the shooting of both of these, I definitely got extremely tired (and basically was just drenched), but it was extremely humid, so it’s hard to judge how much of it was the actual weight. Today I shot with it in doors for about an hour, and would need a break every 15 minutes or so. Otherwise the weight was manageable for me.

      • Nice to hear that, i already have an a7s and just preordered my ronin. I’m thinking of trying the combo in a wedding in september.

        • I’d say get an easy rig if you’ll be flying it for more than a few minutes at a time. That’s what I plan to do.

          • I guess its a good but costly solution.

          • Hi dude, I have the same rig (Ronin, A7s, FS700, 5D3 and C100. Just doing testing at the mo. I have also just received the Atlas heavyweight/middleweight combo support, tried it in the office, light as a feather now, might be a worthwhile option to explore as an alternative to the easyrig (cost wise). Thanks for sharing your videos, good stuff.

          • Hey Gary… what’s the Atlas combo support? I’d be curious to know more about it. Got any images up of how you set it up?

          • Just google Atlas support rig, I’ve only had mine 3 days, but its substantially cheaper than any of the other options like easyrig, it happily supports the weight with no issues at all, I’ve just posted a quick video of running with the Atlas and Ronin on the DJI Ronin FB group, its very smooth. I will do a video review shortly.

          • Tyler Johnson

            I didnt like it. I built my own EasyRig out of PVC and other materials and its fantastic. Built the thing for under 30$!

          • llirik

            can you share any images what you built?

  • David Htz

    Hi ! Nice post. Thank you.. I have the same setup ; Did you manage to autotune stability ? And what are your stifness and smoothtrack values ? Thank you !
    David

    • Hey David – Nah, I never use autotune when working with light cameras. I usually just set the stiffness to around 20 and it works fine.

      I think DJI was supposed to address this with firmware but I haven’t been following up with the ronin.

      • David Htz

        Thank you ! humm.. i’m aroud 20 too.. but always experience shaky footages, i see my foot steps and cannot figure out what it is

  • Dimitrij Roveda

    hi,

    nice videos.

    I have a question for you?

    Could you balance the a7s perfectly?

    I have the same combo and i can’t find the perfect calibration cause the low light of the sony.

    In the foto it seems like you attached the Mounting Plate at lens, isn’t?

    thanx

    • I always had to use an extra weight under the camera to be able to balance it. But about a month ago I have switched over to the ronin-m and suggest all a7s users do the same.

  • Gary Tang

    Hi may I know what are your Pan, Tilt and Roll axis numbers on the app? I’m using the exact config as you are but can’t seem to get the right balance for the setup.

    • llirik

      I think i keep them around 25-30.

    • I think i keep it around 25-30

  • Ryan J.

    These are great videos! He needs a camera/gimbal support system like the Aviator Rig so his arms won’t get tired. I bought one a few months ago and am Thoroughly satisfied. Check em out!

    http://www.aviatorrig.com/

  • Shooby

    Great blog post! I found this test video which i think is a better example of the A7S and DJI Ronin though.