Reviews |DJI RS 2

DJI RS 2 Review

Pro level video stabilisation at an affordable price

DJI RS 2 Review
Review

Price when reviewed

£839

$999
Check current price

Our Verdict

The DJI RS 2 is undeniably stunning, the carbon arms set off against stylish graphics and beautifully crafted metalwork. That carbon might look great and have an incredible strength to weight ratio, but is it the right material for this use? Small adjustments to balance are even more difficult than the old Ronin-S even with the fine adjuster, and then there’s the mess of cables once everything connected. However, the stabilisation performance is excellent and matches the style, and in use, the mounting options and weight make the RS2 incredibly effective.

For

  • Small and light weight
  • Decent payload
  • Fully featured

Against

  • Carbon is the wrong material
  • Still a mess of wires
  • Maybe too small

What is the DJI RS 2?

There are little if any design similarities between the new DJI RS 2 and the Ronin-S. The metal arms have all been replaced by a Carbon Fibre monocoque design, and every other element from the joystick, mounting points, focus wheel and grip have been improved and enhanced.

This is not an update with a few tweaks to the Ronin-S design; this is a complete reworking.

DJI RS 2 Review

The most significant update aside from the dramatic design change is the payload which has increased from 3.6kg to 4.5kg. It’s also lighter than the Ronin-S coming in at 1kg 0.81kg lighter.

That’s not all it is also smaller, which has been made possible by the advances in technology. The new RS 2 measures in at 410 x 260 x 195mm including the grip but without the extension, grip added.

The design also sees a huge series of additions, including a 1.4-inch full-colour LCD touchscreen; this enables you to flick through options and settings quickly.

Another big change is the addition of professional RSA/NATO ports that enable the new RS 2 to be incorporated into larger, more complex rigs or control systems.

For those of us not working on multi-million dollar productions, it’s good to see that there are still more common ports and connections including 1/4-inch mounting hold and cold shoe mount.

As with the previous Ronin-S, there are several possibilities for wired connections; these include Video transmission/follow focus motor port (USB-C), RSS camera control port (USB-C) and Follow Focus motor port (USB-C). As all of these ports are USB-C, so I was glad to see that DJI has marked which port is which.

As before the operating time in ideal conditions is 12 hours, and a BG30-1950mAh 15.4 LiPo 4S is used to power the RS 2. This has a charging time of 1.5h, which isn’t at all bad.

As ever the RS 2 offers a Bluetooth connection between the gimbal and the Ronin App available for both iOS and Android devices. This Bluetooth connection utilises the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology.

The maximum controlled rotation remains the same as the Ronin-S at 360º through all axis. There is some change with the mechanical endpoints with the tilt axis changing from: Ronin-S 205° to – 115°, RS 2 -112° to +214° and Roll; Ronin-S 230° to – 90°, RS 2 -95° to +240°.

Specification

  • Accessory Connections: RSA/NATO ports, 1/4-inch, Cold shoe mount
  • Video transmission/follow focus motor port : USB-C
  • Battery: BG30-1950mAh-15.4V
  • Connections: Bluetooth 5.0; USB-C
  • Payload: 4.5kg
  • Maximum Controlled Rotation Speed: Pan, Tilt, Roll: 360º
  • Weight: Approx. 960 g

Build and Handling

The DJI RS 2 is as close to a work of art as it’s possible to get for a piece of photographic/video kit. The metalwork, carbon and graphics look incredible and checking over the design it’s all exquisitely made.

Slotting all the parts together and everything fits snuggly without issue, the precision and accuracy of the moulding, machining and design shows.

DJI RS 2 Review

There’s also an increased level of detail that becomes apparent as you assemble, the micro-adjustment of the base plate to perfectly balance the camera and the new style axis locks all come together to make a very impressive piece of kit.

Initial set-up is relatively quick and straight forward, mush the same as with the Ronin-S and other gimbals. It’s a brief balancing game that takes a little time to perfect, but once you know how it works, it’s all quite straight forward.

The new micro-adjustment is an advantage, especially when swapping lenses and this makes getting that fine balance that much easier.

The one issue I did find was getting the initial positions of the arms correct. On the old Ronin-S, there was always a bit of a battle to subtly adjust the arms positions; this subtlety is even more difficult with these new carbon arms.

The carbon and metal seem to create far more friction than metal against metal, and there were a few times when swapping between Sony and Panasonic cameras I felt real frustration with just how sticky the adjustment was even with everything fully untightened.

It may be due to the RS being new, and the parts just need to loosen up a bit, but the use of carbon over a metal such as titanium doesn’t feel like the right more. It feels like the decision has been made for aesthetic rather than functional reasons.

Once the camera is on and balanced, you can then attach all the cables that you need.

In this review, I’m looking at the more expensive Combo kit which includes the added extras including the focus motor, phone adapter, RavenEye and plenty more.

As combo kits go DJI know how to add value and for the £140 you get incredible value.

For the majority of the test, I added the focus servo, which was easy to fit. Just attach the gear band around the lens, then all the rods and attachments you need to fit the focus motor are in the box.

Adding the motor takes less than five minutes, and once you’ve done it once it’s relatively quick to set-up each time. It’s a shame that through all the incredible design, DJI hasn’t created a neat folding arm solution for this aspect of the set-up.

Once the motor is in place, it can then be connected into the RS 2 using a USB Type-C cable.

Unlike the Ronin-S where the focus wheel was attached to the side on the RS 2 the focus, the wheel is integrated into the grip and can be operated by your index finger.

It’s a really neat solution, and the positioning is spot on. If you do want that side focus wheel, then there is an accessory available for an additional cost.

Once the complete set-up is done, I was ready to start filming.

Performance

The first major advantage of the new Ronin RS 2 is the size and weight; it’s smaller and lighter than the old Ronin-S. The weight reduction is welcome. However, I wasn’t so keen on the smaller and more compact sizing.

Instantly you can feel that there is less room for manoeuvre than with the Ronin-S, and with the wires, screen and focus handle it all starts to feel a little cramped.

DJI RS 2 Review

However, in use, you soon get used the layout but would recommend adding an arm to help with the handling. I use the Ronin-S at least once a week, and the additional side grip is the one accessory I couldn’t now do without.

Connecting and wiring up the new DJI RS 2 does take some time, but for that time you are rewarded with unparalleled performance.

Motion is well controlled and smooth, and the combination of the joystick and focus wheel make it incredibly versatile.

The reaction speeds are also as good if not better than the previous Ronin-S.

Through the test, I mainly used a Sony Alpha 7 MKIII and A7S MKII, and with both of these relatively lightweight bodies, the RS 2 supported the motion and movement without fault.

I also fitted a Canon 5D MKII with 24-70mm f/2.8 and again those small but powerful motors supported the camera without issue.

The limit comes with larger cameras such as the Canon C100 MKII which is just too large, as it was with the Ronin-S.

One feature that stands out with the combo kit is the addition of the RavenEye. This pulls on DJI’s experience with video transmission and enables you to get a live feed from the camera back to the app which you can have at some distance from the DJI RS 2.

What makes this feature so incredible is that with ForceMobile, a feature of the Ronin App, you can control the gimbal by moving your mobile.

Doing this freehand generally creates chaos, but mount the Ronin RS 2 in position with RavenEye neatly slotted in place on its mount under the gimbal and you have an incredibly powerful tool.

Retreat a distance from the DJI RS 2 with RavenEye, mount your camera phone on a tripod head with the Ronin App open and then as you pan, tilt and move the head with the camera phone. As you do the Ronin RS 2 copies the movement.

It’s outstanding, meaning that you can position the Ronin RC 2 on stage and from the back of the hall receive a video feed and track the movement on stage as if you were behind the camera.

While FoceMobile along with Active Track is available on the Ronin-S with the addition of RavenEye, the distance of transmission is now greatly increased as is the speed.

Another feature that stands out is that the power grip containing the battery, can be removed and the gimbal can be connected by the RSA/NATO connectors.

Through these standardised connectors, the DJI RS 2 can be part of a much larger rig. Not having access to this type of set-up I couldn’t test it but it looks impressive.

Performance-wise the DJI RS 2 builds on the performance of the Ronin-S but doesn’t feel like a direct upgrade. The two feel very different in use, and for the work I do, I have to say I still prefer the size and usability of the Ronin-S over the RS 2.

Primarily while I like the Carbon look, I didn’t feel it was practical, and while I am very familiar with the use of the Ronin-S, which does bias me slightly, I felt the DJI RS 2 was just that little bit too small.

Verdict

The DJI RS 2 is a mixed bag, on the one hand, the technology blasts the previous generation out of the water. It is beautifully designed, and the attention to detail makes you take note.

In use, the power of the small motor is incredible and enables you to easily capture that professional, smooth fluid motion that these devices have been designed to enable.

DJI RS 2 Review

RavenEye is the stand out feature of the Combo kit that I tested, it’s truly amazing, and the signal is just about as robust as they come.

Being able to set-up the DJI RS 2 and control it with such speed and accuracy from a distance is an incredible feature.

I also like all the added extras and on top of the prominent video features, there are also all the photo features such as panoramic, large scale image capture and plenty more.

However, while the design looks great, the friction caused by the carbon fibre when trying to adjust the balance just annoyed me, more so than just a niggle.

Then there was the size, it just felt too small, with the Ronin-S I can find a balance, but with the DJI RS 2, it all felt far too top-heavy. It may have been lighter, but I couldn’t hold that lighter weight for as long as I do with the heavier weight Ronin-S.

The DJI RS 2 is an excellent motorised gimbal stabiliser, and I would recommend it. While it’s not as comfortable as the Ronin-S to use and the adjustment can be fiddly the features it packs are incredible.

It’s a true all-rounder and a great piece of kit, although I would prefer those arms to be metal rather than carbon and for it to be a touch larger.

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Fotograf nunta Brasov

What ghimbal do you recommend for weddings if the dji rs2 gets 4 stars? What gets 5 stars?