Having previously used the original DJI Ronin-S gimbal when it first came out, I’ve finally got around to upgrading my own gimbal to the DJI RS3 as part of the wider camera equipment upgrades. The DJI RS3 – successor to the RSC 2 – is one of two models offered this generation, the other being the RS3 Pro.
With a larger 1.8″ OLED touchscreen, auto lock axis feature and stronger motors in a compact setup, the DJI RS3 aim to bring many quality-of-life upgrades. Here’s what’s inside the box and my first thoughts on the gimbal.
Inside the Box and hardware
Coming from the Ronin-S, you would get a full-on polyfoam case with individual cutouts and a good-quality accessory case. The RS3 comes in a dressed-down box with a battery handle grip, stabiliser arms, camera mount, camera quick-release plate, lens support, USB camera cable, USB-C cable, and 1/4″ tripod feet. The combo package includes a briefcase handle, focus motor and case. I picked up the SmallRig Briefcase handle and decided to pick up the focus motor if/ when the time comes I need it.
The RS3 itself is substantially lighter, smaller and more compact than the Ronin-S. It’s 1.3kg at the base weight, compared to the 1.84kg, saving over 0.7kg for transport, handheld and rig setup convenience. The 20% increase in motor strength over the DJI RSC2 means the RS3 payload weight is not too far off at 3kg vs the 3.6kg of the much heavier Ronin-S. You get enough headway for a mainstream camera setup in a compact size which is impressive.
There are many huge improvements over the original and a few notable differences to the RSC2 such as the extra payload support, a large 1.8″ coloured OLED touchscreen control, and a quick toggle on the right handle for pan, pan tilt and FPV mode. The gimbal arms feature manual locks on the axis or automatically activate when powering the gimbal on and off.
A ring controls focus and zoom depending if the focus motor is connected. A trigger underneath when held fixes the camera position no matter the gimbal movement while a double tap recenters the camera. Three taps rotate the camera for selfie mode. There are two slots on either side of the handle for attachments like the briefcase handle, video monitor and more. The handle grip lock mechanism is the same as the RS2 but very different from the Ronin-S as you swing the lock around to keep it together.
The front features a record button for video, while the M button toggles modes or can be reassigned as a stills shutter. The joystick flanked to the side allows you to control the gimbal movement itself.
The display makes switching between different settings and modes like 3D roll 360, portrait, and panorama easier, while you can freely adjust the follow speed and gimbal responsiveness too. Pairing to the DJI Ronin mobile app offers further control in user profiles, enabling force mobile and Bluetooth-enabled basic camera functions to save prodding the camera itself.
Gimbal Balance and Camera Setup
Balancing the gimbal feels a lot easier and quicker thanks to the slider for fine control of the camera positioning. The gimbal hardware has less friction to tweak the gimbal arms for faster balancing. I found the original Ronin-S was difficult to handle due to the hardware feeling ‘sticky’ when moving the arms. Everything else felt straightforward on the DJI RS3 – which was one of my hopes – to make gimbal work and transition between my tripod less restrictive in a short period of time. The biggest thing I noticed was just how much more compact it felt and the sturdy gimbal arms.
I’ve had both my Sony A7 IV with my 90mm f/2.8 G lens, and 35mm 1.4 Zeiss prime connected with no issues, although the 90mm had enough clearance for full camera rotation. When properly calibrated, the DJI RS3 had no trouble doing a 3D roll 360 or portrait mode, although the vertical mount may be more suitable for native orientation. Battery draw lasts an entire day and will last longer than the Sony A7 IV recording 10-bit 4K for example.
I took it out for a tour around Brussels in Belgium and found the gimbal much easier to wield with one arm. One thing I will say is a briefcase handle adds a huge difference to balance, weight leverage and ease of use in flashlight mode. You can go without the tripod itself for a super compact setup but I still found the tripod useful for extended movements or placing on the ground when I need to place down.
There’s still plenty for me to dial the gimbal settings for smoothness, playing around with the force mobile feature and general gimbal work. But for now, the upgrades over several generations feel like a breath of fresh air. Upgrading from the RS2 seems less convincing besides the weightier payload and auto-lock feature. But for most setups, the RS3 will serve well until you need the larger 4.5kg payload of the DJI RS3 Pro and Lidar transmission for larger professional work. I’ll follow up more once I’ve got a few videi projects down.