This past fall, DJI introduced updates to two beloved camera gimbals, the RSC2 and RS 2, each with its own ideal use cases and set of improvements from its predecessor. We’re still waiting to use the RSC2, but for the last month, the SLR Lounge video team was able to get hands-on with the Ronin RS 2 and put it through the paces while creating content with Pye. What’s the big difference in the RS 2? Well, if you go from the packaging material blurbs alone, it packs a much meaner punch, is able to carry larger camera/lens combinations, and comes equipped with more and better/improved features like longer battery life, improved stabilization, and better “travel/packing” options, with it being able to fold smaller and occupy a smaller footprint (just look at the box size differences from the S to the S2 below)!
Even before it came out of the box, this system was already impressing the video team and getting them hyped to use it.
After getting their hands on the RS 2, the first thing they noticed was its smaller size and weight, which made it much easier to keep the stamina up for longer shoots. The SLR team used this gimbal on several shoots that were 4-6 hours a pop, and the reduced weight made it noticeably easier to handle over the course of the day.
Compared with Ronin-S, the motors of DJI RS 2 are about 20% more powerful, while the gimbal weight is reduced by about 25%. Equipped with a 1.4-inch full-color touchscreen and redesigned built-in front dial, DJI RS 2 also supports more accessories than the Ronin-S.
Looking at the image below, you can see the actual difference between the gen 1 and 2 gimbals. While it doesn’t seem like a lot in the photograph, every millimeter and ounce freed up makes a difference! The big feature that the team could not cover though was the vertical grip add-on. It wasn’t included with our kit so we can’t comment on the usefulness of this feature (yet). That said, let’s dive right into what you get with this gimbal and the features it provides.
[Related Reading: DJI Mini 2 Review | Mini But Mighty]
What’s In The Box? (Gimbal Only & Pro-Kit)
The RS 2 is available on its own for $849 or in a bundle including a “Pro Kit” (like the Crane we reviewed last month), for an additional $150. The pro kit adds in several useful additional tools at a pretty decently discounted rate vs buying them all individually, including a focus motor, transmitter, and phone holder.
- BG30 Grip
- USB-C Charging Cable (40 cm)
- Lens-Fastening Strap
- Extended Grip/Tripod (Metal)
- Quick-Release Plate (Arca-Swiss/Manfrotto)
- Briefcase Handle
- Camera Riser
- Carrying Case
- Multi-Camera Control Cable (USB-C, 30 cm)
- Multi-Camera Control Cable (Sony Multi, 30 cm)
- Multi-Camera Control Cable (Micro-USB, 30 cm)
- Multi-Camera Control Cable (Mini-USB, 30 cm)
- Hook-and-Loop Strap
- D-Ring Camera Mounting Screw 1/4″-20
- RSA/NATO Port Cover
- Pan Axis Sleeve
- Screw 1/4″-20
- Phone Holder (Pro Kit)
- Focus Motor (Pro Kit)
- Focus Motor Rod Mount Kit (Pro Kit)
- Focus Gear Strip (Pro Kit)
- Image Transmitter (Pro Kit)
- Cold Shoe to 1/4”-20 Adapter (Pro Kit)
- USB-C Power Cable (20 cm) (Pro Kit)
- Mini-HDMI to HDMI Cable (20 cm) (Pro Kit)
- Mini-HDMI to Mini-HDMI Cable (20 cm) (Pro Kit)
- Mini-HDMI to Micro-HDMI Cable (20 cm) (Pro Kit)
- M4 Screw (10 mm) (Pro Kit)
- Allen Wrench (3 mm) (Pro Kit)
DJI Ronin RS 2 Technical Specifications
- Number of Axes 3-Axis (Pitch, Roll, Yaw)
- Rotation Range
- Yaw (Pan): 360°
- Pitch (Tilt): -112 to 214°
- Roll: -95 to 240°
- Follow Speed
- Pan: 360°/s
- Tilt: 360°/s
- Roll: 360°/s
- Load Capacity 10 lb / 4.5 kg
- 2 x RSA
- 3 x USB Type-C
- Wireless Frequency 2.4 GHz (2.4 – 2.483)
- Wireless Protocol Bluetooth 5.0
- Battery Capacity (mAh) 1950 mAh
- Battery Capacity (Wh) 30.3 Wh
- Battery Runtime 12 Hours
- Battery Chemistry Lithium-Ion Polymer (LiPo)
- Voltage 15.4 VDC
- Operating Temperature -4 to 113°F / -20 to 45°C
- Materials Aluminum, Carbon Fiber, Plastic
- Dimensions 16.1 x 10.2 x 7.7″ / 410 x 260 x 195 mm
- 2.36 lb / 1.07 kg
- 2.595 lb / 1.177 kg (with Camera Plate)
- 2.948 lb / 1.337 kg (with Handlebar)
- Price –$849 or $999 in the Pro Combo – Adorama | B&H | Amazon | DJI
[Related Reading: How to Use a Gimbal – Movements & Best Practices]
Shooting Modes & Features
The RS 2 offers all the standard shooting modes you’d recognize if you have ever used a Ronin or similar gimbal, as well as a few new modes/features added in this version. A big addition is ActiveTrack 3.0, an update to the most advanced tracking technology, and after some testing, we found that it is a BIG upgrade from the previous generation. DJI says that it uses new and more advanced algorithms to track your subject, and this is clearly accurate given how much better the system was in use.
- *New* Time Tunnel: The system performs a 360-degree roll while capturing a hyper-lapse, adding a level of creativity to footage.
- Flashlight: The system tilts the camera all the way forward so users can grip the base like a flashlight.
- One-Tap Portrait Mode: The gimbal quickly orients the camera into vertical shooting for professional-level social media content.
- Panorama: After configuring sensor and focal length, choose a start and stop point for panoramas up to gigapixel size.
- Roll 360: The gimbal enters into the Flashlight position and rolls the camera system 360 degrees.
- Timelapse: This classic feature shows subtle changes over durations of your choosing.
- *New* RavenEye Transmission System – gives operators a simplified way to get remote camera viewing and parameter control. This system transmits 1080p video from up to 200 m away with a latency of just 60 ms, letting users focus on getting the perfect shot without worrying about equipment. If you are working on a professional project with a big camera crew, this new DJI RS 2 feature conveniently provides everyone with a clear view of the action.
- *New* 3D Focus System: upgrading the DJI Ronin-S focus wheel and adding ToF sensors for precise autofocusing even when using manual lenses and/or shooting in low light environments. This intelligent upgrade makes a world of difference, giving you exceptional autofocus in demanding shooting environments.
What I Liked about the Ronin RS2
DJI Ronin RS2 Pros
Small & Lightweight
As I mentioned previously, the smaller size and lighter weight made it easier to maintain stamina over a long day of shooting 4-6 hours at a time. On paper, the size and weight difference doesn’t seem like much, but over the course of a full day of shooting the reduced payload was definitely noticeable and a welcome update!
Supports a Decent Payload
The gimbal is reportedly able to support a payload of up to 10lbs for up to 12 hours (if properly balanced). For the majority of our testing, the team used the Canon EOS R or R6 and the 24-105mm or the 14mm. This combo doesn’t come close to maxing out its motors, but no matter what we put on it, the motors gave no lag or resistance/strain. Unless you’re getting into big cinema rigs, the Ronin RS 2 seems capable of handling any dslr or mirrorless combo you can throw at it.
Setup Is Easy
Out of the box, the set up was incredibly straight forward and easy. We tried out the focus motor and it was nice to control it from the scroll wheel. If I would have connected another scroll wheel I could have had one scroll wheel control the motor and the built-in wheel control a setting in the camera. Very useful on long shoots and run & gun moments.
Additionally, you can set the wheel to control whatever you like from the built-in screen.
Another much-improved thing that I liked was the motor locks. This made it way easier to balance the gimbal because I only had to focus on one axis at a time, a feature that the SC has but not the original S. This feature makes the initial setup so much easier to manage, as well as just quick/short storage without disassembling the gimbal. You can lock the arms and be assured the kit won’t move while it’s sitting down between shots. Just remember to turn the system off before engaging the locks!
Fully Fleshed out Features
The RavenEye was a nice feature, although we didn’t need it for our shoots, but I did set it up and can definitely see its potential on productions. It had minimal latency and the force control from a mobile device was pretty responsive.
Everything else in the system, having come from using the previous generations of DJI gimbals, was familiar, fast, and easy to use! It felt like slipping on a new pair of custom-fitted gloves.
Improved LCD Screen
My favorite part of the RS 2 is the screen. You truly do not need the app to adjust any parameters of the gimbal, and everything can be done on the gimbal itself, which is nice when doing it on the run. While the app allows for an easier/more visible interface, with this new touchscreen LCD, you don’t actually need it at all (unlike previous generations), giving you the freedom to get up and running in whatever mode you need for those last-second shots. You can save space, time, and battery life by not using the smartphone app.
Ergonomics & Design
The ergonomics and aesthetics are great. The handle allows you to go from regular mode into low mode and is a welcomed addition. And the lower angled rear motor is perfect, giving you clear access and line of sight to the back of the camera. It only gets obstructed when you’re shooting low profile angles.
Here’s a few videos for SLR Lounge created with the Ronin RS2
What I Didn’t Like About the Ronin RS2
DJI Ronin RS2 Cons
Lots of Wires still
While the system is smaller, better designed, and much easier to use, there’s still a lot of excess in cables poking out of the setup, especially if you’ve connected all the accessories. This is by no means a deal breaker, but moving forward, and especially with the advances in wireless technology, it’d be a very welcome addition to see these systems be able to connect without the use of all the USB cables
Battery Life Wasn’t as Good as Expected
The first few cycles of the battery didn’t seem to be super long-lasting, but my guess was this was because it was a new battery and needed to be “broken in” for the system. If not, well, it’s also possible we got a bad batch of batteries? Either way, while the battery life has improved from the original Ronin, we didn’t seem to ever get the full 10-12 hours of battery life as claimed in the marketing materials. We’ve heard from others using this gimbal who are seeing near that life out of each charge, so we’re not gonna strike this as too heavy of a negative; however, for those out there planning on investing in this system, we also recommend getting additional batteries, just to be safe. It’s always better to have and not need than to need and not have!
The DJI RS 2 is an absolutely beautiful gimbal that’s jam-packed with features that’ll make your filmmaking a joy. Not only does the Ronin RS 2 work great, it looks fantastic while doing it. Comparing it to the first generation, Mike and the video team have nothing but positives to say about this gimbal, and were planning on upgrading to it themselves as soon as possible! (You can’t really give higher praise than that, I suppose?)
The small but powerful motors let you capture smooth fluid and professional motion while tracking and locking focus onto your subjects with ease. This gimbal also comes loaded with features that a photographer will love, such as a built-in panoramic mode, large scale image capture, timelapse, AND hyper-lapse. The Ronin RS 2 may be priced a little more than its competitors, but once you’ve played with its much-improved stabilization, you’ll see why it’s worth the additional investment.