Review: DJI RS 2 – The PERFECT Camera Stabilizer
DJI has been the leader in camera stabilizing tech for the past 14 years. They won the Technology & Engineering Emmy Award in 2017 for their camera drone technology which was used in different television shows like Game of Thrones and American Ninja. DJI has created some of the most advanced camera gimbal setups that other companies are envious of and do their best to imitate. Let’s take a closer look into the all new DJI RS2 Professional Camera Stabilizer, what many (including us) are calling “The Perfect Camera Stabilizing Gimbal”.
For starters, DJI has officially shortened the name from Ronin-S2 to simply RS2. This simplifies the product name for search results and keeps it easily identifiable among all other products that DJI has produced.
One major enhancement DJI has accomplished with the RS2 is upgrading the stabilizer arms to a lightweight carbon fiber. Not only does this lower the overall weight, it also strengthens it significantly. Carbon fiber is known as one of the strongest and lightest moldable materials. DJI uses this same medium for its much higher end flagship product, the Ronin-2. So adding this to the RS2 was definitely an upgrade not many of us expected.
One of the main differences between these two is the BG30 battery grip, which feels extremely comfortable when filming and is almost half the size of the previous model. DJI was able to jam in the same amount of battery life into a much smaller and compact handle by implementing a cartridge design for more secure battery mounting and faster battery swapping. Overall, the footprint of the gimbal is much smaller than its predecessor, the Ronin-S.
The RS2 gets a max 12 hours of battery life and can be fully charged in under 2 hours with its fast charging capabilities. This knocks off at least 40 min of charging time from the previous model. To get an even better perspective on this, the RS2 can gain two hours of runtime with just a 15 min quick charge. That is an impressive feat claimed by DJI and has proven to be accurate when we verified this with our own independent tests.
This time around, DJI placed the charging port conveniently on the battery grip itself, making it much faster and easier to charge. By doing this, users can now plug the battery grip into a power source while in use or independently. All other gimbal parts can be stored back into its carrying case for safe keeping.
Setting up the DJI RS2 for the first time is pretty straight forward. At first glance it can seem overwhelming especially if this is not something you’ve ever done before. Thankfully, DJI has separated each part of the unit into separate sleeves and even stored those main parts into two partitions within the carrying case for easy quick construction.
The directions for any product with multiple parts can be confusing, however taking the extra time to learn hands-on is a valuable key to getting better results faster.
DJI includes a strap sewn into the case to secure the RS2
Compared to the previous model, the locking knobs have been upgraded significantly. These new knobs give a much smoother loosening and tightening feel while making quick minor adjustments. As a side point, not all of the locking knobs can be pushed completely to the locked position when tightening. Be aware that some will look only half tightened, even though they are 100% in the correct position. As long as they feel tight and the camera is stable, DJI assures that they will stay in place. Be extra careful not to over tighten these knobs.
DJI has also added new discreet lock switches for each axis. These work great for keeping the gimbal locked in position and leaving your camera completely attached when shut down. Each lock switch feels very sturdy and clicks into place easily. Remember though, that there are three locks and each one needs to be unlocked for the RS2 to function properly. If you happen to miss one, the RS2 will alert you on the screen that the axis is still locked.
Speaking of screens, the RS2 features a new built-in full color touch display that allows users to make most adjustments to the gimbal without a mobile phone needing to be connected. It will give warnings if any motors are being strained or if a lock switch axis is still locked, as previously mentioned. The green camera icon at the top right corner of the main menu will turn orange/red showing there is an issue. Swiping to the left will show where the strain is specifically coming from and what needs to be adjusted to fix the issue. Keeping everything centered and green will prolong the gimbals motors and ensure it runs for years to come.
This new color display can also double as an alternate screen for your camera when using one of DJI’s most amazing features, the all-new ActiveTrack 3.0. Using the WIFI image transmitter hardware known as RavenEye, the RS2 can track a subject from any camera connected. It uses the connected camera as the source and then tracks its target through either the built-in touch display or alternate mobile device running the Ronin App (which works on both iOS or Android).
DJI has designed so many unique features around this new touch display and the RavenEye, giving users complete freedom to unleash their creativity on almost any camera on the market today. (Link to compatible cameras) Users can quickly see the status of their gimbal, switch shooting modes, change settings, modify the follow speed and see what your camera is focusing on.
- ActiveTack 3.0
- Force Mobile
- Time Tunnel
The quick release plate is the same size as the previous model, but reconfigured for a much easier setup. DJI added some teeth at the bottom to perfectly balance your tilt axis using a fine tune balancing knob. Once the camera is slid into the best estimated position, you’ll be able to find the most accurate weight balance by precisely turning the knob and then locking it in place. Because of these changes, the previous model (the Ronin S) plate cannot be used as a secondary quick release plate for the RS2.
DJI has incorporated a new built-in front dial wheel above the trigger that can be configured for different functions — Focus, ISO, Aperture, and Roll. Depending on your camera and setup, this dial will allow users to operate the gimbal with one hand and adjust any of these features simultaneously. Along with that, DJI’s combo pack includes the same follow/focus system that was introduced in the original Ronin S and works brilliantly side-by-side using this dial.
Quick RS2 Tips
- In order to prevent accidentally touching the screen and messing up your settings, DJI allows you to press the power button once to lock the screen.
- When using a variable zoom lens, it’s best to zoom in about 1/2 way and then balance the gimbal. This will help keep the gimbal from overstraining the motors, which could lead to problems in the future.
- For the many people wondering if the RS2 fits with the BMPCC4K and BMPCC6K. . . As some have pointed out, the width of these two cameras are a bit large and hang over when sliding into the quick-release plate of the RS2. They will still lock in place and not budge. Our BMPCC4K was also using the SmallRig Cage and worked flawlessly. As long as the RS2 was calibrated and centered, the camera had no issues and felt completely sturdy with or without the SmallRig Cage. Also, to get more of the camera on the RS2 plate, it’s best to NOT use the center screw hole, but instead the hole furthest to the right.
- Very Important Key Point – When sliding any camera (Including BMPCC4K/6K) onto the quick release plate of the RS2, it will immediately move past a locking mechanism that keeps the camera from sliding off. So, even if the camera somehow got loosened, it will not fall off the gimbal. The button below the locking knob must be pressed to release the camera.
In conclusion, the RS2 is one of the most advanced full-size camera stabilizing gimbals on the market and has the highest weight-to-payload ratio currently in the industry. The RS2 weighs 2.86 lbs and can hold up to 10 lbs of camera and equipment. DJI is a trusted and very respected company that has proven to keep up with technology and stay above the competition. The RS2 is a definite buy for anyone in route to purchase a new camera gimbal and can be purchased directly from DJI for $849 or $999 for the Pro Combo, as well as on Amazon.