DJI has kicked off its string of announcements with the Ronin 4D, a new—and arguably revolutionary—cinema camera system that combines a cinema camera with four-axis image stabilization, LiDAR focusing and wireless transmission to create the ultimate all-in-one shooting experience.
The DJI Ronin 4D attempts to create an ‘integrated cinematography solution,’ in DJI’s own words. At the heart of the Ronin 4D is CineCore 3.0, a proprietary chipset DJI is calling ‘its most powerful cinematic imaging platform to date.’ According to DJI, this system can capture internal 8K Raw video ‘with precise color reproduction, advanced assistive functions with a high-performance AI engine, and multi-link monitoring and control with low-latency image processing.’
To pair with the new chipset is a pair of new full-frame (36mm × 24mm) Zenmuse X9 gimbal camera systems, available in 8K and 6K versions. Both the X9–8K and X9–6K will be able to record Apple ProRes 422 HQ and ProRes RAW, as well as your standard H.264 codec. The Zenmuse X9–8K tops out at 8K/75fps while the X9–6K tops out at 6K/60fps with the option to get 120 fps footage at 4K resolution.
Zenmuse X9 cameras feature interchangeable lens mounts, but will be available at launch with options for its proprietary DL mount and Leica M mount lens systems. DJI says it should also work, at least in theory, with ‘other mounts with short-flange focal distances,’ but doesn’t elaborate on whether or not it will be offering any other interchangeable mounts at this time.
The sensor inside the X9–8K and X9–6K offers dual-native gain and can capture ‘over 14 stops of dynamic range.’ There are also nine built-in physical ND filters that can be adjusted from ND2 to ND512 for times when you need to reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor. Footage captured with the new Zenmuse X9 camera systems will be processed by DJI’s Cinema Color System, which it says ‘delivers natural skin tones and enables effortless tonal consistency across a project when using different cinema cameras.’
|A comprehensive list of recording specs for the Zenmuse X9-8K camera system.|
Moving onto the four-axis gimbal, DJI says the Ronin 4D ‘has been designed with an innovative industry-first active Z-axis to eliminate vertical camera shake effectively.’ DJI has also taken inspiration from its drone lineup to add a set of downward-facing ToF sensors, as well as forward and downward dual-visual sensors, a built-in IMU and a barometer to achieve the best stabilization possible.
The Ronin 4D will feature three different autofocus modes: manual focus, autofocus and a new Automated Manual Focus (AMF) mode. The latter two modes use the onboard LiDAR Range Finder, which casts over 43,200 points as far as 10M (33ft) to locate and track subjects in situations where traditional AF might not work due to the lack of light. The unique AMF mode will track subjects and turn the focus wheel during recording, with the option for the camera operator to jump in and manually pull focus when needed. To help in manual focus and AMF modes, there will be LiDAR Waveform available on the monitor to help cinematographers ‘locate focus points and pull focus with extreme precision.’
Once again taking inspiration from its line of drones, DJI has developed an all-new O3 Pro transmission technology that can output 1080p/60fpsd video to remote monitors via the 4D Video Transmitter. DJI says the transmission range is roughly 20,000 feet and notes the video feed is AES 256-bit encrypted for end-to-end privacy. The system uses 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz bands, as well as the DFS frequency band, which DJI says ‘significantly improv[es] stability and anti-interference performance, even in crowded signal environments and locations that feature complex architectural structures.’
While third-party monitors can be used, DJI is also offering a new 7” wireless monitor with 1,500 nits of brightness and a built-in gyro that effectively turns the monitor into a motion controller for the Ronin 4D camera system. The High-Bright Remote Monitor includes an integrated microSD card slot for 1080p/60fps proxy recording and connects with a slew of accessories, including the Ronin 4D Hand Grips, DJI Master Wheels, DJI Force Pro and the new DJI Three-Channel Follow Focus. Multiple monitors can be used at once and customized independently to fit the production’s needs.
Video can be recorded to media three different ways: to SSD over USB-C, to CFexpress Type-B cards via the internal card slot and directly to DJI’s proprietary PROSSD 1TB SSD, which DJI claims ‘delivers the best performance and highest stability for internal recording at maximum resolution and frame rate.’ The Ronin 4D has built-in microphones capable of recording two-channel 24-bit audio, but also has two 3.5mm ports on the body as well as the option to add two XLR ports via the Expansion Plate for further input options.
The Ronin 4D uses the same TB50 Intelligent Battery used by DJI’s Ronin 2 and Inspire 2, which offers up to 2.5 hours of shooting time. Below is the full launch event video:
The 6K version of the DJI Ronin 4D will be available for $7,199 in December 2021. It will includes the main body, a Zenmuse X9–6K gimbal camera, a LiDAR Range Finder, a High-Bright Main Monitor, Hand Grips, a Top Handle, TB50 Intelligent Battery and a carrying case. The 8K version of the DJI Ronin 4D will be available for $11,499 ‘at a later date’ and will include the Zenmuse X9–8K Gimbal Camera as well as a PROSSD 1TB. The 4D Video Transmitter, High-Bright Remote Monitor and DJI PROSSD 1TB will also be available to purchase separately.
You can find out more about the DJI Ronin 4D on DJI’s website and download sample footage on DJi’s dedicated download page.