I had fully intended this First Looks to be in only 2 parts, but as things transpired, it is turning into a 3-parter if not 4.
The reasons why will become clear as you read on…
Once you have the Ronin RS 3 gimbal assembled, the next step is to balance it with your specific camera. This is usually a four-part process and involves putting the camera on the quick release plate, removing things such as lens caps, straps and whatever, and adding anything that is to be on the camera eg a light, mic or other accessory.
In my case with the Blackmagic Pocket Camera 6K Pro (BPCC 6K), this only meant removing the strap and adding the Canon 50mm lens sans lens cap of course.
From there it is usually a simple matter of adjusting the camera on the Tilt, Roll and Pan axes to get a perfect balance. This entails unlocking the relevant axis motor followed by the arm (roll, tilt or pan) and sliding the camera and base plate along until it is balanced, that is, neutral in position and not tilting forward backwards or left and right. Once each axis is balanced, you would then normally get the gimbals motors to check themselves and apply the correct tensions – an automatic calibration process.
And this is where the trouble started. After 90 minutes of what should have been a 3 minute job, I still couldn’t get the BPCCC 6K Pro balanced. As soon as one axis was balanced, the next would bang up against the extremities of the gimbal.
I even stripped the gimbal back to its components and started again, but to no avail.
There were three courses of possible action. The first was to send an email to DJI Support to make sure I wasn’t missing something. At this point I have to say that the support folk at DJI are second to none and are always back to me within 24 hours and often less.
I have yet to hear back (it’s only been 20 minutes) but I have enacted a plan B which I was going to do anyway. According to the list of supported cameras, the BPCC 6K Pro is supported by the DJI Ronin RS 3, but there is no camera control. The Ronin PS 3 Pro version does support camera control.
But the list of Fujifilm cameras fully supported by the RS 3 is large, and so a second email was sent to the nice people at Fujifilm to see if they would be happy to send me a camera that I can test with full control.
Thirdly, in order to at least get the RS 3 in operation, I added my Canon 5D to the base plate (with the aforementioned Canon nifty 50 lens).
Now this is worse than the BPCC 6K Pro in a sense as it uses USB-3 so is never going to work with any sort of camera control, but I did at least get a balanced camera on the rig. And it only took 5 minutes.
Once that was done, the auto calibration kicked in nicely and I was also able to add the briefcase mount as you can see in the photo.
Now I am going to have a play with the various modes and become familiar with them, and hopefully, very hopefully, I can have a camera that will take full advantage of the magic of the RS 3 by weekend and also get the BPCC 6K Pro working on it by tomorrow.
But at least I can at least start getting a feel for how it all comes together and fits into a workflow.
Stay tuned either way…
PS: I understand there is stock available at Videocraft