‘In our last article we spoke about assembling the DJI Ronin M. This time we will go over balancing the Ronin with a camera attached to the gimbal.
When attaching a camera to the Ronin M, you must take into account that the gimbal can only support up to 8 lbs of total weight. This would include both the camera and lens. Anything more will simply break the gimbal. With that in mind, we decided to balance the gimbal using the Sony A7S II with a Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm F/4 Lens attached. This is a good combination for the simple fact of how light it really is. Please note, that it is very important to have all accessories in the camera when balancing (This includes the camera’s battery and memory card you’ll be using) and make sure the lens cap is off, if not it will throw off the balance when in use.
“Please Note: It is very important to have all accessories in the camera when balancing, except for the lens cap.”
Included with each Ronin is a small pouch of 4 screws (2 large,2 small), a lens mount, lens support screw, and 3 allen keys. For this particular setup we won’t be using the lens support mount or screw, if the lens were to be a little heavier than the one we are currently using, then we use it. Now you’ll attach the base plate to the bottom of the Sony. For this camera all we will need to use is one of the small screws and the largest allen key. Be sure to fasten it tightly to insure no accidents happen. Keep note, you’ll want to find the center point of the base plate, if the camera is to front forward it will be too heavy on the front once it’s on the gimbal and won’t balance properly and vice versa with the back. A neat trick we usually tell people to help find the center point, is to take a pen or pencil and place it horizontally underneath the base plate with the camera on top, from here you can get a feel if it is to front or back heavy by balancing it on the pencil. Of course it doesn’t guarantee 100% accuracy, but it does help before putting the camera on the gimbal.
Vertical Tilt Axis
Once this done, slide the camera onto the gimbal and secure it into place with the silver clip on the side. You’ll notice the gimbal will swing backwards once the camera is in place – don’t worry, this is completely normal and just means a few more adjustments are needed for it to be balanced properly. To fix this, simply leave the camera in a horizontal position, where the camera is facing upwards. You’ll notice two scaling rods on each side of the camera, this is how you will balance the camera vertically. You’ll also see that each rod has scaling markings, this is to help you keep both rods even. Unlock each side and slide each rod either up or down until the camera no longer moves when in different positions on the vertical tilt axis – this simply means you are going in the right direction. If you notice the camera moving side to side, no worries, this just means we aren’t done balancing and we need to move on to the next axis.
To adjust the roll access, or the direction from left to right with the gimbal, you will unlock the red clips on the front rod. This will loosen the plate the camera sits on. We normally try to keep it at a normal balance, but if you feel it is off, then you can make the adjustments by slowly moving the plate from side to side. Note that when you are making the adjustments, it’s always best to have the camera facing upward.
This is something that may or may not need adjusting. When adding the camera with the base plate to the gimbal, this is called the tilt access. Sometimes, you’ll get it right the first time or not. If you feel it’s not balanced you can adjust the base plate by unlocking the silver clip on the side of the camera and moving the plate either forward or backward until it is balanced. You will know you have it, when the camera can face forward without moving.
Now moving onto the final adjustment, the pan access, which is located just behind the gimbal and right above the battery (This is why it’s important to have your battery in, rather than to wait upon use). To test out if the pan access is balanced or not, grab the handle bars and move the entire gimbal either forward or backward. If the gimbal swings, this indicates that it is not balanced. Unlock the red clip at the top, then begin to twist the knob either right or left, testing out if it still swings each time you move it to a new scale point. Once it no longer swings, lock the clip back in place.
Now that we’ve adjusted the gimbal and it is completely balanced, it’s time to bring it to life! Turn on the battery and see as the gimbal transforms into place. The DJI Ronin M is now ready to be used.
View our next part: Using the DJI Assistance App for further instructions on using the Ronin M.