DJI’s Ronin 4D is the world’s first 4-Axis Cinema camera

October 23, 2021

DJI has announced what it is calling the world’s first comprehensive full-frame cinematography camera that features a four-axis stabilization system, LiDAR focusing, and a video transmission and control system integrated into a single unit: the Ronin 4D.

The company says that the camera is built on standards that it created specifically for and with professional filmmakers with the hope that the Ronin 4D can make high-end productions more efficient and impressive camera movements possible and convenient.

The Ronin 4D is touted by DJI as the most powerful cinematic imaging platform it has made to date and uses a flagship proprietary chipset that powers its intelligent image processing system called CineCore 3.0. It is capable of delivering up to an internal 8K RAW codec with precise color reproduction, advanced assistive functions with a high-performance AI engine, multi-link monitoring, and control with low-latency image processing.

The camera itself is a new full-frame Zenmuse X9 gimbal system that is available in both 6K and 8K configurations. In addition to the commonly used H.264 codec, both X9-8K and X9-6K can internally record Apple ProRes and ProRes RAW. Zenmuse X9-6K supports up to 6K at 60 frames per second (fps) and 4K at 120fps, and Zenmuse X9-8K can capture up to 8K at 75fps.

The sensor itself is capable of dual native ISO of 800 and 5,000 and features what DJI promises is over 14-stops of dynamic range. The company promises richer color grades regardless of lighting condition and even complicated situations are solved by DJI’s proprietary Cinema Color System (DCCS) which it claims can deliver natural skin tones and easily matches with different cinema cameras. The camera also features a built-in nine-stop neutral density filter.

The X9 has what DJI describes as an interchangeable lens mount design that allows connection to DJI’s proprietary DL mount and Leica M mount. Leica L, Canon RF, and Nikon Z are theoretically possible options as well, though that would depend on DJI to produce those modular mounting options.

DJI says that it has designed the industry’s first active Z-axis stabilization system that can effectively eliminate vertical camera shake. The company says that the design, which is akin to how a chicken’s neck stabilizes its head, allows operators to shoot while walking, running, or moving “dynamically” with no need to practice pacing or rely on external equipment. Complex spaces like stairways and uneven ground can be captured smoothly, and DJI says that even wide sliding shots can be shot easily without the need for a dolly. The company says that it has been able to achieve this thanks to a new algorithm that processes inputs from a set of downward-facing time of flight (ToF) sensors, forward and downward dual-visual sensors, a built-in IMU, and a barometer. The design isn’t just more performant, but DJI also claims that the Ronin 4D is smaller and lighter than most cinema cameras that are mounted on a professional three-axis stabilizer.

ActiveTrack Pro applies more distinctive DJI technology to get complex, advanced tracking shots easily and efficiently. Based on DJI’s existing ActiveTrack system, the Pro version uses DJI Ronin 4D’s latest artificial intelligence to track subjects from longer distances while adjusting composition to maintain optimal framing.

DJI has built what it calls a LiDAR Range Finder that it says continuously generates precise laser measurements to allow filmmakers to have a faster and more reliable focusing experience. It simultaneously casts over 43,200 ranging points reaching as far as 10 meters, locating subjects quickly and accurately, even in low-light environments. Because LiDAR measures the distance to the subject without relying on surface textures or hunting for edges, DJI claims it obtains a faster focus speed without compromising image quality in any way. The camera will support three focusing modes: manual focus, autofocus, and DJI’s Automated Manual Focus. In manual focus, DJI Ronin 4D provides LiDAR Waveform, an assistive tool that allows cinematographers to locate focus points and pull focus with precision.

The Ronin 4D can store footage in three different ways. First it offers USB SSD storage that can support 4K projects in what DJI refers to as a “cost effective” manner. It also supports CFexpress Type-B cards. Finally, the best performance can be had with a DJI proprietary PROSSD, which offers performance, stability, and internal recording at maximum resolution and frame rate.

The camera has built-in microphones that support 2-channel 24-bit audio and also includes two 3.5mm headphone jacks on the body as well as two XLR ports on the expansion plate for additional input and output options.

The DJI Ronin 4D 6K version features the main camera body, a Zenmuse X9-6K Gimbal Camera, LiDAR Range Finder, High-Bright Main Monitor, Hand Grips, Top Handle, TB50 Intelligent Battery and Carrying Case. The DJI Ronin 4D 4-Axis Cinema Camera 6K Combo is now available for pre-order in the UAE from Advanced Media, and will retail at AED 28,570.00

The DJI Ronin 4D 8K features a more powerful Zenmuse X9-8K, Gimbal Camera, and a PROSSD 1TB and will be available for $11,499. The DJI Ronin 4D 4-Axis Cinema Camera 8K Combo is now available for pre-order in the UAE from Advanced Media, and will retail at AED 42,855.

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2018, CES 2017, 2016 and 2015. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at: editor@t3me.com.