The DJI Ronin S and Crane 3 are two of the best handheld gimbals, but both their strengths and weaknesses make for an interesting comparison. For those considering investing in either of these gimbals, it is important to know the pros and cons of each to make a well-informed decision. DJI’s Ronin S is a battery-powered stabilizer that also shoots 4K video footage.
In this blog, we will compare the Zhiyun Crane 3 vs Ronin S and see which one is better.
DJI Ronin S vs Zhiyun Crane 3
- Superb stabilization
- Strong gimbal motors
- Shutter and focus controls on-board
- It’s easy to use
- The companion app allows for highly customizable options
- Battery life is long
- Only a limited number of compatible cameras
- Very heavy
Zhiyun Crane 3
- Design is both innovative and user-friendly
- The smoothness and performance of the camera movements
- Long battery life and great payload
- You have full control over the settings of the Sony A73II as well as the Canon 5D MK4
- It is difficult to get the app to precisely pan the camera.
- Image transmission may take a little longer
The Ronin-S feels solid and sturdy in your hands. It feels like a tank and is made entirely of metal. The Crane is not prone to bursting, however. Although the materials used are of high-quality plastics, the feeling they convey is not the same as that of the Ronin S.
Crane’s design is, however, unique and original. Zhiyun put in a lot of work to create a product that ticked all the boxes. They also solved the screen obstruction by creating a low-mode handle. These options are useful for certain situations, but they should not be the only solution.
Weight And Form Factor
At half a pound less the weight is the Crane’s win, but that’s not it. It’s a great time-saver, thanks to the handle and the ability to lock the axis while moving about. The Crane is the best, though both devices can be easily carried in most backpacks.
This aspect doesn’t change the game. Although the Crane 2 was the Crane’s previous iteration, the Ronin won. However, the Crane 2 has a newer model that addresses the problem of the back axis being lower and clears up the view.
All in All Usuality
Which gimbal is easier to set up once it’s out of the bag and to start shooting? The companion app, which is more refined and less buggy than Zhiyun-Tech’s, makes the Ronin the winner.
It is easy to use thanks to its auto-tune and less complicated interface. The Crane is also easier to balance due to the locks on one axis, which makes it quick to find your spot.
The specs say that the Crane is heavier than the Ronin at 10lbs, but in reality, even if you can carry more weight, it will be impossible to balance due to the camera’s form factor. This is the Crane 3 score.
3x 18650 batteries are required for the Crane 3 Lab. Zhiyun claims that it can run for up to 7.5 hours. Based on my experience with the gimbal, I found the battery life to be good. It should last most shooters an entire day.
DJI claims that the battery life lasts for up to 12 hours. This seems to be true: the Ronin-S’s battery never dropped below the two indicator bars. It takes approximately 2 hours 15 minutes to charge the battery via the USB-C port on the handle.
The Crane allows you to connect your camera with a cable and then change settings from the gimbal. Although it may seem excessive, the controls of the Crane 3 Lab are only a few inches from your fingertips. This allows you to change exposures mid-shoot without having to move your hands. Score Crane. Let’s see how it plays out with the performances.
The best balance and the right settings for the gimbal can make all the difference. As with any motorized gimbal, there will be jitters from the vertical movement of an operator. However, that is part of the fun.
We can call this a tie, but in the full-speed running test, we have the clear winner, DJI. While both gimbals can make some up-and-down movements while running, the Ronin S tends to manage these more naturally.
Let’s move on to the Low Mode after the jogging. This is when the gimbal is inverted, and you try to move around the ground, perhaps following someone’s lead. Zhiyun wins this battle for better ergonomics and ease of use.
Parallax shots are not a contest between the two, but neither one of them has an advantage. You may be wondering what Parallax is. This is a shot in which the camera pans in one direction, and the entire gimbal system rotates in the other. The subject remains in the middle. This shot adds a lot of kinetic energy to your composition and is very powerful. It can be achieved easily by both the gimbals with the motor stiffness lowered.
The 360deg barrel roll or, as some prefer it to be called, “Inception mode,” is the final movement. The Crane shines once again. The ergonomics and handle are superior. You can also use the rotation mode with just one click. On the Ronin-S, you will need to open the app and set up your shot.
This was proven by testing the Crane outside a moving car’s window. The results were good, but the Crane handle, which makes it the best choice for the Barrell roll or Low mode, becomes an issue between the operator and the camera, making it awkward to hold the unit while the operator is outside of the car.
In the sports mode, the last point is available, and it’s back to the Ronin. It’s a better option for subjects that move quickly, with better tracking and less unwanted movement.
The comparison list is complete. What can we learn from it? Parker has a preference for the Ronin S. It all depends on what you value. Consider which features you would use most, and then make a decision based upon the strengths that you see here. You have the final say, as always!
Here is full of Ronin S vs Crane 3. You can read other comparisons to learn more information.
- DJI Ronin-SC vs Zhiyun Weebill S 2022: Which Is Better For You
- Zhiyun Crane 2 vs Ronin-S 2022: Which Is Better For You
DJI Ronin S vs Crane 3 Ronin S is highly recommended for professional filmmakers, especially for filming in high-altitude areas or in places with extreme weather conditions. The Ronin S has a wider operating temperature range and is able to withstand more bumps during filming. However, it is heavier than Zhiyun Crane 3 (approx 1.8 kg), so you will need to consider whether this additional weight is acceptable.
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