We wrote about the Ronin 4D when 6K and 8K versions of the 4-axis stabilized cinema camera rig were first announced in 2021 (yes you read that right, 4-axis), and we got to try out the 6K version of the Ronin 4D for a day to see how compelling it is for professional run-and-gun filmmaking.
Co-developed with leading cinematographers, the Ronin 4D is a complete, one-of-a-kind dream camera for most filmmakers, lightening the oft heavy load of stabilizing equipment, and producing stunningly smooth video. It's not mainstream yet in the same way as cameras from Canon, Sony or even Red and Arri, but the Ronin 4D is one of the best video cameras for the money.
The 6K version has been available for some time now, while the pricier 8K version has been listed as 'reserve'. Now, those with their hearts set on the 8K version finally have their wish come true, with DJI announcing that the Ronin 4D-8K is ready for purchase.
An all-in-one cine camera package
We've seen cinema cameras, gimbals and Steadicams before, but nothing that combines all of their tricks into one package quite like DJI's trailblazer – and certainly not at this price – the 4D-8K Combo costs $12,838 / £11,038 / AU$18,899.
While the DJI Ronin 4D-8K seems pricy – especially when compared to the 4D-6K version, which is around half the price – it's impressively affordable considering what it can do without any extra equipment.
That Combo kit includes the Ronin 4D Main Body, the Zenmuse X9-8K Gimbal Camera, a DJI DL PZ 17-28mm T3.0 ASPH lens, a PROSSD 1TB and mount, hand grips, a top handle, monitor, a TB50 Intelligent Battery, a LiDAR Range Finder, a DJI Ronin 4D RAW License Key, and more. Basically, all a professional camera-op needs to easily record smooth 8K video footage on the fly.
The Zenmuse X9-8K Gimbal Camera (with protective case) can be purchased separately for $3,599 / £2,599 / AU$4,699, and could be an option for those already using the 6K Combo version who are looking to get the 8K resolution.
Can the Ronin 4D break through?
The cinema industry is notoriously difficult for new brands to break into, with most cinematographers even at this low-budget level sticking with RED, Arri, Sony and Canon. But while DJI is instead associated with drones like the DJI Mavic 3 Pro, which won best drone and best camera device in the 2023 TechRadar Choice Awards, its Ronin 4D system should not be overlooked.
Whether it's a pro-level drone like the DJI Inspire 3, or the best vlogging camera of 2023 – the tiny Osmo Pocket 3 – stabilized video is the name of the game with DJI. The Ronin 4D-8K uses a 4-axis gimbal to correct for pan, roll and tilt, plus Z-axis correction that compensates for the up-and-down movement of walking. The incredible results are on a par with what you get from Hollywood Steadicam equipment.
No other cine camera alone can do what the Ronin 4D does: freeing up camera ops to move about freely while capturing smooth high-quality footage. Yet the Ronin 4D 8K Combo is also packed with pro filmmaking features, making it a single-stop package for handheld shooting.
Video quality-wise, it combines a full-frame camera (the X9-8K) with an interchangeable lens mount that includes DJI's own DL mount and popular choices like the Sony E mount, and shoots 8K video up to 75fps, or 8K 60p / 4K 120p with no crop in Apple ProRes and ProRes Raw formats, with dual native 800 / 4000 ISO and up to 14.7 stops of dynamic range. Footage can be recorded directly onto a 1TB SSD (included), alongside a CFexpress Type-B card.
In use, the camera unit is part of a shoulder-mount rig that includes a 7-inch monitor for easy viewing. You get a built-in nine-stop ND filter (neutral density) ideal for changeable light, and DJI's next-gen LiDAR-based focusing, based on similar tech to the iPhone 13 Pro, that blasts out 43,200 ranging points as far away as 10 meters, regardless of the lighting conditions.
Whether those features, and the prospect of stabilized footage on the fly, are enough for cinematographers to look past the unusual ergonomics of the floating gimbal arm, we'll have to see, but having the 8K version of the Ronin 4D in the mix could help. It's a leap in price from the 6K version, but the Ronin 4D 8K deserves its place on set.
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Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other.