Proving once again that this is a tech company that happens to be a world leader in drones, DJI today released its professional-grade DJI Ronin 4D Cinema Camera, featuring (among a host of other things) a full frame Zenmuse X9 gimbal camera, 4-axis stabilization system and LiDAR focusing system.

Make no mistake: this Ronin 4D camera was created to meet the needs of the most demanding film professionals and amateur filmmakers. The Zenmuse X9 gimbal camera – available in 8K and 6K versions – is intended to deliver premium images, supporting up to 6K / 60fps and 4K / 120fps respectively. The system includes the commonly used H.264 codec, along with Apple ProRes and ProRes RAW alternatives to provide greater flexibility in editing. The Ronin is equipped with an interchangeable lens mount allowing connection to DJI, Leica M and other gear for greater shooting flexibility with lenses of different technologies and vintage specifications.

In its Wednesday statement, DJI said film professionals around the world had been consulted during the development of the Ronin 4D and provided feedback after testing loaner prototypes (likely where the wave of recent leaked photos DJI cameras in the wild originated). Transportation equipment fashioned and created for this kind of audience won’t come cheap, of course. The 6K Ronin 4D costs $ 7,199 and the 8K version costs $ 11,499.

In return, users will get a lot for a lot.

Ronin 4D: a camera that doubles as DJI’s definitive cinematic checklist

The camera features what DJI calls the industry’s first four-axis active-vertical stabilization system. That, the company promises, Effectively eliminates side jerk and will allow operators to shoot in even tight or difficult environments while walking, running or moving abruptly without having to first practice pulling or rely on third-party equipment for stability.

Another main – and quite impressive – feature of the Ronin 4D is its built-in LiDAR range sensor, designed to automatically and instantly maintain near-perfect focus, even in the most dynamic situations. It does this by shooting over 43,200 telemetry points at objects up to 10 meters away to determine the exact distance data needed to keep images sharp, delivering these results even in low-light environments. The LiDAR app is paired with DJI’s patented manual, auto, and automated manual focus modes, giving filmmakers complete freedom in how different scenes are shot.

“DJI enables creators to have accessible and intuitive devices to capture and share the world exactly as they see it,” said Paul Pan, DJI Product Line Manager. “With DJI Ronin 4D, we are harnessing the power of technology to make standard production more affordable, cinema cameras more flexible, and cinematic imagery accessible to an unlimited number of filmmakers. DJI Ronin 4D leverages our expertise in aerial and ground cinematic innovations to empower the next generation of professional content creators to amaze and inspire us.

A 4D video transmitter is also offered sending a 1080p / 60fps stream to remote monitors and with a range of up to nearly 20,000 feet. This feature includes bit encryption to protect the security of sent videos and smooth, low latency delivery of footage as it is taken.

The camera offers four storage options: USB SSD, CFexpress Type-B card, DJI proprietary 1TB PROSSD method. It has built-in microphones for 2-channel 24-bit audio and provides two 3.5mm jacks and two XLR ports for additional input and output devices. Ronin 4D runs on the same TB50 smart battery as the previous Ronin 2 and Inspire 2 drones, allowing up to 2.5 hours of shooting time.

In addition to representing a remarkable coup in cinematographic development, the release of Ronin 4D is a sharp industrial and strategic step back from the so-called “drone company”. With this truly nifty new cinematic hardware, DJI is set to make significant inroads into a film industry long dominated by high-profile tech groups like Sony who have in recent times started making drones.

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Controversial camera system crashed earlier this month


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