DJI Ronin 4D Flex adds versatility for solo filmmakers
With the DJI Ronin 4D Flex comes a slew of new features that all come down to one theme: versatility.
DJI this month announced its new Ronin 4D Flex. It’s kind of the ultimate accessory to the DJI Ronin 4D, which you’ll need first if you’re going to have the Flex too. And if you have the 4D, you’ll very likely want the flex, as it adds all sorts of new features that DJI’s marketing folks are calling “liberating.” Those include adding the first cinema zoom lens add-on to DJI’s camera platform, and — perhaps more interestingly — adding a way for operators to separate the Zenmuse X9 gimbal camera from the main body.
The Chinese-based drone maker that has been leaning in hard to other aspects of on-the-ground cinematography as of late, and the Ronin 4D Flex isn’t the only new example of that from DJI this month. In tandem with the new product drop comes news that should be interesting for folks seeking to shoot 8K ProRes RAW. You can now purchase a license key for the Apple ProRes RAW codec at the DJI Store.
Buy the Ronin 4D Flex now for $929 from:
Here’s everything you need to know about the new Ronin add-ons and upgrades announced this month, including the 4D Flex, the new lens and Apple ProRes RAW codec:
How the Ronin 4D Flex fits into the DJI family
The DJI Ronin 4D Flex expands on the Ronin 4D, which launched in October 2021 and became the most powerful cinematic imaging system that DJI had created yet. Separate from its highly-successful drone products, DJI branched out into its DJI Ronin line, which were initially a set of 3-axis camera gimbals developed for professional filmmakers on the ground. The Ronin 4D added a fourth axis, alongside other tech upgrades including a full-frame Zenmuse X9 gimbal camera and LiDAR focusing system.
There’s currently a 6K version, which starts at $6,799. Then there’s also an 8K version which is “coming soon” but available now for pre-order, which starts at $11,499.
What the Ronin 4D Flex entails
Once you’ve got a Ronin 4D, you might then consider upgrading by adding the Ronin 4D Flex to your camera kit, which is on sale now for $929. The Ronin 4D Flex connects to the main body with a 2m ultra-thin coaxial cable, supporting lossless transmission of up to 8K. With that cable connection comes greater flexibility of camera positions, no matter how limited the space. It also allows the Zenmuse X9 gimbal camera to be used as an ultra-small cinematic-grade remote head.
Consider it DJI’s response to the Sony Rialto Extension Unit, which pairs with the VENICE camera system and similarly enables users to remove the sensor block and extend it up to 18′ away from the camera body with no loss of image quality.
The Flex itself is this kit:
It works with the Ronin 4D, which you’ll need, like this:
And here’s how it all works together:
Here are the features of the new Ronin 4D Flex:
Ability to separate the Zenmuse X9 gimbal camera from the main body
That reduces handheld weight and size to achieve professional footage with even more flexible camera movement.
The tech is targeted at solo operators who’d want to separate the X9 gimbal camera from the main body, as it reduces the handheld weight of Ronin 4D to just 1.8kg. That’s ideal for folks needing to shoot for long durations and in mobile situations like events and documentaries, and who don’t want that extra strength training workout by holding a heavier lift.
4D Flex also makes the X9 gimbal camera compatible with a variety of rigs and let professional crews shoot footage that was previously extremely difficult or even impossible, such as cinema-quality through-shots and dynamic camera interiors.
Compatibility with the 4D Hand Grips and Main Monitor
That effectively transforms a camera operator into a one-man cinema unit.
Given the native compatibility with Ronin 4D’s Hand Grips and the Main Monitor, you can use it for use cases including cinematic imaging, 3-axis stabilization, LiDAR focusing, and professional monitoring and control.
And with this, Flex means “Fast.” Switching between Flex and the integrated configuration doesn’t require any tools for the transition.
That new zoom lens
Along with the Flex announcement comes another new product: the DL PZ 17-28mm T3.0 Lens. That marks DJI’s first-ever cinema-grade zoom lens, allowing for 100% native focus and zoom. It’s meant to mount on Zenmuse X9, and it has a minimum object distance of 0.19 meters.
Here are some of its key features:
- Full-Frame | T3.0 to T22
- 13 Elements in 11 Groups
- Built-In Servo Zoom Motor
- 7.5″ Minimum Object Distance at 17mm
- Calibration-Free Autofocus
- 67mm Filter Diameter
DJI says it has improved back focus control and native system calibration, which makes its autofocus, manual focus and automated manual focus (AMF) more accurate. There’s also an internal servo zoom motor for what should in theory mean smoother, more reliable zoom that eliminates the need for an external focus motor or lens calibration. The DL PZ 17-28mm can also adjust zoom without requiring re-balancing.
It’s made of aluminum magnesium alloy and weighs approximately 520 grams. It’s on sale now for $1,339.
Apple ProRes Raw
We’ll dig into this later this week, but this is finally good news for anyone seeking to shoot 8K ProRes RAW. DJI finally made an activation license key for the Apple ProRes RAW codec on Ronin 4D available for purchase at the DJI Store. Now, it’s more likely (and easier) for filmmakers to integrate Ronin 4D footage into cinema productions.
But, it’s not exactly cheap. The Apple ProRes RAW license for Ronin 4D costs $979.
Apple ProRes is a video compression format developed by Apple for use in post-production that supports video resolution up to 8K. Apple ProRes RAW was introduced in 2018, and it expands upon the ProRes codecs with a focus on raw data coming from the sensor. Its value is in offering better color reproduction, given how it delays the debayering process to the post-production stage, and it’s ideal for high-dynamic-range (HDR) content creation.
Now, the Zenmuse X7 and Ronin 4D are Apple ProRes RAW authorized products. (The DJI CineLight, Inspire 2, Ronin 4D and Mavic 3 Cine had been Apple ProRes authorized products already.)
When and how to get your hands on the new Ronin 4D upgraded products
The Ronin 4D Flex is already available for purchase from authorized retailers such as Adorama, Amazon and B&H Photo, and directly from DJI.
The Ronin 4D Flex costs $929, which includes Ronin 4D Flex, one Pan Axis Quick-Lock, two Ronin 4D Hand Grip Adapters, and 2 Hand Grip Adapter Cables.
The DL PZ 17-28mm T3.0 Lens is sold separately for $1,339.
In addition to these, two other accessories – the DJI Three-Channel Follow Focus and DJI Ronin 4D Expansion Plate (SDI/XLR/TC) – are set to be available by May 2023.
Buy the Ronin 4D Flex now for $929 from:
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