DJI Ronin MX -Flying the Red Epic-W 8K

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The DJI Ronin-MX was announced at NAB 2016 and if you looked at all the marketing material it is designed specifically for the Red Weapon DSMC2 body style and the Arri Alexa Mini.

The truth however, is far from the marketing. In my research about users experiences, the truth is sort of Schrodinger’s cat.  It works and doesn’t work.

I recently picked up a used Ronin MX to use as my main stabilizer with my Red cameras and my Sony A7s series dSLR cameras.  The journey started as many film equipment journey’s start; many separate accessory orders to many different places.

The Ronin MX came in box, with two of the smaller batteries to power the gimbal.  After a few rounds of ordering pieces, the following accessories came in.

Red Extension Kit ($45)
Battery Distribution Kit ($149)
Red Power Cable ($99) – Get the Alvin Cables below instead
2x 4350mAh Battery ($149 each)
Alvin Cables D-tap to Red Power Cable ($49.95)

After working with the unit for a week or two, I realize I also need the DJI Counter Weight set.  I’m currently using a Wooden Camera arm as a counter weight, although it’s mounted on the top, rather than the bottom where I really need the counter weight.

The first problem I ran into was the power situation with the Base Expander of the Red Epic-W.  The lemo power cable with a right angle points out to the right side of the camera, and hits the small side arm.  On the original Ronin, this arm is significantly longer and able to handle the larger camera without issue.  You cab see how the DJI power cable wraps around the arm.  It also hits the arm, preventing tilting of the unit.

I didn’t want to cut up my DJI power cable, so I went to Amazon and picked up two Alvin Cables (one as a backup) and sliced the cable down to the end of the rubber.  I then taped the cable back to allow it to move freely.  It’s still tight in tolerances, but works.

Now that I got power going and the gimbal up and working, I ran into my next issue.  The Ronin-MX with the Red Extensions, hits the gimbal when tilting.  I’m not sure how this is even something that should be.  It hits the gimbal when tilting both up and down, so there’s really no way to get around that issue without replacing the small arms of the MX.

The Epic Dragon  power port placement is a lot better as seen in the below photo.

After all of the issues, the unit actually works fairly decently with the Red Epic-W.  There are some issues, such as limited movement in the tilt axis.  It works for most of my gimbal shooting, but I know that I will need to rent the full unit if I need any top down shooting.

UPDATE:  I recently used the Ronin MX on a 5D shoot and realized this unit absolutely needs the top bar, locked down to avoid uncontrollable vibrations.  I’m looking for the hot shoe adapter to actually clamp the camera to the unit.

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