So, our regular readers will probably know that we are massive fans of the DJI Ronin S and feel that it is an excellent gimbal that has been at the top of the DSLR gimbal range pretty much since its release. Unfortunately, though, this extremely popular handheld gimbal stabilizer is most definatley starting to show its age now with the more modern gimbals from the competition overtaking it.
More and more people are starting to realize this and we are seeing a fair few people reaching out each month asking questions based around what the best DJI Ronin S alternative is right now. Well, as with most things, it’s going to depend on what you are actually doing with your camera rig as well as the payload weight of your camera rig of choice. We are going to be going over our alternative gimbal recommendation in this article in the hope that we are able to help as many of our readers as possible who are in this same situation.
Although the Moza Aircross 2 is an excellent gimbal that can easily do the majority of what the DJI Ronin S is able to do, we feel that the Zhiyun Weebill S comes in ever so slightly ahead of the Aircross 2 to take the title of the best DJI Ronin S alternative. The Weebill S will cover all popular mirrorless camera setups as well as a fair few DSLR rigs too due to its excellent maximum load capacity. Since its release, it has quickly managed to establish itself as one of the best gimbals on the market and quickly managed to earn itself an excellent reputation within the community.
Now, if you are using a super heavy DSLR camera setup that is over the 6.61-pound maximum load capacity of the Weebill S, we feel that the Zhiyun Crane 3 is the way to go. It is able to support camera payloads of over ten pounds and is a very popular alternative to the Ronin S. The Crane 3 has also managed to earn itself an outstanding reputation that just keeps growing.
In reality though, from what we have seen in the additional information from people reaching out for an alternative gimbal for the Ronin S, it seems that the Weebill S will be able to support the majority of camera payloads and provide you with some excellent image stabilization. Due to this, we are going to be covering it in more detail throughout the rest of the article to share our thoughts on it and why we feel that it should be your gimbal of choice.
Performance And Functionality
Now, at the time of writing, the Zhiyun Weebill S has only been on the market for around three weeks and as you would expect from a Zhiyun product, it has managed to get off to an excellent start. It is jam-packed with all the latest technology from Zhiyun and provides the best image stabilization available at the time of writing. This ensures that you are able to capture the best possible video footage for your clients and the new gimbal modes help to make your life as easy as possible.
Although the Weebill S has a lower maximum load capacity coming in at 6.61 pounds whereas the Ronin S comes in at around 7.84 pounds it really does do an excellent job. Depending on what type of camera body and camera accessories you use, this should be plenty but as we mentioned earlier, if you are using a heavier rig, then there is always the Zhiyun Crane 3 with ten-pound load capacity.
When it comes to battery life, the Weebill S offers you around fourteen hours with each charge whereas the Ronin S comes in at around twelve hours. Now, in all fairness, both gimbals have the juice to get even the heaviest of gimbal users through a busy day without running dry. Additionally, depending on the niche that you are working in, you may have access to a power outlet on side to charge your gimbal on-site in your downtime if needed.
On top of this, if you are working in a niche such as travel videography or travel vlogging where you know that you may not have access to a power outlet for days at a time, many videographers have taken to adding a high output USB power bank to their accessories. Not only can this allow you to recharge your gimbal stabilizer while on the go but also your camera and other accessories too provided its output capacity is high enough.
When it comes to recharging your battery after a day or recording, both the DJI Ronin S and the Zhiyun Weebill Lab can be recharged back to full in two to three hours via a regular wall power outlet. If you do opt to go with the USB power bank then recharge times are going to depend on the output of your power bank and can vary a fair bit.
As we touched on earlier, the latest gimbal sensors and motors in the Weebill S are excellent and offer the best detection and correction of motion available at the time of writing. The sensor is able to detect even the slightest movement of the gimbal head before having the industry-leading Zhiyun balancing algorithm work out how to correct the movement. The gimbal motors on the Weebill S offer three hundred percent more torque than the motors on the Weebill Lab ensuring that they are able to quickly stabilize the movement of payloads at the higher load capacity limit.
The whole process happens at a lightning-fast speed ensuring that you get the best image quality possible that is free from lag, hanging or delay on the stabilization. The gimbal sensors are also great at any task where you are capturing your footage in an environment with a large number of short, rapid vibrations too and this is an area where the larger gimbals have tended to struggle but Zhiyun has nailed it.
Now, you have to keep in mind that the Weebill S is one of the newest 3 axis gimbals on the market at the time of writing so it also has the advantage of having the newest technology possible. This, in addition to the great reputation Zhiyun have built for themselves in the gimbal space over the last ten years or so as earned the Weebill S a large customer base that has posted some glowing reviews of the gimbal. It is easy to see why it has managed to establish itself as one of the dominant gimbals in the space in such a short amount of time and just keeps growing in popularity.
User Interface And Control System
Focusing on the user interface and control system for the Weebill S, although it sticks to the same basic principals of the system that most handheld gimbals including the DJI Ronin S use. It is based around a few buttons, a joystick, and an LCD panel that all work very well together. In our opinion, the system on the Weebill S is slightly better than the one on the Ronin S due to the joystick having a higher level of sensitivity meaning you get better control of the gimbal head in manual mode.
As both the manual and point of view modes on the Weebill S are able to provide some great natural looking image stabilization similar to what you could expect from a manual stabilizer too. As many motorized gimbals can have that slightly robotic feel to the footage, this really helps your footage stand out and we feel professional level videographers or vloggers will be using it a fair amount.
This means that the higher sensitivity of the joystick on the Weebill S will come into play when using these modes to allow you to accurately aim your camera when mounted as required. Another great thing about the Weebill S is that its control system is just as sensitive and responsive to touch in cold or wet weather as it is in ideal conditions too. The LCD panel on the system is clear and bright ensuring that if you are out and about recording in low light conditions you are able to clearly see what is being displayed on the panel too.
If you are brand new to using a gimbal stabilizer then the system on the Weebill S is very easy to use and we are confident that you will be able to get the basics of it very quickly. The ease of use of the system ensures that entry-level gimbal users are able to put the minimum possible time into learning the system if needed. On the flip side of this though, it also offers some great advanced features and customization for more experienced gimbal users too.
The main part of the new functionality is the intelligent image tracking system that is probably the best on the market at the time of writing. This is where the smartphone mount shown in the control interface section above comes into play as it allows you to quickly and easily use the tracking system on the Weebill S while having your smartphone attached to the gimbal to tweak its performance as needed.
In addition to this, the app also provides the same functionality as the DJI app for the Ronin S with some solid wireless remote control functionality as well as quick and easy access to your gimbal settings. Now, depending on what you are actually doing and the videography or vlogging niche that you work in, the wireless remote control feature may never be used but the ability to tweak your gimbal settings via the app is great.
Although you can make most of the tweaks via the regular interface, this can take minutes whereas the app takes seconds. If you are on a day-long session and have clients and models on site while needing to tweak your gimbal settings for different cameras or movements then it can save a fair amount of time over the course of a day.
Considering that the Zhiyun smartphone app is free to download and is available on Andriod and iOS, we would highly recommend that you download it if you decide to go with the Zhiyun Weebill S. It is a solid little gimbal accessory with some great functionality that can help make your life easier and save both you and your client’s time during a gig.
Build Quality And Design
Zhiyun has also taken the basic design of the handheld gimbal that has been used and shrank it down to a tiny size. This is a massive advantage for the Weebill S over the DJI Ronin S as it is so much smaller making it very easy to travel with. If you are a travel vlogger or working in a videography niche where you have to travel with your gear a whole bunch, especially via air this really helps.
Additionally, Zhiyun has ensured that they have used the best possible materials in the construction of the Weebill S too. This provides you with an excellent build quality where the gimbal is as robust as possible like the DJI Ronin S while also being so much lighter. Not only does this help if you are going to be traveling via air but one of the main problems with gimbals is their weight resulting in hand and arm aches or cramps on longer sessions. The lightweight of the Weebill S makes it so much easier to hold for those long recording sessions than the DJI Ronin S minimizing the risk of you getting any hand cramps
The final part that we want to touch on is the comfort level of the handle on the Weebill S as we feel that it is probably the most underrated feature when it comes to picking out a new gimbal. You could be holding this device for hours at a time with a pretty heavy camera rig mounted to it so you want to know that you can firmly grip it without your hand cramping and we feel that Zhiyun has nailed it.
That brings us to the end of our article going over what we feel is the best DJI Ronin S alternative on the market right now. As we mentioned back at the start of the article, if you are using a super heavy camera setup then the Zhiyun Crane 3 may be the route that you have to take but we would imagine that the Zhiyun Weebill S will be able to meet the majority of peoples needs. Both of these gimbals are excellent and make great alternatives to the Ronin S offering some of the best possible image stabilization available.