Welcome to our ultimate Movi M5 vs Ronin M comparison article that we have decided to publish after consistently seeing people reaching out about these two great handheld gimbal stabilizers for months now. Although we always see people trying to compare the two stabilizers to each other, you have to realize that they are both essentially doing the same task while targeting different price points of the same market.
For example, the Ronin M is almost a third of the price of the Movi M5 at the time of writing making it a much more popular option within the community with an excellent reputation. In all honesty, we can definatley see why too, the Ronin M is a great bit of kit that is ideal for the vast majority of videographers and will likely be able to meet the vast majority of your needs while saving you a fair amount of cash too.
That said, when it comes to professional level cinematography, the Freefly Movi M5 is in a world of its own. Although it dominates this small niche, the people working in the professional movie industry usually have higher budgets available for the best possible kit. If you are a videographer whos bread and butter is wedding videography then the Ronin M will be able to get the job done.
All that said, each of the gimbals have their own advantages and disadvantages in various areas that we will be covering throughout the article. We know that this may cause some of our readers the flip flow throughout the article as we cover the advantages of each unit but keep in mind that some of these advantages may be totally useless for your needs. Our advice would be to keep your budget and what you will be actually needed from the gimbal in mind while reading the rest of the article.
As we said, the majority of our readers will probably get everything they need out of the lower price point Ronin M where we would imagine that the Movi M5 will be the better option for a smaller number of our readers. Another solid option that many people often overlook is the new Zhiyun Crane 3 that is really taking off and rapidly earning an outstanding reputation for itself within the community. The popularity of the Crane 3 is growing at an almost exponential rate right now too and its rapid growth shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Performance And Functionality
When it comes to the performance and functionality of both of the gimbals, they both perform very well for their respective price points and in all fairness to DJI, we feel that the performs at a higher level to its current price point in the market after its recent price reduction. That said though when it comes to premium level gimbals, the Freefly Movi M5 is in a class of its own but again, you have to keep in mind that you are definatley paying for this privilege.
When it comes to the maximum load capacity of the gimbals, the Ronin M takes the lead with its ability to support camera rigs up to and including eight pounds without issue where as the Movi M5 comes in with only five pounds of load capacity. Now, we would imagine that five pounds will still be plenty for many of our readers even with a number of camera accessories mounted to their camera bodies.
That said, if you do use a super heavy camera setup for whatever reason, the Ronin M pulls ahead or if you want to stick with the Freefly Movi range, you will have to be prepared to fork out almost five times the price of the Ronin M for the Freefly Movi M10. In all honesty, the level of performance of the M10 is excellent but we don’t think it is worth the additional price for most videographers when the Ronin M is so much cheaper and provides a solid level of image stabilization.
Another advantage that the Ronin M has over the Movi M5 is that it is definatley the tougher gimbal. Although we are confident that the Movi M5 will be able to hold its own and take any bumps coming its way during use, the Ronin M is sold and very robust. If you are paying so much for a gimbal stabilizer then we feel the peace of mind of knowing that the gimbal is robust enough to last definatley scores the Ronin M additional points.
Now, moving onto the advantages of the Movi M5 over the Ronin M. Although it is subtle, the Ronin M’s gimbal motors are definatley louder than the almost silent gimbal motors of the Movi M5. Now, for the majority of videographers out there, we doubt that this will matter much as the ambient sounds of your surroundings or a little editing in post-production can clean any audio track contamination up on the Ronin M. That said though, if you know that you need a silent gimbal for the niche that you are working in then the Movi M5 definatley pulls out ahead of the Ronin M.
Another advantage that the M5’s gimbal motors provide is that they are able to run closer to their maximum load capacity for much longer than the Ronin M can without overheating. Now, this has both advantages and disadvantages as we mentioned earlier, the Ronin M has an additional three pounds of maximum load capacity over the M5.
This means that if you max out the load capacity of the M5 with a five-pound camera setup and max out the load capacity of the Ronin M with an eight-pound camera setup, the Movi M5 will last hours longer before it has any overheating issues. Now, on the flip side, if you use the same five-pound camera setup on the Ronin M that you mount to the M5 the Ronin M can definatley hold its own and its gimbal motors will not suffer from any overheating issues.
The butter-smooth image stabilization ensures that your content can also stand out from the competition while also providing a more natural-looking image stabilization that many other gimbals struggle to provide. After seeing the potential of the Ronin M and knowing that it is usually around half the price of the Movi M5 with the price tag being almost a third of the Movi M5 from from some retailers depending on sales, it is easy to see why it is so popular within the community and has the excellent reputation that it enjoys too.
That said though, if you do need the absolute best or know that you need a gimbal with silent motors while having the budget available, the Movi M5 is probably the better option and can make a great addition to your collection of camera accessories. As we mentioned earlier in the article though, the majority of videographers whos work is based around wedding videos or other common videography gigs will probably get just as much out of the Ronin M while saving almost $1000.
User Interface And Control System
There really is not much difference between the control systems for both units and although they have a few aesthetic and positioning differences, both gimbals essentially use a very similar system. Thankfully, the system is very easy to learn and even if you are looking to purchase your very first gimbal, we are confident that you will be able to get used to the control interface for both the DJI Ronin M and Freefly Movi M5 very quickly.
Both systems offer excellent control over the gimbal head ensuring that you have optimal control over your camera once mounted to your gimbal of choice. The manual mode ensures that you are able to capture some excellent video footage with natural-looking image stabilization that was pretty much exclusive to manual stabilizers like the Glidecam stabilizers until a few years back.
Build Quality And Design
Now, as we mentioned earlier in the article, in our opinion, the DJI Ronin M is definatley the tougher of the two gimbals and although they both have a great build quality, we just feel that the Movi M5 is not as robust as it should be for its price point. The last thing any videographer wants is to invest that much money into a gimbal just for it to be damaged during use or while in transit from a knock. Like we mentioned, the Movi M5 is pretty solid but for this type of handheld gimbal, especially at the price point of the M5, we would have expected gimbal robustness to be a higher priority.
Both of the gimbals are pretty lightweight in all fairness to them relative to their level of performance and maximum load capacities. That said though, if you do use a super heavy camera setup and plan to use close to the eight pounds of maximum load capacity on the DJI Ronin M we feel that your arms will quickly start to cramp or ache on extended sessions. Although there are a few braces and supports that you can pick up, these just further increase the cost. That said though, if you are using a camera set up around the five pounds or lower mark, we are confident that you will be fine.
Thankfully, the handle design on both of the gimbal stabilizers is great and as comfortable as possible ensuring that you can firmly grip the gimbal with your camera rig mounted to it without discomfort. On top of this, if you are out and about in wet or cold weather, you can still get a firm grip on the handles of the gimbals to ensure that your camera is safe and secure and will not accidentally slip out of your hands.
Now, the actual balancing procedure for both gimbals is very similar and can be done very quickly once you have gone through the process a few times. This ensures that you can get to your location and set up very quickly without issue and without having to waste time. Additionally, if you do use multiple cameras for your videography sessions, you are able to quickly and easily hot-swap between your cameras during use and adjust the balancing as required without having to take a break.
One thing that we have seen some people mention as an advantage for the Movi M5 over the Ronin M is that the M5 is pretty much ready to go right out of the box where as the Ronin M has some initial setup requirements. Although in the strictest terms this is an advantage for the M5 but in reality, once the initial setup is complete, the Ronin M catches up to the M5 and you usually only have to do the initial setup once unless you do a full gimbal debuild.
We know that balancing a gimbal is usually one of the main points that videographers new to using gimbals are worried about. As we mentioned, the process for both units is very easy and there are a number of dedicated balancing tutorials and videos online too. That said, we feel the included manual will be enough to help you get your gimbal balanced for the first time.
That concludes our Movi M5 vs Ronin M comparison article and as you can probably tell, we would recommend the Ronin M to the majority of our readers. Not only is it much cheaper but it also offers excellent image stabilization and should be able to meet the needs of most of our readers without issue. As we mentioned earlier in the article, if you have the budget available and need a gimbal with silent motors or marginally better image stabilization then the Movi M5 stretches out ahead for these specific niches.
The DJI Ronin M also has an absolute ton of independent reviews online from third-party videographers that you can read for additional insight into the performance of the gimbal. Unfortunately, due to the higher price point and much smaller market share of the Movi M5 there really aren’t many dedicated reviews of the gimbal available from independent videographers at the time of writing.