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  • Fitri Aiyub

DJI RS3 Mini Review : Compact Gimbal Done Right | Only 1.75lbs!

Updated: Feb 12, 2023


One of the few things that got me excited most when I heard that DJI was making an RS3 Mini, I couldn't wait to see if it could stack up against its bigger counterparts, the RS3 and RS3 Pro.

Because those two gimbals were already a phenomenal build of their own and having used the first clunky Ronin for the longest time, this contrasting lightweight version has just been such a joy to use, weighing only 1.75lbs. While it may not support extensive payloads nor does it serve as a complete solution to all situations, I for one find it to be the perfect partner for most of these mirrorless cameras yet costing only $369.


Design & Build


So as mentioned earlier, this gimbal is super lightweight and while some of its parts are not made out of carbon fibre like the RS3 Pro, it's apparently still 50% lighter according to DJI. But of course, the RS3 Pro was made to handle up 4.5 kilos or 10lbs and has way more features. This RS3 Mini can only manage up to 2 kilos or 4.4lbs.

Then again, I still feel as though this gimbal could suit most videographers looking for something less intrusive and something that could actually fit into a camera bag. Knowing how many gimbal manufacturers out there such as Zhiyun have been eyeing content creators who want something simple without the extra features and I really believe this is DJI's answer to that.


I was out the other day with a friend who was using one of Zhiyun's lightweight gimbals and I've gotta admit, when it comes to design and build quality, DJI are really in a class of their own.

DJI had also considered the same balancing procedures that the RS3 and RS3 Pro had which came with automated lock axis functions, this only has manual locks. Yeah it's not as fancy, but it's still better than not having it at all. I even timed myself trying to balance this from the default position to fully balanced and managed to get it done under 3 minutes.

Because I guess there's just far less perp work compared to bigger setups that might get in the way, like hanging cables or focus motors, and DJI also suggests this will still be able to handle some of Sony's G-Master lenses. But of course, don't expect it to withstand a huge telephoto lens.


Features


But an interesting addition that was added is a native mounting for vertical shooting on the side here, and it works when you remove this secondary plate that allows it to shoot in horizontal mode. So now, you've decreased the load by about 10 grams and this little plate which balances the general roll axis now acts as a quick release plate so you could mount it on and off with little calibrations required.

In a flux, I think this is a simple and ingenious solution for maximising functionality without compromising the overall size. Even the 1.4" touchscreen feels very intuitive and in some cases a little too sensitive as well. Considering how most of the pre-saved modes can be accessed through the dedicated M button, there's still the option to select different modes from the touchscreen itself. There's also a Nato rail on the side here for third party attachments or DJI's own briefcase handle which is sold separately.


I didn't get around to using the front dial as much which acts as an external control for the camera but I'm glad that it's still there for shooters who might actually want to use this feature.


Performance


For the motors itself, I personally feel like it's perfect for those casual shoots where you might need a gimbal but not so much when you might have situations where the gimbal hangs outside of a car type scenario. I often found it not to be strong enough to withstand winds that got too harsh as the car moved at a faster speed on the highway. Anything above 60km/h just became unbearable for the gimbal to handle even when I've set it to a higher motor strength. So yeah, hanging this outside the window of a moving car isn't such a great environment for it. To be fair, I could have been asking a bit too much from something of this size.

But the overall smoothness you get in the Z-axis, which is the up & down motion you get when walking in a straight line seems to be as good as DJI's heavier gimbals, and I love the fact that operating this one-handed is way more possible now. Not trying to say that I condone one-handed use, it's just good to know that even while the over length of this gimbal might be cause you to bend down a little more to get lower to the ground shots, it's at least manageable when having it in underslung mode and only requires one hand hand to operate it, due to the overall lightweight setup.



Battery Life


The only thing I wished they could've brought over from the standard RS3 or RS3 Pro was the swappable battery grip. In this case, it's one entire module but at least it still has superb battery life. DJI says this will run continuously for about 10 hours and I myself only had to charge this after every two days while still having another 20% left. It also charges relatively quickly, which should get it back to 100% in about 2 ½ hours.


Some of the first generation Ronin's didn't have a terrible life either but I have experienced accidentally leaving it ON when it was stored away and when it was go-time, the gimbal was completely dead and I just didn't have time to charge it. So I'm really glad they've taken some precautions in these new-gen gimbals for those instances to not have an effect anymore by just simply having an auto-sleep function when you might've forgotten to switch it off.


Conclusion


In more ways than one, I can foresee this RS3 Mini being a very popular choice for shooters who don't necessarily need the Pro features that require extensive attachments or something that isn't too clunky till you'd have to lug around separately, instead of being able to fit it into a camera bag.

I personally found it to be really handy when moving from one location to another, having all the axis arms locked into position without having to dismount the camera entirely, and just carry it around like a briefcase.


But yes, for context, the RS3 Mini is priced at $369, the RS3 is at $549, while the RS3 Pro goes for $869. So about $200 separating the 3 which is fairly reasonable to its own pros & cons, but for me personally and the work that I do, I'd probably get the standard RS3 instead for simply having stronger motors.

Either way, they're all great gimbals including this RS3 Mini and I think it's just safe to say that DJI are just unbeatable at this point for coming with the best gimbals and drones on the market year after year. Then again, maybe I might just be subconsciously hoping for something else to come along to match their design, build, and quality. If that day ever comes, maybe I'll pierce my ear or something.... Who knows.

 

Written by Fitri Aiyub


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