DJI will ship Ronin 4D Feb. 16 without Apple ProRes RAW

DJI Ronin 4D firmware

The good news from leading drone and tech company DJI is that it’s finally shipping its ground-breaking Ronin 4D cinematic camera on February 16, though the accompanying bad news is the unprecedented internal Apple ProRes RAW recording capability will not be included as originally announced.

Earlier today, DJI published its Ronin 4D Global Release and Specifications Update stating the assemblage of cinematic tech wonders revealed to the world last October “will begin shipping to imaging professionals worldwide on February 16.” But many people who ordered the Ronin 4D may feel DJI buried its lead in later noting the internally compressed Apple ProRes RAW capability – a first for a camera – won’t be available in models going to buyers. As a result, the company says it has lowered the price for the Ronin 4D 6K model from $7,199 to $6,699.

“Users who pre-ordered Ronin 4D at the original price should contact their dealers to receive a refund of the difference… or reach out to the DJI Support team for any questions about this change,” the release said.

As something of a consolation, the company said an Apple ProRes 444 XQ codec will be made available through a firmware update later in 2022 – though precisely when is unknown. Still, that addition will not likely dispel the disappointment of buyers who looked forward to being rid of external recorders that were supposed to be rendered obsolete by Ronin 4D’s internal Apple ProRes RAW capability – especially with Apple ProRes 444 XQ offering lower quality in far larger files.

It’s unclear why that first-ever internal feature is being pulled from Ronin 4Ds being shipped this week. Since demo models included the more advanced codec, the problem presumably arose in DJI’s dealings with patent owner RED Digital Cinema, rather than any tech rubs. Indeed, it’s worth noting that in its release today, DJI stated Ronin 4D won’t support internal Apple ProRes RAW “at launch,” offering some hope the company may still be seeking to restore the codec in future updates.

In the meantime, buyers receiving their Ronin 4D will need to upgrade the firmware from the get-go to enable several remaining functions. That update will allow “the Remote Monitor to view and control the main monitor interface with Mirror Control mode, allow a clean video stream over HDMI and SDI ports on the Remote Monitor Expansion Plate with no overlaid information, and support automatic calibration for some third-party auto lenses to realize LiDAR Focusing System functions.” 

The announcement comes atop the long pause between DJI unveiling the Ronin 4D with considerable pomp in October, and the altered version finally being shipped nearly four months later. The development also arises after DJI’s new flagship Mavic 3 drone required firmware updates to enable promised features or fix certain glitches – some of which, critics claim, still persist.

With all that in mind, DJI Forum contributor StanM complained not only about the company’s execution of the Ronin 4D’s rollout, but also its communication in troubles that it encountered.

“Postpone release date, CHECK, drop one of the main advertised Pro features, CHECK. Release an ambiguous statement, CHECK,” he lamented. “DJI, fire your public relations team… At least have the decency to explain to your customers on the full details of a feature you just miraculously dropped, is pro res raw not coming to the 4d at all, and prores xq sometime in 2022, to get the full dynamic range?”

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