After using my Sony cameras with the RS2 and RavenEye, I've run into a few different issues that took me longer than I care to admit to figure out.
I've been writing down all of my issues with the RS2, RavenEye, and Sony cameras over the past few months and also gathering all of your feedback as well. This is going to be a dense video but watch the entire thing because there are a lot of small details that carry over between cameras, some of the issues are limitations of the cameras, and some other issues are less obvious like not plugging in and starting up the camera in the right sequence may cause errors, even if everything is configured correctly.
I've waited a while to see if these problems would be addressed with firmware updates and if any of those happen in the future, let me know and I'll update my pinned comment below this video.
Starting off with some general troubleshooting techniques, make sure your camera, RS2, and RavenEye are all up to date with the latest firmware. This can cause errors and glitches that don't give error messages, and if there are error messages, they're often not helpful.
Since there are so many different parts, I've found the sequence in which you assemble and start up this setup matters. I've found the most luck with connecting all the cables with everything turned off, then starting up the RS2, followed by the camera, then the RavenEye last. Then connect to the RavenEye wifi on your device, then open the Ronin app. This has given me the best odds for everything working correctly. If something seems like it should be working, or you've had it working before and it's not working now, turning everything off and turning it on again typically sorts those issues out. And make sure your RavenEye battery is charged if you haven't used it in a while.
Let's start off with some common problems with the Sony A7III on the RS2 with the RavenEye. The most common problem here was that people want to use their RS2, RavenEye, and a USB-C camera control cable at the same time. The USB-C cable allows you to adjust camera settings and start/stop recording through the Ronin app. Well, technically it can do that.. but a major downside is that the camera's feed is completely blacked out. I tested 4k and 1080p with multiple different USB settings and the rear screen is always blacked out when plugging in the USB-C cable while using the RavenEye.
You're able to still adjust your settings and record but the whole point of using the RavenEye is to be able to see your camera's feed while doing this. You can't use ActiveTrack either, so I wouldn't recommend using the USB-C cable with the A7III at all. It's really inconvenient that you're not able to get a feed from the camera, but this is a limitation of the A7III and not a fault of the RS2 or RavenEye. The RavenEye can't display or use active track if the A7III isn't sending and information to the screen.
The Multi cable on the A7III functions how it should, but offers less functionality. You're only able to start/stop recording. The feed stays live on the Ronin app, but back of camera is blacked out while filming in 4k. Even though the back of the camera is blacked out, active track still works though since the RavenEye is getting a signal. The camera screen stays on while recording in all 1080p frame rates though. Again, this is a limitation of the A7III, the rear screen turns off while filming in 4K and using any HDMI out of the camera. The feed gets the view, but the camera screen turns off.
This is the most ridiculous set up yet, but after it was mentioned in one of my YouTube comments I had to try this out. After making my previous video about adding a monitor and RavenEye to the RS2, a guy mentioned he wanted to see if I could get active track and face detect autofocus in 4K to work with the A7III and Atomos Ninja V, while also transmitting a signal from the RavenEye to his Ronin app.
To get face detect to work in 4K with HDMI out, we'll have to disable internal recording on the A7III by going to Menu, Setup page 4 or 7, and select 4K Output Select, to HDMI only (24p) or (30p). We've just disabled our internal recording and we're now only able to record externally to our Ninja V (shout out to 2018 Gerald Undone).
To ensure face detect is enabled, go to camera 1, page 6 of 14 and Face/Eye AF Settings, set your Face/Eye Priority in AF to on, and make sure Subject Detection is Human. Unless you'll be shooting video of your dog, otherwise choose Animal.
To take this a step further with our RS2 and Ronin app, we can use our multi-cable to tell our camera to start and stop recording, and this works with the record button on the RS2 and the record button on the Ronin app. However, our camera will actually be telling the Ninja V to start and stop recording since we just disabled internal recording. This is pretty cool, and we can enable this by jumping back into the A7III's menu, go to setup page 3, HDMI Settings, enable TC output, and enable REC Control.
When it comes to the A6400, there is no USB-C port on this camera so our only option is to use the Sony Multi Cable.
The A6400 is able to use the Sony Multi cable like the other cameras, plugging this into the a6400 and then into the top slot of the RS2 will allow us to use all of the features without needing to adjust any menu settings.
Interestingly though, while using the RavenEye and Sony Multi cable, the rear camera screen will turn off while filming in 4K, but when in 1080p, it will be off all the time whether you're recording or not. The Ronin screen will display the feed, but the rear screen will be off.
I found with most all cables, you'll want to rig all cables on your camera and RS2 while it's off. Then turn on the gimbal, then the camera last. Sometimes plugging the cables in while the gimbal and camera are powered on will not recognize the cables.
The Sony micro cable is one I havent had much luck with. After plugging it into the RS2 and the A6400, my camera and RavenEye feeds wouldn't work regardless if I was recording or not. This may have been an issue with my camera, but I tried multiple cables and the camera and RavenEye feeds were constantly blanked out.
The compatibility chart says you can adjust your camera settings with this, but based on my experience I wouldn't recommend using this cable at all.
For the A7S III, we can use the USB-C cable or the Sony Multi cable. The USB-C cable was by far the most requested way in my YouTube comments to use with the A7S III, so let's start with that one. To get the USB-C cable to work correctly, we'll have to plug the USB-C cable into the RSS feed of our RavenEye to be able to start, stop and adjust our camera settings on the Ronin App. Don't plug this cable into the top slot on the USB-C ports on the front of the gimbal like the other camera control cables, because it won't work correctly. You have to plug this into the RavenEye.
In my testing, I plugged this cable into the RSS and camera port on the RS2, and the cable didn't work but for some reason, it works when using the USB-C RSS port on the RavenEye. I have no idea why, but it does.
We'll also have to enable the PC Remote Function or attaching a USB-C cable will take the camera into USB Mode, which we don't want. To turn USB connection to PC remote, in the menu, go to the Network tab, and under Option 1 of Transer/Remote, select PC Remote Function then PC Remote On and make sure the PC Remote Connection Method set to USB. Also, while you're in this menu, make sure Control with Smartphone is off as well.
If you're having issues with the back of your camera being blacked out while filming with the RavenEye or any HDMI out, make sure to turn off HDMI info display. This will output a clean signal to your recorder, and enable the rear screen of the A7S III to show your feed and settings. To turn this on, go to Setup, 11 External Output, HDMI info display and turn this off.
Keeping in mind that we're using the RavenEye's RSS USB-C port, we won't be able to start or stop recording from the gimbal, but we'll be able to do this from the Ronin App. I haven't been able to get the USB-C cable to work plugged directly into the RS2, so I wouldn't recommend using it without the RavenEye unless you plan on using your phone and need to adjust shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.
Which brings us to our next and more sensible cable, you guessed it, the Sony Multi cable.
The Sony Multi Cable is by far the easiest way to use simple start/stop functionality with your RS2. Plugging the cable into the camera and into the top USB-C port of the RS2 will allow you the simple start/stop recording that you'd expect on both the Ronin app and the RS2 record button.
After that long experience of adjusting settings on your camera and messing the the USB-C cable, I prefer to use the Sony Multi cable and adjust the settings I have to adjust on the back of the camera. It isn't as convenient as using a touch screen for quick adjustments, but the setup alone deters me away from using the USB-C cable.
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After testing all of these Sony cameras, they all have issues with the cables that allow you to adjust your camera settings. You have to either enable settings in the camera menus, or sometimes they might not give you a video feed. I find myself using the Send To Smartphone option a lot, so during the course of researching this video, I was enabling and disabling this setting and it was more annoying than just manually adjusting my camera settings on the camera.
So my conclusion for which camera control cable is best for Sony cameras? The Sony Multi Cable. It allows you to start and stop recording, and that's all I needed most of the time anyway. Some of the camera settings that I needed to change went beyond shutter, iso and aperture anyways so even when I had the USB-C cable working, I still found myself digging through the camera settings menus to adjust other settings anyways. For me the USB-C cables arent worth the additional setup, and I like the simple recording functionality of the Sony Multi cables.
Another problem some people, myself included, have experienced is where the RavenEye doesn't seem to be tracking your ActiveTrack targets very well. If you've used the ActiveTrack in DJI drones, you'll often see it detect if it's a person, car or boat - but the RS2 ActiveTrack isn't sophisticated enough to determine that, and I find that if you're tracking a persons face and suddenly another person enters the frame, the RS2 ActiveTrack isn't capable of staying on the selected persons face. And when it realizes it's not the right target it tries to catch the subject it thinks it should be tracking.
I think the RS2 ActiveTrack works more off of patterns and works the best in high contrast scenarios where there is good separation of the subject and background.
Choosing the wrong Follow Mode will make this worse it seems too. I've found that my camera rarely has this issue when I'm in Pan Follow mode with an easily recognizable subject. I've had the most trouble in Pan and Tilt Follow or FPV modes have that more axis to be moving and is easier to lose the subject. Also make sure your gimbal balance is good and re-calibrate if you need to. Remember to balance your gimbal if you swap lenses or add cables even.
One last thing, make sure your follow speeds are low while using this, if they are too aggressive the RS2 will overcorrect, and then have to overcorrect the other way to compensate for the incorrect movement. This is a vicious cycle and if this happens, double-tapping the trigger to return the gimbal to the center will instantly stop any weird motions of the RS2.
This is more likely to happen if your subject is filling up the frame, or is too close.
Like I stated in my RavenEye and Monitor setup video, I wouldn't recommend ActiveTracking a subject and just putting this gimbal down and relying on it as a camera operator. It's good if you understand it's limitations, but it's not good enough to take over as an autonomous camera operator yet. Hopefully the next version will bring that object recognition that the drones have and be able to stay on target better, even if multiple people are in the frame.
The more I use this setup, surprisingly I've been using the RS2 and RavenEye with the Sony Multi cable and not using my phone as the screen, but using the RS2 to initiate Active Track. If I'm using my A7III and filming in 4K, I'll include my phone in the setup to be able to monitor what I'm filming in the Ronin app since the screen will be blacked out on the camera. If I'm filming in 1080p, I'll not use my phone at all though. The only other time I'll include my phone on this rig will be if I need to really fine-tune my ActiveTrack points, but after getting more familiar with the tiny screen and selecting obvious active track targets, I find myself using my phone and the Ronin app less that I thought I would, in favoring keeping my gimbal as lightweight as possible so I can film longer.
To learn how to use the RS2 ActiveTrack without the Ronin app, check out my RS2 tips and tricks video.
Using the Multi cable allows me to start and stop recording using the gimbal and this has worked great for me so far.
The only time I use the USB-C cable is with my A7S III since I can utilize all of the functionality with the Ronin app, while also getting a live feed from my camera in 4K while recording. That being said, I don't find myself using the Ronin app to adjust my camera settings as much as I thought I would. I don't film in situations where I need to dynamically change my settings mid-shoot, so it's more convenient for me to change them on the camera. This isn't a huge deal for me but thought I'd bring it up because for some people in the comments of my other videos it was a deal-breaker.
This was by far my most researched video so far, and if something changes, I'll update the pinned comment below. I realize this video is really specific and probably won't reach a super wide audience, but hopefully, people with this problem will find this video helpful. If you did, consider subscribing and checking out some of my other videos. Thank you guys for sticking around until the end, and I'll see you in the next one.
I'm a designer from Cleveland, Ohio and love to shoot photos & videos. I made my first website in 2004 to show friends photos & videos (before YouTube/Flickr/Instagram were things) and have been shooting and designing ever since! I have a deep passion for making and helping others create.
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