September 11, 2015

DJI Zenmuse X5 for Inspire 1

New Addition for the DJI Inspire 1 The DJI Zenmuse X5 Gimbal and Camera

At 1.20am last night (UK time), DJI made a huge announcement which pretty much jammed their ordering system...

DJI Zenmuse X5

These days, it takes a lot to get me excited about digital imaging. I am, after all, still using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II for photography. This is because I believe it produces 1st class, high resolution digital images even after 7 years.

Yes, I am looking forward to the Mark IV (with 4K video hopefully). However, when it comes to good old-fashioned stills photography, I still love the Mk II.

Since I started out in the aerial photography/video business, I feel like I am 13 again. A time when I was messing about in the darkroom and getting excited about anything photography related. Even those funny rubber lens hoods.

I always say to photographers looking for inspiration, look outside the box, go macro. Macro opens up a whole new world that you may never have paid attention to before and the same is with aerial imaging. It is a whole new world to explore, enjoy and capture.

The DJI Inspire 1 is an incredible UAV (or drone). It is fast, accurate, responsive and fun/easy to fly. The only criticism I had was the dynamic range of some footage.

However, introducing…

The DJI Zenmuse X5 Series for the Inspire 1

DJI Zenmuse X5 Gimbal Stabilization

One of the reasons I bought the Inspire was due to it’s “upgrade-ability” with regards to the gimbal and lenses and now DJI have done just that.

Shooting modes on the X5 include program (P), shutter-priority (S), aperture-priority (A) and manual (M). Focus can be set to auto or manual with focus peaking available to help there and zebra patterning to assist with exposure. The sensitivity range is selectable from ISO 100 to ISO 25600.

The X5 gimbal and camera comes with two options, the Pro and RAW. These are the basics:

  • 4K video at up to 30fps
  • Record at 4096×2160 (24fps) or 3840×2160 (30/25fps)
  • 16MP photographs
  • 12.8 stops of dynamic range

That last point sold it for me. Improving the dynamic range was a biggie but now, the camera also has:

  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Micro 4/3rds sensor!

Wow, this is huge!

Lenses: Being able to upgrade lenses as they improve is incredible. The lenses currently available for the X5 system are:

  • Olympus 12mm M.Zuiko f2.0 FOV = 84° (35mm equivalent is 24mm)…nice.
  • DJI MFT 15mm f1.7 ASPH Prime FOV = 72° (35mm equivalent is 30mm)
  • Panasonic Lumix 15mm G Leica DG f1.7 ASPH FOV = 72° (35mm equivalent is 24mm)

The Olympus lens when coupled with am M43 sensor such as the one on the Panasonic GH5 produces the most stunning 4K footage so I am doubly excited to see the results from this.

DJI Zenmuse X5 M43 Sensor

If you look at the chart (courtesy of DJI) below, you will see the significance of this sensor on the DJI Inspire 1. It will make such a huge difference to the image quality…fully professional!

DJI Zenmuse X5 Sensors

That is a ridiculously huge improvement but the proof will be in the pudding as they say!


With a new M43 sensor, access to fine, prime lenses and 16mp to play with, I am thinking the stills from this are going to be sweet too!

Zenmuse X5R

This is interesting and aimed at pure professionals, and I would think it will have a price tag to match (rumoured at around $7,999 with Inspire 1 and lens)! Here are the extras you get with the X5R:

  • Average 1.7 Gbps bit-rate (2.4Gbps maximum)
  • Removable 512GB SSD

That will produce stunning, high quality RAW 4K footage allowing professional video editors to really tweak and play with the footage for a multitude of looks. Exciting times.

Battery Life

According to DJI, the impact to the Inspire 1’s flight times should be fairly minimal using the new cameras with a decrease of around 2-3 minutes. Bear in mind that the larger batteries will get you up to 18 minutes flight time with the DJI Zenmuse X5 series…lovely!

The only downside with all this is for those that have forked out thousands of pounds on a DJI S900 and Panasonic GH4 (I nearly went that route as I already have the GH4)…because if this matches the GH4 for image quality, it is a game changer.

DJI, you guys are geniuses…kudos!

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aerial, camera release, new releases

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