This has to be the week of DJI. After announcing their auto flight modes and a new set of drones, the company has announced a critical upgrade to their Inspire line – 2 new Micro Four Thirds cameras that can be mounted on the drones as a hardware upgrade: the Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R cameras for drones.
The cameras are capable of 4K @ 24FPS and provide 12.8 stops of dynamic range with a RAW video file (or 16MP stills). Kinda like the GH4.
The press release states that:
In order to achieve the quality of video produced by Zenmuse X5 and X5R, pilots used to have to spend many thousands of dollars for large, complicated aerial equipment,” said Frank Wang, DJI CEO and Founder. “Now, pilots can simply mount the Zenmuse X5 series cameras to their Inspire 1, put on their props, get up in the air, and have full control of their shot while in flight. This saves valuable time on film sets and makes high quality imaging for industrial applications smaller, lighter and easier to manage
To compete the experience, you will be able to control the camera parameters just like you can control the camera on the inspire via the app today, and gain the advantage of Zebra Pattern and Focus Peaking. This is quite a big difference from mounting a GH4 on a quad-copter.
This new announcement also bring 3rd party lenses into the mix with lenses from DJI, Panasonic and Olympus. I will not be surprised if other 3rd part lens makes like Sigma, Tamron and Rokinon join the party.
Zenmuse X5 users will have even more options for capturing images in the sky through additional supported lenses and full wireless aperture and focus control. At the time of launch, the Zenmuse X5 will support 4 interchangeable lenses, including the DJI MFT 15mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, Panasonic Lumix 15mm G Leica DG Summilux f/1.7 ASPH lens, Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm f/2.0 lens, and Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 lens. While the Zenmuse X5 is in flight, pilots can adjust both focus and aperture via the DJI GO app or through DJI’s previously-announced Follow Focus system
The sensor is said to be quite promising with usable ISO of 100-25600, but we will have to wait a bit more to see some real world examples:
this new MFT sensor enables high quality, high sensitivity image recording at
an ISO range of 100-25600. With a sophisticated balance of high-resolving power, accurate gradation, and low noise
capture-wise it will be able to provide: 4K (3840 x 2160) at up to 30 fps, 2.7K (2704×1520) at up to 30 fps, and Full HD (1920 x 1080) at up to 60 fps in MP4/MOV format.
Here are the grading options that the camera provides:
Price-wise, while not cheap, those production tools are not that expensive for what they provide. A DJI Inspire 1 with a Zenmuse X5 and the DJI 15mm F1.7 lens (think kit lens) is $4,499. But if you already own an Inspire 1, just the X5 will be $2,199. An Inspire 1 with the X5R is $7,999 (no word on stand-alone pricing yet). Availability is end of month for the X5 and Q4 for the X5R.
Here is a test flight done by the Roswell Flight Test Crew showing some of the capabilities of Zenmuse line:
[zenmuse-x5s | DJI]
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