DJI’s new 6K drone camera packs a Super 35mm APS-C sensor with 14 stops of dynamic range

Oct 12, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

DJI’s new 6K drone camera packs a Super 35mm APS-C sensor with 14 stops of dynamic range

Oct 12, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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DJI have announced the world’s first Super 35mm digital camera designed specifically for aerial cinematography. The Zenmuse X7. It shoots 6K CinemaDNG raw video at up to 30fp. The X7 also features a new DJI Cinema Color System to maximise its 14 stops of dynamic range.

For aerial photographers, it’s also capable of capturing 24 megapixel RAW stills. Super 35mm means it’s an APS-C sized sensor. Currently, it’s only compatible with the DJI Inspire 2 drone, although future compatibility with other products is expected in the future. I wouldn’t get your hopes up about bolting this thing to a Mavic, though.

YouTube video

When DJI released the DJI Inspire 2, we were also brought the Xenmuse X5S camera. DJI were stepping up their game with a rather quality micro four thirds sensor that produced 5.2K video. Now, they’re raising the bar again with the X7 and a Super 35mm (APS-C) sized sensor, and 6K 30fps CinemaDNG Raw video and 24MP stills. It’s also capable of producing 3.9K footage at up to 60fps.

The much larger sensor has an ISO range of 100-25,600 and 14 stops of dynamic range. Four new DL mount lenses are available to go along with the camera in 16mm, 24mm, 35mm and 50mm focal lengths. Nobody likes to see more proprietary lens mounts, but it’s not like you’d want to Canon mount cinema lenses on this thing anyway, even if you could.

The new mount, DJI say, allows them to shorten the flange distance, resulting in much smaller and lighter lenses for drone use. They’re also made of carbon fibre to further decrease the weight. The 16mm lens comes with a built in ND filter. The 24mm, 35mm and 50mm lenses are equipped with leaf shutters supporting shutter speeds up to 1/1000th of a second.

  • Effective sensor size (stills) : 23.5 x 15.7mm (APS-C mode)
  • Effective sensor size (video) : 23.5mm x 12.5mm (Super 35mm mode)
  • 14 Stops of dynamic range
  • DJI Cinema Color System with new D-Log curve
  • 6K 30fps raw, 5.2K 30fps Apple ProRes and 3.9K 60fps raw
  • 24MP Stills

The new DJI Cinema Color System being introduced with the X7 is also compatible with the X5S camera. So, existing owners will get a nice little present in a future firmware upgrade. The improved D-Log gamma curve and D-Gamut colour space should help to maximise the dynamic range and sensor capabilities of the camera you already have.

The pricing is a little interesting.

Total price, $7,795. But, you can buy the camera and all four lenses as a single bundle for a mere $4,299. The Zenmuse X7 will start to ship in November 2017 from the DJI store and authorised dealers around the world.

There’s no word yet on whether there will be an Inspire 2 & Zenmuse X7 bundle.

It’s quite exciting just how far the world of aerial cinematography has gotten in just a few years. A decade ago, this kind of thing wouldn’t even be considered possible. Now, it’s almost demanded.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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9 responses to “DJI’s new 6K drone camera packs a Super 35mm APS-C sensor with 14 stops of dynamic range”

  1. Bert Koppe Avatar
    Bert Koppe

    Oscar, Toys for the boys. ??

  2. Kim Brown Avatar
    Kim Brown

    Shucks…to buy a DJI drone plus this camera or food for the next year…choices, choices…?

  3. Eliseo German Stenta Avatar
    Eliseo German Stenta

    But they have medium fortmat drone cameras for a while.

  4. Alan Amos Avatar
    Alan Amos

    How did DJI manage 14 stops of dynamic range from an APS-C camera?

    More importantly, how have they done this before Nikon, Canon, Leica etc ??

    1. Jason H. West Avatar
      Jason H. West

      Bah. All these camera makers are coming out with tech they have had 5 years ago. They just throw a little at us here and there to keep us upgrading. The first manufacturer that wakes tf up and puts everything they have into one camera.. it’ll make the sales of the 5D3 look like like peanuts. It’s a total shame.

    2. Chris Allen Avatar
      Chris Allen

      DJI rounded up. It’s the APS-C sensor out of the Sony A6500.

  5. Craig Fouché Avatar
    Craig Fouché

    Lyle Dion Des

  6. David Jeu Avatar
    David Jeu

    Scrolled to the price.. now i just try to forget about it.

  7. S Scott Taylor Avatar
    S Scott Taylor

    You know it man. Workin on permissions now. Gimme this, a slider, and a gimbal and I’m off to the races.