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For the last year, Inspire 1 owners have had to watched the Phantom 3 and Phantom 4 produce stunning 4K video, leaving people with very little reason to buy the Inspire 1, Until now!
DJI has announced two cameras for the Inspire 1 in the past year, but only one of them has been available. The first is the X5 which is included with the Inspire Pro. These are not just some cheap action cameras packaged into an agronomic body. The DJI X5 is a high quality Micro Four Thirds body and gimbal with interchangeable lenses. For the first time, Inspire 1 owners can now carry a professional cinema quality camera with whatever lens they want, wireless focus pulling and RAW video recording capabilities.
No more fixed aperture. No more grainy low light shots. No more ugly fisheye shots (unless you want them). No more overly compressed videos!
Micro Four Thirds is a versatile camera sensor and lens mount standard that was originally developed by Panasonic and Olympus. The great thing about Micro Four Thirds cameras is that they have relatively large sensors compared to cameras like the GoPro (about 8 times larger). This makes them much better in low light while also providing greater dynamic range. On top of that, if you already own a Micro Four Thirds camera then you’ll probably already have a lens to use! Right now, the Olympus 17mm f1.8, Olympus 12mm f2.0 and the Panasonic 15mm f1.7 are the only lenses supported because each lens has to be balanced with a custom lens hood, but DJI plans to support all of the most popular prime lenses that will fit on the gimbal.
Photographers and filmmakers already know the benefits of interchangeable lenses on the ground, but is it really useful to have that kind of functionality in the air? In my opinion, yes! Wider lenses are typically what most people are stuck with on cameras like the GoPro and while it’s nice to get those ultra-wide landscape shots, it can be difficult shooting things like cars or people where you need to be close to the action. By using the X5, you have the ability to use lenses like the Olympus 17mm f1.8 which gives you a field-of-view similar to a 35mm lens on a full frame camera. Lenses like this are great for creating a more cinematic look with dynamic backgrounds and better subject separation/depth-of-field. it also makes it much easier to make your ground shots match your arial shots since it’s possible to use something like the GH4 and literally use the same lenses between the two cameras.
With all the great micro-four-thirds lens options out there, the X5 has a lot of potential in terms of different focal lengths and apertures, but there’s one type of lens that’s still missing from almost every drone out there. I’m talking about zoom lenses! Some of the most interesting aerial shots that have ever been seen were done using zoom lenses. Whether you’re watching a race car or a downhill mountain biker, zooming in or out during a shot is something we see a lot in movies and expensive video productions, but it’s usually extremely hard to accomplish, requiring a large camera and a full scale helicopter. This isn’t currently something that the X5 camera can do, but I think that in the future it would be possible for DJI to develop an optical zooming lens that works with the X5.
Since all of the most popular micro-four-thirds lenses already focus electronically, DJI has integrated an autofocusing system that works just like any modern smartphone. You just tap the area that you want to focus on in the app and it will do the rest. You’ll also be able to adjust the focus manually using the app, but there’s one other way of focusing that professional filmmakers will love. In addition to announcing the Inspire 1 Pro and Inspire 1 Raw, DJI has also come out with a wireless follow focus system that will work directly with the Inspire 1 remote so you can precisely pull focus from the ground. The remote follow focus will also have a button interface so you can set focus points to create automated focus moves.
The second camera released by DJI was the X5R which will be included with the Inspire 1 Raw . It’s just like the X5 but with one difference. It shoots Raw video at 2 gigabits per second and has a 500GB removable SSD. This is something that we really haven’t seen in a camera this small and it gives the Inspire 1 a big advantage over any other arial platform.
Right now, all of the cameras available that support 4K Raw video recording are too big to fit on platforms like the S900 and S1000. Even if you did manage to fit something like a Black magic Production camera on a S1000, you would then have to spend a massive amount of money to get full remote control over the camera and lens. So when you think about it, the inspire 1 should be able to produce a level of video quality that’s better than anything DJI makes (including their octocopters.
If you’ve ever uploaded a video to youtube and later realized how bad it looks after uploading it, then you’ve already experienced the downsides of compressed video, but compression does a lot more than just make videos look bad.
To understand the benefits of RAW, you first have to understand how cameras capture images. All cameras have sensors that capture focused light from the lens (similar to the retina in your eye). this captured light is converted into data which makes up a raw image. After the image is captured, the camera will usually put it through color correction, noise reduction and other various filters before being saved out to a compressed image file like JPEG. Once the final compressed image is created, the result is a relatively small file that generally looks better than the raw image, but all of the extra light information (like highlight and shadow detail) is lost. When shooting video, the process is similar, but all of the images are compressed even further and turned into a video file. When shooting videos or pictures in RAW, all of the original image data that was captured from the sensor is recorded, which means that YOU get to decide how the image comes out. If the sky in your image is a big white blob, you can bring the exposure down and recover the clouds. If you realized after shooting that the scene looks too dark, you can bring the exposure up to recover details in shadows that you didn’t even know existed. You can even add intense color grades to give your shots a certain look without sacrificing any video quality.
A video file is like a cake. When it’s raw, you have complete control over how it turns out, but once you put it in the oven there isn’t much you can do to fix any issues it has. For the average person, shooting in RAW would be a terrible idea because the amount of storage space it requires is simply massive, but if you have the storage, computing power and time to work with RAW video than it’s definitely something you should consider.
Pricing for the X5 camera is pretty reasonable for what you’re getting. The Inspire 1 Pro (single remote version with a DJI lens included) is $4499 (3899 with the sale that’s going on right now), while the X5 by itself starts at $1699. For the Inspire 1 RAW with the X5R, a lens and a 500GB SSD, the original estimated price was somewhere around $8000, but they were able to lower it to $6000 due to high demand. Right now DJI is having a sale on the Inspire 1, so if you get the Inspire 1 RAW with dual remotes it will be $5400 ($600 off the reduced price).
So to sum up my thoughts on the X5R, even at $8000 for an Inspire 1 Raw with a lens, there’s still nothing that will be able to give you a better value for your money if you want the best video quality possible.
250 zone Auto Focus
25600 maximum ISO
1/8000 Sec Shutter Speed
Almost 13 Stops Of Dynamic Range
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