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Zenmuse X5R Review

Product Review

The Inspire 1 is a great drone, one of the best that was ever produced. It is packed with lots of exciting technologies enabling a fantastic aerial shooting experience. The problem was the built-in 4K camera that left a lot to be desired in terms of image quality and dynamic range. It was a real problem for users who wanted to shoot high contrast scenes.

Today the problem has been solved. The camera has been upgraded, turning the Inspire 1 into a 4K RAW drone. The Zenmuse X5 and X5R are built around 16MP Four Thirds sensors and are compatible with a handful of small, wide Micro Four Thirds lenses. Both cameras feature integrated 3-axis gimbals to produce smooth, stabilized video and stills capture. Focus and aperture can be controlled remotely.

The Zenmuse X5R, which can be purchased either with the Inspire 1 or separately, features interchangeable lenses, remote-controlled aperture and focus and records 4K video. This is the smallest lossless 4K camera designed for use with drones. Videos are recorded at an average bitrate of 1.7Gbps (up to 2.4Gbps) in CinemaDNG to an internal SSD. Likewise, the X5R also features a D-LOG mode for more flexible post-production color grading.

The Zenmuse X5R includes a brand-new D-LOG mode that offers a broader array of color correction options in post production. To support the management of Zenmuse X5R Cinema DNG files, DJI offers special software to edit and convert RAW camera footage. CineLight simplifies users’ workflows by offering offline proxy editing before converting the CinemaDNG files to ProRes.

To achieve the high video quality produced by Zenmuse X5r, pilots used to have to spend many thousands of dollars for large, complicated aerial equipment. 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.

DJI recommends three lenses. First is the Olympus M.Zuiko ED Digital 12mm F/2.0. The second - the Panasonic Lumix 15mm G Leica DG Summilux F/1.7 ASPH. The third is Olympus lens with a narrower field of view than the others - the 17mm F/1.8 with a 66 degree field of view or a full frame equivalent of 34mm. The Olympus 12mm is the same lens DJI specify for the Panansonic Lumix GH4 camera on their Zenmuse gimbals for the S900 and S1000 heavy-lift drones. It's equivalent to a 24mm lens with an 84 degree field of view. The Panasonic 15mm lens is the equivalent of a 30mm with 72 degree field of view - that's the same as the DJI lens.

The good news is that if you already own an Inspire 1 you can just buy a camera, although you will need to buy a separate vibration absorbing board which also comes with small, landing leg extensions to accommodate the larger camera. You can also buy different Inspire and X5/X5R camera packages with one or two controllers. The X5 comes in a single controller Pro bundle, while the X5R, designed for two man, professional use, comes in a two remote RAW package. You can also buy items individually if you need to.

zenmuse x5r

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