In the recent Inspire Pro X5 firmware update (v184.108.40.206), DJI announced that the Zenmuse X5 camera will now support a few more lenses. The Olympus 25mm f/1.8, Olympus 45mm f/1.8 and the Olympus 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6.
I got my hands on the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 and took it out for fly. In this article I share with you my experience, opinion and test results of the Olympus 45mm lens on my Inspire 1 Pro.
If you’re new to the Inspire 1 Pro, check-out my Inspire 1 Pro Hands-on Blog.
Focal Length on the Olympus 45mm
Firstly, why am I so excited about being able to fly the Olympus 45mm? Until now, DJI and most other aerial camera platforms have used wide angle lenses. This is for a few reasons. FPV pilots like them because its field of view is similar to that of the human eye so they have good situational awareness, and aerial film/photography pilots like them because they are often shooting long shots or establishing shots. From a technical standpoint, the longer your focal length, the harder it is to get a stable image on a gimbal. Just like it’s harder to get a smooth handheld shot using a 200mm vs using a 20mm lens. Previously if photographers/videographers want the subject to fill the frame, they would have to have got the drone closer to the subject which may not always be possible, safe or give the effect they are looking for. Being able to fly these lenses eliminates that problem and opens up more creative freedom for film makers and photographers.
The 45mm on the Zenmuse X5 equates to a 90mm full frame equivalent (micro four thirds sensor = 2 x cop factor) which is a lot narrower field of view than what existing off-the-shelf drones provide.
Quality & Price of the Lens
Overall, this lens is incredibly good value for money. Retailing at around £160 and offers a good quality image. For that price it comes as no surprise that its exterior is predominantly plastic but it feels well made and has a nice metallic finish.
I’m yet to undertake any serious sharpness tests but my initial assessment is that it’s very sharp. Sharp enough for 4K filming at least.
It’s worth noting that this lens does not come with a hood as standard.
Without further a do, here’s a short video of the footage we got.
Apologies for it not being the most interesting of footage but it gives you an idea of the field of view and the possibilities it opens up.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though. Here’s a snippet from our first flight where we experienced some jello.
I’m putting this down to the lens not being properly balanced so when the aircraft and gimbal got to a certain position, the motors were put under additional stress which caused some vibrations, giving us the jello effect.
Balancing & Stability
The Olympus 45mm is lighter in weight than the other lenses supported by the X5 so when attached to the camera, it is naturally back heavy. Unlike with the stock DJI 15mm which uses a balancing ring to help balance it’s self on the gimbal, you cannot use this balancing ring on he 45mm as is has a different filter thread size. The 45mm has a 37mm thread, where as the DJI 15mm has a 46mm filter thread.
So how did I balance it? I only have a temporary solution at the moment, and it’s not the most conventional one….
… Whatever works right?
A lens hood could well solve this however I’m not a fan of using lens hoods unless they are really necessary because they act like a sail, reducing the aerodynamics of the aircraft and putting your gimbal motors under additional stress as they try to fight it the wind caught in it.
Perhaps DJI will bring out a 37mm balancing ring or maybe even just a 37mm UV Filter will do the trick.
A Two Person Operation
Unless you are using this lens setup for taking still images, you will need to use a two man set up (pilot and camera operator). Even as two highly experienced operators, we didn’t find this easy, but we loved the challenge. This lens will define the good cam-ops from the mediocre.
We quickly found that both the aircraft and gimbal movements had to be considerably slower and more gentle than as we’d usually fly – and we usually fly pretty gently anyway. Because the 45mm is so tight, there is not much room for error so communication between the pilot and cam-op is more crucial than ever, explaining what movements are about to be executed so that the other operator can expect or counter it.
In the video above, the camera operator bumped the pan and tilt speed settings down to 30 to help soften the movements. We also found that finding the subject in the frame with the camera took more time than with a wider lens which makes sense but is just something to consider when allotting time to frame a shot.
Inspire 1 Pro Olympus 45mm Test Photos
Here are a couple field test photos. Unedited JPEG images, straight out of the camera.
To give you a better idea of how significant the change in field of view is between the stock 15mm lens and the 45mm, here is a side-by-side comparison between the two.
Being able to capture high quality shots with a 45mm lens on a DJI platform is a game changer for aerial photography and cinematography. It’s incredible value for money makes it hard to not buy it. I’ll definitely be keeping it to ad to my armory of lenses for film shoots.
However, it’s not for everyone. If you’re a one man operator doing video work, you will find it difficult to get smooth dynamic shots using this set up. Also, I have heard a few people mention that it will be good for inspection work, which it would, but for those in that situation, I would recommend the Olympus 14-42mm which is 3mm less than the 45mm but allows you to remotely zoom via the DJI Go app.
If you’re interested in getting this set up, you can get the DJI Inspire Pro with the X5 along with any accessories you may need on our website. Or if you have any questions, give us a call on 01737 457404 or drop us an email.