DJI Inspire 1 – Too Expensive or Technological Bargain?
With the recent introduction of the DJI Inspire 1, we have seen a wide range of responses from multirotor users worldwide. Whilst many people praise the revolutionary design, one of main criticism was that the Inspire 1 is priced too high.
£2380 is a lot of money. The term expensive however is subjective and different people will have different opinions on what is expensive and cheap based on how it’s used.
For example, £2380 for a brand new car would be cheap whereas £2380 for a new bicycle would be expensive; They are both modes of transport but the way it’s used, technology they incorporate and convenience factor is what sets them apart. The same applies on numerous other products on the market today including multirotors.
So how does the Inspire 1 compares versus current products available? Let’s take the latest Phantom 2 with H3-3D 2.0 priced at £707 for example. We will add a GoPro Hero 4 Black @ £370 to make it comparable since the Hero 4 Black is capable of 4k@30fps video capture, there are people speculating that the Hero 4 will yield better quality video but I disagree. The Inspire 1 uses the latest and greatest DJI X3 FC350 camera which has the Sony EXMOR 1/23” imaging sensor, this is a modified version of the same sensor Sony currently use on their 4K professional camcorders and is also rumoured to be the exact same sensor used on the Hero 4 Black.
So if they both use the same sensor then surely they will produce the same result? Sadly no. The imaging sensor is only half the story with the other half being the lens. People often talk about sensor megapixels and resolution as a way of quantifying overall picture quality but many professionals photographer will tell you the lens used is just as important, if not more important, than the sensor itself. The lens is the component that transmit light to the sensor enabling picture/video capture, the higher the lens quality used the better end result. The Hero 4 is designed to be a compact action camera so sacrifices were made on the lens design to keep the size small and light. The Inspire 1 is none of that and is designed to be a flying camera so the X3 FC350 uses advanced Aspherical lens elements to capture sharp and undistorted videos.
Skynamic has recently published a 4K video direct from the Inspire 1 with no retouching and the result was fantastic. You can find the video here
Moving on from the camera, we talk about the next main topic; FPV. The Inspire 1 comes with Lightbridge HD video link as standard enabling live 1080p HD stream from the camera to your iOS/Android device as well as HDMI monitors. A Lightbridge unit will cost £999.00 for your Phantom 2 and you will require a new radio system such as the Futaba 8J (£260) to make it work.
The cost of the custom Phantom 2 with these 3 main components is already up to £2340 at this point vs £2380 of the Inspire 1 and the Inspire 1 is still has many features the Phantom 2 could only dream of having. These features include
-Revolutionary transforming design allowing the landing gear to raise and not obstruct camera view
-Modular 3 Axis gimbal allowing full tilt, roll and 360 degrees yaw via a second radio system
-Latest DJI “Above A2” class Flight Controller
-6S Smart LiPo up to 5700mah with full health check and data logging via app.
-Professional grade motors and ESC with 13” Propellers
-Waypoints and Flight Data via new DJI App
-One button auto take off and landing as well as dynamic home points
-Optical Flow Technology featuring downward facing camera and ultrasonic sensors for steady indoor flight without GPS assistance.
So for the price of a fully loaded DJI Phantom 2, you are getting a RTF aircraft with a feature set that eclipses anything on the market today. We believe the Inspire 1 will bring to the professional multirotor market what the Vision+ did for the consumer hobby market by integrating all the features currently being offered in that sector in a simple, well integrated RTF package.
DJI Inspire 1 too expensive? No I don’t think so. Would I buy one? You bet.