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DJI Inspire Zenmuse X5 Camera Upgrade

Update: It’s official, DJI have now released 2 fantastic camera upgrades for the Inspire 1. The DJI Zenmuse X5 is now available to pre-order and so is the DJI Zenmuse X5R (RAW) with integrated 512GB SSD drive.

DJI’s Inspiration event counted down to launch a new product in a similar way they did with their Inspire 1 teaser. It was highly anticipated and it resulted in the release of a new camera system for the Inspire 1, called the Zenmuse X5. The Zenmuse X5 camera comes in two forms, the Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R with the ‘R’ standing for RAW.

The Inspire 1 X5 Camera utiltises the Micro Four Thirds standard that DJI signed up to in February thus allowing an incredibly high quality camera in a relatively light weight package which has inter-changeable lenses. So….When is the new camera available? And can you upgrade your Inspire 1 camera to the X5?

What is Micro Four Thirds?

Micro 4/3 LogoMicro four thirds or M4/3 is a system that aims to vastly reduce the size and weight of digital cameras with interchangeable lenses, while keeping the same quality of pictures as seen in larger professional stills cameras. The idea is to make professional cameras more portable and accessible. So to cut to the chase, DJI can potentially get professional quality photos and videos from a ready-to-fly, lightweight aircraft; such as the Inspire 1. High-end photography was previously limited to DJI’s high-end line, such as the S900 and S1000+.

This has the potential to really raise the bar for aerial photography.

Benefits of the Zenmuse X5 Camera

Imagine having a professional camera system, such as a Panasonic GH4, fitted to an aircraft, with fantastic camera control from the ground, and a live-HD view to see what you’re capturing. This is what DJI have created with the new X5 camera system.

One of the main gripes people had with the X3 camera was the quality of still pictures. They were not up to scratch compared to the fantastic 4K video footage. DJI appear to have addressed this issue on the X5 and are aiming to give users the ability to shoot Panasonic GH4-quality photos from the air. The sensor size has been increased to 17.3 x 13.0 mm (8 times larger!) and there are now a whopping 16.0M effective pixels (25% more than the original Inspire 1 camera). Not only that, but the ISO range is now 100~25600 meaning much better handling in low light situations. Expect to see much clearer and sharper photos as a result.

Examples of videos from the Inspire 1 X5 Camera

    1. Action Sports Shooout

Examples of stills from the Inspire 1 X5 Camera

  1. Mountain

Zenmuse X5 Mountain

2. City Skyline

Zenmuse X5 Example Photo - City Skyline

3. Sea Sunset

Zenmuse X5 Example - Beach Sunset

How can I buy the new camera?

To get your hands on the new camera you will need to either upgrade your existing Inspire 1, or if you do not own an Inspire you can buy the Inspire 1 Pro, or Inspire 1 RAW, these includes everything required to fly, including the new DJI MFT lens.

Upgrade your Inspire 1 to the X5 Camera – £1,901

We are extremely pleased that existing Inspire 1 owners can upgrade to the new X5 camera without having to buy a new aircraft. DJI have done an ingenious job of making the larger X5 camera fit on the Inspire 1. You will need to make sure you purchase the Zenmuse X5 Gimbal Mounting Board to attach the camera, which is available as a bundle with the Inspire 1 Zenmuse X5 Camera on our website. Once you have purchased the camera and mounting board, fitting is straight forward and you will be ready to fly in no time.

Inspire 1 Pro – £3,699

Those without an Inspire 1 can purchase the whole package ready-to-fly. The Inspire 1 Pro includes the new X5 Camera which is bundled with the DJI MFT lens and everything required to fly out of the box.

  • Ready-to-fly Professional Aerial Camera System
  • Micro Four Thirds standard with changeable lenses

Inspire 1 Raw – £5,189

The Inspire 1 Raw includes the Zenmuse X5R camera system with the aircraft. It features the same great camera system as the X5, however is made for high-end video production, and can shoot RAW 4K videos capable of an amazing 2.4Gbps bitrate. This package also includes a built-in 512GB SSD to store the RAW data.

  • Capture RAW Video Footage
  • Includes 512GB SSD
  • Includes 2 Transmitters

Take-that GoPro

Differentiating their aerial quadcopters from GoPro video has been DJI’s direction ever since the Phantom 2 Vision+ which included it’s own integrated camera. Following on from this is the current Phantom 3 Range that feature improved imagery and no Go-Pro fish-eye that is common with their wide angle lens. It was always a hot topic whether the Phantom 3 Professional takes better video than the GoPro Hero 4 Black and although we prefer the no fish-eye images from the Phantom 3, it has to be said that the Phantom 3 is made more for video than stills.

This new release, aimed at cinematographers and professional photographers shows a real push for quality photography, where-as several manufactures get caught up in a “mine has more megapixels than yours” battle, any photographer will be excited with the potential of getting this sort of camera in the air.

The potential for this camera with it’s larger sensor has vastly improved the end results by bringing in better light sensitivity without an increase in noise.

All-in-one Package

By integrating a professional camera in to the Inspire, DJI have been able to take advantage of their proven Lightbridge system to a level that has not been possible before. The DJI-Go App, Lightbridge, Inspire and Micro Four Thirds camera will sure to be an excellent match. The MFT has allowed the X5 camera system to be compatible with the following lenses.

The specifications of the DJI MFT lens are certainly nothing to be sniffed at. A few key features of it are the 72 degree field of view, auto-focus support, and a 20cm-infinite focus range.

  • DJI MFT 15mm f/1.7 ASPH Prime Lens
  • Panasonic 15mm f1.7 Leica Summilux DG ASPH lens
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens

Zenmuse X5 Compatible Lenses

Other Lenses now compatible

The firmware on the Inspire Pro has been updated, and now supports a wider range of lenses. We tested the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 lens on the Inspire Pro.


What about the Inspire 1 Handheld Camera Gimbal?

Update: Now launched is the DJI Osmo, a handheld gimbal suitable for the original DJI Inspire Zenmuse X3 camera and also the Zenmuse X5 cameras. This will allow stabilised footage, with sound, from the ground. The DJI Osmo is available now, and if you want to buy without the camera then you can buy the DJI Osmo Handle Kit.

To see the Osmo in more detail, checkout our DJI Osmo Hands-on Review.

Back at CES 2015 in February, DJI announced the Inspire Handheld Gimbal, which will put your Inspire 1 X3 camera in a stabilised gimbal in the palm of your hand. Release of this seems to have been delayed somewhat, as DJI did plan a release in Q2 of 2015.

Want to buy one from RC Geeks?

It’s always a wise idea to purchase products such as this from professionals, RC Geeks have years of experience with quadcopters and aerial photography systems, and are a highly regarded partner of DJI Innovations. Should you have any queries on the Inspire 1 Pro and Zenmuse X5 camera please get in touch via e-mail or phone on 01737 457404.

Inspire 1 Pro Release Date

DJI have stated that shipping for the Inspire 1 Pro starts towards to the end of September, with the standalone gimbals due in October. We’d take these figures with a pinch of salt due to the demand for DJI’s products, however as a main dealer we should have stock as early as is possible in the UK.

All DJI’s products have been incredibly popular at launch, we recommend pre-ordering to reserve your place in the queue and avoid lengthy delays in waiting for stock. Now announced is the Zenmuse X5 and the Zenmuse X5R camera systems. Also available is the Inspire 1 Pro that includes the X5 camera system.

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