DJI Zenmuse X7 : Cinema grade camera system released for the Inspire 2

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zenmuse x7 release blog featured

DJI have announced the X7, a compact Super 35 camera/gimbal system, pitched at high-end filmmakers. It offers cinema-grade video resolution and image quality and is designed for use with the DJI Inspire 2. It features an all-new 24MP CMOS sensor capable of 14 stops of dynamic range offering incredible detail.

The new camera supports both 6k CinemaDNG and 5.2K Apple ProRes and has enough processing power for continuous burst shooting of 24MP stills at an incredible 20fps! The system employs a new proprietary DL lens mount system to take advantage of the larger sensor and DJI have announced four new prime lenses specifically designed for it. In this blog we take a look at the specification and get professional opinion on the new system.

What is the Zenmuse X7?

Here are the headline features of the new system at a glance:

  • Inspire 2 Compatibility
  • Large Super 35 Sensor
  • 14 Stops of Dynamic Range
  • 6K CinemaDNG
  • 5.2K Apple ProRes
  • 24 MP Stills @ 20fps burst

As ever DJI have produced a launch video to demonstrate the new camera which can be seen below:

X7 : Outstanding Image quality

The stand out detail is that new S35 sensor, its huge 26.6mm diagonal length allowing for more dynamic range and a SNR of 46dB, 8 dB higher than the X5S! The 14 stops of dynamic range is up from 12.8 on the X5S. Amongst other benefits, this will provide camera operators with more shadow detail when shooting in low light.

zenmuse x7 release sensor sizeDJI have upgraded the CineCore image processing system to version 2.1. The powerhouse is now capable of recording CinemaDNG at 6k/30fps with a bit rage of 4.44 Gbps (you are going to need a CineSSD) with full FOV! The revised CineCore supports both D-Log curve and a D-Gamut RGB color spaces providing larger tonal coverage.

DL Mount DJI Lenses

Utilising the MFT lens-mount standard provided the X5S with a wide range of lenses from launch. However not all of them were truly compatible with the gimbal and often required balancing rings and adjustment. For the X7, DJI have opted to produce a new set of aerial specific lenses with a DL and DL-S mount. Designed from the ground up for the system and made from carbon fibre, they do not suffer from such compromises.

zenmuse x7 release exploded diagram

This new DJI DL-Mount measures 50mm in diameter and has a flange to focal plane distance of less than 17mm making for a really compact setup. The Camera body and gimbal weigh just 449g (bringing the total weight of the system including lens to around 630g).

zenmuse x7 release lenses alongside

Ranging from 16mm up to 50mm (with an effective 1.5x crop compared to 35mm stills) the new lenses all open up to F/2.8. They take 46mm filters (DJI recommend a max weight of 12g and no thicker than 4.4mm) and the 16mm even includes a built-in ND4 which should be ideal for fine tuning in the air. The 24 mm, 35 mm, and 50 mm lenses are equipped with leaf shutters that support a max shutter speed of up to 1/1000s and will minimise shutter roll.

DJI DL Lens comparison

Zenmuse X7 From a Pilot’s perspective

We asked our resident commercial drone operator and experience Inspire 2 pilot, Phil Harris for his opinion on the new camera system.

“Who doesn’t love new toys!? I mean, it’s fairly pricey coming from a consumers view but it’s not aimed at that market. For professional users, coming in at £7,000 for the body and lens set, it isn’t cheap but it’s not an outrageous price point.

I love the built in ND4 in the 16mm that can be switched in or out via the DJI Go 4 app, just a shame it’s not in all the lenses. The dream would be to have multiple NDs in the body like with the Sony FS5 and FS7. The range of prime lenses is good but after taking into account the crop factors, you actually have a larger variance in focal lengths with the X5S and the Olympus M.Zuiko lenses which vary from 24mm-90mm. For the pixel pushers out there, the extra 3.2MP over the X5S could be appealing

Overall with the improved SNR, dynamic range and 6K resolution, it’s definitely bridging the gap between prosumer cameras and cinema level cameras like Red and Arri but the limited payload and proprietary ASPH will still be it’s downfall.

Would I buy it? I’m happy with my X5S for now as my current line of work doesn’t require more than that but if higher end shoots come up that require it (possibly high end TV Dramas or feature films), I may consider making the leap.”

When will the Zemuse X7 be available?

At time of release DJI are currently stating shipments are 20-25 business days away, suggesting the system will be available from Mid-November. As with such a high-profile release, produced in low volume there can be some delay in supply, we will update this blog with dates as we get them.

For now you can pre-order your Zenmuse X7 camera here and the four lenses are available separately below:

zenmuse x7 release lenses walkaround

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