Hands on with the DJI Inspire 1 Pro
In this blog I share with you how the user experience differs between the DJI Inspire 1 Pro and the original Inspire 1. I also cover a couple of points that we came across when using it that are not mentioned on the DJI website but are worth noting.
Please note that this is not a side by side comparison of the hardware/software changes. You can find the specification of both aircrafts can be found on the DJI website.
I will also use this test to compare the ready-to-fly nature of the Inspire 1 in comparison with my DJI S800 I use for professional aerial filming. I want to know whether the Inspire 1 Pro is good enough to take the place of my DJI S800 or also the S900 and S1000. To see what is included with a new Inspire 1 Pro, please see our Inspire 1 Pro Unboxing post.
Flying the Inspire 1 Pro
In terms of flight characteristics, there isn’t much to say other than it flies identically to the Inspire 1. One thing worth mentioning, we found that if you are looking to capture smooth, cinematic video clips, tone down the sensitivity of the controls for both the aircraft and the gimbal. The factory default settings for the gimbal speeds are very high and the gains for the aircraft are also too high.
Inspire 1 Pro Flight Time
When we conducted our tests, there was minimal wind (average of 4mph, gusts of 7mph), and we flew in a gentle manor (not going full speed but not just hovering) to simulate your average flight.
We landed each flight when the battery voltage, under load, reached 30%.
Here are the results:
TB47 (4500mah) – 10:00 minutes
TB48 (5700mah) – 12:35 minutes
If you wanted to take the batteries down lower you would get considerably more flight time.
Inspire 1 Pro Focus Calibration
Something that still puzzles me now is the focus calibration feature. I don’t know why you should have to calibrate the lens, it’s not something you have to do out of the box with any other camera, for aerial use or otherwise, but it is seemingly necessary.
How do I calibrate the Inspire 1 Pro lens?
Out of the box, you may notice that the images seem soft and focusing isn’t too accurate. The DJI Go app will likely recognize this and prompt you to calibrate the lens. If not, you can manually activate the re-calibration process by going into the Menu, then select the settings tab represented by a spanner, then near the bottom you’ll find the ‘Calibration’ button.
Once you have pressed the ‘Calibrate Lens’ button on your DJI Go app, it will give you the option to ‘Calibrate Now’. The camera needs to be looking at a high contrast target, 50 meters away. This can be done with the aircraft on the ground or in the air. If you are doing it in the air, I recommend you use the distance reading on the app to ensure you are 50m away, face the camera at yourself and hold your position using GPS mode.
When you are hovering at a 50 meter distance, tap on the target to focus on it, then press OK. The lens should now be calibrated.
You may find you will have to re-calibrate when putting a new lens on the camera, but it will remember its settings if you revert to a lens you have previously used.
Quick Release Props
The new propellers with their updated quick release system are very easy to put on and take off and feel very secure. Like with previous propeller sets, they have designed them in such a way that physically stops you from being able to put the propeller on the wrong motor.
Attaching the Gimbal to the Aircraft
The weight and centre of gravity of the Zenmuse X5 means that unlike the Zenmuse X3 where you can simply attach the camera directly to the quick release port, the X5 has a securing catch at the back of the gimbal mount to spread the load. This undeniably makes it more fiddly but once you get used to it, it’s fairly easy.
Zenmuse X5 Test/Example Photos
Here are some still photos we took on one of our test flights. These are the un-edited JPEGs pulled straight form the SD card.
Click on the images below to enlarge.
Zenmuse X5 Test Video/Footage
Similar to the photos, this is a simple edit of some footage we captured with no colour manipulation or post stabilization.
Shot in 4K, at 30fps using the stock DJI 15mm lens with the in-camera sharpness, contrast and saturation set at netural (0) and no filters on the lens.
How does this setup compare to my DJI S800 Evo?
I like the Inspire 1 Pro, the ease of setup and being able to use the DJI Go App makes the whole process of aerial filming a doddle, which means I can focus more on the shots I am trying to produce and get better end results for my client.
Comparing it to my current, 2 year old S800 (the predecessor to the DJI S900), The DJI Inspire 1 Pro is smaller, lighter, more accurate, more agile, has more megapixels, shoots 4K, flies longer, easier to setup, performs better in the wind, logs flight details, gives you the option to change lenses and you’re able to change settings wirelessly via the single DJI go app whether it’s on the ground or in the air.
On top of this, using the smart batteries is a luxury. No more fiddly battery checks using a voltage reader that you have to connect the balance leads to. You can easily check the remaining capacity of the smart battery by a click of the battery power button and reading the LED indicators on the top (same applies to the DJI Phantom series, Inspire 1 and Matrice). Its self discharge feature also gives me one less thing to worry about after a day of shooting, I don’t need to discharge fully charged batteries to preserve their life span, the smart batteries self discharge after 10 days.
Is there anything I don’t like about the DJI Inspire 1 Pro compared to the S800? Yes, there are a few things… You can only charge one battery at a time or less you buy multiple chargers. Even if you buy the DJI Inspire Charging Hub, it only charges one at a time in sequence. The latency of Lightbridge could be an issue when shooting high speed action or where timing of a shot is critical. On the topic of the video downlink system, I don’t like that there is no simple solution for having a spare, wireless, monitor to have the live HD video on without buying a spare handset or using a cable. Another issue I can see occurring when working with film production companies is if they will take the Inspire 1 Pro seriously as it looks more like a toy compared to the S800.
All in all, having considered those points, the pros hugely out-weigh the cons by a long way!
Final Thoughts on the Inspire 1 Pro
Would I buy an Inspire 1 Pro? Yes, in fact i’ll be purchasing one myself in the near future. As a part time aerial cinematographer, having flown everything from the DJI Phantom to heavy lift octocopters, the DJI Inspire 1 Pro has now become my drone of choice. Its portability, reliability and and capabilities out weigh every other prosumer drone currently on the market.
- It has a micro four thirds sensor capable of shooting 4k footage or 16mp stills
- You have the ability to change lenses
- It’s incredibly portable and takes less than 5 minutes to set up and take down
- It has a fairly good flight time
- It has integrated HD Lighbridge video downlink
- The app has more features than I can mention in this bullet point
- And it’s a pleasure to fly
If you’re looking to upgrade to your next aerial camera platform, we stock the DJI Inspire 1 Pro along with all the accessories you may need. If you have any questions or want to find out more, send us as email or give us a call today on 01737 457404 and we’ll be more than happy to help you.