DJI has unveiled a new hexa-rotor addition to its high end line. The Matrice 600, in spite of its namesake, in many ways more closely resembles the Spreading Wings S900 than the Matrice 100, which came before it. This new platform is designed, in particular, for professional aerial imaging applications, and will pair with DJI’s range of Zenmuse Z15 gimbals, Zenmuse X series cameras, and the also unveiled Ronin-MX.
Probably the most notable update we’ll see in the Matrice 600 is the all-new A3 flight controller, which will be replacing the A2. A GNSS-based flight controller, as the previous A2, it features an adaptive design that automatically adjusts to varying payloads. It is fault tolerant, designed to recover in the event of a single-motor failure so that the aircraft can be landed safely. The A3 can be optionally upgraded to the A3 Pro with the addition of two upgrade kits, for triple redundancy—a crucial feature when flying high-priced equipment or relying on waypoint autopilot navigation. The GNSS system can similarly be updated to add Real Time Kinematic (RTK) support for navigation with centimeter-level accuracy.
The flight controller integrates Lightbridge 2. This technology beams a live, low-latency feed at up to 1080p/60fps. The image can be view by connecting an HDMI or SDI monitor to the controller or tethering a tablet via USB. Accompanying Lightbridge is the DJI GO app, for high granularity of control beyond what the controller (transmitter) offers. A complete ground station solution, the app not only shows flight vitals and enables access to aircraft settings; it also offers camera control when using a Zenmuse X-series camera.
On the gimbal front, DJI has added a new baby to the Ronin line, the Ronin-MX. In terms of camera compatibly, it compares to the Ronin-M in that it is suitable for payloads up to 10 lb (the Ronin-M takes around 8 lb). This makes it ideal for compact cinema cameras. The gimbal itself, being constructed primarily from aluminum, weighs around 6 lb. Not only does this low weight make handholding a lot less tiring (but still a workout), it means that it can be mounted on vehicles with minimal impact to vehicle handling. Additionally, it is compatible with the new Matrice 600, discussed above.
Assuming it will be mounted and not handheld, the gimbal can achieve a full 360 degrees of rotation. Furthermore, it can tilt beyond straight down, to 135 degrees. Other improvements include a more efficient drive system, making it 50% more powerful than the Ronin-M, as well as a stiffer frame for better rigidity when mounted on a moving vehicle. For power-hungry cameras like the RED EPIC, it is possible to attach a second battery plate so that a separate DJI Intelligent Battery can be used to power the camera and/or other 12V accessories.
The Ronin-MX can be controlled in a number of ways. There is a “Solo” mode, which requires the optional Wireless Thumb Controller. Dual operator mode involves one operator handling the gimbal while the second uses an RC-transmitter-style controller to pan and tilt the camera. And, finally, there is Lightbridge integration. This enables app-based control through the GO App. A universal Quick Release system that doubles as a vibration dampener allows the Ronin-MX to be connected to everything from jib to tripod and anything in between.
Stay tuned to the B&H website for more on these and other exciting new products from NAB 2016!