New From DJI: UAVs, Micro Four Thirds Cameras, and a Wireless Follow Focus


UAV maven DJI has announced new products to expand its Inspire 1 series of advanced quadcopters for filmmakers and aerial video enthusiasts. The Inspire 1 family now includes two new models, the Inspire 1 PRO and the Inspire 1 RAW, featuring new cameras—the Zenmuse X5 and the Zenmuse X5R, respectively. On the outside, both cameras feature large 16-megapixel Four-Thirds-sized sensors and are compatible with select Micro Four Thirds system interchangeable lenses for recording cinematic quality video.

A 15mm f/1.7 wide-angle lens can be included with both Zenmuse X5 series cameras, although they both support the separately available Panasonic 15mm f/1.7 and Olympus 12mm f/2 Micro Four Thirds lenses. Internally, both cameras can record video in DCI-4K (4096 x 2160) resolution at 23.98p and UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution at 23.98p and 29.97p to micro-SD cards in the MP4/MOV format. DJI incorporated both log and Cine-D picture styles for a post-production-friendly image with maximized dynamic range. What differentiates the Zenmuse X5R, however, is the ability to record RAW video in the CinemaDNG format to an SSD. When recording in the CinemaDNG format, the camera uses the D-LOG gamma curve for taking advantage of the 12.8 stops of dynamic range, great for filmmakers who want to make deep adjustments to their footage in post or want to incorporate advanced VFX into their aerial footage. Both cameras can use the full resolution of the sensor to capture 16-megapixel still images in either DNG raw or JPEG formats at up to 7 FPS.

DJI has also introduced the Lightbridge 2 intelligent transmitter/receiver system for control and video. Lightbridge 2 offers a real-time HD downlink and SDI, HDMI, and USB outputs on the controller for outputting video at up to full-HD (1920 x 1080) resolution at 60p. Footage can be sent to recorders or even encoders for live streaming over the Internet. Total latency has been reduced on the Lightbridge 2 system to as low as 50 milliseconds (depending on conditions), so you can integrate an FPV system with near-instant feedback as you control your UAV. Since Lightbridge 2 supports dual signal transmission, you can monitor an FPV feed and the main camera simultaneously using picture-in-picture. And with a range of up to 1.2 miles in ideal conditions, Lightbridge 2 facilitates clear visual feedback while shooting advanced sweeping shots over longer distances.

Made for filmmakers using the Zenmuse X5 and X5R cameras, DJI Ronin motorized gimbal stabilizers, or other grip equipment where the camera requires isolation, DJI has announced the Focus, an advanced and precise wireless follow focus system. The Focus transmitter can communicate with the receiver built into the DJI Focus motor for a clean and simple camera setup, requiring the motor to only be wired to a battery for power. The transmitter is programmable so the focus puller can set multiple focus points, focusing speed, and even set end points on stills lenses that have infinite focus rotation. For Zenmuse X5 and X5R users, the Focus gives you precise focus control over the attached lens without requiring a separate motor. This control allows you to execute shots with shallow depth of field and rack-focusing with relative ease.

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Don't get caught up with all the hype about this new camera/. It will look just s good as the X3 on Television. You are up filming 200 feet in the air.  An infinite focus would be all you need!

Why on earth would you want focus and shallow depth of field from the drone at altitude?

Because some people use drones more creatively than you ;) 

The remote follow focus is not for flying.  It is for DJI's other products used in video production where the camera is used in a stabilized mount being carried around by a cameraman.  The cameraman running with the camera simply has to carry the camera while a camera controller can point the camera correctly for the shot.  This device allows a second (or third) person to be able to "roll focus" on the shot. This either keeps the subject in focus or creatively shifts the focus to another spot.

George must not have any experience with color correction. The bit rate will make a huge difference even if you are delivering to television. 

I have tested the x5 and while it is better than the x3 the bit rate still leaves alot to be desired. With these new cameras exspecially the x5r you will have much more latitude when it comes to grading. Also if you are flying over someting like a forest or something with a ton of detail the compression breaks up terribly, this wont happen on the x5r.

As for shallow depth of field there are plenty of ocasions where i would use this especially with photography. Say i was taking the top of a spire or lighthouse i may choose to have the background more out of focus, or maybe i want to start on a subject and have a shallow depth of field up close and pull back to a wide shot. this this i can acheve that.. So my question is  Why on earth would you not want it?