DJI has unveiled the first full featured, professional quality aerial camera for cinematographers. The Zenmuse X7 is designed to work primarily with the Inspire 2 video camera drone to produce high fidelity imaging for film makers.
Often, professional content creators have had to resort to complicated and tedious camera rigs or average quality drone cameras to capture aerial shots. DJI says that the X7 is the highest resolution integrated drone camera, making it ideal for the most demanding of filming projects.
Whether it is an advertisement, a nature documentary or the film set of the next big blockbuster, the X7 is perfect.
Here is a 4-minute video introduction by DJI.
To give you an idea of what the X7 can produce, take a look at this sample reel made by DJI.
The most notable feature is the new super 35mm sensor that drastically improves the capabilities of the X7 camera.
- It supports 6K CinemaDNG RAW video output at 30fps and 5.2K Apple ProRes. This makes it perfect for a wide range of applications including high-end film sets. The camera captures so much more detail than you would get with other drone cameras.
- 14-stops dynamic range. The versatility provided by this camera easily matches that of professional ground cinematography cameras. The high dynamic range allows the camera to shoot high-contrast scenes without losing clarity. For instance when shooting pictures of the sky and ground. Note that the X7’s dynamic range is higher than that of standard DSLRs and equal to that of most cinematography rigs.
- Low light cinematography. The X7 works well in a wide variety of lighting environments. Whether you are shooting under a sunny sky or getting aerial shots of the city at night, the quality remains the same. The large sensor is able to maintain quality and keep noise down even in low light situations.
- Less noise, more contrast. The X7 has a 46dB SNR (signal to noise ratio). This allows it to produce crisp imagery in different kinds of situations. Its high tonal range – as high as 9.41 bits – adds more detail to the imagery.
- It’s not just about video. The DJI Zenmuse X7 can also shoot stills at 24 MP. So it’s also an apt tool for professional photographers who want extremely high quality images.
Simply put, this is one of the most powerful consumer drone cameras. Combined with the legendary prowess of the Inspire 2, it satisfies the needs of the most demanding professionals.
Back in the post-production lab, professionals have to work within tight limits to enhance the imagery without marring the original quality.
With the X7, DJI provides editors with more flexibility to play around with exposure, colors and lighting without compromising the integrity of the film.
They have introduced the DJI Cinema Color System or DCCS which preserves color accuracy. This makes post-production much easier and results in imagery that is more realistic and immersive.
The DCCS is ideal for multiple applications including films, documentaries, TV shows and commercials.
A Light Weight But Powerful Platform
As I mentioned, the Zenmuse X7 is made primarily for the Inspire 2 drone, one of the most popular film making drones.
To make full use of the X7’s potential the Inspire 2 is has the new CineCore 2.0 image processing system. It can easily handle the 6K video output from the camera.
The combined X7-Inspire 2 platform weighs just 4KG, a huge improvement in film sets where aerial imagery setups can weigh several dozen kilograms. This gives the drone better maneuverability and extended flying times. The camera itself weighs just 449 grams.
Availability and Prices
The Zenmuse X7 is currently available on DJI’s official website with a base price of $2,699. Note that this does not include a lens.
There are four lenses to choose from: a 16mm, 24mm, 35mm and 50mm DL lenses. Individually, each lens costs just over a $1,000. But you save money if you buy the set of four together at $4,299.
The X7 camera comes with a DL-Mount system which makes it easy to quickly switch between different lenses.
The whole setup is not cheap. If you are starting from scratch, buying the Inspire 2, 4-lens set and main X7 camera will set you back more than $10,000. But the power and capability of the entire platform matches what you would pay tens of thousands for if you sought traditional aerial imagery solutions.
This one is more versatile, convenient, better for your budget and easier to use.