Two weeks ago we were impressed when the new ultra-compact DJI Mavic Pro was announced. As a drone enthusiast of course I had to get my hands on this new tech and compare it to the DJI Phantom 4 and Inspire 1. Here is our DJI Mavic Pro review where we look at image quality in particular. If you are interested in our free DJI Mavic Pro LUTs, you can download those here. DJI Mavic Pro Review – Image Quality Several early Mavic Pro review videos currently circle the web, where testers claim that the Mavic Pro image is much softer than previous drone generations. In light of the already limited 4K quality of drones like the Phantom 4 or Inspire 1, this claim made little sense, so we set out to get our hands on our own early DJI Mavic Pro review sample to check and here is our observation. DJI Mavic Pro Camera It seems like most reviewers out there were not aware that the DJI Mavic has a built-in “tap autofocus” system, like the Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R cameras for DJI Osmo and DJI Inspire 1. If you forget to autofocus, your image will eventually be out of focus. And if you compare this out of focus image to other drone footage, of course it will be softer. So after a tap autofocus and after aligning the image of the DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Phantom 4 and DJI Inspire 1 (Zenmuse X3) I concluded that the image of all three cameras is very similar in quality. 600% crops of 4K images For HD productions the image quality of the DJI Mavic is acceptable. If you use a LUT, like our free cinema5D instaLUT for Mavic, or any other grading process, it is possible to get a nice image from the DJI Mavic Pro, just like I showed you in my Mastering Drone Footage series. On the other hand, the image of all these drones is far inferior to other cameras or the DJI Inspire 1 RAW for that matter. (Check out our detailed comparison here: LINK) Unfortunately the data rate on the DJI Mavic is still 60 Mbps, just like on the Phantom 4 and Inspire 1 and for anyone who is a bit more serious about filmmaking 60 Mbps is hardly enough. Again, for HD productions the image will be mostly fine, but if you aim higher or would like to crop into an image the quality could be better. Considering the small size and intelligent sensor technology built into the Mavic (read all about Mavic’s high tech here), this drone is still an impressive piece of technology that will be very useful on any smaller documentary style production where weight and size is an issue. DJI Mavic Pro Review – Pro’s & Con’s Here is my summary of pro’s and con’s for the DJI Mavic Pro: PRO’s ultra-compact and lightweight ergonomic and foldable remote 27 minute flight time stability, easy to fly intelligent flight modes and sensors 4K image comparable to Phantom 4 & Inspire 1 65 km / h, fast speed CON’s Same low bitrate as previous drones Low dynamic range as previous drones Vertical angle of camera is limited Tap Autofocus is a source for errors In conclusion this is the best compact drone money can buy right now. If you want higher quality get a DJI Inspire 1 RAW. Otherwise, the DJI Mavic Pro is highly recommended. If you are interested in our free DJI Mavic Pro LUTs, you can download those here. We hope you liked our DJI Mavic Pro Review and comparison to Phantom 4 and Inspire 1. If you have any thoughts on the matter let us know in the comments. Song by: Art-List.ioRead more
Leading drone and gimbal manufacturer, DJI, announced a new camera addition to their popular Osmo handheld gimbal line today: the DJI Osmo+. The DJI Osmo+ integrates the Zenmuse Z3 camera, until now only available for DJI Drones, to the Osmo line and brings with it optical zoom and adds the ability to shoot motion timelapse, all controllable through the DJI Go app (on both iOS & Android). DJI’s Osmo holds an interesting place in the gimbal market with a relatively low price point, when compared to DJI’s own Ronin and Freefly’s Movi system, and its integrated camera is tailored more to a prosumer crowd of shooters in my opinion. It seems clear that DJI is working to move its lowest cost gimbal into the professional arena with both the DJI Osmo+ and the Osmo RAW. Ideally as a professional filmmaker you would probably want the Zoom functionality of the new DJI Osmo+ with the image quality of the Zenmuse X5 and X5R cameras (See our in-depth quality comparison between the different Osmo cameras HERE). Key Features of the DJI Osmo+ Include: Video – 4K/30fps video and 1080p/120fps with improved sound capture. Stills – 12 megapixel stills in Adobe DNG RAW. Motion Timelapse – Osmo+ has a motion timelapse function. From DJI: “Mark where you want the camera movement to start and end, and tap ‘Start’ to create moving timelapses without additional specialist equipment.” Note: The DJI Osmo + camera is not designed to be mounted on current DJI Drones. For that, you’ll need the Zenmuse Z3.Read more
Filmconvert has just announced their latest camera profile, this time for the DJI Osmo X3 camera. As it is the same piece of hardware internally, the Phantom 4 and Inspire 1 are also included in this free update. Get the Filmconvert Treatment for the Osmo X3 Not so long ago, a log gamma curve for in-camera aquisition was something you could only find in really high end cinema cameras. As time goes by, nearly every decent camera in the market is capable of capturing footage with a higher dynamic range than plain Rec709. At that point, a handy piece of software called Filmconvert comes into play. It not only converts log footage back into good looking imagery, but also adds film grain and certain looks of actual film stocks. Now, even the tiny DJI Osmo X3 camera gets its own Filmconvert profile. For such a small sensor as the Sony 1/2.3″ model, it’s even more important to treat the resulting footage in a way that takes away the digital harshness which is typical for sensors of this type. Oftentimes it comes with a strong video-esque look due to the very deep DOF and other things like ugly moiré patterns. The Osmo X3, just as the Phantom 4 on-board camera, is capable of shooting in D-Log, which is a custom gamma curve created by the engineers at DJI. With it you’ll get a flat looking image, but it has a much higher dynamic range in return. In order to revert that washed out footage back to normal in post, Filmconvert is here to help with its now released profile for that very camera. How to Filmconvert Your Footage Step one: You need to apply the Filmconvert effect from within your favorite NLE such as Premiere Pro CC or, if you’ve already finished editing your piece, it’s available for DaVinci Resolve, too. There’s even a standalone version, but for me it’s much easier to stay in my application of choice and work from there. (Tip: add an adjustment layer on top of your footage and drag the filmConvert effect there to avoid individual FilmConvert clip corrections. Then do minor needed changed on the video clip itself). Step two: Choose the correct profile, in this example the DJI Osmo X3 profile. This will transform the log footage back into the realm of Rec709. Step three: Now you can choose your favorite film stock, such as Kodak 5207 Vision 3, and tweak the settings to your likings. Usually, the amount of film grain is a bit too high, at least to my liking. There you go: after that, your footage will suffer less from that harsh video look. These steps are valid for every available camera profile, of course. Conclusion I really appreciate the progress in which Filmconvert develops new profiles for different cameras. The DJI Osmo X3 is certainly not the best camera in the world, but with the help of its D-Log profile and the Filmconvert treatment it actually looks kind of nice! One more thing to have in mind: you should get a variable ND filter for that camera! Since it lacks a variable aperture, the X3 has to increase the shutter rate like crazy, which results in ugly jittering. It’s a good idea to tackle the problem in the first place by setting the camera to manual (1/50 shutter and ISO 100 for example) and controlling the exposure with the variND only. Filmconvert is $149 for one host application or $219 for the complete bundle, check out their site for more information. Download the new profile on the Filmconvert.com websiteRead more
We’ve been testing the new DJI Zenmuse X5 and X5R RAW cameras recently and we were really curious to see how they compare to the standard Zenmuse X3. If you’re interested to see the quality difference between the DJI Inspire 1 vs. DJI Inspire 1 PRO vs. Inspire 1 RAW check out this video we shot. When we looked at the difference between the Zenmuse X5 and X5R cameras we found that the X5 can’t really compete with the fine RAW quality of the X5R. However it was unclear wether the upgrade to an X5 was worth it in terms of image quality. The X3 is the camera that sits on the normal DJI Inspire 1 drone as well as the DJI Osmo. Both devices can be upgraded with a Zenmuse X5 or Zenmuse X5R camera (The Osmo X5 adapter is needed for the Osmo upgrade) DJI Inspire 1 vs. DJI Inspire 1 PRO vs. Inspire 1 RAW – Verdict So how good is the Zenmuse X5? Looking at the footage we shot it is clear that the Zenmuse X5R resolve much more color gradations than both other cameras. Also, as previously analyzed in our lab test, we can see how the codec and processing of the Zenmuse X5 looses a lot of information with heavy compression. What surprised us was that clearly the Zenmuse X5 resolves more detail than the Zenmuse X3. This is mainly true in full 4K though. When watched on an HD screen the difference is neglectable. In terms of color both cameras seem to have very low color resolution and dynamic range, resulting in a very washed out image that is not easy to grade in post-production. Processing on the Zenmuse X5 seems to be much cleaner though. While we don’t like the magenta tint all over the image, the end result seems more like a flat “LOG” image than the one we get from the Zenmuse X3, even though both cameras were set to “D-LOG”. Testing Environment This test setup was not perfect and not scientific. The X3 and the X5 have very different focal lengths so it is hard to truly compare them side by side. We wanted to take the chance to get a rough feeling of how the 3 cameras perform and especially what the difference between the X3 and X5 truly is. We hope the video gives you some insights on this topic. All cameras were used on the same DJI Osmo, with similar (X3) or identical (x5 and X5R) exposure settings and under full sunlight within a 15 minute timeframe. The filming position was changed for the X3 due to the different focal length. What do you think? Now you’ve seen the 3 cameras side by side. What do you think about their quality, especially in terms of a DJI Inspire 1 vs. DJI Inspire 1 PRO vs. Inspire 1 RAW comparison. Is it worth the upgrade to the X5, or would you go all the way to the X5R?Read more
We’ve been busy testing DJI’s latest “toy”, the Zenmuse X5R RAW camera used on the DJI Osmo handheld gimbal and DJI Inspire 1 drone. In our lab test, we found that the Zenmuse X5R can achieve amazing image quality. But with a pricetag of $3200 it is less attractive than its almost identical, half-priced twin: the Zenmuse X5. In this test, we look at the differences between the X5 vs. X5R. The Differences Between the Zenmuse X5 vs. X5R The main difference between the two cameras is easy to spot. The Zenmuse X5R records RAW dng sequences to very expensive DJI SSD media while the Zenmuse X5 records to a low bitrate h.264 format. Everything else is the same. The same micro 4/3 sensor, the same lens (if you get the lens kit version), the same gimbal. So, in order to pick the right camera we really need to know how big the quality difference between the two cameras is. Let’s take a look in the lab: X5 vs. X5R in the Lab Here is where it gets interesting. In our X5R dynamic range test, we saw that the X5R can achieve about 12 stops of usable dynamic range. In comparison, the X5 gets only about 9 stops. Our software only measures noise and does not take the color changes in the last steps into account, which would more fairly rate the X5 at 7 usable stops in my personal opinion. Note that the X5 records 2 stops less in the highlights, so the test was done at F/2.8 on the X5R and F/5.6 on the X5. When we look at the recording from the test chart we can immediately see a striking difference in image quality. There is a lot of banding and the codec washes out a lot of parts of the image. The lower strips of the dynamic range chart in particular are displayed soft and without any detail. What does this mean? This means that the X5 will have a much, much harder time in high contrast scenes, such as when you’re filming a landscape on a sunny day or in scenes where the sun is your backlight. This is especially common in drone filming. The X5 seems to have a dynamic range more comparable to the old X3 camera that comes with the normal DJI Inspire 1. Let’s look at image quality in detail now: Image Quality of the X5 vs. X5R There is a vast difference in image quality between the Zenmuse X5 and the X5R. We applauded the image quality of the RAW version of the X5R when we compared it to professional cinema cameras on the market. The Zenmuse X5, however, performs really poorly. The image reminds me of the Zenmuse X3. Color gradations are extremely poor. Each of the thread spools I filmed is made up of a few shades of color and that’s it. Any other 8 bit camera is better than this. In practice, this means virtually no room for color grading. Of course, you can always apply a LUT, like you could on the X3. In terms of detail, in the highlight areas the camera performs well, though the X5R can retain the image quality better. The X5 image is also sharpened, which makes it look less natural. The X5 performs better here than the X3. When we look at the shadow areas, we see that we quickly lose detail. Here’s how the lack of dynamic range looks in practice: the codec and processing seems to be so bad, that any image detail is lost in the shadow areas. Sharpened edges and a weird magenta tint kick the image to its doom. Other Differences X5 vs. X5R Battery Life On a fully charged Osmo battery, the Zenmuse X5 camera runs 59 minutes. The Zenmuse X5R on the other hand is very battery hungry and drains that same battery in 26 minutes (Test was conducted with continuous recording on both cameras). When used on a DJI Inspire, we also noticed that the battery life of the X5R makes your flying times much shorter. Noise People have reported about the noisy sound of the Zenmuse X5R’s tiny fans. Indeed, when running with an Omso X5R as we did in our field test, the X5R can be quite problematic for audio. Surprisingly the Zenmuse X5 is only a little less loud as it also emits a fan sound that can ruin quiet recordings. In a very simple test we measured room ambience at 35db, the X5 at 55db and the X5R at 60db. Both at a distance of 10cm. Note that the X5R noise is higher pitched and thus more unpleasant to the ears. Media The Zenmuse X5 is very practical as it only uses Micro SD cards. A decent MicroSD card including a reader, costs $15. In comparison the X5R requires DJI SSD media that costs $1000 per 512GB card. Unfortunately RAW needs much faster write speeds and more storage. This will be a huge problem for many. But for professionals, used to a RAW workflow it is manageable. Verdict The Zenmuse X5R impressed us when we compared it to other cinema cameras and in our field test earlier this month, so we were really curious how the the Zenmuse X5 would hold up. At the end of the day the only difference between the two cameras is a different recording functionality. During this test we quickly realized that the Zenmuse X5R’s RAW capabilities make a huge difference when it comes to image quality and dynamic range. Apparently the X5 processing and compression is very basic and a lot of information seems to get “lost in translation”. Dynamic range suffers so much that it degrades the final output to only 7 honest usable stops in comparison to the X5R’s 12 stops. The Zenmuse X5 strengths are its very low weight, the interchangeable lens design, autofocus functionality and 4K resolution. Even though the detail and colour resolution of the X5R is better, the X5 can still deliver some nice images when used in a semi-professional way. The only question that remains is wether the X5 makes any sense over the “old” Zenmuse X3 that comes with every basic Osmo and DJI Inspire 1. The simple answer to that question: With the autofocus functionality of the X5 the Osmo really makes sense. But on a drone the X5 might not be a huge step after the X3 and you should think twice about the upgrade. We have a comparison between the X3, X5 and X5R coming up later today. After spending a little more time with the Zenmuse X5R on the Osmo and on an Inspire drone, I can confidently say that it produces amazing results that still impress me and the Zenmuse X5 is certainly no match. At the end of the day your budget and workflow possibilities will probably impact your decision here. The X5R has a premium pricetag, especially with the expensive SSD media and a more complicated and storage intense workflow. With all the facts on the table now we’re interested in your verdict and how each of you can see these cameras in your own workflows. Let us know in the comments.Read more
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