The DJI Inspire 1 is an incredible drone. In my tests and comparison of the X3, X5 and X5R cameras on the DJI Inspire 1 Pro I found that especially the Zenmuse X5R RAW camera delivers amazing images in 4K. But what about X5 ND filtration? On sunny days just closing the iris is not enough. So which is the best ND Filter for the DJI Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R cameras used on the DJI Inspire drone and DJI Osmo handheld gimbal? The Best DJI X5 ND Filter I found 5 6 different ND filters I could test both with the DJI Inspire 1 RAW and with the DJI Osmo RAW and compared them to each other that is both compatible withe the Zenmuse X5 and the Zenmuse X5R camera. First I compared the filters in the field under varying light conditions, then I did another comparison in our test lab. Check out the video to see the results. Here’s an overview of the different filters I tested and their properties explained. In the conclusion I will summarize my findings and recommendations. Polraoid VariND Weight: 15g ND filtration: 1-8 stops Weight balancing: filter, extension ring and 49mm fotasy lens hood (EU: Link) The Polaroid VariND is the most affordable of all the filters. It performed well, just had a slight orange tint. There are no hard stops, so it is not as convenient to use as the B+W. In order to be ok with gimbal weight you should use an extension ring and 49mm lens hood. The original DJI lens hood can not be used when this filter is on. The filter has no IR cut. US: BUY HERE EU: BUY HERE B+W XS-Pro MRC VariND Weight: 26g ND filtration: 1-5 stops Weight balancing: filter and 49mm fotasy lens hood (EU: Link) The B+W XS-Pro MRC VariND is a lot more expensive than the Polaroid, but build quality is excellent, it has hard stops and it looks quite neutral with a slight orange shift similar to the Polaroid. In order to be ok with gimbal weight you should use 49mm lens hood. The original DJI lens hood can not be used when this filter is on. The filter has no IR cut. US: BUY HERE EU: BUY HERE Heliopan VariND Weight: 49g ND filtration: 1-6 stops Weight balancing: Too heavy. Filter is not recommeneded. The Heliopan VariND feels like a solid product. It has hard stops and accurate markings and the image looks very neutral. Only at the far end I noticed an ND cross, so the ND filtration was not even. Unfortunately this filter is too heavy as an X5 ND or X5R ND. The filter has no IR cut. BUY HERE Tiffen XLE Series Intermediate 3.0 IRND Weight: 13g ND filtration: 10 stops Weight balancing: filter, DJI weight ring, and 46mm fotasy lens hood The Tiffen XLE Intermediate IRND filters 10 stops of light and has an IR cut built in. This was too much even for a sunny day and the IR cut turned my image green to counter magenta shift. The result was not neutral, so this option is not for me. BUY HERE Tiffen XLE Series Premiere IRND 3.0 Hot Mirror Weight: 13g ND filtration: 10 stops Also available in: Weight balancing: filter, DJI weight ring, and 46mm fotasy lens hood Just like the intermediate, this Tiffen XLE Hot Mirror IRND filters 10 stops of light. Too much exposure reduction for my tastes and the IR cut turned my image green. I was not happy with the result. If you need a good IR cut filter this Hot Mirror seems better suited than the intermediate option though. BUY HERE Formatt Hitech Firecrest IRND 1.5 Weight: 8g ND filtration: 5 stops Also available in: 1 stop, 2 stops, 3 stops, 4 stops, 6 stops, 7 stops, 8 stops, 9 stops, 10 stops Weight balancing: filter, DJI weight ring, and 46mm fotasy lens hood Just like the two Tiffen filters, this Formatt Hitech Firecrest filter has no variable ND functionality. It filters 5 stops of light and according to the manufacturer there is also an Infrared filtration built in. The image was very neutral and had a slight blue shift that I liked. It is the lightest of all the filters tested and not too expensive. US: BUY HERE EU: BUY HERE Conclusion For me the Formatt Hitech Firecrest IRND 1.5 was the ideal filter for sunny shoots. The neutral image looks clean, it is light and affordable and even has some IR reduction, though I did not seem to need that when testing the other filters. As a VariND the B+W seemed like the best option. Especially for the DJI Osmo as an X5 ND it would be ideal with hard stops and a clean image. As a budget option the Polraoid would also do the job, but another adapter ring is needed to balance it properly. I hope this review was helpful for you. If it was please consider buying your gear through our recommended retailer’s links. And if you worked with any of the filters or other X5 ND filters please let me know about your experience in the comments.Read 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
DJI just announced the introduction of a drone zoom camera called the DJI Zenmuse Z3. It is an upgrade to the popular Zenmuse X3, which is their entry level integrated drone camera used on the DJI Inspire 1 and DJI Osmo. The Zenmuse Z3 will offer a zoom of up to 7x. That is a 3.5x optical zoom with a digital scaler doing the rest. Although the press release indicates this zoom camera is aimed mainly at industrial applications such as inspection and surveying, it certainly also gives filmmakers interesting new possibilities. A different focal length can come in handy in many filming situations. The Zenmuse Z3 is compatible with the Inspire 1, Matrice 100 and Matrice 600 drones. Unfortunately it will not be compatible with the DJI Osmo, though a separate version for the Osmo will apparently be launched in August. It can capture the same 30fps 4K video and 12mp dng stills as the Zenmuse X3, so we can assume the quality will be similar. The higher-priced Zenmuse X5 and X5R offer much better quality in comparison (see our test video here). The DJI Zenmuse Z3 is integrated into the DJI GO app and uses a swipe gesture to zoom in and out. The effective zoom range of the DJI Zenmuse Z3 is 22 mm to 77 mm on its Sony 1/2.3-inch sensor, and it has a maximum aperture of F/2.8 and F/5.2 at 22 millimeters and 77 millimeters respectively. While low quality is a concern, this is certainly a step in the right direction for DJI. I think we can assume that an upgraded lens for the Zenmuse X5 and X5R is on its way, which may offer the same kind of zooming functionality via their app. The only negative news about this announcement is that it might stir up people’s privacy concerns even more. The “I cannot zoom in anyway!” argument will certainly not hold water any longer.Read 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
For their new DJI Inspire 1 and X5 RAW quadcopters DJI introduces a new drone follow focus system that is also compatible with the DJI Ronin. Just two weeks ago we reported about the new DJI Inspire 1 Pro, X5R Drone, one of the most advanced affordable camera drones that are equipped with a micro four thirds camera and RAW capabilities. Here’s DJI’s drone follow focus that integrates with their existing remotes and allows accurate focusing on Inspire drones and also the DJI Ronin and Ronin-M. The Focus features a handheld remote controller (transmitter) with a focussing knob to give you the feel of a traditional mechanical follow focus. The wireless system sports a range of up to 330′ line-of-sight with a delay of 14ms. The DJI Wireless Follow Focus System uses the existing wireless connection of Zenmuse Z5 series of camera/gimbals systems, thus it is also compatible with the DJI Ronin and Ronin-M handheld gimbal stabilizers and comes a a kit with a motor for those. The system including the motor is $1,999 and is said to be available in October (LINK) The standalone drone follow focus (hand-unit only) will connect to the DJI Inspire 1 remote and cost $999 (LINK)Read more
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