When DJI announced the Inspire 1 drone, I didn't get it. It was a much larger and more expensive quadcopter that had only a slightly better camera attached to it. I had no interest in the Inspire 1 until they announced the new Zenmuse X5 Micro 4/3 camera/gimbal system. I currently have one and I can tell you, it's pretty amazing.
DJI sent me an Inspire 1 Pro and Zenmuse X5 system a week ago. I had a trip to NYC planned and I decided to bring it along. Being that I didn't have enough time to do a full review, I decided to film the most difficult thing I could, NYC at night. I know that my GoPro certainly wouldn't be able to shoot clean footage at this hour but I hoped that the new micro 4/3 camera and f/1.7 lens would be able to handle it.
I decided to go out at night in Brooklyn and film Manhattan from across the East River. Being that this was my first attempt at flying the Inspire 1, I made sure to fly 100% over the water, below 400 feet, and away from any people or buildings. Using my tethered iPad Air 2 I was able to set the camera and the focus remotely. The entire video was filmed at 30fps at 4k and then slowed down by 20% to 24fps. My shutter speed was 1/30th, my aperture was f/1.7, and my ISO was 800.
As you can see the footage out of the camera looks absolutely incredible. The footage has zero distortion and the noise levels are extremely low. When I got back and viewed the footage in 4k I finally realized why the Inspire 1 was created. The Phantom series drones are not big enough to hold a camera of this size.
The decision to buy a Inspire 1 and X5 camera over a Phantom 3 may not be so simple though. Although there is no doubt that the Inspire is better than the Phantom in almost every way, it certainly isn't as convenient. The last project I worked on required that I travel around the world for 3 months carrying tons of gear and a Phantom. I would not have been able to carry the Inspire 1, it's way bigger and way heavier.
I have so much more to learn about the Inspire 1 and X5 before I feel comfortable giving it a full review. This is just a first look at the amazing footage the X5 is capable of capturing. Stay tuned for the full review coming soon but until then you can see this great comparison video below.