DJI’s Zenmuse X5 Series
DJI recently introduced two brand-new cameras under the Zenmuse X5 series, for its Inspire 1 camera platform; they are Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R. They are designed particularly for aerial cinematography and photography and are the next evolution of filmmaking and photography.
Zenmuse X5 cameras are mounted on Inspire 1 quad and controlled remotely using DJI GO app. The app features live HD view that is powered by DJI Lightbridge to allow you to see every detail of what the camera is capturing. You can also make adjustments to settings while the drone and camera are in action.
In this Zenmuse X5 review, you will learn what the cameras can do. You will also get differences and similarities of the two cameras in the series.
What they Can Do For Filmmakers and Photographers
With the Zenmuse X5 Series, independent filmmakers and aerial photographers have unlimited possibilities. The cameras are compatible with the existing DJI Inspire 1 platforms and can be used interchangeably with the Zenmuse X3 camera. That means if you already have the platform, you won’t need to buy another one for the X5 Series.
With the DJI app, controlling the drone and the camera cannot get any easier. The app allows you to have full 360 degrees control over the camera and that means you can manipulate it to capture images in any direction. The app also features quality adjustment settings such as white balance, aperture, shutter speed and many more. It has a one-tap auto focus, and you can even upload of live-stream your videos directly to YouTube. The cameras allow you control over a distance of up to one mile.
Both cameras use 16MP Four Thirds sensors technology, and the X5R can shoot lossless 4K Raw footage. That kind of technology offers incomparable images that would otherwise cost large sums of money and complicated aerial equipment.
See The Zenmuse X5 in Action
Whether you are taking still images or videos, the cameras allow you to take full control of your shots. There is room for adjusting camera and drone settings while in flight so that you can achieve unparalleled quality.
Contrary to other forms of aerial videography and photography, using Zenmuse X5 cameras reduces the time needed for setting up a film or photo set drastically. That is because both the cameras and the drone are pretty light in weight and are very easy to manage and control.
This is the first commercially available camera that uses micro four thirds system. It features a large sensor that can capture 12.8 stops of dynamic aerial range. The final result is very high-quality images that are characterized by very high resolution (up to 16 megapixels for photos and 4k, 24fps and 30fps for videos) in complex lighting environments. (see more info or buy the zenmuse X5 here)
The camera can support 4 interchangeable lenses. Apart from the additional lenses, it also has full focus control and wireless aperture. That means you can control it remotely over a distance of up to one mile.
At only 0.75 pounds, the camera can produce stabilized long-exposure photos and very smooth videos. Another added advantage is that it can also create aerial maps of very high quality and conduct drone inspections.
DJI Zenmuse X5R
This is a second unit of the Series. Although it has almost the same features as the X5, it has added advantages like the ability to record videos to an in-built microSD card and also to a removable SSD card of 512GB on its gimbal’s plate.
The X5R is unchallenged in production as it can record 4K videos with bitrates of up to 2.4Gbps (although its average is 1.7Gbps). Its D-LOG mode is a brand-new technology that offers multiple options during post-production color correction. The camera uses the same lenses and sensors as the X5.
Zenmuse X5 vs. Zenmuse X5R
Now that you have seen the main features of each camera, this section of Zenmuse X5 review will compare and contrast them so that you can see the strengths of one over the other.
The two cameras are very similar in many aspects. The following part of this Zenmuse X5 review will highlight the main similarities.
Both cameras have operating temperature of 32 to 104 F (equivalent to 0 to 40 C)
The cameras have M43 mount lenses that support auto-focus. The lenses have a focal length of 15 mm, maximum aperture of 1.7, minimum aperture of 16, in-focus distance of 0.2 m to ∞, and have an overall 36 mm. In both cameras, the lenses are replaceable.
Both cameras support four other lenses.
They both have 4/3-inch CMOS sensors
For photographs, both cameras have 16 megapixels. The maximum resolution for videos is 4096×2160 for UHD and 1920×1080 for FHD.
They both have 8 to 1/8000 s of shutter speed, ISO range of 100~25600, field of view of 15mm/ f1.7:72 and 12mm/ f2.0:84, and support files in the formats FAT32/exFAT, JPEG, DNG (for photos), MP4 and MOV (for videos)
Although the two cameras are very similar in some aspects (as listed above), they also have differences in features. Below are some of the differences.
Zenmuse X5 measures 120mm (W) x 135mm (H) x 140mm (D). On the other hand, Zenmuse X5R measures 136mm (W) x 125mm (H) x 131mm (D).
When mounted with Standard Lens, Lens Hood, Balancing Ring, and Micro SD Card Zenmuse X5 weighs 526 g while Zenmuse X5R weighs 583 g.
The X5 has a static output power of 8w and peak output power of 19w. On the contrary, the X5R has static output power of 19.5w and peak output power of 25w.
Zenmuse X5 Lenses
The X5 series has Micro Four Thirds, 3-Axis Gimbal, 15mm f/1.7 Lenses. They are among the most powerful in production. The lenses offer superb camera performance; including 12.8 stops dynamic range and single and multiple shots of 3, 5, or 7 frames.
Zenmuse Micro Four Thirds Sensors
Micro Four Thirds Sensors that are installed in Zenmuse X5 cameras are literally the epitome of videography. Basically, a Micro Four Thirds system is mirrorless and uses a ratio of 4:3 during image sensor. For that reason, it is great for compact cameras like Zenmuse X5s.
Micro Four Thirds system has a diagonal that is almost half that of the normal 35mm sensor. That gives the system a crop factor of exactly 2. The crop factor means that the depth of field is affected by a magnification of 2. The small sensor size as well as the magnification factor makes it possible for you to use a lower ISO but at the same shutter speed as any 35mm lens. Eventually, you can either shoot at a lower ISO (which will result to very low noise on the image) or lower F-stop (which results to faster shutter speed).
Either way, the two possibilities mean that regardless of the amount of light that gets into your X5 series camera, the image will still be produced looking flawless. That is part of the reason the two cameras are the best in aerial photography and filmmaking.