DJI’s brand new ZenMuse X7 camera is currently the best camera on the market for high end aerial cinematography, period.
Although there are plenty of drone-compatible cameras out there that work fine for aerial cinematography, most of them aren’t ideally suited for high end work on movie sets or other professional productions. The majority of the drone cameras out there simply don’t offer the high quality lenses, image quality, or resolution found in the ground cameras you see being used on movie sets.
This is a problem DJI has tackled head-on with the release of the X7.
About the X7
The ZenMuse X7 is a Super 35 digital camera made specifically for professional aerial cinematography, and is compatible with the DJI Inspire 2 drone.
The X7’s big S35 sensor lets you shoot 6K RAW video in CinemaDNG format. It comes with an integrated gimbal and 14 stops of dynamic range, which means lots of detail in low light.
Here is a comparison of shots taken in low light between the X5S and the X7, from the ZenMuse X7 webpage:
How Much Does the X7 Cost and When Does it Ship?
The DJI Zenmuse X7 is selling at $2,699, and it starts shipping in November.
Each lens of the four offered for the X7 (16 mm, 24 mm, 35 mm, and 50 mm) costs an additional $1,299, except for the 50mm, which costs $1,199. The lenses all have a maximum aperture of F/2.8 and are made from carbon fiber.
A bundle of all four lenses can be bought for $4,299.
Specs & Details for the ZenMuse X7 Camera
- Super 35 sensor
- Diagonal length of the sensor is 26.6 mm when recording
- Sensor offers 14 stops and higher sensitivity to light (see comparison images above)
- 6K CinemaDNG
- 5.2K Apple ProRes
- Supports RAW output at 6K/30 fps and 3.9K/59.94 fps
- Pixel size reaches 3.91 µm
- NR of the X7 is 46 dB (8 dB higher than the X5S)
- Tonal range is as high as 9.41 bitsSpecs
- DL-Mount allows for quick switching between the 4 available lenses, and is light weight at 630 g / 1.4 lbs with lens included—the X7 and Inspire 2 together weigh 4kg, or just under 9 lbs.
DJI’s last round of releases was a little bit of a let down, since they were really just small upgrades and retrofits to existing products—a new color for the Phantom 4 Pro, and a longer, quieter flight time for the Mavic Pro.
But the hype leading up to the release of the X7 seems worth the payoff.
Here’s the video DJI release to build up buzz for the X7’s release, in case you haven’t already seen it:
With the X7, DJI has once again placed itself at the head of the pack in the drone industry, this time in the realm of high end aerial cinematography.
The release of the Spark, DJI’s selfie drone, shook things up in the world of consumer drones a little while back, and also seemed worth the hype. (Do you remember how it was dramatically promoted through a leak that generated so much buzz that we had to wonder—was it really a leak, or a brilliant PR ploy? So do we. .)
We’ll be curious to see what comes next for DJI, and how soon it comes. The Phantom 5 is certainly about due, we would think . . . guess we’ll have to wait and see.
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