DJI Goes ‘Pro’ With Comprehensive Line of Sharp-Imagery Drones
DJI just went “pro” with all-new expansions to almost their entire lineup of consumer, professional, and industrial drone offerings. Across the board, DJI seems to be emphasizing three key innovations: image quality, smarter software, and better battery life.
The M600 began its journey about six months ago, and we were quite impressed with the promised package, which allowed for heavy payloads of large, cinema-quality camera equipment, and a 16-minute flight time. The M600 Pro upgrades on flight time, however slightly, with new battery configurations that let users eek out a roughly 5-6 minute improvement in flight time for the lower end of the payload spectrum. But, DJI is releasing the M600 Pro with a new charging pack with six hubs, making the process of recharging batteries faster and more efficient.
Other features will be of more interest to many industry applications and aerial photography professionals, such as the 5km long-range transmission, which is capable of streaming 1080p/60fps video or 720p/59.94fps video while in flight, depending on how far the transmission needs to carry. The airfame itself has been optimized as well, with pre-installed arms and antennas that reduce setup times, and a quick-release landing gear design that makes transporting it easier.
The M600 Pro still supports a vast array of gimbal and camera packages, from the Ronin MX and ARRI ALEXA Mini, RED EPIC, or HASSELBLAD A5D, to Zenmuse’s all-in-one offerings.
The M600 Pro is available for $4,999.
The Inspire 1 was a blessing for those who wanted to make films using their drones, and the Inspire 2 essentially upgrades all the specifications, making it faster, longer-flying, and more HD than ever before. A new 5.2K imaging system, when paired with the new propulsion system, which allows Inspire 2 to top out at 67mph or accelerate from 0-50mph in just 4 seconds, meaning videographers will be able to get incredibly difficult tracking shots and make sophisticated movements all while shooting best-in-class footage. Battery life has been improved as well, to 27 minutes.
Many professionals will be more interested in Inspire 2’s autonomous flying features, such as protected flight up to 34mph thanks to a dizzying array of infrared sensors on all sides, which can even detect objects above the drone. Spotlight Pro allows for users to lock on to a subject and have the drone autonomously fly a tracking route while handling both drone and gimbal rotation.
By simply attaching a camera to the dedicated gimbal port, users can use either DJI’s X5S or X4S imaging solutions. The X5S brings incredible framerates to all their quality steps, allowing pilots to shoot 4K at 60fps or 18080p at 120fps, for those who prefer higher framerates over sheer size, or go for broke with 5.2K/30fps. No matter the quality, the X5S offers for 12.8 stops of dynamic range. The CineCore chip inside the Inspire 2 lets pilots use CinemaDNG, Apple ProRes, H.264/H.265, at a variety of bitrates. The X4S uses fast shutter speeds to eliminate distortion effects can can record at 4K/60fps using H.264 and 4K/30 using H.265, both with a 100Mbps bitrate.
The Inspire 2 is available for $2,999.
Phantom 4 Pro
DJI hasn’t forgotten about the regular consumers out there, either. While most people are drooling over the Mavic Pro despite its shipping issues, there are many who want a higher-quality image and better flight capabilities than what the Mavic’s tiny size can offer. The Phantom 4 Pro has a new 20-megapixel sensor that uses a mechanical shutter, which will cut the distortion that can occur when shooting images of fast-moving objects, or flying at high speed. It can also broadcast HD videos as 60fps, which will open it up to new applications that haven’t been possible before.
Many people weren’t too happy with the Phantom 4’s reliance on an iPad to see from the drone’s point of view while in flight. To alleviate those concerns, the Phantom 4 Pro’s controller now has an integrated, 5.5” screen at 1080p and with 1000 cd/m2 of brightness, which is “more than twice as bright as conventional smart devices,” according to the company. The controller and its screen have a five-hour battery life to make sure pilots don’t miss the shot. On top of that, the controller can be used to program the same autonomous features available on the Inspire 2.
The Phantom 4 Pro will be available for $1499.
There are far more announcements and new features among all the new drones, so consumers and professionals alike should do their research about the new offerings to see what might work best for them, or if one of the previous versions can satisfy their needs at a lower cost. All in all, it’s an exciting time in the drone world, and DJI seems to be leading the charge toward drones that offer better-quality images inside of a more intelligent, more flying-friendly package.