DJI Inspire 2 Short Review (Zenmuse X5S)
The DJI Inspire 2 is a drone made for professionals, it truly is an awesome piece of equipment and if you are in the field of cinematography or any other kind of filmmaking, this would be perfect for your aerial videography needs. It’s a stunning drone that has a robust design and comes with some amazing features. The drone is compatible with a range of Zenmuse cameras which includes the X5S and the full-frame X7 camera. With the X5S, the drone can record 5.2k videos in Apple ProRes 422 HQ and CinemaDNG and capture 20.8MP still images. With a micro 4/3 sensor and 3.4µm pixel size, the Zenmuse X5S produces superior quality images suitable for professional use. Other advanced features include obstacle avoidance technology, multiple redundancy systems, autonomous flight modes and DJI’s Lightbridge long-range transmission technology.
- Zenmuse X5S with Micr 4/3 sensor
- Supports multiple lenses from Olympus & Panasonic including zoom lens
- 20.8MP still images
- Records videos in Apple ProRes and CinemaDNG
- 12.8 Stops of dynamic range
- CineCore 2.0 Image processing chip
- Advanced Obstacle avoidance system
- Robust Build
- Top speed of 58 mph
- 27 minutes flight time
- 4.3 Miles transmission range
- Dual Redundancy features
Hi and welcome to this brief review of the DJI Inspire 2, the most advanced DJI drone for professional consumers. This is a drone that has been engineered for professional photography/videography and comes with DJI’s innovative and advanced technological features.
As the drone comes with many advanced features, it is suitable for a range of applications like drone photogrammetry, cinematography, search & rescue and surveillance. This versatility allows the drone to be used in many different industries, for example, it can be used in the construction industry to capture accurate survey data, create digital maps, track progress and help with security.
A couple of things I must mention, as this is a professional drone, it is most likely that anyone who purchases a drone as advanced as the Inspire 2, will be using it in a professional capacity. This will require you to register your drone with the government department that manages air transport in your country. Depending on where you live, you may also need to prove your competency in flying a drone by taking a test and may have to renew it on an annual basis.
You may also want to think about purchasing some kind of drone insurance to cover your drone in case it gets damaged (it is an expensive drone) and also some kind of public liability insurance to protect yourself from third-party claims.
For more information on the requirements to operate drones in a professional capacity check out the CAA Website if you live in the UK or the FAA site if you live in the USA.
DJI Inspire 2 Review
The design of the Inspire 2 looks similar to the Inspire 1 but the feel is much more different, its diagonal wingspan (not including the propellers) is 23.8 inches, and its silver/grey shell is aesthetically pleasing and its arms are more sturdy. The motors are much larger and the silver buttons on the side lock and release the propellers very quickly.
At the front of the drone is a gimbal stabilised 2-axis FPV camera, which provides a live feed to the DJI Go App, the camera feed can be transmitted to both the master controller and the slave controller. Being a drone that is advertised to cinematographers, the choice to have two controllers connected to the drone will be appealing to that section of the consumer market.
Originally the drone was expected to reach speeds of up to 67mph but after optimisation tests, the speed has been reduced to 58mph. This still makes it one of the fastest drones currently on the market and will be perfect for shooting fast-moving scenes in films.
The drone can fly above sea level at a height of around 2000m although this can be increased to 5000m if you purchase high altitude propellers.
DJI Inspire 2 – Safety features
The Inspire 2 comes with dual redundancy for key systems within the drone, this gives more reassurance that the drone will not fail during mid-flight. There are two intelligent batteries that are located at its rear, the batteries are self-heating so they will not fail in extremely cold conditions. If one fails, the other will keep the drone in the air and activate its return home function.
There are also similar safety measures in place for the barometer, the propulsion system and IMU. DJI have also made an upgrade to the obstacle avoidance system, there are now sensors at the front, bottom, and top for the drone to calculate if there are obstacles nearby.
The front and bottom sensors have a wide-angle view and can detect obstacles from 30 meters away. This gives the drone the ability to fly around 34mph without compromising the obstacle avoidance system. Its top sensor has a detecting field of 5 meters, all these new technology add-ons make for a truly remarkable drone that is safe to fly indoors and outdoors. The only way to damage this drone is if you hated it and decided to take a hammer to it!
The remote control looks like that of the Inspire 1 but its range is longer and has 3 flight modes. P-mode is for normal flight and is the easiest of the three. This mode is best utilised when there is a strong GPS signal, the vision system (which control the obstacle avoidance technology) is active in this mode. Also, the advanced smart features such as ActiveTrack™ TapFly™, Waypoint (waypoint has not et been added) are enabled in this mode.
S-mode is for more advanced pilots, the controls are far more sensitive and the vision system is disabled, so only use this mode if you are an experienced drone pilot. Finally, A-mode, this is utilised when neither the GPS or the vision system is available, the drone will use the barometer to maintain its altitude.
The remote control uses DJI’s Lightbridge technology for superior range and amazing HD video streaming. Its range is approximately 4.3 miles (with no obstruction) and the live video is streamed to your smartphone or tablet via the DJI GO™4 app. As well as its two control sticks to manoeuvre the drone it has a host of other buttons that provide you with a lot more control and functionality.
One button that you will use frequently is the return to home (RTH) button. Return to home can be activated manually by pressing the button or the drone will activate the return home function automatically in a couple of situations. If the battery is running low or the remote-control signal is lost the drone will return home automatically, it’s near impossible to lose smart drones with today’s technology!
Personally, one issue I still have with the DJI controllers is that only the phantom 4 Pro has a dedicated touchscreen controller but the rest do not. Using your smartphone or tablet for controlling the drone is all well and good but it also means you will not be able to use it for any other means.
True some people may have multiple of these devices just lying around but that is not the case with most people. It would be nice to see DJI produce a remote control like the ones used for the Yuneec typhoon range.
Having said that, DJI does have their own standalone tablet-like device called the CrystalSky, you will be able to control the drone in a similar fashion as you would with a smartphone or tablet and it is compatible with all DJI drones.
DJI GO 4 App
The DJI GO 4 app is very easy to use and it comes with a host of files with tutorials, troubleshooting and general advice about flight safety. Through this app, you can control speed and altitude and how sensitive the controls are (generally the control sensitivity should only be altered if you are an experienced pilot).
With the app, you can seamlessly live stream video to your choice of video-sharing networks such as Facebook live and YouTube. The app also lets you edit your videos and photos and even has music tracks in the editor that you can use for video uploads. Also, supported in this app is PIP (Picture in picture) transmission, DJI are letting no stones unturned to give customers the best drone experience and therefore they are so far ahead of their competitors.
They are constantly updating their apps and introducing new features. It should be noted for drone operators who are also software developers, DJI gives access to their own SDK so you can produce apps of your own.
DJI Inspire 2 – Camera
For now, there are three cameras that are compatible with this drone although DJI has stated more are on the way. Both cameras will have their own live video feed, you will be able to switch between feeds or you can connect two controllers to the drone, one will control the drone while the other controls the second camera.
This is the cheaper of the two cameras available for the Inspire 2. It still costs quite a sum but it is one of the best camera drones on the market. It features a 20-megapixel 1- inch sensor along with a maximum ISO range of12800 for stills and 6400 for video. It has an 84° field of view and with its DJI-designed lens, it captures stunning aerial imagery. Along with the inspire 2’s extremely powerful image processing system, the CineCore 2.0 (more on this later) the camera’s capabilities are even more enhanced. It can record video footage at 4k/60 MPEG-4 and 4k/30 HEVC at 100Mbps which will impress even professional cinematographers.
This camera is what really tips the Inspire 2 into Hollywood territory, along with the CineCore 2.0 processor it can produce video footage that would rival the best cameras used for high-budget films.
The X5S comes with an upgraded micro 4/3 with much-improved colour sensitivity. The camera supports up to eight standard M4/3 lenses with each focal length ranging from 9mm- 45mm. This is the drone camera that will give professional cinematographers who want high-quality aerial footage but are on a low budget, access to professional-level equipment at an affordable price.
The CineCore 2.0 processor will allow this camera to record video footage in 5.2k 30fps CinemaDNG and Apple ProRes. Still, images can be captured in 20.8 megapixels at either 14fps or 20fps and the camera has the technology to capture photos whilst taking video footage. The highly-optimised gimbal allows for 360° rotation so you never miss a shot and it’s been designed to eliminate distortion and vibration.
This is the best camera in the Zenmuse range, it comes with a Super 35 sensor, has 14 stops of dynamic range, captures stunning images in 24MP and can record video footage in 6k CinemaDNG.
As is the case with all DJI Drones, the Inspire 2 comes with intelligent flight modes, these flight modes make it easier and more fun to fly drones.
Currently, this drone supports three intelligent flight modes with a couple more expected to be added. Two of these you may recognise if you are familiar with the Phantom range series, are ActiveTrack and TapFly.
ActiveTrack allows the inspire 2 to track any subject whether it be humans, animals, cars or any other moving objects. TapFly lets you set a path on the screen and the drone will fly through that path whilst you can concentrate on controlling the second camera.
Spotlight Pro is a new smart tracking feature exclusive to the Inspire 2. It uses advanced tracking code to track subjects regardless of which way the drone is flying. If the gimbal reaches its rotational limit the drone itself will adjust to keep track of the subject. As of this moment, Waypoint and point of interest are not currently supported but DJI has indicated they will soon be added.
The DJI Inspire 2 is the perfect drone for professionals who are looking to purchase a drone that will take their aerial photography and videography to new heights. However, this is a very expensive drone and may not be suitable for your needs, if you want some good alternatives, check out this list of the best drones for photography.