Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

New X5 Inspire 1 Cameras from DJI

DJI have been pushing out so many new products lately it’s getting hard to keep track! One of the most interesting for Inspire 1 pilots is this new Zenmuse X5 camera.

The new X5 camera features a micro 4/3 sensor and much like the existing X3 camera on the Inspire 1 comes complete with an integrated 3-axis gimbal.



dji x5


Two versions of the X5 camera have been announced. The standard X5 retains most of the recording specifications of the existing X3 camera but the larger M4/3 sensor which improves stills resolution to 16 MP and has a reported dynamic range increase to 12.8 stops. As with the smaller X3, the X5 records to Micro SD cards and retains similar bitrates which max out at 60 Mbps for 4K (UHD) recording and less for 1080 (HD) recording.


DJI makes the X5 available either without a lens or with it’s new 15mm f/1.7 Prime. As shown in the image below DJI also recommend two other lenses in the form of the Olympus 12mm f/2.0 and the Panasonic Lumix 15mm f/1.7. Whilst other M4/3 lenses will likely work with the X5 DJI has based these recommendations on weight and balance for the integrated gimbal.

Click here for the latest pricing on the X5 Camera

X5 lenses

The second variant of the X5 camera is the X5R. The R version uses the same gimbal and sensor but the camera uses a different design which removes the recording block from the camera body. The X5R adds the ability to record lossless 4K RAW CinemaDNG files to an SSD drive. Whilst the recording resolutions and frame rates remain the same as the standard X5, it’s capable of recording at bitrates up to 2.4Gbps which is a huge leap from the standard version.

Click here for the latest pricing on the X5R Camera


x5r 2


So what are the advantages of this new camera over the standard X3 camera? Without testing the camera myself it’s hard to judge how the two compare but in theory the much larger Micro 4/3 sensor should provide a lot more exposure and focusing flexibility than the little X3 camera. The ability to set lens aperture and focal distance from the ‘Go’ app running on the remote means that more creative control can be achieved. Being able to set depth of field and finding correct exposure becomes less about shutter speed manipulation and more about the balance between ISO, aperture and ND filtering as it is with most full size cameras. Here’s a graphic that shows just how much bigger a Micro 4/3 sensor is compared to the one in the X3 camera.

sensor sizes

Early demos and footage releases have revealed that the X5 is certainly capable of improved dynamic range and certainly for stills use it should prove to be a lot more capable than the X3. With video however I’d estimate that it’s likely to be more about gaining control of the image and using that control to achieve the best results from each location. Having proper lenses and aperture control also brings with it a much greater risk of getting bad results so to make the best of the X5 a greater knowledge of shooting will be required than with the little X3 which is very forgiving indeed.

Both of the new X5 cameras require an upgraded vibration absorbing board to be fitted to the Inspire 1 to enable them to be attached. The new mount pushes the dampers further out sideways to provide better lateral support for the camera.

Find out more about the X5 Vibration board here

X5 mountBecause the X5 cameras hang lower than the X3 the Inspire 1 needs to have it’s feet extended to stop the camera hitting the ground. Stick on feet extenders are included with both cameras.

DJI have also announced released a version of the Inspire 1 which can be purchased with an X5 already mounted. Names the Inspire 1 Pro, this new version comes with the new vibrations board and feet extensions as well as a newly developed quick release prop mounting system which as yet is unavailable for existing Inspire 1 Owners.

Inspire 1 Pro

Click here to find out more about the Inspire 1 Pro 


Also announced is a new wireless follow focus device called the ‘DJI FOCUS‘.  Allowing focus to be controlled remotely by a dedicated focus puller.

X5 follow focus

As well as working with the X5 camera this new device can also be used with other lens systems both air and ground based and is supplied with various data interconnect cables, the remote focus motor, lens gears and removable marking rings.

Find out more about the DJI Focus here.






DJI Release the Phantom 3 Standard

DJI have today released another model in their Phantom 3 range of quadcopters, the Phantom 3 Standard. Priced at an amazingly low $799 (£649) this new model brings the entry point into the Phantom 3 range even lower than the Phantom 3 Advanced at $999.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 13.53.48

The Phantom 3 Standard connects to the same DJI ‘GO’ app that’s used by the rest of the Phantom 3 range. The biggest difference between the new standard model and the rest of the Phantom 3 range is that it uses WiFi rather than ‘Lightbridge’ to transmit a live preview to the controller and also to link the controller to the device running the app.

Unlike the Phantom 3 Professional and Phantom 3 Advanced models the Phantom 3 Standard does not come with DJI’s Vision Positioning System or the ability to use Russian GLONASS satellites in addition to GPS satellites.


Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 13.54.04

The specs of the built in camera on the Phantom 3 Standard do stir things up a little as the maximum video resolution of 2.7K UHD is higher than that of the Phantom 3 Advanced which can only shoot up to 1080p HD. DJI do not currently state whether the Phantom 3 Standard shares the same Sony EXMOR sensor as the other models however it does share a 40 Mbps bit rate and many other specs with the Advanced model.

The Phantom 3 Advanced does however offer more framerate options than the Standard and the Professional model increases specifications to 4K UHD and 60 Mbps. All three models offer 12 MP stills.

Phantom 3 Standard

  • UHD: 2.7K: 2704 x1520p 30 (29.97)
  • FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30
  • HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
  • Max Video Bitrate: 40 Mbps

Phantom 3 Advanced

  • FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30/48/50/60
  • HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
  • Max Video Bitrate: 40 Mbps

Phantom 3 Professional

  • UHD: 4096x2160p 24/25, 3840x2160p 24/25/30
  • FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30/48/50/60
  • HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
  • Max Video Bitrate: 60 Mbps


Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 13.54.12

The controller supplied with the Phantom 3 Standard has less functionality than the other models although it does still feature a shoulder mounted gimbal control dial and definable S1 and S2 switches on the front of the unit.

The signal transmission distance will vary depending on environmental conditions and local regulations, but the Phantom 3 Standard can reach distances of up to 0.5 miles (1 kilometer) away from the pilot. The Advanced and Professional models in comparison can reach distances up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometres) using DJI’s Lightbridge technology.


Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 13.54.21

The Phantom 3 Standard uses the same Intelligent Flight Battery as the other Phantom 3 models. DJI have announced that it also features updated motors that are more efficient and allow even longer flight times of up to 25 minutes.

At such a low price point it’s incredible the DJI are able to offer a quadcopter complete with a 3-Axis gimbal, 720P HD live video feed and a 12MP 2.7K HD camera. Whist the connection range may be shorter than the Phantom 3 Professional and Phantom 3 Advanced models it’s worth remembering that many countries limit operational range anyway, for instance in the UK the CAA limit the operation to within 500m of the operator, well within the specified range of the Phantom Standard.

The Phantom 3 Standard will begin shipping on August 10th. Click here to order yours direct from DJI with Free Delivery to most locations.

Purchasing Links:
DJI Store 

DJI Phantom 3 Standard
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced
DJI Phantom 3 Professional

B&H Photo (USA)
DJI Phantom 3 Standard
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced
DJI Phantom 3 Professional


Multirotor Axessories Landing Mode Inspire 1 Case Review

Multirotor Axessories Landing Mode Case

martin spencer case

Type: Landing Mode
Weight: TBC
Ext Dimensions: 26.5 x 20.5 x 14.4″ / 67 x 52 x 39 cm
Price: £340 (Available in UK & Europe only)

 I discovered this case purely by accident when watching YouTube one evening. It’s put together by a guy named Martin Spencer in the UK under the brand of Multirotor Axessories. Unlike the previous cases I’ve looked it this one’s built to allow the Inspire to be transported in landing mode and with the option of leaving the camera attached.

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As you can see from the photo’s, while the case is obviously larger than the standard Inspire case it’s actually quite compact. The material used feels really hard and actually looks nice too, it’s a dark grey colour with flecks of lighter and darker material running through it.

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The case features carrying handles on the front and each end. While these are not the chunkiest handles I’ve seen they do feel solid. The handles don’t however have any rubber parts which is a shame.

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The front features an automatic pressure release which should hopefully stop the case expanding or becoming compressed as altitude varies. Round the back is a pull out handle along with rubber feet.

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I found the mechanism to release and lock the pull out handle to be a little hit and miss on the first few uses. The handle wouldn’t stay extended and kept pushing back inside the case however the more I tested it the more reliable it became. Something that will need looking at over time.

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The wheels are large and fitted with hard rubber tyres which should provide a nice smooth ride on hard surfaces and pavements. There isn’t a lot of protection around the wheels though so that may be something to keep an eye on over time to see how they handle the rigours of airport baggage systems.

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The four latches use a lever and lock system to secure the lid. Unlike some of the other cases I have, there are no springs or gadgets at play with these, they simply snap in to place and snap open. While there is ribbing to protect the latches they do remain a little exposed and proud of the ribs, it would have been nice to see them recessed a little more to stop any unwanted knocks or accidental activations.

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Looking inside the case reveals the custom designed foam and it has to be said that this one really impresses me, there’s some very clever design work here. The foam feels really high quality, even the lid is lined with custom designed solid foam with cutouts for the top of the inspire and tube holders for props.

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There’s even cutout parts included that allow you to store alternative items if you only have one controller. The Propeller tubes are a really nice touch, these even have small pieces of foam inside each end cap to keep your props safe. The prop tubes are positioned so that when the lid closes they secure in to the slots where the Inspires motor booms fit further securing everything in place.

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Another nice little touch is that the case comes with a small plastic box for all those little bits and bobs that don’t have anywhere specific to live in the case, and of course there’s a space for the box in the foam as well.

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Look deep within the case and you’ll find that every opportunity has been made to make use of the space available, there’s even extra battery storage below the controllers and the Inspire itself. The Inspire drops in perfectly in Landing mode and there’s plenty of space around the camera gimbal.

The Inspire is supported by it’s legs and partially by some foam parts deep within the case which contacts the carbon motor booms. With the Inspire in position the landing gear is very close to the bottom of the case with just a few millimetres of foam between them and the case itself. I’m not sure how much of an issue that would be in the event of an impact but I opted to added a little more foam at the bottom on my case just to offer a little more protection.

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While the cutouts for the controllers are perfectly cut I found that by default the bar on the back of the controller could make contact with the tail of the Inspire. The case is supplied with some small foam shims for limiting the depth of the iPad slots so I used one of those to fill the rear most cutout which solved the problem. The Controller still slides in and out with ease but is held nicely in place.

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The battery slots are cut perfectly, they grip the batteries just enough to hold them in place.As well as the six battery slots at the side of the case there’s also one under each controller and another under the body of the Inspire allowing for nine in total.

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The iPad slots work offering great protection and as mentioned earlier spacers are provided allowing you to customise how low the iPad sits inside the slots. Shown is my iPad Mini on it’s side, a larger iPad would be placed on end without using the spacer. There’s a large cutout at the front for a sunshade and a deep square one for FPV goggles, although I used that for my cables. Interestingly behind the tail of the Inspire there’s also a deep oval cutout for the Inspire Handle, although as that’s yet to be released it remains untested… good thought though!


I really like this case, the layout and finishing inside is top notch and Mr Spencer has really put a lot of thought in to every aspect of it’s design. I mentioned when looking at the HPRC case that I’m not a fan of designs that leave room for things to move around and while this one also has some space when the lids closed it’s designed in a way where that shouldn’t happen, especially with the prop tubes forming a barrier between the Inspire and the accessories.

Without long term testing it’s hard to say how the case itself will stand up to the rigours of travel. While I’m not overly concerned about it’s quality the fittings are not quite as substantial as those on my pelican cases and I do think the latches could have been better protected when closed.

One thing that concerned me a little was having the camera gimbal shaking around inside the case. I’m sure that would be fine for short trips in the car and for storage but I wanted to find a way to offer some support to it.

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Hunting around the house I came across this foam cleaning pad. I tested it with the Inspire on the floor and it worked perfectly, just enough pressure to stop the gimbal moving around but not enough to apply much upward pressure. It also fitted inside the case a treat! If you’re travelling any distance though the safest place for the camera is still in it’s box!

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All in all I really like this case and this one is staying right here with me! It’s a shame that Martin doesn’t ship outside of Europe as I’m sure this one will be popular.

To find out more about this case you can email Martin at Multirotor Axessories. Please let Martin know that you read about it here.

If you’re in the US and looking for a landing mode case check out the new Landing Mode Case from GPC, I should be getting that one in for review soon.

Click here for more Inspire 1 Case Reviews.
Inspire 1 Cases – Overview


Inspire 1 ND filters Part 2 – Renaat filters

Since posting my review of the Polar Pro filters the DJI Inspire 1 I’ve purchased another set from a guy named Renaat in China. I read about his filters set on the InspirePilots forum, for more information he can be contacted via email at

product shots - 1

I paid a total of $84 including delivery for a set of four filters from Renaat including ND8, ND16, ND32 & ND64. The filters were delivered in 2 days using DHL so they are extremely good value.

product shots - 2


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Learning to fly

I’ve been watching the whole aerial photography industry expanding over the last couple of years with great interest. The technology has moved forward so quickly and a lot of the imagery being produced is simply stunning.

Much like the rise of DSLR video, these devices have brought yet another area that was once reserved for high budget productions within reach of the everyday filmmaker. I haven’t been as excited about a camera technology since ordering my Brevis 35mm adapter in 2008!

I’ve been very tempted to grab one of DJI’s Phantom 2’s for nearly a year now but every time I got close to placing an order I was scared off by talk of changing regulations and unclear requirements involved in being able to use these tools commercially.

With each country around the globe struggling to find ways to regulate UAV’s there are a lot of grey areas for somebody stepping in to this field so I plan to try and demystify the process here in the UK. I’ll document my journey and share my discoveries as I go about both learning to fly, and from a regulatory point of view.

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