New DJI Drone Cameras Feature Huge Sensors to Improve Video Quality

Significantly more performance than a GoPro, but significantly less expensive than other pro-quality setups

The Zenmuse X5 features a massive ISO range and 13 stops of dynamic range. (DJI)

Drone lovers across the globe started salivating Thursday when DJI announced the release of two new Micro Four Thirds cameras designed to fly on the company's Inspire 1 rig.

Why is this a big deal? The sensor in each Micro Four Thirds camera is eight-times larger than the DJI camera attached to the Phantom 3. And a bigger sensor means dramatically improved specs.

The Zenmuse X5, the less expensive model of the two cameras, shoots 16 megapixel images and 4K video at 24fps and 1080 at 60fps. But the bigger deal is that it has up to 13 stops of dynamic range, and a massive 100–25,600 ISO range. All that means the camera will adjust to an exceptionally broad range of conditions and shoot stunning footage at night.

dji-zenmuse-x5-drone-camera.jpg
(DJI)

The Zenmuse X5 will also support interchangeable lenses, including the DJI MFT 15mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, Panasonic Lumix 15mm G Leica DG Summilux f/1.7 ASPH lens, Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm f/2.0 lens, and Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 lens.

A step up the line, the Zenmuse X5R will record video to an onboard 512GB disc in uncompressed RAW format (read: pro-quality footage that provides more freedom to edit in post-production). 

Neither camera is cheap. The Zenmuse X5 with an Inspire 1 drone costs $4,499. The Zenmuse X5R with an Inspire 1 costs $7,999. But when you consider that these rigs provide specs approaching pro-level drone/camera setups that sometimes cost $20,000 or more, both cameras are actually a steal. 

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