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Posted by on Sep 12, 2015

DJI’s Zenmuse X5 Camera Takes Aerial Video To New Levels

DJI’s Zenmuse X5 Camera Takes Aerial Video To New Levels


This week brought a long-await announcement from DJI that finally brings a new camera option to the DJI Inspire 1 platform. The question is, is this really the “game changer” some people are calling it, or will it really make any difference. We will dissect some of the features and see what this will really do for aerial imaging.

16mp Sensor – Micro 4/3

It may not sound like going from a 12mp sensor to a 16mp is much of a difference, but its the Micro 4/3 sensor that really makes this an important difference. As you can see from the image below, the X5’s sensor is eight times larger than the original X3 camera. Having a significantly larger sensor means the pixels are larger allowing for better image quality, improved low-light performance, and greater dynamic range.


Adjustable Aperture

If you follow the threads in forums and Facebook, many people were hoping for zoom ability. The problem with zoom is that it adds a lot of complexity and weight to a camera and when zoomed in, movement and shake are greatly exaggerated. Instead, we got got adjustable aperture which is far more important to photographers and videographers. The aperture can be adjusted from f/1.7 – F16. Being able to adjust the aperture allows us to cut down the amount of light entering the camera to allow for slower shutter speeds and allows for creative shots by adjusting the depth of field (bokah),

Adjustable Focus

Along with adjustable aperture, you need (and get) adjustable focus. When the background/foreground “blur” can be adjusted, you need to be able to set the focus point. Using the DJI GO app, touching on the screen will allow you to set the focus point using 256 zones.

Interchangeable Lenses

Sometimes you need a wide angle, sometimes you need longer range. Initially there will be three supported lenses with more available as both DJI and third-parties create and test different options.  With the X5 comes the DJI 15mm f/1.7 which provides the equivalent of a 30mm lens with 72 degree field of view. For a wider angle, the Olympus Zuiko 12mm f/2.0 provides an 84 degree field of view with the equivalence of a 24mm lens.

ZENMUSE-X5-__-800_10Zenmuse X5R

The Zenmuse X5 is available in two variations. The X5 is the standard camera platform while the X5R can save as lossless DNG file sequences for the ultimate in color grading capability.

Zenmuse X5R Camera

Zenmuse X5R Camera

The X5R has a regular MicroSD slot for standard video and a 512gb SSD drive for saving of the RAW format files.

Zenmuse X5 and X5R Comparison

Camera Zenmuse X5 Zenmuse X5R
Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm (4:3 Aspect Ratio) 17.3 x 13.0 mm (4:3 Aspect Ratio)
Effective Pixels 16.0M 16.0M
ISO Range 100~25600 100~25600
Lens Optics User Selectable (default DJI MFT 15mm F/1.7 ASPH) User Selectable (default DJI MFT 15mm F/1.7 ASPH)
Iris F/1.7-F/16 (default DJI lens) F/1.7-F/16 (default DJI lens)
Diagonal FOV 72 degree (default DJI lens) 72 degree (default DJI lens)
Equivalent 30mm (default DJI lens) 30mm (default DJI lens)
Distortion 0.40% 0.40%
Focus Range 20cm-infinite (default DJI lens) 20cm-infinite (default DJI lens)
Auto-focus Support (default DJI lens) Support (default DJI lens)
Still Max-pixels 16.0M 16.0M
Burst Shooting Full pixels 7fps Full pixels 7fps
Shutter Speed 8~1/8000 sec 8~1/8000 sec
EV Range -3~+3, 1/3 -3~+3, 1/3
AEB Support Support
Interval Support Support
Time Lapsed Support, 3/5/7/10/20/30/60 sec Support, 3/5/7/10/20/30/60 sec
DNG Support Support
Video Resolution 4096×2160(23.98p),
Encoder MPEG4/AVC/H.264 MPEG4/AVC/H.264/JPEG-Lossless(RAW)
Max-bitrate 60Mbps@4096×2160(23.98p),
Format MP4/MOV MP4/MOV/Cinema DNG (RAW)
Storage Micro-SD Class 10 Micro-SD Class 10/SSD default 512GB (RAW)
Video NR Support Support
Stabilizer Support Support
Misc. Exposure P/S/A/M P/S/A/M/C
AE Metering Auto/spot metering Auto/spot metering
AE Lock Support Support
WB auto/manual/spot auto/manual/spot
Focus Mode 256-zone / Pinpoint/(Touch focus is available) 256-zone / Pinpoint/(Touch focus is available)
AF AUX Support Support
AE Lock Yes (AF/AE LOCK button) Yes (AF/AE LOCK button)
Focus Peaking Support Support
Zebra Support Support
Adjustment Support Support
Style sRGB,Color looks, LOG, Cine-D sRGB,Color looks, LOG, Cine-D, , D-LOG (RAW)
Enhancement HDR/Video DR HDR/Video DR
HDR/Video DR N/A Selectable H.264 1080P/4K
Software N/A DJI CineLight*(Mac)

*D-LOG is a video mode that offers a broader way of color correction options in post-production.

* DJI CineLight is a software for the management and editing of the CinemaDNG footage.

Pricing and Availability

The Zenmuse X5 is expected to ship at the end of September while the X5R will likely be at the end of October. The X5 camera/gimbal will retail for $2,199 but will also need the $99 Vibration Absorbing Board. Initially, the X5R will only be available bundled with an Inspire 1.

Pre-orders for the Zenmuse X5 and Inspire 1 Pro w/X5 are now open at Multicopter Warehouse.