Two new drones, the Inspire 2 and Phantom 4 Pro, have arrived on DJI’s seemingly endless conveyor belt of brand new technology. In addition, the Chinese drone giant is rolling out new editions of its Zenmuse cameras.
According to Frank Wang, DJI’s founder and CEO, these “flight platforms and stabilized aerial cameras are smarter, faster and more powerful than ever before.”
DJI says the Inspire 2’s magnesium-aluminum alloy body increases stiffness and lowers weight: It has a top speed of 67 mph and takes only 4 seconds to accelerate to 50 mph. With a new dual-battery system, flight time is clocked at up to 27 minutes. The drone can also climb at almost 20 feet/second and descend at almost 30 feet/second.
The drone’s master controller offers the pilot a view from the aircraft’s front-facing camera, and the Zenmuse camera mounted on the main gimbal provides a separate feed for the camera operator. The Inspire 2 supports the brand new Zenmuse X4S and X5S cameras and will support additional cameras in the future. In addition, stereo vision sensors have been included on the front and bottom of Inspire 2 for obstacle detection, and upward-facing infrared sensors on top of the aircraft add protection when flying in enclosed spaces.
An entirely new image processing system called CineCore 2.0 is embedded into the airframe, which allows processing large files faster than ever before, says DJI. The Inspire 2 captures 5.2K video at 4.2 Gbps for Adobe CinemaDNG RAW videos and leverages a newly designed CINESSD storage for a smooth work experience. When the drone records 4K video in H.264 and H.265, the bit rate is up to 100 Mbps.
With optional high-altitude propellers, the Inspire 2 can reach a maximum service ceiling of 16,404 feet above sea level. Through an optimized mode, the Inspire 2 streams smooth video at the widely used 1080i50/720p60 broadcast standard. Enhanced Lightbridge video transmission makes smoother HDMI video possible, as well.
The forward-facing camera offers TapFly, which directs Inspire 2 to any point on the screen while avoiding obstacles along the way. ActiveTrack recognizes common subjects such as people, cars and animals – sending Inspire 2 to follow behind, lead in front, circle above or track alongside while always flying forward.
The U.S. retail price of the Inspire 2 aircraft is $2,999. The Inspire 2 Combo, which includes one Inspire 2 aircraft, one Zenmuse X5S, CinemaDNG and Apple ProRes License Key, is available for $6,198.
Customers who order the Inspire 2 Combo before Jan. 1, 2017, can purchase the aircraft for $5,999. Inspire 2 and its accessories will be immediately available for pre-order at DJI’s website and also in DJI’s Shenzhen, Seoul and Hong Kong stores.
The Inspire 2 Combo will start shipping in early December, and customers who purchase the aircraft and camera separately can expect their orders to start shipping in early January 2017.
DJI is enhancing the imaging potential of the Inspire 2 by expanding its line of interchangeable Zenmuse cameras, which are designed for aerial imaging and communicate directly with the aircraft’s gimbal and flight controllers.
For situations that require a balance between weight and image quality, the new Zenmuse X4S has a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor with 11.6 stops of dynamic range and a 24 mm equivalent focal length. DJI says the the Zenmuse X4S offers aperture control and a mechanical shutter to help prevent motion blur to the largest extent possible. The new Zenmuse X5S has a larger Micro Four Thirds sensor with 20.8 megapixels and 12.8 stops of dynamic range.
In addition, the Zenmuse X5S camera now supports eight lenses from wide angles to zooms. It shoots 20 fps continuous burst DNG RAW (20.8 MP). In the future, a handheld mount will be available for the Zenmuse X4S and X5S cameras.
As for the Phantom 4 Pro, the aircraft’s camera packs a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor, and almost 12 stops of dynamic range bring out new levels of detail, the company explains.
The Phantom 4 Pro can capture slow-motion 4K video up to 60 fps at a maximum bit rate of 100 mbps. Additionally, the drone offers H.265 video compression, which substantially improves video quality at the same bitrate, according to DJI.
The Phantom 4 Pro builds on DJI’s original obstacle-avoidance system with FlightAutonomy: three sets of visual systems that build a 3D map of obstacles in front of, behind and below the aircraft, as well as infrared sensing systems on both sides.
FlightAutonomy can position, navigate and plan routes for the Phantom 4 Pro -enabling it to avoid obstacles in a sensing range up to 98 feet at the front and rear, even in complex 3D environments. When returning to home and tapping to initiate auto takeoff or landing, the drone’s landing protection function is able to detect and help avoid landing on uneven ground or water.
The Phantom 4 Pro can provide up to 30 minutes of flight time and operate at 31 mph in P mode with obstacle avoidance in effect, as well as 45 mph in sport mode.
The drone’s new compact remote controller comes with an optional, high-luminance display, providing a clear, HD view from the main camera. It also has a built-in GPS, compass, micro-SD card slot and HDMI port.
The drone also comes with new flight modes, such as draw mode, which allows operators to draw lines on the controller display and direct the Phantom 4 Pro to fly that route. ActiveTrack recognizes common subjects and includes three new modes: new circle, profile and spotlight. TapFly now works backwards and comes with a new free mode that allows a pilot to set the direction of the flight, turn the Phantom 4 Pro or tilt the gimbal without changing the direction of flight.
Additionally, with the new AR Route feature, operators will be able to tell the flight route on the screen. As an additional safety feature, within a minute of losing GPS signal, the aircraft will automatically return to the last connected position and hover there to wait for the pilot’s command. With the enhanced return-to-home function, the aircraft knows where it should be going from up to 984 feet away and avoids obstacles along the route, says DJI.
The Phantom 4 Pro’s U.S. retail price is $1,499 with a standard controller. The Phantom 4 Pro+, which includes a Phantom 4 Pro aircraft and the high-luminance remote controller, will be available at $1,799.
The Phantom 4 Pro and Phantom 4 Pro+ are immediately available for pre-order on DJI’s website and at DJI’s stores.
DJI Care Refresh offers plans for four products: Inspire 2 (aircraft only), Zenmuse X4S and X5S cameras, and Phantom 4 Pro (aircraft and camera included). The packages cover Mainland China, the U.S., Canada, the European Union, Great Britain, Australia and Hong Kong. DJI Care Refresh provides prioritized replacement units and offers up to two replacement units within one year.