DJI has introduced the Zenmuse Z3 – what the company says is its first integrated aerial zoom camera optimized for still photography.
The Zenmuse Z3, offering up to 7x zoom, incorporates DJI’s gimbal technology, which has been upgraded to work optimally with the zoom capabilities, which are geared toward applications such as inspections, surveying, and search and rescue.
The camera is compatible with DJI’s Inspire 1, Matrice 100 and Matrice 600 drones and uses the company’s dedicated HD video downlink, Lightbridge and Lightbridge 2, providing up to 3.1 miles (5.0 kilometers) of HD transmission range.
Flight time with the Zenmuse Z3 is up to 19 minutes on the Inspire 1. Pilots can extend flight time up to 30 minutes with the dual-battery-equipped M100 and up to 39 minutes with the M600.
The Zenmuse Z3 is fully integrated into the DJI GO app, which provides a live feed from the camera and allows the user to change camera settings, swipe to zoom in and out, capture photos or video, and activate intelligent flight modes. Users may also choose to employ camera controls, such as zoom or photo and video capture, through their drone’s remote controller.
The Zenmuse Z3 weighs 262 grams and achieves its 7x zoom via a 3.5x optical zoom combined with a 2x digital zoom. DJI says this gives the camera an effective zoom range of 22-77 millimeters. In addition, it has a maximum aperture of F2.8 and F5.2 at 22 millimeters and 77 millimeters, respectively.
Adding an additional layer of fine-tuning to the yaw control of the Z3 is a custom-designed reaction wheel, which works in tandem with the normal yaw motor to allow for more refined and controlled movement and greater stability, the company explains.
The Z3 features the same Sony 1/2.3-inch sensor that is found on the Inspire 1 and the Phantom 4. It can shoot still images at 12 megapixels and video at up to 30 FPS in 4K resolution.
The Zenmuse Z3 is priced at $899 and will start shipping after July 28.