Gear


DJI Unveils Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire 2

November 15, 2016

Fast on the heels of the new Mavic Pro, DJI has announced two new models aimed at higher-end aerial photography and cinematography applications: the  Inspire 2 and Phantom 4 Pro.

The Inspire 2 gets a substantial overall with a new, lighter magnesium-aluminum alloy body that the  company says increases stiffness while lowering weight. The craft has a dual battery system that powers up to 27 minutes of flight time. If one battery fails, the other will ensure that the Inspire can return to home safely.

The Inspire 2 now has two cameras–one front-facing camera to feed the drone pilot a visual of the flight and a second Zenmuse camera on a gimbal for recording stills and video.

For the main camera, you’ll have a choice of the new X4S or X5S interchangeable cameras. Both models support very high quality video recording thanks to a new image processing system built into the airframe. The X5S  can capture up to 5.2K video at 4.2Gbps in the CinemaDNG format. Footage is saved to SSD memory. You can also record Apple ProRes (422 HQ and 4444 XQ), H.264 and the new H.265 codec. When recording 4K video in H.264 and H.265, the bitrate is up to 100Mbps.

The X5S sports a 20-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor with  12.8 stops of dynamic range. It accepts eight different interchangeable lenses and can burst at up to 20fps when shooting RAW (DNG) still images. 

The X4S camera will record 4K video at up to 60fps using either H.264 or H.265. It has a fixed 24mm equivalent lens with aperture control (f/2.8-11) and a mechanical shutter. It also features a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor with up to 11.6 stops of dynamic range.

DJI plans an OSMO-style hand mount for both of these new cameras in the future, though a specific launch date wasn’t announced.

The Inspire 2 is zippy. You’ll be able to hit a top speed of 67 mph and accelerate to 50 mph in four seconds (so please, be careful). It can also fly up to 16,404 in the air with optional, high altitude propellers (so again, please be careful).

The Inspire 2 will also gain a series of intelligent flying modes similar to those rolled out for the Phantom 4. A Spotlight Pro Mode locks onto a subject during flight while the aircraft flies  in another direction and can automatically rotate the drone to stay locked if the gimbal hits its rotational limit. A TapFly mode lets you tap a location on your display and have the Inspire 2 fly to that point while avoiding obstacles that may be in its path. Finally, an ActiveTrack mode can recognize common subjects (people, cars and animals) and instruct the drone to follow behind, lead in front, circle above or track alongside while always flying forward–again, avoiding obstacles along the way.

DJI is rolling out a series of accessories for the Inspire 2, including a follow focus system, battery charging station, SSD memory and reader and a high-brightness IPS monitor that will be sold in 5.5-inch and 7.85-inch sizes. The monitors will feature a pair of microSD card slots to to backup footage and can operate in temperatures ranging from -4 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Inspire 2 aircraft (without a camera) will sell for $2,999. A Combo that includes one Inspire 2, the Zenmuse X5S and a CinemaDNG and Apple ProRes License Key will set you back $6,198 (if you order before Jan. you’ll pay $5,999). The Combo will ship first, in December, with Inspire 2 drone shipments beginning in January.

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Phantom 4 Pro

This update to last year’s Phantom 4 delivers an improved camera with a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor, and almost 12 stops of dynamic range. It offers a mechanical shutter and can capture 4K video at up to 60fps. You can record in H.264 or the new H.265, which improves video quality without a corresponding increase in file size. 

The P4 Pro builds on the original P4’s safety and autonomous flight features with the ability to create 3D maps of obstacles in front, behind or below the drone. It can detect objects up to 98 feet away in both the front and rear. Infrared sensors are available to avoid obstacles on either side of the craft. The drone is now nimble enough to navigate through doorways, DJI claims.

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 until commanded otherwise by the pilot. The P4 Pro can now safely return to home from up to 984 feet away.

There are several new flying modes available including a Draw Mode that lets you draw lines on the controller display to have the drone fly that route. The ActiveTrack feature which debuted on the P4 and tracks objects in motion has been updated with three new capabilities: circle, profile and spotlight.

A new Landing Protection function is able to detect and help avoid landing on uneven ground or water.

You’ll get up to 30 minutes of flight time on the P4’s battery and can hit up to 31 mph of flight speed when obstacle avoidance is activated. You can top out at 45 mph in sport mode, where avoiding obstacles is on you.

The P4 Pro comes with a new remote controller and an optional high luminance display. The aircraft will automatically choose between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz once powering on to gain a clear signal in areas with high radio interference. The new controller has a built-in GPS, compass, microSD card slot and HDMI port.

Phantom 4 Pro will retail for $1,499 with a standard controller. The Phantom 4 Pro+, which includes a Phantom 4 Pro and a high luminance display remote controller, will set you back $1,799.