DJI Zenmuse X7 6K Super 35 Video Camera for Drones

This should be an interesting drone camera. The $2700 price tag isn’t cheap (and $1300 per lens or $4300 for all 4) but it will potentially serve the prosumer and low-end pro market well. However, it appears the effective sensor size when shooting video is 23.5 x 12.5mm which is different from super 35 and a bit of a let down.

October 11, 2017 – DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, today introduced the Zenmuse X7, the world’s first Super 35 digital film camera optimized for professional aerial cinematography. Designed to work seamlessly with the DJI Inspire 2 drone, the Zenmuse X7 delivers superior image quality, interchangeable lenses, and a new DJI Cinema Color System for post-production to give film and video professionals more creative freedom.

“The Zenmuse X7 offers everything professional content creators need to make their aerial footage as stunning and vivid as they demand,” said Paul Pan, Senior Product Manager at DJI. “From the large Super 35 sensor to a new mount, lenses, and color system, the Zenmuse X7 gives cinematographers and professional photographers an unmatched set of tools that work seamlessly with the DJI Inspire 2 drone to capture high-quality footage that is easily integrated into projects shot with industry-leading handheld cameras.”

Greater Expressive Freedom

The Zenmuse X7 is equipped with a Super 35 video sensor featuring 14 stops of dynamic range for more detail in low-light conditions. Its low-noise image capture enhances grading flexibility by preserving details in both highlight and dark areas while enabling a shallow cinematic depth of field.

To meet the rigorous requirements of filmmakers and television production professionals, the Zenmuse X7 captures the highest image resolutions ever for an integrated drone camera. It is capable of shooting 6K CinemaDNG RAW or 5.2K Apple ProRes at up to 30 FPS, as well as 3.9K CinemaDNG RAW or 2.7K ProRes at up to 59.94 FPS to integrate seamlessly into industry-standard post-production workflows.

Enhanced Imaging Potential

The Zenmuse X7 uses a dedicated aerial mount system, the DJI DL-Mount, featuring an ultra-short flange focal distance to carry prime lenses optimally. Available with focal lengths of 16 mm, 24 mm, 35 mm, and 50 mm, each lens has a maximum aperture of F/2.8 and is crafted out of carbon fiber, making them durable and lightweight for high-performance aerial cinematography with the DJI Inspire 2 drone.

To allow for advanced setting adjustment and fine-tuning, the 16mm lens is equipped with a built-in ND 4 filter, and the 24 mm, 35 mm, and 50 mm lenses feature a mechanical shutter.

Higher Flexibility in Post-Production

DJI has also introduced a new DJI Cinema Color System (DCCS) making the Zenmuse X7 an asset on every film set for movies, TV series, commercials, documentaries, and more.

“For the Zenmuse X7, we took our color science to the next level,” continued Pan. “We consulted the world leading authorities in color science, Technicolor. With their guidance, our engineers developed an optimized gamma curve for the X7 allowing more latitude without sacrificing image quality.”

DCCS features a new D-Log Curve and D-Gamut RGB color space to give more flexibility and color options during the post-production process. The D-Log further extends the dynamic range, while the D-Gamut RGB color space preserves more color information to support the most demanding filmmaking scenarios, providing accurate color for quick and easy post-processing.

The new EI Mode mimics the way a film camera works to help cinematographers capture as much information as possible in every scene while balancing the dynamic range and noise with different log curves for more flexibility during the post-production process.

The Zenmuse X7 gimbal system weighs just 631 grams with the 16 mm lens. The DJI Inspire 2 has a flight time of up to 23 minutes with the Zenmuse X7. For more info about the Zenmuse X7, visit www.dji.com/zenmuse-x7.

Price and Availability

The Zenmuse X7 camera is priced at $2,699 USD. The 16 mm, 24 mm and 35 mm lenses will be available for $1,299 each, and the 50 mm for $1,199. Customers can purchase the Zenmuse X7 prime lens combo including all 4 lenses for $4,299. The Zenmuse X7 will start shipping in early November 2017 from store.dji.com, in DJI Flagship Stores and through DJI Authorized Dealers worldwide.

DJI Care Refresh will be available for the Zenmuse X7 camera gimbal system as well as for the Inspire 2 drone. For more info, visit http://www.dji.com/service/djicare-refresh.

Sony Announced the A7R III

To the surprise of many, the Sony A7R III retains the same 42MP sensor as the A7R II.

We’re disappointed however, as:

  • No HEVC
  • No 10-bit (doesn’t even appear to do 10-bit out)
  • No 4K 60P

On the plus side:

  • Better/faster AF
  • Dual card slots
  • Double the size battery of the A7R II
  • 5K (15MP) over-sampling for 4K video
  • Improved 5-axis IBIS
  • Claims 14 stops of dynamic range for video, but the codec cripples this making this claim dubious at best

High Quality 4K for the Video Professionals

The new α7R III is exceptionally capable as a video camera, offering 4K (3840×2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor. When shooting in Super 35mm format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K[xviii] of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.

A new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma)[xix] is available on the α7R III that supports an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TV’s to playback beautiful, true-to-life 4K HDR imagery. Further, both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for increased colour grading flexibility. The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbpsvi, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion[xx] video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.