I have pre - ordered the DJI Inspire 1 from DroneFly.com and I will be doing some extensive testing to see if it can handle extreme aerial photography situations that I have put my DJI Phantom through. I will be doing a thorough review of the Inspire 1 as soon as I get it and I will be sure to point out the pros as well as the cons. These are some questions that I will seek to answer with my testing. I have also already identified some cons and I will list those as well to counter the hype that is out there right now.
First of all, I need to know that I can trust this thing to not fall out of the sky during long distance flying. For example, I have a line of sight to the big wave surf spot Jaws but the surfers can be over 600 meters away. Can the lightbridge provide a solid, low latency video feed from this distance and further (They claim that it can).
I am curious which video goggles I will switch too now that the controller has HDMI / USB video out. Maybe I will need to switch to a tablet / smart phone viewing solution. I prefer the precision and focus that video goggles offer but there seems to be many upsides to learning to fly with a monitor (you can control all kinds of adjustments from the DJI App in real time). I might be a bit old school in my preference for video goggles but I am open to switching if I can still fly with the same focus and precision.
If you follow my blog or have studied my books on aerial photography, you know that I love 720 120fps and higher frame rates because they allow for silky smooth slow motion. The new GoPro 4 can even film at 720 240fps which leads to true, cinematic quality slow motion. The DJI cam can only film at 720 60fps but can do 4k at 30. I am not excited about losing my slow motion surfing shots but I would be picking up much more control of the camera while it is flying. You can snap pictures and start / stop the video from the remote control which is a nice feature that I am looking forward too.
If you watch promotional videos of the DJI Inspire you will also notice that there is an unmistakable vibration in the gimbal while the legs go up. I doubt this happens once it has stopped but you can't help but notice DJI has tried to cover this up by putting the camera directly in front of the sun in the promo video.
I like that you can add filters to the camera and also that the camera is modular, but it just means spending more money down the line to swap it out unless they will release software that will allow for some higher frame rate recording. They also want to charge $650 for an extra remote to enable the two man flights. When you take things to the next level, having a dedicated camera operator is really useful but then you have to have someone else who knows how to smoothly operate the camera which is harder than you might think. If you have watched TheVerge.com video of the Inspire, notice at the 33 second mark they show an S800 - that was my S800 at SXSW a year or two back and it was setup as a two man rig.
Another possible upside to the DJI Inspire is the 50mph speed they are claiming in ATTI mode. For me, this is huge because the Phantom can't keep up with the fast moving subjects that I am often trying to film. The decent speed is also double at 4m/s instead of the Phantoms 2m/s.
I am not sure yet if this is going to be able to replace my Phantom for extreme filming but I do think this would be a great rig for a start up aerial photography business or real estate agent looking to capture standard aerial pictures because of the buttons on the remote for starting / stopping video and taking pictures. If you have any questions about this copter, please comment below so everyone can benefit from the discussion.
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