DJI’s new interchangeable-lens drone camera takes aim at filmmakers

DJI just introduced a new camera designed to work with drones, and in particular its Inspire 2 flyer. The camera is a “world first” in that it’s a super 35 digital film camera tailored for aerial cinematography — in other words, if you’re a filmmaker, documentarian or professional cinematographer, you are probably going to want one of these.

The Zenmuse X7 camera has a large, Super 35 format digital sensor, and supports interchangeable lenses for a range of potential focal lengths. It shoots up to 6K in CinemaDNG RAW format, or can capture in 5.2K Apple ProRes at frame rates of up to 30 FPS. It also can capture 3.9K Cinema DNG RAW or 2.7K ProRes at 59.94 FPS, which should meet the needs of most post-production work from Hollywood on down (or up I guess, depending on your perspective).

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The new DJI camera uses DJI’s DL-Mount system, and works with prime lenses with fixed focal lengths of 16mm, 24mm, 35mm and 50mm, each with a max aperture of F/2.8, and all with carbon fiber bodies to optimize light weighting. The 16mm lens has a built-in ND filter that can provide up to 4 extra stops of light control. All together, the array weighs only 631 grams with the 16mm lens attached.

High-quality cinema video doesn’t come cheap, of course — but at $2,699 US for the camera, it’s not a bank-breaker for production professionals either. The 16mm, 24mm and 35mm lenses weight in at $1,299 each, and the 50mm will cost $1,199. There’s also a combo including the camera body (with its integrated gimbal) and all the lenses for $4,299, with retail availability beginning in November for all of the above.