Zenmuse X7 Review - Best Camera for Aerial Cinematography

Zenmuse X7
 DJI Drone Company just announced the Zenmuse X7. It’s designed primarily for the DJI Inspire 2 drone and features interchangeable lenses as well as a new DJI Cinema Color system for greater creative freedom in cinematography.

"You can certainly shoot movies with drones right now, but that doesn't mean drone cameras are ideally suited to movie-making."

 DJI is trying to fix that -- it's introducing the  Zenmuse X7, billed as the first Super 35 digital camera tuned for pro drone cinematography. Its large sensor lets you shoot 6K RAW video (in CinemaDNG format) with 14 stops of dynamic range, promising crisp, editing-ready video with plenty of detail in low light. And like any good movie-grade camera, the glass plays a prominent role. 
"With Dji Zenmuse X7- Make Your Movie Now!"

Dji Zenmuse X7

 The Zenmuse  X7 relies on a dedicated mount system built for carrying prime lenses. You have choices of 16mm, 24mm, 35mm and 50mm lenses, all of which have a maximum f/2.8 aperture. You should get a shallow, film-like depth of field for closer shots regardless of which lens you use. The 16mm lens has an ND 4 filter, while all the other lenses tout mechanical shutters.

 DJI has worked with Technicolor to improve its color science for the Zenmuse 7. The camera now features a new D-Log profile called DJI Cinema Color System or DCCS.

 This lets the camera capture a wider dynamic range, making it suitable for challenging lighting conditions as well as modern technologies such as HDR video.

 There is also a new D-Gamut RGB color space that the camera records in for a wider color range.

Zenmuse X7 Camera

 The Zenmuse X7 camera includes two exposure modes, one that varies amplification gain and an "EI" mode that always uses minimal amplification (~base ISO) with metadata tags to denote the intended final brightness, to preserve DR.

 This is increasingly common practice in the video sphere but has yet to make its way across to stills photography.

  The previous model (the Zenmuse X5 series) was based around a Micro Four Thirds mount and came with a distinctly Panasonic-like 15mm F1.7 lens.

 In contrast, the Dji Zenmuse X7 is based around an entirely new lens mount. The ‘DL-mount’ has a very short flange distance of 16.84mm, allowing lenses to be extremely compact while maintaining high image quality.

Zenmuse X7

The Zenmuse X7 offers everything professional content creators need to make their aerial footage as stunning and vivid as they demand,” said Paul Pan, DJI’s Senior Product Manager. 
“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.”

Related:  Dji Mavic Pro Platinum  - What is the Differences?!

 The new Zenmse X7 Camera makes use of a dedicated aerial mount system, the DJI DL-mount. This mount has an “ultra-short” flange focal distance, designed for use with prime lenses.

Here’s a 2-minute showreel showing what the camera can do:

 Alongside the camera, the company is releasing 16mm, 24mm, 35mm and 50mm F2.8 lenses, the longest three of which will include mechanical shutters.

 The carbon fiber bodied lenses have no moving parts on the outside to increase durability, and all have similar size and weight to eliminate the need to rebalance or recalibrate the gimbal when changing lenses. Additionally, the entire set is designed to handle 8K resolution.

Dji Zenmuse X7 Lens

 Photographers will be happy to hear that the X7 can also capture still photos at 24MP resolution, including Raw image support, on an APS-C sized sensor.

 Owners of the X5S camera system will also get a bonus: the new Cinema Color System, including the improved D-Log gamma curve and D-Gamut color space, will be added to the X5S in the next firmware upgrade.

Zenmuse X7 Review

“We took our color science to the next level,” said Paul Pan. “We consulted the world leading authorities in color science, Technicolor. With their guidance, our engineers developed an optimized gamma curve for the Zenmuse X7 allowing more latitude without sacrificing image quality.”
 The Zenmuse X7 gimbal system weighs 631 grams when the 16mm lens is attached and will have a 23-minute flight time with the DJI Inspire 2.

Zenmuse X7 Specs:

  • Inspire 2 Compatibility
  • Super 35 Sensor
  • 6K CinemaDNG
  • 5.2K Apple ProRes
  • 14 Stops of Dynamic Range
  • 24 MP Stills

Dji Inspire 2 - Zenmuse X7 Camera

Zenmuse X7 Price

 To no one's surprise, airborne cinematography won't come cheap. The base Zenmuse X7 costs $2,699 by itself, while every lens save for the 50mm costs $1,299 (the long-ranged lens costs $100 less). Completists will probably want to buy a four-lens bundle at $4,299. At least you won't have long to wait before you can start on your aerial magnum opus, as the X7 and its lenses start shipping in early November.

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