Chris Niccolls and Jordan Drake review the newly released DJI Inspire 3 for PetaPixel. For this review that have enlisted the help of Arden Shibley, a well-accredited drone pilot who has worked with Disney Plus and Bear Grylls. Shibley has substantial experience with the DJI Inspire 2, and shared his perspectives on the new DJI Inspire 3.
Review of the DJI Inspire 3
DJI Inspire 3 specs
Big change! The Inspire 2 had an APS-C sized sensor super 35 but the Inspire 3 now has a 45 megapixel full frame sensor and of course that's going to give us lots of benefits as far as low light performance dynamic range, Niccolls said. The camera on the DJI Inspire 3 accepts DL-Mount lenses from DJI. Available are a 18mm, 24mm, 35mm, and a 50mm lens. All with a maximum aperture of F/2.8.
The Inspire 3 camera can shoot up to 8K at 30 frames per second in Prores. You can push it up to 75 frames per second 8K if you unlock the raw upgrade for $979. In 4K you can go as high as 120 fps subsampled.
Drake points out that the Inspire's 3 camera suffers quite bit from rolling shutter effect at lower frame rates. At higher frame rates this is not so much an issue but he suspects that comes at the expense of a lower bit rate, resulting in less dynamic range.
The first thing Shibley highlighted was the improved interface. He praised the playback feature, noting that the playback on HDMI is a significant step forward from the Inspire 2. This means that clients can now view footage immediately without the previously cumbersome workaround.
Additionally, DJI has made the Inspire 3 more user-friendly. The Inspire 2, despite being an excellent drone, had its share of design flaws, including its sharp edges. DJI addressed this issue in the Inspire 3 by smoothing out the edges, making the device easier and safer to handle.
The construction of the Inspire 3 also employs more plastic parts, a choice made for weight savings and better sensor performance.
DJI has also managed to create a more streamlined design, allowing the batteries to remain on the drone while it is stored in its case, adding to its practicality.
One of the standout features of the DJI Inspire 3 is the DJI 03 air unit. This advanced technology acts as the drone's FPV camera, facilitating navigation during both day and night flights. The air unit, coupled with the drone's improved software, makes for a significantly more refined user experience.
Another mention-worthy feature is the dual gain sensor, which offers a base ISO of 800 for brighter conditions and a maximum ISO of 4,000 for low light situations. Shibley stated that the Inspire 3's low light performance was quite impressive, with the footage appearing clean, even at nighttime.
The Inspire 3 also introduces the concept of “waypoints” and “repeatable routes”. Using this feature, you can set waypoints that the drone will follow while maintaining the same pan and tilt for the camera. This provides consistency in shots and is particularly helpful when replicating shots at different times of the day.
However, it's important to note that while the Inspire 3 packs impressive features, it's a significant investment. The drone is ideally suited for professional filming sets where the features it offers can be fully utilized.
In cases where centimeter accuracy matters, like surveying, the Real-Time Kinematics (RTK) feature can be handy. This allows the aircraft to calculate its location relative to a base station, providing more precise positioning.
Nevertheless, Shibley believes that the Inspire 3 is a worthwhile upgrade for Inspire 2 owners. While it does involve additional costs like new batteries, the fact that lenses and certain batteries are compatible between the two models does soften the financial blow somewhat.
In conclusion, the DJI Inspire 3 offers many advancements in Drone Technology. From improved playback options to smoother design, enhanced navigation, and superior low light performance, the Inspire 3 is clearly designed with the professional user in mind.
While it may not be necessary for all drone enthusiasts, for those who desire cutting-edge features and exceptional image quality, the Inspire 3 might just be the upgrade they've been waiting for.
Photos courtesy of PetaPixel.
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