If you’re looking for an RTF quadcopter capable of tackling a range of professional use cases with ease, you should be seriously considering the DJI Inspire 1 range.
As an approved DJI seller based in the UK, we’re often asked which is the best Inspire 1 to choose. From the Pro and RAW configurations to the V2.0 there are benefits to be found in all of these aircraft. Essentially, it all comes down to what you’re looking to use it for.
The Inspire 1 range has proved to be extremely popular with pilots across a range of sectors. The ‘workhorse’ of DJI’s product suite has been used effectively by filmmakers, industrial surveyors, construction companies and emergency services to name but a few.
Check out our comparison graphic to see the key stats for each of the Inspire 1 models:
INSPIRE 1 RANGE: KEY FEATURES
With the popularity of the Inspire 1 range showing no signs of slowing down, especially as commercial drone usage rises, we thought that now would be the perfect time to take a look at the three models available at Heliguy and offer up a guide to let you make an informed decision on the best Inspire for you. This rundown will focus on six key features: what’s included, appearance, performance, camera specs, additional peripherals and battery life.
1. WHAT’S INCLUDED?
Let’s start by looking at what’s included with each of these Inspire 1 models out of the box to see which most suits your needs.
Note: These lists cover what comes with the standard package and don’t take into account the various offers and bundles currently available.
As you can see from reviewing these models alongside each other, the RAW comes with the most gear straight out of the box. With a dual remote set-up to allow for more control over in-flight footage capture and the highly powerful X5R camera, this model is aimed squarely at filmmaking professionals.
The other two models aren’t short of kit, however, with the Zenmuse X3 and X5 respectively, they’re both able to capture fantastic quality footage at a lower price point than the RAW.
All members of the Inspire range covered in this rundown also come with carrying cases and camera boxes to protect your valuable gear while you’re on the move.
The DJI Inspire 1 is a sturdy, great-looking bit of kit designed to last. The aircraft is constructed from a mixture of carbon fibre and hard-wearing plastics. One thing to bear in mind when purchasing is that this is a sizeable drone measuring in at 11.9×17.2×17.8” and with a weight of 6.5lbs (excluding peripherals and variable depending on camera setup).
As standard, the Inspire 1 V2.0 comes with the Zenmuse X3 (although the X5 and X5R are compatible when bought separately and with the addition of DJI’s Landing Gear Riser Kit). The Pro comes fitted with the X5 while the RAW features the X5R. Aside from the differences in sensor compatibility, the aesthetic of all three is the same.
These cameras have the ability to turn 360° aided by the Inspire 1’s unique design, incorporating retractable landing gear, which is both practical and looks great in motion. As you take off the landing gear lifts up, ensuring the propellers are shifted out of the camera’s FOV. This function can also be controlled manually via the remote controller.
While the Inspire’s default design is a white shell over black carbon fibre components, you are also able to purchase a ‘Black Edition’ of the Pro which looks fantastic with its sleek matte finish.
Then there’s the controller, which in its outward appearance is almost identical those for DJI’s Phantom quadcopter range, however, there is the addition of a sharp grey colouring and a toggle switch for the Inspire 1’s landing gear.
Every Inspire 1 model comes ready-to-fly (RTF) straight out of the box. This means a pre-bound remote controller is included and that no tricky assembly is required.
Setting up the Inspire 1 Pro and RAW for flight is simple, the propellers attach via a simple ‘press down and twist’ motion to lock them into place.
The V2.0 has a different set of motors, an upgraded version of the DJI 3510H found on the Pro and RAW models. This requires different propellers which have been designed to increase this ease of use even further. The new motors increase the motor velocity of the V2.0 from the 350Kv of the Pro and RAW to 420Kv which translates into smoother control.
When you power up the Inspire 1 outdoors it requires around 60 seconds to achieve a GPS lock. While you are able to fly without GPS using the Inspire 1’s Vision Positioning System, sensors which allow the craft to visually track obstacles, we only recommend this when flying indoors.
All three versions of the Inspire 1 are a joy to fly. They’re remarkably steady, simple to get to grips with and capable of high speeds when required (DJI claims a max speed of 50mph).
Thankfully, landing is just as easy as take-off. You simply need to reduce the drone’s altitude until it reaches an acceptable height and activate the autonomous landing process. You can stand back and watch as the gear lowers, the Inspire 1 descends to the ground, and the motors power down.
Note: The Inspire 1 will automatically enter its landing sequence when the battery life drops to 10%.
All of the set-up steps are made easy with the Pro, RAW and V2.0’s collaboration with the DJI GO app. The easy-to-follow steps ensure that everything from positioning to compass calibration is a simple, rapid process.
You can access this functionality by attaching your tablet or smartphone to the Inspire 1 remote controller. This allows you to see what your drone is currently viewing from its camera along with vital flight stats. Multiple controllers may also be used in tandem to allow one operator full control over the flight while the other controls the camera, which will be discussed further in Section 5: Camera Specs.
4. BATTERY LIFE
All three models should provide you with a flight time of up to 21mins (except perhaps the RAW as the extra weight of the X5R may keep it closer to the 18min mark). It’s also important to note that you must ensure all batteries, flight and remote controller, are at full charge before taking your Inspire 1 out for a flight.
There are currently two different ‘Intelligent Flight Batteries’ available. The standard size you’ll encounter is the 4500mAh unit which allows up to 18mins of flight time, enough to capture some great aerial footage. However, the larger 5700mAh battery can offer up to 22mins of flight time, which might just tip the balance and let you snag a breath-taking last minute still.
5. CAMERA SPECS
The default camera shipped with the Inspire 1 V2.0 is the Zenmuse X3. The stabilised gimbal-integrated image capture provides various recording options including 4K at up to 25fps, UHD at up to 30fps and for those satisfied with shooting in HD, 720p and 1080p footage can be captured at up to 60fps. All recordings are compressed at a 60Mbps bit rate.
Images can be captured at 12.4MP, a level of quality aided by the X3’s use of a 1/2.3” Sony Exmor sensor.
Because the underside of the V2.0 is free of obscurants, the X3 is able to rotate freely, giving you the ability to pursue what once were challenging shots such as side-by-side tracking with ease. The X3’s lens has a 94° FOV, which is similar to what you’d expect from a 20mm lens attached to a full-frame camera.
While its aperture is fixed at f/2.8, additional ND filters and compatible extras are available.
Note: With the addition of the DJI Landing Gear Riser Kit, you’re able to attach the Zenmuse X5 or X5R (bought separately) to the Inspire 1 V2.0 – the next level of quality which comes as standard with the Inspire 1 Pro.
The Inspire 1 Pro comes with the Zenmuse X5, an integrated MFT aerial gimbal featuring a 16MP sensor which can capture UHD & 4K videos.
It also has a 15mm f/1.7 DJI-branded prime lens as standard, but this can be replaced with a number of compatible lenses including the Panasonic Lumix 15mm and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 12mm.
The X5 also supports on-the-fly autofocusing which is a huge plus for aerial filmmakers and photographers.
Note: The lens hood for the MFT should be left on the X5 to preserve its ideal weight and balance, as well as ensuring the best image and footage quality.
Finally, we come to the Inspire 1 RAW which comes with DJI’s upgrade to the X5, adding the ability to capture amazing 16MP stills in Adobe DNG RAW (compared to the X3’s 12.4MP) to preserve all image data. The quality doesn’t stop there, as with the X5R, you can record lossless RAW 4K at 1.6Gbps.
These specs are even more impressive when you take into account that both the Zenmuse X5 and X5R are two of the smallest MFT sensors in production and the only example of these cameras specifically designed for aerial image capture. The X5R is also the first of its kind able to shoot 4K RAW video, lending itself as a highly useful tool to aerial filmmakers.
It’s also worth mentioning that, with any of the three Inspire models covered in this article, you can choose to tether two different remote controllers for greater recording accuracy. In this two-person mode, one user acts as the pilot whilst the other controls the camera functionality. When using the X5 and X5R, you’re also able to attach the ‘DJI Focus’ to one of these controllers allowing the camera operator (or even a third person) to accurately control the focus whilst in-flight.
6. ADDITIONAL PERIPHERALS
What makes the Inspire 1 range so popular with professional drone pilots is its ability to take on a variety of sensors which offer aerial solutions to industries ranging from filmmaking to inspection work.
The DJI Zenmuse Z3 is a gimbal and camera combo featuring the capability to perform a 3.5x optical zoom and also a 2x digital zoom. The 1/2.3” CMOS sensor allows the operator to capture video in 4K and take photos with 12MP quality.
As with DJI’s previous 3-axis gimbals, the Z3 is compatible with the Inspire 1 range and can transmit live HD with DJI’s GO app.
DJI’s Zenmuse XT provides an affordable thermal solution ideal for emergency services. The standard system is capable of recognising body heat in multiple environments and a provides an on-screen centralised spot for measuring temperature.
Learn more about DJI’s thermal solutions
Designed for industrial and agricultural usage, the XT Radiometric is able to disseminate hot and cold areas with more accuracy; simply tap the screen to see the temperature of the desired pixel. Alert thresholds can be set, automatically activating when the target temperature is detected. You also have the ability to process footage in FLIR Tools with even more thermographic information.
There are no outright winners or losers in this comparison between Inspire 1 models. Each of them has their own benefits and ideal use cases and they all benefit from a sleek look and sturdy construction courtesy of DJI.
The V2.0 is a great way to access the power of the Inspire 1 range without having to break the bank. As discussed there’s a tonne of functionality and even if you decide to remain with the Zenmuse X3 which comes with this model as standard, you’ll be able to capture some great stills and footage
The Inspire 1 Pro steps up the visual quality with the Zenmuse X5 and sets its sights further into the professional marketplace (the clue is in the name). If you want to elevate the level of your aerial footage but aren’t overly concerned with shooting in RAW, you can’t really go wrong with the Pro. It also gets bonus marks for the Black Edition, which offers a sleek new aesthetic which really suits the Inspire 1 and sets it apart from the rest of the range.
Finally, we come to the big hitter. The Inspire 1 RAW is the pinnacle of visual quality when applied to filmmaking and a range of industrial use cases. The price tag may put it out of reach for many, but for those who are serious about capturing the highest possible level of stills and footage while retaining the portability and manoeuvrability of the Inspire 1 aircraft, look no further than the RAW.
INSPIRE 1 FAQs
Now that we’ve covered what you can expect from DJI’s Inspire 1 range, here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions about these highly popular aircraft.
REMOTE CONTROLLER & VIDEO TRANSMISSION
- How long does it take for the remote controller to charge? Getting the Inspire 1 remote controller up to full charge can take up to 6 hours. Once the battery is maxed out it can be used for approximately 4 hours.
- What is the largest compatible tablet for the mobile device mount? The Inspire 1’s device mount is able to support the iPad Air or any other similar-sized tablet devices. The maximum width for compatible tablets is 170mm.
- What is the delay when transmitting video? The video feed usually has approximately 220ms of delay.
- Can the HDMI and USB ports transmit video simultaneously? If you ensure that this function is activated before use, it’s possible to transmit video through both ports at the same time.
- What is the maximum distance possible between two remote controls during usage? The primary (master) remote controller and the secondary (slave) remote controller should maintain connection distances of up to 50m.
CAMERA & GIMBAL
- Can the pan and tilt orientation be controlled via DJI’s GO app? Simply press and hold the ‘Camera’ page of your GO app for a few seconds until a circle appears. This can be moved around the screen to adjust the camera’s orientation.
- How many bytes per minute are generated when shooting in 4K? How much video can a standard 16GB SD card hold? Per minute, a 4K video shot with the Inspire 1 generates 450MB. With this in mind, a 16GB SD card is able to store up to 36 minutes of footage.
- Why does video appear blurry, even when shot under normal indoor lighting conditions? With the DJI Pilot app, it’s important to check whether you are recording in PAL or NTSC and ensure this matches the format used by your display device. NTSC is commonly used in the United States and Japan while PAL is standard in both EU countries and China. If the capture settings are not formatted for the display device being used, footage may appear blurry.
- Should I be concerned if the integrated camera fan periodically starts and stops after turning on the aircraft? Not at all. This fan is built to protect critical sensor equipment through cooling. This ensures optimum temperatures are maintained and that the camera functions properly. If the temperature goes above 30°C, the fan is activated and it will shut down when the temperature drops below 20°C.
- Can I take my Intelligent Flight Batteries on a commercial flight? This can vary per country and airline so before flying it’s recommended that you contact the applicable regulatory body with jurisdiction in your region.
- How do I check my battery life? Hold down the Power Button for 5 seconds. The Battery Level Indicators will light up for 10 seconds displaying the level of charge. Battery life is also visible in your DJI Pilot app.
- Is there automatic discharge functionality for the Inspire 1’s batteries? What should I know before discharging the battery? The Intelligent Flight Battery will automatically discharge to under 65% of its total capacity when left idle for more than 10 days. It’s worth mentioning that it takes around 2 days to discharge a maxed out battery’s power to 65%. It’s normal to feel some heat coming from the battery during the process. You can amend discharge thresholds via DJI’s GO app. To manually discharge the battery, follow these instructions. For a slower process, insert the battery into the Inspire 1 and turn it on, leaving it active until less than 8% charge, or until it can no longer be turned on then launch DJI’s GO app to check battery levels. If you’re looking for a more rapid solution, fly the Inspire 1 until it’s under 40% charge.
- How often is a full charge/discharge required? We would recommend you perform this process every 20 battery cycles. After prolonged use, internal charge indicator thresholds are likely to become less accurate. Carrying out a full cycle allows for a re-calibration of charging parameters and also extends the life of the battery.
THE DJI GO APP
- Can the Inspire 1 sync photos and videos through the DJI GO app? Photos and videos are accessible when a mobile device is paired with your remote controller. When this is achieved, you’re able to download these files onto the device.
- What is the ‘Star Button’ on the DJI GO app’s ‘Camera’ page? It’s used to save videos to the mobile device, by pressing this button, you’re able to rapidly and intuitively save the most recent 5 seconds of video footage directly to your mobile device.
- Is registration required for DJI’s GO app? The app can be used without registering if you intend to use it offline, however, you must go through the registration process if you wish to access the features offered by online use.
Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider blog for more in-depth information about our product range and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.
Full post available at – https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2016/09/09/dji-inspire-1-v2-0-versus-inspire-1-pro-raw/