November 13, 2014

Meet the DJI Inspire 1, the Most Advanced 4K Prosumer Drone to Date

DJI Inspire 1
Over the past year, the DJI Phantom has become one of the most popular drones in the world.

Not content to rest on their laurels, however, the Hong Kong-based company has been hard at work developing the next generation of drones. Yesterday, DJI officially announced the Inspire 1, one of the most fully-featured consumer drones that we've ever seen. Before we get to all of the features and specs, let's take a look at the DJI launch video for the Inspire 1:

Here's a rundown of the specs:

  • Capture 4K Video and 12MP Stills
  • 4096 x 2160: 24p, 25p
  • 3840 x 2160: 24p, 25p, 30p
  • 1920 x 1080: 24p, 25p, 30p, 48p, 50p, 60p
  • 1280 x 720: 24p, 25p, 30p, 48p, 50p, 60p
  • Maximum Bitrate: 60 Mbps
  • Card Slot: microSD/SDHC/SDXC up to 64 GB
  • Photography: Single shot, Burst: 3, 5, 7 fps, Time-lapse
  • 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizes Camera
  • Up to 1.2 Mile Radio Range
  • GPS-Based Stabilization System
  • Optical Flow Sensor for Indoor Flying
  • Works with DJI Lightbridge Ground System
  • Live 720p HD Monitoring with Lightbridge
  • Retractable Carbon Fiber Arms
  • Unobstructed 360° Shooting
  • Dual Transmitter Operation Supported
  • Battery: 6S LiPo; 22.2 VDC, 4500 mAh / 99.9 Wh, 180 W
  • Availability: December 2014
  • Price: $2,900 with one transmitter, $3,400 with two

And some of the promotional videos shot with the Inspire 1 and the built-in 4K camera:

There are a few things that set the Inspire 1 apart from the myriad consumer drones that have popped up over the past few years. First and foremost is the built-in gimbal-stabilized 4K camera, which delivers crystal clear video and stills at a variety of resolutions and frame rates, and which can be controlled by DJI's incredibly intuitive iPad app. Secondly, the camera lens offers a fixed 94 degree field of view that is largely distortion free, which eliminates the need to correct fisheye lens distortion in post production (like can sometimes be necessary with GoPro footage). Lastly, because of the unique transformative design, the camera can travel a full 360 degrees without the drone getting in your shots.

Ben Popper at The Verge managed to get an early version of the Inspire 1. Here's their video review:

At roughly $2,900, the DJI Inspire 1 is more than twice the price of the Phantom 2 Vision+. However, considering that it is a substantial upgrade in every single capacity, it's definitely a great investment for aerial cinematographers and photographers looking to take their work to the next level.

You can learn more about the DJI Inspire 1 on the DJI website, and it's now available for preorder at B&H    

Your Comment

28 Comments

The drone itself is a nice upgrade from the Phantom series, adding retractable landing gear, sensors for indoor flight, extended range, improved controller and possibly more stability from the weight. These things really make me want the drone...however...

Camera-wise the test footage is a total letdown. I'd much rather see this drone with GoPro mount. Not only is the footage better, but the Hero4 is also usable outside of any DJI equipment. Maybe they will release a GoPro mount anytime soon, since the gimbal and mount appears to be modular.

Still...are the added benefits to the drone itself worth the price difference compared to the Phantom II or any custom built drone? Not too sure about that just yet...

November 13, 2014 at 2:02PM

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Jeroen Rommelaars
Animator - Videographer - Motion Tracking
1012

Actually the sony exmor sensor in the camera is rumored to be the same as the one in the gopro4...

November 13, 2014 at 2:32PM

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That may be true, I don't know, but if you compare the test footage of this camera to that coming out of the Hero4 you will see quite the difference.

November 14, 2014 at 6:27AM

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Jeroen Rommelaars
Animator - Videographer - Motion Tracking
1012

Honestly...this looks like a much better option than a GoPro 4 and Phantom 2. Probably the best in the price range for a while.

November 13, 2014 at 2:07PM, Edited November 13, 2:07PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2831

Expanded thoughts:

The GoPro 4 still has those tiny exposure changes that ruin 90% of the footage. Not adding manual control over everything was a big swing and a miss on their part. I understand wanting to keep it simple but why not bury it deep in the menus? Also, this isn't that much more than a GP4/Phantom 2 set up with a couple of batteries and FPV.

November 13, 2014 at 2:19PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2831

I agree Luke. I have been pricing a Phantom2 kit with gopro4, fpv etc. I was going to be spending around $2600 plus tax. I specifically waited for this announcement before purchasing - and glad I did. This camera doesn't look absolutely great to me, but it does look on par with a GoPro - and will all the other advantages, i'll be ordering one right away.

November 13, 2014 at 2:27PM

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Lane McCall
Producer/Director
456

It looks to actually do a couple of things better but you never know. This is a promo video so they are showing the best that the system is capable of (or at least the best they had to choose from for promo material).

That means it's capable of looking much worse.

November 13, 2014 at 3:04PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2831

based on the promo footage I would be more interested in this drone with the hero4, which will surely come in the near future. a direct comparison between the two cameras will be very interesting

November 13, 2014 at 3:37PM

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There is test footage available on youtube. Froknowphoto has had the drone for a while for testing...and the footage from the camera sadly is quite a bit lower quality compared to the hero4

November 13, 2014 at 4:17PM

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Jeroen Rommelaars
Animator - Videographer - Motion Tracking
1012

Jared (Froknowphoto) hasn't had it for a while. He was invited to try it for one (extremely windy) afternoon in Brooklyn.

November 13, 2014 at 5:27PM

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Lane McCall
Producer/Director
456

$3000 for a gopro style quad is overkill, imho... While I love the idea of a dedicated aerial camera that can shoot 4K, I'm not sure if this one compares to the new Panasonic LX100.

November 13, 2014 at 3:34PM, Edited November 13, 3:34PM

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Tom Holton
UAS Specialist
267

What's another quad that you get beyond gopro style filming with fpv for $3000? Everything I've looked at that flies anything heavier than a gopro is a good deal more money. Granted... you can fly a gopro cheaper than $3k, but you don't get all the features the Inspire offers (HD downlink, retractable legs for no props in shots, indoor stabilization without GPS etc. etc.)

November 15, 2014 at 11:12PM

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Lane McCall
Producer/Director
456

I think that the image quality is good, but the Youtube downscaling from 4k to 1080p is super bad. I think that it produces alliasing.

November 13, 2014 at 4:29PM, Edited November 13, 4:29PM

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Wow. Just downloaded some original footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9HlDWOq6Do&list=UU6IYWou_c_Xjm63Wp5IpZBA (check the description for the link). All I can say is the YouTube compression is really really horrible. Original footage looks very good. I am surprised.

November 13, 2014 at 6:37PM, Edited November 13, 6:37PM

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Lane McCall
Producer/Director
456

Something people are forgetting is how this thing handles in the air. Reading from some people that have used it, it's apparently much easier to fly, has the added ability of being more stable inside from ground sensors, and has everything integrated into one package. This isn't something you have to build or program yourself, and it includes a lot of really amazing features that understandable to any consumer.

Yes, the image quality isn't perfect. But take a look at that gimbal mount again, it's detachable, and they have expressed future upgrades. The ability to change camera settings on the fly (pun intended) is a huge benefit.

To be completely honest, unless you are pixel peeping, the image quality from this will be completely usable. Does it appear as good as the Hero4? No. If you were watching a good short film and saw a shot from this quad, would you even know it? Probably not.

November 13, 2014 at 10:10PM, Edited November 13, 10:10PM

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Alex Smith
Documentary/Cinematographer
1378

Good points but I also think it looks just as good as the GP4. The GoPro 4 images isn't all that amazing...

November 14, 2014 at 11:05AM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2831

FWIW - skynamic, who shot a lot of the video that appears in the inspire promo said "we think the quality is way better than any action cam on the market" in the vimeo comments under their video. When I downloaded a clip from their untouched footage it did look really nice. Not sure if they're being persuaded by a pay check on that statement... but still. https://vimeo.com/111696405

November 14, 2014 at 12:43PM

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Lane McCall
Producer/Director
456

What's with the gimbal camera shake in the videos? You don't see it in the actual camera footage but it's quite obvious in the video of the drone as it takes off. Does it stabilize once in flight? I see no comments about this. Thoughts?

November 14, 2014 at 5:43PM

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I saw the same thing. However it only happened when the arms are moving before flight. I think this likely happens because of power consumption being used when it transforms or just programming. It didn't happen at any point where it mattered. These are also still test units.

I've worked in robotics and those types of twitches are normal when functioning units are connected. It could also be the gimbal initializing just like any other gimbal, it's just programmed to happen when the inspire switches to "flight mode". It doesn't seem to be an issue.

November 14, 2014 at 7:41PM, Edited November 14, 7:41PM

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Alex Smith
Documentary/Cinematographer
1378

Oh crap Skynet just went public.

November 14, 2014 at 1:51PM, Edited November 14, 1:51PM

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David Sharp
Video Editor, Cinematographer, Teacher
405

The only problem is that the dual-controller setup still has no visual feedback for the flight controller, so while the camera operator is panning beautifully, it could be heading straight into a building. It would be great if there was a second camera used for navigation.

November 15, 2014 at 2:49AM

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Dave Lang
ShareGrid: Camera Sharing Community
86

Why don't the videos show up in Firefox?

November 15, 2014 at 6:08PM, Edited November 15, 6:08PM

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Robert Bryant
Writer, Editor, Sound Designer
168

Never mind. Was a problem with Firefox. Fixed by resetting.

November 15, 2014 at 6:59PM

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Robert Bryant
Writer, Editor, Sound Designer
168

My good friends at Hot Rod Cameras are doing an Inspire 1 pre-order for only $25 (either single or dual control) instead of the full pay pre-order at other shops.

November 15, 2014 at 11:21PM, Edited November 15, 11:21PM

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This is a good platform if you need a simple to use turnkey setup with only one camera option, at least currently.

We are considering offering our ProviSystems GCS ground control station with integrated screen which we originally developed for the Phantom II (check our website for pics and details) to go with the Inspire 1, if we see there's enough interest for one.
Our ProviSystems GCS would give users a more compact transmitter system than the one in the DT7 combo that's included with the Inspire. An embedded smartphone main-board system would allow you to do on screen commands (waypoints, camera adjustment, etc) without the need to have a separate smartphone device externally attached to the TX. It would also provide extra protection to the remote and screen thanks to its embedded characteristics and CF+ABS case.

Here's our current GCS with the Phantom II to show you what our GCS looks like:
http://www.providentialsystems.com/shop/quadcopters/dji-phantom-start-up...

November 19, 2014 at 12:12AM

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J. Fandino
Drone sales at www.providentialsystems.com
95

Its great to see these devices evolving! Now if we could just get the FAA to evolve a bit so we can fly with less restrictions, life would be good...very good.

November 21, 2014 at 11:49AM

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David Patterson
videographer/editor
275

Technically the Inspire 1 sounds great and I'm looking forward to get my hands on it but I also dig the design, well done DJI!

November 23, 2014 at 10:54AM

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Hmm, does anyone noticed the incredible low dynamic range from the inspire1 camera? i havent seen any good looking footage where the sky isnt blownout! But there is tons of great looking footage from gopro, where the sky is not overexposed.
How can dji build such a nice copter and put such a crappy camera on it? I will never understand the marketing genius behind that...

December 8, 2014 at 5:16AM

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dj73
159