While it doesn't look drone compatible, DJI's patents for a new mirrorless camera is worth putting on your wish list.

About four years ago, at the height of the drone craze, I was at the DJI booth at NAB talking to an executive. This exec told me that the drone company had started making a transition away from being a drone centric concern, to becoming a camera company. Shortly thereafter, they released their first DJI Phantom with a camera designed and built by DJI. Then came the DJI OSMO handheld gimbal and camera, and then DJI rocked the world by announcing purchasing of Hasselblad in 2017. Now they're taking on former partner GoPro with their own 4K action camera.

Step by step, they are moving away from aerial cinematography, and towards making cameras. So when a patent showed up revealing they were working on a new mirrorless design similar to the Hasselblad X1D, it was just the next step in their evolution.

The news broke by DJI watcher OsitaLV on Twitter, who came across a Chinese patent application for a new mirrorless camera that he believes is aimed with competing head to head with the Sony A7 series. However, the design looks very similar to the Hasselbad X1D50c. That camera offers a 50mp medium format image sensor, with 3.6" rear touch screen, and a 3.69 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder. With 14 stops of dynamic range, the X1D50c utilizes Hasselbad Natural color science, and shoots 16 bit Raw images and full resolution JPEGS. 

Camera designs depicted in DJI's Patent application for a mirrorless camera

But the downside is: It doesn't shoot video. This is largely due to being aimed at professional photographers who need a medium format camera for shooting weddings, product photography, and modeling.

The medium format Hasselblad X1DII 50c

Since that's not really DJI's main business model, this mirrorless camera design is presumably intended to go head to head with Sony, Canon, and Nikon in the consumer mirrorless camera market. DJI would likely swap out the medium format image sensor for a more compact full frame sensor, offer an articulating LCD screen, and would add 4K video.

The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to carry some of the technology that the HX1d50c does right, and incorporate it into a consumer grade design that would attract those who want a higher performance mirrorless camera. 

Buttons may indicate DJI's Hasselblad Clone will shoot video

But looking deep into the 3D model rendering, it does hint that the sensor would be the same medium format sensor. So is this just a video shooting model? And why would they do that? Well, DJI could be planning on jettisoning Hasselblad and giving them back their independence, or they could be planning on ultimately absorbing the entire product catalog under the DJI nameplate. Or, since DJI Global is based in China, this may solely be for the Asian Market. That would certainly avoid all the trade dispute nonsense that's causing a drastic drop in camera sales.

The drone market isn't disappearing for DJI. They pretty much own that space so it's not going anywhere until DJI decides it does. But now that they are tackling the camera world, it'll be interesting to see where this copycat Hasselblad ends up in the market.