DJI unveils custom aerial Micro Four Thirds camera

Drone manufacturer DJI has announced its response to news that GoPro is working on a UAV. DJI announced two new cameras for its own flagship drone, the Inspire 1. Dubbed the Zenmuse X5 and X5R, respectively, these cameras are the first aerial cameras to hit the market featuring Micro Four Thirds sensors. Each camera captures 16MP stills and up to 4K/30fps video. Additionally, the X5R is capable of capturing images and video (including lossless 4K CinemaDNG) on either an onboard microSD card or a 512GB SSD mounted just above the gimbal. What's more, each 0.75-pound camera body accommodates four interchangeable lenses (ranging from 12mm to 17mm). The pilot can even adjust the aperture and focus of the lenses from the ground while the Inspire 1 is in flight.

Granted, other UAV platforms like the eye3 and MikroKopter hexadrones the have been able to handle interchangeable lens cameras for a while. However none of them offer as many flight modes and control mechanisms as the Inspire 1. "In order to achieve the quality of video produced by Zenmuse X5 and X5R, pilots used to have to spend many thousands of dollars for large, complicated aerial equipment," Frank Wang, DJI CEO and founder, said in a statement. "Now, pilots can simply mount the Zenmuse X5 series cameras to their Inspire 1, put on their props, get up in the air and have full control of their shot while in flight. This saves valuable time on film sets and makes high-quality imaging for industrial applications smaller, lighter and easier to manage."

Don't expect these cameras to come cheap though. An Inspire 1 with an X5 body and a 15mm f/1.7 ASPH lens will set you back $4,499 (if you pre-order) when it begins shipping at the end of the month. The X5R version is expected to hit store shelves by the end of the year and will cost $7,999. For comparison, the regular Inspire 1 and its standard camera costs $2,899.