Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you know that drones have become more and more integral to film and video production. Their quality has also made leaps and bounds in the past few years, thanks in particular to one standout manufacturer: China’s DJI. The company, just over a decade old, held 67% of the US drone market in the high-end range ($2,000-$,4000 USD) last year and that number is only expected to grow with their new and revolutionary camera.
The Zenmuse X7 is the first Super 35mm digital film camera designed specifically for use with drones and for aerial cinematography, made to work seamlessly with the DJI Inspire 2 drone. The camera is a game changer in more ways than one. It boasts 14 stops of dynamic range, which makes it ideal for low-light situations, and low-noise image capture that keeps details looking sharp while allowing users to capture a cinematic shallow depth of field. It also captures footage in up to 6K.
What’s perhaps the most innovative component of the Zenmuse X7 is its newly developed colour system, designed in conjunction with Technicolor, which mimics that of a film camera and helps cinematographers capture as much colour information as possible. This gives the flexibility in post-production that drone cameras of the past could not.
With its image quality and flexibility, this camera’s footage can be seamlessly cut with footage from some of the leading cinema cameras on the market. Don’t believe us? Take a look for yourself in this short film shot entirely on the Zenmust X7:
To sweeten the deal even further, the starting price for the Zenmuse X7 body is only $2,699USD, with a 4 piece prime lens kit for $4,299. The camera will start shipping in early November, just in time to put it on our Christmas wish list.
So how has DJI grown to corner the market on high-end drone cameras? A lot of the company’s success can be attributed to its CEO Frank Wang, who is often compared to Steve Jobs due to his eccentrism and his obsessive work ethic. There is a sign on his office door which reads in Mandarin “Those with brains only” followed by “Do not bring in emotions”. This attitude towards innovation has brought tremendous success to the DJI empire. In just eleven short years, the company has grown to dominate the commercial drone market and is now worth over $10 billion dollars.
Their secret to success? Firstly, quality is their first and foremost priority. DJI has a staff of over 1,500 people dedicated to research and development which allows them to release new products more quickly than competitors. The company has also formed strong partnerships with leading tech brands like Sony to source camera components and with Apple for in-store sales. One of the biggest factors from the perspective of consumers is the shockingly affordable price points of most of its products, with a higher value per dollar than most drone technology on the market.
With drone sales slated to climb quickly in the coming years and with that an uptick in professional use in the photography and video world, DJI has placed itself at an advantageous intersection of tech and art. We can’t wait to see how this company grows and what’s next for their product line.