It’s been over six years since the second generation of DJI’s cinema drone came out and, if you’ve been keeping up, there have been a lot of advancements in both commercial and consumer drones since then. As such, the DJI Inspire 3 debuts with a whole load of serious upgrades that make it an even more powerful filmmaking tool.
Billed as an “all-in-one 8K camera drone,” it’s a professional-grade filmmaking tool that you can use to perform a whole host of cinematic shooting techniques that would otherwise require different types of tools. That way, you can ditch the cranes and jibs to dollies and more, relying instead on the drone’s sensors, AI, and flight capabilities to perform erstwhile complex cinematography all on its own.
The DJI Inspire 3 is equipped with a full-frame Zenmuse X9-8K Air Gimbal Camera, which is beefed up by the outfit’s latest CineCore 3.0 image processing system, allowing it to capture footage up to 8K at 25fps in CinemaDNG format and 8K at 75fps for Apple ProRes RAW video. You can also dial down to 4K at up to 120fps for Apple ProRes RAW with no cropping, allowing you to shoot those slow-motion shots in high-res. It has dual native ISO capability, allowing you to use variable ISO settings depending on frame rate. At 30fps and under, it provides ISO 8000/4000 with 14 stops of dynamic range, all while using ISO 320/1600 with 13 stops for footage over 30 fps.
The drone can tilt the camera up and down, as well as pan it a full 360 degrees, allowing for plenty of cinematic shooting despite hovering in place. It also uses Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) positioning technology on top of the standard GNSS-based meter-level positioning, allowing it to achieve greater flight stability, significantly improved efficiency, and more accurate route planning.
The DJI Inspire 3 uses a 161-degree FOV ultra wide-angle FPV lens with night vision sensor as its chief navigation sensor, which can stream a 1080p 60fps live view either to DJI’s FPV goggles or the included DJI RC Plus remote. It has a dual-control mode, by the way, which puts a pilot in control of the drone flight while a second operator takes charge of the camera. The darn thing is pretty fast, too, allowing it to hit speeds of up to 58 mph, so you can use it for dynamic soaring footage.
The drone uses TB51 batteries that allow it to stay in the air for up to 28 minutes on a full charge, although that’s during ideal conditions with the flight speed capped at 22 mph, so expect less airtime if you plan on going faster. It’s hot-swappable, by the way, allowing you to quickly swap a fresh module as soon as you run out. Other features include 1TB DJI PROSSD storage (which boasts 1,100 MBps write speeds), maximum operating wind speeds of 8.7 miles per second, nine visual sensors handling omnidirectional sensing, 9.3 miles of range (7.5 miles in dual control mode), customizable obstacle sensing, and multi-camera timecode syncing.
The DJI Inspire 3 will hit store shelves by the end of June. Price is $16,499.