DJI Inspire 3 in the field
Image courtesy: DJI

DJI has announced the DJI Inspire 3, calling it the world’s ultimate cinema drone. But does the Inspire 3 earn that impressive title?

Integrated design

DJI has completely redesigned the Inspire 3 with a lightweight, integrated body and a highly portable form factor. The FPV camera, sensors, positioning antennas, and card slot have also been integrated into the airframe for a minimalist look. The new design supports the newly added tilt boost as well as 360 degrees pan structures. In addition, when the landing gear is lowered, the gimbal supports an obstruction-free 80 degrees upward-angle shooting.

8K video

The Inspire 3 is equipped with the lightest ever full-frame Zenmuse X9-8K Air gimbal camera. The camera also features DJI’s latest image processing system, CineCore 3.0. This supports internal video recording of up to 8K at 25 fps CinemaDNG video as well as 8K at 75f ps Apple ProRes RAW. In addition, in S&Q mode, the X9-8K Air can record internally up to full-frame 4K at 120 fps in ProRes RAW.

Lenses

DJI Inspire 3 camera
Image courtesy: DJI

The X9-8K Air uses DJI’s DL mount. DJI has produced an 18 mm F2.8 full-frame ultra-wide lens and a new telephoto lens specially for 8K aerial cinematography. The Inspire 3 camera is also compatible with DJI’s full-frame 24 mm, 35 mm and 50 mm lenses.

Color science

The X9-8K Air also has more than 14 stops of dynamic range and a dual native ISO. At full frame 30fps and below, this is EI 800/4000 and above 30 fps EI 320/1600 is available. In addition, the DJI Cinema Color System (DCCS) allows the X9-8K Air to retain authentic colors. DJI claims that this will redefine the look of aerial cinematography. DCCS also makes it easy to color match between the X9-8K Air and cinema cameras such as DJI Ronin 4D.

Flight controls

The Inspire 3 incorporates high-precision real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning technology which gives centimeter-level accuracy.  The drone also has an integrated 3 Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) which uses the GPS, Galileo, and BeiDou satellites. In addition, the Inspire 3’s Waypoint Pro function gives you precisely repeatable flight routes while maintaining preset parameters such as altitude, speed, gimbal angle, and camera settings. The function also has a 3D Dolly mode which can simulate a crane, cable cam, or a dolly with adjustable speed and full gimbal control.

O3 Pro transmission

The Inspire 3’s new O3 Pro Transmission enables a transmission range of up to 15 km with one controller and up to 12 km in dual-control mode. This gives you a live feed of up to 1080p/60fps with an ultra-low latency of 90 ms. In addition, 4K at 30 fps live feeds are supported with a reduced 5km transmission range for an ultra-HD output and livestreaming on set. The Inspire 3 comes with the DJI RC Plus with a 7-inch 1,200-nit high-brightness screen so you can operate in strong sunlight. The controller’s internal battery provides up to 3.3 hours of operation time, which you can extend to 6 hours with an external hot-swappable WB37 battery.

Other features

DJI Inspire 3
Image courtesy: DJI

The Inspire 3 has nine visual sensors that can detect obstacles in all directions and provide comprehensive protection for flying. It also has an all-new 161-degree FOV ultra wide-angle FPV lens with a 1/1.8-inch night-vision sensor that delivers a live feed up to 1080p at 60 fps. The Inspire 3 is powered by DJI’s new hot-swappable TB51 intelligent dual batteries to give you a flight time of up to 28 minutes. In addition, the Inspire 3 has a flight speed of up to 94 km/h, eight m/s ascent and descent speed and even a dive speed of up to 10 m/s.

What we think

The Inspire 3 promises high-quality cinematic video and a new level of precise flight control. DJI’s launch video demonstrates the Inspire 3 carrying out some impressive maneuvers which just wouldn’t be possible with previous models. The ability to set accurately repeatable flight patterns is essential for film work where multiple takes of a shot are often needed. The Inspire 3 is a professional drone with a price to match. However, the footage it enables you to capture certainly justifies that price tag.

Pricing and availability

The DJI Inspire 3 will retail at $16,499. It is scheduled to be available by the end of June and can be pre-ordered now. The combo includes the DJI Inspire 3 drone, Zenmuse X9-8K Air gimbal camera, RC Plus remote controller, 6 TB51 Intelligent batteries, a charging hub, 1 TB SSD, trolley case, three pairs of foldable quick-release propellers, a lens carrying box, RC Plus strap and more. There will also be a range of lenses and other accessories available.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.