DJI’s Zenmuse X7 S35 Camera Review

by | Jan 3, 2018 | All posts, Digital Cinematography, Pro Cameras | 0 comments

If you haven’t yet, I’d highly recommend watching our Youtube video review first – as they both compliment each other. But if you’ve already seen it – feel free to scroll past it.

DJI’s Zenmuse X7 S35 6K Images

As we suspected, YouTube limited our upload to a 4K resolution. And if you’re wondering what I am talking about, I’m referring to our recent YouTube video posting about the all new Zenmuse X7 camera with S35 sensor. If you haven’t watched the video yet, I’d recommend watching it – here’s the link: https://youtu.be/YFDEpr0TIKA . So, to compliment the video, we’ve added these stills to remove any potential compression artifacts.

The Zenmuse X7 unlocks an astounding 6K resolution in a S35 sensor size so your crop will be minimal. The 6K resolution is available in both a 16:9 and 17:9 ratio. I find this fascinating, only because I don’t know what to call the 17:9 ratio. In regards to 4K we’ve referred to those ratios as “UHD” (Ultra High Definition) and “True 4K.” So is it “True 6K”?

Anywho, so we shot these in 6K at 29.97fps in the 16:9 standard widescreen format. And as mentioned in the video, we set waypoints so that the same route would be flown to be able to shoot CinemaDNG in one flight and ProRes in the next flight in all four of the prime lenses that DJI offers in the new DL mount Zenmuse X7 camera: 16mm, 24mm, 35mm, and 50mm. Each lens has an f stop of f/2.8.

The Images We Captured

These are still grabs taken from a single frame of these videos. This should give you a better idea of what the new X7 can offer. These are PNG’s which will compress it down to an 8bit color depth. However, if you’re so inclined, we’ve made available the same frames ​as the original CDNG​ as a download. Feel free to play with these yourself and see how much you can push. Enjoy!

The coloring on the CDNG video stills you’ll see are straight from the camera’s metadata; zero correction. Then in the second image we added just a slight bit of color correction to the CDNG to increase the overall warmness of the image, as well as recover some of the highlights in the blown out clouds in the upper right corner from the sun.

The ProRes files have zero corrections made; it’s straight from the camera’s look/LUT in 4444 color sampling. The ProRes is a far faster workflow because of the color already baked in, but the CDNG will provide much better latitude to help you recover some of those highlights or crushed blacks.

The night shots were simply taken to show the sensor’s low light strengths. They were shot using the 35mm lens, at 16:9 6K at 29.97fps with a very slight amount of exposure, lift, and gain raised.

My Thoughts

So….my opinion? I’ve looked at the Zenmuse X5S like a Panasonic GH5 flying in the air with an Atomos Shogun external recorder. Its micro 4/3rd’s recording raw or ProRes @ 5.2K. It’s awesome and very impressive! If I already had Lumix or Olympus lenses for a GH5, then I could possibly use them on DJI’s X5S (depending on focal length). It’s run-and-gun, no complicated rigging with an “octo”, etc. Its weaknesses, however, are low light and the crop factor that comes with the smaller sensor. The X7 will change all of that! Only problem is figuring out which camera to compare it to now that it’s S35.

It has great low light performance, it’s crazy sharp, and much less of a crop factor! I also get to keep all the same easy-to-travel run-and-gun features too! At just under $3000 for the camera and $1300 p/lens, or $4300 for the four set, it won’t be for everyone. However, for the professional, these are great numbers! Heck, for the quality and capabilities it has in post, those are fantastic numbers! In my opinion, the Inspire 2 with this X7 will quickly become (if it isn’t already) the “bird” and camera of choice for production sets, including full feature big budget sets. It’s just simply too portable, capable, and affordable. I think it will soon also cause us to look at the Ronin series differently too…as soon as DJI gives birth to the Osmo II that is (hint*hint*wink*wink).

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t already, we welcome your subscribe on our Facebook and YouTube channels for all kinds of comparison, tutorial, and review videos. Good luck and happy shooting!

16MM Stills

24MM Stills

James Bollinger

James Bollinger

James Bollinger grew up always having movie and aviation interests. He took those passions and started ground schools in high school, is a science major in aviation, is a current instrument rated private pilot for just over 16 years, and currently operates UAV's under his Part 107 Certification. Over the last 6 years he has worked with and instructed in all manner of professional cinema and aerial cinematography, including Universities, Cinema Professionals, and Government agencies such as Unified Police & Fire Departments, Wildlife Divisions, and Search & Rescue. He very excited to be part of the 65+ year legacy that TVS Pro carries in Utah. Follow him on Instagram: @flyboybollinger

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