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Inspire 2, X7 vs X5S.........THEY ARE VERY CLOSE!!!!

In my humble opinion the cost of X7 with lenses for anyone who’s using it for purposes other then high end cinema or commercial work is just unjustified. If one has the funds and wants to get it to feel better about them self’s, go for it. It makes me chuckle when on YouTube some claim “because of X7 we’ve got great jobs” Well mister wizard, real talent is not in gear you use! It’s in the content you create! Believe me, sharpening, colors, dynamic range and all won’t matter if one relies on specs of camera instead of the creativity and content ! Now let the X7 owners take a swig at me in comments below
You are right about your “other than” phrase. We do national car commercials (If you watch TV you’ve seen our footage) and if we ever showed up without the X7 we’d never work again.
 
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I forgot to say....all image were created in Manual Mode. F8 at 1/60th of a sec.

Just a nit: Why 1/60? Seems like a slow shutter speed to use if you are trying to compare sharpness when shooting from a flying drone. The risk of some small motion blur is real at this relatively slow speed, and there's no reason to shoot drone stills at a slow shutter speed in normal daylight.

Nits aside, and more importantly: Thank you for doing the detailed comparison, posting the images, and starting this thread. When I was upgrading from my I1 to I2 about a year ago I agonized over the choice between the X5s and X7, and searched for these types of test images and discussion. I did not find much useful info back then, and it is nice to see it now.

When I was making my purchase, the folks at Florida Drone Supply (highly recommended) were kind enough to shoot some test comparisons for me that helped me to choose. I was originally going to share those images here, but decided not to, because I had asked them to shoot comparison pics that were not typical drone shots, and I did not want to debate my methodology here. Still don't. ;-)
 
Just a nit: Why 1/60? Seems like a slow shutter speed to use if you are trying to compare sharpness when shooting from a flying drone. The risk of some small motion blur is real at this relatively slow speed, and there's no reason to shoot drone stills at a slow shutter speed in normal daylight.

Nits aside, and more importantly: Thank you for doing the detailed comparison, posting the images, and starting this thread. When I was upgrading from my I1 to I2 about a year ago I agonized over the choice between the X5s and X7, and searched for these types of test images and discussion. I did not find much useful info back then, and it is nice to see it now.

When I was making my purchase, the folks at Florida Drone Supply (highly recommended) were kind enough to shoot some test comparisons for me that helped me to choose. I was originally going to share those images here, but decided not to, because I had asked them to shoot comparison pics that were not typical drone shots, and I did not want to debate my methodology here. Still don't. ;-)
So what did you end up getting, X5S or X7?
 
Do you only look into sharpness when you compare sensors and lenses? 35mm film is even not 4K when put under a scanner, it is even soft (as the X7 maybe) but when it comes to latitude and richness in midtones, it was an absolute winner. And of course, content is the most important but, please, this is another discussion, isn’t it?
 
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So what did you end up getting, X5S or X7?

X5S. I shoot both stills and video commercially, but I was primarily choosing based on still image quality, because my stills are used in more IQ-sensitive contexts than my videos (a bit more on that below). Based on the info and samples I had at the time, the IQ difference between the X7 and X5S for stills was not compelling, especially in light of the price difference.

I have not regretted the choice. For my market/use, I don't believe that I would have made any more money, or produced significantly better imagery, if I'd gotten the X7. My stills get used in some demanding contexts, such as magazine covers (Coastal Living, Yankee) and in large acrylic and metal art prints hung in fancy corporate lobbies and the like. The X5S (with Olympus lenses - I never use the DJI 15mm) has been up to the task. On the video front, most of what I shoot ends up being viewed on YouTube or similar platforms, and the X5S H.264 footage is more than adequate for that. But I also shoot video for some other production companies who are more demanding, and ask me to give them ProRes or CinemaDNG footage along with the H.264 .MOV files as proxies. The final results that they produce from this material, especially from the adjusted CinemDNG files, can look very good indeed. So I am happy with the results, for my own work, and my customers keep hiring me to shoot for them and to license my images.

Another reason I did not get the X7 was that I knew I'd kick myself if DJI subsequently came out with a full frame hi res camera that had quality similar to my Nikon D850 I use on the ground for stills. It would have drawn a high vacuum to have spent $7k+ on the X7 in that case. I'd still like to see DJI release a full framekit for the I2, but at this point in its life cycle that seems unlikely.
 
X5S. I shoot both stills and video commercially, but I was primarily choosing based on still image quality, because my stills are used in more IQ-sensitive contexts than my videos (a bit more on that below). Based on the info and samples I had at the time, the IQ difference between the X7 and X5S for stills was not compelling, especially in light of the price difference.

I have not regretted the choice. For my market/use, I don't believe that I would have made any more money, or produced significantly better imagery, if I'd gotten the X7. My stills get used in some demanding contexts, such as magazine covers (Coastal Living, Yankee) and in large acrylic and metal art prints hung in fancy corporate lobbies and the like. The X5S (with Olympus lenses - I never use the DJI 15mm) has been up to the task. On the video front, most of what I shoot ends up being viewed on YouTube or similar platforms, and the X5S H.264 footage is more than adequate for that. But I also shoot video for some other production companies who are more demanding, and ask me to give them ProRes or CinemaDNG footage along with the H.264 .MOV files as proxies. The final results that they produce from this material, especially from the adjusted CinemDNG files, can look very good indeed. So I am happy with the results, for my own work, and my customers keep hiring me to shoot for them and to license my images.

Another reason I did not get the X7 was that I knew I'd kick myself if DJI subsequently came out with a full frame hi res camera that had quality similar to my Nikon D850 I use on the ground for stills. It would have drawn a high vacuum to have spent $7k+ on the X7 in that case. I'd still like to see DJI release a full framekit for the I2, but at this point in its life cycle that seems unlikely.
3 of the 4 X7 lenses are FF, so they're at least attempting to not have everything become obsolete.
 
Do you only look into sharpness when you compare sensors and lenses? 35mm film is even not 4K when put under a scanner, it is even soft (as the X7 maybe) but when it comes to latitude and richness in midtones, it was an absolute winner. And of course, content is the most important but, please, this is another discussion, isn’t it?
Not sure if this question was directed at me, but I definitely look at all aspects of IQ. When you are making prints that are 60" + in width, there's no place to hide.
 
X5S. I shoot both stills and video commercially, but I was primarily choosing based on still image quality, because my stills are used in more IQ-sensitive contexts than my videos (a bit more on that below). Based on the info and samples I had at the time, the IQ difference between the X7 and X5S for stills was not compelling, especially in light of the price difference.

I have not regretted the choice. For my market/use, I don't believe that I would have made any more money, or produced significantly better imagery, if I'd gotten the X7. My stills get used in some demanding contexts, such as magazine covers (Coastal Living, Yankee) and in large acrylic and metal art prints hung in fancy corporate lobbies and the like. The X5S (with Olympus lenses - I never use the DJI 15mm) has been up to the task. On the video front, most of what I shoot ends up being viewed on YouTube or similar platforms, and the X5S H.264 footage is more than adequate for that. But I also shoot video for some other production companies who are more demanding, and ask me to give them ProRes or CinemaDNG footage along with the H.264 .MOV files as proxies. The final results that they produce from this material, especially from the adjusted CinemDNG files, can look very good indeed. So I am happy with the results, for my own work, and my customers keep hiring me to shoot for them and to license my images.

Another reason I did not get the X7 was that I knew I'd kick myself if DJI subsequently came out with a full frame hi res camera that had quality similar to my Nikon D850 I use on the ground for stills. It would have drawn a high vacuum to have spent $7k+ on the X7 in that case. I'd still like to see DJI release a full framekit for the I2, but at this point in its life cycle that seems unlikely.
Thank you for your well rounded, balanced and unbiased reply. We are both on the same page.
 
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Kirk,

I use a X5s with several Oly lenses and have had the chance to test a X7
set for a couple of days, since then we own that as well.

First of all the most optical difference occuring to me is:

The X7 lenses are true prime lenses. they nearly have no saggital coma and very minor chromatical aberration. I find the pure optical quality of these lenses stunning.

this is to my opinion quite important as only ACR allows for lens corrections (in PS or AE). ACR enhances image quality of Oly lenses very well, lens corrections here are welcome.

with the X7 lenses this is not much needed or can eve be avoided. Since Davinci Resolve (which is the only host that can fluidly handle CinemaDNG) does not allow for lens corrections X7 footage does look better here.

The rest in brief comparison:

X5s:

pro
# great lens range of all sorts
# slightly lighter, allows for a bit more flying time
# even a zoom available
# smaller packing size
# blends in well into RED, Alexa, Blackmagic Footage
# GH5 ish looks and bokeh
# all lenses can be used with Blackmagic 4K pocket which is a stunning camera by itself and makes a great combo with Inspire 2 and X5s
# fairly good stills quality

cons
# less dynamic range (fewer stops)
# shooting sunsets they burn out
# no ProRes RAW option
# saggital coma and chromatic aberration always an issue
# like GH5 high readout noise at low light


X7s:

pro:
# absolutely prime lenses
# saggital coma and chromatic aberration a non-issue
# great DR, easier color grading overall when light gets challenging
# blends in very well into RED, Alexa, Blackmagic Footage
# amazing at low light
# sunsets don’t burn out
# gimbal has to my experience a bit less drift
# great sensor quality, less noise at low light
# great stills quality
# 6.2 K Prores RAW
# 6.2K stills!


cons
# pricetag - but again, these are true prime lenses, would cost 3x more elsewhere - in fact for their great performance they are decently priced
# focus calibration nag quite often with 50mm
# bigger lens package size (when travelling)
# only option on the wide end is the manual venus optics/laowa, Go 4 sometimes goes nuts with that manual lens, Litchi is an option here
# built in ND4 of not much use with the 16 mm
# slightly shorter flight times

did I forget something?

I say both X5s and X7 have their merits. pure optical quality on the X7 primes however is unparalleld. but they are just 4 lenses plus a manual one that needs preset aperture and fixed prefocus.

lens range and options on the X5s is great, and footage quality is still excellent (except burnt sunsets). if you shoot much lowlight however, X7 is superior. as well, Prores RAW is great, bummer it isn’t available on X5s.

if I travel lightly or have to Hike the Inspire I often prefer the X5s especially combined with the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K it’s a great, hard to beat package for the price.

if I have to shoot the best overall quality especially lens-wise, I grab the X7.

cheers
 
Just built two ground rigs with inspire 2 and x7 with cineDNG.....there was the osmo with the x5 that would have taken no work and a LOT les money.After careful review of footage for weeks we decided to build our own system that doesn’t exist just because it’s that awesome. When have been using it for several weeks now and the ability to have two drones in the air filming and land then go to one or two ground rigs using all the same lenses is amazing. When you sit down and start editing and color grading is when your really see its value. The x7 cineDNG is a hands down winner. Yes the x5 is great for the price and maybe a better deal but we want to future proof some of what we are shooting , allowing the footage to be viable for many years.
We shoot for Florida TDC a fair amount,” ,”I love NY” campaigns. NBC Sports, PBS,BBC and Discovery Channel. and at Lot of Florida Keys clients. When I walk in and show them footage they are blown away. We have a few big 4K TVs is our restaurants (north and south) to show off our work.
We just added the new Loawa 9mm lense to our x7 setup and that is a game changer as well.
Thanks for the test.
Hey there..I own the Loawa for the X5S. When I bought it, there was no option for the X7 camera. A friend has the Loawa for his X7 and raved about it...I fly In2 with X7 but switch to the X5S for the Loawa....other than avoiding the pain of switching from one camera to another how is the new LOAWA a game changer? Inspire2 with x5S cam and Loawa lens. Both photos attached: with LOAWA...in Norfolk. disregard New Rochelle Marina label. LOL.
 

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Joris Van den Hauwe said: Why is the 15mm lens the worst of all lenses for the X5S? I don’t get that."
Because he certainly have a bad copy, it's obvious, so it's based on his limited judgment.
Have not read the other posts with replay or replays, I jump to another argument, now.

Maybe he just has a bad copy of the 15mm kit lens, but his onservation is not isolated. I got the 15mm lens as the kit lens with my I1 X5 several years ago, and my instance of that lens did not produce very good looking images either (I'm a long time commercial photographer who shoots nikon pro glass on the ground and understand the shooting technique issues that contribute to image quality). So I got the Oly 12mm and 25mm lenses and liked them much better than my 15mm kit lens. When I upgraded to my I2 X5S package I got it without any lenses to save money, since my X5 lenses were compatible with the X5S. I compared the results using the Olympus lenses vs 15mm on the X5S and felt the same way as I had on the X5 camera...the Olympus lens results where optically better than those from the 15mm kit lens. I never usethe 15mm lens for commercial work. I don't know if DJI improved the 15mm kit lens they ship with the X5S, since mine dates from the X5. I have heard and read other complaints about the optical quality of the 15mm lens from other I1 and I2 users, and don't recall hearing complaints about the Oly 12mm. Yes, my sample size is small and my info is anecdotal. There may be good instance of the 15mm kit lens out there. But, if you aren't happy with your 15mm IQ, you might try the Oly 12. And yes, I really need to get the Loawa 9mm. Thanks for reminding me!
 
I had written something elsewhere here in Inspire Pilots, I repeat with other words.
I refer in general terms to the quality of a lens, in the sense of a more or less well constructed copy.

Within all the lenses of all the brands in the world, there are inevitably good, very good, and excellent optics that respect the tolerances of the original project and others (many, too many) that are out of tolerance, but enter anyway in the market, for various non-noble reasons, probably hoping there are few buyers who realize the issue in time and require the replacement under warranty.
They can also be damaged during transport, or by the user, due to blows received, usually this can happen with heavy lens, but noone is guaranteed to survive well to a shock, particularly a zoom lens having a more complex mechanism, and here for our interest there are typically also the light and fragile 14-42 mm by Panasonic and Olympus, just for an example.

But already before to be an optic, the wafer of glass used to model the individual lenses are not all the same, they do not all have the same chemical composition and the quality time after time, and from a single large wafer more discs are cut which then become lenses with the formation procedure. Those on the outside of the wafer are usually less good than those cut out in the central area, a little difference, but important and significant for the final quality of a complex optic that can amplify each small flaw.

Regarding this very good or excellent Lumix 15 mm...

(no matter if the original from Panasonic with Leica optical design, marked Leica, named DG Summilux, or just marked DJI, because optics and internal mechanics that move the optics for focusing, are the same),

..., well, even here unfortunately, you can find bad copies and good copies.

The first DJI Lumix 15mm lens I received with Zenmuse X5 for the Inspire 1 Pro is perfect, was the year 2016.
Later I bought one X5S Zenmuse gimbal for Inspire 2 with the same 15 mm lens having the rubber coating around the diaphragm ring.
Well, this second lens was a bad copy, resolving much less details than the first one, on one side of the frame.
Typical bad centering defect.

Having realized the defect already seeing the pictures taken in flight, I have done the appropriate tests using my big test charts that clearly confirmed the issue, so I asked DJI for the replacement under warranty.
DJI sent me another copy, resulting in a good one, well built ...but this time without its rubber protection.

That's all, I hope you all grasp the meaning of these well-known stories among some headstrong pixel peeping photographers.
 

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I tested both before purchase and what I could see was that X7 has clearly better dynamic range which is visible in the sky and in darker areas. But yes it is much more expensive. I would expected the lenses to be very good, but have not done formal tests. Still even X7 does not have amazing dynamic range vs pro cinema cameras. Our Red Helium blows it out of the water in highlights.
 
On a positive note for Inspire 2 5S, this is the camera that was used on BBC Blue Planet Live Blue Whale sequence. So BBC clearly thought it was good enough for the job.
 
That's what I tell some pixel-peeping clients, if it's good enough for Blue Planet or Netflix's Our Planet, it's good enough for your 1:30' corporate movie that will be mostly seen on smartphones...
 
Just built two ground rigs with inspire 2 and x7 with cineDNG.....there was the osmo with the x5 that would have taken no work and a LOT les money.After careful review of footage for weeks we decided to build our own system that doesn’t exist just because it’s that awesome. When have been using it for several weeks now and the ability to have two drones in the air filming and land then go to one or two ground rigs using all the same lenses is amazing. When you sit down and start editing and color grading is when your really see its value. The x7 cineDNG is a hands down winner. Yes the x5 is great for the price and maybe a better deal but we want to future proof some of what we are shooting , allowing the footage to be viable for many years.
We shoot for Florida TDC a fair amount,” ,”I love NY” campaigns. NBC Sports, PBS,BBC and Discovery Channel. and at Lot of Florida Keys clients. When I walk in and show them footage they are blown away. We have a few big 4K TVs is our restaurants (north and south) to show off our work.
We just added the new Loawa 9mm lense to our x7 setup and that is a game changer as well.
Thanks for the test.
Hi there. I have the Loawa 7.5mm on the X5s for Inspire2. Loawa did not have a lens for the X7 at the time. Tell me about the 9mm? 7.5mm FOV is theoretically 110 degrees; 9mm is 100 ?? but it happily mounts on X7? Let me know if its worth having. Most of my work is still images....
 
Laowa 9mm is 123 degrees.

X7 is a lot better than X5s. There is no doubt. Night and day.
 

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