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X5 HF prime lenses vs Zoom lens for Inspections

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Hi Everyone,

I'm new here and just learning. I'm going to be buying a drone soon for some inspection work on roofs and towers.

I hear that using a zoom lens with an X5 while filming will be shaky because of the low bit rate (a product I don't want to deliver to a client).

My question is, can get great results by just using high focal length prime lenses for video inspections instead of a zoom lens? Any differences and pros/cons I need to know about?

Also, do any of you shoot in 4k for inspection videos?

Thanks!
 
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I have the X5 and 3 Olympus lenses. 12 - 25 & 45mm. The 12-42 zoom sux. Fits poorly and wouldn't focus well.
The 45mm is great for close-ups from safe distance. I generally shoot everything in 1080p.
I sold the original DJI (Lumix) lens, but it was good.
Sample pics here:
 

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I have the X5 and 3 Olympus lenses. 12 - 25 & 45mm. The 12-42 zoom sux. Fits poorly and wouldn't focus well.
The 45mm is great for close-ups from safe distance. I generally shoot everything in 1080p.
I sold the original DJI (Lumix) lens, but it was good.
Sample pics here:
Thanks for that! How is the focus on say the 45mm lens when the drone is up close to a structure?
 

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Hi Everyone,

I'm new here and just learning. I'm going to be buying a drone soon for some inspection work on roofs and towers.

I hear that using a zoom lens with an X5 while filming will be shaky because of the low bit rate (a product I don't want to deliver to a client).

My question is, can get great results by just using high focal length prime lenses for video inspections instead of a zoom lens? Any differences and pros/cons I need to know about?

Also, do any of you shoot in 4k for inspection videos?

Thanks!
Whether it's a prime or variable focus is not the issue.
The issue is the level of gimbal correction that is occurring and long focal lengths which magnifies any angular high frequency correction being applied by the gimbal motors.
The longer the focal length (zoom) the worse it will be, just as if you try and hand hold a long lens without any IS then you will shake all over the place.
 
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Whether it's a prime or variable focus is not the issue.
The issue is the level of gimbal correction that is occurring and long focal lengths which magnifies any angular high frequency correction being applied by the gimbal motors.
The longer the focal length (zoom) the worse it will be, just as if you try and hand hold a long lens without any IS then you will shake all over the place.
Thanks for clearing that up. What drone and setup would you suggest I get for what I want to achieve? I already have a potential job to do a roof inspection and other type of inspection work, they want video inspection.
 
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Here is one a little closer with the 45mm.

Hi again,

I starting to buy up some lenses right now.

What focal lengths would be the most important to have? I have the Olympus 45mm and DJI 15mm. I see a good deal on a Olympus 17mm, is there much of a difference between the DJI 15mm in quality and focal?




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I thank the folks who posted photos, but I want to add something into the mix. If you can get close to the structure just about any camera/lens combination will get the job done. To do that (get close) the most important addition I have made is a second operator. That allows me (the pilot) to get close while never taking my eyes off the aircraft. Gone are the days when I would fly over a roof, glance down at the screen, and then have the aircraft move toward certain danger. My second operator controls the camera, gimbal yaw/pitch, video start/stop, and still shots. I use an Inspire 1 with two controllers.
 
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Hi again,

I starting to buy up some lenses right now.

What focal lengths would be the most important to have? I have the Olympus 45mm and DJI 15mm. I see a good deal on a Olympus 17mm, is there much of a difference between the DJI 15mm in quality and focal?




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I have the Olympus 17 mm and find it has better detail and color. I am using it more than the 12mm for that reason.
I sold off my 15mm. Not that I didn't like it, but I bought the 12mm and was trying to recover a few $.
 
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Great to know, thanks for that.

Can you explain more on ND filters if you don't mind? I'm hearing talk that you can burn out gimbal motors if to much weight. If I put an ND filter on a lens that requires a balancing ring, do I keep the balancing ring on with the ND filter or do I remove it? If so, what if the ND isn't of the same weight of the balancing ring. Or do I just use some ultra light ND like the polar pro and use in conjunction with the balance rings?



I have the Olympus 17 mm and find it has better detail and color. I am using it more than the 12mm for that reason.
I sold off my 15mm. Not that I didn't like it, but I bought the 12mm and was trying to recover a few $.
 
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Balance is super critical.
I can't stress that enough.
If using a balance ring plus a filter you need to counter the added weight or lose the ring, depending on the setup.
With the DJI 15mm I simply used the filter* in place of the balance ring. They were equal.
With the 17mm, which uses a 33gm If it tips backward, then more weight added to the front.
I also look at side to side balance. With the 17mm it's fine. But with the 12mm, I need to Velcro a penny to the side cover of the tilt motor.

*For notes on filter weight, see: Filters for X5 camera
 
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In addition to the trial and error approach (which is the final authority) you can get a kitchen scale that reads in grams. What is surprising is that a high quality polarizing filter (for example) which has not been made specifically for drone use can be quite heavy (say 20 grams). In the final analysis all this advice only can take you so far; if the camera tips forward or back (e.g., it is front heavy or back heavy) you are going to have to add or subtract weight to balance it.
 
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Balance is super critical.
I can't stress that enough.
If using a balance ring plus a filter you need to counter the added weight or lose the ring, depending on the setup.
With the DJI 15mm I simply used the filter* in place of the balance ring. They were equal.
With the 17mm, which uses a 33gm If it tips backward, then more weight added to the front.
I also look at side to side balance. With the 17mm it's fine. But with the 12mm, I need to Velcro a penny to the side cover of the tilt motor.

*For notes on filter weight, see: Filters for X5 camera
Hi,

Now that this is to my attention. I just finished checking the balance of both my DJI 15mm and 14-44mm.

The 15mm is still bottom heavy with the balance ring and Hoya ND filter. I added a UV filter to the bunch and this seemed to help a bit but it may be a little nose heavy now.

The 14-42mm lens only seems balanced when fully extended to 42mm, but when I added a UV filter to in with the balance ring it can only be balanced at 14mm.

Does any of this make sense to you? I thought these balance rings were supposed to solve the problem but it doesn't seem that way so far.
 
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Can you explain more on ND filters if you don't mind? I'm hearing talk that you can burn out gimbal motors if to much weight. If I put an ND filter on a lens that requires a balancing ring, do I keep the balancing ring on with the ND filter or do I remove it? If so, what if the ND isn't of the same weight of the balancing ring. Or do I just use some ultra light ND like the polar pro and use in conjunction with the balance rings?
Perhaps read the DJI guidance as that does say when/where a balance ring and hood should be used...
http://dl.djicdn.com/downloads/zenmuse_x5s/en/Zenmuse_X5_User_Manual_en_v1.2_160523.pdf
 
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Hi,

The 15mm is still bottom heavy with the balance ring and Hoya ND filter. I added a UV filter to the bunch and this seemed to help a bit but it may be a little nose heavy now.

The 14-42mm lens only seems balanced when fully extended to 42mm, but when I added a UV filter to in with the balance ring it can only be balanced at 14mm.
The 15mm needs it's plastic hood as well as either a balance ring or a 10-11gm filter to balance.
The 14-42 will never be balanced in all positions as there is a moving element inside it that moves forward and back when zooming.
One of the reasons I got rid of mine. That, plus I didn't like the way it fit on the X5.
 
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Thanks for the info. Do you have any recommendations on what brand of ND filters get and not to get?

I've been pulling between the hitech firecrest ND's and the Polar Pro 6 pack. But wow, the firecrest are not cheap! Is it worth it??

How are these Neewer and Hoya filters mentioned in previous threads?
 
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I use Neewers and chose them mainly because their weight. But, I also see, having them, that the quality of them is top notch.
Personally, I think Polar Pros are over rated and over priced.
 
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There are three important characteristics of ND filters that you should consider: (1) glass type, (2) anti-reflection coatings, and (3) color neutrality. I use NDs extensively in my ground photo work, primarily to get water effects. All brands are not created equal; you only get the quality of the cheapest element in your system.

The glass type needs to be as flat as possible, otherwise you could get unwanted aberrations in the image. Usually you want something like Schott glass or an equivalent.

The number and kind of anti-reflection coatings is very important if you are shooting anywhere near the sun. The multi coatings are usually what you pay for. Single coated filters may do the job; it just depends on what you are shooting. Some filters have resistant coatings that make the filter easier to clean.

Color neutrality is self-explanatory. If you shoot all your footage with the same filter or are shooting stills this is not as much of a problem. If you try to integrate video clips shot with different filters you will appreciate a neutral filter. The hands down winner for color is Breakthrough Photography, but their mount is beefy and they don't have a 46mm.

Bottom line is that you will never ever regret paying for a top notch filter. The PROBLEM for aerial work is that the best filters also have brass mounts, and are correspondingly heavy. That just means that you need to work out your own balance system.
 
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There are three important characteristics of ND filters that you should consider: (1) glass type, (2) anti-reflection coatings, and (3) color neutrality. I use NDs extensively in my ground photo work, primarily to get water effects. All brands are not created equal; you only get the quality of the cheapest element in your system.

The glass type needs to be as flat as possible, otherwise you could get unwanted aberrations in the image. Usually you want something like Schott glass or an equivalent.

The number and kind of anti-reflection coatings is very important if you are shooting anywhere near the sun. The multi coatings are usually what you pay for. Single coated filters may do the job; it just depends on what you are shooting. Some filters have resistant coatings that make the filter easier to clean.

Color neutrality is self-explanatory. If you shoot all your footage with the same filter or are shooting stills this is not as much of a problem. If you try to integrate video clips shot with different filters you will appreciate a neutral filter. The hands down winner for color is Breakthrough Photography, but their mount is beefy and they don't have a 46mm.

Bottom line is that you will never ever regret paying for a top notch filter. The PROBLEM for aerial work is that the best filters also have brass mounts, and are correspondingly heavy. That just means that you need to work out your own balance system.

Hi, thank you for that info. What brand filter do you use for Aerial work?

I just got the Polar Pros because of their intergraded polarizing ND filters.






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YRMD. I don't use ND filters for aerial still work. For aerial video on the X5 I use B+W filters. A little bit cheaper than the Formatt Hitech ones, but every bit a first class filter. For aerial video on the X3 I use the DJI ND filter that came with the kit.

For my Phantom 4 Pro I got a set of six Polar Pros. They are quality stuff and you should use them if you got them. Don't buy anything new unless the Polar Pros somehow don't fit the bill. But, I bet you will be satisfied.
 
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