DJI Inspire 2: A Drone for Professional Film Makers

DJI Inspire 2: A Drone for Professional Film Makers 1

The DJI Inspire got people’s attention when it was first introduced. It offered a raft of cutting-edge features and the ability to switch different camera lenses depending on your shooting goals. It’s still one of the finest drones around, but the market is growing – and that’s where the Inspire 2 comes in.

While it looks very much the same as the past Inspire model, this state of the art drone is packing a wide range of improvements under its hood. It’s even better at obstacle avoidance, and ships with a new Zenmuse camera, the X5S. It also has a dual battery setup for an increased operational range.

DJI’s competitors have upped their game in recent years, but the Inspire 2 is a completely different proposition, and comfortably dominates the manufacturer’s range of flagship, professional-spec drones. But you will be disappointed to know that it costs a lot more than the company’s more consumer-focused Mavic, Spark, and Phantom lines.

Design

If you have been using the DJI Inspire then the Inspire 2 won’t come as too much of a surprise, at least when it comes to looks. It possesses the same quad-prop layout as its forerunner, and once again super-tough carbon fiber material has been utilized for the arms, giving the drone impressive strength.

DJI Inspire 2: A Drone for Professional Film Makers 2

DJI has reworked the body, too; the white plastic of the previous model is gone, and in its place, magnesium aluminum composite is used. Another modification is the inclusion of a new forward-facing FPV camera and obstacle-avoidance system, mounted in a bar on the front of the drone, and there’s also a dual-battery setup for increased endurance.

There is no camera attached with the drone itself, but you have a choice to pick one from DJI’s range of Zenmuse cameras. It’s possible to swap out the camera so that you have the perfect lens for the job at hand. This makes the Inspire 2 an ideal device for professional photographers and filmmakers who need complete control over their shooting setup.

Build and Handling

The original Inspire was as solid as a tank, but the Inspire 2 is even tougher thanks to its revised aluminum body. The carbon fiber arms mean bumps and bashes won’t be able to damage the unit. The only weak spots are the plastic made, quick-release propellers – which are easily replaceable if they get damaged – and the camera itself, which can also be replaced, although at a much greater cost.

The build quality is excellent and DJI has included a number of countermeasures in the Inspire 2. The aforementioned FPV camera and obstacle-avoidance system are able to track for incoming objects 30 meters ahead, while the upward-facing infrared sensors detect the objects five meters above the drone, which can be helpful when you’re flying in enclosed spaces. Terrain detection sensors are also installed to the bottom of the Inspire 2.

This drone is equipped with the tech that makes it impossible to crash; it is intelligent enough to prevent itself from bumping into trees or smashing into the ground. Although it’s worth noting that with the full suite of object-avoidance features enabled you can only go to a top speed of 45mph. But if you feel confident enough, you can disable the object- avoidance mode to achieve speeds of around 58mph.

If your enthusiasm gets the better of you and you let the drone fly out of your sight, the ‘return to home’ function means you won’t end up hitting your drone to the ground or meeting with an accident. Despite all these features, it’s also worth noting that the Inspire 2 is one of the most agile and smart drones we’ve ever encountered. It’s not only lightning fast but also quick to respond to user input and – when flying – is as rock-steady as they come, even in moderate wind.

Performance

As was the case with the Inspire, the Inspire 2 is operated with a dedicated remote control that connects to the drone via a powerful pair of antennae. There’s no screen, so you have to link your smartphone to the remote via a wired medium. It is also needed to install DJI’s GO 4 application, not the DJI GO app that was previously used for the Inspire 1 and other older DJI models.

DJI Inspire 2: A Drone for Professional Film Makers 3Once you’re in the app you can perform different tasks such as calibrating the camera, toggling beginner mode on and off and much more. It is also possible for you to access the drone’s automated flight controls, one of which is Spotlight Pro that allows you to track moving objects with great accuracy.

While other drones have boasted this capability, Spotlight Pro is an amazing feature to offer, that is above anything else on the market. As said by the DJI, it uses “advanced visual tracking algorithms” to stick to moving objects like a paste, offering up the kind of stills and footage that would, in normal circumstances, need a second camera operator to record (which, incidentally, is also a choice with the Inspire 2. It is possible to have one remote controlling the drone while the other ‘slave’ remote controls the camera).

Spotlight Pro is available in the Waypoint, TapFly, and Point of Interest ‘intelligent flight’ modes. It is a staggering addition to the Inspire 2’s already incredible arsenal of features.

Battery

Battery life has always been a concern with drones, and when you consider the entire tech that has been added into the Inspire 2, you’d definitely want to know its endurance. So, DJI has included a dual-battery setup which boosts the drone’s flying time to around 25 minutes.

Image and Video Quality

DJI’s Zenmuse line of cameras has evolved alongside its range of drones and the latest one – the X5S – has been built with the Inspire 2 in mind. A Micro Four Thirds snapper, it has a larger sensor than the past iterations, which means more details and more dazzling colors. It really is like having a high-end professional stills camera in the air, enabling you to capture some truly awe-inspiring static images.

When it comes to video, the Inspire 2 twinned with the X5S, creates a setup which most industry professionals would be desirous of. 4K might be a great achievement for the other competitors, but this state of the art drone can record in 5.2K, albeit at 30 frames per second. 4K is possible at 60 frames per second. If you want 720p, you can scale down to it – although when the footage is this good, why you’d want to do that.

Comparison

SpecsDJI Inspire 1DJI Inspire 2
Battery Life18 minutes25 minutes
Camera12.76 MP (X3)20.8 MP, 5.2K at 30 FPS & 4K at 60 FPS (X5S)
Weight6.27 pounds7.58 pounds
Maximum Range3.1 miles4.3 miles
Price$1999$2999

Conclusion

The original Inspire 1 was an impressive piece, but the Inspire 2 outperforms it in almost every respect. It has an improved design and cheap-looking plastic is replaced with metal composite bodywork, while the highly superior object avoidance tech means you can breathe a little easier as your expensive investment flies up.

A twin-battery gives more than 25 minutes of flight time, while the ability to switch camera lenses to suit your shooting goals will make this very helpful and attractive to serious photo and video professionals. In addition, a fantastic and fully-featured smartphone app and dedicated remote control, and you’ve got an extraordinary piece of kit – but the price tag for this best package will put casual drone users out of the price range.

If you’re not too concerned with the improved object avoidance tech and 5.2K video capture, it might be wise to consider the old (but still great) Inspire 1 or the DJI Phantom 4, both of which can be considered for a lesser price without sacrificing too much essential functionality.

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