RAW, ProRes or to save RAW stills in burst
mode, you’ll need to use DJI’s CINESSD
memory, but you can use microSD cards for
all the rest. It uses an electronic shutter with
a speed range from 8 – 1/8000 sec. You’ll
enjoy an ISO range of 100-6400 for video and
a slightly larger 100-25600 range for stills.
The Inspire 2 is outfitted with a number of
sensors to enable obstacle avoidance and safer
autonomous flight. There is now, thankfully
an upward-facing sensor to help it avoid
larger obstacles (Patiño’s Inspire 1 suffered
for a lack of one when it collided with an
overhead tree branch on a return-to-home
flight.) There are also downward-facing and
Like the Inspire 1, the Inspire 2 has landing gear
that retracts upon takeoff, giving the camera
ample room to pivot. Unlike the original craft,
the Inspire 2 is built from sturdier magnesium
alloy. It looks sleeker than the original, even if it
retains the same shape as the earlier model.
One very nice design change was to the
battery. Where the original Inspire was
powered by a single 129Wh battery, the Inspire
2 uses a pair of 98Wh batteries that are self-heating, enabling the craft to fly in colder
conditions. Since the new batteries are below
100Wh, you’re also allowed to carry a larger
number of them on an airplane—the FAA
imposes a limit of just two batteries if they’re
above 100Wh. It’s a subtle but welcome switch
for those who have to travel with their drone.
The included remote has a hinged arm
for holding a smartphone or tablet. Having
used the newer remote for the Phantom 4 Pro
with a built-in display, Patiño says he vastly
prefers remotes with built-in displays. “The
DJI Go app has so much going on now that
it’s crowded on my iPhone,” he says. Like
previous remotes, it uses a built-in battery,
which Patiño says is not ideal.
The image quality from the Inspire 2 is
“gorgeous,” Patiño tells us. “Everything came
out very nice and the interchangeable lens
mount really gives you flexibility.” With
much greater dynamic range and low light
capability than the Phantom models, the
Inspire 2 definitely justifies its greater cost
when it comes to imaging, Patiño says.
While the Inspire 2 does offer much
greater optical flexibility than previous DJI
drones, the lens selection for the X5S is still
somewhat limited to a selection of mostly
wide-angle prime lenses (the longest is a
45mm Olympus f/1.8—equivalent to a 90mm
when the MFT crop factor is accounted
for). It’s understandable, given the load and
balancing constraints, but it would still be
nice to have a few more focal length options.
The Inspire 2 can fly fast enough that
those moving from a Phantom drone may
experience a brief moment of fear—or elation.
With a max speed of 58MPH in Sport mode,
it’s almost 20MPH faster than a Phantom 4.
Yet, despite this extra horsepower, the craft is
extremely responsive. “It’s much more stable
in flight” than the Phantoms, Patiño says.
“It’s like a flying tripod.” We enjoyed about 22
minutes of flight time on a fully charged pair
of batteries but in rather windy conditions.
You’ll have more flight time with the lighter
X4S camera installed.
The Phantom-class drones have become
so good, in terms of both image quality and
flying smarts, that the Inspire-class looks
like it’s filling a smaller and smaller niche.
Grappling with the size, not to mention the
expense, of the Inspire 2 means you’ll really
need the step-up in image quality to justify
the move. That said, the Zenmuse camera has
improved immeasurably thanks to the step up
into the Micro Four Thirds universe. If you
own an Inspire 1 and have been looking to
upgrade, Patiño tells us the Inspire 2 justifies
GEAR & TECHNIQUES PRODUCT REVIEWS
DJI Inspire 2
PROS: Excellent image quality;
professional video codec support;
extremely stable in flight;
improved battery; easy to operate.
CONS: Remote battery not removable;
remote lacks built-in display; limited
PRICE: $6,198 (with X5S camera
& CinemaDNG/ProRes license)
The Inspire 2 can hit top speeds of nearly 60 MPH but is extremely responsive and can hover like
a tripod on the air. BELOW: Armed with the Zenmuse X5S camera, the Inspire 2 can record Cinema
DNG video at 5.2K resolution.