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DJI launches Zenmuse X7 Super 35mm camera module with Raw video capture

by on Oct.11, 2017, under Reviews


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DJI has launched the Zenmuse X7, a Raw video capable Super 35 camera module. The camera/gimbal system which mounts to the company’s drones features a new, proprietary lens mount.

The camera can shoot 6K CinemaDNG Raw or 5.2K Apple ProRes footage at up to 30p or 3.9K CinemaDNG and 2.7K ProRes at up to 59.94p. The company claims 14 stops of dynamic range but, like all video manufacturers, doesn’t specify how this is assessed.

It uses the new “DJI Cinema Color System” based around a D-Log Curve and D-Gamut RGB color space.

The camera includes two exposure modes, one that varies amplification gain and an “EI” mode that always uses minimal amplification (~base ISO) with metadata tags to denote the intended final brightness, to preserve DR. This is increasingly common practice in the video sphere but has yet to make its way across to stills photography.

The previous model (the Zenmuse X5) was based around a Micro Four Thirds mount and came with a distinctly Panasonic-like 15mm F1.7 lens. Instead the Zenmuse X7 is based around the company’s own ‘DL’ mount.

Alongside the camera, the company is releasing 16mm, 24mm, 35mm and 50mm F2.8 lenses, the longest three of which will include mechanical shutters. The carbon fiber bodied lenses will cost $1,299 each, with the exception of the 50mm, which is $100 cheaper, though a camera bundled with all four lenses will cost just $4,299.

The camera on its own will cost around $2699 and will be available from November.

Press Release:

DJI Reveals Zenmuse X7, The World’s First Super 35 Digital Film Camera Optimized for Professional Aerial Cinematography

October 11, 2017 – DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, today introduced the Zenmuse X7, the world’s first Super 35 digital film camera optimized for professional aerial cinematography. Designed to work seamlessly with the DJI Inspire 2 drone, the Zenmuse X7 delivers superior image quality, interchangeable lenses, and a new DJI Cinema Color System for post-production to give film and video professionals more creative freedom.

“The Zenmuse X7 offers everything professional content creators need to make their aerial footage as stunning and vivid as they demand,” said Paul Pan, Senior Product Manager at DJI. “From the large Super 35 sensor to a new mount, lenses, and color system, the Zenmuse X7 gives cinematographers and professional photographers an unmatched set of tools that work seamlessly with the DJI Inspire 2 drone to capture high-quality footage that is easily integrated into projects shot with industry-leading handheld cameras.”

Greater Expressive Freedom

The Zenmuse X7 is equipped with a Super 35 video sensor featuring 14 stops of dynamic range for more detail in low-light conditions. Its low-noise image capture enhances grading flexibility by preserving details in both highlight and dark areas while enabling a shallow cinematic depth of field.

To meet the rigorous requirements of filmmakers and television production professionals, the Zenmuse X7 captures the highest image resolutions ever for an integrated drone camera. It is capable of shooting 6K CinemaDNG RAW or 5.2K Apple ProRes at up to 30 FPS, as well as 3.9K CinemaDNG RAW or 2.7K ProRes at up to 59.94 FPS to integrate seamlessly into industry-standard post-production workflows.

Enhanced Imaging Potential

The Zenmuse X7 uses a dedicated aerial mount system, the DJI DL-Mount, featuring an ultra-short flange focal distance to carry prime lenses optimally. Available with focal lengths of 16 mm, 24 mm, 35 mm, and 50 mm, each lens has a maximum aperture of F/2.8 and is crafted out of carbon fiber, making them durable and lightweight for high-performance aerial cinematography with the DJI Inspire 2 drone.

To allow for advanced setting adjustment and fine-tuning, the 16mm lens is equipped with a built-in ND 4 filter, and the 24 mm, 35 mm, and 50 mm lenses feature a mechanical shutter.

Higher Flexibility in Post-Production

DJI has also introduced a new DJI Cinema Color System (DCCS) making the Zenmuse X7 an asset on every film set for movies, TV series, commercials, documentaries, and more.

“For the Zenmuse X7, we took our color science to the next level,” continued Pan. “We consulted the world leading authorities in color science, Technicolor. With their guidance, our engineers developed an optimized gamma curve for the X7 allowing more latitude without sacrificing image quality.”

DCCS features a new D-Log Curve and D-Gamut RGB color space to give more flexibility and color options during the post-production process. The D-Log further extends the dynamic range, while the D-Gamut RGB color space preserves more color information to support the most demanding filmmaking scenarios, providing accurate color for quick and easy post-processing.

The new EI Mode mimics the way a film camera works to help cinematographers capture as much information as possible in every scene while balancing the dynamic range and noise with different log curves for more flexibility during the post-production process.

The Zenmuse X7 gimbal system weighs just 631 grams with the 16 mm lens. The DJI Inspire 2 has a flight time of up to 23 minutes with the Zenmuse X7. For more info about the Zenmuse X7, visit www.dji.com/zenmuse-x7.

Price and Availability

The Zenmuse X7 camera is priced at $2,699 USD. The 16 mm, 24 mm and 35 mm lenses will be available for $1,299 each, and the 50 mm for $1,199. Customers can purchase the Zenmuse X7 prime lens combo including all 4 lenses for $4,299. The Zenmuse X7 will start shipping in early November 2017 from store.dji.com, in DJI Flagship Stores and through DJI Authorized Dealers worldwide.

DJI Care Refresh will be available for the Zenmuse X7 camera gimbal system as well as for the Inspire 2 drone. For more info, visit www.dji.com/service/djicare-refresh.



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Metabones' Devil's Speed Booster turns Pentax Q cameras into ‘monster low-light machines’

by on Oct.10, 2017, under Reviews


Metabones—the company known for its lens adapters and focal reducing Speed Boosters—has released a new Speed Booster that ought to have Pentax Q users salivating a bit. It’s called the Q666 0.5x ‘Devils Speed Booster’, because it allows Pentax Q owners to mount Nikon F and G lenses and produce a working aperture of f/0.666 when a lens with an f/1.2 aperture is used wide open.

The booster has a magnification of 0.5x and produces a 2.8x crop factor when used with the Q and Q10, and a 2.3x factor with the Q7 and Q-S1.

Metabones has used six elements in four groups inside this new Speed Booster, and has incorporated what it calls a ‘long-throw clickless aperture ring’ for G lenses that has eight marked positions. The adapter is compatible with all Nikkor and Nikon-mount lenses except the Nikkor 2.1cm f/4 and the 20mm f/2.8 AI-S.

The idea for the adapter was launched in August, but this is the first version to emerge. Metabones promises one for Pentax K mount lenses as well.

The Metabones Nikon G to Pentax Q Speed Booster Q666 0.50x costs $490. For more information, visit the Metabones website.

Press Release

Metabones Devil’s Speed Booster Q666 0.50x

Caldwell Photographic Inc. and Metabones® is pleased to announce the Speed Booster Q666, a.k.a. “The Devil’s Speed Booster”, exclusively for Pentax Q series cameras. With its 0.5x magnification and world-record f/0.666 maximum speed it is crazy wicked fast. So make a deal with the devil today and turn your Pentax Q with its back-illuminated sensor into a monster low-light machine unlike anything ever seen in photography. Attach an f/1.2 lens and stop down a little to see how Stanley Kubrick made do with f/0.7 for filming those famous candle-lit scenes in “Barry Lyndon”. Or open up all the way to f/0.666 and probe the darkness in a way that no photographer has ever been able to do until now.

With an advanced 6-element optical design, the Q666 packs lots of optical horsepower in a small package. Sharpness is excellent even at f/0.666, and is downright superb if you stop down to f/1.0. Distortion is very low, with a maximum value of, naturally, 0.666%. And thanks to the back-illuminated sensor used in Pentax Q cameras, the full f/0.666 maximum aperture can be utilized with minimal pixel vignetting effects commonly seen in other cameras used with high-speed lenses.

Figures 2 through 4 below show MTF at 10, 20, and 40 lp/mm as a function of image height for output apertures of f/0.666, f/1.0, and f/2.01. At f/0.666 (i.e., with an f/1.2 master lens) the MTF is high near the axis, and only falls off gradually toward the corners. As the aperture is reduced to f/1.0 and then f/2.0 the MTF becomes very high and more even across the field. Figure 5 shows that there is less than 1 stop of corner illumination falloff even at f/0.666. And guess what – there is no vignetting at all after the output aperture reaches f/1.82. Figure 6 shows that rectilinear distortion added by the Speed Booster Q666 is negligible at less than 0.666%.

Like all Metabones Speed Boosters, the Speed Booster Q666 is optimized to fully account for the camera’s filter stack located near the sensor surface. This is especially critical at the record-setting f/0.666 aperture now possible with the Q666. As a result, an enormous range of optics, from vintage film lenses to the latest digital designs, will function flawlessly when adapted to any Pentax Q camera. Planned lens mounts for the Speed Booster Q666 include a Pentax-K version and a Nikon F/G version with the most advanced Nikon G aperture adjustment mechanism in the industry.

The Speed Booster Q666 will be available starting in Aug 2017 from the Metabones website (http://www.metabones.com/products/details/MB_SPNFG-Q-BM1) and its worldwide dealer network for US $489.00, plus shipping and applicable taxes and duties.



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The Control Room app lets you control Lightroom from your smartphone

by on Oct.09, 2017, under Reviews


Need to spice up your Lightroom editing experience on the desktop? No need to wait for whatever Adobe has waiting for us at AdobeMAX, you can try out the Control Room app instead. Available for both Android and iOS, the app lets you control all of your Lightroom sliders (and more) from your smartphone, allowing you to lean back and edit the photos on your desktop without touching a mouse or keyboard.

The app was created by software engineer and photographer Aaron Vizzini, who only recently decided to share his creation with the general public.

Using Control Room, you can both edit and manage (rate, flag, create rapid collections) your photos using your smartphone as the control pane. Any changes you make on your device will update in real time on the computer through a companion plugin. It’s exactly as seamless as it sounds:

Whether or not this will actually help speed up your Lightroom workflow is entirely dependent on you, but the idea, at least, is pretty neat. To learn more about Control Room or get the $4 app for yourself, head over to the iTunes App Store or Google Play, and then visit the Control Room website to download that plugin as well.



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