It’s about time.

DJI is now offering an Inspire – and Matrice-compatible camera with an OPTICAL ZOOM. Yay!

The new Zenmuse Z3 provides a 3.5 optical zoom and a 2x lossless (in 1080p) digital zoom, adding up to a 7X zoom. Finally, instead of moving your drone closer to the subject – you can simply zoom in using the DJI GO app. And that, friends, is a considerable advantage in many applications.

Weighing 262 grams, the Z3 features additional yaw stabilization and a 22mm-77mm focal length. It also features the same proven Sony 1/2.3 sensor found in the DJI Inspire 1 2.0 and in the Phantom 4. Still, images can be snagged at 12-megapixel resolution.

The combo optical/digital zoom will provide a completely lossless 7X zoom when shooting in 1080p. If you opt for 4k, you will be limited to the 3.5X optical zoom – still not too shabby.

Having a zoom opens up some new windows for drone pilots. Yes, it can obviously enhance aerial photography and videography. But a zoom is also a powerful tool for industrial inspections, search and rescue – and more.

If you’re feeling flush, you can buy the Z3 now for $899 on the DJI store. And if you’d like a little more info, here’s Tom of Tom’s Tech Time with a thorough review.  (Tom says it even works on the OSMO – although DJI doesn’t officially say the two are compatible.)

Video Transcription

Hey guys, what’s up? It’s me again, Tom, from TTT Tom’s Tech Time. Today I want to introduce the DJI Z3 camera. It is actually the first 4K drone camera that features an internal zoom function and this is the gadget that I have been waiting for. This might be my number one camera.

Let’s just take you to the test. And before we do so, don’t forget to leave a thumbs up, don’t forget to subscribe, and by the way, product links pointing at the Z3 itself and at its accessories can be found in the video description below. Stay tuned. Fly safe.

The new Z3 camera has a total weight of 262 grams. It offers a USB port at the back and a micro SD card slot at the side. The Z3 like, its predecessor, is three-axis stabilized. But DJI improved the stabilization. While the older X3 camera was attached to the gimbal with a single motor bracket only, the new Z3 looks and feels a lot sturdier due to the dual motor bracket that holds it steady and in place. As zoom lenses need to be held in place even more stable than wide angle lenses as every single vibration gets magnified the higher the focal length is.

Let’s right now talk about the function that might make this camera a game changer. Let’s take a look at the zoom function.

I often heard that a zoom lens would be senseless as you can simply fly your drone closer to an obstacle to achieving the same look. Unfortunately, that’s not true. The higher focal length does not only make obstacles appear smaller or bigger, but it changes the field of view drastically. The higher the focal length, the more you move away from a cheap action camera look, the narrower does the image look like. Ask yourselves why photographers carry around plenty of lenses, instead of just moving closer or farther away from their point of interest. If you want to step up the ladder and create more professional looking areas, then you should invest into higher focal length lenses, as no flight maneuver can change your footages field of view.

The lens is the real game changer and might make this lens a must have. While most drones offer a wide angle view only, the new Z3 is equipped with an internal zoom lens that creates a real cinematic look on the one hand side, and it gives the operator the ability to easily get to see details. For example, when using the camera for industrial inspections or rescue operations on the other hand.

Let’s right now take a look at the main screen of the app. We see that it looks quite familiar, nothing has really changed, besides that we now find a T and a W button on the main screen at the right-hand side. If we now tap and hold on to the T button we can use the optical zoom and zoom into the image, which is quite cool. Once we let go the auto-focus focuses, or we can tap at whatever we want to be sharp and in focus and the camera then adjusts the focus again. Once we switch into the photo mode, we can even zoom in further. Which is quite cool for photos. So if you are on an inspection or something like that you can get really, really close.

The DJI Z3 camera is supported by the Inspire 1, by the Matrice 100, the Matrice 600, and after some testing, I can say that my Z3 works perfectly on the Osmo as well, even though DJI officially claims it to be not working on the Osmo. I tested it, I recorded some footage successfully. Next, to that, I was able to open up all menus, I was able to zoom in and out, I was able to focus everything I needed to. It worked perfectly on the Osmo as well.

The focal length of the new Z3 can be set on to values between 22mm to 77mm. That gives the operator a field of view of 92 degrees wide angle until 35 degrees when being zoomed in all the way. As most zoom lenses, the widest possible aperture depends on the focal length. When filming in a wide angle you get an F-stop of 2.8 and when zooming in all the way you get an F-stop of 5.2. The lens is perfect for daylight filming and at night time you can still use it when filming in wide angle mode.

Finally, there is one more cool thing. You can use the X3 and D filters on the Z3 as well. Which is quite handy as you don’t have to purchase everything new. By the way, product links can be found in the video description below, as well.

Now should you purchase one of those cameras, I would recommend these cameras for either industry professionals, for example, for a search and rescue missions or for inspections of all kinds. But mainly I recommend the Z3 for filmmakers and photographers that want to enter the professional level of aerial photography without having to spend thousands of dollars and without the need of knowing how to use professional lenses and filters. There is no need to balance anything here. For example, on the X5 you have to balance each single lens. So it’s a lot easier using the Z3 for your first steps in the professional aerial industry.

Now that was magic, wasn’t it? You can find the product links down there in the video description below. Thanks for watching this tutorial. Don’t forget to leave a thumbs up, don’t forget to subscribe. Stay tuned. Fly safe. And check out tomstechtime.com/z3 for some test footage that is unrated and untouched and you can download that and watch it yourself, or mess around with it in your editor, or whatever you want to do. Have a great day, this was Tom from TTT Tom’s Tech Time, over and out. Stay tuned. Fly Safe.

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