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Zenmuse Z3 - first photos and impressions

Discussion in 'Inspire 1 Discussion' started by Talon Six, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. Talon Six

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    I wanted to be the first kid on my block to get the Zenmuse Z3, so I ordered mine the day they were announced and it arrived early this week. I finally got a chance to go out and fly it today. I didn't spend a lot of time in post editing these; I apologize for the quality.

    First off, while the Z3 looks like the X3, it's about 40% bigger.
    [​IMG]

    As you can see I don't yet have the new X5-style vibration dampening board, but that is going to be my next purchase. I went through the gimbal calibration routine and noticed that the software now calibrates for roll. The camera wobbled all over the place thanks to the little X3 vibration dampener, hence why I want to go with the new dampening board.

    For the flight test, I had my controller hooked up via HDMI to a Lilliput 7" studio monitor. I shoot in RAW with D-Log color, so I prefer to use the Lilliput to get a sense of how things will look in post since it can apply some rudimentary LUTs realtime.

    Here's where I found the first software issue: the HDMI image freezes when the Z3 is put into video mode. I wanted to have the Lilliput image fill the screen, so I switched to video mode. The image was still streaming perfectly on my iPad, but the external image was completely frozen. To verify that this was indeed a Z3-unique software issue, I reinstalled the X3 and was able to go back and forth between photo and video modes and still have the live HD image in the appropriate aspect ratio on the Liilput, so hopefully DJI fixes this soon.

    The zoom feature is pretty impressive and will be excellent for inspections. Here's a power line support zoomed all the way out:
    [​IMG]

    ...and zoomed in at 3x:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the second thing I discovered about the software: the 2.5x digital zoom DJI advertises is only on the iPad and any connected monitors. The actual recorded image is only at max optical zoom and its up to you to further enhance the image in post.

    The camera zoom controls are on the iPad screen and curiously are not like the X5's controls:
    [​IMG]

    Right now there's no way to use C1 or C2 to control the zoom, which would be nice (again since I like to use an external monitor), but I'm sure that will come in future software releases.

    Here's a cell tower all the way zoomed out:
    [​IMG]

    And zoomed in:
    [​IMG]

    The Z3 comes in an X5-style hard case and sits with the SD card facing up, so there's no digging the camera out of the case just to retrieve the card, which is a nice feature.

    I have an Inspak case for my Inspire, which is great for keeping the X3 mounted and the aircraft in landing mode for transport. Unfortunately the Z3 is too big to fit, so I'm going to have to get a new hard case when I'm going to be using the Z3.

    Overall, I'm happy with the purchase and think that the Z3 will do very nicely for any sort of aerial inspection task (especially live with a client standing next to you). Sending up an inspire with the Z3 is more economical and less risky than doing so using an X5 with a zoom lens, but at the expense of picture quality. I strongly recommend upgrading the vibration dampening board if you're like me and have a D model or earlier Inspire.

    - T6
     
  2. jasonthomson

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    Cool.
    Image looks good. Seems like a decent zoom.
     
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  3. SixtyMike

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    T6, thanks for the info and AAR. I'm thinking Santa might surprise me...
    60
     
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  4. Photo Elevate

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    Apparently

    If you are using the Z3, simply do this:

    Press and hold C2 + roll the RHS roller wheel on the RC to zoom in and out.

    Let us know if it works.
     
  5. Bigdz

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    Thanks for posting, wondering if you're able to get X3 nd filter on the Z3?
     
    #5 Bigdz, Aug 6, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  6. mikeL

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    Can i ask how far you were from the pylon for this pics?

    Also how does the video quality compair with the X3 camera?

    Thanks
     
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  7. WilsonFlyer

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    Looks like you could have gotten a lot closer and would probably need to for inspection type work. If you do any closer up, I'd love to see some extreme close-ups maybe even from this same vantage point. Connectors/connections and splices would be very interesting as would rust inspections on various components. It costs a lot to put guys up those poles, especially just routinely looking around (though this is admittedly rarely done). Savings are savings plus much less risk to personnel.
     
  8. Ardi Wicaksono

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    Interesting ! specially for mapping / photogrammetry, do you recommend this or X5 for mapping over the X3?
    Does it blur a lot when you take photos while 3.5x zooming, while moving forward?
     
  9. Yiannis.B

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    You will have high intensity electric and magnetic fields as you approach 150kV and 400kV power lines. I do not know how these fields will interfere with aircraft radio link and compass.

    http://wseas.us/e-library/conferences/2007egypt/papers/601-108.pdf
     
  10. Talon Six

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    Wow! lemme answer everyone's questions in order:

    @Photo Elevate - no luck. Pressing C2 + the RHS roller just adjusted gimbal roll like on the X3. Maybe DJI will include what you propose as a Cx option in the future.

    @Bigdz - Yes, my complete set of PolarPro X3 filters fit on the Z3 without any issues.

    @mikeL - Video quality is about the same as the X3 (it's the same sensor). One difference that I have noted is that there's little to no lens correction required in post when the Z3 is zoomed in.

    @ardi - I don't have an X5, so I can't compare. Currently the mapping apps I use don't have any specific support for the Z3, so I'd recommend just sticking with the X3 so you're not unnecessarily flying a $900 USD camera around when the X3 will do. As to your second question, I have only taken a couple dozen photos with the Z3 and they've all been during relatively bright conditions (meaning fast shutter), so no blurring to speak of so far.

    @WilsonFlyer - Yeah, I could have gotten a lot closer, but the power lines were far enough away that I was uncomfortable getting any nearer. We have some inactive wind farms near my home, so maybe I'll try to see what kind of detail shots I can get with those.
     
    #10 Talon Six, Aug 7, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
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  11. Bigdz

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    Sweet! Good to hear and thanks for starting this thread. im waiting patiently for mine to arrive
     
  12. AnzacJack

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    My fingers on the trigger to buy this, just waiting for a few reviewers. Thanks for sharing
     
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  13. WilsonFlyer

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    That cell tower carries none of those types of jeopardies. I should have been more specific but I was looking at the last shot when I posted that.:)
     
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  14. lake_flyer

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    In 4K that is, it should be lossless zoom in the lower resolutions, just like the X3.
    Am I right?

    Really appreciate you sharing your experience, thanks.
     
  15. Farnk666

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    Short answer being that they don't. Dozens of Inspire and other UAV pilots using their aircraft for HV transmission line inspections without issue. Our A/C use a digital transmission over FM carrier, so relatively immune to those fields.

    I have operated my Inspire directly next to a 7.5MW induction motor without and control or video link issue.
     
  16. Talon Six

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    Correct
     
  17. mikeL

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    how do you zoom in on a section of video recorded in 4k?
     
  18. Talon Six

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    @mikeL - depends on your post processing software. I use FCPX and it's a pretty simple cropping operation with an export to 1080P.
     
  19. Bryan Conover

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    The actual recordedimage is only at max optical zoom and its up to you to further enhance the image in post.

    Red flag on that action. So technically it's just a 3x optical zoom and all remaining 2.5 zoom is in the GO app...who has the time to post process for addition zoom...there is no work around for this if you shoot at a lower resolution?
     
  20. lake_flyer

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    At 4K you just have 3x optical zoom. If you want to zoom in more you would have to crop.
    At lower resolutions you have the 3x optical PLUS the 2.5x digital (but lossless!) zoom.

    Cropping is different from digital lossless zooming. With cropping you enlarge every flaw in the image, every bad pixel, everything you don't want to see is suddenly visible. Lossless zooming is effectively the same as optical zooming.

    In lower resolutions, you only use the resolution (window) you are shooting in, the rest of the total 4K capability is not used. You use a 2.7K or 1080p window of the total 4K space.
    In lossless zooming, the 2.7K or 1080p image is enlarged to fill the full 4K resolution, but the window remains the same size as the resolution you are shooting in (2.7K or 1080p).
     
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