DJI Inspire 3 review – great heights

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The DJI Inspire 3 is simply a almighty drone with precise control, aimed astatine nonrecreational filmmakers, with further usage cases including commercialized inspections and surveying. Image prime from the full-frame sensor and interchangeable lenses is fantastic, and blows smaller drone models retired of the water. It’s a ample and dense drone kit offering nonrecreational features acold beyond what immoderate casual idiosyncratic could ever need, and with a kit terms of $16,499 / £13,419 / AU$20,469 without immoderate lenses oregon the Inspire 3 Raw License, it’s priced accordingly.


  • +

    Excellent representation quality

  • +

    Smooth and precise flight

  • +

    Interchangeable lenses


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    Large and heavy

  • -

    More analyzable than user models

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Two-minute review

It’s harmless to accidental that aerial video is ubiquitous successful TV and it’s a benignant of changeable that viewers expect to see. Drones person truthful go a staple instrumentality for filmmakers and transformed the movie and tv industries, making it elemental and inexpensive to seizure melodramatic and fluid aerial footage that tin beryllium blended seamlessly with accepted camera shots. DJI Inspire drones person agelong been utilized to large effect successful this capacity.

Most radical are acquainted with DJI acknowledgment to its highly portable folding consumer/prosumer drones, but the institution besides has a steadfast foothold successful the nonrecreational arena with its Inspire and Matrice models. And DJI present has a caller exemplary that’s susceptible of satisfying the originative and method needs of Hollywood’s astir demanding directors of photography – the DJI Inspire 3.

DJI Inspire 3 drone connected  the crushed  with propellers folded away

(Image credit: Future)

The Inspire 3 builds upon and importantly exceeds the offering of its predecessor, the Inspire 2, which was launched backmost successful 2016. The caller exemplary is much user-friendly successful galore respects; it’s arsenic intuitive to usage arsenic immoderate DJI user exemplary to a degree, but with much precocious formation show and representation seizure features disposable for nonrecreational aerial photography and video applications.

One of the astir awesome features is the caller full-frame Zenmuse X9-8K Air Gimbal Camera that’s included successful the kit. This delivers the enactment to sprout successful full-frame/35mm oregon Super 35 successful 8K up to 75fps successful ProRes Raw, oregon 8K up to 25fps CinemaDNG, arsenic good arsenic 4K astatine up to 120fps successful each but the CinemaDNG codec, which tops retired astatine 100fps successful 4K. You tin besides sprout photos successful earthy and JPEG, and instrumentality vantage of up to 14 stops of dynamic scope for some stills and video.

The Inspire 3 is simply a ample and dense drone that’s not comfy oregon casual to transportation implicit uneven terrain, contempt the kit including an highly utile trolley case. Set-up clip is besides longer than for a consumer-level drone, truthful this is not a exemplary for casual users who necessitate convenience and portability, and that’s earlier we adjacent see the outgo of the drone. But for nonrecreational drone pilots, it volition undoubtedly beryllium a highly charismatic enactment for galore reasons.

DJI Inspire 3 Release day and price

  • Announced April 2023
  • Available for pre-order now
  • Delivery and availability successful June 2023

The DJI Inspire 3 was announced successful April 2023, and is disposable for pre-order now, with transportation expected from June. This is simply a highly specializer drone designed chiefly for aerial video seizure for movies and television, but the features and representation prime connected connection – notably its highly precise Waypoint Pro system, which tin beryllium extended to 10mm accuracy with the optional D-RTK 2 Mobile Station ($3,600 / £2,700 / AU$ 4,700) – besides facilitate usage cases wrong different nonrecreational settings specified arsenic surveying/inspections.

The Inspire 3 Combo kit costs $16,499 / £13,419 / AU$20,469 without immoderate lenses, the Inspire 3 Raw License for CinemaDNG and Apple ProRes RAW codecs, which costs $979 / £899 / AU$1,559, oregon the precocious further accessories, truthful it’s priced accordingly for the features connected connection wrong the nonrecreational market, but volition beryllium retired of scope of astir consumers. The 4 lenses scope from $1,199 / £1,199 / AU$1,749 to $,1299 / £1,299 / AU$2,199, truthful comparable to modular camera premier lenses, but the further concern connected apical of the drone kit needs to beryllium considered.

The kit includes the DJI Inspire 3, Zenmuse X9-8K Air Gimbal Camera, RC Plus distant controller, 6x TB51 Intelligent Battery, Charging Hub, PROSSD 1TB, Trolley Case, 3x Foldable Quick-Release Propellers (Pair), Lens Carrying Box, RC Plus Strap and different accessories. Lenses and advanced/specialist accessories are disposable separately, and depending connected requirements, the wide outgo of the kit could beryllium driven up significantly.

DJI Inspire 3: Design and controller

  • Travel Mode semi-folding design
  • Can beryllium operated with 2 controllers
  • FPV camera for aviator view

True nonrecreational drones are ample and heavy, and portion the Inspire 3 is astir arsenic compact and lightweight arsenic they get, it’s acold from being arsenic lightweight and convenient arsenic DJI’s Mavic 3 series, for instance. Flight times are besides shorter, with an advertised duration of up to 28 minutes, and during investigating I was typically achieving astir 18 minutes earlier Return to Home was automatically initiated astatine 20% artillery capacity. This was, of course, determined by upwind conditions and formation patterns, and artillery beingness volition beryllium longer for little vigorous flights.

When the Inspire 3 takes disconnected the landing cogwheel is automatically raised, and erstwhile adjacent to the crushed for landing it’s automatically lowered, unless you disable this relation for higher-risk ultra-low-level flying. This raising and lowering of the landing cogwheel besides facilitates 2 different utile features for shooting – Tilt Boost 80-degree upward shooting with the landing cogwheel down, and 360-degree cookware of the camera with the landing cogwheel up.

The drone measures 27.9 x 6.9 x 19.7 inches / 709.8 x 176 x 500.5mm successful Travel Mode, wherever the drone flattens retired for proscription utilizing a powered mechanism, and erstwhile acceptable to Flight Mode it narrows somewhat but becomes taller. One utile caller diagnostic is that the folding propellers tin beryllium near attached during proscription successful the trolley case, which speeds up set-up time, though this is inactive considerably longer than for user models.

DJI Inspire 3 drone connected  the crushed  acceptable   to fly

(Image credit: Future)

Including the gimbal camera and lens, 2 batteries, a PROSSD, and propellers, the Inspire 3 weighs 140.91oz / 3,995g, which isn’t excessively atrocious considering however almighty the drone is, and the representation prime the camera tin produce. However, erstwhile you origin successful spare batteries, a controller, and different accessories wrong the trolley case, it’s a cumbersome kit that’s awkward to transport implicit uneven terrain. Optional off-road wheels for the trolley lawsuit would beryllium a invited accessory.

As it’s a nonrecreational drone, the Inspire 3 tin beryllium controlled by 2 controllers: 1 for the aviator and the 2nd for a camera operator. In this setup, the aviator flies the drone utilizing the 161-degree ultra-wide-angle FPV lens with a 1/1.8-inch night-vision sensor with a 3μm pixel size and a unrecorded provender of up to 1080p/60fps. The camera relation past controls the main camera for filming, with the quality to instrumentality power of the drone if the transportation betwixt the maestro controller and the drone is lost. It can, of course, besides beryllium controlled by a azygous relation utilizing the main camera for some formation power and shooting.

The controller itself is simply a DJI RC Plus with a ample 7-inch 1,200-nit touchscreen with convenient direct-access controls that alteration casual adjustments to camera settings and different options. The camera presumption tin besides beryllium switched betwixt the gimbal camera and the FPV camera. Battery beingness is advertised astatine conscionable implicit 3 hours, and batteries tin beryllium blistery swapped, oregon a larger capableness outer artillery tin beryllium utilized to widen artillery life. It’s a ample controller, but it comes with a strap and rear framework to marque it much comfy for usage implicit longer periods. And the caller DJI Pilot 2 app for Inspire provides a cinema-grade interface, with the quality to sync timecode betwixt the drone and crushed cameras and link an outer monitor.

DJI Inspire 3: Features and flight

  • Powerful and nimble flight
  • 58mph maximum speed
  • Waypoint Pro & 3D Dolly

At the astir basal level the DJI Inspire 3 is casual and intuitive to fly, conscionable similar immoderate DJI user drone, but it offers nonrecreational capabilities and controls that tin marque utilizing it much analyzable arsenic you delve into its afloat capabilities. It uses 2 4280mAh batteries to present a precocious level of power, including upwind absorption of 31mph, but it’s incredibly nimble contempt its size and weight, with the quality to ascend and dive sharply arsenic good arsenic making accelerated and creaseless turns. The batteries are besides hot-swappable, truthful you don’t person to power-down the drone arsenic agelong arsenic you alteration the batteries 1 astatine a time. Plus, the Inspire 3 volition alert you if you accidentally regenerate a utilized battery.

We’ve each go utilized to the bells and whistles that typically travel with DJI user drones, specified arsenic Quickshots, Mastershots, AEB (automatic vulnerability bracketing) and Pano. But with the Inspire 3, these functions are absent, with everything successful presumption of shooting controlled straight done the camera utilizing Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual (PASM) modes. And successful reality, you would expect anyone intending to acquisition this drone to beryllium a competent camera operator, and capable to employment a assortment of photography and video techniques manually utilizing the camera controls, alternatively than relying connected automated functions.

Despite the lack of Quickshots, which are fundamentally obsolete successful a drone designed for nonrecreational use, the Inspire 3 does person a fewer tricks up its sleeve erstwhile it comes to autonomous formation and taxable tracking. Waypoint Pro offers precise way and changeable planning, including manual and afloat programmed camera and gimbal control. Plus, Repeatable Routes and 3D Dolly modes let the drone to implicit identical flights, and mimic accepted camera movements successful an aerial context. This is perfect for filmmaking, wherever repeated takes whitethorn beryllium required, and seamless transitions request to beryllium created.

DJI Inspire 3 drone wrong  its lawsuit  with accessories

(Image credit: Future)

To further summation formation accuracy, there’s RTK Positioning, which requires an optional D-RTK 2 Mobile Station. This takes vantage of the Inspire’s GPS, Galileo and BeiDou outer positioning systems to supply formation accuracy to 10mm, which is utile some successful surveying applications and successful highly analyzable environments specified arsenic movie sets. It’s an costly and highly specialized optional accessory, truthful it’s not indispensable for everyone.

These features are assisted by beforehand and rear-stacked ceramic antennas with anti-magnetic-interference capabilities for accrued formation accuracy and safety. The Omnidirectional Sensing System tin observe obstacles successful each directions, and distances tin beryllium customized according to the formation location/situation and/or the pilot’s idiosyncratic preference.

Obstacle sensing is provided by six fisheye sensors, 2 wide-angle sensors and 1 omnidirectional ToF sensing system. These are highly effective, and supply assurance erstwhile flying manually and utilizing Waypoint Pro, though arsenic with immoderate drone flight, attraction and caution stay paramount. Obstacle avoidance tin besides beryllium switched off, but the aviator tin inactive spot the (customizable) region of obstacles connected the controller surface alongside receiving an audio alert.

DJI Inspire 3: Image and video quality

  • 44.7MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Four lenses available
  • Up to 8K successful ProRes Raw and CinemaDNG

Thanks to the caller full-frame Zenmuse X9-8K Air Gimbal Camera, representation prime is fantabulous for some photos and videos erstwhile paired with immoderate of the 4 DJI DL lenses. The caller DJI DL 18mm F2.8 ASPH is simply a fantastic lens, with a focal magnitude well-suited to aerial photography and video, but there’s besides the DJI DL 24mm F2.8 LS ASPH, DJI DL 35mm F2.8 LS ASPH, and DJI DL 50mm F2.8 LS ASPH, which connection a fantastic level of versatility for nonrecreational video. 

With a full-frame camera, and lenses offering a maximum f/2.8 aperture, it’s imaginable to seizure a comparatively shallow extent of field, which is astir salient erstwhile shooting with the 50mm lens. And portion this volition beryllium of little interest for photographers who mostly usage drones for shooting landscapes and cityscapes, the quality to defocus the inheritance volition beryllium indispensable for video seizure successful immoderate situations.

DJI Inspire 3 aerial representation  of stream  and greenish  landscape

(Image credit: Future)

All video is captured successful flat/Raw profiles, with the quality to usage a antithetic illustration connected the controller to that which is being captured by the camera, including applying LUTs. The camera cannot seizure video successful a Standard profile, truthful each footage needs to beryllium colour graded. This is unsurprising, arsenic nonrecreational videographers and filmmakers ever color-grade footage alternatively than relying connected ‘standard’ colour profiles, which are processed in-camera and are fundamentally the video equivalent of JPEGs.

The camera sensor provides up to 14 stops of dynamic scope for some photos and videos, truthful it’s connected a par with modular cameras successful this respect. Stills tin beryllium captured successful some earthy and JPEG, with representation size coming successful astatine 44.7MP. Video tin beryllium captured successful either full-frame oregon Super 35 depending connected requirements, with the quality to sprout successful 8K up to 75fps successful ProRes Raw, oregon 8K up to 25fps successful CinemaDNG. 4K provides the astir options for framework rates and dilatory motion, with the quality to sprout astatine up to 120fps successful each codecs but CinemaDNG, which is somewhat little astatine 100fps successful 4K. Other signaling codecs see ProRes 422HQ and H.264.

In a nutshell, the Inspire 3 provides the aforesaid level of representation prime and power arsenic a full-frame mirrorless camera, minus the precocious shooting features you’d get with a dedicated camera. But this isn’t a problem, due to the fact that you tin inactive execute everything you privation to creatively by taking a much manual attack to shooting.

Should I bargain the DJI Inspire 3?

DJI Inspire 3 drone connected  the crushed  with propellers folded away

(Image credit: Future)

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How I tested the DJI Inspire 3

I tested the DJI Inspire 3 implicit respective days of flying successful a scope of locations, environments and upwind conditions (excluding rain) to trial formation performance, formation features, wide handling and representation prime for some photograph and video capture. All investigating is conducted successful a mode that meets section aviation laws and restrictions to guarantee that flights are harmless and legal.

Drones are ever tested utilizing manual formation patterns for video that are emblematic of nonrecreational aerial video seizure to sprout visually absorbing footage. This besides provides the accidental to trial aspects specified arsenic the transportation betwixt the drone and controller, latency betwixt the two, and the accuracy of the controls and formation successful general.

With astir 30 years of photographic acquisition and 15 years moving arsenic a photography journalist, I’ve been covering drones successful presumption of shooting and editing techniques, alongside reviewing them, for a fig of years. As good arsenic flying astir user and prosumer models, I’ve antecedently held a PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations) issued by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, and present alert nether an A2 CofC (A2 Certificate of Competency).

First reviewed May 2023

James Abbott is simply a nonrecreational lensman and freelance photography journalist. He contributes articles astir photography, cameras and drones to a wide scope of magazines and websites wherever helium applies a wealthiness of acquisition to investigating the latest photographic tech. James is besides the writer of ‘The Digital Darkroom: The Definitive Guide to Photo Editing’.

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