With a focal length equivalent to 22-77mm, the new Zenmuse Z3 is based on DJI’s Zenmuse X3, although extending the optical capacity of the system.
Purists should know that the 7x zoom is made up of 3.5x optical and 2x digital lossless zoom. Still, DJI claims it offers good quality, although they point it as ideal for industrial applications. It may be so, but the appearance of such a zoom creates the conditions for its use in other areas, as expected. Aerial photographers will appreciate the greater control over composition that the new zoom brings.
“The Zenmuse Z3 pushes the possibilities of use for industrial applications,” said Senior Product Manager Paul Pan. “Before this camera, the only way to zoom in on a subject or object was to fly closer to it. Now, pilots in a search-and-rescue situation, or conducting surveys or inspections, can maintain distance and still zoom in for sharp, detailed images.”
The Zenmuse Z3 is fully integrated into the DJI GO app and provides a seamless user experience, including a live feed from the camera and the ability to change camera settings, swipe to zoom in and out, capture photos or video and to activate intelligent flight modes. Users may also choose to employ camera controls, such as capturing photos and video and zoom, through their drone’s remote controller.
The Zenmuse Z3 is compatible with the Inspire 1, Matrice 100 and Matrice 600 drones and uses the company’s dedicated HD video downlink, Lightbridge and Lightbridge 2, providing up to 3.1 miles (5.0 kilometers) of HD transmission range.
The Zenmuse Z3 weighs 262-gram and its optical system has a maximum aperture of F2.8 and F5.2 at 22 millimeters and 77 millimeters, respectively. When the camera zooms in, the smallest movements are magnified. Adding an additional layer of fine-tuning to the yaw control of the Z3 is a custom-designed reaction wheel. This works in tandem with the normal yaw motor to allow for more refined and controlled movement and greater stability.
The Zenmuse Z3 features the same highly refined Sony 1/2.3-inch sensor that is found on the Inspire 1 and the Phantom 4, leading the class in image quality. It can shoot still images at 12 megapixels with additional Adobe DNG Raw Support for maximum editing options in post-production. The camera also shoots video at up to 30 FPS in 4k resolution.
Flight time with the Zenmuse Z3 is up to 19 minutes on the Inspire 1. Pilots can extend flight time up to 30 minutes with the dual-battery-equipped M100 and up to 39 minutes with the M600.
The Zenmuse Z3 is priced at $ 899 and will start shipping after July 28, 2016.