DJI Inspire 1 is a drone that is well-crafted and fitted with a very good set of hardware. It is made from carbon fiber materials and has an upgradable 4K camera that doubles as a handheld video camera recorder when you remove it. DJI Inspire 1 is certainly not a toy and it does not come cheap. It is high-end drone for serious aerial videographers who need slightly more than the DJI Phantom 3 Professional.
DJI Inspire 1 Design
Measuring at 11.9 by 17.2 by 17.8 inches with a heavy weight of 6.5 pounds, the DJI Inspire 1 is definitely a big aircraft when compared to the other drone models by DJI including DJI Phantom 4, DJI Phantom 4 Pro, and the DJI Mavic Pro.
For the most part, DJI avoids using plastic on the DJI Inspire 1 as the black airframe is made from carbon fiber with some metal components. Only the white shell that surrounds the black airframe and the black propellers are made from plastic.
DJI Inspire 1 comes with a hard carrying case and this case is sufficient for storage and transport. In order to fit the DJI Inspire 1 into this hard carrying case, you need to remove the gimbal and set the landing gear to travel mode, which is the drone’s shortest position. If you do not want to deal with these hassles before and after every flight, you can opt for a large case that can hold the DJI Inspire 1 even when it is set in landing mode.
DJI Inspire 1 Preflight
Similar to other DJI Phantom models, the DJI Inspire 1 is closely integrated with DJI’s mobile app, DJI GO app that is available for both Android and iOS devices. The mobile app has a flight simulator that lets you fly your drone through a virtual world to help you get better at handling the controls. If you are not familiar and do not have the experience in flying a drone, I would advise you not to start with the DJI Inspire 1. This is a high-end drone and it is made for serious and experienced professionals. Having said that, even the most experienced pilots can continue to hone their flying skills by taking some time to practice on the simulator.
Before you get your DJI Inspire 1 up into the air, you will want to make sure that your flight and remote batteries are fully charged. You will also want to make sure that your drone’s firmware is up to date to avoid any unforeseeable issues. It will just take 1 minute or so to power up the DJI Inspire 1 outdoors and to get it acquire a solid GPS lock on the location. DJI Inspire 1 also allows you to fly it without GPS but you are recommended to only do that when flying indoors. Do not risk flying outdoors without turning on the GPS mode. You may also have to calibrate the compass for that but the app will inform you if it is required to do so and walk you through the entire calibration process.
DJI Inspire 1 In Flight
DJI Inspire 1 can automatically take off and land down using the DJI Go app. However, if you are looking for your DJI Inspire 1 to do some advanced manoeuvres, you can consider buying a third-party Autopilot app for iOS. This third party app supports orbits and point-to-point flying with altitude changes. Besides that, it also has a follow mode that tracks the remote control as you move.
The DJI Inspire 1 is also nimble, steady and capable of flying very fast in the air. DJI claims that the DJI Inspire 1 can hit the top speed of 50 miles per hour. The operating range is also excellent because the DJI Inspire 1 can support a 1.2 mile control range under ideal conditions as stated by DJI. If for some reason that your DJI Inspire 1 loses connection with the remote control, it will automatically go back to the point where you previously launched it. Alternatively, you can also use the Return-to-Home function manually on the DJI GO app or the remote control at any time. It will also return back to home when the battery life drops to critically low levels.
Landing down is just easy as taking off. What you need to do is just simply bring the drone down to a reasonable height level and enable the automated landing sequence. The DJI Inspire 1 will automatically do this too when its battery life drops to 10 percent and battery life is one of the biggest concerns for DJI Inspire 1. Although DJI rated the battery to last for 18 minutes of flight time, reviewers said that a more reasonable estimate is around 15 minutes. You will need around 1 hour to fully recharge the battery as well so it is worth buying a few extra batteries if you are going to use this DJI Inspire 1 for professional usage.
DJI Inspire 1 Video and Image Quality
While the DJI Inspire 1’s camera looks very different from the one installed on the DJI Phantom 3 Professional, the lens, and sensor design are surprisingly identical. The lens has a 94-degree field of view, which is roughly 20mm lens on a full-frame camera. DJI Inspire 1’s aperture is fixed at f/2.8 hence this may be an issue when you try to maintain proper shuttle angles under bright conditions. You can replace the clear glass filter that covers the lens with a 3-stop neutral density filter to cut down the incoming light when you want to shoot a video on a bright sunny day.
The DJI Inspire 1 supports different recording options such as Cinema 4K or 4096 x 2160 resolution at 24 or 25 frames per second and Ultra HD or 3840 x 2160 resolution at up to 30 frames per second. If you want to just shoot in high definition, you can choose either the 1080p or 720p resolution at 60 frames per second. All footages are then compressed at a 60Mbps bit rate.
It has excellent video quality and the quality is one of the best for a ready-to-fly aerial video platform. 4K resolution recording shows very strong detail with minimal barrel distortion. However, it is not perfect because you can see some compression artifacts occasionally. You can also notice the edge distortion during panning but it is not really a major issue otherwise.
Images captured on the camera at 12-megapixel resolution in either JPG or RAW (DNG) format. DJI Inspire 1’s camera uses the 1 / 2.3-inch Sony Exmor sensor which is the same type that you will find in a mid-range point and shoot camera. Therefore, you should expect to see the similar image quality taken by a compact camera.
To sum it up, the DJI Inspire 1 is a well-built quadcopter drone that supports 4K resolution video. It has a removable camera which gives you the opportunity to upgrade in future. Besides that, it also offers the option of having two controllers operation by having one controller for piloting and another controller for camera control. The downsides for the DJI inspire 1 are the weak battery life and limited support for Android devices.
Overall, the DJI inspire 1 is an excellent aerial photo and video shooting solutions for professionals or serious enthusiasts that are looking for a simple drone that is ready to fly and offers potential camera upgrades in the future.