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DJI X5R - First Impressions


Oliver Daniel
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I've had some time to play with the DJI X5R and for the first time, put it knee deep into a professional shoot with lots of flashy stage lighting (the video is a high end "fake live" shoot for an international events band. 

So far, using this device is a very slow burner and I can't really make a judgement yet, but here's some things I've found. There are many negatives at first, however I'm trying to solve them and see what difference it makes in the long run. 

What I do know is that this combination has a lot of potential, however this camera needs quiet a few firmware updates to get there. ProRes on board would be great! 

I feel DJI didn't test this camera  enough before release. Had to deal with lots of annoying issues. 

Positives 

  • Footage in 4k and HD raw an be spectacular - very clean and detailed (but only if you shoot and light skilfully!). 
  • Very intuitive to use, combining the Osmo and Inspire 1.
  • DJI Go app responds and works very nicely. 
  • Stabilisation and handling is very different to a normal 3-axis gimbal like the Ronin, however getting to know it's behaviour can yield some awesome moves. 
  • Walking bounce can be eliminated if you know how to "do the walk". Some shooters online are just not trying at all, letting the vertical movement bounce everywhere. Walk as flat a possible, all is good. 
  • Unit is small and light - no balancing required. No big bulky cases. Nice and portable. 
  • Low light is better than expected. GH4 level really. 
  • Battery extender is very useful, if you need long periods. (lasts about 2 hours 45 mins on constant with Inspire 1 TB48).
  • Proxy files look decent in good light. Handy to have when raw isn't an option. 
  • 1080p is very sharp. 4k is ridiculous. 
  • The gimbal lock on the Osmo is sweet. You can pull off some crazy dolly moves and pans. 

 

Negatives

  • Autofocus on the app isn't great. Takes two tries and it MUST be on something of high contrast to work well. 
  • Aperture resets overtime you switch off the device. Bit annoying. 
  • As phone is a monitor, you need a USB power bank. I strapped one on the back of the mobile phone holder. Phone (iPhone) lasts 45 mins otherwise. 
  • iPhone monitor image breaks up sometimes and lags quite a bit. Annoying if you are trying to do a smooth movement or judge focus/exposure. 
  • Changing settings such as aperture can be fiddly. It just won't let you choose what you want sometimes. 
  • Sometimes the unit goes into sleep mode a few seconds after you switch it on.
  • SSD fan noise is like a shit hoover. 
  • The internal audio with the cheap mic add-on is absolutely garbage. 
  • It's hard to hold the X5R on the Osmo with one hand, while using the thumb controller. Two hands is better. 
  • The SSD card reader is shockingly temperamental with Mac. Sometimes it doesn't mount at all. Have to use USB keyboard input on Mac. Doesn't work on the normal USB inputs. 
  • DJI Cinelight is rubbish. Transcoding is very slow and the tweaking options are very basic. 
  • Memory fills very quickly. HD is about 2 hours per SSD, where 4k is about 25 mins per SSD. 
  • For long shoots , another SSD is almost essential. Just very very pricey. 
  • Focusing can be difficult on apertures between f1.7 and f5.6 using the app. Seems like the expensive follow focus would be ideal (not on your wallet). 
  • Normal OSMO batteries last about 7 minutes. 
  • D-LOG on proxy files is a HUGE HUGE no-no!! It looks and grades horribly on the teeny 60mbps codec. 

 

That's enough for now! More soon...... with images!! 

 

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On 6 August 2016 at 9:53 AM, thefactory said:

Looks like they have just released a new cheaper follow focus / aperture control. https://m.dji.com/product/osmo-pro-raw-dji-focus-handwheel

bit cheaper than they 1k one!

im about to get the pro version (not raw) 

 

Awesome! Thanks for the share. 

This device could be ideal. Pulling focus would be spectacular mid-shot on around f2. 

I've done another shoot with the Osmo now - I've found the general gimbal behaviour (Osmo) is vastly different to the Ronin and other 3-axis gimbals. Just need to get my head around how I can get it to move the way I want. Not quite there yet. 

The most issues I've had are with Cinelight and the SSD. Quite a few error messages and stubbornness about actually mounting the drive. DJI need to sort this out, not good enough for a high end product. 

 

 

 

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Love the footage I've seen! But I do think it's an aerial platform first. If you're mainly shooting studio stuff, it's nice that it suits the OSMO, but I think other set-ups probably make a little, or actually a lot more sense. I think this is really its forte:

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Cinegain said:

Love the footage I've seen! But I do think it's an aerial platform first. If you're mainly shooting studio stuff, it's nice that it suits the OSMO, but I think other set-ups probably make a little, or actually a lot more sense. I think this is really its forte:

 

 

I tend to agree. I would love to see a dedicated handheld implementation. Something that includes a solution for pulling focus, or a much better focusing system as on the newer Canon cameras. A Super 35 sized senor would be great to have.  My Letus Helix, while generally great, can quickly become a back exhausting experience once loaded up with the 1DX Mkii, lens, monitor and wireless audio receiver. Weight limits is usefulness.

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1 hour ago, DBounce said:

I tend to agree. I would love to see a dedicated handheld implementation. Something that includes a solution for pulling focus, or a much better focusing system as on the newer Canon cameras. A Super 35 sized senor would be great to have.  My Letus Helix, while generally great, can quickly become a back exhausting experience once loaded up with the 1DX Mkii, lens, monitor and wireless audio receiver. Weight limits is usefulness.

The X5R is much easier to use on the Inspire than the Osmo (I do have an Inspire 1 V2 aswell), however there are still SSD issues with Cinelight and Mac. I think this is the biggest drawback at present, until DJI release an update. 

I also think the X5R is potentially great for the Osmo too. The ability to pull out a stabilised, lightweight and portable raw camera out your bag and get shooting within 2 minutes is awesome. As I'm really used to the Ronin-M for movement, it's a little head scratcher adapting to the Osmo's behaviour. 

The reason I sold my Ronin-M was because it was crippling me physically and I'm limited to where I can take it, with the size and setting up/balancing constantly. So I got the Osmo for the X5R. 

I do think we will see greater potential once the Osmo 2 is released really. The original does feel a teeny bit unfinished. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've used the DJI X5R with the Osmo on 5 shoots now. 

As I got this to replace my Ronin-M so i could take gimbal shots with me anywhere without hassle, it's definitely working out very well. On previous shoots where I'd be limited to filming static angles (due to time and location), I find myself whipping out the Osmo RAW very often - grabbing much more dynamic movement. 

The workflow is overstated by others on the net. Maybe they find it to much, however I don't have an issue taking the files from Cinelight to Resolve to export to ProRes. One thing I need to work on is maximising the dynamic range from the raw files, I feel I'm not quite there yet. 

I've attached two stills, first one is the regular 60mbps 1080p file (not done much 4k yet as it's hungry) and the Raw to ProRes file. These were only very quick, rough grades, so they are in no way perfect (notice the smaller file has better skies, my bad). However see how much more detail the raw file holds against the regular file (look at the grass). 

In motion, the 60mbps file holds itself up quite well and looks fine for a lot of stuff, besides some minor dancing aliasing on grass. The raw file in comparison feels much nicer, organic and chunkier. To me, it feels like what the GH4 would be like in raw. DJI's colours are a bit more "cartoony" than Panasonics, so that does need a bit of work in post. 

Should have some proper videos out soon! (when the client decides to release them that is!!). 

 

dji proxy.jpg

dji raw.jpg

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how do you hide the noise in sky with RAW footage? overexpose?

we have made drone footage, and the proxy files from X5R are much cleaner.

the motion in horizontal pans are also much smoother with proxys (on 4k with 24p- 1/50 shutter)

proxy footage 1080p(mixed with material from a local cameraman)

https://vimeo.com/178058483

RAW footage 4k

https://vimeo.com/178210902

 

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18 hours ago, omega1978 said:

how do you hide the noise in sky with RAW footage? overexpose?

we have made drone footage, and the proxy files from X5R are much cleaner.

the motion in horizontal pans are also much smoother with proxys (on 4k with 24p- 1/50 shutter)

proxy footage 1080p(mixed with material from a local cameraman)

https://vimeo.com/178058483

RAW footage 4k

https://vimeo.com/178210902

 

 

Nice videos, thanks for the share. 

It's too early for me to comment on the best way to handle raw video with this camera. I'm still experimenting. 

Your proxy 1080p footage looks really nice and clean - some the best I've seen in that format. 

I'm curious to know what lens your re using for the X5R? The 15mm? 

I feel that sometimes my "proxy" files look very smudgy/smoothed out - like a crap skin soften plugin has been badly applied. Not sure if it's just like that, or the calibration is off? 

 

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3 hours ago, Oliver Daniel said:

 

Nice videos, thanks for the share. 

It's too early for me to comment on the best way to handle raw video with this camera. I'm still experimenting. 

Your proxy 1080p footage looks really nice and clean - some the best I've seen in that format. 

I'm curious to know what lens your re using for the X5R? The 15mm? 

I feel that sometimes my "proxy" files look very smudgy/smoothed out - like a crap skin soften plugin has been badly applied. Not sure if it's just like that, or the calibration is off? 

 

The proxy are downscaled from 4K to 1080.Maybe this make the difference in detail.

The same RAW footage(from the first scene) has a lot of noise in the sky, that in the proxys disappears.

I have seen in cinelight an option to denoise to footage when import it to CDNG.I will try this.

i think the X5R denoise the proxy internal, but smear and smooth out the detail!( will post 2 screenshot tomorrow)

Yes we use the stock 15 mm lens with a b&w nd8 filter

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  • 2 weeks later...
10 hours ago, omega1978 said:

Pw: Omega

This time i have tested to export 4k/25p footage direct from cinelight to prores lt with add saturation and denoise.after i grade it in CC with S-curve and basic adjust.export in h265. noise level is way better and the colors seems correct.

What do you think about?

Looks a tad videoy but still awesome. A bit like a GH4. Was this originally in RAW? Really beautiful though. I expected to see moire but found none. Maybe some aliasing?

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9 hours ago, Jonesy Jones said:

Looks a tad videoy but still awesome. A bit like a GH4. Was this originally in RAW? Really beautiful though. I expected to see moire but found none. Maybe some aliasing?

Thank you.The video look maybe is from denoise and sharpening in cinelight.the footage is for TV so its ok.

Yes is RAW from SSD to ProRes LT.

In original footage i don‘t see any aliasing

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I'm really liking the footage from the X5R - it's quite a valuable asset WHEN THE SSD WORKS.....

The SSD function is seriously flawed. The amount of error messages I get with it is horrendous. Spent a day last week trying to get the SSD to mount on my Mac - "invalid disk", "not a  DJI cine device", "failed to recognise SSD", "there was a problem, try again"..... really annoying. 

Going to contact DJI and see what they say...... 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12 September 2016 at 1:00 PM, Oliver Daniel said:

I'm really liking the footage from the X5R - it's quite a valuable asset WHEN THE SSD WORKS.....

The SSD function is seriously flawed. The amount of error messages I get with it is horrendous. Spent a day last week trying to get the SSD to mount on my Mac - "invalid disk", "not a  DJI cine device", "failed to recognise SSD", "there was a problem, try again"..... really annoying. 

Going to contact DJI and see what they say...... 

To quote myself, DJI support said they are working on a fix for the mentally ill DJI SSD errors, and that focus peaking will be coming in the next firmware update for use with the DJI Focus Handwheel :):) 

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