Technology moves so fast these days, it’s hard to keep up! More importantly, it’s often difficult to know where to invest in upgrades – you only bought that DJI Inspire last year and already you’re weighing up whether to buy upgrades or a new drone instead.
Upgrade Versus New Model
Upgrades can cost the earth. You might as well look at buying a new drone for the cost of some new technology, right?
Well, not really.
You could upgrade your drone, but it’s likely that you’ll find the included extras such as cameras aren’t up-to-scratch compared to the best customised upgrades for your current drone – so you’d need to invest for top-notch tech anyway.
The benefit of many drones these days is that you can upgrade just the bits you need: sort yourself a new camera, add some gas detection sensors, or use a higher-grade longer lasting battery. Changing up the components means you get a customised experience far more suited to your needs, without having to fork out for a very expensive new model (that you’d probably want to customise anyway).
Of course, if you want to go from hobbyist to professional, it’s strongly advised you invest in the drone platform for the job. There’s little point trying to make a Phantom into a survey drone, for example, when there are plenty of type-specific platforms available to you (and – sorry for the plug – often on finance options, through COPTRZ!). More than that, a type-specific drone platform like the Neo, Zenith, or GeoMapper, are designed to withstand more rugged usage and provide more stable footage and survey results. If you’re turning your drone hobby into a career, invest at the start in the best drone platform for your business and you’ll definitely reap the rewards.
(Even better, these heavyweight professional drones have even more customisable options so you really can make it exactly the drone you need!).
Examples Of Upgrades
We’re going to take a look at the Zenmuse X5 here, because we’re excited about it. Anyone with a DJI Inspire V2 will already be familiar with the X3 – but now comes the big brother of the DJI-compatible camera and it’s worth considering for your drone.
Instead of forking out for an entirely new UAV, upgrading to the Zenmuse X5 will provide you with superior quality footage at a fraction of the price of a new toy piece of serious drone kit.
There are several advantages to the new Zenmuse X5 compared to the Zenmuse X3. One of the key elements to keep in mind is the difference in sensor size: on the X3, it’s about the size of your little fingernail. On the X5, it’s the size of your entire top thumb joint. This makes a massive difference: the X3 is a 1/2.3″ of a full-frame image, compared to the X5’s superior Micro Four Thirds (4/3″) full-frame image – meaning your photos are much more detailed.
The increase in contrast between dark and light is significant and noticeable – so your pictures and footage will be more detailed even at the same distances as before. In addition, you’ll notice the quality of images improved purely from the difference in the glass used in the lens: the X3 uses cheaper, mass-produced glass which produces a poorer quality image, while the X5 uses more traditionally made ground down higher quality glass instead for a noticeable difference in footage quality.
Anything more I should know about?
One final thing: the compression rate is much improved. You’ll notice this even on the screen of your Inspire V2 controller mid-flight – the difference between X3 and X5 is noticeable, as the X5 records more of the data it ‘sees’, resulting in a much clearer, sharper, more detailed image.
OK, we keep going on about the X5 but bear with us, because it’s a great example of how an upgrade can significantly improve your current drone without the need to exchange oodles of cash for a new model.
For example, the X5 is heavier than the X3 – and while you may think this is to the detriment of the Inspire V2, it actually helps provide a better centre of gravity to ensure a smoother and more balanced flight.
Zenmuse X5: Further Custom Options
It’s the last thing we’ll say on the matter: the Zenmuse X5 wins over the X3 thanks to its after-market custom options. What that means is that if you want to improve even further (on the already very-cool and super-detailed camera), you don’t have to stick to one brand.
Lenses and microfilters from companies such as Panasonic and Olympus provide superior images, and can easily be fitted to the Zenmuse X5 without adding too much additional weight. Once again, upgrading your drone like this is still more cost-effective than splashing the cash on a new model. The best thing here is that, thanks to the camera being a swappable component with after-market options, when you eventually decide you do want to upgrade, you’ve not wasted your money: these items can be used on your next drone too!