DJI announces Micro Four Thirds aerial cameras for professionals

Drones have been used for serious photography and filmmaking for quite some time, but drone leader DJI has upped the ante with two aerial cameras featuring Micro Four Thirds sensors. Both cameras can take 16 megapixel stills and 4k video on a stabilized 3-axis gimbal integrating with the Inspire Interchangeable lens options with remotely controllable focus and aperture.

The $4,499 Zenmuse X5, including a DJI Inspire 1 and DJI’s MFT 15mm F1.7 ASPH lens, will begin shipping before the end of September. The Zenmuse X5R will be available in Q4 2015 for $7,999. Both can be purchased as stand alone cameras with, or without lens.

DJI claims Zenmuse X5 is the first commercially-available micro four thirds camera designed specifically for aerial use. The camera will capture high-resolution 16 megapixel photos or 4k, 24fps and 30fps videos in complex lighting environments. Zenmuse X5 will support additional lenses and offers full wireless aperture and focus control. At the time of launch, the Zenmuse X5 supports four interchangeable lenses, including the DJI MFT 15mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, Panasonic Lumix 15mm G Leica DG Summilux f/1.7 ASPH lens, Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm f/2.0 lens, and Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 lens.

While in flight, pilots can adjust both focus and aperture via the DJI GO app or through DJI’s previously-announced Follow Focus system. The camera’s lightweight 340 gram (0.75 pound) body integrates with DJI’s signature 3-axis Zenmuse gimbal technology, creating effortlessly smooth video and stabilized long-exposure photos (up to 8 seconds).

“The professional applications of the Zenmuse X5 are almost endless,” says Eric Cheng, Director of Aerial Imaging, DJI. “In addition to shooting professional-quality photos and 4K video, the new camera can be used to create high-quality aerial maps and 3D models, and can also help industrial teams get even more detail from their aerial imaging pursuits, for example, in utility inspection using a drone.”

DJI also announced the Zenmuse X5R camera, which shares the same sensor and lens compatibility with the X5, but records video both to an onboard microSD card as well as to a removable 512GB solid state disk (SSD) on the gimbal’s top plate. The Zenmuse X5R records CinemaDNG (RAW) video to the SSD, and opens up lossless 4k video recording in a groundbreaking, compact form factor with video bitrates averaging 1.7Gbps (with a maximum of 2.4Gbps). The Zenmuse X5R also offers a brand-new D-LOG mode that offers a broader array of color correction options in post production. To support the management of Zenmuse X5R Cinema DNG files, DJI will release software to edit and convert RAW camera footage. CineLight, which will be available when the Zenmuse X5R camera is released later this year, simplifies users’ workflows by offering offline proxy editing before converting the CinemaDNG files to ProRes.

Olympus shows Stylus XZ-10


olympus xz10

The Stylus XZ-10 enthusiast compact is about 40 percent smaller by volume than the XZ-2, Olympus says, “but still offers all the advantages of a super-bright, large-aperture i.Zuiko lens that retains its brightness right across the zoom range.”

The 5x lens zooms from 26-130mm. The 12 megapixel 1/2.3-” sensor captures 1080p video, at 120fps. The camera has a 3-inch touchscreen, and manual controls on a lens ring. It’ll be about $550.

Olympus cuts profit forecast, expects camera loss

Olympus cut its operating profit forecast by 24 percent on an expected loss at its camera unit, BusinessWeek reports.

Operating profit will be $478 million in the year ending March; the camera unit is expected to report a loss of 8 billion yen in the current fiscal year, compared with its previous forecast of a 1 billion yen profit, as the compact camera market is shrinking, the Tokyo-based company said. “The compact camera market is shrinking rapidly because people are switching to smartphones.”

Olympus cut its full-year sales forecast for digital cameras by 11 percent to 7.3 million units.

The full report is here.


Olympus and Sony confirm business and capital alliance

Sony Make.Believe LogoOlympus and Sony announced the two companies entered into a business alliance agreement and a capital alliance agreement, through which, “the strengths of the two companies will merge,” Olympus says, making it possible for it “to contribute to world medical progress by developing a variety of new medical devices that would not be possible by Olympus alone. In the field of digital cameras, we will seek to achieve collaboration in a manner that further improves the competitiveness of the two companies.”

More to the point for the PMA audience: Sony say it “also believes there are many potential opportunities for collaboration between Olympus and Sony’s digital camera businesses, and are confident that by building on our respective strengths we can also enhance and grow our presence in this market.”

Olympus and Sony say they plan to “explore opportunities for collaboration between their respective camera businesses including transactions involving core components primarily for compact digital cameras, with the aim of enhancing the corporate value of each company.”

The companies say the business and capital alliances are expected to allow them “to combine Olympus’s lens and optical technologies, as well as the strength of its brand and R&D, with Sony’s broad range of technologies including digital imaging technologies and apply them in the rapidly growing medical market.”

The two companies “also aim to enhance their competitiveness, primarily in the area of compact digital cameras, by exploring opportunities for mutually beneficial transactions and collaboration between their respective camera businesses, including the supply of Olympus technologies such as camera lenses and mirror cells to Sony, and the provision of Sony image sensors to Olympus.”


Olympus says it “has been pushing to enhance its financial strength and weighing the possibility of a business and capital tie-up for greater business synergy in the core business domains of medical and imaging.” Olympus decided to ally with Sony, “which is strong in image sensors and other image-related technologies. Partnering with Sony will provide great advantage to Olympus and enable the two companies to exchange various complementary competencies. Investment from Sony will help strengthen our financial base.”

Sony adds it is “aggressively pursuing the growth of our medical business, with the aim of developing it into a key pillar of our overall business portfolio. The business and capital alliances we have agreed with Olympus today will be integral to these plans. By combining Sony’s cutting-edge technologies in areas such as digital imaging, 3D, and 4K with Olympus’s long-standing experience and established foundations in the medical market, we believe that we will be able to create highly innovative and competitive products and generate new business opportunities in surgical endoscopes and other related areas where significant future growth is anticipated.”


The capital alliance agreement calls for Olympus to issue 34,387,900 new common shares to Sony through a third-party allotment. Sony’s ratio of voting rights after the third-party allotment will be 11.46 percent. The price is 1,454 per share.

Sony to invest $642 million in Olympus

Sony Make.Believe LogoSony is about to become the biggest shareholder in Olympus, getting a 10 percent stake for a $642 million investment,

It’s not likely to be about cameras, however: Sony will set up a joint business with Olympus to develop new medical equipment, Reuters reports.

Olympus has been plagued with accounting scandal this year; Sony reported bad fiscal results itself, with a lower operating profit.

The full report is here.