The DJI Matrice 600 has been released and it might be the most revolutionary product in a while for the professional video industry. It’s a $4600 solution to flying a large cinema camera that doesn’t require seven road cases full of equipment to get it flying. It’s the Phantom/Inspire solution to the heavy lift drone category. Many in the pro video world are going to welcome this, because they want to be able to focus on shooting, not tinkering.
Like with the DJI Inspire, one case (maybe two with the new Ronin MX gimbal) should supply everything to fly, charge and store the batteries, and run video feeds to the pilot and camera op (with output to client). No huge power supplies and $500 20,000 mAh lipos and parallel charge boards, huge ground station setups, etc. It’s simplification in a good way.
As for the six included batteries, they’re all under 100 Wh, so they can be legally brought in luggage anywhere in the world. It has been confirmed that there will be a six battery charging station. The batteries are the big deal for many. Right now if you have a heavy lift drone, you have to ground ship batteries to the location that you are working. While heavy, you can carry as many of the smaller batteries that you can fit in a carry-on. That is huge.
As for features, the Matrice 600 comes with the new A3 flight controller, Lightbridge 2 transmission system, retractable landing gear, and six Intelligent Batteries, for maximum performance and quick setup. It can fly a maximum payload of 6 kg, allowing it to used a range of camera and gimbal setups, from the Zenmuse X5 camera and gimbal, to the new Ronin-MX gimbal paired with a RED Epic or Arri Alexa mini.
Though don’t think of it as just a Matrice 100 with two more motors, this is much more like an S1000, but with six motors versus eight. This allows the Matrice 600 to have a flight time of 35 minutes with an X5R or 15 minutes with a full payload, and at a maximum range of 5 km.
The A3’s self-adaptive flight systems adjust flight parameters automatically based on different payloads. The A3 can be upgraded with two additional GNSS and IMU units to A3 Pro for enhanced centimeter-level accuracy and modular redundancy algorithms that compare sensor data from the three sets of units and seamlessly switches to another unit in the event of a failure. With the A3, the drone can land safely even in the event of a propulsion system failure of up to three propellers, making it extra safe and providing extra protection to the attached camera. There are many countries that require redundancy, so it looks like DJI are opening up sales abroad.
The Matrice 600 uses DJI Lightbridge 2 wireless streaming to support video output at up to
1080p/60fps or a broadcast standard output of 720p/59.94fps
and 1080i/50fps. It supports the DJI GO app: providing battery status, redundancy status, transmission strength, and allowing access to shutter speed, ISO, photo or video capture
on the Zenmuse X5 or X5R cameras.
The one issue at the moment is that any camera on a Ronin-MX gimbal (Red Epic or a similar sized camera) is not able to provide aerial video streaming at the moment. This is because the Ronin-MX requires the DJI SRW-60G video streaming component, and it is not currently permitted for use on aerial platforms in North America. More information regarding the SRW-60G will be available shortly. Many people are speculating that it is a frequency or channel bandwidth-related issue that is preventing North American compliance of the SRW-60G at the moment.
This what DJI currently has to say about the SRW-60G from their Ronin-MX FAQ:
“The SRW-60G is an accessory designed for short-range (approx. 10m) video transmission. It enables video data to be transmitted from the camera to the Lightbridge 2, giving the pilot a live HD view of the camera on the M600. By using different types of transmission cables, you can also use the SRW-60G as a short range video transmitter for other uses than with the Ronin-MX. The SRW-60G unit is prohibited for flight in North America.”
Here are the current prices for Matrice 600 components:
DJI Matrice 600: USD $4,599.00
Zenmuse X5: USD $2,199.00
Zenmuse X5R: USD $3,599.00
Zenmuse Z15-GH4 (HD): USD $1,599.00
Panasonic DMC-GH4 with 14-140mm Lens: $1,749.95
Ronin-MX: USD $1,599.00
DJI SRW-60G (coming soon) is needed for aerial video transmission from the Ronin-MX: price unknown
Different Matrice 600 RTF setup price totals:
$6800 with Zenmuse X5
$8200 with Zenmuse X5R
$7950 with Panasonic GH4 with 14-140mm Lens
$6200 with Ronin-MX + RW-60G video transmitter price + Red Epic or Arri Alexa mini price
+2x$900 for A3 Pro sensor redundancy and centimeter-level accuracy
With these new features and benefits at reasonable prices, I’m very excited. Be sure to check out how it stacks up against other premium camera drones in my drone comparison guide.