As a very experienced drone operator I know the sort of shots our clients expect. The DJI Inspire series with the X5 and X5R cameras and the ability to interchange lenses gives a highly professional look to our work.
A lot of the time we are simply after wide angle shots of parcels of land etc. We do a lot of landscapes shots of property which means getting lots into frame. The standard 15mm lens that comes with these cameras is a great lens with the Olympus 12mm being an expensive alternate lens to give a wider angle. Being a Micro four thirds system, these lenses have a crop factor of x2 when compared to a full frame camera such as a Canon 5D but they are incredibly light weight which makes them ideal for drone operations.
SLR Magic's new 8mm lens
SLR Magic have produced an 8mm (16mm equiv.) lens with a reasonably fast f/4 aperture. It is a fully manual lens meaning you need to set the focal distance and aperture by hand which is especially important when using on a drone as it's impossible to do while flying of course. In practice this is quite simple as it's pretty much a matter of setting infinite focus and locking gently with the lock pin and setting the aperture to taste. In these examples f/5.6
Flying on the Inspire 1
As there are no electronics in this lens the camera tells the software that the lens can't be detected (of course). This comes up as a warning message in the DJI Go app but is easily ignored. The balance is slightly rearward even when using the SLR Magic Image Enhancer Filter but the Inspire has no difficulty with balancing and controlling the camera in all phases of flight.
SLR Magic Image Enhancer
The Image enhancer Pro filter is not a UV filter. When used alone, it offers IR control on the image - UV filters only manage UV wave length that is below 380-400nm. The Image Enhancer Pro filters manage a much wider range of wave length spectrum, from UV to IR from 200nm and 1200nm. UVIR cut filters control from 380nm to 680nm.
When used with the ND filters, the enhancement is more obvious as many ND filters have IR leak issue. I haven't used the ND Filter on the lens yet but will very shortly and report on the results.
A fair comparison is to the DJI 15mm or Olympus 12mm as mentioned earlier. In looking to add a wider angle shot the field of view is the important factor.
SLR Magic 8mm - FOV Horizontally 103.9 degrees, Vertically 73.5 degrees
Olympus 12mm - FOV Horizontally 71.6 degrees, Vertically 56.8 degrees
DJI 15mm – FOV Horizontally 60.0 degrees, Vertically 46.8 degrees
The SLR Magic 8mm has more than 30 degree more field of view when compared to the DJI 15mm. This is a whopping difference and a big plus for the lens. Of course with more in the view, if you were to compare the same object (say a house) in shots form the same position the wider shot would contain less pixels of the house because it has to fit more on the sensor. This isn't an issue because you wouldn't be using this lens and wanting to crop in on objects. Another thing to watch is when shooting video and moving forward quickly, the props from the drone can now get in shot (similar to how it does in a DJI Phantom). The remedy is simple and it's just a matter of making sure you raise the landing gear.
All in all, I'm happy with this lens and it will be used pretty much on a daily basis in combination with other lenses for an all round package. Great work SLR Magic.
For anyone interested, these images were shot a Smoky Bay in South Australia