Pro-Quality Aerial Photography Goes Plug-and-Play with the DJI S1000


It will soon be even simpler to send your professional DSLR into the sky to shoot Hollywood-grade footage.

With the announcement of the S1000 octocopter at CES 2014, DJI has introduced an aerial platform capable of turning almost any aspiring moviemaker into a top-notch sky shooter. Until now, anyone caring to fly a camera bigger than a GoPro essentially had to  build their own high-powered machine at home and hope that it’d carry expensive, heavy gear reliably. While a few kit options have been released by smaller specialized companies, the S1000 now offers an out-of-the-box professional system that is ready for those willing to put their $3500 5D Mark III high in the sky.


Its specs are impressive — just over 3.5′ in diameter, a 22-pound weight capacity, 15k or 20k mAh battery options for 15 or 19 minute flight, 15″ propellors, and a new 14-channel flight controller. The fully carbon-fiber frame also conveniently folds down into a compact stance for easy transport.

But one of the standout features i

s the 3-axis brushless gimbal that is specifically designed for a Canon 5D Mark II or Mark III, one of the most popular professional DSLRs for shooting video for movies and TV. With its ability to carry heavy loads, the S1000 gives flexibility for many body/lens combinations.

One downside: DJI’s sales rep at CES said that it uses a closed system, but it’s not hard to imagine inventive pilots finding ways to enable additional options such as DIY telemetry systems, especially with how many have built and now sell numerous add-ons and accessories for the consumer-focused DJI Phantom quadcopter.

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 5.42.34 PMQuadcopters and their six- and eight-armed ilk have been a big part of the recent explosion in aerial video, especially with the Phantom’s GoPro capabilities. But with the larger machines traditionally kept to a select few, the S1000 on display at CES already caught the attention of one professional flyer, Nathan Labruzza of LA-based Wild Rabbit Aerial Productions. Examining the S1000 next to me, he had a few questions about how it might affect him and his colleagues. “We’re really just excited where the technology is going with all this,” he said, “but the big thing that we’re really curious about is how this is going to affect a lot of the guys who started out basically out of a garage, doing all of the R&D work, and just picking apart everything, the technology, the programming, all that stuff, and really making it make sense for how we’re applying the drone.”

Labruzza did temper some of the trepidation while hinting some excitement for where it will push things. “The one thing about this, is it’s endless, the possibilities are endless.”

DJI has not yet announced pricing. Sales reps say it should be available Q1 of this year.

s1000 folded

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Mike Senese is the Executive Editor of Make: magazine. He is also a TV host, starring in various engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, doing amateur woodworking, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza.

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