Aerial photographer Shane Latham can tell you that. He’s the Founder of Octofilms, he’s one of 10 DJI-sponsored pilots (and the only one in the U.S.), and he’s the only pilot in the U.S. to own a DJI S900.
Latham already has a DJI S800 EVO, S1000 and has now added the S900 to his toolkit.
“The S900 the size of the S800 but with collapsible arms,” Latham is quick to point out.
The 3.3 kg hexacopter has foldable arms and is one of the lightest and easily to transport of the expert-level drones.
“The s900 is the new generation,” said DJI’s Marketing Manager Willis Chung.
Much of the weight reduction is in the arms and landing gear, made of carbon fiber.
“You can tell the weight loss right when you pick it up,” Latham said.
Latham’s favorite aspect of the S900? The removable top.
“It’s genius,” Latham said. “The top has a star pattern plate where you remove just 5-6 without having to take apart the frame.”
The S900 features an upper center board that can be removed, making an easy way to setup the power distribution system.
“Now you can easily remove the top, get down there, make any changes you need to do then put the top back on and you’re ready to go,” Latham said. “You can see and organize all your wires.”
Some other highlights of the S900:
- Sparkproof plug to prevent short circuits
- 18 minute flight time
- 8.2 kg takeoff weight
- Zenmuse gimbal compatible
“It’s like they listened to a lot of things users were asking for,” Latham said.
Latham says people often ask whether they should purchase DJI products or a drone from a different company.
“DJI just works,” he said. “It’s like a Mac. We don’t have problems with it.”
So just what does it take to be a DJI-sponsored pilot? No. 1 on the job description is an on-the-fly shoot of testing out the S900 in Malibu.
“The day before the shoot, we got a call from headquarters saying we needed a video tomorrow,” Chung said. “Shane just came over, built it and the next morning we flew it.”
The video was shot up on the hills of Point Dume in Malibu, Ca., a prominent filming location that has appeared in movies including Planet of the Apes and Iron Man.
“It was quite the hike up there too,” Chung said.
Here’s the finished product of Shane’s shoot for DJI, using the S900:
So is the S900 for you?
“If you’ve already mastered the Phantom and you’re ready for a bigger copter, I would recommend the S900,” Latham said.
It’s particularly useful for fans of the Lumix GH4 or Black Magic Pocket Cinema cameras; the S900 is capable of using gimbals to mount the cameras and lift them for nearly 20 minutes of flight.
It’ll also set you back about $3,800, but that’s pocket change if you’re able to use it to shoot Hollywood blockbuster movies, right?