DJI’s Zenmuse X5S and Zenmuse X4S cameras are two of the most powerful devices on the market. They allow users to record ultra-high definition video and take amazing still-shots. However, neither is cheap, so it pays to know exactly what you’re getting. That’s why we have compared the two models specifications and features to let you know which one to buy.

Compatibility

Both cameras are compatible with DJI Inspire 2 drones. Keep in mind that neither is backward compatible with the Inspire 1 range. Nor are they compatible with any other DJI drone.

Weight

The X5S weighs in at 461 grams. The X4S is noticeably lighter at 253 grams. Of course, a couple of hundred grams is not a big deal but just keep in mind that it will have a marginal effect on an Inspire 2 drone’s flight time.

+1 for the Zenmuse X4S

Megapixels

The more megapixels a camera has, the higher the quality of its still-shots. Think of each pixel as a square of data that makes up a tapestry. The more of these squares there is, the more information present in an image.

The X5S and X4S have 20.8 and 20 megapixels respectively. Less then a megapixel of difference will hardly be noticeable so we will call it a tie.

Burst Mode

Burst mode enables a camera to take photos in rapid succession. This is ideal when you have a moving subject and want to capture the perfect shot.

The X5S can take up to 20 shots per second when in burst mode. The X4S can only take a maximum of 14. When using the X5S, you’re going to end up with more images, which will give you greater likelihood of finding the perfect shot.

+1 for the Zenmuse X5S

Video Definition and Frame Rate

When it comes to recording aerial videos, you will want the highest definition and frame rate. Both cameras are exceptionally powerful and can film 4K (ultra-high definition) video at 60 frames per second. However, the X5S goes one up on the X4S with the ability to film 5.2K at 30 frames per second. This is some of the highest quality video around and comparable to what professional filmmakers use.

Now, there are some downsides to using 5.2K. Firstly, filming in this mode is incredibly data-heavy. You’re going to require an assortment of SD cards and spare hard drives if you actually want to store a decent amount of footage. You will also need some powerful computer hardware to play and edit 5.2K video.

Furthermore, to film in 5.2K, you will also need to purchase a CinemaDNG license from DJI. This license costs around $1,000.

Regardless of these negatives, the X5S is the most powerful camera when it comes to recording video.

+1 for the Zenmuse X5S

Lens Selection

The X4S has an 8.8mm lens with a maximum aperture of 1:2.8. This lens cannot be changed. On the other hand, the X5S allows users to select their lens. The main lens types are shown in the table below.

Lens TypeMaximum ApertureWeight (grams)
Olympus 45 mm Lens1:1.8116
Olympus 25 mm Lens1:1.8136
Olympus 17 mm Digital Lens1:1.8120
Olympus 9-18 mm Lens1:4.0 / 1:5.6155
Olympus 12 mm Lens1:2.0130
DJI MFT 15 mm Lens1:1.6115
Panasonic 14-44 mm Lens1:3.5 / 1:5.6110

When selecting a lens the first thing to consider is the focal length. This is what’s shown by the numbers in millimeters. Higher numbers mean a greater zoom while lower figures make for wider photos. If there are two numbers then this means you can adjust the focal length to any position within that range.

We have also given each lenses maximum aperture. This lets you know how much light a lens can take in. Just remember, the higher the number, the less light that can be stored in a lens and vice versa. This is an important specification to consider when filming in low light conditions.

Lastly, we have mentioned the weight of each lens. No major differences here, however, you should always be aware that a drone’s total weight will affect its flight time, so it’s still something to keep in mind.

Overall the X5S is the clear winner in this category because it gives users a range of different lens options.

+1 for the Zenmuse X5S

Price

You can purchase a standalone X4S off Amazon for about $600. The X5S is significantly more expensive at around $1,900. Prices change all of the time, so be sure to click the link to find current information.

If you don’t already have an Inspire 2 then you may want to purchase a drone-camera bundle. You can get an Inspire 2 with an X4S for around $3,600. An Inspire 2 with an X5S costs $4,900.

If you want to film in 5.2K then you can get an Inspire 2 with an X5S and CinemaDNG license for $6,200.

The X4S is noticeably more affordable and wins this category.

+1 for the Zenmuse X4S

Overall Score

Let’s find out the winner.

Zenmuse X5SZenmuse X4S
3 (video, burst mode, lens options)2 (price, weight)

Which Is Best?

Clearly, the X5S is the better camera. It allows users to film in 5.2K, has a more effective burst mode, and offers multiple lens options. Of course, you will be looking at a significantly higher price tag. So, the big question is how serious of a filmmaker/photographer do you consider yourself to be.

Does lens selection matter to you? If you just want to take some cool aerial photos without needing to understand all the ins and outs of a camera, then the X4S is the better choice for you. Its standard lens will do the job. The same goes if you don’t plan to film in 5.2K. 4K is still extremely high-quality video, and for some, the X5S’s 5.2K mode would simply be overkill.

Overall if you consider yourself a professional, or semi-professional, filmmaker or photographer then get the X5S. If you’re simply a drone enthusiast who wants to take some high-quality aerial photos and video, then get the X4S.