Up Close With the DJI M200 Series Drone

The M200 Series from DJI has been a bit of a mystery since it was launched a few months ago, especially since it’s so hard to find one.

Other than the information on DJI’s website and the odd Youtube video, we’ve needed to actually get one in front of us.

So today we were personally introduced to the M200, and it impressed us beyond expectation on many levels.  Size, battery life, tales of payload awesomeness and more. (Watch for a future post on how First Responders are beta-testing the M200 for DJI!)

The first surprise for us was size.  As you can see from this photo, below, that we took at the Big Drone Show in Toronto today, it’s a compact platform…which makes you appreciate even more how much has been packed into it.  DJI may call this an ‘Industrial drone platform’ but we wouldn’t be surprised to see some uptake from buyers that DJI wasn’t aiming actually marketing this drone to.

This M200 Series, above, is actually an M210 model with the dual downward gimbal configuration.  On the left the gimbal sports a Zenmuse X5S which will shoot 4k up to 60 fps and has additional lenses that can be switched out.  On the right it looks like DJI has paired a Zenmuse X4S with it’s 1″ sensor capturing 20 megapixel stills and 4k 60fps video.  And the X4S has a true mechanical shutter, which the most serious image aficianados among us will appreciate.

Zenmuse X5S

The M210 also comes in an ‘RTK’ (meaning Real Time Kinetic) version, allowing it to fly using it’s sensors in a manner that it can tolerate high levels of electro-magnetic interference such as power line inspection.

We even got to watch, in real-time, an M200 being remote operated doing a power line assessment where the video was being live-streamed to us from a location that was easily 40 km away over an LTE network without lag or interference. 

What I didn’t truly appreciae about the M200 series, until I saw it up close, is the dedicated FPV camera that sits dead center of the forward facing sensors.  It looks simlar to a 2-axis Spark camera, but it really speaks to how much of a loaded up monster the M200 series is. 

Also sporting an upward obstacle sensor with 5 meter of sensitivity, and a downward sensor with double that range, this is one high performance setup.  When you factor in dual batteries with built-in redundancy (and did we mention that these batteries are good down to -20 Celcius with their own built-in warming function), there’s no “compact” drone out there like the M200.  I know you might shake your head that I used the word “compact”, but compared to some of the other industrial drones on display at the Big Drone Show, you’ll appreciate how DJI has engineered the size of the M200 series drones.

We could go one about the IP43 weather protection, 38 minute battery life (and we met pilots getting 40-45 minutes) and the monstrou 2KG payload capacity.  As if that wasn’t enough, range is up to 7km.


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