Hands on with the DJI Zenmuse XT2

Hands on with the DJI Zenmuse XT2 - thermal camera

Hands on with the DJI Zenmuse XT2

Continuing their successful partnership, drone giants, DJI with the world-leading thermal experts, FLIR recently announced their latest payload for the enterprise market, the DJI Zenmuse XT2.

Building on the design of the original XT, the XT2 features FLIR’s expert thermal technology along with a visual sensor and gimbal from DJI. This combination increases the functionality of the Zenmuse XT2 offering new Intelligent Modes like the FLIR MSX.

The Heliguy Team recently had the opportunity to test out the Zenmuse XT2 and try out all of the different modes and functions available. For our tests, we used a DJI Matrice 210 with an XT2 configuration of 30Hz, 640 x 512 Res and a 13mm lens.

Keep reading to find out what we thought and see them in action.


Key Features

Before we get into the post, check out some of the key features of the DJI Zenmuse XT2:

  • Features dual 4K, 12MP, 1/1.7″ CMOS visual sensor and FLIR Tau 2 thermal sensor
  • IP44 rating for dust and water protection
  • Compatible with the DJI Matrice 200 and 600 Series
  • Thermal sensitivity of <50 MK
  • Available in 9 or 30 HZ with a range of lenses to choose from
  • Built-in visual and thermal data storage

What’s in the Box?

Next, let’s look at what’s included with the Zenmuse XT2.

Zenmuse XT2

DJI Zenmuse XT2
  • Gimbal and Camera x 1
  • 32G micro SD Card x 2
  • Secure Hard Case x 1
  • Instruction Manual x 1

The XT2 comes ready to use in a secure hard case, similar to that of the Zemuse Z30. The case is extremely durable and secure protecting the XT2 in the demanding conditions of most enterprise users. The case can be locked using padlocks, a handy feature if travelling with the XT2.

The camera comes with two MicroSD cards for visual and thermal data.

DJI Zenmuse XT2 – Case


Guide to the Zenmuse XT2

In this section, we will break down the basic and intelligent functions of the DJI Zenmuse XT2 and what they’re used for.

Zenmuse XT2 Setup

The Zenmuse XT2 is designed for use with the DJI Matrice 200 Series and the Matrice 600 Pro. There are two apps that are compatible to control the XT2. You can either use the DJI Pilot app if you’re using a CrystalSky or another Android device or alternatively, you can use the DJI XT Pro app if you’re using an iPad.

The apps have a slightly different interface but share the same functionality.

In this post, we will primarily be focussing on the DJI Pilot app with a CrystalSky and Cendence Remote Controller.

With the XT2, set up your drone as standard using the single and dual gimbal setup. We have tested the dual mounting with the XT2 and Zenmuse Z30 which offers the functionality of both cameras.

DJI Matrice 210 with XT2 & Z30

DJI Pilot App for the XT2

Once you’ve completed the setup of your hardware and logged into your account etc. enter DJI Pilot app. The basic interface of the app can be seen below:

DJI Pilot App – Zenmuse XT2

The app will be familiar to those who have previously used it before to control their drone. The top bar on the screen features the standard settings for your drone which will function as usual.

There are the usual camera controls, allowing you to change between camera modes and choose how to save data from the visual and thermal cameras. The following options are available:

Camera – JPEG, R-JPEG or Tiff.

Thermal Video – MOV, MP4 TIFF Sequence or SEQ formats.

Visual Video – MOV or MP4.

Photo Format - XT2

DJI Zenmuse XT2 – Photo Format

For the camera modes, you can take single shots, burst shots or interval shots, depending on your setup.

To control the XT2 gimbal, you can use the remote controller and or drag your finger on the screen to control the gimbals pan and tilt. This is a useful option to quickly focus on a reading whilst your XT2 is in the air.

Tapping the FCC (Flat-Field Calibration) option in the app will complete a quick calibration of the camera. This option is particularly useful when using the XT2 in a mix of terrains, most likely found in search and rescue scenarios and will you achieve more accurate results with your camera.

Digital zoom is available on the Zenmuse XT2. On the 30 Hz, 640 Res, 13mm lens, digital zoom in available up to times the standard amount.

Spot Metering

Like the original Zenmuse XT, the XT2 allows you to quickly identify the heat of any point on your screen using Spot Metering. Just activate the option and tap on the screen for an accurate temperature reading. The reading will be accurate within ±10°C (±50°F).

Spot Metering

DJI Zenmuse XT2 – Spot Metering

Area Measurement

In addition to the Spot Metering, you can also activate an Area Measurement option. This mode allows you to create a box on the screen in which the hottest and coldest points will be highlighted. The point in red is the hottest and the blue is the coldest.

DJI Zenmuse XT2 – Area Measurement

 At the bottom of the screen, further details will be shown on the temperature readings. This will include the hottest and coolest point as well as the average temperature of the area.

This feature is useful for inspection and firefighting as you’re able to change the size of the box to look at a specific area on your screen such as a doorway or solar panel.

Please Note – External factors such as emissivity and reflected light will influence the accuracy of the results.

FLIR MSX

The FLIR MSX brings together FLIR’s thermal imagery and DJI’s visual data simultaneously in several different setups. The thermal data is overlaid with the visual image, resulting in the maximum amount of detail.

When using the MSX, you can choose to set the level at either low, mid or high, depending on your desired effect.

A standout area when using the overlaid MSX feature is the addition of the sliders to align the cameras. The sliders are included for use with a close subject as the visual and thermal data may appear out of line. You can simply adjust the camera to line up the image, ensuring complete accuracy. The process of aligning the images can take time when in the air so try practising before taking the camera up in the air.

Below is an example of the cameras set out of line:

DJI Zenmuse XT2 – Visual and Thermal Data

This feature is useful for achieving more detail in your results in firefighting, hazardous waste assessments and more. The combination can increase safety and gives users the full picture before sending ground units into a dangerous location.

Zenmuse XT PiP

The PiP (Picture in Picture) utilises both the thermal and visual data in a useful and flexible display. You can choose to overlay the data, set the thermal window in the middle of the screen, have two split screens or put the screen at various points around the main image.

The visual data must be the primary and larger screen, with the thermal as the secondary screen.

PiP adds to the users’ flexibility offering different setups to suit the application. 

Temp Alarm

In Temp Alarm, you can choose to be notified if any point on your screen exceeds a temperature specified by yourself. An alarm will sound on your monitor, and a notification appears on the bottom of the screen.

DJI Zenmuse XT2 – Temp Alarm

The camera will then focus on the hottest area that exceeds the temperature you have input.

You’re able to pause this function by selecting the pause icon to the left of the screen. This allows you to regain control of the camera and focus on a new area.

This is a useful tool for several applications, most notably to receive an instant notification of a temperature reading outside the norm when surveying or during a search and rescue mission.

HeatTrack

In HeatTrack, the camera will stay focused on the hottest area within your scene. The drone can then be flown around, whilst the camera stays trained on the hottest point.

DJI Zenmuse XT2 – HeatTrack

This allows the users to gather different perspectives on the subject whilst always staying focused on it.

This mode is again useful for a wide range of applications including firefighting as a scene can be evaluated easily from all available vantage points.

QuickTrack

Similar to the HeatTrack, however, the camera will be trained on a specified subject rather than the hottest point. This again allows you to fly the drone whilst focussing on your desired subject.

DJI Zenmuse XT2 – QuickTrack

This tool can be used to monitor an area during a survey or alternatively, monitor a target’s temperature during a mission. The mode can be used in thermal or visual.

DJI Zenmuse XT2 Isotherms

The Zenmuse XT2 has a wide range of Isotherms available. This helps the XT2 integrate into any workflow, adapting to suit applications from search and rescue to advanced surveying and focus on what’s important to you.

In individual Isotherms, three thresholds are used; upper middle and lower. These thresholds highlight specific temperatures in unique colours, making an area in your desired temperature range stand out.

There are three pre-set options for Isotherms; Search People, Search Fire and Customised. This gives flexibility for users to adapt the XT2 for their requirements.

Search Fire

High: 980°C (1800°F)

Mid: 150°C (300°F)

Low: 65°C (150°F)

Palette: WhiteHotISO

Search People

High: 38°C (100°F)

Mid: 32°C (90°F)

Low: 23-29°C (75-85°F)

Palette: MidRngeWHIso

You can also choose the Palette depending on your preference.

Check out how using isotherms can identify heat signatures in a field:

DJI Zenmuse XT2 – Isotherms

Colour Palette

Another option available on the XT2 to help users easily interoperate their data is Colour Palette. The colour scales on the XT2 are the same as that on the original Zenmuse XT and can be adapted to the users’ needs.

Check out a selection of the Colour Palette options below:

Gain Mode

Another tool available on the XT2 to enhance the results of your data is the inclusion of various Gain Modes. These modes help with the clarity of your data by altering the Xt2’s sensitivity. The following three options are available:

High Gain – A narrow temperature range is recorded with high sensitivity to a temperature difference.

Low Gain – A wide temperature range is captured with a lower sensitivity to a temperature difference.

Auto Gain – The best temperature range is automatically selected to suit your scene.

Using the Auto Gain Mode uses the XT2’s algorithms to suit your scene and will provide the best results for most users. The XT2 will be set in this mode as its default.

Scene

The Scene mode will help give you the best results to suit the location of your flight. You can choose from Indoor, Outdoor, Linear, Sea/Sky, Manual, Custom and Default. Each of the following properties will be set according to your choice:

DDE (Digital Detail Enhancement) – Augments the image detail and suppresses image noise.

ACE (Active Contrast Enhancements) – Adjusts the image contrast to suit the scene’s temperature.

SSO (Smart Scene Optimization) – Defines the percentage of the histogram of the image that is used for linear mapping.

Contrast – Sets the ratio of black to white accordingly.

Brightness – Sets the brightness of the image.

Choose the appropriate Scene to suit your desired location.


Emissivity and the Zenmuse XT2

Emissivity is one of the key factors to achieving accuracy when capturing thermal data. Different objects have a different emissivity depending on their material. Emissivity is worked out by comparing an object’s energy emission to the efficiency of a perfect emitter. A perfect emitter is given a value of ‘1’.

On the XT2, you can input the emissivity level according to your environment and the material you’re looking at. Check out the emissivity of common materials you will likely encounter:

Asphalt

0.90 to 0.98

Concrete

0.92

Dry Soil

0.90

Wet Soil

0.95

Wood

0.90

Water

0.92 to 0.96

Ice

0.96 to 0.98

Snow

0.83

Brick

0.93 to 0.96

Lacquer (Paint)

0.80 to 0.95

Lacquer (Flat Black)

0.97

Textiles

0.90

Human Skin

0.98

Polished Aluminium

0.04 to 0.06

Anodised Aluminium

0.55

Stainless Steel

0.16 to 0.45

Rusty Steel

0.69

Make sure you use the above and input the appropriate levels for the best results.

DJI Zenmuse XT2 – Emissivity


Choosing a Zenmuse XT2 Configuration

In the UK, there are 12 configurations available of the Zenmuse XT2 with different frame rates, resolutions and lenses. The lenses on the Zenmuse XT2 are fixed and cannot be changed once purchased so choosing the right edition for your workflow is vital.

Check out the Zenmuse XT2 variations below:

Lens Models

9 mm 13 mm 19 mm 25 mm

640×512

FoV

iFoV

/ f/1.25 45°×37° 1.308 mr f/1.25 32°×26° 0.895 mr f/1.1 25°×20° 0.680 mr

336×256

FoV

iFoV

f/1.25 35°×27° 1.889 mr f/1.25 25°×19° 1.308 mr f/1.25 17°×13° 0.895 mr /

Min Focus Distance

3.2 cm 7.6 cm 15.3 cm 30 cm

Hyperfocal Distance

2.1 cm 4.4 cm 9.5 cm /

Hyperfocal Depth of Field

1.1 cm 2.2 cm 4.8 cm /

XT2 Frame Rates

In the UK, users can choose between a max thermal frame rate of either 9 or 30 Hz. Please note, if you’re outside the UK, the sale of 30 Hz models may be subject to restrictions. Speak to our team for more details on this using the number below.

In basic terms, the frame rate number translates into frames per second on the camera. The number will have an effect on the speed of the video, with a higher number having a faster video whereas the lower may be slightly choppier.

XT2 Resolution

The resolution of the camera will affect how many pixels are visible on your image. With the 640 x 512 model, a total number of 327680 pixels will be available, whereas, with the 336 x 256 resolution, 86016 are visible.

It’s recommended that at least 10 x 10 pixels are viewed on your target in order to achieve valuable results. The higher the resolution you have on your subject, the greater the detail you will be able to see. This is especially important when you’re flying further away from your subject and unable to get close.

XT2 Lenses

In terms of lenses, the smaller number will result in a wider field of view, whereas a higher number will show a subject in more detail.

If you need to get more detail on your subject from further away, the 25mm will offer the best results.

Choose the lens based on the detail needed in your data according to your application.


Please Note – If you’re interested in discussing the availability and configuration of the Zenmuse XT2 in your country, please contact our team on +44 (0)191 296 1024 or email us at info@heliguy.com.


Summary

The DJI Zenmuse XT2 is a fantastic step up from the original Zenmuse XT. The addition of a visual camera gives a clearer picture of the scene, helping to improve site safety and your overall results.

The wide range of intelligent features means the XT2 can be incorporated into more industries than ever before ranging from public safety to inspection as well as many others.

Speak to a member of our team today to find out more about the Zenmuse XT2 and how it could improve safety and efficiency in your industry.


Specifications

Let’s check out the specifications of the Zenmuse XT2:

General

Dimensions

With 25 mm lens: 123.7 x 112.6 x 127.1 mm

With other lens: 118.02 x 111.6 x 125.5 mm

Thermal Camera

Thermal Imager

Uncooled VOx Microbolometer

FPA/Digital Video Display Formats

640×512

336×256

Digital Zoom

640×512: 1x, 2x, 4x, 8x

336×256: 1x, 2x, 4x

Pixel Pitch

17 µm

Spectral Band

7.5-13.5 µm

Full Frame Rates

30 Hz

Exportable Frame Rates

<9 Hz

Sensitivity (NEdT)

<50 mk @ f/1.0

Scene Range (High Gain)

640×512: -25° to 135°C

336×256: -25° to 100°C

Scene Range (Low Gain)

-40° to 550°C

File Storage

MicroSD card*

Photo Format

JPEG, TIFF, R-JPEG

Video Format

8 bit: MOV, MP4 14 bit: TIFF Sequence, SEQ**
Notes: The SD card, which is located near the lens, is used to store TIFF Sequence and SEQ infrared RAW video only. The other format footage will be stored in the other SD card. *It is recommended to use ImageJ to play the TIFF Sequence video and FLIR Tools to play SEQ video.

Image Processing & Display Control

Image Optimization

Yes

Digital Detail Enhancement

Yes

Polarity Control (Black Hot/ White Hot)

Yes

Gimbal

Angular Vibration Range

±0.01°

Mount

Detachable

Controllable Range

Tilt: +30° to -90°

Pan: ±320°

Mechanical Range

Tilt: +45° to -130°
Pan: ±330°

Roll: -90° to +60°

Max Controllable Speed

Tilt: 90°/s

Pan: 90°/s

Visual Camera

Sensor

1/1.7″ CMOS

Effective Pixels: 12 M

Lens

Prime lens
Focus at 8 mm

FOV 57.12°x 42.44°

Digital Zoom

1x, 2x, 4x, 8x

Photo Formats

JPEG

Video Formats

MOV, MP4

Video Resolutions

4K Ultra HD: 3840×2160 29.97p

FHD: 1920×1080 29.97p

Working Modes

Capture, Record, Playback

Still Photography Modes

Single Shot
Burst Shooting(3/5 frames)

Interval (2 / 3 / 4 / 7 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 30 sec)

Video Caption

Supported

Anti-flicker

Auto, 50 Hz, 60 Hz

Storage

MicroSD card
Max capacity: 128 GB. UHS-3 required
Recommended model: Sandisk Extreme 16/32 GB UHS-3 microSDHC

Sandisk Extreme 64/128 GB UHS-3 microSDXC

Supported File System

FAT 32 (≤32GB), exFAT (>32GB)

Image Processing & Display Control

Color & Monochrome Palettes (LUT)

Yes

Models – Lens and Resolution options

Thermal Lens Models

9 mm, 13 mm, 19 mm, 25 mm

640×512 FoV, iFoV

N/A, f/1.25 45°x37° 1.308 mr, f/1.25 32°x26° 0.895 mr, f/1.1 25°x20° 0.680 mr

336×256 FoV, iFoV

f/1.25 35°x27° 1.889 mr, f/1.25 25°x19° 1.308 mr, f/1.25 17°x13° 0.895 mr, N/A

Min Focus Distance

3.2 cm, 7.6 cm, 15.3 cm, 30 cm

Hyperfocal Distance

2.1 m, 4.4 m, 9.5 m, 21m

Hyperfocal Depth of Field

1.1 m, 2.2 m, 4.8 m, 11m


To discuss any information from the above post or any DJI or Freefly product, please give one of our team a call on 0191 296 1024 or email us at info@heliguy.com.


Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more announcements, insights into drones and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.

David is Heliguy’s Blogger and Head of Digital Content Production. David keeps our readers up to date with drone news within the ever-changing industry.

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