Over the last few weeks I have been very lucky to able to spend some time with DJI Cendence controller coupled with CrystalSky on the Inspire 2, I must state first of all that this is pre release hardware and software so some things may change a little on the final product but this is late in the day and I would not expect to see anything major though
After setting up and testing its features for a few days I can say I am honestly very impressed so far, the Inspire 2 standard RC design dates back to the original Inspire remote and it’s clear that was built with ease of use with an touch based app driven product in mind, simple straight forward controls that allows you to get the basics done, as time has gone on more feature have been added and with camera such as the X5 Series there is now a need for a more dedicated feature rich controller and the Cendence is just that, it brings all the app based features and option back to your finger tips at a touch of a button with out the need to move off the controls.
The Cendence controller has been specifically designed to be used with the Inspire 2 and M200 Series, the layout is user friendly and comfortable to hold, it feels solid and well build and like most recent DJI products the overall impression is the this is a quality piece of equipment, since the Mavic Pro especially DJI have really been kicking it out the park in this area and it shows here again.
Its powered by the same 2S 4920mah smart battery that CrystalSky uses, It does still have the built in charge circuit like all of the remote before it so this does mean you can charge packs either in the remote or in the Crystalsky charge station so your able to fly and charge other packs at the same time.
In the centre of the main body you have a small LCD screen that shows flight critical data such as aircraft speed, height and power levels, this means you can fly with the Go app in full screen mode and still see critical flight information.
Sticks & Buttons
Looking at the feel of the controller I find gimbals are similar to other DJI controllers and are very responsive, the sticks move smoothly and response is precise, they do have adjustable springs via four holes in the bottom but I found that it shipped with just the right amount of tension.
The sticks them selves are quality machined metal, height is adjustable as you would expect with any modern controller, overall the main control placement is very good, it’s comfortable to use and buttons and knobs are located easily with in normal reach so you don’t have to move your hand off the controls.
Looking at the controller you see there is a wealth of buttons that you can program to control a large number of both craft and app related features, some of the buttons on the controller are pre programmed for dedicated features like Menu, RTH,Pause and are marked as such, the rest are labelled C or B buttons and these can be set to things such as closing wind alerts, toggle map and live feed screens, focus and exposure metering as well as options like changing radio frequency and turning the LEDs on and off, there are also some other fixed feature buttons and knobs on Cendence like Record,Shutter and Focus on the RH corner, you also have the camera Yaw and Pitch controls rocker wheels on either side too.
Underneath the controller you have the 2 usual C triggers that are programable as before but DJI have added two new smaller C buttons further up, these can all be mapped just like the other buttons on the controller, down the side you will find two additional programable sliders mounded into the grip, one located each side.
On the left side you have the usual DJI controller changing connector below the runner cover, this accepts input from the Inspire 2 and other DJI chargers just like the standard controller
At the bottom you have a cooling vent as well as two screw bosses for mounting to a tray or other support mounts, there are a further two mounting posts located underneath as well.
One of the big new features is a dedicated focus control knob, this is located just above the the LCD screen for X4s and X5S users, this knob is very smooth with good level of restriction to prevent accidental changes, it is setup to be endless and clickless for very fine tuning of focus control, further to this next to the LCD you have 4 pre programmed camera settings buttons for Ev, ISO, shutter ect that are used in combination with the rotary selector on the rh side.
Looking around the back of the RC it’s self you have the two standard antennas sticking out of the radio module , Cendence is designed to have a removable radio module for future use, this means DJI are able to continue to release updates and different modules for different craft and radio systems, currently only the Inspire 2 module is available, interestingly for the first time on a DJI RC the antennas are removable so allowing you to connect to accessory antennas for increased signal performance. As standard Cendence comes with host of connectivity features, HDMI and SDI outputs for those wanting to use broadcast mode as well as the usual USB ports for using an IOS or Android device and CAN for use with DJI accessories.
Back Of the Controller
To power Condence the the battery slots into a compartment in the bottom of the controller and locks in place with a small latch, the battery is removed by pressing the release button and sliding side ways, it then it pops up by its self as there are two spring loaded leaver that push it up once its unlocked make it easy to get out.
Cendence with CrystalSky
When coupled with CrystalSky it’s a really nice combination, as standard Cendence comes with the DJI quick release bracket for CrystalSky, this feels strong and very secure once latched in place, there are no external wires as the bracket has built in USB C connector, what is also nice is when you turn on Cendence CrystalSky will wake up and open onto Go 4 ready for you, these two have been specifically designed to work as on and give a real whole lot of connectivity options, two HDMI outputs, Multiple USB ports and SDI.
Integrated CS Adapter with USB C
Locked In Place
There is no questions when fitted with the 7.85” Crystalsky its going to add weight but imo its still usable with a good quality strap, after multiple flights it does not feel heavy to me
On the remote there is a dedicated Menu button that opens the new configuration screen for Cendence in DJI Go, here you set all the button configurations, there is also the ability to set multiple user profiles with each having three individual button configurations.
Front Button Config
Back Button Config
Button Mapping Options
Multi User Settings
Overall after having a month I can say the Cendence controller is something you will absolutely want in your flight bag if your flying the Inspire 2 or M200 series, fit and feel is good, lots of functionality and it just adds so much to the Inspire 2 features once you have spent any time using it, the ability to simply change to map view or swap camera feeds with out moving your fingers from the sticks help to ensure you don’t loose the shot and remain in control at all times, its just something you will want and for single ops this will make your life easier helping you get those great shots and duel ops users will end up wanting two as it brings a lot to the table for both pilot and camera operator, while again I should stress this is not final release hardware or software and some things may change a little DJI Cencence is a must have in my opinion.