DJI Matrice 600: Review

The DJI Matrice 600 is made for filmmakers and industry professionals.

The DJI Matrice 600 is made for filmmakers and industry professionals.

If you're looking to capture professional cinema grade aerial shots, DJI's self-proclaimed first heavy lifter, the Matrice 600, could be the next drone on your radar. Newly released earlier this year, the M600 is a hexacopter made for filmmakers and other industry professionals looking to shoot the next cinematic masterpiece. Though the Matrice 600 trumps other drones in terms of size, it is designed to be just as easy to set up and fly.

The Matrice 600 is designed with six rotors for extra redundancy and stability. It also comes with six batteries for an extended flight time and extra safety in the air. With the Zenmuse X5 or XT camera, the M600 has a flight time of up to 35 minutes, and with the Ronin-MX or a heavier payload, a flight time of approximately 16 minutes. 

The Matrice is capable of carrying a payload of up to 13.2 lbs, and is compatible with all of the DJI Zenmuse line of cameras and gimbals. The M600 also comes with the A3 flight control system, which is upgradable to the A3 Pro flight controller. Fully customizable and designed with all of the latest technologies, the Matrice 600 is a powerful system that delivers when it comes to shooting footage worthy of the big screen. 

Design and Performance

The DJI Matrice 600 with Ronin MX carrying the Sony α6300

The DJI Matrice 600 with Ronin MX carrying the Sony α6300

Ready to set up and use in minutes, the Matrice 600 is designed for maximum durability and easy maintenance. The M600 features an aluminum body, manually retractable landing gear, and foldable carbon fibre arms. The retractable landing gear ensures that the legs won't show up in footage, while the foldable carbon fibre arms provide extra stability and portability. The Matrice's six propellers are also carbon fibre reinforced to help keep them extra stiff. 

DJI Matrice 600 with Arms Folded

DJI Matrice 600 with Arms Folded

With six actively cooled motors, flights are smooth and stable.  The Matrice 600 is equipped with the E2000 Tuned Propulsion System that includes the 6010 Motors and 2170 Propellers. Due to the large motors and propellers the Matrice can lift a heavy payload and still stay quiet in the air. The six motors also make flying much safer. If a motor fails the drone can recover itself and safely land. 

DJI E2000 Tuned Propulsion System

DJI E2000 Tuned Propulsion System

Another key advantage of the Matrice 600's design is its limitless customization options. All of DJI's line of gimbals and cameras are supported by the M600 system. This gives operators the ultimate freedom to customize the Matrice to fit their exact needs. 

When it comes to cruising through the air the M600 is very steady yet agile, especially for its size. The maximum speed of the Matrice 600 is 64.8 kilometres per hour.  The M600 can fly at a maximum altitude of 2500 metres above sea level. The M600 also has a maximum ascent time of 8 kilometres per hour and a maximum descent time of 4.8 kilometres per hour. 

Flight Controller and App Control

Complete and accurate control is what you will get with the Matrice 600. The M600 comes with the revolutionary A3 flight controller as well as the Lightbridge 2 system. The Lightbridge 2 system can stream long range 1080p live feed and supports dual video input and dual operator setups, one for flight and one for camera control. 

The A3 Flight Controller

The A3 Flight Controller

A3 GPS Compass Pro

A3 GPS Compass Pro

The A3 flight controller has built-in failsafe measures for loss of signal, low power and even propulsion failure of upto three motors. In the event of a propulsion failure, the aircraft yaws continuously and the A3 automatically switches to Home-lock for landing the aircraft safely in an emergency. Operators can also choose to upgrade to the A3 Pro version which can be enhanced with 2 additional IMUs and GPS units for triple redundancy and even more accuracy.

In addition, users can purchase the D-RTK GNSS system, which possesses centimetre level position accuracy and can withstand interference from metal. 

DJI Lightbridge 2

DJI Lightbridge 2

The Matrice 600 supports the DJI Go app and the DJI Assistant 2. The app gives users a built-in flight simulator, HD view, battery level status, redundancy status, transmission strength, and more. With the app and the simplified Lightbridge 2 Remote Controller, flying a big, heavy lifting drone has never been easier. Operators can also control camera settings including shutter speed, ISO, aperture and focus. The DJI Assistant 2 makes firmware updates and configuration a breeze and also has a built-in flight simulator. There is also a new Ground Station app in the works for collaborative tasks with multiple Matrice 600 aircrafts.

DJI Matrice 600 Remote Controller

DJI Matrice 600 Remote Controller

Battery Life

The Matrice 600 TB47S 

The Matrice 600 TB47S 

A long battery life is a huge benefit for any filmmaker looking to perfect and capture their vision on camera. The Matrice 600 functions with six DJI Intelligent Batteries, giving it the power to lift heavy weight and keep the system running. Additionally, the six batteries give the Matrice 600 extra safety in the air. If a battery fails mid-flight, the M600 will be able to recalculate its remaining capacity, then hover in position or land automatically. 

The M600 will only take-off if all six batteries are installed on the drone. All of the batteries can be turned on and off with the push of one button. The Matrice 600's battery life varies depending on the payload and environmental conditions. It can fly for approximately 35 minutes with a Zenmuse X5 or XT camera, and up to 16 minutes with a heavier camera such as the RED EPIC.

Gimbal Selection

Though the Matrice 600 doesn't come with a gimbal itself, it gives operators the opportunity to select the exact gimbal they want for their drone. The M600 is compatible with DJI's full Zenmuse gimbal line, allowing for a wide range of cameras to be used including the Zenmuse X3, X5, XT, and any other third party cameras. 

DJI Ronin MX Camera Mount with Sony α 6300

DJI Ronin MX Camera Mount with Sony α 6300

Combined, the Matrice 600 and the Ronin-MX make an unstoppable pairing. The Ronin-MX is made with aluminum, can turn 360 degrees, and can support any camera. The Ronin-MX is also capable of connecting to the Matrice 600's GPS system as well as the Lightbridge 2 system.

Customizability

There is plenty of room for customization when it comes to the M600. DJI provides users with SDK support to create their own custom mobile apps. The Matrice 600 also features multiple expansion ports to give users complete flexibility and control when it comes to customizing their drone. The M600 features dual parallel CAN and API ports for connecting DJI devices such as the Guidance system, the D-RTK GNSS units, or any other third party components. 

The M600 also allows operators to pick and choose their perfect gimbal or camera. The Matrice is compatible with the full Zenmuse line as well as any other third party cameras. 

Payload

A stand-out feature of the Matrice 600 is its ability to carry a large payload.  The M600 can lift up to 13.2 lbs while still maintaining stability and redundancy in the air. For filmmakers and other professionals, the benefit of being able to carry a heavy payload is a huge advantage of the Matrice 600, as it provides more opportunity for users to customize their drone with different gimbals, cameras, and accessories. 

Unlimited Camera Options

The Ronin-MX gimbal can be handheld or attached to the Matrice 600, and can hold any type of camera.

The Ronin-MX gimbal can be handheld or attached to the Matrice 600, and can hold any type of camera.

The Matrice 600 does not come with a camera, but with its heavy lifting capabilities, users can select from a wider range of cameras to shoot with. The M600 is compatible with the entire Zenmuse line, including the RED EPIC. With the Zenmuse XT and X5 the M600 can fly for approximately 35 minutes. With any other larger camera the Matrice can stay in the air for approximately 16 minutes. The Matrice 600 is also compatible with any other third party cameras.

Conclusion

The Matrice 600 is designed to give the operator freedom to choose exactly what kind of gimbal, camera, and accessories they want to use for the footage they envision, without being restricted to one camera or one system. 

The big advantage of the M600 is its capability to carry heavy cameras and accessories while still maintaining stability and steadiness in the air. Another bonus is that the Matrice 600's system can seamlessly integrate with DJI's full range of Zenmuse gimbals and cameras. The Matrice 600's six rotors and batteries are a highlight of its design, giving users added safety in flight along with an extended flight time. The upgradable A3 system is also a never before seen feature adding extra accuracy, reliability, and precision to the system. 

DJI Matrice 600

Overall, the DJI Matrice 600 is a worthy upgrade from the Spreading Wings series and DJI has once again showcased why they outpace the competition. Starting at $6,209. 00 CDN, the Matrice 600 is a game-changer for any industry professional looking to create the next Hollywood blockbuster.