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DJI Zenmuse L2 vs DJI Zenmuse L1: A Comprehensive Comparison

Last updated on

October 31, 2023


    In the realm of aerial surveying and 3D data acquisition, DJI’s Zenmuse L1 and L2 stand as two pivotal models, each marking a significant milestone in the evolution of LiDAR technology. The Zenmuse L1, known for its robust integration of advanced Livox LiDAR, imaging, and inertial measurement technologies, set a benchmark in the industry. Its successor, the Zenmuse L2, builds on this legacy, introducing enhancements that push the boundaries of precision, efficiency, and reliability in geospatial data collection. This comparative analysis delves into the nuances of these two models, highlighting their similarities and differences to provide a comprehensive understanding of their capabilities and applications.

    DJI Zenmuse L2

    An introduction to LiDAR:

    LiDAR, short for Light Detection and Ranging, is a sophisticated remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure distances to the Earth. This technology involves a combination of a laser, a scanner, and a specialised GPS receiver, typically mounted on aircraft like airplanes and helicopters. LiDAR is instrumental in generating precise, three-dimensional information about the Earth’s shape and surface characteristics. It operates by emitting light pulses towards the ground and measuring the time it takes for the light to return after reflecting off the surface, thereby creating detailed 3D models of the terrain.

    LiDAR’s applications are extensive and varied, ranging from producing accurate shoreline maps, digital elevation models for geographic information systems, to supporting emergency response operations. Its ability to capture high-resolution, three-dimensional data makes it invaluable in fields such as 3D modelling, shoreline mapping, land surveying, and environmental vulnerability analysis. The resulting data, known as a “point cloud,” consists of numerous points, each with precise spatial coordinates, providing a detailed representation of natural and manmade environments.

    DJI L1 vs L2 Comparison Datsheet

    This is your go-to datasheet, complete with visual image comparisons and straightforward explanations.

    Design and Build: A Legacy Continued

    The Zenmuse L1 and L2, while distinct in their advancements, share a common design philosophy focused on durability, compatibility, and functionality. Both models exhibit a rugged build, encapsulated in a compact and efficient form factor, ensuring ease of integration with DJI’s drone platforms, particularly the Matrice series (DJI Matrice 350). Their IP54 rating underscores a commitment to reliability, safeguarding the intricate components against environmental challenges like dust and water splashes.

    LiDAR and Imaging: Precision Meets Performance

    Zenmuse L1: The L1’s Livox LiDAR module, a cornerstone of its design, offers a detection range of up to 450m at 80% reflectivity. This range, combined with a point rate of up to 480,000 pts/s, allows for detailed and extensive 3D mapping. The LiDAR’s system accuracy (RMS 1σ) of 10 cm horizontally and 5 cm vertically at 50 m ensures the fidelity of spatial data, crucial for applications like topographic mapping, forestry, and infrastructure inspection.

    Zenmuse L2: The L2 elevates these specifications, extending the detection range to 500m and increasing the point cloud rate to a maximum of 1,200,000 pts/s. This enhancement not only broadens the scope of surveyable areas but also deepens the level of detail captured, making it ideal for more demanding applications such as urban planning and precision agriculture.

    Camera and Sensor: Capturing Reality  

    Aerial LiDAR technology enables experts in fields like land surveying, mapping, electricity inspection, forestry, and infrastructure management to quickly gather extensive, three-dimensional spatial data on a large scale. This advanced method significantly lessens the manual labour involved, cuts down on the time needed for field measurements, and enhances overall detection efficiency compared to conventional manual measurement techniques.

    Zenmuse L1: The integration of a 1-inch sensor camera capable of 20 MP images and 4K video recording in the L1 represents a balanced approach to aerial imaging. This capability ensures that alongside LiDAR data, high-quality visual information is captured, providing a comprehensive dataset for analysis.

    Zenmuse L2: The L2’s upgrade to a 4/3 CMOS sensor maintains the 20 MP image resolution but enhances overall image quality, particularly in varying light conditions. The expanded range of shutter speeds and support for DNG RAW images cater to professional needs for higher dynamic range and post-processing flexibility.

    LiDAR and Imaging: Precision Meets Performance

    Zenmuse L1: The IMU in the L1, with its real-time and post-processing accuracy for yaw, pitch, and roll, provides a stable and reliable base for data acquisition. This precision is critical in ensuring that the LiDAR and camera data are accurately georeferenced, a key factor in creating coherent and usable 3D models and maps. The IMU in the L1 offers real-time and post-processing yaw accuracy of 0.3° and 0.15°, respectively, with pitch/roll accuracy at 0.05° and 0.025°.

    Zenmuse L2: The L2’s IMU advances these capabilities, offering finer accuracy and stability. This improvement is particularly beneficial in challenging flight conditions or when capturing data over complex terrains, where even minor deviations in measurement can lead to significant errors in the final output. The L2 provides a yaw accuracy of 0.2° in real-time and 0.05° in post-processing. Pitch and roll accuracy are equally enhanced, indicating a more refined and precise measurement system.

    Note: An Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) typically comprises gyroscopes, which track and report angular velocity, and accelerometers, which detect and convey specific force. This section aims to provide a detailed examination of an IMU’s functionality, covering all necessary specifications and data needed to choose the appropriate IMU for your specific application.

    Data Storage and Processing: Handling the Information Load  

    Both the L1 and L2 are equipped to handle large volumes of data, a necessity given the extensive information captured by their sensors. The support for high-capacity microSD cards and compatibility with DJI Terra for data processing are commonalities that underline their role in end-to-end data acquisition and processing workflows. The L2’s enhanced point cloud and image data capabilities, however, suggest a more robust need for efficient data handling and processing power.

    Similarities: Upholding a Standard

    Despite their differences, the Zenmuse L1 and L2 share several key features that define the core value of DJI’s offerings in this segment. Both models are designed with a focus on integrating advanced LiDAR technology with high-quality imaging and precise inertial measurements. This integration ensures that users can capture a rich, multi-dimensional dataset in a single flight operation. The compatibility with DJI’s Matrice series drones and the IP54 rating across both models demonstrate a commitment to versatility and durability. Furthermore, their user-friendly design, ease of operation, and compatibility with DJI Terra for post-processing reflect a consistent focus on accessibility and efficiency.


    The DJI Zenmuse L1 and L2 represent two generations of technological excellence in aerial surveying and 3D data acquisition. The L1, with its pioneering integration of LiDAR, imaging, and IMU technologies, set a high benchmark in the industry. The L2, building upon this foundation, introduces significant enhancements in LiDAR capabilities, sensor quality, and measurement accuracy, catering to a broader range of professional applications. The choice between the L1 and L2 will largely depend on the specific requirements of the project, with the L2 being particularly suited to scenarios demanding higher precision, larger data capture, and more complex processing needs. Both models, however, stand as testaments to DJI’s leadership and innovation in the field of geospatial technology.



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