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  • Writer's pictureMike Gentilini, Jr.

XM2 Retracts Review for Alta X

For years, our team’s top priority with our gear has always consisted of three things.  Optimizing efficiency, maximizing our gear’s capacity and lastly, maintaining gear safety.

One of our camera movement platforms is Freefly’s Alta X drone.  With the continual evolution of drone tech over the years, the Alta X has been our favorite drone to date.

Now after using this drone for a time, we wanted to optimize this system.  Some questions we asked ourselves were,.. how could we speed up prep-times.  How could we have gimbal booted and available for any changes before flights.  How could we have more stable take offs and landings.  How can we improve gimbal performance for a more stable image?

This is where the guys at XM2 Labs provided the solution.

This is our XM2 retracts review. XM2 Labs designed an extremely robust set of retractable landing gear for the Alta X.  The strength and dependability of their well-engineered design has been flawless for us.

So let’s look at the pros:

Stable Take offs and landings:  Having dual support legs on each side of the Alta X keeps this airframe stable all the time.  With the support of both skids, it takes a lot of force to tip over the Alta X.  This allows for safer take offs and landings.  

Shorter Prep Times:  As we all know, time is money.  We all want to keep our prep times shorter while on set.  The retracts allows for easy transport and setup for both of our drones.  When we arrive on set, we just need to pop the Alta X out of our truck and onto the launch pad.

Now while gimbal is being prepped, drone can be prepped at the same time.  Then when we need to change locations or wrap for the day, pack up is easy.

Faster lens changes:  The retracts keep gimbal off the ground and allows for an easy lens swap and rebalance.  Gimbal can also stay engaged and allows cam op to make any last minute tweaks, check exposure or whatever else is needed before the next flight.

More image stability in footage:  As we all know, the more accessories we need to add to a gimbal, the heavier it gets and potentially the more unstable the image will become.  Now that we can remove the aero legs from our gimbals, this allows our gimbals to keep a smaller inertia foot print, therefore providing a more stable image.  We have definitely seen an improvement in stability, especially with faster flights.

Failsafe:  XM2 Labs even designed a fail safe into these retracts.  If your toggle switch on your radio gets bumped into the “up” position before powering up drone, the landing gear will not immediately retract up once power is provided.  Simply press the switch to the “down” position and you’ll be ready for take-off.

Weight: In the drone world, additional weight is often a concern.  The entire retracts system weighs in at around 1.6kg or 3.5 lbs.  Now considering the lifting power of the Alta X, this additional weight is fairly minimal. 

Price:  The XM2 Retracts for Alta X are priced at $3,300 USD dollars.  With all the features and safety benefits of these retracts, I believe this price is worth it.   

XM2 Labs really did a great job with build design and convenience.  Installation was simple and straight forward and only took about 20 minutes.   

Different leg lengths are offered depending on whether you use MoVI Pro or a Ronin 2.  They even designed handy thumb screws for tool-less swapping out in the field. 

So to conclude, I have found these retracts to optimize our gear, maximize our team’s efficiency and they keep our Alta’s  safer.  In my opinion, these retracts are a must for any Alta X user.  

I hope you guys learned something.  Thanks for watching.

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