A few weeks ago, I finally decided it was time to order a quadcopter to play with for filming for my own personal use as I have no plans to apply for a license for commercial use after the high level photography business failure!
I looked at a lot of different drones and decided to go with the DJI Mavic Pro due to its compact size when folded and its features including the following/tracking modes and easy to use software and controller. I had a RC helicopter several years ago and it was impossible to fly but I now believe it had a faulty gyro which made it unusable.
I ordered a DJI Mavic Pro direct from DJI which said on their website that it would ship in 1-3 days, 5 days later and with no sign of shipping I checked the support forums and found that shipping was now 14-21 days and so I cancelled the order with DJI and after a few days they responded to my email and I could cancel the order and the refund was paid back to my bank 3 days later.
I then checked the local Maplin store and found that they had one of the Mavic Pro drones in stock and so I drove to the Poole branch and I could purchase the drone directly.
I preferred to buy one from a shop in case there was a problem with the drone as it is much easier to deal with a local shop than with online support and sending the drone off for service if needed.
The drone was well packaged in the box and came with the controller, a 16Gb micro SD card, mains charger, usb charging lead and a spare set of props.
DJI Mavic Pro in the storage case.
I was going to get the extended pack which DJI offer which has 2 additional batteries and a shoulder bag but I was able to order a much better case with foam inserts from Amazon and I also purchased a set of spare props, battery and a smaller case to hold the drone and controller when out on the bikes from Hobby Mounts.
With the small case from Hobby Mounts I can carry the drone and controller in my Camelbak Mule when out on the bike which was one of the main requirements of a new compact drone for me.
For the first flight I made the mistake of trying to fly indoors and drove straight into the curtains and crashed so I waited until the next morning and took the Mavic to the local Townsend nature reserve near my home.
The video below shows the drone taking off and going to its maximum height and then a static pan and then flying around the nature reserve looking down and then finally descending back to the home point. The video mode was the default settings on the drone in 4K video resolution.
Today I took the drone with me when walking the dogs with my brother to try the “active track” mode to get the drone to follow me when walking (planning to try this on the bikes) and after a couple of attempts I was able to get the drone to recognise me and follow me across the first field with a circular pan.
I then tried the follow mode in a field with trees and bushes and different gradients to see how it copes with different terrain and apart from having to manually pan to one side to avoid a tree it worked well until we got to a gap in a stone wall which was in shadow and it lost track of Andrew and hovered in the same place with the tracking box on the app tracking the edge of the stone wall! I then manually flew forwards and I could get a tracking lock on my white Greyhound Max and it followed him without any issues.
For the video format, I tried the D-LOG mode which is supposed to give better tonal range when processed and the still image below shows the before and after colour difference when edited in Adobe Premier CS6.
The still image below shows the raw video still and processed D-LOG with the colour processing completed.
DLOG video before and after colour correction
Still photo quality from the Mavic Pro doesn’t seem to be very good and is similar to the images from my old Apple iPhone 5S, but I didn’t expect a very high quality still image from such a small camera sensor.