Thursday 25th January and I noticed this morning that my app is asking to be updated, you may also find the same. Thought I best dig around. I am looking forward to taking advantage of the new features. But not wanting to have a drone fall out of the sky or what ever the flight instability might be. Please hold off updating as requested by DJI. Never a dull moment droning!
Happy Thursday, tomorrow – Friday ! should be nice flying weather in most parts of the UK, make the most of it.
So this morning James Beer was giving his review of the Mavic Pro and now we have the DJI Mavic Air. With the heady excitement of a drone launch that harks back to the time of Steve Jobs launching Apple products in a darkened auditorium with an enthusiastic cheering room of drone geeks. This was no where near as slick, a very nervous Michael Perry, North American DJI head honcho, stumbled over his words either he was very very excited, hadn’t had enough time to rehearse or was just so nervous at getting all the info imparted to the audience it made for slightly uncomfortable viewing. But who cares we have a new drone!
What is interesting is that social media feeds were way ahead of this launch we knew yesterday what was being launched the internet being more leaky than a leaky bucket. We even saw photos and a few of the specs revealed. As the live stream from New York got going it seems that DJI social media team were tweeting way ahead of the actual press conference. The press are such leaky bunch and its all down to who can get this information out faster than anyone else. But who cares we have a new drone!
So like christmas elves Michael Perry informed us as soon as the Mavic Pro was launched 18 months ago (which is dinosaur years in the drone world ) they went back to the drawing board to redesign, reinvigorated and reimagine this drone. To be honest this reimagine thing that DJI goes on about makes it sound so exciting and yes I do believe there are now a number of us wanting a Mavic Air.
So the Mavic Air what is it like? Well its half the size of the Mavic Pro and weighs 41% less. It will fly for 21 minutes on one battery, which were were informed is the longest flight time for a drone of this size. Cue some more heady marketing language it has , power, intelligence, and is portable (my inspire is portable it’s all relative) – they did say it was a good looking drone and stopped short of saying it has a good sense of humour and is good with children! 😉
The Mavic Air is all of these things as described. Because it’s powerful it needed a new ventilation system design, it has a 3 axis gimbal 4k camera with additional new designed casing and also increased distance coverage.
It’s a small drone, to prove this it came out of a Mary Poppins sized pocked of Michael Perry’s gilet, that contained his wallet, his i-phone and the controller which has handy removable joy sticks. I think one joy I won’t be looking forward to if I were to purchase will be hunting around for them as they fall out of your hands and down a hill or crevice and replacing them will be an unnecessary cost. In 300 plus years that plastic will still be in existence and someone will be able to pick it up and say oh my god they used to fly drones here! I see why they have decided to do the removable joy sticks to make the controller truly portable, but I really think that will be a niggle.
So what about the other specs for this drone?
22 Mph wind resistance for a drone 430g that is very impressive, considering that is the one thing that holds me back from purchasing a small drone like this.
The camera is a 1/2.3 CMOS sensor 24mm F2.8 camera that is capable of 100Mbps at 4k and 30fps. Again on a drone this size will be impressive if its capable of all this.
Loads of different flight modes, new panoramic mode that can stitch 25 photos together automatically.
Quick shot intelligent video modes, which are just getting more and more advanced each time DJI re-imagines it’s drones. This means that pilots won’t need the skills they had to have before. Smart capture just like the spark before – this hand gesturing which isn’t always as successful as lot of online reviews have suggested. It apparently is new and improved .
In addition there is this very safe new addition of APAS Advanced Pilot assistance systems so building on obstacle avoidance that was introduced nearly 2 years ago – this drone will go round obstacles and fly over and around. Now that is impressive! This is due to 7 onboard cameras and new software so yes it is going to live up to is safer drone label.
What else, oh yes it comes in Arctic White, Onyx Black and Flame red. But from underneath when flying you will still see a black casing.
I may have missed out a lot of additional information there was a lot to take in.
So how much will this drone cost? £769 for the Mavic Air x 1, Intelligent Flight Battery x 1, Charger x 1, Power Cable x 1, Propeller Pair x 4 , Propeller Guards x 1 Gimbal Protector x 1 Carrying Case x 1 Spare Controller Sticks x 1Remote Controller Cable x 3 Communication Cable x 1 USB Adapter x 1 RC Cable Slider x 3
For the fly more combo £949 all the above plus 1 x RC Controller 1 x USB & Lighting cables for device connection, 1 x Intelligent Flight Battery, 1 x Battery charger 4 x Spare propellers, 1 x Propeller guards Pair, 1 x Travel case, 1 x Power cable, 1 x User guide.
If you have recently bought a Mavic Pro – don’t despair you still have a great drone. There are advantages of both the Mavic air and the pro and as DJI reimagines it’s drones so quickly whatever drone you buy it is out of date as soon as you buy it. New cameras and new phones all pander to the tech geeks need to stay at the for front of tech which unfortunately moves so fast you can’t keep up. As always assess the drone that you use and what you use it for, buy what you can afford also what you can afford to crash!,
I am currently using an inspire 1 for TV and everyone is happy but one day I will have to upgrade but that will be once I have the funds and the desire to do so.
What is exciting about drone companies constantly developing the technology means that the new developments from this drone will filter through the ranges to the new drones, I for one can’t wait to see what happens with the Phantom range.
Shipping starts on the 28th of January and you can pre-order from selected stockists I see that Heliguy made their internet page for pre-order live as soon as the press conference in New York ended. Please note I am not affiliated to this company but I recommend them as their customer service is 5 star!
This drone will not be for the drone pro users but a fun drone and may be like the Mavic pro be good for corporates, web and social media films. Anyone obtaining money for drone work will still be requiring a PFCO and insurance to operate professionally.
Please comment if you are planning on buying one, I would happily let you write a review!
I am looking forward to seeing what the footage and real reviews are like and those will start to filter through to the internet in the next few days and weeks
With rumours flying round the internet about what will be announced today by DJI, we turn to the DJI mavic and today I hand the blog over to James Beer a talented film maker from Brighton, I was thinking about buying a Mavic and thought why not get him to do a a review! Over to James
Why did I chose a DJI Mavic Pro? After a year of owning a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced, to get myself to grips with operating a drone and practising for my PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations), I upgraded my drone to a Mavic Pro as I was now qualified to use drones in my video work. The Mavic is fantastic. It is not only smaller and lighter, it’s form factor is hugely more appealing than the traditional Phantom series. It packs down so small that it can be thrown into any backpack or suitcase and taken on your travels and for a videographer that is very very handy.
Before I go on and tell you that this is the best drone in the world, it isn’t, it’s just perfect for me. The 4k video is decent and the photos look good. DJI have used a 1/2.3” (CMOS) sensor which is the same sensor used by the Phantom 4 so its pretty good considering its size. I use mine for both videography and photography and shoot mostly in 4k as the 1080 is not amazing.
Positives. The battery lasts almost 27 minutes (according to DJI) which is usually more than enough time for one flight. The blades don’t need removing each time you pack it away, they just fold in. The arms tuck under and in so all you have is the body of the drone (unlike the Phantom). It is fast, especially when you put it in sport mode. All the different flying modes ‘Tripod’, ‘Cinematic’, ‘Point of Interest’ are really useful but ’Active Track’ is my favourite so far. When it comes to sticking to your moving target this mode does a great job of tracking the subject in centre frame whilst you manoeuvre the drone from side to side. More proximity sensors have been added (5 cameras and 2 sonic rangefinders) that have saved me a few times as judging distances can be tricky when you cant see too well. The list goes on but they are a few of my favourite plus points.
Negative points. It doesn’t have many to be honest. If you want a better picture quality go for the Phantom Pro or another of DJI’s higher end drones. The only little gripe I have with it is I sometimes forget to take off with the lens guard because you miss it when setting up but that is not the drones fault. Professionals will be able to pick holes in picture quality but the average user will think it’s fantastic.
Who is it for? I think it is good for videographers with corporate work that ends up on internet but I wouldn’t say it is professional enough for film work or big budget ads. It is also good for the hobbyist who wants to take unique photos and not break the bank. For the money I am still blown away at the value you get for £1,099 of drone. Its build quality and stability in the air fils you with confidence to fly it over water or in slightly tricky places. I would recommend this to anyone looking to get into drone photography/videography. For some it would make a good back up drone to their bigger drone but for me it is the perfect entry drone to filmmaking.
Thank you James for this review and the amazing photos. I adore the shot of Brighton West Pier to think that has been taken on a small drone is just amazing, obviously a great eye for drone photography proving to be a talented creator in many visual disciplines.
In late autumn 2017 I was asked to fly the drone for Radio 4. I admit, I thought it a strange request at first knowing radio to be a listening non visual format. Approached by the production company Whistle down, they were looking for someone to appear in a new programme about niche work, for BBC Radio 4.
Drones are no longer niche and are mainstream, this programme would be about the world of drone defence. A niche industry that is springing up to combat the rogue drone operators that have taken to the skies. We are all aware of those that feel they need to fly near airports and those also delivering drugs to prisons.
This small extract from the programme was to be about an excellent company Drone Defence and they wanted me to fly the drone in a set up scenario and have it defended by the CEO of the company Richard Gill.
Both presenter and producer were concerned I would not be willing. I suppose they were worried that drone pilots would be against such a technology. Not this drone pilot. Currently we have a major problem about drones flying in places where they shouldn’t.
Even with the drone geofencing that DJI and Yuneec have on the drones, to stop them in their tracks around airports and landing strips, there are people hacking the software. I get on a plane, to go on holiday, I want to be safe knowing that those rogue operators are not able to fly near airports. So it was a joy to spend a couple of hours with the presenter Nick Baker, producer Leeanne Coyle and CEO of Drone Defence Richard Gill.
The programme is online for another 21 days! Click on the link below
I am really impressed at the technology that Rick Gill has developed and I do believe he has found a niche and unfortunately with those who continue to cause danger and break the law his company will be in demand.
Glad to say no drones were harmed in the making of the programme.
Happy New Year everyone…can you say that on the 18th of January? 2017 was a great year professionally and I still think it’s amazing every time I get a booking as a freelancer, weather that is a camera operator, a film maker or drone operator! I am never complacent and always thankful. I treat my bookings like it will be my very last booking, perhaps I am not that yet relaxed about the whole freelancing lifestyle as yet.
I planned to have some downtime over christmas and also to get that freelance office sorted, and paperwork except it was not meant to be. I was struck by the dreaded flu on Christmas Eve that meant no family christmas for me, and no new year either. Then my lovely Nanna died she was 90, and very supportive of me. To think of the things she saw in her lifetime, she lived through world war 2, and loved the 1960’s, she brought two young girls up as a single parent and was forward thinking and was interested in other cultures and religions. I will miss her a lot.
I was just getting back to some kind of normality, and waiting for the funeral and then struck by yet another bout of flu. Which means for the very first time in my freelance / working life I have just turned down a job. Hopefully they will try to book me again. I hope non of you have been affected by flu and that you escape it this year.
For the blog I have a lot of posts that need posting that are half finished and the only excuse I can give is the sickness and life stuff happening. I can’t wait to get back to some kind of normality and share these blog posts with you. We have a review of the DJI Mavic by great Brighton based film maker James Beer, a review of a Yuneec drone and also some insights to the judging of the film convert competition from the end of the year.
I am hoping that although its not been a great start to 2018, that I can start afresh in February look to the East and I plan to treat Chinese new year like, well my new year and Christmas rolled into one! My Nanna loved all things Chinese and was fascinated by the East and so I shall look that way whilst remembering her with a smile and starting the year a fresh. I know it won’t be that simple but if I keep telling myself that, then perhaps each day will be a bit easier.
We all have times in life when it gets all a bit much and something has to give. This time it was the blog and the office tidy.
Here is to 2018 being a good one for you and your loved ones, with lots of safe drone flying, health and happiness.