Which drone should you buy, the Mavic 3 Classic or the Air2S? That depends on a few things.

When DJI posted the announcement of the Mavic 3 Classic, I posed the question: with this release, should you buy this new drone or the older Air2S?

I have an Air2S along with an AVATA, Mini 2 and FPV, and love it. It is used far, far more than the others, although to be fair, I am still coming to grips with the AVATA. Nevertheless, I have been pondering the original question at length. I do not own, or even had a play with the Mavic 3 Classic (as yet anyway) so can only compare side-by-side specification wise to come to some sort of conclusion.

So here goes:


DJI Mavic 3 Classic






4/3 CMOS Hasselblad



f/2.8 – f/11






5.1K / 50fps 4K /120fps

5.4K /30fps 4K /60fps

Battery Life




Up 15Km with 1080p/ 60fps live feed

Up to 12Km with 1080p/30fps live feed

Obstacle Sensing


Forward, Backward, Upward, Downward


DJI-RC with 5.5” built in screen

Standard controller, no screen (uses phone or tablet)


AUD$2599 with DJI-RC

AUD$2399 with standard controller


Assuming we all stick to the letter of the law and only fly within visual range, then 15Km v 12Km is neither here nor there, so comparing the capabilities of range is a bit of a moot point at the end of the day.

Other specification can be split between drone capability and photographic. There is no doubt that the imaging– both photographic and video – is superior on the Mavic Classic 3. A bigger sensor, adjustable aperture and increased frame rate beat the higher resolution of the Air2S, no question. Having said that, from my experience, the capabilities of the Air2S optics and sensor are remarkable and will give you no cause for complaint I assure you.

On the drone side, the increased battery life is a big plus for most. I tend to only fly for a maximum of 20 minutes being gun shy of battery failure due to a past (and expensive) experience. This gives me a decent margin of error.

(For those coming late I had one of the original GoPro Karma drones that had a bug in the battery life sensor. Consequently, when returning from a flight shooting whales at Hervey Bay, it ended up in a watery grave about 2 metres away from landing.)

For those who have ever had a serious crash, the omnidirectional sensor system is also a bonus, which, whilst not eliminating such a possibility, certainly minimises it.

But a big winner for me is the inclusion of the DJI RC controller. The bane of my life has been getting a method of shielding the phone or tablet from sunlight so you can read the information on-screen, and also see clearly what you are shooting.

I know there are commercial sunshades available, but I have yet to find one that will correctly fit a Samsung A7 tablet. If you know of one, please let me know! I do have one for my phone, but it being a Samsung A71, I prefer a larger screen.

If it works as well as say the Karma controller did in bright sunlight, this to me is worth the price difference alone. (The Air2S has just had an hardware update to support the DJI-RC controller too by the way and you can buy the controller alone for AUD$399 which I reckon is well worth it.

So dear reader, there it is. Whilst the question of “which drone” is not fully answered, I’d suspect if you have the extra $900 in your pocket, that, longer term would be the way to go. But as I say, if you don’t have those 900 shekels and thus get the Air2S, you will not be disappointed.

Not at all. Despite the above conclusions, I still think the Air2S is the best bang for buck model DJI make.

New DJI Drone. Another Mavic.

To be fair, it was pretty much expected. A Classic version of the Mavic 3 – still with a lot of bells and whistles, but without the stratospheric price tag the top of the range Pro has. That is not to say the imagery ability has been downgraded, not at all. It still has the Hasselblad camera on board giving 5.1k / 50fps 20MP AND has 46 minutes* flying time with a stated 15Km video transmission range. But no, there is no secondary telephoto camera.

It comes with the full on DJI RC Controller though, so you can ditch your phone or tablet, and hopefully, the screen also is bright / contrasty enough to do away with the need for any sunshade (I have requested a controller for my Air2S now that is compatible so hopefully I will be able to let you know on that score).

The difficulty for the consumer in my mind is now whether to go for the Air2S ($1699) or the Mavic 3 Classic ($2599). Is it worth the extra $900? With the Pro controller valued at $1529 stand alone, the answer I’d say is yes.

I’ll have a complete run down on all the features etc shortly.

Which drone? Mini SE? Mini 3? Air2S? FPV? Mavic 3? Here’s all the stuff you need to know.

In the various drone newsgroups around the internet, there is a common pair of questions that really have the same answer. And no, it’s not the “can I fly here” one nor the “do I need a licence“ one).

The first is “I am about to buy my first drone and don’t know which one to get”. The second is “I have had a (brand name / model) drone for a while and now I want to upgrade, so which one do I get?”.

There are variations on these questions of course, but the obvious question back to both is “what do you want to do with it?”

So, accepting there are a million possible answers to that question, and it is essentially the same answer when folk ask, “what camera should I buy”, let’s explore the possibilities.

Up front, this is not a paid advert for DJI by the way so let’s get that out of the way. The reality is that in the consumer space DJI rules, at least for the present, and this article is not even going to touch on the industrial use of drones. So I am going to stick to the available DJI models I think will fit each bill.

Brand New to Drones

As longer-term readers will know, I did a stint at my local Jaycar store on a part time basis during the pandemic’s first 2 years. Jaycar sell a drone, a DJI Mini knock off, and a lot of people bought these. Many thought that it would be comparable with the DJI offering – it looked the same albeit it being yellow – and if the purchaser was brand new to drones, often I didn’t discourage them.

Instead I explained how when you start out, you will at some point crash. These don’t have the control and avoidance smarts of the more expensive units and therefore it is better to drive an $89 drone into a tree or the ground and destroy it rather than one costing 10 times as much.

This way you’ll also find out if drone flying is for you. You can find these cheapies in a myriad of places, but I do suggest you NOT buy one over the ‘net from an overseas supplier.

From customer’s horror stories, a lot of these are plain rubbish, with the most common fault being the batteries fail very quickly and replacements are usually unavailable. At least with the Jaycar one (and others bought locally), you will get a statutory minimum 90-day warranty.


Let’s assume you have either a) had multiple crashes of a cheapie drone and decided you need one with better control or b) you have mastered the cheapie and now want to get serious.

What do you want to do with the drone?

Just enjoy flying, testing your skill through obstacles and take the occasional photo or video?

Practice flying with a view to maybe getting involved later with a proper racing drone and compete?

Use it to enhance your existing photography or video skills – in other words treat it as a flying camera?

In each of these scenarios, the DJI Mini 3, a relatively new model in the market should fit the bill without breaking the bank. Not too much anyway. Its predecessors, the Mini and Mini 2 were quite a bit less expensive than the Mini 3, but they didn’t have the same features or capabilities either.

For example, the Mini 3 is pretty crash proof as it has forwards, backwards and downwards sensors to avoid collisions. In the “smarts” areas when shooting video it has clever things such as camera tracking of objects and people / animals to automatically keep them in frame, time lapse features and “Mastershots”, presets for a number of specific drone movements.

Battery life is superb at around 30 minutes, and you can shoot in 4K at up to 60 frames per second allowing for cinematic and slo-mo video as well as the newer HDR specification if your TV supports that.

AT AUD$1119 it is as I said, not a cheapie by any stretch, but the Mini 3 is a very capable drone and ideal for those who want to explore just what a drone can offer.

Having said that, I do have a Mini 2 and love it. Its eminently portable, weighs under 250g and works with either an Android or iPhone. You’ll get a second hand Mini for perhaps AUD$300 and a Mini 2 for AUD$500 I am guessing, but neither of these have avoidance sensors.

There is another model available if you are on a really tight budget and that is the Mini SE. Using the same base body as the Mini 3, it is a lower spec version, close to the original Mini in fact. There are no avoidance sensors, video is only at 1080p HD, and maximum range is 4Km, but at AUD$459 it is a bargain.

An important point here is that your drone talks to your smartphone via an app. The DJI app is called DJI Fly, is fully featured as you’d expect, and you download it from the DJI website (do NOT download it from the Google Play Store. That version, at present, will not work).

There is a 3rd party app though called Litchi (yeah weird name and I don’t know why either) and it has more features than the DJI one and may suit you better once you have mastered the basics.

You may also see references to the Mini series of drones, being under 250g, as being OK to fly anywhere. That ruling is NOT a universal one and certainly not a get out of jail card. Some countries do have it, but not yet in Australia, not in any really meaningful way anyway.

Drone flying – no matter the size – is regulated here by CASA, the same body that overseas any aircraft flying in Australian airspace.

For a full list of does, don’ts, details on licencing requirements etc, start at https://www.casa.gov.au/drones/drone-rules.

Semi Professional

My personal drone of choice, and the one I use the most by far, is the DJI Air2S. At $1699 it is of course more expensive than the Mini 3 base unit, and physically it is a bigger drone.

My reason for this choice is simply, for me, it had better video and photography capability than my Mini or Mini 2 offered at the time.

It utilises a true 1” sensor allowing up to 5.4K video and the imagery from this camera is truly stunning. Of special mention is its accurate colour capturing technology.

When I ally the camera with a good set of ND filters, it makes for a brilliant camera / camcorder system allowing me to get shots that are otherwise impossible.

Of course it has collision avoidance detection and added to the ones on the Mini 3, an upward one so it is almost impossible to crash. The Mastershot system is built in as are the tracking facilities and it is brilliantly easy to fly.

I use mine in combination with a Lift Baldur tablet holder (as against using a phone) and a Lift Baldur sunhood meaning even in bright sunlight I can clearly see what the camera is “seeing”.

My Air2S is kept in a case in the boot of my car along with 3 batteries so if I see something interesting while driving around, I can quickly assemble it and get it in the air to record whatever it is for later use.

I get on average about 20 minutes of flight (the Air2S is rated to 34 minutes, but I err on the side of caution) which is more than enough for what I need.


If you are a filming professional and therefore want the best of the best, then the Mavic 3 is your go to drone I would suggest. Boasting a full-on Hasselblad camera with a 4/3rds sensor, you get 46 minutes of flight time, complete omnidirectional obstacle sensing, a 15Km transmission range that uses DJIs custom intelligent wireless system and high end tools such as recording to 10bit D-Log, 12.8 stops of dynamic range, adjustable aperture and more.

As you may guess, the Mavic 3 (and its bigger brother the Mavic 3 Cine) has been designed with photography and cinematography in mind. The Cine version adds Apple ProRes to its feature set as well as a zoom second camera thus upping the ante (and price mind you).

The Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine are AUD$2899 and AUD$7199 respectively.

Sheer Fun (and Nerves)

There is another option and that is the DJI FPV.

This model I would suggest has been designed Just For Fun.

Instead of using your smartphone or tablet as the primary viewing guide, it instead used goggles so you actually get a first person 150 degree view (FPV – get it?) of the drone’s actual view as its flying.

And while you can use the standard twin joystick type controller, an option is a motion controller that is a wireless joystick you hold and depending on your movement will dictate where and how the drone flies.

Whilst all these characteristics are similar to those found in dedicated racing drones, purists of that genre will scoff. Nonetheless, the FPV is a startling fast drone and in sports mode, you need nerves of steel to keep it from crashing (no avoidance sensors here folks when in sports mode).

It will record video and photos of your adventures (or crashes) for posterity up to 120 frames per second.

I have an FPV but only flown it on a few occasions. Serious pundits of the FPV suggest – quite vehemently – if you are serious about it, especially in sport mode, then it is very wise to get a hold of one of the simulator packages available to train yourself in this sort of flying.

From my brief flings with mine, I would suggest flying say the Mini 3 as compared to the FPV is characterized by driving to the local deli on a Sunday morning to get the milk as against careening down the main straight at Bathurst in a V8 Supercar with your glasses fogged up, brake pedal hard to the floor and doing nothing, and your pants on fire.

As I said, pure fun! (Oh there are “lesser” modes when you are learning. Whew!

You do get some advanced specialist features too such as emergency braking and hover, some fun things such as user activated custom LED lighting and changeable skins

The FPV is available for around $2100.

Fly More

The best value for money way to buy a DJI drone is by getting one of its “Fly More” combos. Extras vary but generally include external chargers, extra batteries, carry cases and so on. Another offering is DJI Care which also varies from drone to drone but is basically insurance if you crash or lose your drone. If this happens DJI will replace it for a small fee.


This is only my take on each of these drones in the DJI range of course. Others will no doubt disagree with me.

If you want to get more varied opinion, can I point you to some dedicated Facebook groups that specialise in this area.





or do a Facebook search of Groups for “DJI Drones” for an even bigger list.

Quick Tip: When you buy your drone, register it with CASA as soon as possible. That way, if challenged by one of the “Karen’s” of the world, you at least can show some legitimacy. Likewise if it is lost and someone finds out, they can trace you by the serial number.


Using a drone to get stills

Just a quickie folks.

Many people think the use of a drone such as the DJI Air2S I have (or say the Mini 2) is for mainly video.

Not true!

You can get some fantastic still images that would be impossible from a “normal” camera as you can see here… This is straight from the camera with no post at all.

Tutorial: Using ND Filters (especially with a DJI Air2S drone).

A majorly misunderstood item that is almost a must in every photographer and videographer’s kit is the ND, or Neutral Density filter.

If you have a camera such as the Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera, then there is an ND system built in, as it is in the Panasonic X1. But at the other end of the scale, if you have bought a DJI Air2S drone with the Fly More Combo kit, then there is a packet of ND filters supplied and each needs to be added to the camera lens as needed.

So when is an ND filter needed (or desirable)? What does an ND filter do anyway?


The image you get from a camera or camcorder – and this includes smartphones – is reliant on a number of factors to get it “correct”. These factors are primarily aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

As most will be aware, shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter is open to let light on to the image sensor (or film in the old days) and is usually measured in fractions of a second. For the sake of video, common shutter speeds are 1/50th and 1/60th.

As an aside, if you are also playing around with frame rates, your shutter speed should be set to twice the frame rate so, if for example, you are shooting at 25 frames a second, then your shutter speed should be 1/50th of a second. If you are using the “cinematic” option of 24 frames / second, then as most cameras cannot shoot at 1/48th, then still set it to 1/50th. Shooting at 29.97 frames a second, shoot at 1/60th.

Aperture is the setting for the AMOUNT of light reaching the image sensor and is measured in f stops. Annoyingly, the smaller the number, the wider open the aperture is so MORE light gets in. So f/2.8 will let a lot of light in and f/22 a minimal amount.

Aperture is also fundamental in controlling depth of field which is a whole different subject and I have a tutorial on that here.

Finally, ISO is a measure of how much reaction there will be to the amount of light getting in, and again, in the old days of film, was a consequence of the chemical makeup of the film. The higher the ISO number (called ASA back then) the more sensitive to light it was. As a rough rule of thumb, you would shoot in bright sunlight at between 100 – 200 ISO, under cloud at 400 ISO and increase ISO as it gets darker. We used to shoot rally cars in the forests at night using 1000ASA film.

The higher the ISO though, the grainier the image becomes and so you also need to balance your shutter speed against this. So, as another rule of thumb, in photography, as you increase the ISO, increase your shutter speed.

Right, so after all that, where does an ND filter fit in?

An ND filter’s sole role in life is to reduce the amount of light entering the lens.  This allows you to select combinations of aperture, exposure time and sensor sensitivity that would otherwise produce overexposed images.


Imagine you want to shoot waves breaking over rocks. This might need a shutter speed of 10 seconds to get the blurriness of the water you want, but of course, on a bright day using standard settings, this would result in a w-a-y over exposed image.

So enter the ND filter which reduces the intensity of the brightness without affecting colour hue. This then allows you to use longer shutter speeds in conjunction with aperture settings, allowing a large chunk of creativity to be used in how you take your shots!

A master of using a DJI drone in these circumstances is Jim Picôt who is based on the mid north coast of NSW and regularly publishes photos in the Facebook group DJI Owners Australia – No Sheriffs.

Have a squizz at his images to get an idea of the breadth of possibilities you’ll have.

ND filters are labelled according to their density and in multiples of 4. So an ND4 filter is not as dense (lets in more) than an ND 32 for example.

The filters supplied by DJI for my Air2S are in the range 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 and 512 and the built in ND filters on my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K has built in 2, 4 and 6 stop ND filters.

(If you want a really good deeper technical explanation on ND filters and f-stops etc, have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutral-density_filter by the way.


Like almost everything in video / photography, having the technical knowledge is no substitute for getting out there and experimenting to see what different settings do.

To this end, as I have said many times, take a small notebook with you and write down each shot and the settings used so that later, you can compare them in post-production and see what suits best (and therefore what settings to use in a particular circumstance).

If you are shooting in RAW, this also helps of course.

The attached samples are taken using my DJI Air2S at midday in bright summer sun over water. Note the difference – one without the ND filter and the second with a ND8 on it.














Flight testing; DJI Air2S drone. Mastershots and Quickshots.

I’ve had the DJI Air2S for a few months now and been very careful about learning its nuances and foibles. I do NOT want a repetition of my Hervey Bay incident with a GoPro Karma, that due to a misleading battery warning system is now at the bottom of Hervey Bay in QLD along with its GoPro 6 and footage of a whale shoot while out with the famed fly fisher and guide, John Haenke.

Consequently, even though I am here in Australind in WA, just north of Bunbury 200km south of Perth where we are almost surrounded by water, forays over the briny have been minimal, and the local dog park has been the go-to place to learn how to fly this wonder of electronics.

So far and so good. No crashes, clipping of trees or other nasties to date. In the process, I have now gained the “feel” of the flying and my only gripe (still) is that with your average smartphone or tablet acting as the viewfinder, the Australian sun just blasts everything into oblivion and you simply have to rely on physically watching the Air2S itself to see where you are and what direction you are heading.

It also makes it difficult to change settings in the DJI Fly app, especially camera settings, but in reality, you can hardly blame DJI for this. I hope to have this fixed sooner rather than later with my design for a sun shade-cum-controller-holder well on the way in Cinema 4D. My major dilemma here is that the Adventurer 3 3D printer I have won’t do the physical size prints I need to do it in one piece, so I am working out how best to fix that via modularising the model before printing.

This will be added to the Lifthor Baldur controller mount I purchased (and I HIGHLY recommend this for the Air2S.

I do have a sunshade for my Samsung A71 phone, but that is out on loan at the moment with my younger brother who is evaluating my DJI Mini 2 with a view to purchase.

But back to the Air2S proper.

In my learning process so far, I now have the hang of the basic controls and the Mastershots Quickshots functions. If you are not aware, Quickshots are pre-programmed actions in the Air2S such as Dronie (the Air2S flies backwards whilst ascending and keeping the camera fixed on the pre-selected subject), Circle (the drone continues to circle a pre-selected object and Rocket (the drone lifts off vertically with the camera pointing straight down). There are another 3 Quickshots – Asteroid, Helix and Boomerang.

Another Mastershot variation is that of Hyperlapse. An example here is Circle whereby the drone flies around a circle with a selected object at the centre and takes photos to create a timelapse video. The interval, duration and speed can all be set by the pilot as well as the direction.

Other Hyperlapse options include Waypoints, Free and Course Lock.

The easiest option and the one I played with yesterday is called Focus Track and its accuracy blew me away.

In simple terms, you take off and let the Air2S hover at around 2 metres. There are 3 possibilities available, Spotlight, Active Track and POI.

In my case I simply drew a square around my image on the screen of my Samsung A71 in the DJI Fly app and instantly the Air2S recognised I was “the subject”.

From that moment onwards, no matter where I went, as long as it could follow it did. Up the street, around the cul-de-sac, back down the street, left into my driveway, walk around in a circle, dodge a tree and then back up the street again and the Air2S faithfully re-oriented itself via direction and height to make sure I was always at the centre of the video being recorded.

It eerily reminded me of the robot in Arthur C Clarke’s “City and The Stars” that followed at the Master’s shoulder no matter what!

Even at different heights, that 4K camera kept its eye on me, and the capability from a technical point of view is very impressive as you can see from the video. Notice in particular the drone’s avoidance of the tree branches as it keeps a safe distance and instantly re-orients itself.

So, this has been a major learning step – and a fun one to boot. My next attempt all being equal, as part of my Fitting Out A Boat For Video Shooting, is to get the Air2S to follow boat at slow speed, and then use the different Mastershot modes to get various types of footage. And of course trust that all goes according to plan, no batteries fail and after the flight, I can safely get the Air2S back on board without incident.

Along with the footage!

My trust is boosted by the fact that in over 2 years of playing with DJI drones (and other products from them such as the OSMO phone gimbal, RONIN dSLR gimbals, not to mention the RoboMaster EP Core robot, I have never had a failure).

And this is not a blatant advertising plug I promise. Simple fact.

“Just Send It”. Well, no not really, there are things to check with your drone first. And here they are…

The term “just send it” may not be familiar to all, but to those who have more than a passing interest in drone flying, it has a well-established meaning – that of “hang the consequences, just go and fly the thing no matter where or what the rules may be”.

Whilst on the surface, the consequences may not appear the same as say, someone who utterly ignores the speed limit and travels down the Hume Highway at 160kph. But what if they did the same thing in a school zone at 8:00am?

Most drone pilots I know fly well within the limits of the law as it stands, but many I come across on a day-today basis who are either contemplating buying a drone or have had one for a short period of time, are often unaware of the rules as put out by CASA, the Australian Air regulation body that looks after ALL air space in this country.

Before I go into a generalisation of what those rules are, if you think you don’t care about the rules as you have “your rights” (and there is an entire article or podcast just in THAT one phrase I may do later), just consider these examples – both very real.


A friend is a firefighter and SES on a volunteer basis and was telling me just today that during a particularly nasty bushfire where heli-tankers and water bombers were not just used but very badly needed to save life and property, someone sent up a drone to try and get some mid-air footage of the mayhem below.

Just imagine the damage that would occur if a helicopter collided with a drone and it got caught up in a rotor. Or a water bomber sucked one into an engine?

Consequently ALL the aircraft aiming to contain this bushfire had to be grounded until the drone was intercepted or it landed.

I hate to think what fate befell the idiot at the control as they would have certainly caught him. I just hope for his sake a copper did before any firie or ambo…


Another example or rank stupidity that this time cost serious money and inconvenienced tens of thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands – occurred during a televised motor race in Queensland, Australia I believe.

A spectator at the event decided to “just send it” to try and emulate the footage shown in the official TV broadcast.

(Photo below courtesy Ross Gibb Photography)












The result was that the actual choppers carrying the cameras to capture the action for the host station had to land immediately, and I understand also as the incident occurred in a commercial flight path there were other consequences as well.

Check CASA

So what are the rules. Well the exact listing can be found at the CASA website and will differ if you are flying for fun or flying what is deemed as “commercially.”

Check out https://www.casa.gov.au/drones for all the info.

10 Steps to Safe and Fun Flying

But let’s also look at the plain old common sense aspects of flying a drone.

In order to make it as safe and enjoyable as possible, here are the things to consider and put into action.

  1. It might seem the bleeding obvious, but start before you have even turned on the drone for the first time – perhaps whilst charging the batteries / controller – and Read The Bloody Manual! Become utterly familiar with the drone controls, and pre-flight procedures it requires and safety measures it has in place such as restriction of certain flight aspects until you are familiar with them.

    A biggie is the Return to Home facility. Whilst my drones from DJI have this function built in, allowing me to simply press a button to get the drone to return in a “Safe Mode” to the place it took off from, DJI also has an automatic procedure that resets this Home point every time I fly making sure Home is Home at that time, and not a previous flight which could have been anywhere.

    There is a famous (anecdotal) story of a very, very expensive surf rescue drone that when being unveiled and shown to the press and dignitaries was purposely sent out of range to demonstrate it’s Return to Home smarts. Sadly, someone had forgotten to re-program it for the latest flight – or ever – and so it indeed decide to return home. Glasgow in Scotland apparently, never to be found again.

  2. If you have access to an online simulator, much flying skill can be learned from spending as much time as possible on it. There are quite a few around, and for DJI drones the company has its own which sadly is only available for iOS devices. But there are many more such as Liftoff, Drone Racing League and so on if you do a Google search.

  3. Better drones have built in obstacle avoidance via very clever infra-red and other sensing systems. But don’t think these are the be-all and end-all and will make you immune to crashing. Especially at high speed, stuff like telephone lines and rope whilst they might be spotted by those clever-clogs sensors, your sheer velocity might preclude avoidance and then it will get, well, messy.

  4. I did some investigations after a particularly harrowing incident whilst flying a drone watching some kids at a skate park do tricks (where I was accused of everything you can possibly think of by one parent, whereas the majority were quite happy and actually wanted some footage of their little darlings). It turns out – and this was according to the QLD Police – it is not an offence to photograph or video anyone in public. When it becomes a matter the Plod are interested in, is what you potentially DO with that footage. See the difference?

    So whilst you can video or take stills of people, be aware that some will object and cause a fuss. This is one reason I guess why CASA say not to fly over crowds. Another is safety. If something does go wrong, a kilo of whirling props landing in the middle of a bunch of people could make a bit of a mess. I have a scar on my arm to prove this…

    So keep away from groups of people and fly in open areas.

  5. Better drones allow calibration of many of their aspects such as the GPS, internal compass and so on. It’s smart to get into the habit of performing a pre-flight check of all these things before taking off. Also double check the props are still installed correctly and secure, and the battery(s) are fully charged in the controller and drone. Oh, and if your drone has one, don’t forget to remove the gimbal / camera protector!!

  6. It is tempting once you have done all the pre-flight checks, made sure there are no crowds, weather conditions are OK etc to simply take off and go for it. I learnt this is NOT a good idea many years ago with a boat (yes true, a boat). When my two brothers and I bought our first boat in 1976, a second hand 5 metre half cabin cruiser, we took it to the Deepwater Point launch ramp on the Swan River in Perth, dropped it off the trailer into the briny, parked the car, climbed aboard, pushed her off and tried to start her.

    No dice. Flat batteries, so we were ignominiously towed ashore to retire back home with tail between legs much to the amusement and merriment of our fellow boaties. The next day with new batteries, we tried again, only to – again – be towed ashore as the hydraulic leg had no fluid in it so wouldn’t go down.

    At the third attempt, we forgot to put the bungs in.

    So at the 4th, we had learnt.

    a) launch the boat
    b) beach the boat
    c) check the bungs
    d) test the leg
    e) start the engine

    So it is with your drone; after the initial pre-flight checks, launch the drone and get it into the air at say 2 metres and let it hover for 30 secs or so and go over all the checks again just to make sure. It is a wise ½ minute investment in time from my experience.

  7. If your drone needs an SD card to store any photos or videos, check it is a) installed b) has sufficient space for this flight’s recordings and c) is formatted correctly. SD cards greater than 32GB NEED to be formatted as ex-FAT to take advantage of all the space available on the card and the write speed of the card. And when you have finished flying, don’t forget to transfer the footage to an external hard disk I recommend a WD My Passport Wireless SSD drive.

  8. Practice, practice and practice. Take small steps, learn each of the functions available to you one by one until you have them down almost automatically. Once you have one sorted – say Quickshots on a DJI Air2S or Mini 2 – then learn the next one eg Hyperlapse or Panorama.

  9. Do not, if at all possible, fly backwards. Driving in reverse on a racetrack is an almost guaranteed disqualification and so should reverse drone flying. You cannot see what is in front of you and most drones do NOT have reversing sensors!

  10. Above all have fun and stay safe. Keep away from obstacles such as power lines, TV towers, mobile phone towers and so on, and take the stepping stones to being a good pilot slowly. You’ll be better for it in the long run.

If you want a good read on these subjects in more depth, have a look at https://store.dji.com/guides/how-to-fly-a-drone/ – I highly recommend it for beginners.