Another New Budget Drone From DJI

DJI has released yet another drone, this time a cut down version of the Mini 3 Pro.

So, what do you get for your AUD$829?

Well, you get the base Mini 3 drone and the standard controller. The Mini 3 weighs in under the magical (and somewhat mythical in Australia *) 249 grams and impressive is DJI rating the Mini 3 at being operable in winds up to 38kph, which is right up there with the bigger and heavier (595g) Air2S I own.

If you run the standard battery, you’ll get around 38 minutes of flying time, but the “Intelligent Flight Battery Plus” is said to boost that to 51 minutes.

The Mini 3’s camera has a 1 1/3” CMOS sensor with dual native ISO and chip level HDR technology – which basically means better and more accurate imaging no matter the light levels. There is also a 4X zoom built in.

If you are heavily into social media imagery, you’ll also be pleased to know the Mini 3 can shoot horizontally and vertically by the way. This has been achieved by clever gimbal technology apparently.

The usual Quickshots – Dronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket and Boomerang are all there and the Quick Transfer system allows you to send the results of your shoot to your smartphone or tablet for saving and sharing.

The digital video range is 10km – a bit of a moot point in Australia if you stay within CASA regs and restrain from flying out of visual range.

What don’t you get?

Importantly, especially for the beginner, the only sensor on the Mini 3 is the downward facing one, used for landing. So, trees and the like, if they get in the way, will win every time. Because of this I very much suggest if you decide to get a Mini 3, get the prop guard system with it. At least you’ll have a modicum of protection, although in a full speed wallop, I wouldn’t be holding my breath.

For that, also recommend the DJI Care system in the early stages at least too. This way if something does go awry, at least you get a replacement for a minimal cost.

In short, the improvements over the Mini 2 are primarily imaging based and a better flying time due to improved battery technology.

If you spend a further $190, you can also get the upgraded remote controller, the DJI RC-N1 which gives you an-controller screen which I also recommend, instead of using a smartphone or tablet.

Or if you upgrade to the Mini 3 Fly More combo (AUD1378), you get the drone, standard controller, 3 Intelligent Flight batteries, charging hub, shoulder bag, spare props and other goodies.

For more info, see https://www.dji.com/au/mini-3

 

Review: Zhiyun Smooth5 S Smartphone Gimbal

If the speed with which DJI and Zhiyun release gimbals, there must be money to be made!

The latest to enter the Auscam Castle is the Zhiyun Smooth5 S, a gimbal designed specifically for smartphones.

As is the norm these days from companies such as Zhiyun, DJI, Hollyland and others, the packaging is almost a work of art in itself. In the box you get a black carry bag with an external pocket and a series of inside netted pockets for bits and bobs you might want to carry.

You get the main body of the gimbal, a screw in tripod, a magnetic light and coloured filters, USB cable that is branded Zhiyun so you can easily identify it as “special” USB-C for charging and connectivity purposes (I wish more vendors did this) a multi-language manual and a quick reference card.

I recommend a read of the manual and the quick reference manual as there are a couple of potential gotchas, especially if you are used to earlier Zhiyun gimbals or indeed, DJI ones.

As is the norm, you need to charge the Smooth5 S before it can be used and herein lies the first catch if you haven’t studied the manual and especially the schematic of the gimbal.

To charge, the first thing you need to do of course is plug the USB-C cable into the USB-C port and the other end into a suitable charger (none is supplied) right?

Well yes, but after an hour, nothing had happened, no lights came on and I was starting to think maybe I had a dud unit or cable, or for some inexplicable reason, my charger had suddenly failed. By a process of elimination, I discovered the culprit was the gimbal, so decided looking up any sort of trouble-shooter might be wise.

And .. lo and behold there are TWO USB-C ports, the second being on the main trunk of the gimbal and tucked away under a rubber flap, whereas the one I was using was on the main arm and open. Reading the schematic, this is supplied as a mobile phone charging port. In other words, you can keep the phone in the gimbal charged from the gimbal’s battery which is a very neat idea indeed..

Now that I had that sorted, another minor annoyance was the LCD panel which doubles as a mode indicator and a battery indicator. It is tiny, very tiny and set on the left side of the gimbal on the main control panel (each side of the squarish body has controls / ports of some description).

According to the manual, a single press of the power button will show the battery level with a series of dots. It doesn’t, it shows the abbreviations for each of the 5 modes, each abbreviation being a 20% battery level.

The specs state charging time is a maximum of 3 hours and 20 minutes is needed, so after that, I placed my Samsung A71 into the clamp on the arm and started to have a play.

This clamp has a two-way position – vertical or horizontal and a single balancing slide. Once the mount / smartphone is in the desired position, you undo a tightening knob and slide the arm up or down until the phone is perfectly balanced.

By the way, it is recommended not to power on the gimbal without a phone in place, something I have not seen before.

To get the best out of the Smooth5 S / phone combo, of course there is an app, called ZY Cami. When this is installed and activated, you are prompted to connect the Smooth5 S to your phone via Bluetooth; mine simply refused to find the A71 – or more correctly, vice versa. Which was odd as in the phone setting it COULD see the gimbal, so I bit the bullet and manually paired the two.

Back in the app, I was informed there was a firmware upgrade which is pretty normal. It downloaded OK but refused to install despite many attempts.

This was getting frustrating I have to say.

At this point you might think it is time to start slinging off at Zhiyun for releasing a product and app not yet ready for market.

And you’d be wrong.

You see, if I had thought to have a look at the compatibility table, I’d have seen the Samsung A71 is not compatible, and this would have saved me a number of hours of cursing and swearing.

So, rule of thumb, before buying anything electronic / gadgetry these days that requites a host and OS of any description, always check the compatibility list!

To rescue this review, odd as it may seem, an olde Huawei P30 I have IS compatible, so I dug that up out of its hibernation hole and charged it up.

Take 2

The Zhiyun Smooth5 S is a gunmetal grey in colour with a rubberised handgrip that gives a feeling of security. As mentioned, there are controls and ports on every side. What would be called the rear when holding it, and the smartphone facing forward  is the main panel I mentioned earlier. This contains a Menu button, light switch inside a rotary dial, a mode button, shutter release / record button and a joystick. Above all these are the teeny, tiny LED screen.

The joystick is graduated; that is, the harder you push it, the faster the camera will fact to the direction it is being sent.

The shutter button’s responsibility is pretty obvious. In photo mode it takes a photo and in video mode it starts and stops a recording. However, if you press and hold it, the camera will switch between the front and back cameras. This can only work though if you have yet to start recording.

The mode button is used to switch between the different gimbal modes, and effectively changes which axes are locked thus making the gimbal perform in a specific way. Rather than rehash old ground, I did a story on the various gimbal modes and their uses some time back and you can read that here.

The light button in the centre of the ring is used to turn on or off the external fill light. Simply press and hold for 2 seconds to activate the light.

Unlike the DJI Osmo 6 fill light which is an optional AUD$79 extra, the Zhiyun Smooth5 S comes with an add-on light that connects magnetically to the top of the gimbal. Four different coloured lenses are supplied – Red, Blue, Yellow and Orange, and these too snap magnetically on to the light.

To change the brightness, you can turn the dial clockwise and to decrease it, anticlockwise.

When the light is on, the rotary dial has a secondary purpose too. Depending on where you double press it (top, sides, bottom), it will let you change the frame rate, ISO, display the playback menu or finally, display all the technical settings information on screen.

If the light is off, these operations change. Now you use this same double press system on the left and right to change camera modes or open the main menu to change camera mode and / or gimbal mode.

You can also perform all of these actions on screen in the ZY Cami app on the smartphone. Additionally, there is a gesture control system to tell the camera to start or stop recording by holding up your hand or giving the two finger “V” salute.

Going around the base clockwise, the large rotary wheel has two functions; the default is that of a zoom control, and the faster you turn it, the faster it will zoom in (or out of course). The button in the centre changes the operation to become a focus wheel and again, the speed of the rotation will change the speed of the focussing.

On the front of the gimbal are the aforementioned USB-C slot for charging, a switch to lock the rotation of the gimbal for transportation and a small trigger. If you press the trigger once, it enables smart tracking with the app attempting to identify what’s in the centre of the frame to track.

This is where having the grid turned on assists. Similar to the DJI system, you can also draw a rectangle around the subject, and this will also enable smart tracking. Doing it this way means the object you wish to track does not need to be centred in the screen. Pressing the trigger once again will cancel tracking as will clicking the ‘X’ on the screen around any tracked object.

A double press of the trigger will re-centre the camera and a triple press will “flip” the camera to selfie mode or back again if already in that mode.

Finally, pressing and holding the trigger will enter Sport mode enabling the gimbal to react faster to your movements.

Finally, we have the last side, which has the on / off switch and a programmable function button which is currently disabled in the ZY Cami app.

In Operation

A major test of any gimbal to me is it’s measure of comfort to use. Being right-handed and having a banged up wrist due to a carpal tunnel op that didn’t quite work a few years back, this is somewhat important to me, especially in extended use.

The Zhiyun Smooth5 S comes through that test with flying colours. As I mentioned at the start, the handpiece is easy to grip, well sculpted and the ergonomics of reaching the controls on the main panel are straightforward.  Even the operation of zoom and focus can still be done with one hand as this wheel falls tight under the thumb.

There are a lot of modes / commands to remember, but this applies equally to any gimbal – or any camera for that matter – and like anything, practice makes perfect.

It is a worthy competitor to the DJI OSMO 6 it seems, but I will be putting the two side by side in a forthcoming shootout. I am especially curious as to how the tracking systems compare.

At $299 it is more expensive, but if you add the fill light factor in, becomes slightly cheaper than the Osmo 6. It is certainly as fully featured – and you get a better carry case to boot.

The caveat here of course is to make sure your smartphone is on the supported list; the Osmo 6 does support a lot more makes and models. Hopefully for Zhiyun fans, the company will add to the list sooner rather than later, especially widening the Samsung options.

You can get more information on the Zhiyun Smooth5 S from their website.

Review: Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm… and magnets. I talk about magnets.

Cast your mind back to primary school. Remember the first time you saw a strange horseshoe shaped piece of red metal that was grey at the ends? And then your teacher – Mr Phillips or Miss Smith or Mrs Ellicot – threw some metal filings on to a piece of card paper, placed the horseshoe object underneath and lo! Wonderous patterns suddenly appeared.

Of course, you and your classmates all gasped!  It was magic! How could this be?

We now know this is called “magnetism”, and even if we don’t know WHY it does what it does, we at least understand what is happening.

A few companies in the film and video making biz have successfully incorporated the properties of magnetism into their products, with to me, the most notable being DJI which is using it very successfully as an “attachment” medium; that is using magnetism to connect two or more devices together. The Action 2 used it extensively.

SmallRig also uses it to cleverly attach Allen keys to its rigs, so you don’t need to go hunting for one to assemble or dismantle or even remove a camera from the rig Zhiyun has done the same thing with a screwdriver on some of its gimbals.

Which leads me neatly onto the Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm.

I reviewed the Elgato Multi-Mount system back in July last year. This is a series of articulated arms attached to an upright with a clamp at the end to attach it to a desk or benchtop. The cleverness is the adaptability at the end to being to connect a mic holder of various types, tablet holders or even cameras as well as the option to add further different length reticulated arms.

Conversely, the Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm, whilst having standard ¼” thread at the end – and is supplied with a pair of adaptors for different sizes (¼ ” – 5/8” and ¼” to 3/8”) – it is primarily designed for microphones as the name suggests.

Again, there is a standard bench clamp – more on that in a second – and the Low Profile Mic Arm slides onto a vertical spigot allowing full 360° rotation. It has to be said this was a very tight fit and needed a bit of bash file persuasion to nub down correctly, but thankfully, was easily again removable for transportation to somewhere else.

A clever feature of the clamp is a button on the windy handle thing (called a ratchet apparently) that allows you reposition it after tightening so that it isn’t jammed up hard against something or otherwise difficult to get to.

The horizontal arm that extends from this has a joint halfway along allowing 180° rotation in the horizontal plane in the vertical axis will go from full vertical (90°) to 60° below the horizontal giving lots of flexibility.

As mentioned, on the end of this is a standard ¼” thread on a ball joint that has a range of 90° (vertical) to -90° (straight down).

It is thus relatively easy to set this up so that the mic is at head height no matter you are sitting or standing. I used the Elgato Wave:3 that uses a USB-C connector without issue.

So where does the “magnetism” thing come in you ask?

One of the banes of anyone involved in audio and video is cable management. We are all familiar with the site of extra cable being wound around the boom and mic stand, I am sure! What Elgato has cleverly done is create compartments in the two arms of the Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm in which the cable can be fed and thus kept out of sight.

Access to these compartments is via a pair of magnetically attached “lids” covering the top of the arm. Simply lift this off, run the cable through and pop it back on again.

Very nice and well thought out.

The Elgato Low Profile Mic Arm can be bought for around $150 – a bit less if you shop around. You can get more information from the Elgato website.

 

 

 

 

 

Review: DJI Osmo 6 Mobile

The obvious first question to ask is “what is the difference between the older DJI Osmo 5 Mobile gimbal and the new Osmo 6 unit?

There are two major areas that have been updated, and the first is the physical controls have been updated to make using the Osmo 6 easier.

The most obvious is the replacing of the original zoom slider with a much more sensible and flexible rotary control wheel. This has made it much simpler to zoom and focus in much smaller increments to aid in fine tuning. When you are in manual focus mode, you can also use this control to set the focus distance if your camera in the smartphone supports that of course.

Totally new – and in my opinion very overdue – is a small LED status panel detailing information on battery level, the mode you are currently in and the status of the gimbal itself. For example, if the magnetic clamp that DJI use to attach the phone to the gimbal is not securely in place and locked in, an LED will glow red in addition to a warning on the screen from the DJI MIMO app.

Also changed, and albeit a cosmetic change, is the Osmo 6 mobile’s colour. The Osmo 5 had two colours available, a grey and a white, but now you can only get in “Slate Grey” which DJI says is “designed to fit in with the rest of your creative toolkit”. How that works is – well your guess is as good as mine.

One small bugbear with Osmos was the wait for the startup period. But wait no longer. As soon as the arm is unlocked and snapped into position, full power is on and the Osmo 6 is ready to go. The magnetic phone clamp certainly aids in the speed with which you can start shooting as against other gimbals where it has to be secured.

Speaking of the phone clamp, DJI also sent me a second phone clamp, which unlike the one in the box with the Osmo 6, has a pair of high intensity LEDs for lighting in darker conditions. It’s pretty much a given that will stay as the primary mount in my case.

On the software / firmware side of things, the Active Track system has been given a makeover, and at version 5, is more capable than ever. It is now optimised to detect faces and can even track subjects if they go out of frame, for example walk behind a tree. If this happens it will re-track and search for the subject which is pretty cool. It will also lock on to specific hand gestures such as an open hand or the “V” victory gesture (two finger solute). This makes is useful for say, self tracking if the gimbal is on its tripod and you are the subject.

Everything else, such as Intelligent Shooting modes like Timelapse and Dynamic Zoom, are all still there. DJI says it has increased the compatibility with smartphones with the range supported now larger than ever.

In Operation

Initially, my play with the Osmo 6 drove me nuts. It wasn’t an Osmo 6 error per se, more a Samsung A71 quirk, as for some reason until I completely rebooted the phone, it would turn the image upside down. Thinking at first I had it on the magnetic mount the wrong way, I flicked the phone over, replaced it, and it STILL turned upside down.

I have no idea why.

Once that was sorted, as is somewhat obligatory with DJI products and their companion apps, a firmware upgrade was needed and of course you need to register with DJI. The unit was not fully charged so I decided to also do that before any testing; DJI says you should use the USB-C cable that is supplied with the kit.

A lot of people, especially on Facebook I notice, have issues with charging and of course not all USB-C cables are equal thus muddying the eaters. I have taken to labelling each USB-C cable I get with a device these days and try and keep them paired for this reason.

Once I was at the starting line, the Osmo 6 is a dream to use. One tip I find is to write down on a sticky note or similar, the commands that each physical control performs. Writing them down does allow you remember them easier later is my experience, and anyway, if you do this in a phone app (I use Microsoft OneNote), they are always close at hand if you forget.

Examples are the four types of Gimbal modes (FPV, Follow, Tiltlock etc) and how to invoke them, and the different operations of the trigger.

The Osmo 6 is nicely balanced, and the extendable arm increases your range of shooting options in terms of creativity, as does the detachable tripod. It is a fraction heavier than its predecessor, but even with my bunged wrist (from a carpal tunnel operation 3 years back), it was not difficult to use for a reasonable extended period.

The addition of the magnetic clamp / light combo adds to the flexibility, and I highly recommend adding that to the kit. If you are serious about your audio, I also recommend adding the DJI mic system (which I reviewed here).

Conclusion

The DJI Osmo 6 Mobile is available from DJI’s own online store for AUD$239 which I think is a bargain. The magnetic clamp / light is a further AUD$79 (although one retailer bizarrely has it listed at $237!)

I am of the opinion that anbyone who is serious about video or photography, regardless of the actual camera type used, should have a gimbal at their disposal. It dsimply allows you to raise the bat on what you shoot and how you can shoot it.

The DJI Osmo 6 Mobile fits the bill for smartphoines admirably. Like all DJI products (in my experience) it is beautifully built and works well. Recommended.

Having said that, I am looking forward in the very near future too pitting it against the new Zhiyun Smooth5 which I hope to have late next week.

Sample Footage

 

 

 

DJI Introduces The O3 Air Unit

The O3 Air Unit a compact is a lightweight FPV camera and transmission module system that delivers an robust and reliable image to empower users to reach new heights of their immersive flight. A 1/1.7-inch sensor delivers up to 4K/60fps video with a 155° super-wide FOV, all while delivering a 1080p/100fps live feed from up to 10 km away with latency as low as 30 ms. With these features and more, the DJI O3 Air Unit is the perfect addition to a high-performance FPV experience.

Flagship Video Transmission

The backbone of any FPV system is transmission, which is why the O3 Air Unit comes with DJI’s premier O3+ system. 2T2R omnidirectional antennas built into the air unit deliver 1080p/100fps

H.265 Video Transmission at a max bitrate of 50 Mbps. [[1]] To help ease users during flight, video transmission covers up to 10 km while providing latency as low as 30 ms. [[2]] When it senses a crowded signal environment, the O3 Air Unit automatically selects the best signal frequency and uses anti-interference technologies to keep a strong connection to its pilot. [[3]]

When it senses a crowded signal environment, the O3 Air Unit automatically selects the best signal frequency band and uses anti-interference technologies to keep a strong connection to its pilot.

Content-Ready Image Quality

The O3 Air Unit was made just to let users experience and capture flight like never before. The camera module houses a 1/1.7-inch sensor that shoots up to 4K/60fps video at a 155° super-wide FOV. [[4]] Video can be shot in D-Cinelike color mode, allowing for stunning visual results after color grading and post-processing. The camera is also compatible with the DJI Avata ND filter set to ensure ideal recording in all lighting conditions. [[5]]

Customizable and Compatible

DJI understands that FPV enthusiasts have unique preferences when it comes to an immersive experience, so the O3 Air Unit was developed accordingly. Canvas mode allows for customization of the on-screen display, ensuring pilots see the OSD display that’s right for them. For more options in viewing and control, the Air Unit is compatible with DJI Goggles 2, DJI FPV Goggles V2, and DJI FPV Remote Controller 2. [[6]]

Awaken with DJI Goggles 2

After its debut in the DJI Avata Pro-View Combo, DJI Goggles 2 is now available in a standalone version. It takes advantage of DJI O3+ transmission for latency as low as 30 ms, delivering a crisp 1080p display through its Micro-OLED screens. Its top-tier performance is complemented by soft, replaceable foam padding that reduces light leakage and SyncSmooth technology for a more fluid live feed that reduces visual fatigue. Built-in diopters are adjustable from +2.0 to -8.0 to let users who wear corrective lenses fly glasses-free.DJI Goggles 2 is compatible with the DJI O3 Air Unit, DJI Avata, and DJI FPV Remote Controller 2.

Additional Features

  • Ultra-low latency video transmission at speeds shorter than 28 ms. [[7]]
  • Transmission fluency via flagship algorithm that enhances live footage smoothness and minimal latency.
  • 48-megapixel sensor for superior, high-definition images.
  • f/2.8 aperture for excellent depth of field.
  • 2.7K/120fps slow motion video for dramatic edits. [[8]]
  • Lightweight and compact like its predecessor, the DJI Digital FPV System, for easy installation.
  • RockSteady support to create even smoother footage.
  • Open IMU data enables convenient post-editing and stabilization.
  • Card Reader mode via USB connection for quick file reading.
  • 20GB of built-in storage in the transmission module.

Price and Availability

The DJI O3 Air Unit is available today from store.dji.com and most authorized FPV retailers for USD $229 and includes the Camera Module, Transmission Module, Antenna, and 3-in-1 cable.

DJI Goggles 2 is also available today from store.dji.com for USD $649 and includes Goggles 2, battery, eyeglass frames, screen protector, headband, power cable, dual-band antenna, and OTG cable.

For more information on all the new features, accessories, and capabilities, please visit www.dji.com/au/o3-air-unit and www.dji.com/au/goggles-2.

Installation Guide

For easy installation and support of common issues, we have provided the DJI O3 Air Unit Installation Guide online for your reference.

[1] Measured while using DJI Goggles 2 and tested in an outdoor open environment free of interference, FCC-compliant.

[2] Tested in an outdoor open environment free of interference. Video transmission latency data varies with different goggles. With DJI Goggles 2 at 1080p/100fps video transmission quality, the lowest video transmission latency is 30 ms. With DJI FPV Goggles V2 at 810p/120fps video transmission quality, video transmission latency is less than 28 ms.

[3] The 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz frequency bands are supported for receiving; however only the 5.8 GHz frequency band is supported for transmitting. Some countries or regions do not support 5.8 GHz. Please check, confirm, and strictly abide by local laws and regulations before use.

[4] The 155° FOV is only available when the aspect ratio is 4:3 and the video recording specification is 2.7K@50/60fps or 1080p@50fps/60fps; or when the aspect ratio is 16:9 and the video recording specification is 4K@50/60fps, 2.7K@50/60fps, or 1080p@50/60fps. 4K/60fps videos do not support the aspect ratio of 4:3 and only support that of 16:9.

[5] Sold separately.

[6] Compatible products sold separately.

[7] <28 ms latency measured when using DJI FPV Goggles V2.

[8] Wth DJI FPV Goggles V2.

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

DJI Air2S

Weight

894g

595g

Sensor

4/3 CMOS Hasselblad

1” CMOS

Aperture

f/2.8 – f/11

f/2.8

Megapixels

20MP

20MP

Video

5.1K / 50fps 4K /120fps

5.4K /30fps 4K /60fps

Battery Life

46mins

31mins

Range

Up 15Km with 1080p/ 60fps live feed

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

Obstacle Sensing

Omnidirectional

Forward, Backward, Upward, Downward

Controller

DJI-RC with 5.5” built in screen

Standard controller, no screen (uses phone or tablet)

Price

AUD$2599 with DJI-RC

AUD$2399 with standard controller

AUD$1699

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.

More Information: DJI Mavic 3 Classic

We got some more more info from DJI this afternoon. Here it is … (slightly edited)


DJI says the world’s best camera drone is now more accessible with the Mavic 3 Classic, giving creators a new way to experience the unparalleled Hasselblad camera and unbeatable flight performance of the Mavic 3 Series. Mavic 3 Classic features the same 4/3 CMOS 20-megapixel camera, 46-minute maximum flight time, and O3+ transmission system as the original Mavic 3 drone, without an additional telephoto lens. Mavic 3 Classic is compatible with existing DJI RC Pro, DJI RC, and DJI RC-N1 to put premium performance in a more affordable package, making it easy for drone creators to move up to the best flying camera on the market.

“The Mavic 3 series has always set the standard for what a drone can do, from the original Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine that transformed aerial photography and cinematography, through the Mavic 3 Enterprise and Mavic 3 Thermal platforms for professional work,” said Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director at DJI. “Now, DJI is moving forward to give more creators access to the photographic excellence and operational reliability that are the hallmarks of the Mavic 3 Series. With the launch of Mavic 3 Classic, we hope to see even more creators putting our top-of-the-line tools to work and pushing their creativity past their old limits.”

The Best Camera for Your Best Content

With the launch of Mavic 3 Classic, more creators will have full access to the wide possibilities afforded by the Mavic 3 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera. For video work, the camera captures up to 5.1K/50 fps, 4K/60 fps and 1080p/60fps using H.264 and H.265 encoders. In slow-motion applications, Mavic 3 Classic captures video at  4K/120fps and 1080p/200fps. Its 24mm equivalent focal length lens opens to an adjustable aperture spanning f/2.8 to f/11 for 12.8 stops of native dynamic range. When light hits the 20-megapixel sensor, it is processed in 12-bit RAW for photography and 10-bit D-Log for video, making the camera up to the challenge of accurately conveying the vivid colors, peak highlights, and detail-rich shadows of our world.

Because the Mavic 3 Classic camera is based on Hasselblad’s groundbreaking research and development, it is designed to capture true-to-life details matching what the human eye perceives. The Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution directly outputs photos and videos with genuine and accurate colors, and its HLG system for high dynamic range photography generates footage that does not require color tuning in post-production. Even in low-light scenarios such as sunrises and sunsets, a night shot video mode reduces visual noise to allow cleaner shots.

Intelligent in the Air and on Your Screen

Capturing the world’s images accurately is just the beginning of the creative process. Mavic 3 Classic is engineered to put the power of DJI’s flight technology at the service of every creator in a simple and easy-to-use interface that functions smoothly right out of the box, is customizable for the most precise control, and easily outputs images and videos for sharing, editing, and post-production.

Creators who have honed their skills on earlier versions of DJI’s drones will find themselves free to fly for up to 46 minutes with Mavic 3 Classic, which uses the same batteries as the rest of the Mavic 3 Series. The O3+ transmission system for flight control and video can display stellar 1080p/60fps video at a range of up to 15 kilometers (9.3 miles). Transmission distance is a proxy for signal strength, and Mavic 3 Classic should always be flown within the pilot’s line of sight.

From the first moments in the air, Mavic 3 Classic’s array of intelligent algorithms can begin tracking subjects, framing images and automatically moving the camera in cinematic flight patterns. The ActiveTrack 5.0 system uses multiple vision sensors to recognize subjects, lock them in frame, and move the drone and camera in concert to create professional-quality videos. With MasterShots, both shooting and editing functions are automated to make the creative process simple and effective even for new pilots still developing their personal visual language in the air.

Mavic 3 Classic features the automated QuickShots shooting modes that DJI pilots have come to love, as well as continued support for timelapse, hyperlapse, and panorama shooting styles. The new Cruise Control feature allows pilots to set a constant flight speed for their drone, allowing them to focus on the imagery while minimizing any camera shake from manual speed control.

Once Mavic 3 Classic is back on the ground, turning raw imagery into classic content is easier than ever. The High-Speed QuickTransfer option allows quick image and video downloads direct from the drone to a mobile phone over Wi-Fi 6 at speeds up to 80 MB per second without connecting to the remote controller.

DJI Care Refresh

DJI Care Refresh, the comprehensive protection plan for DJI products, is now available for DJI Mavic 3 Classic.  The replacement service covers accidental damage, including flyaway, collisions and water damage. For a small additional charge, you can have your damaged product replaced if an accident occurs.

DJI Care Refresh (1-Year Plan) includes up to two replacements in one year. DJI Care Refresh (2-Year Plan) includes up to three replacements in two years and extends the original warranty up to 2 years from the date of purchase. Other services of DJI Care Refresh include rewards for safe flight and free shipping.For a full list of details, please visit:  https://www.dji.com/service/djicare-refresh.

Price and Availability

The DJI Mavic 3 Classic is available for purchase today from store.dji.com and authorized retail partners in three purchase configurations:

  • Mavic 3 Classic (Drone Only) does not  include a remote controller or charger, and is ideal for owners of existing DJI drones who are ready to move up to the top-of-the line camera performance of Mavic 3. It is compatible with any existing DJI RC-N1, DJI RC or DJI RC Pro controller. It is available for the retail price of AUD2299.
  • Mavic 3 Classic includes a charger and the DJI RC-N1 remote controller. It is available for the retail price of AUD2399.
  • Mavic 3 Classic (DJI RC) includes a charger and the DJI RC remote controller. It is available for the retail price of AUD2599.
  • Mavic 3 Classic Fly More Kit(Shoulder Bag) includes two Intelligent Flight Batteries, a Battery Charging Hub (100W), a 65W Car Charger, a Shoulder Bag and propellers. It is available for the retail price of AUD799.

For more information on all the new features, accessories, and capabilities, please visit https://www.dji.com/mavic-3-classic

DJI Mavic 3 Classic for SkyPixel

DJI is excited to see the creative works that will result from the help of DJI Mavic 3 Classic. To bring this opportunity to the world, SkyPixel – the leading global community for aerial photographers and videographers – is also launching a campaign that will give users the chance to try and shoot with this new impressive drone. The SkyPixel Product Tryout Program will send DJI Mavic 3 Classic to select users who will be able to experience content creation with the device for a limited time, and be in the running to win their very own DJI Mavic 3 Classic. For more detailed information, please visit the official SkyPixel site: https://www.skypixel.com

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.

Video – DJI MAVIC 3 Flies Over Everest

The environment of Mt Everest is complex and changes fast. DJI engineers made the theoretical calculations about what it would take to fly from the summit and adapted a Mavic 3 to be able to handle the harsh conditions.

But would actually work?

The 8KRaw team reached the summit and became the first climbers to launch a drone from the top of Everest.

The DJI Mavic 3 captured the beauty of this awe-inspiring peak and its surroundings from 9232 m (30289 feet). DJI engineers are already putting the collected data to use on development of future drone technology.

YuanZong Wang
Founder of 8KRaw

“With Mavic 3 which is light small and reliable we saw Everest with a new perspective. I am beyond grateful to the mountain for accepting us.”

Build a Drone with a Raspberry Pi

This is a little left of field I know, but if you have some programming smarts and a 3D printer, you can become your own DJI. In theory, you could put a GoPro 11 Mini on it and hey presto, instant footage too.

I found this article in passing, and in the spirit of sharing and caring, thought I’d pass it on for interest sake.

https://all3dp.com/2/raspbery-pi-drone-simply-explained/