Filed under:Accessories, Cameras & Cams, Gear reviews
Tybalt Peake tests out the DJI Mavic Pro drone
One of my biggest regrets is having an insufficient camera (cost £60) when sailing the Northwest Passage and not having the adequate means to capture a personal record of what I saw. I lost count of encounters with polar bears, artic foxes, whales and all this alongside spectacular Arctic scenery. The low-res images I took home did not come near to capturing the jaw-dropping sights I experienced on the voyage.
In a bid to make up for that epic fail I’ve been collecting cameras ever since, and am now obsessed with what I shoot and over the last few years have acquired a good selection. I travelled until my latest purchase with a Sony A6300, a Canon 5D mark II a growing collection of glass and a Go Pro 4.
I guess being 17 it’s inevitable that I want to have a digital record of all my adventures. I don’t like losing the clarity of an epic time out, and as soon as I’m off the hill I’m editing every eventuality and sharing almost immediately my adventures of the day. The trouble is that although I return back to hostels with memory cards full of footage, it’s mostly of my mates, with only the odd clip of myself. Haha not anymore!
This winter in Canada my presence will be felt and I’ll be boring everyone on social media with my own pursuits as I film them in detail. The thing that has changed is I’ve just bought the game-changing DJI Mavic Pro and have to say that for the outdoor adventurer wanting to record their exploits this is the most groundbreaking must-have piece of kit. It’s way beyond anything else on the market and is without question the best kit out there for the non-professional aerial photographer and filmmaker. It tops any purchase I’ve ever made.
Where DJI have got it right is that it’s compact enough to fit in a backpack without compromising on space for other necessities, and size-wise when folded away it’s not much bigger than your hand. The measurement specs are 83mm high, 83mm wide and 198mm long excluding the foldaway propellers. The weight is 743g.
The issue usually with compact devices is a compromise in quality and a reduction in features, but this is not the case with the Mavic Pro. It comes with all the highlights of DJI’s larger drones including self-piloted return landings, obstacle avoidance, subject tracking and geofencing to prevent it entering protected air zones. It’s capable of reaching 40 miles an hour in sport mode, which makes it great for fast action. It can operate at 5000m above sea level and can fly eight miles from the controller, although that is illegal in the UK as you have to have it within your line of sight. The battery lasts in good conditions for a 27-minute flight and it has the ability to fly steadily even in 24 mph winds thanks to the very accurate gimbal.
Essentially this drone has taken away a lot of the scary elements of flying. It is so easy to use, that within an hour of buying it your happily exploring the roof of your house. I tested the control ability recently when filming a climber. I was amazed at how comfortably I could hover nearby to focus on moves as I didn’t have to worry about the human error element as this is overridden with the optical avoidance system.
Analysing the footage when home on a full large screen really illustrated to me the very impressive quality of the lens and sensor combination. I could also see how the three access gimbal gives extremely steady footage making it easy to control the camera and drone subtly so that it’s almost seamless in the footage.
The camera can record 4 k video at 30fps (frames per second) or 1080p footage at 96fps and the latter can live stream to YouTube and FaceBook. It’s extremely versatile with a decent size 1 2/3’ (CMOS) sensor giving amazing quality footage. The electronic shutter speed of 8s-1/8000 s means that the camera (in ideal conditions) is steady enough to do a long exposure and this can be useful in bad light or in circumstances where you might want to capture a moving subject in still mode. The lens is also mildly wide angle negating the distortion synonymous with other drone lens.
I would highly recommend this to any mountaineer and of course to dealers wanting to supply drugs to inmates in a high-security prison. Jokes aside, this is a real game-changer… put it on your Christmas list now and if that’s not an option scrimp on everyone’s else present that you must buy so you can give it to yourself.