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Mavic Air Camera Settings
5902 12 2018-2-15
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RichInGa
Second Officer
Flight distance : 449344 ft
United States
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I keep seeing video after video on how to set the camera settings. Go into manual, set this contrast, sharpness, ISO, shutter speed etc. etc.  I am glad that the camera allows you to do all that, but I thought DJI was supposed to be easy to use?  To make matters worse DJI didn't put in the exposure wheel that the other Mavic and Phantom drones enjoy.
This is a link to a video showing the problems I have.  I did, the first shows the Mavic Air, and it goes from slightly over exposed, to overexposed to underexposed.  You can visably see the lighting levels going up and down.   I also have a video shot using a 3DR Solo and a GoPro Hero 4 Silver (camera was made in 2015!)  Settings on the camera are just to let protune do it all.

The DJI flies great, but I ditched the spark not because of it's flight characteristics, I didn't like it's camera! I think the Mavic Air is also a really good flying drone, and the flying part is easy. Quickshots are fantastic, even manual flying is a joy and effortless.  I really hope you do some work on the camera to make it easier to use.   (If the picture is grainy or choppy ... that's the fault of vimeo, it doesn't look that way on my PC -- the main focus is on how the lighting levels fluctuate. You don't see that in the Gopro.)


2018-2-15
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Wachtberger
Captain
Flight distance : 261509 ft
Germany
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Thank you for sharing this! There definitely is margin for improvement.
2018-2-16
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Montfrooij
Captain
Flight distance : 2500942 ft
Netherlands
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Thanks for you thoughts.
As always, there is a tradeoff between ease of use and manual controlling what is happening.
I think dialing down the ev compensation is best in most situations.
Or even fly in full M.
Now I understand you can't change shutterspeed while recording on the Air. That is not too nice, especially without the right dial.
That is where the 'pro' does clearly do a better job.
So it is clear what audience the Air is targeted.
2018-2-16
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W.T. Foxtrot
First Officer
Flight distance : 1316732 ft
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United States
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General advice here for quite a while on the Mavic Pro has been not to use Auto on the White Balance -- I find it is also much better not to use Auto on the Exposure too.  Whether you go AUTO or MANUAL, remember that you can adjust the EVO on the Air.  It is just not quite as convenient as the wheel on the MPro.
2018-2-19
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Berg I Imagery
Captain
Flight distance : 70577 ft
United States
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I've had the same observations with my Mavic Air.  I typically have to use manual exposure.  While a pain, it does make for more consistent lighting across a shot.  The downside is that you can't switch angles and have dramatic exposure changes without cutting the shot and adjusting manual exposure again.  DJI definitely needs to improve this for the Air, given it should be easier to pull it out and take great video across a variety of lighting conditions.
2018-2-19
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Spaceman_66
First Officer
Flight distance : 82323 ft
United States
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Berg I Imagery Posted at 2018-2-19 16:06
I've had the same observations with my Mavic Air.  I typically have to use manual exposure.  While a pain, it does make for more consistent lighting across a shot.  The downside is that you can't switch angles and have dramatic exposure changes without cutting the shot and adjusting manual exposure again.  DJI definitely needs to improve this for the Air, given it should be easier to pull it out and take great video across a variety of lighting conditions.


Agree totally. Seems like I spend a way disproportionate amount of flight time futzing around with camera settings getting the histogram dialed in just right for a particular (vantage point / illumination) shot. The flight FW is beyond awesome, practically magical, so it just seems really old school not to have similar smarts baked into the camera & associated controls / settings with a few simple intuitive GUI options to override some settings, but ultimately with auto settings that actually WORK and are capable of snagging some great footage (OK, maybe not optimal, but easy-peasy!) under varying illumination conditions! I get that at the end of the day it's "just" a stabilized flying camera, and it's the camera man (or woman, sorry, don't mean to be sexist...) that ultimately sets up and gets the shot (it's an artistic thing as much as it is technical), still:  we HAVE the technology to make it so!
2018-2-19
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RichInGa
Second Officer
Flight distance : 449344 ft
United States
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Spaceman_66 Posted at 2018-2-19 16:14
Agree totally. Seems like I spend a way disproportionate amount of flight time futzing around with camera settings getting the histogram dialed in just right for a particular (vantage point / illumination) shot. The flight FW is beyond awesome, practically magical, so it just seems really old school not to have similar smarts baked into the camera & associated controls / settings with a few simple intuitive GUI options to override some settings, but ultimately with auto settings that actually WORK and are capable of snagging some great footage (OK, maybe not optimal, but easy-peasy!) under varying illumination conditions! I get that at the end of the day it's "just" a stabilized flying camera, and it's the camera man that ultimately sets up and gets the shot (it's an artistic thing as much as it is technical), still:  we HAVE the technology to make it so!

I agree... the thing is like a flying tripod!  I've seen the picture so steady I thought at first it was a still picture, but looking closely I could see people, or a car in the distance moving.   The picture is very sharp So I am happy with that -- and I don't know if it's EV, brightness, contrast -- whatever, but when you let the camera work out the levels that part stinks horribly.   Here is another clip -- you can actually see the light levels blinking!!  The image goes from looking normal to underexposed -- which is frustrating.  Hello DJI? Are you seeing this?

2018-2-19
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Berg I Imagery
Captain
Flight distance : 70577 ft
United States
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RichInGa Posted at 2018-2-19 17:31
I agree... the thing is like a flying tripod!  I've seen the picture so steady I thought at first it was a still picture, but looking closely I could see people, or a car in the distance moving.   The picture is very sharp So I am happy with that -- and I don't know if it's EV, brightness, contrast -- whatever, but when you let the camera work out the levels that part stinks horribly.   Here is another clip -- you can actually see the light levels blinking!!  The image goes from looking normal to underexposed -- which is frustrating.  Hello DJI? Are you seeing this?

https://youtu.be/vPZUK2SNOks

Yeah, that footage looks pretty dark due to facing into the sun.  I wonder if a DJI forum moderator can tell us if that is normal/expected.
2018-2-19
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RichInGa
Second Officer
Flight distance : 449344 ft
United States
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Berg I Imagery Posted at 2018-2-19 20:11
Yeah, that footage looks pretty dark due to facing into the sun.  I wonder if a DJI forum moderator can tell us if that is normal/expected.

I understand pointing the camera at the sun the image is going to go dark. (I've done that shot with other cameras and it's not that dark.)The part I wanted to point out is that you can see the light levels going up and down -- it's flashing.  That is not something that I've seen from other cameras, and blinking light levels is not what I want in my videos.
2018-2-19
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Cameleon
Second Officer
Flight distance : 60394 ft
United Kingdom
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Seems the exposure changes too rapidly, needs to be levelled out so that it doesn't change so quick. You can almost see it re-metering the shot every second and changing the exposure to suit. Should be smoothed out a bit.
2018-2-20
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quality
lvl.2

United States
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I've noticed the exact same problems with my Mavic Air and it is extremely noticeable in some shots, the exposure flickers obnoxiously. It is especially noticeable when there is a lot of brightness in the image. I shot a snowy sunlit mountainside over the weekend and it was like a disco party of flashing exposure.  I'd love to hear from DJI if there is a way to get around this or some firmware update that will do a more gradual compensation on the auto exposure.
2018-3-5
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cspain
First Officer
Flight distance : 662644 ft
United States
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It might help a bit to set the white balance to a preset and not have it on auto. Might remove one source of variability between scenes.
2018-3-5
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kfloke
Captain
Flight distance : 149961 ft
Singapore
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Thanks for sharing
2018-3-6
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