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Disabling downward sensors, what's the worst that could happen?
776 30 2-28 15:51
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DroneEEE
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Hi,

I'm considering a DJI Mini 2 to replace my Mavic 2 Pro that could no longer fulfill it's purpose due to the new EU rules.

One big concern I have is that it is height limited indoors without GPS, and that it can't be landed manually. Both of these problems can be fixed with some tape over the sensors.

I know it's not recommended and that it may void any warranty should a crash happen, but what's the worst case scenario?
  • Will RTH fail? It shouldn't if there is GPS coverage, right?
  • What if GPS fails? As I understand it goes into ATTI mode and that's it? That's no big deal for me. I even wish I could put it in ATTI mode manually.


What else can happen? Is uncontrolled ascents a possibility? Loss of control?
2-28 15:51
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RenegadeCowboyAZ
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Yes it’s very possible ...The sensors are what keep it stable
2-28 19:10
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Labroides
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Will RTH fail?
What if GPS fails?

Neither of those depends on the downward facing sensors.

What else can happen? Is uncontrolled ascents a possibility? Loss of control?
No and no
The VPS only has a range of 10 metres.
The drone works just fine when out of VPS range above 10 metres.
It doesn't really need VPS


If you are concerned, go to a nice open area and try it
2-28 21:44
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DroneEEE
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Labroides Posted at 2-28 21:44
Will RTH fail?
What if GPS fails?
Neither of those depends on the downward facing sensors.

I know they don't depend on the sensors, what I don't know is how the software reacts if the sensors are taped.  If it can suddenly think it's close to the ground and start ascending without being able to stop it or something like that.

Since being able to do this is a prerequisite for my purchase I can't really test it in a field since I don't have the drone.
But if it really only is active below 10m and won't be able to interfere because the drone thinks it's below 10m then it would work.
3-1 02:43
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bjr981s
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What do you mean it cant be landed manually? Of course it can I do it all the time. with the Mavic 2 Zoom and Pro its easy as it has its own downlight I have flown Mini 2 Mini 1 and Air 2 indoors with no issues. Maybe you mis-phrased the question?
Also Assents and decents are controlled by the barometr so no isues with that as it does not use any external sesnsors. Its supplimented by the downward sensors but not the GPS. The VDOP of GPS is pretty wortless in a drone.

To land you press the throttle all the way down. It will descend to landing hieght holding altitude. Holding the throttle down will then start the landing process.
3-1 03:29
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bjr981s
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DroneEEE Posted at 3-1 02:43
I know they don't depend on the sensors, what I don't know is how the software reacts if the sensors are taped.  If it can suddenly think it's close to the ground and start ascending without being able to stop it or something like that.

Since being able to do this is a prerequisite for my purchase I can't really test it in a field since I don't have the drone.

All your issues / concerns are groundless. You don't need to tape any sensors.

3-1 03:44
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jonny007
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In the past I always taped the sensors, now I can deactivate them in the Litchi app. This setting is not set in the app but in the mini, which means that the sensors are always deactivated, even if you are flying with the flyapp. You will not notice any differences when flying outside, whether with or without sensors. Only the landing behavior is faster and more direct and you can fly much lower (half an inch ;-) ). If you fly indoors without GPS reception and tape the sensors, the ATTI mode is activated, i.e. the Mini can drift slightly, which you have to compensate for manually. RTH also works normally (of course with GPS)

3-1 03:52
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DroneEEE
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bjr981s Posted at 3-1 03:29
What do you mean it cant be landed manually? Of course it can I do it all the time. with the Mavic 2 Zoom and Pro its easy as it has its own downlight I have flown Mini 2 Mini 1 and Air 2 indoors with no issues. Maybe you mis-phrased the question?
Also Assents and decents are controlled by the barometr so no isues with that as it does not use any external sesnsors. Its supplimented by the downward sensors but not the GPS. The VDOP of GPS is pretty wortless in a drone.

So you can fly down to say 10 cm above the ground, move the drone laterally to the right position and then slowly descend to set it down just on the right spot?

Because you later said that to land you press the throttle down and it will hold at a low altitude, keep holding down and it will start the landing process. This is not a manual landing. This is manually telling it to automatically land.

I have seen this in multiple videos. It hold at about half a meter or so, then it starts beeping and performs a landing. This will not allow me to land with precision on a spot just slightly larger than the drone.

I know GPS is useless for altitude in a drone, but it is used to initially set the altitude reference. I don't know how DJI has programmed this drone though, so I don't know if losing GPS will cause it to do unpredictable things.
3-1 04:17
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DroneEEE
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bjr981s Posted at 3-1 03:44
All your issues / concerns are groundless. You don't need to tape any sensors.

You say that, but here's a few situation in which I absolutely do:

Precision landing on a spot just barely larger than the drone. I need to hover it centimeters above, adjust laterally and then set it down. Can't have software land it from half a meter.

Flying really low above ground, ascending low over an obstacle. With the sensors active it won't let me fly lower than about half a meter as far as I can tell. And flying low over an obstacle will cause it to automatically ascent to "a safe height" above. That won't look good in videos at all.

I have also seen and heard that it won't allow flight above 5 meters with no GPS and the sensors active. Probably because it can't hold position in that case. I fly in indoor spaces with ceiling heights of way more than 5 meters and in order to do so I will have to tape the sensors, correct?

I wish these drones just had a "I know what I'm doing, turn all safety off" mode. It could be hidden really well and require 10 confirmations to activate for all I care, but I don't want sensors and automations to get in the way. I always had the sensors turned off on my Mavic 2 Pro.
3-1 04:22
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DroneEEE
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jonny007 Posted at 3-1 03:52
In the past I always taped the sensors, now I can deactivate them in the Litchi app. This setting is not set in the app but in the mini, which means that the sensors are always deactivated, even if you are flying with the flyapp. You will not notice any differences when flying outside, whether with or without sensors. Only the landing behavior is faster and more direct and you can fly much lower (half an inch ;-) ). If you fly indoors without GPS reception and tape the sensors, the ATTI mode is activated, i.e. the Mini can drift slightly, which you have to compensate for manually. RTH also works normally (of course with GPS)

https://youtu.be/56Q8Z5nvrw8

That is great news! Thank you!

I do have Litchi. If that is really an option that solves all my problems with the sensors. Image quality is still an issue but can't expect wonders from a less than 250g drone.
3-1 04:23
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djiuser_267jcyL97zif
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I have flown lots of times with black tape on the sensors.

The only downside is that you need to land very very carefully. You can't just press down to land and to expect the drone to slow down by itself, you need to descend manually very slow.
3-1 05:31
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DroneEEE Posted at 3-1 04:23
That is great news! Thank you!

I do have Litchi. If that is really an option that solves all my problems with the sensors. Image quality is still an issue but can't expect wonders from a less than 250g drone.

Mind you that Litchi doesn't support the Mini 2 AFAIK.
3-1 05:38
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DroneEEE
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djiuser_267jcyL97zif Posted at 3-1 05:31
I have flown lots of times with black tape on the sensors.

The only downside is that you need to land very very carefully. You can't just press down to land and to expect the drone to slow down by itself, you need to descend manually very slow.

Which I personally think is an upside. It's how I've been flying since the first time I flew an RC helicopter and it's how I've been flying my Mavic 2 Pro ever since I got it. I love having the control and the responsibility.

But I'm a very experienced RC pilot. For inexperienced pilots it could be an issue for sure.
3-1 05:39
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DroneEEE
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Armando80 Posted at 3-1 05:38
Mind you that Litchi doesn't support the Mini 2 AFAIK.

Oh. That's not so great news. Hopefully it will soon and will have the ability to turn off the sensors. DJI will add the Mini 2 to the SDK some time in 2021 at least, and Litchi has said they will update the SDK when they do.
3-1 05:40
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Labroides
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DroneEEE Posted at 3-1 04:17
So you can fly down to say 10 cm above the ground, move the drone laterally to the right position and then slowly descend to set it down just on the right spot?

Because you later said that to land you press the throttle down and it will hold at a low altitude, keep holding down and it will start the landing process. This is not a manual landing. This is manually telling it to automatically land.

I know GPS is useless for altitude in a drone, but it is used to initially set the altitude reference. I don't know how DJI has programmed this drone though, so I don't know if losing GPS will cause it to do unpredictable things.

Your drone gets all its altitude information from the barometric sensor in the IMU.
It does not use altitude data from GPS.
3-1 06:10
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DroneEEE
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Labroides Posted at 3-1 06:10
I know GPS is useless for altitude in a drone, but it is used to initially set the altitude reference. I don't know how DJI has programmed this drone though, so I don't know if losing GPS will cause it to do unpredictable things.

Your drone gets all its altitude information from the barometric sensor in the IMU.

Actually, you are correct. The reference is set as 0 from the takeoff point and then it's all barometer from there. I don't know why I though it used the GPS for initial altitude as that makes no sense for height above the ground.

I'm going to blame it on Monday morning and not having flown any drone for two months
3-1 06:16
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DroneEEE Posted at 3-1 05:40
Oh. That's not so great news. Hopefully it will soon and will have the ability to turn off the sensors. DJI will add the Mini 2 to the SDK some time in 2021 at least, and Litchi has said they will update the SDK when they do.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Litchi only supports the Mini 1 so far, sorry. But taping the sensors is always possible, no matter which drone or app ;-) In fact, it is often BETTER to deactivate VPS, because this prevents incorrect measurements. I've had strange up and down movements near the surface of the water, especially when the sun is reflected in the water. This does not happen with taped VPS sensors, here you can theoretically fly 1 inch above the water surface.
Another disadvantage of VPS: e.g you fly so slowly through a narrow window frame that the VPS responds> the drone jumps up and hits it. 2 options: tape sensors or fly faster.

Seen in this way, VPS is actually superfluous. Useful for beginners who fly indoors without GPS but are not yet confident with ATTI mode.
3-1 09:25
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DroneEEE
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jonny007 Posted at 3-1 09:25
Oh, I forgot to mention that Litchi only supports the Mini 1 so far, sorry. But taping the sensors is always possible, no matter which drone or app ;-) In fact, it is often BETTER to deactivate VPS, because this prevents incorrect measurements. I've had strange up and down movements near the surface of the water, especially when the sun is reflected in the water. This does not happen with taped VPS sensors, here you can theoretically fly 1 inch above the water surface.
Another disadvantage of VPS: e.g you fly so slowly through a narrow window frame that the VPS responds> the drone jumps up and hits it. 2 options: tape sensors or fly faster.

I also feel that it's better to deactivate VPS as long as it doesn't cause glitches, but it seems like it won't.

I agree with all the possible scenarios you mention. It may be good for beginners, but I don't like the drone taking action on its own. I may very well be flying under a structure that it would otherwise hit.
3-1 15:57
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GaryDoug
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I recently tested my MA2 and Mini 2 by "blinding" ALL sensors and noticed almost no change in basic operation. Sometimes I was prompted to ensure the landing site was good, other times no warning. I tested both in RTH mode several times with no problems. The only thing else I noticed was that the actual touchdown was harder than normal, but not even close to causing damage. The strangest thing was that the precision landings for the MA2 seemed to be even more accurate when blinded (?).
3-1 19:16
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djiuser_267jcyL97zif Posted at 3-1 05:31
I have flown lots of times with black tape on the sensors.

The only downside is that you need to land very very carefully. You can't just press down to land and to expect the drone to slow down by itself, you need to descend manually very slow.

"you need to descend manually very slow"

Exactly. I have verified that. However I have had good success with RTH automatic landings on a fabric landing pad over grass. No damage.
3-1 19:25
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bjr981s
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DroneEEE Posted at 3-1 04:17
So you can fly down to say 10 cm above the ground, move the drone laterally to the right position and then slowly descend to set it down just on the right spot?

Because you later said that to land you press the throttle down and it will hold at a low altitude, keep holding down and it will start the landing process. This is not a manual landing. This is manually telling it to automatically land.

For the life of me I don't know what your issue is.

I can land mine to a precise pinpoint on the ground.

They all have optical flow sensors. That is the camera will prevent all  forward and lateral movement from its landing height. A positive locked position till you override it with aileron or rudder.

Go down to landing height position the drone precisely were you want it. Hold down the throttle.

The other factor in doing it this way automatically disables the flight obstacle sensors so you can land it inside a cylinder if you want to.

As I have said your issues aren't issues they are just unfamiliarity with the drones operations.


3-2 01:04
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bjr981s
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DroneEEE Posted at 3-1 04:22
You say that, but here's a few situation in which I absolutely do:

Precision landing on a spot just barely larger than the drone. I need to hover it centimeters above, adjust laterally and then set it down. Can't have software land it from half a meter.

You do not need to hover it centimetres above. If you do it will be not stable.

The reason DJI operate the landing they way they do is to prevent ground effect from making the drone oscillate. I also fly Helicopters and you need to be prepared when taking off to give lots of right aileron to prevent the heli from rapidly moving to the left with ground effect. The landing level that DJI use is just above ground effect.

You will also notice that it descends quickly and then softly touches down.

The speed it does this is a balance between ground effect and VRX (Vortex Ring State)   

Look I fly indoors all the time. I even use a drone for indoor filming of family get togethers and commercial shots.

I am a certified pilot with a CASA license for commercial operations. Sometimes this requires indoor flight.

See the videos below.

These are the raw shoots for a commercial Shot. The client wanted to see the surgery from high in the air and fly drone in through the front door and tour the surgery. Was shot with a DJI Mavic 2 Zoom for external and DJI Spark for internal. The customer wanted to cut and post process the video himself.

https://drive.google.com/drive/f ... Q3gFnDk?usp=sharing

So ,it's of vids for him to cut as he saw fit. You can see where the transition will be cut.

So no need to cover sensors, This is an Urban myth / Old Wives Tale.

Learn your drone and learn how to operate with the support of auto management. You will get a much better result. A lot better than having your drone zoom across the floor into the wall due to ground effect.   



Cheers
3-2 02:40
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DroneEEE
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bjr981s Posted at 3-2 02:40
You do not need to hover it centimetres above. If you do it will be not stable.

The reason DJI operate the landing they way they do is to prevent ground effect from making the drone oscillate. I also fly Helicopters and you need to be prepared when taking off to give lots of right aileron to prevent the heli from rapidly moving to the left with ground effect. The landing level that DJI use is just above ground effect.

The fact is however that if I want to fly from the ground forward in a slow climb low over an obstacle like a couch I can't do it without disabling the sensors or the drone will quickly ascend on me when it's over the couch making for a really bad video. Or fly slow over a railing or even out of a window. The sensors could sense an obstacle below and ascent into an obstacle above. I don't need that kind of uncertainty. I want to be in control at all times and not have some automation interfere with my flying.

Or if I want to fly higher than 5 meters indoors that's apparently not possible without disabling the sensors unless there is GPS coverage. I have read about multiple people having this issue with the Mini. It just won't go above the range of the downward facing sensors without GPS coverage which is great for beginners since it would lose position hold, but I don't want to be limited in that way because I know what I'm doing.

I know about ground effect, and I know how to fly low above obstacles without getting oscillations. Just need enough forward momentum to stay in as clean air as possible. I did this all the time with my Mavic 2 Pro. It was very stable down to about 10-15 cm even in a hover with some light compensation on the sticks. Sure, the Mini is lighter and will be more affected but I'm sure I can fly lower than the set limit without it being an issue.

I get why DJI does what they do with the sensors because it helps inexperienced pilots stay safe, and I know the Mini is considered a beginner drone, but unfortunately it's one of few that isn't severely limited by the new EU rules so it's used by a lot of professionals too now. It would be nice if DJI recognized this and allowed for an advanced mode or something to get rid of the sensors interfering with flight. In fact, ideally the downward vision system would still be used for position hold in normal flight modes but without the low altitude limitation, and it would be nice to have ATTI mode on demand but they won't even make it happen for the Mavic 2 line so no hope there.
3-2 03:00
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bjr981s
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DroneEEE Posted at 3-2 03:00
The fact is however that if I want to fly from the ground forward in a slow climb low over an obstacle like a couch I can't do it without disabling the sensors or the drone will quickly ascend on me when it's over the couch making for a really bad video. Or fly slow over a railing or even out of a window. The sensors could sense an obstacle below and ascent into an obstacle above. I don't need that kind of uncertainty. I want to be in control at all times and not have some automation interfere with my flying.

Or if I want to fly higher than 5 meters indoors that's apparently not possible without disabling the sensors unless there is GPS coverage. I have read about multiple people having this issue with the Mini. It just won't go above the range of the downward facing sensors without GPS coverage which is great for beginners since it would lose position hold, but I don't want to be limited in that way because I know what I'm doing.

Sounds like you want to buy the wrong drone for your use.

A Tello would be more suitable for indoor FPV style flying. I use Tellos indoors for my younger student pilots. 6 to 12 years old.

If you want to video capture quality you need to plan your shots and paths.

The Mavic 2s are a PINA to fly indoors due to the Obstacle avoidance navigating through doorway etc is just a pain.

Bt they are less effected by Ground Effect than the minis. They minis are so light the air-conditioner fan can blow them away.

A Mavic air 2 would be better. That's why I bought mine. I haven't tried low level FPV with out yet. maybe I will try that an d let you know how it performs.

Not sure why you are so stressed about MP2 and the new EU rulings. What makes the Minis so attractive. I have both but only my students use them. In AU CASA rules for drones make no distinction on weight. You can fly drones up to a specified weight limit as recreational and don't need to register etc. It's only us commercial pilots that need to register all our drones and be licensed.

You still have to obey the Line of Sight no overfly people etc no night flights. But it's not that onerous.

Cheers

P.s. Forgot to add dont fly too close to a ceiling its bad. The airlfow sucks air from above and the drone sticks and the blades eat holes in your Gyprock.
The donwnside of indoor instruction.



3-2 03:16
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DroneEEE
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bjr981s Posted at 3-2 03:16
Sounds like you want to buy the wrong drone for your use.

A Tello would be more suitable for indoor FPV style flying. I use Tellos indoors for my younger student pilots. 6 to 12 years old.

The Tello doesn't take RAW photos though and I believe the video quality isn't that great either.

The Mavic Air 2 would be a lot better but after December 31 2022 it won't be allowed to fly within 150 meters of residential, commercial, industrial and recreational sites and people not a part of the mission. Right now its only limitation over the Mini 2 is not to fly over uninvolved people.

The Mini is basically unrestricted now, and will continue to be going forward. Only restriction is to not fly over crowds and in no fly zones.

I sold my Mavic 2 Pro because even with the A2 license it would still be limited to at least 50 meters from uninvolved people and after December 31 2022 is would like the Air 2 be restricted to at least 150 meters away from residential, commercial, industrial and recreational sites and people not a part of the mission.


That's why I'm considering the Mini 2 now, because it's the only drone right now that can legally be flown in the city where there are people moving around. I do a bit of real estate photography for an agency and this is the only drone they currently allow for drone photography in densely populated areas. This may involve videos transitioning between indoor and outdoor spaces flying through windows and doorways and over furniture. The Tello is not approved by the agency. RAW is an absolute minimum requirement.

If it wasn't for the new rules I would have happily kept flying my Mavic 2 Pro. I loved that drone but the still image quality could have been better.
3-2 03:30
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bjr981s
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DroneEEE Posted at 3-2 03:30
The Tello doesn't take RAW photos though and I believe the video quality isn't that great either.

The Mavic Air 2 would be a lot better but after December 31 2022 it won't be allowed to fly within 150 meters of residential, commercial, industrial and recreational sites and people not a part of the mission. Right now its only limitation over the Mini 2 is not to fly over uninvolved people.

My goodness, I understand now.

I did not know your Drone rules were so Draconian.

Is that for all the UK only or is that for all Europe?

That will screw up the entire drone industry there.

Disgraceful. You have my sympathy.

Cheers.

The Mini 2 is a great drone. Fits nicely in the Mini 2 bag with the Fly more combo. I recommend that. Just can't fit the prop guards in it. (for my youngsters)

  
3-2 07:43
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bjr981s Posted at 3-2 07:43
My goodness, I understand now.

I did not know your Drone rules were so Draconian.

That is for all EU members. I don't know if UK will adhere to them or make up their own now that they left. I'm personally in Sweden.

Drones that adhere to the new C classification system will not be as limited depending on class. The mini would be C0 if it was classed, and the Air 2 would be C1. The Mavic 2 Pro C2.

The problem is that even though these rules were announced long before coming into effect there are still no C classed drones available on the market in the consumer/prosumer/entry level professional range and the ones that aren't classified will be subject to strict limitations after December 31 2022 unless their take of weight is below 250g.

I personally think the transition to the new rules has been poorly managed and would have loved to see drones adhering to the new rules to be available before the rules came into effect.

I have somewhat high hopes the Mavic 3 and Air 3 will be adhering to the new rules, but we'll see. If they can get the Mavic 3 below 900g it would be a C1 drone and be able to fly in most places the Mini can, just not over people.

I think the Mini 2 is a great drone, but I also know it won't live up to my standards for still image quality. I can use it for real estate photography and video but not the type of photography I could barely get away with the quality of the Mavic 2 Pro for.
3-2 08:46
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Labroides
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DroneEEE Posted at 3-2 03:30
The Tello doesn't take RAW photos though and I believe the video quality isn't that great either.

The Mavic Air 2 would be a lot better but after December 31 2022 it won't be allowed to fly within 150 meters of residential, commercial, industrial and recreational sites and people not a part of the mission. Right now its only limitation over the Mini 2 is not to fly over uninvolved people.

This may involve videos transitioning between indoor and outdoor spaces flying through windows and doorways and over furniture. ... RAW is an absolute minimum requirement.
If you are shooting just for video, the smallest DJI drone capable of shooting raw video is the Inspire 2.
If you are shooting stills for real estate, it would have to be high end properties before raw images would make any difference.
In general real estate shooting is at the bottom end of the drone photography market.
3-2 15:30
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Labroides Posted at 3-2 15:30
This may involve videos transitioning between indoor and outdoor spaces flying through windows and doorways and over furniture. ... RAW is an absolute minimum requirement.
If you are shooting just for video, the smallest DJI drone capable of shooting raw video is the Inspire 2.
If you are shooting stills for real estate, it would have to be high end properties before raw images would make any difference.

I'm talking about RAW still photos. RAW video is a whole other bath tub full of money.

We shoot all real estate still photos in RAW. Whether it's a DSLR, MILC or drone. Video is never RAW.
3-2 15:44
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DroneEEE Posted at 3-2 15:44
I'm talking about RAW still photos. RAW video is a whole other bath tub full of money.

We shoot all real estate still photos in RAW. Whether it's a DSLR, MILC or drone. Video is never RAW.

We shoot all real estate still photos in RAW.
If image quality is so important, why use a camera with a tiny sensor and no controllable aperture.
But good luck to you if you can still make a dollar from real estate.
I haven't heard  from any of the real estate agents I used to work with for a few years.
3-2 17:25
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Labroides Posted at 3-2 17:25
We shoot all real estate still photos in RAW.
If image quality is so important, why use a camera with a tiny sensor and no controllable aperture.
But good luck to you if you can still make a dollar from real estate.

If you can suggest a drone under 250 grams with a larger sensor I'm all ears.
3-3 02:00
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