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Zoomed in comparison of Mavic's video resolutions
2808 14 2017-1-4
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JasonMBryant
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United States
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There has been some discussion about the quality of the various image resolutions of the Mavic. Higher resolution should always be better, except the bitrate of the Mavic means videos can only get a certain amount of data. That could limit the improvements of higher resolution videos, since they are very data hungry.

The only thing that matters is results, so I did some videos to compare the resolutions.

Methodology:

I focused the camera on myself, then took 5 videos at five different resolutions.

Then I played the videos in full screen on my 1600x900 monitor. I did it this way so that we can compare what you actually see when playing the videos. If someone with a 4K monitor wants to repeat the experiment, that could be useful. I took a screen shot of each video.

I made two comparrisons. One at regular size, and one that is scaled up to 3x. I use simple scaling on the 3x images so that all the imperfections would not be smoothed out by the scaling.

Normal Comparison:

The 720p picture is noticebly more blurry. However, if someone were watching a video on youtube that had motion in it, they would never notice. If they made the video full screen (like in these comparison shots), they might notice, but probably only if they paused and looked at something with fine detail. The only problem would be if they watched the video in full screen on a really big monitor.

The 1080p picture is sharper. It's hard to notice any blurriness, even paused.

The 27K and above pictures are all as sharp as can be. Viewed normally, there's no way to see any difference. That's useful, because you can crop out part of your videos and still have good resolution.

3x Scale Comparison:

Scaled up, the differences are more obvious. 720p is slightly blurry when viewed full screen, but 1080p is better. At 2.7K it is slightly easier to read the text on the magazine, but not by much.

The interesting comparison is between 2.7K and the two 4K resolutions. The 4K resolutions might be a little sharper, but they have artifacts. Looking at the air conditioner and the bricks behind me, there are some unattractive jaggies.

Conclusion:

2.7K seems to be the winner for the Mavic. If you're not planning to do any fancy editing, you'd probably have a hard time telling a difference with just 720p.

It's probably a safe bet that improved bitrate will be a significant feature of the Mavic 2. That will really make the 4K resolutions useful.
comparison small.jpg

3x Scale Comparison

3x Scale Comparison
2017-1-4
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HenryG
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United States
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I have a 4k monitor, so if you want to send the raw un-edited images or video I could do this. What program did you use to scale them up?
2017-1-5
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BuzzCut
Second Officer

United States
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Very interesting - nice work!!

What's surprising to me is that - while there isn't a massive difference in the three highest resolutions overall - there is a clear difference around the eye area.  I guess it's a judgement call as to how significant that is based on the use case.


2017-1-5
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JasonMBryant
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HenryG Posted at 2017-1-5 08:24
I have a 4k monitor, so if you want to send the raw un-edited images or video I could do this. What program did you use to scale them up?

Whoops, sorry, I didn't see your post until it was too late. I already deleted those videos.

It's easy enough to record a similar video, if you want. Just record in all the different resolutions, play the videos in full screen, then take a screen shot of each one.

I used photoshop to zoom in on the pictures. The trick is to use nearest neighbor on the scaling, that way it's just directly scaling up the images without doing anything to smooth them out and make them look better.
2017-1-10
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DRONE-flies-YOU
First Officer
Flight distance : 1182441 ft
United States
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JasonMBryant Posted at 2017-1-10 10:20
Whoops, sorry, I didn't see your post until it was too late. I already deleted those videos.

It's easy enough to record a similar video, if you want. Just record in all the different resolutions, play the videos in full screen, then take a screen shot of each one.

Good point.  Would 4k24 yield any different from 4k30?  
2017-1-10
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JasonMBryant
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DRONE-flies-YOU Posted at 2017-1-10 11:18
Good point.  Would 4k24 yield any different from 4k30?

Maybe a little. The top mode only has 24fps, but the lower 4K resolution might look a little better in 24fps than in 30fps. Of course, then you're in 24fps. I'm not a fan, but some people feel it looks more cinematic.
2017-1-10
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BumblerBee
First Officer
Flight distance : 609816 ft
Norway
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Thank you for the comparisons. I was going through the dilemma of using 4K or not - weighing possible future use vs playablility - my HTPC can't scale 4K video to 1080p for play back in real-time and re-encoding is time-consuming. 2.7K seems the way to go!

One question - I see 4K/30fps mentioned several places, however the video settings menu on my Mavic only offers 24fps at 4K. Am I missing something?
2017-7-24
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skan
lvl.2

Spain
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What about the new Mavic Platinum drones?
Is 2.7K the best option for them too?
Do they have problems with 60fps as the Mavic Pro?
2018-6-15
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A CW
Captain
Flight distance : 12840059 ft
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United Kingdom
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Good comparison   
2018-6-15
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Hummingbird.UAV
Captain
Flight distance : 6980715 ft
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Canada
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Nice work, confirms my use of 2K for video with my Mavic Pro. (Hope you were testing a Pro and not an Air)
2018-6-15
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HedgeTrimmer
Captain
United States
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BuzzCut Posted at 2017-1-5 09:34
Very interesting - nice work!!

What's surprising to me is that - while there isn't a massive difference in the three highest resolutions overall - there is a clear difference around the eye area.  I guess it's a judgement call as to how significant that is based on the use case.

Devil is in details...

To my eye, right side of all images look slightly soft, compared to center and left.
2018-6-15
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astrofly
Captain
Flight distance : 471322 ft
Italy
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Good study about video Quality. Thanks. I record with my Mavic Pro in 2K and editing in FHD but problem for quality in web, for me, is the low resolution and bit rate admitted for a fast transfer in web. Result is a medium-low quality of video after more video recorded in high quality
2018-6-16
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HereForTheBeer
Captain
Flight distance : 5381368 ft
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United States
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my mavic pro sucks at lower resolutions too. but does better once above 1080P.   i typically shoot at C4K @ 24fps.  i assume the bit rate is fixed (CBR) on the mavic pro.. so more data per frame in 24fps + C4K has a slightly higher resolution.

5X crop zoom will make even really high quality 4K footage look rough.  true 4K is roughly 8MP, digital zooming in 5X is rougher.  1.4X is most you can usually digitally zoom into true 4K image before image degradation takes hold at normal viewing distances.
2018-6-16
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AlansDronePics
Captain
Flight distance : 814751 ft
Guernsey
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Bumblebee.
Use ntsc not pal and you can have 30fps. It is most unlikely you will find a modern device that won't play back perfectly. Pal and ntsc are practically dead standards. I use ntsc and i live in a pal region. The sharper image where there is movement is well worth using.
2018-6-16
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AlansDronePics
Captain
Flight distance : 814751 ft
Guernsey
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DRONE-flies-YOU Posted at 2017-1-10 11:18
Good point.  Would 4k24 yield any different from 4k30?

With 30fps movement in the image is noticeably sharper and largely free of motion blur.
2018-6-17
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