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panoramic shots with Mavic Pro
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paul55
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South Africa
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Hi
I am totally new to this world, so please be gentle ;)
I take panoramic photographs of landscapes in Africa for a new project. Most of the times, I have to climb mountains to find the perfect location.
I use a tripod, a Nikon D800 and a 35 or 50 mm vertically (portrait) to take between 10 and 20 shots to create a hires panorama to be merged (6-8000 x 2-30000 pixels).
I am thinking to use a drone to get a similar hires final result.
Of course, I will also use the drone for shooting other photos & video ;) but the major criteria is the above.
What are my options for the drone and the camera?
Is the new Mavic Pro a good choice... for a first drone?
Paul

2016-10-11
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Fulgerite
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You certainly CAN use the camera onboard the Mavic Pro to shoot 12 mega-pixel stills and stitch them together.  The lens is fairly wide.  (Similar to 28mm on a 35mm format camera.)  You should be able to use the yaw control to rotate & shoot overlapping frames for stitching.   I have done successfully with my Phantom 3.

And yes...  (In my opinion.) The Mavic is a great choice for your first drone.
2016-10-11
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Danny-B-
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Also has a portrait mode for the camera where it will spin 90degres to give you the best position for panoramas ... i'd say its the perfect drone for you... providing they ship this century
2016-10-11
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Fulgerite
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Danny-B- Posted at 2016-10-11 09:57
Also has a portrait mode for the camera where it will spin 90degres to give you the best position fo ...

Yeah...  I was wondering if it actually rotates the camera or just crops the frame differently?  Hopefully it actually rotates the camera to take full advantage of the sensor.
2016-10-11
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Danny-B-
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Fulgerite Posted at 2016-10-11 18:05
Yeah...  I was wondering if it actually rotates the camera or just crops the frame differently?  Ho ...

Click the link, it should load at the correct time (its only a quick flash of the mavic lens rotating)

OOps .. sorry, was another post i linked the video in ...   about 7:20seconds in
2016-10-11
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F6B-Rider
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Yes, the camera actually rotates 90º for portrait mode.
2016-10-11
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Fulgerite
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F6B-Rider Posted at 2016-10-11 11:19
Yes, the camera actually rotates 90º for portrait mode.

That's pretty awesome!  Should make shooting panos easy!
2016-10-11
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F6B-Rider
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Fulgerite Posted at 2016-10-12 03:19
That's pretty awesome!  Should make shooting panos easy!

I was out flying today and the new IOS app has the camera rotation icon on the screen. Doesn't do anything on my P3 but flash the screen, but on the Mavic it will rotate the camera.
2016-10-11
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JulianX4
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Fulgerite Posted at 2016-10-11 12:55
You certainly CAN use the camera onboard the Mavic Pro to shoot 12 mega-pixel stills and stitch them ...

It's equivalent to 28mm, not 18mm.
2016-10-11
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gt3rs
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In theory it would work, you get a 28mm FOV FF equivalent 12 Mpix 4:3 image that you can take in portrait mode with the new function in the Mavic. Stitching it together will be the same process as with your DSLR pictures. You can use DNG (Raw) to get a bit more headroom in post processing.

But the Mavic camera is a 1/2.3 sensor similar to Phones and Gopros so with limited dynamic range and it becomes very noise very soon..
I you have an iPhone 5s or higher try stitching a highres panorama with it and see the result if is good enough for your task the Mavic or similar will work. Try to do it in different light conditions or better at the real location and time to really judge noise and dynamic range. Also sharpness will not be the same as a top of the line DSLR with a good lens.

For better quality you would need an Inspire with the X5 camera that give you micro 4/3 quality. But it is another price and size. For the top quality you would need a M600 and mount your D800 but price, complexity and size are from another league.
2016-10-12
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gckless
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Really, if you're looking for amazing quality, none of these smaller drones are going to be ideal, save for maybe an Inspire 1. You want to hoist a dSLR up to get anything really good. You're going to be disappointed in landscapes compared to your D800 (an awesome landscape body), there's just no way around it. With that said, if you're not printing big and not pixel-peeping, I think you'll be really impressed with the ease, flexibility, and creative aspects of the shots you'll be able to get. If it's nothing more than 1080 or web sizes, you're in the right spot.

Are you printing large? With what you described, it sounds like you might be doing something more than just producing web images.
2016-10-12
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jmoya03-sp
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Have you seen the images from the mavic? Yes the sensor is smaller but the dynamic range looks better than the p4 with similar settings.
2016-10-12
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gckless
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jmoya03-sp Posted at 2016-10-12 07:55
Have you seen the images from the mavic? Yes the sensor is smaller but the dynamic range looks bette ...

Maybe slightly in a side-by-side, but it's marginal compared to a larger sensor, especially the 35mm he's using now. IMO anyway, I could be wrong, I don't have my hands on the Mavic to compare.
2016-10-12
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gt3rs
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jmoya03-sp Posted at 2016-10-12 19:55
Have you seen the images from the mavic? Yes the sensor is smaller but the dynamic range looks bette ...

Are you sure that you want to compare the DR, resolution, noise of a D800 with a good lens and a tiny 1/2.3 with a tiny lens on a 999$ drone? We are talking about high res panorama and not facebook post stamps photos.
There are no sensor at 1/2.3 in the market that comes anywhere close to a DSLR FF sensor.

Of course flying a DSLR requires a huge and costly drone and gimbal. The Mavic could be good for the OP for having different angles or location where a tripod and dslr will not do it. But to use a Mavic to replace walking uphill with a tripod and good DSLR for highres work is a no go.
2016-10-12
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Fulgerite
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jmoya03-sp Posted at 2016-10-12 04:55
Have you seen the images from the mavic? Yes the sensor is smaller but the dynamic range looks bette ...

According to the official specifications on th DJI site:

MAVIC:  1/2.3” (CMOS), Effective pixels:12.35 M (Total pixels:12.71M)

http://www.dji.com/mavic/info#specs

PHANTOM 4:  1/2.3” (CMOS), Effective pixels:12.4 M

See: http://www.dji.com/phantom-4/info#specs

The sensors are both 1/2.3" (CMOS)  Same sensor.  The Mavic sensor is NOT smaller than the P3 or P4 cameras.  But the lenses are different.
2016-10-12
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Fulgerite
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JulianX4 Posted at 2016-10-11 17:18
It's equivalent to 28mm, not 18mm.

My typo.  I meant 28.
2016-10-12
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Mpampis
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Danny-B- Posted at 2016-10-11 18:57
Also has a portrait mode for the camera where it will spin 90degres to give you the best position fo ...

And best , it has a tripod mode that keeps the drone still in order to have better results!!!!
2016-10-12
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paul55
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South Africa
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Thank you very much for all your replies.
I agree totally that the quality will certainly not be similar.
The Mavic Pro is very attractive to me, as I am a novice.  One more question... with the Mavic, is it possible to program the pano shots or do I have to do them manually?
Apart the Mavic Pro, which is certainly one of the best choices for a first drone, what would be the best drone to attach the smallest full frame sensor mirrorless camera?
Paul
2016-10-12
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gt3rs
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From DJI you really have 3 choice for photos:

Mavic Pro = image quality similar to a top of the line phone / gopro
+ easy to fly
+ super compact
+ not dangerous
+ easy to transport
+ affordable (999$)
+ camera can be fully controlled by the mobile app
- fix lens with fix aperture
- poor photo quality compared to FF or micro 4/3

Inspire 1 pro (X5) = image quality similar to a Panasonic GH4 http://store.dji.com/product/inspire-1-pro?from=menu_products
+ easy to fly
+ still transportable
+ not too dangerous
+ X5 16 mpixels micro 4/3 camera with interchangeable lens ( from 24mm up to 90mm FF equivalents, even a zoom lens is compatible 28-84mm FF)
+ lens have aperture
+ good photo quality, in DNG (RAW) very similar to the Panasonic GH4
+ camera can be fully controlled by the mobile app
- much bigger than the Mavic
- much more expensive (3400$) including camera and 1 lens
- not so much better video compared to the Mavic Pro / P4 / X3 due to limited bitrate (60 mbits). For top video quality you need the X5R that is much more expensive and have a super heavy workflow.

M600 + Ronin MX http://store.dji.com/product/matrice-600
+ you can mount most DSLR including Sony A7R, Canon 5d and your Nikon D800
+ maximum photo quality, can change camera and lenses
- most cameras can only be triggered by the drone remote but not controlled.
- huge and heavy machine
- very expensive (5999$) excluding camera
- complex to setup
- complex to fly
- can be very dangerous
- hard to transport

If you are new to drone I would suggest buying a Mavic, learn to fly and try some pano to get used to the challenges and then sell it and buy an inspire 1 Pro.
The M600 + DSLR is a 1.6m wide and 9 kg heavy machine (12-14 Kg with camera and gimbal) it is definitely not a drone for beginner or even intermediate pilots.
2016-10-12
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paul55
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South Africa
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Once again... thank you very much for this very clear conclusion!
I will probably go for the Mavic for my first drone.
Another possibility would be to find a pilot with a M600 who would be interested in the project and spend a couple of weeks with me in Namibia on absolutely incredible locations... see the project website http://www.ticket2utopia.com/
Paul
2016-10-13
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robert.prior7
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paul55 Posted at 2016-10-13 17:30
Once again... thank you very much for this very clear conclusion!
I will probably go for the Mavic f ...

I was looking at the Mavic — announced two weeks after I bit the bullet and bought a Phantom 4.

I asked a chap at a shop that sells drones about the differences between the two models, because on paper the Mavic looks to be both more capable and cheaper than the Phantom 4. He said he thinks the Phantom has a slightly sharper lens and is more robust, but he hadn't done side-by-side tests on the lenses and was judging robustness on the bases of more moving parts means more to go wrong. I'd like to read a side-by-side comparison if someone's done one, but haven't found any.

In terms of quality, I've been shooting 360° landscape panoramas with the Phantom 4. PTGUI Pro's optimum dimensions are 14600 x 7300 pixels for an equirectangular projection.

Sharpness is OK, but dynamic range is really low (compared to the D800 I'm used to). The camera includes an HDR mode but I don't notice much difference with the images. I've ended up shooting manually-bracketed shots and merging in Photomatix to get more dynamic range. This works OK if the wind isn't too high (which moves the drone) and things aren't moving (which creates ghosts). I really wish that DJI had included a 'bracketed' option as well as a 'burst' option for the camera.

I've posted some of my work here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/etherflyer/albums/72157673157041900

Still experimenting with techniques to see what works best.

If I had to give advice, I'd go with the Mavic. It looks a lot more portable than the Phantom, so adding it to your usual gear will be a lot easier. You'll need extra batteries — I count on about 20 minutes of usable flying from a battery (allowing time to get to the viewpoint and a safety margin to return).

A car charger would probably be a good investment. The charging hub is very handy for overnight charging (as you don't have to remember rot change batteries over).
2016-10-29
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sploodge
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Potrait Mode is great for Pano's

Potrait Mode


Landscame
2016-10-29
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DRONE-flies-YOU
First Officer
Flight distance : 1169488 ft
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Lightroom tells me 4.7mm and 26.3 (35mm equivalent) for the "Lens."
2016-10-29
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Brentbat
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Australia
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paul55 Posted at 2016-10-13 17:52
Thank you very much for all your replies.
I agree totally that the quality will certainly not be similar.
The Mavic Pro is very attractive to me, as I am a novice.  One more question... with the Mavic, is it possible to program the pano shots or do I have to do them manually?

Hey Paul
I came across your posting in the DJI forum about shooting panos using the Mavic Pro.   I'm also a pretty keen landscape/seascape photographer (shooting a Nikon D810) and I think we have similar goals for drone photography.

I'm also interested in shooting Panos.    If you haven't seen Litchi, check it out as it allows you to program a total pano sequence and the drone will execute it automatically (X rows,  * Y columns etc.).    This also supports panos taken with the camera in portrait mode.

I'm still experimenting.  I'm focusing on seascapes and long exposures right now....  I'm waiting to get my hands on a set of ND filters.

Biggest pain in the butt for me is the absence of aperture control and shutter priority modes, but I'm loving the new levels of creativity that the drone is giving me regarding composition.  Actually I'm finding it a real challenge to learn to compose in 3 dimensions now.

Have you got your drone?  What sort of results are you getting?

Brent
2016-12-26
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fans222af273
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I have shot panos with a Nikon D800 for about four years. First of all the D800 (810) is a bit overkill for panos unless you are going billboard size. I normally enlarge them to 16X60 and print on Hahnemuhle Baryta but they could go much bigger. But I have found that size convenient and had frames made to pop them into.  

I just started doing 360 panos with the Mavic and they are great.  I ordered it in Oct but it just came a few weeks ago and it is so much easier to fly than my old Phantom and the camera is miles ahead of GoPros even though the sensor is smaller. I have been shooting everything "RAW" with the exposure on manual at the lowest ISO, in Portrait mode and printing them on Epson EEM to 17X80 and they look amazingly good. Eventually I will print them on better paper, but for now they look great even on low end paper.

Sure on the screen at 100% the Nikon look better. It should given the cost difference. But this is really a very different kind of image given that there is no close detail at 100-200 feet in the air. Don't get  me wrong. I like detail. I shot 4X5 film for over 30 years.  But I love this too and I am sure you will too. Go for it.
2017-3-14
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Haneyca
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Not sure about your needs in terms of the camera (I am just starting out in photography) but in regards to ease of use of flying/operating I can say the Mavic is my first drone and it is so much easier to use than I ever thought it would be. It does take some practice to become familiar with the controls and learning how to change different settings to get exactly what you are looking for but nothing too serious. From what I have read online if I were you I would look into the Mavic Pro or one of the Phantom 4 models. I will also add that a friend of mine who does a lot of hiking and running (he is a marathon runner so he is in superb shape) has told me how exhausting it can be to hike with his pack full of gear for his Phantom 3 Pro and therefore he is going to buy a Mavic. He was telling me especially when you have a really long hike where you have to take water and food that the Phantoms just are not that practical. Sounds like you will have some other gear too so it  is just something to keep in mind.  
2017-3-15
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