Today, 2 April 2019, I decided to start a post and try to find an answer to a question that interests many- What is the Mavic 2 Zoom?
It is an unmanned aerial vehicle, drone or quadcopter for filming and shooting good enough footage and pics from the sky.
I am a complete beginner in drone flying and filming so it will be the story from ground level. I am determined to learn and succeed in pleasing myself and others with good footages from the sky.
I wanted to buy a quadcopter a long time ago, but I didn’t want to buy fake because I have a bad experience with cheap Chinese electronics. I realized that a good drone price was starting at $1K. Fortunately, I had this opportunity, and now I am the happy owner of DJI Mavic 2 Zoom.
I will try to create this post or series of posts so that I will learn myself and try to help other beginners with my growing experience and mistakes I made.
It’s no secret that in time I might be such a seasoned drone pilot that I can think about making some money by filming and photographing from the air. I also understand that there is still a long way to go because there are many such offers although the drone filming service prices are relatively high.
I’ll start from the beginning. I bought DJI Mavic 2 ZOOM for about two weeks back, that is, about mid-March.
I do not want to write about unpacking and other unnecessary similar things, that anyone can easily find on YouTube. Even though, I could make one conclusion before I went on, which I would have done a little differently when I was buying a drone. Surely at least another additional battery is needed.
There is only one in the standard set, but when purchased separately, its price is relatively high. I recommend buying starting set with at least one extra battery, then surely it will come out cheaper, but?
Exploring offers on Amazon, there are often things that I wouldn’t even buy. Though that may be just my current thoughts, for example, at present, I would hardly buy propeller guards who are almost ever attached as an additional accessory.
So, I decided to buy additional accessories depending on the need, but with one battery there is too little because it is a real inconvenience. I think that must have accessories are a car charger and a specially designed carrying case. Over time, this list will probably add up.
That was a bit of purchase and accessories.
Now about whether I’m satisfied with this new fascination?
In one short answer, to all one hundred percent.
Have I learned something in these two weeks?
If we look from a zero point, then I guess I’ve learned something.
We’re all learning a lot from our mistakes, and I’ve had such a relatively painful mistake on the second day.
Quadcopter landed on a slanted roof of the house and slipped into the rain gutter. The propellers continued to turn for about five seconds until they stopped. As a result, two damaged propellers and, fortunately, no other damage.
I haven’t fully immersed myself in the details of this incident, but I think the non-horizontal position didn’t allow the engines to stop at once. So, my suggestion, never landing a drone on a slanted roof, the outcome can be relatively painful.
Fortunately, even the standard set comes with a couple of extra propellers that I replaced and also purchased spare ones priced only around $12.
Here is another tip for the Micro SD memory card. Ask the salesperson or explore the description or the memory card corresponds to 4K filming. Don’t fall into the temptation to buy a 128GB cheap but inadequate speed card. I almost did it, but fortunately was a knowledgeable salesman and offered a 64GB micro SD card at about the same price.
How much have I learned from the flying experience?
You can view the numbers in the screenshot. Although there’s a mistake, I’ve never flown 209 meters high, maybe close to 100 meters has been.
Another tip, don’t risk with a distance when flying over the water. I had flown over the high seas to film the ship about 3.5 km and ignored RTH (return to home) warning and continue to film the vessel as battery indicates another 40% charge. When I returned and landed, it was just 5%. So, I think one or two minutes later, and my drone would have fallen into the sea because there was no place to land. These last few minutes were scary.
Always take into account the wind and possible gusts.
So far, it’s a bit of a beginning in the experience of flying and filming my drone. You can look at my few YouTube channel jobs. I know it’s far from perfect, but I’m only at the very beginning of the road.
To be continued.
April 10, 2019
As I promised, I continue my story and also my slightly growing experience of using DJI Mavic 2 Zoom drone.
My list of accessories is beginning to grow. It is a car charger, Mavic 2 carrying case and the main one is DJI Mavic 2 Intelligent Flight Battery. I know I’ll have to buy at least another additional battery later, but it’s not so bad at the moment either, because I always have the car next to me and I can charge from the car charger while I’m using the other battery.
I may have mentioned that I am not going to go into technical data and different ways of flying, but I guess some words have to be said. It may be mostly for those who are still thinking about buying such an apparatus.
So, what is the Mavic 2 Zoom drone?
Here are the main characteristics of the Amazon description.
See the Bigger Picture: Powered by a 1/2.3 inch CMOS 12MP sensor with up to four-times zoom, including a two-times optical zoom (24 – 48mm).
Up to 31 minutes flight time, 44 mph max speed, 905g takeoff weight, 3-axis gimbal for steady shots, 8GB internal storage, SD card support up to 128GB
Functions include ActiveTrack 2.0, Dolly Zoom, Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, Hyperlapse, Low-Noise Design, HDR Photos
What you get: Mavic 2 Zoom, Intelligent Flight Battery, Gimbal Protector, Remote Controller, 3x Propellers (Pair), Battery Charger, Power Cable, Communication Cable (USB3.0 Type-C), USB Adapter, Spare Control Sticks (Pair), RC Cable (Lightning connector), RC Cable (Standard Micro USB connector), RC Cable (USB Type-C connector)
Detailed specs you can read here.
Many who have been interested in buying such quadcopter may have little confused over the choice — either the Pro or Zoom version. I’ll be honest because I would have bought Pro too, but for financial reasons, I stayed with the choice of Mavic 2 Zoom. The price difference is about $200.
The only difference between these two DJI great drones is the different cameras.Mavic 2 Pro is equipped with the Swedish brand Hasselblad camera.
Just a couple of words about this brand name. It makes very expensive photo cameras used by even NASA astronauts.
There is no doubt that the quality of the photo and video footage should be higher with Pro than with Zoom camera. It must be, but does it really make such a difference from the view of an ordinary person? I believe that it is not always the number of pixels or the right lighting is the main one with which photos or videos are valuable. Though I suppose the photo and video professionals might object here to me.
Anyway, at least at the moment, I am happy with my choice for Zoom.
As far as I know, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom camera is the only one with optical zoom to filming with 4K. It matters to me because I’m primarily going to film ships relatively far from shore. Sometimes it is on a maximum flight distance of 3 to 5 km or about 3 miles. Depending mainly on the direction and strength of the wind, sometimes I have to fly back to the home point before draining out the battery over the sea. With zoom options, I can do additional filming or photo shoots for a few minutes, and the flight will not be unnecessary.
I have read that Mavic 3 will combine both Hasselblad and Zoom capabilities. Then we’ll see, but for now, I need to learn a lot and learn what I have to know to buy the next flying photo and film assistant based on my experience.
To be continued.
Watch my latest video I made next to my job place. Luckily I got permission to fly in NFZ (no flight zone)subject to all local rules.
6 May 2019
It’s been about two months since I started flying and take footages with DJI Mavic 2 Zoom drone. I’m still learning and making mistakes with both flying and filming skills, but I hope that little progress has been made in this.
This time, little insight into some camera settings and Intelligent flight mode.
On the Internet and many YouTube channels, quite a lot have been described, and I try to learn from some.
One thing is to read or look at the video about the subject, but when you are actually in the air, I still have a little stress and don’t always get to apprehend what I’ve read about different tricks and tips in time.
On camera color settings, I’m trying to follow advice.
White balance on manual mode.
Sunny- clear skies and sun,
Cloudy- lots of clouds without direct sunlight,
Incandescent — candlelight or yellow light bulb light (e.g. an indoor flight),
Fluorescent — neon lights, white LED.
Never leave white balance to Auto.
I haven’t mastered all Intelligent Fight Modes yet, but mostly use Cinematic Mode, Active track and Waypoints.
There is a lot of information about how to use them, but this time what needs to be taken into account flying Cinematic Mode because I hadn’t noticed some features myself and, as a result, the second crash.
Difference to normal flying is the braking behavior of the drone. If you release the remote controller stick, the quadcopter will not immediately stop. It will get slower and slower and stop after some time and distance. In this way, filming will be smoother without sharp twists in, etc.
As I still have little experience, I had forgotten about it a little, and my bird did not stop. The drone hung on the birch branches. Fortunately, no damage was done to the drone; not even any propeller was cracked.
I hope that for a beginner, this information can be useful.
Here is a short video about my second DJI Mavic 2 Zoom crash.
To be continued
2 July 2019.
Three months have passed since I am the owner and active user of this great drone DJI Mavic 2 Zoom. Logically, I have learned something, both to fly skills and filming skills, is a little bit of progress.
This time, I would like to say a little about the distance and duration of flying.
Indeed, many Mavic 2 users have their own experience on this issue, but I have my own conclusions, which are generally not different from those read in forums and on Facebook pages.
I make a large part of my flights to film ships entering or leaving the Freeport of Riga Latvia. Since I have detailed information about when and what the movement of ships is, I also organize my flights accordingly. My daily work is Riga Vessel Traffic Service, and I have the option and permission to fly with a drone in the port area of NFZ (no flight zone).
Sometimes I used to manage flights in a port near the VTS tower, and then neither the weather nor the distance is so important. Though if the constant wind speed is more than 10 m/s (20 knots), I usually refuse to fly anyway. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom can easily withstand such a wind, but often there are gusts of up to twice the wind. Then it may not be safe.
I always have screen recording ON the iPhone X, where all high-wind warnings are fixed and no DJI warranty will be valid in the event of an accident.
Often, I go to the harbor breakwater so I can fly as far away as possible and film the ships in progress. The distance from the end of the pier to the Pilot boarding place is 5 km (3 miles), which is the maximum distance of the European Mavic 2 and so far, I have never flown in one direction.
As a general rule, the vessels come a little closer and the sea pilot has embarked or disembarked about 3 km away. This is a relatively acceptable distance to fly, make some shoots and turn back.
There are almost always winds in the sea, which often tend to change direction spontaneously. Although I know it very well, I’ve had twice to worry seriously.
When I started flying back, the level of the battery was slightly below 50% and a distance of about 3.7 km. When flying to the ship, the wind direction was a headwind and slightly to the left, but when I was flying back headwind again on the right, luckily the speed of around 5 m/s.
It seemed to me that the battery is discharging quickly, but the distance didn’t shrink as fast as I wanted. Finally, my bird landed on the very top of the breakwater with only a tiny 7% in the battery.
I wouldn’t worry much if it wasn’t over the water. Above land, you could almost always find a place to land, hang on a tree branch at worst (I already have experience).
One advice, I might suggest, try reducing flight height. I did so, and instead of my default RTH (return to home) 40 meters, I decreased the altitude to about 10 meters and my Mavic 2 Zoom speed increased by about 3-5 km/h.
Always try to leave your battery reserves, even if there is a tailwind, if only you want an extra dose of adrenaline.
Have safe flights and great shoots from above.
July 17, 2019
There are so many beautiful places in the world, and this is one such. My favorite The mouth of the Irbe river in the Baltic Sea in Latvia. The perfect relax for everyone: sandy beach, fabulous sunset, and fishing on the river. Take a look!
August 1, 2019
Another lesson learned.
I partly lost control over the drone. I activated RTH, reduced the height to move more quickly from the water. RC control and the response were chaotic. Fortunately, there was a soft grass and, somehow, and I landed my DJI Mavic 2 Zoom relatively successfully. I tried in another place an hour later, no problem. Ambient temperature +33 C. What could have been the reason?
7 November 2019.
It’s been seven months since I bought Mavic 2 Zoom drone. Naturally, my skill in flying, photographing, and filming from the air has improved. More than 300 km have been flown and nearly two days in the air. The Footprints is not correct. A new country flag usually appears after a couple of months, as except Latvia and Finland, I have also flown in Lithuania and Estonia.
Flying at least on the territory of the European Union has become more intelligible as common EU UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) rules have been developed and adopted.
I haven’t had to deal with other people’s frustration yet, seeing me operating with the drone. Many drone pilots will agree with me if I say that it’s not so easy to follow everything in the rules. Let’s be honest, do we always follow the speed limits when driving?
Flight restrictions have also become more intelligible since persistent updates of NFZ (no flight zones) make sense of where and how the drone can be operated. I am flying relatively much above the water and filming the ships.
The highest risk is the incorrect calculation capacity of the battery volume to fly back home or to reach the closest solid surface at least. My advice is that always to keep in mind that the wind direction and force can change in minutes, so never risk too much. I have risked, and believe me, and the adrenaline level has picked up in such cases.
It’s not a pleasant feeling when the drone flies back from a distance of 5 km above the sea. The level of the battery is around 60%, but you look at the display, and the range seems to be not getting less, but the % is shrinking quickly. Brrr. Luckily, never I have landed with the remaining volume under 20%.
I know I have a lot more to learn, both in improving flying skills and in video and photo processing, but I like it very much.
Here is one of my recent long-distance flight over the Baltic Sea
Have a safe flight and spectacular footage!
December 10, 2019.
Another month is passed and I want to add a couple of words to my post about DJI Mavic 2 Zoom drone. I don’t want to talk much about details on how to fly, as there are tons of info to be found online — just my personal experience, which may not necessarily coincide with the generally accepted truth.
This time a little about how Mavic 2 quadcopter feels in extreme weather.
I do not want to say that in weather conditions, which clearly could lead to an aircraft accident or damage, but somewhat slightly above that guaranteed by the manufacturer as-
Max Wind Speed Resistance 29–38 kph (8-10 m/s; 18-23 mph);
Operating Temperature Range -10°C to 40°C (14F-104F).
Operating Temperature Range 0℃ – 40℃ (32F-104F).
I’ve managed to fly when the wind speeds exceeded 15 m/s in gusts. It was done at a small height above the meadow to avoid major damages in case of an accident. Without going into detail, I can say that in about 20 minutes flight, the Mavic 2 Zoom drone showed great flying and filming capabilities. Unfortunately, I’ve deleted screen recording and filmed material, but I can say that the quality of the video was perfect, with no shaking or any other flaws.
The second extreme condition is low temperatures.
I haven’t tried to fly below minus ten degrees (14F) yet because we haven’t had one yet, but there’s no problem at -7C (19F), I didn’t even notice that battery is discharging more quickly.
So, my conclusion is this. Try not to use this drone as far as possible in situations out of the manufacturer’s limits, but… But if there is an unexpected change in the weather, then there is no need to panic, but to reduce flight height as much as possible and return home or descend into a nearby safe spot.
Another day I will write about the Must-Have tool for drone pilots, Airdata UAV platform.
January 14, 2020.
The weather is not the best to fly these winter days. Since I like to film ships most, the strong wind, rain, and the short day are often a nuisance.
At the moment, I work more with the processing of existing materials and learn how to use video editing software more productively. I use the relatively expensive-The Final Cut Pro X. It is a revolutionary app for creating, editing, and producing the highest-quality video.
This app is for Mac computers, and my old MacBook Pro early 2015 productivity was relatively weak, so I recently purchased MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019), processor 2.6 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i 7, memory 16GB 2667 MHz DDR4.
It is expensive, about $2.5 K laptop, but fun to work.
The next I am not satisfying is the quality of the picture on iPhone X. It is more or less OK when filming distant objects, but when it comes to flying close to moving ships, then I wish to have a better quality view for safety and better shots.
A couple of days back, I had a chance to insert into Mavic 2 controller the new iPhone 11 Pro Max. I don’t know what the quality of $700 worth Mavic 2 smart controller is, but the quality of this new iPhone display is much better than the iPhone X because I need to save money and change my phone. I hope to do it in the next months.
Here is my latest video. It’s the first video assembly with the help of MacBook Pro 16 2019. Productivity is excellent when compared to my previous 2015 MacBook Pro.
To be continued.
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