Old 12-16-2020, 05:34 AM   #1
FloridaRailroading
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Question Drone Recommendations

Hi everyone,

I've been thinking about getting into drone photography lately and am looking for any recommendations. I'm considering buying the DJI Mavic Mini, but I wanted to hear from some of you before doing so.

Thank you,

YC
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Old 12-17-2020, 03:26 AM   #2
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I have had great luck with my DJI products. I used the Mavic Pro and then upgraded to the Mavic 2 Pro, so I don't have any experience with the mini and not sure how its camera specs compare. Regardless of what drone you use, make sure you get some practice with flying, understand the laws/rules/risks. It can open up a lot of new opportunities, but takes practice and skill to compose by adding a third dimension of control. Happy to answer any other questions!
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Old 12-18-2020, 02:07 AM   #3
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One thing to keep in mind with the Mini, it does not have a burst mode when taking pics, so no machine-gunning a scene like you would with a DSLR. This could often result in the train being in an unappealing position in the composition or even out of the frame if there is any lag.
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Old 12-18-2020, 03:11 AM   #4
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One thing to keep in mind with the Mini, it does not have a burst mode when taking pics, so no machine-gunning a scene like you would with a DSLR. This could often result in the train being in an unappealing position in the composition or even out of the frame if there is any lag.
Interesting that they don't have that mode. The Mavic series has a burst, but limited to 5 frames, and a non adjustable time slot. It will absolutely take practice on timing to compensate for the delay.
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Old 12-19-2020, 03:45 AM   #5
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Thank you both for responding.

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One thing to keep in mind with the Mini, it does not have a burst mode when taking pics, so no machine-gunning a scene like you would with a DSLR. This could often result in the train being in an unappealing position in the composition or even out of the frame if there is any lag.
That will definitely be an issue for me. The other Mavic series drones are out of my price range. I think I'll keep researching alternatives and hold off on buying one for now. Thanks again.
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Old 12-21-2020, 11:51 PM   #6
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Burst mode seems like such a basic thing with photography and it perplexes me a bit that DJI couldn't write that common feature into the software.
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Old 12-22-2020, 02:46 PM   #7
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Thank you both for responding.



That will definitely be an issue for me. The other Mavic series drones are out of my price range. I think I'll keep researching alternatives and hold off on buying one for now. Thanks again.
I'd looked into the Mini as well, the fact that it had no burst mode was a deal-breaker for me when I found that out a few months back.
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Old 12-22-2020, 06:47 PM   #8
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My DJI spark has somewhat of a burst mode (3 shots in about .5 seconds), but I'm usually good with just a single shot. The key is a test shot to see what lag you're gonna get before it matters.

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Old 12-24-2020, 04:58 PM   #9
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My DJI spark has somewhat of a burst mode (3 shots in about .5 seconds), but I'm usually good with just a single shot. The key is a test shot to see what lag you're gonna get before it matters.

Loyd L.
The Spark only has a flight time of 16 minutes. I'm planning on using this for road trips, so that seems limited compared to the ~30 minutes that the other Mavic drones offer. I'll stick to the DSLR for now.

Merry Christmas, everyone!
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Old 12-24-2020, 06:16 PM   #10
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What are the burst modes like with the Mavic Pro? I guess I assumed that if these things could shoot video, that burst would be no problem.

I've thought about getting one, but honestly, it would stay in the case most of the time. I would use a drone only in situations where I could not reach a suitable camera position with reasonable effort. I think I'd probably never get the thing above 50 feet AGL. These 400 foot shots that I see on RP all the time are just not that interesting. Not sure why so many people feel the need to include the horizon in every shot. I look at a drone as a replacement for the overpass or elevated spot that I wish were there, not a substitute for a helicopter.
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Old 12-24-2020, 07:58 PM   #11
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These 400 foot shots that I see on RP all the time are just not that interesting.
Well, some of us like 'em if the scene is worthy. I've faved more than a few.
To me, the common-power wedgies in bland surroundings are a yawn.
Plenty of room for all tastes on RP!
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Old 12-25-2020, 05:43 PM   #12
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I'd like to get a drone, too. I don't machine gun my DSLR, so that is not deal breaker for me. If the folks in Washington could get us those stimulus checks, that'd be great
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Old 12-28-2020, 02:06 PM   #13
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What are the burst modes like with the Mavic Pro? I guess I assumed that if these things could shoot video, that burst would be no problem.

I've thought about getting one, but honestly, it would stay in the case most of the time. I would use a drone only in situations where I could not reach a suitable camera position with reasonable effort. I think I'd probably never get the thing above 50 feet AGL. These 400 foot shots that I see on RP all the time are just not that interesting. Not sure why so many people feel the need to include the horizon in every shot. I look at a drone as a replacement for the overpass or elevated spot that I wish were there, not a substitute for a helicopter.
I think the great thing about a drone is that it's so much more flexible than an overpass, adding a third axis of control to shoot in. While I agree not every shot needs to be at 400 feet, there are plenty of times where it works well, and times when it doesn't. I've shot everywhere from 10 feet to 400 feet AGL, all depending on what type of composition the scene requires or would benefit from.
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Old 12-28-2020, 03:41 PM   #14
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I think the great thing about a drone is that it's so much more flexible than an overpass, adding a third axis of control to shoot in. While I agree not every shot needs to be at 400 feet, there are plenty of times where it works well, and times when it doesn't. I've shot everywhere from 10 feet to 400 feet AGL, all depending on what type of composition the scene requires or would benefit from.
I appreciate your drone photos. Expanded views of areas I have seen from the ground are interesting, puts things into perspective. Many drone photos are great scenes esp in a time where overgrowth has limited ground level views. I am not sure if it screening or just what is being submitted but the distorted views with the edges looking like a falling off the earth have not shown up too much.

Like general railfan photography drone has a variety which varies with skill, time used to scout locations etc.

The somewhat humorous side is that to get to the top-24 all one has to do is fly over a bunch of stored locomotives.

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Old 12-29-2020, 05:44 AM   #15
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I have been having great luck with the Mavic Air 2. It is easy to transport due to being compact and battery life is the best I have seen. It is my third DJI drone and by far my favorite.
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Old 12-29-2020, 01:47 PM   #16
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I'd like to get a drone, too. I don't machine gun my DSLR, so that is not deal breaker for me. If the folks in Washington could get us those stimulus checks, that'd be great
LOL Joe! That's not what they're for. We don't want to stimulate China's economy. It's for necessities of which a drone is not...LOL.

I like your thinking though. Too bad it's just our money that we are getting since the Gov't just gets money from taking it from us. Why can't they just stop taxing us for two months??
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Old 01-02-2021, 12:40 AM   #17
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LOL Joe! That's not what they're for. We don't want to stimulate China's economy. It's for necessities of which a drone is not...LOL.

I like your thinking though. Too bad it's just our money that we are getting since the Gov't just gets money from taking it from us. Why can't they just stop taxing us for two months??
It'll be a cold day in Hell before the government stops taxing us.

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What are the burst modes like with the Mavic Pro? I guess I assumed that if these things could shoot video, that burst would be no problem.

I've thought about getting one, but honestly, it would stay in the case most of the time. I would use a drone only in situations where I could not reach a suitable camera position with reasonable effort. I think I'd probably never get the thing above 50 feet AGL. These 400 foot shots that I see on RP all the time are just not that interesting. Not sure why so many people feel the need to include the horizon in every shot. I look at a drone as a replacement for the overpass or elevated spot that I wish were there, not a substitute for a helicopter.

I personally like the high altitude shots, especially when there's mountains or larger bodies of water. Take this shot for example: https://www.railpictures.net/photo/756849/
Don't think it'd be as nice if it were taken from a lower altitude. That said, it is a little overdone with plain scenery.
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Old 01-02-2021, 02:28 AM   #18
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I personally like the high altitude shots, especially when there's mountains or larger bodies of water. Take this shot for example: https://www.railpictures.net/photo/756849/
Don't think it'd be as nice if it were taken from a lower altitude. That said, it is a little overdone with plain scenery.
Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I probably wouldn't even click on that. There's almost nothing in that shot that's sharply focused. It's also about the worst possible angle on the train. Again, just my $.02.

Part of my bias against the high-altitude stuff is probably my 40 years of experience as a fixed-wing pilot. Yes, I have definitely observed trains from the lowest altitudes I can legally fly (roughly 1,000 AGL) and as a long-time train fan, I just don't see that perspective as being all that interesting. I wonder if the high degree of fascination with drone shots stems from the fact that most RP viewers are not pilots and don't have the opportunities that I have to see the world from low altitude. It's a new perspective for them. Most people's airplane experience is on commercial airliners, and those climb as rapidly as possible to high altitudes because they are terribly inefficient (from a fuel consumption perspective) down low. So most people don't get to watch the ground go by at an altitude where you can actually see the details of what's going on below.

Just a theory anyway. That's why I refer to the 400ft. shots as the "Look Mom, I'm flying!" genre.
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Old 01-02-2021, 04:52 PM   #19
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It'll be a cold day in Hell before the government stops taxing us.




I personally like the high altitude shots, especially when there's mountains or larger bodies of water. Take this shot for example: https://www.railpictures.net/photo/756849/
Don't think it'd be as nice if it were taken from a lower altitude. That said, it is a little overdone with plain scenery.
I'm not much of a pixel-peeper, but the image quality on that one is quite rough, even for a drone.... just my two cents.
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:06 PM   #20
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I found this web site and their videos very helpful in making a decision

https://www.dji.com/mavic-mini
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Old 01-02-2021, 10:49 PM   #21
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I found this web site and their videos very helpful in making a decision

https://www.dji.com/mavic-mini
Thanks pretty slick site. I have kept drones out of my mind but this thread creates some interest. I was recently out in Rainbow Canyon and a little frustrated getting uphill on the steep rocky sides, at 71 it has gotten harder. I didn't mind the climb so much as getting up there and finding I couldn't get the shot I wanted. I could see using the drone to preview a location. Just saving a few wasted hour and half climbs would be worth it. Lack of a burst mode I'd think could be over come as Loyd pointed out with planning.


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Old 01-04-2021, 06:33 PM   #22
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LOL Joe! That's not what they're for. We don't want to stimulate China's economy. It's for necessities of which a drone is not...LOL.
I spent a few days researching the DJI Mini 2. I watched most of the videos on the website I linked above. And then when I was ready to make a decision, I paid on some bills instead of buying a drone. Adulting sucks. I still want a drone
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Old 01-05-2021, 06:05 PM   #23
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I spent a few days researching the DJI Mini 2. I watched most of the videos on the website I linked above. And then when I was ready to make a decision, I paid on some bills instead of buying a drone. Adulting sucks. I still want a drone
You got the bug, only a matter of when, not if.

I remember being on the forum when the drones were a little new and in fun, said I could get one, I could just take photos of yards and get on the front page every day. Little did I know. Smile. 2 out 4 now.

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Old 01-05-2021, 08:20 PM   #24
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I remember being on the forum when the drones were a little new and in fun, said I could get one, I could just take photos of yards and get on the front page every day.

Bob
And when you're done with yards, there's stored locomotives!!! And bikini shots.....without having to look creepy!

Last night, when I was out for my evening walk, I finally thought of a worthwhile project that warrants getting a drone.....and I ain't tellin' what it is.

I should probably add an sUAS certificate to my existing Commercial Certificate. I think that all I would need to do is take the FAA Knowledge Test. At least all of the airspace questions would not be new to me.
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Old 01-07-2021, 12:03 AM   #25
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We don't want to stimulate China's economy.
Too late, Biden has already been elected president.
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