Castle Cameras is an Aladdin’s cave of various cameras, scopes, bags and accessories. Amongst all the electronic gear (of which Canon is my camera of choice) are the drones. They open up a new avenue for the budding aerial photographer. It is a great item for beginners and professionals alike.
Having not had a chance to test the DJI out or seen it in action, I thought it was about time I had a play around and see what all the fuss was about! Russell has had a lot of experience with the DJI Mavic Pro, so I got him to show me the basics. Below, you will find my review, with a few hiccups along the way!
The first thing to do is download the DJI app. This was very simple to do. I would suggest having WiFi access as it takes slightly longer than normal and you don’t want to use all your data to download the app. Once this is up and running, its time to fit the DJI together! I won’t go through the ins and outs of this, but as a general rule make sure you take time to slowly and securely fit everything together, as once its up in the air there is nothing you can do about it (more on this story below!)
I have an iPhone SE that didn’t seem to fit very well in the controller; however once it was in I was confident it wasn’t going anywhere (even though it didn’t look like it!)
To turn the controller and drone on and off, you need to hit the power button, then again for 5 seconds. This is in the comprehensive instruction book, but anything I can tell you to make your life easier with the DJI is always a good thing!
TIME TO FLY.
I was a bit unsure about flying a £1099 drone when I never have before, so Russell offered to go through the basics with me before going solo! I popped the propellers on and laid it on the ground ready for its first flight with me at the helm! This is when the “fun” started! I had failed to check all propellers were secure, so when the drone tried to lift off, one of the propellers flew off! The drone (powerful little device that it is) still flew and proceeded to spin uncontrollably through the air making its way towards a brick wall!
Russell being the heroic gentleman he is, ran towards the drone and caught it in mid air. (I would not advise doing this. Although it has made for a funny story and Russ is fine, it could have been a lot worse) He has his battle scar now. The true testament of a man! Moral of the story, double and triple check the propellers. If in any doubt, get someone else to check it!
Russ then put the drone in beginner mode ☹
ON MY OWN.
Russ fit the propellers on for me and I took it home! I live by a big field so this was the perfect place for someone who is slightly nervous (after almost dismembering her colleague!) I was impressed at the height and speed it could go (after I disabled beginner mode – sorry Russ!) and my husband had a great time zooming about all over the place. I can see how easy it would be to become engrossed in the videos or photos you were taking when watching the controller screen and forget about where the drone is headed. You do have to be extremely careful of trees, buildings, animals and other people when flying. It did take a little bit of the fun out of it for me, but (as always) safety first and as you get more used to the DJI the more relaxed you become. As I went higher with the drone, I saw a beautiful sunset that I never would have seen otherwise.
I was a bit apprehensive of other people in the field as you can never be too sure about what they may think. The DJI Mavic is loud when it flies and not easy to ignore. I have been reliably informed that it is incredibly quiet compared to other drones. This is something I have not had experience with, having only ever flown one drone so far, so I am going by my experience as a complete beginner! Transporting it was painless. It’s very light and I carried it in one hand. The controller can fit in a large pocket.
This is by no means a definitive review. Having only tried the camera out once it would not be fair to judge based on my limited skills. However, I can appreciate the immense capabilities of drones, the new dimensions that have now opened up to the average Joe (that could only ever be achieved by professional photographers in helicopters!) It was a lot of fun (once I got over my fear!) I will be sure to take it out again and practice with a few more fun videos! Watch this space.
Please see below for a lovely selection of Russell’s photos taken on the DJI Mavic Pro. With a bit of practice you can achieve beautiful shots like this!