Noise vs Zoom / Image Quality ?

Discussion in 'Aerial and Drone' started by WAngell, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. We are starting a new house build this week and I'm thinking it's time for a drone to document the build and maybe to use for inspecting some places (great builder so not too worried, but stuff does sometimes get missed).

    I really really hate the annoying buzz of other peoples drones and I'm sure the workers wouldn't be too appreciative so noise is important. From that standpoint a DJI Mavic Pro Platinum seems the ticket. It has also shown to be smoother hovering than the Phantom 4.

    The Phantom 4 is louder but has higher resolution (20mp vs 12mp) and generally better image quality. It's a bit wider FoV @ 26mm (35mm equiv) vs 24mm equiv on the Platinum. Theoretically the Phantom could hover farther away to reduce noise and then the I could crop the image and, theoretically, end up with better image quality. Given the wider FoV though, by the time I get far enough away for the noise to be better a cropped image of the same shot may not be so great. And then there's the takeoff/landing noise.

    The Phantom 4 also has a better remote than the Mavic with more precise gimbal control.

    Any thoughts from anyone on this?
  2. A construction site is not a quiet park, don't over think the noise.
    Many times a construction site is noisy, like pounding with a hammer, or a power saw cutting wood, that the drone is quiet in comparison.

    As long as the construction foreman and the crew are aware of the drone, it should not be an issue.
    And you are only flying it for a few minutes, not hours.

    SAFETY, do NOT fly over or near people. That is also an FAA safety item.
    If it is windy in the least, you need to consider how much the wind will carry the drone if it loses power and crashes.
  3. Thanks Gary.

    I also just learned that the Mavic is fixed f2.2, no aperture adjustment. Ugh.
  4. Shouldn't make much difference. The exposure is probably software gain controlled.
    And f/2.2 on a WIDE lens will probably have 10ft to infinity in focus.
  5. Hadn't thought about software gain control. How effective can that be given the already limited dynamic range of sensors?

    With rumors of a Phantom 5 and possibly a Mavic 2 coming in the next few months I'm thinking that the Platinum is the way to go. It will be $400 less expensive up front and quieter. If I then decide to upgrade later this summer then I should lose less on it than a Phantom 4.

    I think even with nailers and other noise on the site that a buzzing drone would still be annoying - to workers and neighbors. I'm also planning to do a bunch of shots in the evening after workers are gone so noise is a concern then as well. We are on a lake and neighbors on both sides will likely be out on their docks when I'm shooting.

    Mostly totally new to drones so should be an adventure.
  6. SCL


    I'd personally check with neighbors re noise concerns, as well as local municipal ordinances regarding drone usage. You don't want to be annoying neighbors, who may remember you, ALWAYS, and to others, as the asshole who disrupted the quiet of the neighborhood because you insisted on using a drone.
  7. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    When my present house was built I took hundreds of photos with several cameras - no drones then in common use. Didn't miss much, though I had the advantage of high ground nearby. You could probably do as well with a large A Frame ladder - we used one to check the views when orienting the house footprint. Cheaper, too.
  8. I've shot a few photos and a couple of video's this week. A lot to learn yet. Once this weekends snow clears out I'm hoping to spend some time planing with some waypoints apps like Autopilot and Litchi.

    Hadn't thought about using a drone for simulating views. Great idea. I'll have to do that early next week.
  9. I took some simulated views early on for my wife and this past week we finally got to stand in that spot in the new build. I was high by a few feet w/ the drone but fairly close. Great idea to do that!

    BTW, MPP has worked quite well overall. My biggest issue is lack of dynamic range. Shooting a lot of stuff during the middle of the day when folks are working so a lot of harsh light and deep shadows. I've a Mavic 2 sort of on order and hoping that it has a bit better dynamic range.
  10. The FAA claims to preempt all local ordinances with regard to aircraft, including drones. You can be cited for noise, endangerment or intrusion on privacy, but only on the same basis as every other activity. This is still working through the courts, so be discrete.

    A small drone, like a DJI Mavic, is not very noisy, and there are 3rd party "quiet" rotors which make even less noise. You can hear it, but the sound is negligible beyond about 30 feet or so. It's hard to even see at that distance. In all likelihood you're not going to peek into windows. For a construction project, you are probably interested in an overview, so the main advantage of a drone is height.

    A Mavic will hold against a substantial wind velocity, and automatically return home if the battery runs low or communication is interrupted. Short of a collision, they are likely to stay airborne and functional. The latest version, not yet released, is supposed to have better collision avoidance. Flying through trees and overhead cables is not recommended. Wires may not trigger the collision avoidance response.

    The Mavic has an HDR still mode, which is quite effective.

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