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Drones have Nearly Supplanted my Sony for Still Photos


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My love of landscape and architectural photography continues, but with a camera drone rather than a Sony A7Riv. The Sony still takes stunning photos, but with roads overgrow with trees and shrubs, it's hard to capture what one only sees occasionally through the ubiquitous cover. I'm of an age which makes hiking more than 100 yards with gear a challenge. A drone constitutes my exaggerated tripod, whether 15' or 150', placing new perspective on landscapes and buildings.

I still fly my DJI Air 2S. Its 1", 20 MP sensor does a great job. I recently acquired a DJI Air 4 Pro, with a slightly smaller (1/1.3) sensor, but with 48 MP. Both take 14 bit, DNG raw files, with an excellent dynamic range. The Air 4 Pro is under the 250 gram limit, and can be used in most places, including Europe, without special licensing.  It is also much quieter, roughly 62 dB at 5'. Above 30', it is virtually inaudible. The 4 Pro has all-way obstacle sensing and avoidance. In addition to the standard controller (DC 2 with screen, N2 with cell phone bracket), it is also compatible with the new Goggles 3 and new one-hand Motion 3 controller. I addition to the exhilarating sense of being in the cockpit, goggles make it easy to see wires and leafless branches, the nemesis of free flight. Either the two stick DC and Motion controller can be used with goggles.

It may seem strange, but I'm learning to enjoy flying the drone and shooting video with it. Setting up a shot, and moving smoothly with control is challenging. My professional life is increasingly centered on multi-camera video, strictly land based. However. I treat video as studio composition with "benefit" of the time dimension. I have no financial interest in drone flying in general, nor DJI in particular. DJI drones have features I find useful. I hope to share the reasons for my choices.
 

DJI_20240613190900_0061_D_AuroraHDR2018-edit.jpg

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Nice photo Ed.  I can't count the times over the decades that I would be in front of my subject, stop, look around, and say to myself, 'I need to climb up on something'.

A drone certainly fills the bill.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There's no noticeable distortion, but some. The camera was pointed slightly downward, otherwise the horizon would be in the center. Managing perspective is one of the advantages of drone photography, but pales compared to the ability to manage the background and overcome ground level interference.

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