Still photographers: Advice please?

Joined
Nov 21, 2016
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Age
52
Location
Javea, Spain
Hello all! I just joined the forum, and spent some time searching for information about the quality of still images from the P3/P4 drones. There seems to be a number of recurring issues with image quality, particularly "softness" (focus issues) in the center of still images.

I do not currently own a drone, but am planning to buy a P3 Advanced for use with aerial stills for a specific project. But I will require fairly high quality images. Softness in the center of the frame would be... a problem. Most of the images will be printed - A4 size (standard page size) but some might be as large as A3 (two page spread.)

NOTE: I do not envision using the drone for video. Or at least, not much, anyway. I specifically needs aerial stills for a specific project.

I am an accomplished still photographer, so I kinda know what I'm doing with settings and so forth, but I also know the Phantoms still use a very small sensor and a budget lens (compared to current still camera technology), so I am not getting my hopes overly high. I think I have reasonable expectations. I was hoping the possible final image quality would be similar to that of a small, modern point-and-shoot camera. But if I take my time and do my work correctly, I can get VERY good results with a small point-and-shoot. I can even get good results with a GoPro Hero 5 at 12mp (although the super wide-angle lens produces all sorts of needless hassles...)

Are there any accomplished still photographers here who could maybe chime in and let me know what your experiences have been using the P3 for stills? Is it simply the wrong platform if I need good, printable A3 and A4 files without extensive digital sharpening and such? If so, is there a better flying camera for stills that won't break the bank?

Sorry to ramble so much in my first post, but any insight would be helpful.
 

alokbhargava

Premium Pilot
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Messages
6,943
Reaction score
2,323
Location
San Francisco, CA
My first question: what resolution is considered good for A3 sized printed pics?

My eyes are not that sharp but I get good stills with this tiny 12 mp camera. P4P seems to have much better camera with 20 mp sensor and bigger lens. I don't usually print my pics but view on Mac or on 4K TV.


Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
 
Joined
Nov 25, 2015
Messages
294
Reaction score
85
Location
Grimsby, Ontario, Canada
I do a lot of stills and find the quality to be fairly good, you might have higher expectations for the kind of work you are doing.
I do tend to do a little post-production editing to get rid of noise and bring the colour up.
On the other hand its not as good as my Nikon DSLR


Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2016
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Age
52
Location
Javea, Spain
My first question: what resolution is considered good for A3 sized printed pics?
Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
Resolution is a tricky business. One 12mp isn't the same as another 12mp. The size of the sensor and the optical refinement of the lens make a huge difference. So, for example, a GoPro hero 5 Black (at 12mp) wouldn't shoot anywhere near as good stills as a Fujifilm X100, also 12mp. A $5000 Nikon D4 is only 16mp, even though it's one of their standard-bearer professional DSLR's, and Nikon's entry-level DSLR is 24.5mp... So it's a tough question to answer.

Does the P4P have a 20mp sensor?! I thought it was also 12mp...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Numone
Joined
Nov 21, 2016
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Age
52
Location
Javea, Spain
I do a lot of stills and find the quality to be fairly good, you might have higher expectations for the kind of work you are doing. I do tend to do a little post-production editing to get rid of noise and bring the colour up.
On the other hand its not as good as my Nikon DSLR Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots
Some work in post is no problem. I expect to do some work in post on pretty much anything I shoot, so that's not a problem. But if you shoot a lot of stills and are happy with the resulting files, that's the kind of feedback I'm looking for. Thank you!
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2015
Messages
1,467
Reaction score
387
Age
38
I had lens issues with my P3P and P4, both times after sending them in for warranty repair they just replaced the whole bird and the shots were super crisp. That said you may want to consider the new Phantom 4 pro, it has a 1" cmos sensor the Sony xmor R I think, it supposedly does really good in low light and the phantom 4 pro has the tap to focus system like an iPhone


Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lefty63

alokbhargava

Premium Pilot
Joined
Sep 28, 2015
Messages
6,943
Reaction score
2,323
Location
San Francisco, CA
Resolution is a tricky business. One 12mp isn't the same as another 12mp. The size of the sensor and the optical refinement of the lens make a huge difference. So, for example, a GoPro hero 5 Black (at 12mp) wouldn't shoot anywhere near as good stills as a Fujifilm X100, also 12mp. A $5000 Nikon D4 is only 16mp, even though it's one of their standard-bearer professional DSLR's, and Nikon's entry-level DSLR is 24.5mp... So it's a tough question to answer.

Does the P4P have a 20mp sensor?! I thought it was also 12mp...
Resolution with pallet size of the sensor and camera lens quality are two totally different aspects. As the print size increases, we need higher resolution digital pictures. The quality of the content that goes into each picture definitely depends on lens and other controls.

Yes P4P will have 20mp sensor.


Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2016
Messages
9
Reaction score
2
Age
52
Location
Javea, Spain
Resolution with pallet size of the sensor and camera lens quality are two totally different aspects. As the print size increases, we need higher resolution digital pictures. The quality of the content that goes into each picture definitely depends on lens and other controls. Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
Yes, that's my point. Resolution in its own right is largely unimportant. It's a great marketing number - like 0-60 times in a car - but means little in terms of final image quality. (Above a certain point, of course.) That said, assuming the lenses are essentially similar, the larger sensor of the P4P seems like it might be a good investment for me.

Until I crash it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Numone
Joined
Oct 25, 2015
Messages
1,467
Reaction score
387
Age
38
Yes, that's my point. Resolution in its own right is largely unimportant. It's a great marketing number - like 0-60 times in a car - but means little in terms of final image quality. (Above a certain point, of course.) That said, assuming the lenses are essentially similar, the larger sensor of the P4P seems like it might be a good investment for me.

Until I crash it.
in my opinion the biggest reason people have "fly aways" or crash their Phantoms are easily explainable.

1. "fly aways" happen when gps signal is lost and the phantom starts to drift. This has never happned to me but I have seen it happen. To be ready for this you should practice (while flying higher than any obstacle) and switch the remote into atti mode. You will start to drift, you can fly it home based on your line of site, if you turn the sticks left and the Phantom goes right it is flying toward you etc, or you can watch the mini map in DJI Go.

2. People often think flying low=flying safe, not safe for your Phantom though. If you are a newb just take off and fly high enough to clear any obstacles and just practice flying around on a two dimensional plane.

3. Also read the manual, and the battery safety booklet

4. Re-read the manual again, and again, and have a pdf copy saved on your phone

5. Research local laws and safety guidelines

6. Take pictures and have fun!
 
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
1,095
Reaction score
346
Age
66
Location
Aiken, SC, USA
Yeah, mine is on order...
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
7,844
Reaction score
3,112
Location
Australia
As an accomplished photographer you should get some confidence from the simple final printed resolution numbers (ie 230+ DPI on the long side of an A3 print).

It is a bigger story than this however. High end smart phones pull the pants down on the P3 imaging system (the sensor is employed in several smart phones). The optics are ordinary in comparison. This may be suprising to hear given the physical size of the lens assay on the phantom (compared to a phone). Reality is it is large to provide for the 94deg FOV. Little or no optical coatings, poor tolerances and seemingly low grade elements. Wider lenses in general lack sharpness (compared to more "standard' FOV optics). I have a decade old Leica 50mm that significant outperforms any of my canon L series and most of the zeiss glass I own).

And then we have the most important consideration. I can't get my SLRs or phones for that matter in the air as conveniently as I can set up and fly the phantom. The compositions you will get may outright technical merits of the prints a secondary consideration.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sensh and Numone
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
2,513
Reaction score
815
Location
Surrey, England
I've checked my pics at normal and so-called "HD" and I personally, I haven't found any real "softness" or anything else for that matter, that you'd notice on an A3 print, let alone an A4. Also, what method of print will you be using?
 

Meta4

Moderator
Staff Member
Premium Pilot
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
14,506
Reaction score
8,523
I do not currently own a drone, but am planning to buy a P3 Advanced for use with aerial stills for a specific project. But I will require fairly high quality images. Softness in the center of the frame would be... a problem. Most of the images will be printed - A4 size (standard page size) but some might be as large as A3 (two page spread.)
You can easily get good images for A4 printing from the P3 series and with care they may stretch to A3.
Here are some examples of what can be achieved with the P3 Advanced: Aerial Photography
Many of those are stitched panoramas but if you check the Shipping gallery, those are single frame images.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
2,513
Reaction score
815
Location
Surrey, England
You can easily get good images for A4 printing from the P3 series and with care they may stretch to A3.
Here are some examples of what can be achieved with the P3 Advanced: Aerial Photography
Many of those are stitched panoramas but if you check the Shipping gallery, those are single frame images.
Beautiful... well done! I think you've made (and closed) the case... in this case!
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
7,844
Reaction score
3,112
Location
Australia
in my opinion the biggest reason people have "fly aways" or crash their Phantoms are easily explainable.

1. "fly aways" happen when gps signal is lost and the phantom starts to drift. This has never happned to me but I have seen it happen. To be ready for this you should practice (while flying higher than any obstacle) and switch the remote into atti mode. You will start to drift, you can fly it home based on your line of site, if you turn the sticks left and the Phantom goes right it is flying toward you etc, or you can watch the mini map in DJI Go.

2. People often think flying low=flying safe, not safe for your Phantom though. If you are a newb just take off and fly high enough to clear any obstacles and just practice flying around on a two dimensional plane.

3. Also read the manual, and the battery safety booklet

4. Re-read the manual again, and again, and have a pdf copy saved on your phone

5. Research local laws and safety guidelines

6. Take pictures and have fun!
Did you end up posting this in the right thread?
 

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
139,533
Messages
1,439,505
Members
101,331
Latest member
bryan.hivemapper