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Air 3 Photo Capture Delay Issues

WSOR_3807

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Hello,


I recently purchased a DJI Air 3, my first new drone since the DJI Phantom 4 Advanced that I bought about 5 years ago and have flown for about 500 flights.

I purchased the Air 3 with the RC-N2 remote as part of a Flymore combo.

I mostly use my drone for shooting photos of moving subjects (vehicles at speed), and so for me a relatively fast single-frame rate "cycle time" (how quickly I can click the shutter and capture another photo), as well as accuracy of knowing where a subject is located when pressing the shutter button is important.

In testing I have been disappointed to experience some significant lag in the photo capture with the Air 3, and I wanted to see if my experience is just me, or if this is a common issue with not only the Air 3 but perhaps other Air series and Mavic series too?

With my Phantom 4 Advanced, shooting full size RAW+JPEG, and using the standard remote it came with I am able to capture photos what seems like almost instantaneous time compared to what I am seeing on the app video screen. I can snap off multiple individual frames with presses of the shutter button without experiencing any "buffering" issues - even if the photo is still saving it will capture another frame.

With the Air3 and RC-N2 remote, when I press the shutter on a 48MP photo or even a 12 MP single shot photo, it takes what seems like almost a full second for a "cycle" before I can capture another photo. I have been recording directly to the drone internal storage in these tests so it would seem that the SD card save rate would not be effecting these results? The 3-5-7 "burst" frame option is very "rigid" in the time and is almost too quick - I don't need photos that rapid, but I want to capture maybe 3 frames in 2 seconds most time, then another 2-3 frames a few seconds later, and at moments I choose. The long "cycle time" seems to occur no matter what mode I'm in - whether capturing a 12 MP JPEG or a 48 MP RAW+JPEG (though it's slightly less with just the JPEG of course). What's interesting is that the pre-programmed "burst mode" can capture a series of frames very quickly, it would seem I should be able to individually choose when to capture shots on a similar rapid rate as that must mean the "buffer" can keep up?

I also noticed that when I click the shutter button, there is enough of a delay that the image I am seeing on the controller when it freezes like it's taking a photo (which since I use the RC-N2 is on my phone screen) is different from what I get when I actually look at the photo file later - a moving subject was clearly captured somewhere around 0.5-1 seconds later than I was seeing. I've tried all different settings to try to minimize this; switching to manual focus to try to avoid the delay there, trying the lowest 12 mp resolution only, only saving to internal storage, etc.

My questions I am hoping someone can help with:
- Can anyone with the RC2 controller (with screen) confirm if these issues with delay in "viewed image vs captured image" and "cycle time" for the ability to capture a second image also exist with the RC2? If the problem is the lesser RC-N2 remote and these do not exist or are far better with the RC2, I would consider upgrading, though that would still be disappointing.
- For the photo "cycle time" - should I be able to individually capture multiple single shots without having to wait for the first to save, or is there anything I'm doing wrong that keeps me from capturing multiple frames outside of "burst mode"? Any hope of this improving with a Firmware update?
- Do higher-level drones like the Mavic 3 or M3P also have these delay issues? Would I get this same experience even with the Mavic series? I'm just a hobbyist so the Mavic Cine is out of my price range, and even the Mavic 3 is hard to justify. I found a thread on another forum from 2021 describing similar issues, and I wondered if that's still the case or not: Mavic 3 shutter lag

Overall these issues are a big disappointment coming from an older model drone in the Phantom 4 Advanced that appears to be far superior in these features (though obviously there are some other good feature upgrades). I know the Phantoms had a mechanical shutter as opposed to the digital shutter, but it's still disappointing.

I am strongly considering returning the Air3 if these issues are really just a reality of this series, but if it's the same with the Mavic 3 series well then it probably just is what it is for what I can afford. I like the added Zoom Lens of the Air3, but have been disappointed with these other issues.

Thanks,
Noah Hofrichter
 
As I read it: you noticed this lag first when using 48mp mode. Even with the mini 3 pro this is normal, there is a couple of seconds wait while the image is 'processed' before the shutter button becomes available once more. I think this is down to the amount of data being shunted from the processor to the microSD card. I use high write rate microSD's and it makes no difference.
Luckily, what I photograph doesn't shift around much, so this processing lag doesn't affect the outcome. I have to admit that it is both surprising and irritating, but par for the course. Even the Sigma Foveon X3/X4 sensor cameras (the closest a digital sensor is ever likely to get to being as good as an analogue capture medium) are not 'fast' cameras... for exactly the same reason.
Unless a drone manufacturer produces a gimbal camera that has a mechanical shutter in front of a true global sensor: we are stuck with what we've got, which is still a quantum leap ahead of what was available a decade ago
 
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I am experiencing this issue on the Air 3 as well and it it very frustrating.

After taking a single shot, the camera shutter button icon "spins" for somewhere between 1-3 seconds before it stops and allows the next shot to be taken. I very often want to take multiple shots in quick succession and it is not possible with this drone. Yes, I understand that the drone has a burst mode but that is not the same thing. I do not want 3-5 images taken simultaneously. I want to be able to take shots whenever I press the shutter button and do not want to wait 3 seconds in between shots for the camera to become responsive.

I have never experienced this camera lag with the Mavic pro, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 3 or even with the still camera on the Avata for goodness sake!
 
If you have the camera settings set to 48 MP it takes longer to write to the card. It is important to use an SD card that has speed writing capabilities
 
I am experiencing this issue on the Air 3 as well and it it very frustrating.

After taking a single shot, the camera shutter button icon "spins" for somewhere between 1-3 seconds before it stops and allows the next shot to be taken. I very often want to take multiple shots in quick succession and it is not possible with this drone. Yes, I understand that the drone has a burst mode but that is not the same thing. I do not want 3-5 images taken simultaneously. I want to be able to take shots whenever I press the shutter button and do not want to wait 3 seconds in between shots for the camera to become responsive.

I have never experienced this camera lag with the Mavic pro, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 3 or even with the still camera on the Avata for goodness sake!
Thanks for the reply even though it sounds like you're finding the same problem - at least it's nice to know that someone else shares my frustration....

It's especially interesting to me that you never experienced this with the other Mavics you listed - that was part of what I was wondering. I had come to accept that this was just how the more modern DJI products work (compared to my older Phantom 4). On the phantom 4 you could still click away via the shutter button even while the button icon was "spinning" and get more frames to record. Since as you noted it works in burst mode for 3-7 frames in such a short time it sure feels like DJI should be able to fix this issue with a firmware update at some point - at least I hope so.

Our of curiosity which remote are you using - the RC2 with built-in screen, or the RC-N2 without the screen? I wondered if it was isolated to the N2 and using a separate device for the screen and app, or if this is a problem even with the RC2 too.

For what it's worth, I also posted this question over on the DJI forums and got a canned response that led to me creating some screen recordings and a detailed analysis of my issue. I assume your issue looks a lot like the items I posted over there (link in this quote below):


I never got a reply from the DJI person on that thread - I will ask about it over there and see if I can get a response from DJI on this issue again...
 
If you have the camera settings set to 48 MP it takes longer to write to the card. It is important to use an SD card that has speed writing capabilities
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I did try to isolate for this - I am experiencing the noted delay issues even if I record directly to the internal storage of the Air 3, so it shouldn't matter at that point what SD card is being used (I think?). I also do have at least one hi-rate SD card that I tried as well and I didn't see a big difference compared to the internal storage. The issue is still present either way.
 
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