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How to determine the right ND filter at forhand?


New Member
Dec 4, 2017
Sorry if this question is already somewhere on the forum as I couldn't find it.

All know about the fps and shutter speed and the use of ND filters to get the right shutter speed. But what is the best way to determine the right filter before bringing the bird up in the sky?
Genuine answer .. Look around where you are for light / clouds etc .. Theres apps also available for these issues
Short answer: That is almost impossible.

To get close, you can hand hold the Mavic and point it in the general direction of your subject matter.

Unfortunately everything changes once you’re airborne. The angle relative to the landscape and lighting changes, as do the amount of sky vs foreground.

Unless you are doing planned cinematic scenes, you will also probably be turning and constantly changing the lighted content.

Eventually you will get pretty good at estimating beforehand but after 40 years of photo/video I still get it wrong and need to land and change.

You're on the right track though... setting everything on auto and going with it is the easiest way out, but not the best way.

If you want stellar footage it takes some effort!
Last edited:
I just set my frame rate and shutter speed although tbh these usually stay the same and point the camera at the brightest part of the location whilst obviously avoiding the sun and then look at the histogram in the app. I have also got the zebra stripes on but they can be alarming and sometimes hard to get rid of completely. In my experience I nearly always end up with a 16 or 32 and usually the 32 (also polarised). I should point out that although I am a keen amateur photographer I am a new Mavic owner with only a couple of dozen flights under my belt so others might be better qualified to advise you.
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Thnx all! You acknowledge what I was "afraid" off: no simple answer or simple solution for this problem. As @Robert Mitchell explains is the way I do it now as well: point in the direction you want to film, decides which filter is best and then go up in the air. And then again as he explaines, everything changes when you;re up in the air. And even more when you're turning around. Thnx for the answers.

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