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Image Clarity Issues

FiveApples

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Good morning!

So I'm new to the drone scene but purchased a Mavic Air a several weeks ago to add to my photography equipment arsenal. Granted I'm accustomed to shooting with great quality DSLR but the images I'm getting back from my Air is surprisingly poor quality. I'm sure these images will translate well to a medium such as Instagram but they certainly aren't print quality and lack clarity and focus. They look like images from iPhone 4s or prior. The mountaintop photos had some wind so perhaps this contributes? The drone looked quite stable from the remote and looking directly at it when it was close.

Big question - am I doing something wrong or is this just the imaging drones of this pricepoint are able to produce right now? My 4K video looks fantastic so I assume the drone itself is free of issues.

The attached images are directly imported from the drone. I added two taken last week in Italy as an example as well.

I know most of you are veterans of the drone world so I'm appreciative of any advice you can provide.

Cheers!
 

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KelloggKid

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There are a large number of variables that you can set for taking photographs. It would be helpful if you could check your photo settings and let us know how you had the MA set up. Also, are you using internal memory or an SD card? If the later what brand and speed? My MA takes great photos.
 
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melmartin

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Agreed. Many variables. Are you shooting in RAW? You should be. Drone photos can always stand some sharpening, and playing with curves in the editor of your choice.Also try some panoramas to increase resolution. I'm extremely happy with my MPP for still photography. The Air is pretty much comparable. I doubt if you just take JPEGs out of your DSLR you will find them ready for printing or sharing. Same with your Mavic. When you say your are posting pictures directly from your drone it sounds like they are not getting any processing, and if that is the case those are the results I'd expect.

mel
 
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FiveApples

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Thank you for the reply and feedback, @melmartin and @KelloggKid
  • I'm using a SanDisk ExtremePro 128GB V30 card for storage.
  • I always shoot RAW format, Single Shot, toggle between 4:3 and 16:9 with the thought of cropping the 4:3 for a portrait style shot for media optimized for that vs landscape, No adjustments to White Balance, Style, Color. If there's another thread that deals with optimized settings that I've missed please do share. :
  • Most of my shots have been in Automatic. I've had the Air for a month now and it was my first so my control and positioning of the drone has typically been my priority and snapping what I can. Flights have been from some tough places so I'll admit I haven't been about to shoot manual as much. Drone safety was priority 1.
  • These have undergone some editing but the resolution was so far off from what I anticipated that I wanted to pop in here to see what more experienced people were getting results. I haven't posted any images, just uploaded to my iMac for edit/review.
 

melmartin

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Here's a fairly recent shot with my MPP... I was happy with the results... it's a 9 image pano... shot in pretty low light....
No drone will equal a good DSLR, but these photos can be printed to large size and hold up rather well.. of course the original TIF looks better than my compressed JPG on the web.
http://www.azdeepskies.com/_Media/pano0001-pano.jpeg
 

djiboi

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They look good to me for jpg. Add a bit of clarity to your images and i'd be more than happy with them
 

BuffaloAir

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@FiveApples , I also am new to the forum and the Mavic Air. My first experiences with image quality are like yours. The DNG files look less than I was anticipating. I'm considering this camera, for stills, is less than I anticipated. And, converting individual frames from the video is way less than appealing. Maybe $1000 more for the Phantom 4 should have been the choice. But then, again, I'm brand new to this drone photography and maybe working more with the camera settings and ND filters will get me closer to where I'd like the image quality to be.

Sure is great to fly, though. Gimbal seems to perform very well.
 

FiveApples

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@FiveApples , I also am new to the forum and the Mavic Air. My first experiences with image quality are like yours. The DNG files look less than I was anticipating. I'm considering this camera, for stills, is less than I anticipated. And, converting individual frames from the video is way less than appealing. Maybe $1000 more for the Phantom 4 should have been the choice. But then, again, I'm brand new to this drone photography and maybe working more with the camera settings and ND filters will get me closer to where I'd like the image quality to be.

Sure is great to fly, though. Gimbal seems to perform very well.

I couldn't agree more. To be fair it's still early for this sort of tech. I know ten years ago my digital camera was garbage and look how far they have advanced. I fully expect the same with a drone. I tried some more this past weekend and really tried to use all options at our disposal... Tripod Mode, Pano, etc but still poor quality shots. They will suffice for Instagram at this point but to your point, this kind of $ for a 1"x2" digital image for a social network seems. I have 1000 images now and I don't believe I have any shots that are able to be printed any larger than a 5 x 7"... certainly not a 24" or larger. In fact, they all look blurry on my iMac, even after edit, clarity, etc.

Luckily it is a ton of fun to fly and I get a few good shots depending on the light and the work on editing. I certainly wouldn't consider it a waste of money. :)
 

FiveApples

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Here's a fairly recent shot with my MPP... I was happy with the results... it's a 9 image pano... shot in pretty low light....
No drone will equal a good DSLR, but these photos can be printed to large size and hold up rather well.. of course the original TIF looks better than my compressed JPG on the web.
http://www.azdeepskies.com/_Media/pano0001-pano.jpeg

Beautiful shot, @BuffaloAir ! The setting is fantastic and the lighting couldn't have been better. Love it!

Here's a lightly refined full pano from midday near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland last Sunday. It's nothing I'd ever want to print large but fun to test it out.
 

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BuffaloAir

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The attached is about the best quality shot I've gotten. Calm late day, good light, still, like you said not sure how big I could print this.
However, before I'm too vocal, more time needs to be spent on my part getting the most out of the MAVIC Air as I'm able. Definitely need more time with the aircraft and camera.

Like you, not considering it a waste of money.
 

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BuffaloAir

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Beautiful shot, @BuffaloAir ! The setting is fantastic and the lighting couldn't have been better. Love it!

Here's a lightly refined full pano from midday near Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland last Sunday. It's nothing I'd ever want to print large but fun to test it out.

Wow, great subject location, I'll have to play with that Pano.

I haven't tried any of the Intelligent Flight Modes. The Tripod sounds interesting for stills sort of concerned about chance to lose OPT1 and enter ATTI mode.
 

dannybgoode

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I’ve said this on another thread but the basics of drone photography are the same as any other.

Key to any good photo with depth of colour etc is good light and in your shots this is missing. Flat light = flat photos and that is the issue I see here. When you’re working with a camera of fixed focus and fixed aperture this becomes even more important.

Good light, interesting subject, proper composition are what make a good photo and not the camera. The best photographers have been taking sublime images for as long as cameras have been around and cameras were far less capable than what we have.
 

FiveApples

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Wow, great subject location, I'll have to play with that Pano.

I haven't tried any of the Intelligent Flight Modes. The Tripod sounds interesting for stills sort of concerned about chance to lose OPT1 and enter ATTI mode.

Wow, that's a great shot and a beautiful location. In my early shooting I've noticed I get a bit too high and I'm not able to capture all of the elements and at the optimal angle. I guess I just get excited when flying but the lower degree of an angle like you did in your shot, seems to give a much better result too. Thanks for sharing!

I honestly couldn't tell a difference between standard hover and the tripod mode. I think it may have helped a little bit in video mode, however.

Here's a decent shot that came out well from Florence. The sunset timeframe with the sun to my back has been optimal for me thus far but I have some filters on the way for some more tests.

One funny note is that the Swiss are allowed to shoot drones down if they feel it's in their 'personal space'. No issues yet though. :)
 

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FiveApples

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I’ve said this on another thread but the basics of drone photography are the same as any other.

Key to any good photo with depth of colour etc is good light and in your shots this is missing. Flat light = flat photos and that is the issue I see here. When you’re working with a camera of fixed focus and fixed aperture this becomes even more important.

Good light, interesting subject, proper composition are what make a good photo and not the camera. The best photographers have been taking sublime images for as long as cameras have been around and cameras were far less capable than what we have.
I’ve said this on another thread but the basics of drone photography are the same as any other.

Key to any good photo with depth of colour etc is good light and in your shots this is missing. Flat light = flat photos and that is the issue I see here. When you’re working with a camera of fixed focus and fixed aperture this becomes even more important.

Good light, interesting subject, proper composition are what make a good photo and not the camera. The best photographers have been taking sublime images for as long as cameras have been around and cameras were far less capable than what we have.

I agree with most of what you are saying. I do. I'm having some issues in times of good light as well which is why I was seeking tips or just if I was doing something wrong. Yes, I'm new to the drone game and upon reviewing images I can tell I'm shooting too high in some cases, poor lighting in others, and have clearly made some shots too early (I can tell the drone hasn't settled into a balanced hover) but I still get clarity issues on the ones I'm carefully trying to compose. I'm typically editing Leica images so perhaps it's just that this is the clarity I can espect out of it.

Like I said earlier, I don't feel it was a loss of money though because it's fun to use, I get some good shots out that are viable for certain social media platforms, and after learning more and more, I can upgrade the drone as they advance.

Thanks for the thoughts! :)
 

BuffaloAir

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@FiveApples great image of Florence. I was there years ago, I like this perspective. @dannybgoode good thoughts, and advice, but no matter how you look at it, it seems the sensor/lens on the MAVIC Air does not produce sharp, detailed still images many photographers and their clients are looking for. It's just not there. I bet the bigger sensor/lens on the Phantom 4 would produce better images. None the less, really like the drone and I probably would not get some of the images I will get if I didn't have the easily traveled, compact, great flying MAVIC Air.
 

dannybgoode

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@VooDooZG - you very neatly illustrate my point about light and composition. Nice shots.

Any camera is capable of taking excellent photos. You just have to know how to work it to get the best out of it.
 
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FiveApples

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Air is a very capable small technological jewel

8 by Davor Vojvoda

3 by Davor Vojvoda

1 by Davor Vojvoda

100 by Davor Vojvoda

Absolutely fantastic shots, Davor! Thanks for the feedback! I replaced my props and went into Bourgogne last week. My AIR was attacked by birds on my initial launch in Lucca (gulls protecting a local nest). I actually gained better clarity this run and wonder if I had an imbalance creating a bit of a blur. On your last shot were you filtered and on a 4:3? Attached are my Panos after some adjustment. I had fun working with these and some other shots on this trip! Cheers, mate.
 

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