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Video V Photo quality

Warriors 2018

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Hi Guys,

New Mavic Air owner here, based in the UK.

I have previously owned a Phantom 3 pro and I was always really happy with the picture quality that I got from it, however I found that I was using it less and less, due to its size.

I recently sold the Pro and after much deliberation decided to go for a MA, after reading plenty of reviews.

I have had four flights up to now and have been very very impressed with the quality of the video clips, however I find the photos quite flat and soft in comparison.

Have a look at the images below:

Photo (RAW image - f/2.8, ISO100, 1/60s, 4.5mm) unedited image.
Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 15.27.21.png

Video still (camera set at 4K/50fps) unedited.
Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 15.26.38 copy.jpg

I hope it is as clear on your screens as it is on mine. I can see quite a distinct difference between the two. Albeit that they are at slightly different altitudes and angles, the detail in the trees, for example, is much clearer on the bottom image.

Is this to be expected for still images V video, or do I need to work more on my photography!

Thanks for any advice.

Regards Craig.
 

djiboi

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Photos will be better than videos yes as the photos are higher res. Photos are RAW, videos are not.

4056×3040 vs 3840×2160

You also seem to have different exposure levels
 

CanadaDrone

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First, you can't look at RAW images and compare them to video quality. RAW images need to be fully processed, as they have zero sharpening, zero saturation, zero contrast, etc. - unprocessed RAWs will always look soft and very dull. The Mavic Air also does not have RAW video, but shooting in D-Cinelike with -3 contrast, -2 Saturation, and 0 Sharpness will get you about as close as you can get to RAW. You will then need to grade the footage in an editor.

Your first image looks slightly overexposed, your second image looks slightly underexposed, neither of which will help the overall look. Your first image is an unprocessed RAW, your second image is a non-RAW video frame grab that has processing applied to it.

Second, keep in mind this is a very tiny 1/2.3" 12MP sensor - basically what is in a high end smartphone, minus all the fancy image stacking, auto HDR, etc. that our phones do these days. The image quality from those tiny sensors just isn't that good, and they have very poor dynamic range.

If you want to shoot RAW, you need to bring those images into a RAW editor like Photoshop ACR or Lightroom and add tone curves, saturation, sharpness, tweak exposure, etc. If you shoot JPEG, the Mavic will take care of those things for you, and you can adjust those settings in the app. You will have far less processing leeway shooting JPEG, but you get a processed image right away, so that is the trade off.
 

Warriors 2018

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Thanks for the replies guys. So comparing the two, in their current format, is never going to be a fair comparison then?

I am still learning the differences between this camera and the one on my P3P, so more practice is obviously needed. I must admit, with the P3P, I think i may have only ever shot photos in JPEG, which may explain why I was somewhat disappointed with the images on the MA. I will take a few more JPEG+RAW and compare them.

I am going away for a few days in Spain in a couple of weeks and will be taking the MA with me, so hopefully get some good shots out there too.
 

Jameslavis

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Both video and photo are exceptional. You have to choose the right settings. Edit in post or out of the drone clean. I shoot flat and run post in resolve.
 

Kilrah

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Thanks for the replies guys. So comparing the two, in their current format, is never going to be a fair comparison then?
No.
If you wanted a "fair comparison" you should look at the JPG, not the RAW.
The JPG is processed by the camera in a way similar to the video. The RAW is unprocessed so that you can process it to your taste, so an "unedited RAW" is always going to look bad.
 

CanadaDrone

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Thanks for the replies guys. So comparing the two, in their current format, is never going to be a fair comparison then?

I am still learning the differences between this camera and the one on my P3P, so more practice is obviously needed. I must admit, with the P3P, I think i may have only ever shot photos in JPEG, which may explain why I was somewhat disappointed with the images on the MA. I will take a few more JPEG+RAW and compare them.

I am going away for a few days in Spain in a couple of weeks and will be taking the MA with me, so hopefully get some good shots out there too.

Correct. You can never compare an unprocessed RAW with anything other than another unprocessed RAW, or it's not a fair cmparison.

The benefit of shooting RAW is you always have a clean slate to edit (with maximum file malleability), and you can always turn it into a processed JPEG. You can not go backwards from a JPEG and return it to a RAW format - you are stuck with the 'baked in' settings, 8bit color data, lesser dynamic range, etc. but with the right settings you can probably get acceptable images that require zero post processing, which might be an advantage for some.
 

dannybgoode

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Remember also that for *any* photography light is everything. Shoot in flat light, get flat photos. Shoot in the ‘golden hour’ under clear skies and colours just pop naturally. Then everything in between.

The rest of the basics for normal photography apply also; subject matter, composition, exposure etc all help build an interesting photo.

In the UK in particular we often don’t get much choice in light but the same shot from a different angle can make the difference. You can also practice the rest of the basics either with your drone or on hand with any camera.

Don’t forget a good photo is about the photographer and not the equipment. The Mavic Air is more than capable of upholding its side of the bargain.
 
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