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Waypoint camera action limitations on photo shooting modes (M3 and M3 Pro)?

dar1

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I tried a few waypoint missions with my Mavic 3 Pro recently (and I think questions 1 and 3 below would also apply to regular Mavic 3). I encountered a few surprises on shooting modes that did not work. Wondering if these actions are simply unsupported or if there is something else going on. I'm using the RC Pro controller, and I planned the mission in advance offline in the Fly app. I'm using the latest firmware for the RC Pro and the M3 Pro, and also the latest Fly app version, as of July 1, 2023.

1) Ran a pre-defined mission which was set to take photos at various waypoints (via "take photo" camera action). Prior to starting the mission, I set the mode to Photo, with Automated Exposure Bracketing (AEB) selected (5 shots), with RAW+JPEG selected. So, I expected the camera to take a rapid 5 shot AEB series for each of the "take photo" actions assigned to the waypoints (as would happen if I manually pressed the snapshot button). The waypoint mission ran fine generally, and did take the photos at the proper points, but AEB was NOT used --- instead it automatically turned AEB off and just took regular single-shot photos. I tried multiple times and even tried turning AEB back on between wayoints but each time it was deactivated by the waypoints and just regular shots were taken. Note that I had 5 second hover periods assigned to each of the photo waypoints to allow plenty of time for the AEB shots to be completed.
So, is this a known limitation that only single shot photos can be taken?
And, as a workaround, would a waypoint hover setting allow me to take the shot manually and have the AEB 5-shot mode actually work?

2) Ran two other waypoint mission for videos, one video mission with the main Hasselblad camera at 1X, and one using the medium 70mm telephoto at 3X (this question is unique to M3 Pro, but could also relate to using the tele on M3). The same mission was run for both, the only difference was that prior to each mission I manually selected the 1X or 3X camera, respectively. An early waypoint was used to "start recording" and the final waypoint was used to "stop recording". First mission ran fine with the 1X camera, as expected. Second mission ran OK except that when video recording was started by the waypoint, the camera setting reverted automatically from the 3x tele camera setting back to the 1x main camera, so the entire recording was on the main camera, just like the first mission.
So, again, is this a limitation where waypoints can only use the main Hasselblad camera for videos and cannot use the 70mm tele camera for videos?
And, as a workaround, could I start recording with the medium 70mm tele (or the 170 tele for that matter) PRIOR to starting the mission, and then start the mission and expect that camera to be used throughout (in this case I would remove the start and stop recording actions from the waypoints)?
Note: I'm not interested in digital zoom here as I know that can be set using the waypoint zoom setting -- my question is about using medium tele instead of the main wide camera for waypoint recording actions.

3) Extra question (which I have not yet tried but would like to confirm): I'm assuming that there is no automatic way to combine automated photo camera actions with automated start/stop video actions in the same mission, simply because the waypoints can only take action on the camera mode that was selected manually prior to starting the mission (ie photo or video) -- correct? Or, are waypoint actions capable of switching the mode automatically -- eg, if initially set to photo mode, but the "start record" action is used, would that action cause video mode to be entered? I'm pretty sure not, but would like to verify that there is no way to do this.


Thanks.
 
I rarely use waypoints, prefer to fly manually but I don’t think the drone stops to take the photographs, doesn’t it just stay in motion in the same way it captures video? In which case AEB would make no sense, you’d get 5 different eye points.
 
I tried a few waypoint missions with my Mavic 3 Pro recently (and I think questions 1 and 3 below would also apply to regular Mavic 3). I encountered a few surprises on shooting modes that did not work. Wondering if these actions are simply unsupported or if there is something else going on. I'm using the RC Pro controller, and I planned the mission in advance offline in the Fly app. I'm using the latest firmware for the RC Pro and the M3 Pro, and also the latest Fly app version, as of July 1, 2023.

1) Ran a pre-defined mission which was set to take photos at various waypoints (via "take photo" camera action). Prior to starting the mission, I set the mode to Photo, with Automated Exposure Bracketing (AEB) selected (5 shots), with RAW+JPEG selected. So, I expected the camera to take a rapid 5 shot AEB series for each of the "take photo" actions assigned to the waypoints (as would happen if I manually pressed the snapshot button). The waypoint mission ran fine generally, and did take the photos at the proper points, but AEB was NOT used --- instead it automatically turned AEB off and just took regular single-shot photos. I tried multiple times and even tried turning AEB back on between wayoints but each time it was deactivated by the waypoints and just regular shots were taken. Note that I had 5 second hover periods assigned to each of the photo waypoints to allow plenty of time for the AEB shots to be completed.
So, is this a known limitation that only single shot photos can be taken?
And, as a workaround, would a waypoint hover setting allow me to take the shot manually and have the AEB 5-shot mode actually work?

2) Ran two other waypoint mission for videos, one video mission with the main Hasselblad camera at 1X, and one using the medium 70mm telephoto at 3X (this question is unique to M3 Pro, but could also relate to using the tele on M3). The same mission was run for both, the only difference was that prior to each mission I manually selected the 1X or 3X camera, respectively. An early waypoint was used to "start recording" and the final waypoint was used to "stop recording". First mission ran fine with the 1X camera, as expected. Second mission ran OK except that when video recording was started by the waypoint, the camera setting reverted automatically from the 3x tele camera setting back to the 1x main camera, so the entire recording was on the main camera, just like the first mission.
So, again, is this a limitation where waypoints can only use the main Hasselblad camera for videos and cannot use the 70mm tele camera for videos?
And, as a workaround, could I start recording with the medium 70mm tele (or the 170 tele for that matter) PRIOR to starting the mission, and then start the mission and expect that camera to be used throughout (in this case I would remove the start and stop recording actions from the waypoints)?
Note: I'm not interested in digital zoom here as I know that can be set using the waypoint zoom setting -- my question is about using medium tele instead of the main wide camera for waypoint recording actions.

3) Extra question (which I have not yet tried but would like to confirm): I'm assuming that there is no automatic way to combine automated photo camera actions with automated start/stop video actions in the same mission, simply because the waypoints can only take action on the camera mode that was selected manually prior to starting the mission (ie photo or video) -- correct? Or, are waypoint actions capable of switching the mode automatically -- eg, if initially set to photo mode, but the "start record" action is used, would that action cause video mode to be entered? I'm pretty sure not, but would like to verify that there is no way to do this.


Thanks.
Well, Sorry, no answer yet, but just want to chime in having exactly the same questions. Maybe DJI should be asked if they plan to have these features in a future version of the firmware ?
 
Well, Sorry, no answer yet, but just want to chime in having exactly the same questions. Maybe DJI should be asked if they plan to have these features in a future version of the firmware ?
Can have those features via dronelink. But they charge extra (as in a higher business plan only) to even have the ability to stop the drone to take pictures and then resume.

Which... Isn't available for non Enterprise mavic 3 anyways due to no SDK support from DJI.
 
I tried a few waypoint missions with my Mavic 3 Pro recently (and I think questions 1 and 3 below would also apply to regular Mavic 3). I encountered a few surprises on shooting modes that did not work. Wondering if these actions are simply unsupported or if there is something else going on. I'm using the RC Pro controller, and I planned the mission in advance offline in the Fly app. I'm using the latest firmware for the RC Pro and the M3 Pro, and also the latest Fly app version, as of July 1, 2023.

1) Ran a pre-defined mission which was set to take photos at various waypoints (via "take photo" camera action). Prior to starting the mission, I set the mode to Photo, with Automated Exposure Bracketing (AEB) selected (5 shots), with RAW+JPEG selected. So, I expected the camera to take a rapid 5 shot AEB series for each of the "take photo" actions assigned to the waypoints (as would happen if I manually pressed the snapshot button). The waypoint mission ran fine generally, and did take the photos at the proper points, but AEB was NOT used --- instead it automatically turned AEB off and just took regular single-shot photos. I tried multiple times and even tried turning AEB back on between wayoints but each time it was deactivated by the waypoints and just regular shots were taken. Note that I had 5 second hover periods assigned to each of the photo waypoints to allow plenty of time for the AEB shots to be completed.
So, is this a known limitation that only single shot photos can be taken?
And, as a workaround, would a waypoint hover setting allow me to take the shot manually and have the AEB 5-shot mode actually work?

2) Ran two other waypoint mission for videos, one video mission with the main Hasselblad camera at 1X, and one using the medium 70mm telephoto at 3X (this question is unique to M3 Pro, but could also relate to using the tele on M3). The same mission was run for both, the only difference was that prior to each mission I manually selected the 1X or 3X camera, respectively. An early waypoint was used to "start recording" and the final waypoint was used to "stop recording". First mission ran fine with the 1X camera, as expected. Second mission ran OK except that when video recording was started by the waypoint, the camera setting reverted automatically from the 3x tele camera setting back to the 1x main camera, so the entire recording was on the main camera, just like the first mission.
So, again, is this a limitation where waypoints can only use the main Hasselblad camera for videos and cannot use the 70mm tele camera for videos?
And, as a workaround, could I start recording with the medium 70mm tele (or the 170 tele for that matter) PRIOR to starting the mission, and then start the mission and expect that camera to be used throughout (in this case I would remove the start and stop recording actions from the waypoints)?
Note: I'm not interested in digital zoom here as I know that can be set using the waypoint zoom setting -- my question is about using medium tele instead of the main wide camera for waypoint recording actions.

3) Extra question (which I have not yet tried but would like to confirm): I'm assuming that there is no automatic way to combine automated photo camera actions with automated start/stop video actions in the same mission, simply because the waypoints can only take action on the camera mode that was selected manually prior to starting the mission (ie photo or video) -- correct? Or, are waypoint actions capable of switching the mode automatically -- eg, if initially set to photo mode, but the "start record" action is used, would that action cause video mode to be entered? I'm pretty sure not, but would like to verify that there is no way to do this.


Thanks.
As the OP, just to clear things up for the responders -- everyone is focusing on the ability to hover or not... that's not the problem. I simply set the waypoint where the shot takes place to hover for x seconds -- each waypoint can have a hover setting. What actually happens is: Since there's a hover time, the drone comes to a complete stop entering the waypoint position, then the photo is taken (when stopped), and then the hover period occurs to extend the stop so that whatever part of a second a shot might take is not disturbed.. All that works fine, and the result should be no different than me taking an AEB shot manually while hovering (which does work great by the way if you use PS's RAW HDR merge and auto-alignment).
So, again, the questions are not about hovering, but about why AEB doesn't work during waypoint missions when the drone is in fact stopped at a waypoint, and why the medium tele can't be set as the camera for the mission. I have posted these same questions on the DJI forum, but their responses are ususally so lame, so off-point, and so late that I thought I'd come over here where the people with real experience live...
By the way, there are good reasons to use waypoints even if you normally like manual flying -- for me it's about the incredible smoothness of pre-planned videos where you can't necessarily always get in a good pilot position for seeing the right angles in manual mode, and also for the incredible repeatability so the exact same shots and videos can be quickly recaptured at different times of day with different lighting/sky conditions/sun angles, etc.
 
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No help, but a comment: The new DJI business strategy of only supporting autonomous flight in the Enterprise class models has really turned out to be a customer relations disaster.

I understand the business reasons. I get not offering this feature in the Mini line (even though the Spark can do it fer gawds sake).

How about a compromise? Include the flagship, prosumer model in the feature set. Bring the fully autonomous waypoint functionality to the Mavic 3 SDK. Leave it out of all the other consumer drones, forever. I think most of us could live with this.

Litchi and other third parties do a much better job of using this feature, and as that's their bread and butter they always will, compared to the high school intern DJI has working on this feature in DJI Fly on the side in between running regression tests.
 
No help, but a comment: The new DJI business strategy of only supporting autonomous flight in the Enterprise class models has really turned out to be a customer relations disaster.

I understand the business reasons. I get not offering this feature in the Mini line (even though the Spark can do it fer gawds sake).

How about a compromise? Include the flagship, prosumer model in the feature set. Bring the fully autonomous waypoint functionality to the Mavic 3 SDK. Leave it out of all the other consumer drones, forever. I think most of us could live with this.

Litchi and other third parties do a much better job of using this feature, and as that's their bread and butter they always will, compared to the high school intern DJI has working on this feature in DJI Fly on the side in between running regression tests.
The Mavic 3 line does have autonomous waypoints.
 
The Mavic 3 line does have autonomous waypoints.
Read more carefully please: SDK.

Obvious from the rest of the post.

The third parties do the control app much better than DJI. After all, they've been developing the control app for a lot longer than Fly has even existed, so have the planning and configuration of waypoint flights far more developed. That speaks directly to the subject matter of this thread.

The High School Intern at DJI doing the integrated Fly waypoint functionality doesn't stand a chance against Litchi 😁
 
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Read more carefully please: SDK.

Obvious from the rest of the post.

The third parties do the control app much better than DJI. After all, they've been developing the control app for a lot longer than Fly has even existed, so have the planning and configuration of waypoint flights far more developed. That speaks directly to the subject matter of this thread.

The High School Intern at DJI doing the integrated Fly waypoint functionality doesn't stand a chance against Litchi 😁
Never mind. Maybe you need to rewrite your post.
 
Agreed - But for them to bring features to the SDK, they'd have to release an M3 SDK in the first place :) -- which remains the biggest sore point for non-enterprise M3's I feel.
Also, for all the enhanced waypoint/mission planning in M3 Enterprise, the M3E leaves out the smooth curve-based waypoint path planning that's so easily done on the regular M3/M3Pro (there are curved waypoint settings on the M3E, but the lines presented on the screen stay straight even if curved waypoints are selected which makes flight planning for video flights tough because you can't visualize the overall shape or smoothness of the curved path). So. the M3E mission planning is optimized around mapping, at the expense of straightforward visual curved video path planning like M3 has, and the M3 does great with video paths with no decent mapping ability due to lack of SDK and lack of straight line segments..
You'd think with the extra cost of the M3E you'd get mapping AND M3-style curved video path planning, but you don't -- furthermore, the expensive M3E with its RC Pro controller only allows (officially) for waypoint planning on the RC Pro screen... you can't even run the M3E's Pilot 2 app on other smart devices or tablets to get decent screen size and google map resolution (critical to good waypoint planning) -- at least the M3 allows for using tablets/smartphones with better map quality even though transferring mission files between devices is still a pain and not officially sanctioned.
So DJI has done a great job of leaving major capabilities out no matter what drone you go with. It's clear the master plan is to force serious users into multiple drone purchases when it really should not be necessary.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
I tried a few waypoint missions with my Mavic 3 Pro recently (and I think questions 1 and 3 below would also apply to regular Mavic 3). I encountered a few surprises on shooting modes that did not work. Wondering if these actions are simply unsupported or if there is something else going on. I'm using the RC Pro controller, and I planned the mission in advance offline in the Fly app. I'm using the latest firmware for the RC Pro and the M3 Pro, and also the latest Fly app version, as of July 1, 2023.

1) Ran a pre-defined mission which was set to take photos at various waypoints (via "take photo" camera action). Prior to starting the mission, I set the mode to Photo, with Automated Exposure Bracketing (AEB) selected (5 shots), with RAW+JPEG selected. So, I expected the camera to take a rapid 5 shot AEB series for each of the "take photo" actions assigned to the waypoints (as would happen if I manually pressed the snapshot button). The waypoint mission ran fine generally, and did take the photos at the proper points, but AEB was NOT used --- instead it automatically turned AEB off and just took regular single-shot photos. I tried multiple times and even tried turning AEB back on between wayoints but each time it was deactivated by the waypoints and just regular shots were taken. Note that I had 5 second hover periods assigned to each of the photo waypoints to allow plenty of time for the AEB shots to be completed.
So, is this a known limitation that only single shot photos can be taken?
And, as a workaround, would a waypoint hover setting allow me to take the shot manually and have the AEB 5-shot mode actually work?

2) Ran two other waypoint mission for videos, one video mission with the main Hasselblad camera at 1X, and one using the medium 70mm telephoto at 3X (this question is unique to M3 Pro, but could also relate to using the tele on M3). The same mission was run for both, the only difference was that prior to each mission I manually selected the 1X or 3X camera, respectively. An early waypoint was used to "start recording" and the final waypoint was used to "stop recording". First mission ran fine with the 1X camera, as expected. Second mission ran OK except that when video recording was started by the waypoint, the camera setting reverted automatically from the 3x tele camera setting back to the 1x main camera, so the entire recording was on the main camera, just like the first mission.
So, again, is this a limitation where waypoints can only use the main Hasselblad camera for videos and cannot use the 70mm tele camera for videos?
And, as a workaround, could I start recording with the medium 70mm tele (or the 170 tele for that matter) PRIOR to starting the mission, and then start the mission and expect that camera to be used throughout (in this case I would remove the start and stop recording actions from the waypoints)?
Note: I'm not interested in digital zoom here as I know that can be set using the waypoint zoom setting -- my question is about using medium tele instead of the main wide camera for waypoint recording actions.

3) Extra question (which I have not yet tried but would like to confirm): I'm assuming that there is no automatic way to combine automated photo camera actions with automated start/stop video actions in the same mission, simply because the waypoints can only take action on the camera mode that was selected manually prior to starting the mission (ie photo or video) -- correct? Or, are waypoint actions capable of switching the mode automatically -- eg, if initially set to photo mode, but the "start record" action is used, would that action cause video mode to be entered? I'm pretty sure not, but would like to verify that there is no way to do this.


Thanks.
For anyone interested in the original questions I posed, DJI has replied to my OP questions 1 and 2:

Question 1: DJI says: When a waypoint "take photo" action triggers, it can ONLY shoot single photos, no multi-shot or AEB shots are supported. So if anything other than single-shot photo mode is selected prior to the mission, the waypoints will reset it to single shot. To this I say: Why not? All the waypoint software does is automatically trigger a shot, why can't it simply take the AEB shot that the camera was already set up to take??

Question 2: DJI says: For photos or video triggered at a waypoint, only the main Hasselblad camera is supported, so if any tele camera is selected prior to starting the waypoint mission, it will be overridden and changed back to the main wide angle. My comment: Again, why? How does it make the waypoint processing any more complicated to simply take the photo with the camera I selected prior to starting the mission -- if I selected the tele, use the tele!

So these responses show that what I experienced is to be expected as normal operation. My only guess about why these limitations exist is that processing waypoint flight paths on top of processing the higher volume of data from AEB photos or from the M3 Pro's 48MP medium tele is too much processing load. Or, it could be simply another example of a "consumer" drone dumb-down to make the M3E look better.

I'm still waiting on a clarification from DJI on OP question 3.

The fact that the user manual for M3 and M3 Pro doesn't say word about any of these limitations is incredible
 
@dar1, do you have one of the lower tier drones like the Air 2S or Mini3P that support Virtual Stick automation? I don't know if Litchi supports features like AEB at waypoints, but I'm guessing it does.

Since in these scenarios the app on your phone is actually flying and controlling the aircraft in your place, every feature of the drone is available for use, it's up to Litchi what they're willing to code automation for.

In order for Litchi to give you access to a feature like AEB while manually flying the aircraft using their application, it has to be exposed in the SDK with a programming interface. This is how Litchi (DroneDeploy, etc.) execute your manual settings (like selecting AEB).

So when flying a waypoint mission, it can do the same. The app is simply pretending to be you.

Even a Virtual Stick only implementation of the SDK for the Mavic 3 series would be helpful.
 
@dar1, do you have one of the lower tier drones like the Air 2S or Mini3P that support Virtual Stick automation? I don't know if Litchi supports features like AEB at waypoints, but I'm guessing it does.

Since in these scenarios the app on your phone is actually flying and controlling the aircraft in your place, every feature of the drone is available for use, it's up to Litchi what they're willing to code automation for.

In order for Litchi to give you access to a feature like AEB while manually flying the aircraft using their application, it has to be exposed in the SDK with a programming interface. This is how Litchi (DroneDeploy, etc.) execute your manual settings (like selecting AEB).

So when flying a waypoint mission, it can do the same. The app is simply pretending to be you.

Even a Virtual Stick only implementation of the SDK for the Mavic 3 series would be helpful.
Aside from my Mavic 3 line up, I just have a mini 2.

I think my workaround for the AEB issue is to just use a longer hover time at each waypoint and take the AEB photo myself manually once each waypoint is arrived at (since I have to be monitoring the flight anyway, this won't be that bad) -- my main reason for using the waypoints in the first place is to make the exact positioning repeatable (or make the exact path repeatable in the case of videos) so I can get the same exact shot positions on different days and times despite not always having ideal viewing angles for manual piloting.
Now that I'm thinking about it, I probably shouldn't assume it will even let me take an AEB shot manually while mission is running, so I'll need to test this out.

As far as selecting the medium tele for videos during a waypoint mission, I'm hoping one workaround could be just to start recording with the desired camera before starting the mission, and then stop recording after mission completion -- this way there would be no need to use any waypoint camera action, although there would be some unnecessary video captured at the front and back ends. Or, perhaps it will let me manually start recording with the desired camera during a waypoint hover. This assumes the waypoint mission would allow a recording that's already been started to continue, or would allow a manual camera action to be interjected -- I'll need to test that too.
 
I've never seen the DJI Fly waypoint UI for the Mavic 3, but everything I hear about it sounds like a slapped together afterthought to appease angry M3 owners.

Wait... that's exactly what it actually is 🤣
 
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I've never seen the DJI Fly waypoint UI for the Mavic 3, but everything I hear about it sounds like a slapped together afterthought to appease angry M3 owners.

Wait... that's exactly what it actually is 🤣
I beg to differ: in several ways M3 waypoints is better than third party solutions.
 
Please give some examples.
Most important is the fact that the gumbal pitch and direction of the camera is uploaded to the aircraft, so , even when the signal is lost for a short ( or longer) time the flight is exactly executed as planned.
Litchi for example has indeed the advantage of being able to plan your flights on a webpage but without the SDK that’s not worth much.
 
Most important is the fact that the gumbal pitch and direction of the camera is uploaded to the aircraft, so , even when the signal is lost for a short ( or longer) time the flight is exactly executed as planned.
Litchi for example has indeed the advantage of being able to plan your flights on a webpage but without the SDK that’s not worth much.
You are seemingly uninformed re: Litchi, and the entire issue of on-board autonomous waypoints vs. "virtual stick" operation. Have you ever even used Litchi?

"gimbal [sic] pitch and direction of the camera is uploaded to the aircraft, so , even when the signal is lost for a short ( or longer) time the flight is exactly executed as planned" has nothing to do with Litchi or DJI Fly waypoints.

It's a function of the aircraft model.

W.r.t. autonomous waypoint operation, if the aircraft supports it, it works the same for Litchi as for Fly.
 
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