For the last few weeks I was trying to source a DJ Mavic Pro drone.
Everywhere I turned I was told there is no stock. I looked at the dji.com website to import one and, probably wisely, they don’t ship to South Africa. At the same time I’m still waiting for a small order from SA Company which has been “in transit” for more than 30 days. Thanks SA Post Office. For nothing yet again.
I even tried shipping it with a work shipment from China but the supplier was unsure about the battery regulations and we decided not to go ahead. Instead, I visited a trade show in the far East and one of my suppliers had a colleague coming over from China who could bring me one. The excitement started to mount!
It turns out you can safely travel with a Mavic Pro through airports and as long as you keep it in the original packaging and store it in your hand luggage, airport security don’t seem to mind. Not once was I asked about the contents and I didn’t have to produce the material safety data sheet I had so carefully requested to avoid hassles regarding the size of the batteries.
The Mavic Pro was advertised pre-launch at US $750 without the RC controller and $999 with. You could use your smartphone or tablet (be careful here, list of devices at the bottom) instead of the RC controller but it has limitations in terms of range so I wanted the RC controller and then you can just attach your smartphone as a camera via the dji 4 go app.
In total, I spent US $1180 and received the drone with a controller, 3 batteries, a multiple battery charger port, a travel charger, a leather shoulder carrier, a few extra propellers for the quadcopter and some basic instructions. Apparently, this package sells for US $1299 so I saved a few bucks on the drone, I’ll put the coins aside for spares.
Thanks to some clever people in the USA, here’s a great setup video.
Have a look around, droneworld has a few options from R17995, orms is offering some packages with an hour flight training in Cape Town from R 20395. Accessories are expensive though. I thought if I bought 3 batteries with my Mavic Pro I would manage to get around the limitation of the 27 minutes per battery (max) flight time successfully. In the end, I think it will depend largely on what you plan to do with your drone and the speed that you fly your drone at, like sport or tripod.
DJI ASSISTANT 2
Before you even start unboxing your drone (yes I know you’ve already done that, me too) go to the DJI website and start downloading the assistant. The current version is called DJI assistant 2. You’ll need it to calibrate the vision system! Get the manuals while you are there too so you can quickly calibrate the IMU and the compass if required.
PRO TIP: You can save yourself hours of frustrating setup time if you make sure there are no protective stickers over the locating cameras before you start the calibration.
The first thing I’ve done is watch the following two Youtube videos.
The Mavic Pro camera settings are personal in many instances depending on what effects you want to create and perhaps these are not to your liking but they are a start and probably most suited for general drone photography/videography.
Next, I’m going to be flying the Mavic Pro in some hockey fields and practise the return to home and take off and landings. Perhaps we’ll even try the follow me or take my photo hand gestures but for now, I’ll save the tripod and sport flying modes for a later flight day.
According to the DJI website these devices can all be linked to the Mavic Pro.
- ios: iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPod touch 6, iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad Air 2, iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular, iPad mini 4, and iPad mini 4 Wi-Fi + Cellular. This app is optimized for iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
- Android: Samsung tabs 705c, Samsung S6, Samsung S5, Samsung NOTE4, Samsung NOTE3, Google Nexus 9, Google Nexus 7 II, Ascend Mate7, Huawei P8 Max, Huawei Mate 8, Nubia Z7 mini, SONY Xperia Z3, MI 3, MI PAD, Smartisan T1.
I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that the iPad Mini 2 CAN NOT be linked to the drone because the APP store does not allow you to install the app on compatibility grounds!