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Mavic Mini, or...?

Hi all.
I've fancied a drone for a while, for a couple of reasons:
- experiment with new angles for photography (I do a lot of landscape/travel stuff)
- add some interesting bits of B-roll to spice up my occasional vlogs.

I'm not interested in drone racing, tracking me mountain biking through a forest or anything like that... just nicely composed aerial photos and the odd "gliding across a landscape" clips.

The issue is I don't want to spend a lot (at least until I know it's something I'm getting a lot of use out of, and SWMBO has denied dropping a grand on a full Mavic Air kit :) ) - however the Mavic Mini is within reason. There's a couple of limitations though- the lack of 4k doesn't bother me too much, I only output at 1080p still anyway. But the lack of RAW/DNG is putting me off - I like to postprocess my images a reasonable amount and I'm worried that with certain shots, JPG only will be limiting, with blown skies or land in completely black shadow... I also worry that because it's so light, it may get blown around rather easily, and I've also read the wifi-only connection can be flaky...

The 249g marketing trick isn't too important for me- I'm not averse to registering and paying a small fee- in fact I think this can only be a good thing for the hobby.

So, doing some googling I stumbled across the Hubsan Zino Pro. It sounds much better specced (4K, Raw, better connection/range, longer flight time) obviously at the expense of size and weight, but it's about the same price, if not less.

However, there seems to be very little information on it. There's lots of reference to a Zino 2 which is improved further, but it seems to be unavailable, and perhaps the Pro is discontinued? A saw a couple of YouTube reviews which made out that it was okay but the lack of much coverage / information / support is a worry.

So, thoughts? Are the limitations of the Mini actually that important in practice? Has anyone got the Hubsan and able to vouch for the quality? Or is it a cheap product dressed in a more impressive spec-sheet, and best avoided? Anything else to consider?
 

Davy

Active Member
Hi Jowlymonster, I have the Mavic mini and it’s a great little drone and perfect for putting in your rucksack and taking on holiday and certainly adds to holiday videos where a normal mundane photo or video suddenly becomes airborne. The video quality is pretty good and whilst there is no RAW facility there is an AE lock for photos which is handy. Reading blogs from those more knowledgeable than me on such matters, they suggest that the onboard processor is much more capable than its current incarnation and a future upgrade from DJI may well include a RAW upgrade.

Also the -250 gram weight will soon be immaterial as from 1st July 2020 the law is changing and any drone with a Maximum Takeoff Mass (MTM) of more than 250 grams, which the Mavic Mini has, or fitted with a camera, which the Mavic Mini also has, will require the operator to comply with the same CAA rules and registrations as those currently in force that do not apply to the Mini. I recently took the test and obtained the necessary operator and flyer authorisations in anticipation of this new ruling.

I would say if you’re looking for a first drone, as I was, then the Mini is an excellent choice but go for the fly more option which gives you three batteries a charger and more.
 

severe dainjah

Well-known Member
I have a Hubsan Zino (my wife also vetoed me spending £££ on Mavic Pro and the mini wasn’t out at the time); in terms of quality I’ve no complaints - it’s well built, flys really well and the photo/video quality is very good ... for me it represents good value for money for a hobby drone. There have been a couple of software updates since I’ve bought it which have improved flight stability.

If I was buying a drone now though I would be very tempted by the Mavic Mini too, the smaller form factor appeals to me and well, it’s a DJI
 
I actually found a review of the Mini from the angle of photography, and the guy raved about it. He made a reasonable point that even with RAW, you'll be limited in the adjustments you can make as the sensor is still tiny... it's fair - the raw's in my smartphone have a lot less latitude than those from my A7Rii :)
Something about the mini appeals simply because it (should be) better supported... Hmm
 

paulyoung666

Distinguished Member
totally love my MM !!!!

a sample video I did , you can comment on the quality but not the quantity lol :rotfl:


 

walleee

Active Member
As Far as RAW V JPEG goes I can tell you that I have had shots look totally useless from the Mavic Mini, tonnes of black and Lightroom sorts it out absolutely fine. I have no experience in editing RAW so I can't advise how raw v jpeg compares, but I can say I was impressed by what Lightroom could do to improve the photos and Id be surprised if someone who knew what they were doing couldn't do better than I did.

Weight is subjective, I previously flew a P3P, so I need to be much more aware of winds now with the Mini, it will get taken away by wind if you are a foolish pilot. You feel the effect of wind strength increasing with altitude much more with a Mavic Mini that with a P3P (or any other mavic I imagine)

if you've never had a drone before you'll either overestimate its capabilities and it'll get blown away, or you'll learn with its capabilities and it might not bother you. Im not too bothered by it given the price and portability.

wifi connection is a strange one, my experience is that video feed will drop while connection to the controller will be maintained a little longer(further), if you don't plan on using it in urban landscapes much then you'll be grand, range is reduced in busy environments but the same can be said for most drones.

Overall im really happy with it, the portability is a massive plus compared to the P3P.

I put this together a few days ago, its the first video I've ever tried colour correcting so it's not perfect but it might help show you what's its capable of...
 
Thanks for the sample videos - I'd say they look great, and walleee, yours even shows low-light performance looks fine (at least on this PC monitor, perhaps on a 50" screen less so, but that's not my use case...
 

paulyoung666

Distinguished Member
if your thinking about one there is a reasonably good group on Facebook , 'Mavic Mini owners group' , just watch out for the dickheads , as usual in places like that there are a few , but the good outweighs them :thumbsup:
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
I actually found a review of the Mini from the angle of photography, and the guy raved about it. He made a reasonable point that even with RAW, you'll be limited in the adjustments you can make as the sensor is still tiny... it's fair - the raw's in my smartphone have a lot less latitude than those from my A7Rii :)
Something about the mini appeals simply because it (should be) better supported... Hmm
I was going to say it's not the lack of raw support that would concern me but the tiny 1/2.3in sensor which is going to have limited dynamic range anyway and you can't extract much from processing the raw file compared to with a bigger sensor. I had a Mavic 1 Pro with a similar sensor and found working with the raw files wasn't that beneficial whereas the Mavic 2 Pro's larger 1in sensor has a good bit more exposure latitude.

That's a different class of drone and much more expensive though, the Mavic Air and Spark both use 1/2.3in sensor so it's a compromise you need to accept on all of them and the Mini certainly makes a lot of sense as a starting drone to see if it's something you'll like or not.
 

paulyoung666

Distinguished Member
all I can say on that subject is , I have seen some of the images that people have produced and they are stunning , unless your a purist / have to have the ultimate image then there is nothing to fear with the MM .....
 
That's a different class of drone and much more expensive though, the Mavic Air and Spark both use 1/2.3in sensor so it's a compromise you need to accept on all of them and the Mini certainly makes a lot of sense as a starting drone to see if it's something you'll like or not.
Yep, I think if I got on with it, I'd then want to go to something like the MP2 to get a reasonable increase in quality- but that's some way off!
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
all I can say on that subject is , I have seen some of the images that people have produced and they are stunning , unless your a purist / have to have the ultimate image then there is nothing to fear with the MM .....
Of course the Mavic Mini can take good images but what separates cameras is how they handle tougher conditions, the OP specifically asked about shadow and highlight recovery which is not something the Mini (nor any other 1/2.3in sensor) is good at. You don't need to be a 'purist' or wanting the ultimate image to be able to tell the difference between the following two images the lower of which has around 2.5 stops pulled back from the shadows:



The difficulty with drones is you'll often be in circumstances that challenge the dynamic range of the sensor with a bright sky and dark ground and while you can image stack to widen the dynamic range, that's not feasible with panorama shots.

However for the OP I still think a Mavic Mini would suit what they want as I know when I started with drones I wasn't comfortable spending a large amount of money on something I wasn't sure how well I'd get on with. Drones, cameras and pretty much everything else are a compromise so I prefer to give people the information they've requested to make a suitable choice rather than mislead them particularly in this case when they're used to very nice BSI FF sensor.
 
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paulyoung666

Distinguished Member
Of course the Mavic Mini can take good images but what separates cameras is how they handle tougher conditions, the OP specifically asked about shadow and highlight recovery which is not something the Mini (nor any other 1/2.3in sensor) is good at. You don't need to be a 'purist' or wanting the ultimate image to be able to tell the difference between the following two images the lower of which has around 2.5 stops pulled back from the shadows:



The difficulty with drones is you'll often be in circumstances that challenge the dynamic range of the sensor with a bright sky and dark ground and while you can image stack to widen the dynamic range, that's not feasible with panorama shots.

However for the OP I still think a Mavic Mini would suit what they want as I know when I started with drones I wasn't comfortable spending a large amount of money on something I wasn't sure how well I'd get on with. Drones, cameras and pretty much everything else are a compromise so I prefer to give people the information they've requested to make a suitable choice rather than mislead them particularly in this case when they're used to very nice BSI FF sensor.

fair comment and I bow down to your experience , not being funny by the way , I am am amazed to be fair at the difference in the two photos , however I think you are being a little unfair , a blind man riding backwards on a horse could tell the difference there :rotfl:
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
The 249g marketing trick isn't too important for me- I'm not averse to registering and paying a small fee- in fact I think this can only be a good thing for the hobby.
Quite right. But it is important to decide whether you want to fly completely within the the law. All the sub 300g weight means is that you son’t have to register as an operator or take the test to get a flyer ID but you still have to fly within the rules.

Have a look at them because they are quite restrictive so worth understanding them to make sure you can do what you want.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

paulyoung666

Distinguished Member
Quite right. But it is important to decide whether you want to fly completely within the the law. All the sub 300g weight means is that you son’t have to register as an operator or take the test to get a flyer ID but you still have to fly within the rules.

Have a look at them because they are quite restrictive so worth understanding them to make sure you can do what you want.

Cheers,

Nigel

until later this year when the rules change against sub 250g drones .....
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
until later this year when the rules change against sub 250g drones .....
Must admit I’m not fully up to speed with the EASA rules, I skimmed over them but concentrated on my needs which is fixed wing, line of sight flying from a BMFA club and it seems that falls into its own category which doesn’t really change anything. Heard that it is going to get tougher on other types of flying but I’m not sure in what way.

I don’t fly mult-rotors or FPV but I know people that do and the current rules sound really restrictive (if followed yo the letter) and if EASA is going to make them tougher that isn’t good.

The one that I think must be the toughest for FPV flyers is having to have a buddy with you who maintains line of sight with the aircraft at all times.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

paulyoung666

Distinguished Member
restrictive , yes , but unless your a real dick or get unlucky I don't see any major issues , ive found research helps if I want to fly somewhere new , at least you can usually get a heads up of potential issues :thumbsup:
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
restrictive , yes , but unless your a real dick or get unlucky I don't see any major issues , ive found research helps if I want to fly somewhere new , at least you can usually get a heads up of potential issues :thumbsup:
That’s why I keeping caveating with ‘within the letter of the law’. The reality is that the rules are practically unenforcible.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

paulyoung666

Distinguished Member
That’s why I keeping caveating with ‘within the letter of the law’. The reality is that the rules are practically unenforcible.

Cheers,

Nigel
exactly , keep away from sensitive places , I heard of one person who got too close to Hartlepool Nuclear Power Station , the sight of Armed Police with semi-automatics quickly galvanised his thought processes !!! , and if you are in a potentially dodgy spot , then apologise , land and explain what you are doing , the majority of people will be interested when they know there is no bad intent .....
 

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