Tuesday, December 10, 2013

You get paid to do this?

Chase Jarvis posted a video of his latest adventures - with a DJI Phantom. Interestingly, he sent it up with a Sony RX100 II, because he wanted better footage than you get with the various action cameras (that's something I've been thinking about too!) He was also excited to use the WiFi feature of the camera to remotely monitor what it was shooting. So they attached it to the Phantom and took it Iceland....over water.

Now, he says "we've been flying it around in Seattle with the GoPro, it's been fun, but we're also thinking that we could upgrade the camera a little bit." So you're probably wondering; why didn't he take it flying with the RX100 II in Seattle, before going to Iceland?

I was wondering that too.

I was also wondering whether the camera (which is $748) could be carried by the Phantom. Strangely enough, earlier in the day I had done a Google search to find the maximum payload weight for the Phantom. The post I had found that morning said 200g, which would make the camera too heavy. I've subsequently found a post that suggests the Phantom can carry 400g...this actually makes sense because it can carry the GoPro Hero camera (136g) with a DJI Zenmuse H3-2D Gimbal (230g). So the RX100 II at 281g is within limits; but I still can't figure out why they waited until Iceland to test it?! Wouldn't it have been easier to test the stability of the camera and copter in a warmer, more controlled environment?

More puzzling, they seemed surprised that the WiFi app dropped-out after 15 feet. I've used the same app with a Sony Action Cam, and it drops off once you get further than 15 feet away...using it indoors. So they'd clearly not tested that before either.

Oh, and the battery life of the Phantom, which is only about 8 minutes in warm weather, can drop down quite a bit when it's cold, as it probably is in Iceland. It's unclear if they were aware of that, or whether they were keeping track of battery usage; but given the rest of their preparations, I'm assuming not.

Which made the whole adventure seem rather casual, and the final result almost a foregone conclusion. It felt like they wanted to see if they could lose the thing. Sure, it only cost $1,250 in lost equipment, but you'd think you'd do a bit more planning and testing than they had. Particularly if you were going to Iceland to use it.

Fortunately, the DJI Phantom is now just $479.

No comments: