I’ve been looking at new drones for a while now. My existing fleet is getting long in the tooth and will not be compatible with the upcoming remote ID in September.
The most obvious choice for me would have been the new DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise.
It’s not cheap but comes with a lot of things I need including:
- Long flight times
- An SDK to allow 3rd party software to be utilized
- A mechanical shutter
- A great sensor (Micro-Four Thirds)
- Future compatibility with Remote ID
Unfortunately, DJI’s current marketing strategy is stopping me from plunking down my hard earned cash.
My work is split across a mix of photo work on construction sites (which the M3E would be fantastic for) and video for commercial real estate. And it’s this last bit that is missing.
For some reason, DJI has opted to hugely limit the video capabilities of this drone.
It is clearly capable – it’s basically the same camera as the Mavic 3 cine. But it’s been deliberately hobbled.
My assumption is that they did this to try to force people to buy two drones if you have different needs. Which would be fine except they have not provided the SDK for the other drones in the Mavic 3 range. I wouldn’t even mind if they charged extra for it they way they did if you wanted Prores on the Inspire 2.
Being able to pre-program and visualize the shots I’m going to make on site in 3D in Google Earth is such a key part of my workflow that not having an SDK available is a non-starter.
- If they would provide the video capabilities on the M3E – done! Easy sale of probably two units at $6k each.
- If they would provide the SDK for the Mavic Cine – done! Easy sale of probably two units at $5k each.
Instead…I’m buying a different drone that will cost about $1,500.
The flight time isn’t as good, the sensor isn’t as good, and it doesn’t have the mechanical shutter. But none of those things are deal breakers. The deal breaker is not having the SDK and video capabilities in the same drone. Something they used to do but now seem to have stopped.
This new drone will cover me until the DJI marketing department wakes up and realizes they are actually losing easy sales with their current strategy or a competitor comes in with a M3E like drone that doesn’t limit what I can do with it.