The Cleo Robotics Dronut is the world’s first bi-rotor ducted drone that makes it look like something straight out of science fiction.
The Boston-based company that specializes in unconventional robotic systems has released a drone that sports an unconventional design and capabilities which allow it to access spaces that ordinary drones can’t navigate, such as confined rooms and or close to people.
In 2020, the company released a previous version of the drone, simply called the Dronut. The first model was only sold to the military and law enforcement, and at the time the company said its next goal was to make the drone quieter and to release it for consumer use. Thus, the Dronut X1 was born.
The oddly shaped drone is compact enough to fit on the palm of the hand and weighs only 15 ounces (425 grams) but boasts live-streaming capabilities, a high-resolution 4K camera, and a global shutter sensor. The drone navigates through 3D LiDAR (light detection and ranging), which utilizes beams of light that hit an object or a surface and reflect back to the laser scanner to create a 3D visualization of its environment.
The drone has a one-kilometer (0.6 miles) range depending on the environment and the company says it can be controlled using an Android phone with little to no training required. The sophisticated sensors allow the drone to be used also in spaces with low light or with no light at all.
All these claims are not particularly unique in the world of drones, but what sets Dronut X1 apart is its ducted fan design that allows it to fly with no exposed propellers. Because of this, Dronut operators can safely fly it around people, in tight spaces, and around sensitive equipment without posing a risk to those around it or itself.
The company’s founders come from the oil and gas industry, which is where they experienced firsthand how difficult and dangerous it can be to inspect confined spaces. This is what led them to the Dronut X1’s design and is also what the drone is specifically marketed for. So while it is not exactly aimed at traditional drone hobbyists and commercial drone operators, the Dronut X1 has been built with the goal of eliminating manned entry into dangerous, hazardous, and difficult-to-reach environments.
The Dronut X1 isn’t cheap. The innovative drone costs $9,800 and can be can only be ordered on Cleo Robotic’s website. It is available commercially for law enforcement, industrial inspection, construction, and defense industries.
Drones are more convenient and powerful than ever, and they can be a really fun way to find a new perspective and invigorate your creativity. If you are new to flying cameras and wondering how you can get better photos, this helpful video tutorial will give you seven tips to start you on your way.
Coming to you from Mike Smith, this awesome video tutorial will give you seven tips to help you take better photos with your drone. Drones can be a ton of fun, but being literally an entirely new perspective, they can take a little while to get used to. One thing to remember is to always vary the camera angle as you are looking for shots. Photographers commonly point the camera straight at the horizon for a more traditional look, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that, but don’t forget to explore the other things you can do with the drone. For example, pointing the camera straight down from a high vantage point can yield more abstract, geometric photos that simply would not be possible from the ground and can be a great way to breathe new life into places you have shot before. Check out the video above for the full rundown.
The DJI Mavic 3 has landed. The brand’s new high-end consumer drone has been completely redesigned and offers plenty of improvements over its predecessor. These include a longer flight time, better safety features, and improved video and stills capture. The latter is thanks to an innovative new dual-camera system.
Let’s take a closer look at the specifications before we jump into some of the key features.
Dual-camera system mounted on 3-axis gimbal
Main camera: Four-Thirds CMOS sensor paired with a 24mm /f2.8 lens
Zoom camera: 1/2-inch CMOS sensor paired with a 162mm f/4.4 lens
28x hybrid zoom (optical+digital)
20MP 12-bit RAW still capture (main camera)
5.1K video capture at up to 50 fps (main camera)
4K video capture at up to 120 fps (main camera)
Omnidirectional obstacle sensors
Up to 46 minutes of flight time per charge
9.2-mile flight range
Mavic 3 “Cine” model offers Apple ProRes 422 HQ encoding + 1TB of onboard SSD storage
New dual-camera module
The previous-generation DJI Mavic 2 came in two varieties, the “Pro” and the “Zoom”. The former used a larger imaging sensor and provided better overall video/image quality. The latter used a smaller sensor but offered zoom capability. And as you might’ve guessed, these two “sister” models forced potential customers to make tough decisions about which to buy.
Thankfully, DJI equipped the Mavic 3 with a dual-camera system to avoid any “tough calls”. One of the cameras prioritizes image quality, the other prioritizes zooming capability.
The main onboard camera uses a large, 20MP Four-Thirds CMOS sensor, paired with a 24mm f2/.8 lens, providing an 84-degrees field of view. DJI worked with Hasselblad on the main camera (as they have in the past) and it’s officially called the “L2D-20c aerial camera”. The lens has an aperture range of f/2.8-f/11, which users can set on their own.
Compared to the 1-inch sensor found in the Mavic 2 Pro, the new Four-Thirds sensor is quite a bit larger and should offer improved dynamic range and better noise performance when shooting in low light.
The Mavic 3’s zooming camera uses a much smaller 1/2-inch CMOS sensor paired with a 162mm f/4.4 lens. This module offers 28x hybrid (optical+digital) zoom capabilities.
Photo & video features
In terms of still photography, the main camera module can capture 20MP 12-bit RAW files (DNG), as well as JPEGs. And DJI says the sensor is capable of recording up to 12.8-stops of dynamic range, which should mean excellent editing flexibility when shooting RAW.
The Mavic 3’s zoom camera shoots 12MP images, JEPG’s only.
On the video front, the main camera can capture 5.1K footage at up to 50 fps. It also shoots 4K footage at up to 120 fps, if you’re looking to create a slow-motion effect. And for users wishing to get the most out of their footage in-post, there’s a 10-bit D-Log color profile.
For those with more professional video needs, DJI is also selling a Mavic 3 “Cine” model which offers Apple ProRes 422 HQ encoding with data rate speeds up to 3,772Mbps. This model also comes with 1TB of onboard SSD storage.
Better battery life, more flight time
DJI says the Mavic 3 has been redesigned “from tail to tip”. And two important improvements that came out of the overhaul include better aerodynamics and better power management. The drone uses newly developed motors with higher energy efficiency, along with better-designed propellers. It also offers 35% less aerial drag than the Mavic 2.
Both of these changes factor into the drone’s whopping 46-minute of flight time (in ideal conditions). That’s compared to 31 minutes from the Mavic 2 Pro.
Omni-directional obstacle avoidance sensors
The Mavic 3 is absolutely covered in vision sensors, used for obstacle avoidance, as well as subject tracking (more on that shortly). It uses DJI’s “Advanced Pilot Assistance System 5.0” (APAS) which combines input from six fisheye sensors and two wide-angle sensors.
More importantly, these sensors offer a vastly improved obstacle detection range of 656 feet, compared to 131 feet on the Mavic 2. This means you’ll have far more time to react to an approaching obstacle than in the past.
Improved autofocus & subject tracking
The Mavic 3 also sees improvements to its autofocus capabilities. DJI’s new “Vision Detection AF” technology utilizes the multitude of onboard vision sensors to help assist in subject distance calculations, for improved AF speeds.
And DJI’s updated tracking mode, called “ActiveTrack 5.0,” allows for more “fluid and diverse” camera movements. While previous versions of ActiveTrack gave the ability for a drone to follow in front of or behind a subject, this updated mode allows Mavic 3 to follow alongside a subject as well. Better yet, if the subject is “lost” while using ActiveTrack 5.0, the drone will wait and attempt to pick said subject back up when it reappears.
Flight range & live feed
The Mavic 3 offers a maximum flight range of 9.2 miles and uses “DJI O3+”, the brand’s latest transmission system. It promises a smooth, stable and lag-free 1080/60p live feed to the DJI RC Pro controller’s built-in screen.
Other safety improvements
DJI drones have long offered a “Return to Home” safety feature (RTH) which guides the aircraft safely back to its launch point. This feature is super useful in instances where you lose sight of your drone or lose the transmission signal entirely (in which case, RTH kicks in automatically).
And an updated version of the feature called “Advanced RTH” now takes into account wind speed and other factors, to find the shortest, most energy-efficient route to safely “get home”. We’ve heard horror stories of folks hitting RTH only to have their drone die partway along the journey. This updated feature will hopefully minimize those instances.
The Mavic 3 looks to be an excellent and worthy update to its well-regarded, 3-year-old predecessor. And despite its complete overhaul, I’m pleased to see DJI sticking with their time-tested folding drone design. It keeps the unit nice and compact, for easy storage on the go.
Moreover, it offers much-appreciated feature improvements to three core areas that matter most to consumer drone pilots: photo/video capability, flight time, and safety/reliability. And as an owner of the original Mavic Pro, DJI may have made enough improvements to the “3” to seriously tempt me to upgrade.
We currently have a Mavic 3 review unit at Pop Photo HQ and look forward to getting it airborne soon. We’ll share our impressions and more when we do.
Price and availability
The DJI Mavic 3 is available for purchase now. The “Standard” kit sells for $2199 and includes the drone, the controller, 1 battery, a charger, and other accessories. The “Fly More Combo” sells for $2999 and includes the drone, the controller, 3 batteries, a battery charging hub, a set of 6 ND filters, a carrying bag, and other accessories.
There’s also the DJI Mavic 3 “Cine Premium Combo” which sells for $4999 and includes the special “Cine” model of the drone with 1TB of onboard SSD storage and support for Apple ProRes 422 HQ video recording. It also includes the controller, 3 batteries, a charging hub, ND filters, a carrying bag, a 10Gbps Lightspeed Data Cable, and other accessories.
In addition, DJI has a wide range of other accessories available for the drone. Check them all out here.
Just days after DJI took the wraps off the Mavic 3, tech YouTuber DC Rainmaker tested the new bird in gusty winds so you don’t have to.
Amazingly, the new quadcopter handles the abysmal conditions with stunning success, the captured footage silky smooth and a joy to watch.
Check out the flight in the video below.
As waves batter the shoreline, DC Rainmaker notes that the video is not sponsored by DJI, adding that he bought the drone himself.
The video starts by showing the Mavic 3 hovering just above the ground, buffeted by 37 mph (60 kph) winds but holding pretty steady. DC Rainmaker then launches the flying machine out over the water, switching to the footage captured by the aircraft itself.
Hopping between different modes, settings, and lenses, and with a “strong wind” warning showing prominently on the display, DJI’s new quadcopter stays in the air (which is what you want with a brand new $2,200 machine), with the footage remaining remarkably steady the whole time.
Particularly impressive is the stationary shot at the 2:40 mark that looks directly down, with the image remaining rock solid thanks to the Mavic 3’s three-axis gimbal and onboard software helping the drone to hold its position.
While DC Rainmaker uses footage from the controller screen for some of his video, he also includes plenty of 5.1K/4K footage so you can get a handle on the picture quality delivered by the drone’s Hasselblad dual-camera system.
Overall, you’ll be really impressed with how the Mavic 3 handles the atrocious conditions, though DJI would strongly discourage you from flying any of its drones — including the Mavic 3 — in such awful weather. After all, the footage may have been steady, but one freak gust and the aircraft could’ve been in serious trouble.
If you’re new to DJI’s Mavic 3, check out Digital Trends’ overview for more details, and don’t forget our full hands-on review of the new quadcopter, too.
Fall is here, and with it come trees awash in gorgeous colors, giving you the opportunity to create some truly eye-catching images. A drone offers you a way to capture a different perspective, and this helpful video tutorial will offer new drone users nine tips to get better fall photos using one.
Coming to you from Shutterstock Tutorials, this awesome video tutorial will give you some helpful beginner tips for creating better fall photos with your drone. With how portable many drones have become, you do not have to make it a dedicated trip; you can simply pop one in your bag with the rest of your lenses and make it part of a normal hike or the like. One important thing to remember is to vary the camera angle and height a bit. With drones, it is common to go up high and aim the camera toward the horizon. However, you can create more abstract, geometric composition by aiming your camera straight down or interesting takes on normal landscape shots by just being 20 to 30 feet above the ground. Be sure to play with where you position your drone and not just stick to one spot. Check out the video above for the full rundown.
The DJI Mavic 3 is here, and it brings with it some major improvements and new features that make it an impressive upgrade over its predecessor. This excellent video review takes an in-depth look at the new drone and the kind of image quality and performance you can expect from it in practice.
Coming to you from Billy Kyle, this great video review takes a look at the new DJI Mavic 3 drone. The Mavic 3 is a major step forward, bringing with it a bevy of new features and improvements, including:
Dual camera system
20-megapixel main camera with 24mm-equivalent f/2.8 lens, four-thirds sensor, 12.8 stops of dynamic range, and variable aperture
12-megapixel telephoto camera with 162mm-equivalent lens and 28x hybrid zoom
5.1K video and 4K video at up to 120 fps
10-bit D-Log and Hasselblad NCS (Natural Color Solution)
Automatic subject tracking
Omnidirectional obstacle-sensing system
APAS (Advanced Pilot Assistance System) 5.0
46 minutes of battery life
9.3-mile transmission range
1080p live view at 60 fps
Wind resistance up to 26.8 mph
47 mph maximum speed
Though the Mavic 3 has certainly jumped in price, it seems to have justified that cost with some quite impressive capabilities. Check out the video above for Kyle’s full thoughts on the new drone.
The latest update to DJI’s popular drone, the Mavic, is here, and it brings with it some huge improvements and new features. Check out what the Mavic 3 has to offer.
Perhaps the biggest step forward in the new Mavic 3 is its new dual-camera system. First is the wide angle camera, featuring a rather large four-thirds sensor with 20 megapixels of resolution. This sensor features 12.8 stops of dynamic range and is paired with a 24mm-equivalent lens. Complementing the wide camera is a telephoto camera with a 12-megapixel 1/2″ sensor, paired with a 162mm-equivalent lens and 28x hybrid zoom. In addition to normal photo and 4K video functions, the telephoto camera also features an Explore Mode for scouting locations.
The wide angle Hasselblad camera offers video at up to 5.1K along with 4K at up to 120 fps and features an adjustable aperture that ranges from f/2.8 to f/11. Filmmakers will enjoy 10-bit D-Log and Hasselblad NCS (Natural Color Solution) capabilities. Augmenting the cameras’ capabilities are numerous automatic flight paths, automatic subject tracking capabilities, omnidirectional obstacle-sensing system, and APAS (Advanced Pilot Assistance System) 5.0. For stills, the wide angle offers raw and JPEG capabilities, while the telephoto lens is limited to JPEGs.
Two more major improvements come in the battery life and transmission range. Battery life sees an approximately 50% increase, now offering users an impressive 46 minutes. Meanwhile, transmission range has been increased to 9.3 miles.
Other features include advanced RTH (return to home), Live View at up to 1080p and 60 fps, precision positioning for holding steady in air, DJI Waypoint 3.0, ActiveTrack, MasterShots, automatic exposure bracketing, and timed photos. It also features 8 GB of internal storage, wind resistance up to 26.8 mph, 47 mph maximum speed, and more. And of course, the Mavic 3 still folds down to become quite portable.
In a fun new viral video posted to Instagram and TikTok, a DJI drone pilot answers a new take on an age-old question: how many drones does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Or maybe, how would a drone screw in a lightbulb?
The short video below (uploaded by Insta360) is set to the sounds of the climactic docking scene from the movie Interstellar. The pilot has fitted a lightbulb on the top of the drone attached to a wine cork that was stuck to the body of the quadcopter. To get a better view of the action, a small mounted Insta360 action camera was mounted on top of the drone, pointed towards the bulb. This additional camera allowed the pilot to get a better perspective on the exact position of the bulb in relation to the socket on the ceiling of the room.
The pilot is cautious in their approach as one wrong move and the rotors of the drone could hit the light fixture which could cause the whole device to fall to the ground, breaking the blade(s), the lightbulb, and drone. After some careful indoor maneuvers navigating through what looks like a living room, the pilot makes their approach to the light fixture above.
Once the drone is in close position, the pilot used the Insta360 action camera to see where the threads were on the fitting and bulb so they could align them properly for a quick fit. After some very careful adjustments to ensure the blades of the drone didn’t make contact with the light fixture, the pilot made their move by increasing the altitude quickly putting the bulb right into the socket.
Once in the fixture, the pilot started to spin the drone to tighten the connection and after a couple of rotations, the light bulb glows to life.
The video has been viewed more than three million times on TikTok and nearly half a million views on Instagram. It doesn’t hurt that TikTok uses audio from the movie Interstellar starring Matthew McConaughey going through a “similar” risky and complicated docking procedure. The only thing viewers are left wondering is how the pilot detached the cork from the lightbulb and landed the drone safely back on the ground.
DJI’s drone lineup has grown into a well-respected and varied range of options suitable for everything from casual snaps to high-level professional work. Three of their most popular consumer options are the Mavic Mini, Mini SE, and Mini 2, and if you are wondering which one is the best option for your needs, this excellent video review will help you pick the right choice.
Coming to you from Billy Kyle, this great video review will help you pick between three popular DJI drone models, the Mavic Mini, Mini SE, and Mini 2. All three are highly compact models, capable of fitting in your camera bag in the space occupied by a single 70-200mm lens, but it is important to pay careful attention to the differences in their camera specs in particular. For example, while all three have 12-megapixel sensors, only the Mini 2 shoots in raw, and given the often extreme dynamic range in drone shots, having that extra post-processing latitude can be a real gain. On the other hand, that is part of what makes the Mini 2 the most expensive option of the trio, though it is still quite affordable given its capabilities. Check out the video above for Kyle’s full thoughts on all three drones.
I’ve been flying DJI drones exclusively for the last few years, and for good reason. In the world of drones, DJI’s technology and lineup of consumer drones have been outstanding — to the point that I haven’t had the desire to pilot drones aside from those from DJI. The only other non-DJI I’ve flown and tested out was the Parrot Bebop 2, and while it did introduce me to the world of drones, nothing has been able to steer me away from DJI of late.
People still have this fear about buying drones, especially those that cost thousands of dollars, which is why entry-level models like the DJI Mini 2 are attractive at under $500. Very recently, though, I tried out another similarly priced drone, the Holy Stone HS720E, just to give myself some practice and insights into what the competition offers. After trying it out for a couple of weeks, however, it made me realize the huge disparity between DJI’s drones and competitors like Holy Stone.
177 x 104 x58 mm (folded); 337 x 240 x58 mm (unfolded)
1640 feet/500 m
3,277 feet/999 m
Tilt: -90° to 0°
4K(3,840 x 2,160) stored in TF card; HD 1920 x 1080 (stored on mobile)
Video: 4K (3840×2160P) stored in TF card; HD 1920×1080P (stored on mobile)
Live view quality:
4K @30fps; 1080p @60fps
At $340, it certainly gives the DJI Mini 2 a run for its money, especially when it closely matches it in portability, features, and specs. Notably, it can shoot video in 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution and tips the scales in at 495 grams. It’s light for sure, but not as lightweight as the DJI Mini 2 — so it needs to be registered with the FAA for recreational flyers.
The Holy Stone HS720E is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t be wrapped up in the specs of a drone, mainly because the performance out of its camera is subpar — even by the low standards set by the DJI Mini 2. From its soft-looking video footage to color aberrations that make it look unrealistic, the quality is quite simply not professional grade.
Stability goes a long way
Call me spoiled by DJI’s drones, but I’m just used to drones that hover and remain in place when I’m not commanding them to move. You would think that stability is the core pillar of every drone, but it’s apparently still a challenge. Holy Stone’s drone showed me exactly that the moment I piloted it off the ground. Instead of being greeted by a steady drone hovering in place, I was instead acquainted with one that moved side to side, but never wanting to stay steady in place.
This is a problem for beginners because the last thing they need is the distraction of drifting too much. By comparison, all of DJI’s drones that I’ve flown in the last three years have offered impressive stability — even when there are wind gusts. With the Holy Stone HS720E, I have to counter the drift by manually piloting it against the direction of the drift, which is the distraction you don’t need as a beginner. Even tougher is that the lack of a stable flight is evident in the video footage, something that really can’t be fixed by editing software.
Reliable video feed
Yes, I’ve been spoiled by DJI’s OcuSync technology in delivering a reliable video feed. It’s the gold standard in my opinion because I haven’t experienced latency issues in both the Mini 2 and Air 2s — both of which offer OcuSync technology. Unfortunately for the Holy Stone HS720E, it doesn’t match the near-instant view I get with DJI’s drones.
There is some latency when piloting the HS720E, which can be problematic when you need tight, responsive controls when it’s a critical situation. While general movement isn’t an issue, there are times when you want it to respond quickly — like when there’s a bit of wind and it’s teetering close against a tree. In my experience, there have been numerous times when there is a second or two delay between the commands I give to the drone using the controller and when the drone actually responds.
These frustrations do add up, seeing that a reliable video is critical in getting the shot when you need it. With OcySync technology, it really makes me feel like I’m actually in the cockpit, so whatever commands I make with the controls are instantly registered. The last thing I need, even for beginners, is unresponsive controls.
Setting the bar for everyone
Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see more competition in the drone space, but there isn’t anyone else who can match the performance and reliability that DJI offers with its drones. The bar has been set high, which is why I’d love to see other manufacturers exceed that expectation because I know the value of variety from a consumer standpoint. For consumers, it’d be great if they can have a wealth of options to choose from — much like you get when shopping for smartphones — but the reality is that it’s not the case.
For now, I don’t plan on piloting anything else except for DJI drones.
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