Testing Dji Phantom – first flights

I managed to get version one phantom to test at weekend and big thanks from that goes to Markus

Phantom
Phantom

This is really impressive device and several other person noticed it also while I was flying with it.

I have aviation license also thus made me pretty easy to fly it, but I would say that it will be easy to learn anyway. Actually biggest problem that I had was that the controls was different than I used to fly when I was a kid and also the controlling is bit different than with the airplane. This actually made me making all the time corrections based on earlier experience. So if I would buy this, most likely would directly go to configuration software and hopefully be able to change it. In short when you tilt the plane, it also starts turning around, when you tilt Phantom, it just moves sideways. 🙂

So what did I try. First I went to our aviation hobby club airport that is pretty empty during winter times, and I would suggest you to go also some place where you have plenty of room to practice. This was Dji phantom version one so the flight time is officially 10-15 minutes, but I only got something like 10 minutes. Of course the winter time had something to do with it. So when you are practicing that it’s about one hour charging and 10 minutes flying. Dji phantom 2 specification says that flight time is 25 minutes so that makes big difference. So this would be my suggestion to go with version 2, only the flight time is reason enough.

Lumia 1020 with Phantom
Lumia 1020 with Phantom

First I wanted to test with my mobile phone that what happens and selected time lapse testing app to take pictures every second.

Dji Phantom with Lumia 1020
Dji Phantom with Lumia 1020

Most of the pictures were blurry and that is the only picture that is sharp at least somewhat. The reason is that those four motor was just shaking a lot the phone. Also the attachment was not that good. I did figure out a better way to attach it but it was still not enough as the camera grip screw position is to far from the lens. I have heard that there is nowdays something like Beast Grip, but I have not been able to test one.

How to attach 3/4 screw
How to attach 3/4 screw

So on went to Lumia and here comes to GoPro. The Phantom is clearly designed into GoPro as that works best. It still need the ZenMuse H3-2D stabilizer, as you can see from my video that it CLEARLY needs it.

Dji Phantom with GoPro
Dji Phantom with GoPro

I also managed to generate panorama from the timelapse pictures that I took. This is from the house I grew up.

Panorama from GoPro timelapse pics(3)
Panorama from GoPro timelapse pics(3)

For the video, I really tried to stabilize it in Premiere pro CS6 and After Effects CS6 but didn’t managed to fix it. This shows clearly to me that ZenMuse H3-2D is really a must for the Phantom even I haven’t have chance to test it. You can actually get pretty nice pictures with it still so if you are only into pictures, you might be good to go with only Phantom even I would still go with the version 2.

I tried to attach also my Olympus OM-D E-M1 and kit lens into Phantom but that was too heavy. Phantom only managed to lift of for about meter over the ground. Maybe with some lighter lens it would be still possible. I would still go with some sports camera or similar as you break the camera very easily. It only need one mistake.

Conclusion:
Dji Phantom is amazing device, as a pilot and photographer, this is just what I need when not been able to fly. Only wind makes more difficult but you can still fly in pretty bad weather. I still would go to version 2 and Zen Muse combination, but you can have lot of fun with the version 1 too. Just be careful with the children. Everyone want one, at least from my experience 🙂

Here is the video, music is inspired from La Donna Del Lago – Opera by The Royal Opera, that I was watching today. Please do note also that this was done in pretty windy environment so camera shake is can’t be avoided.

My DJi Phantom first flying – test from Juhani Väihkönen on Vimeo.

Testing 4 different underwater video lights with Nikon AW-1

All four lights
All four lights

I managed to get 4 different video lights to my underwater testing with Nikon AW-1
Epogue EL-1000Video
Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite
Ikelite Vega
Light and Motion Sola Video 2000FS(Previous version)

This is not by any means official test nor technical one. Only my thought what I think about them. Please do consider also that Sola’s 2000FS is obsolite and 2100FS have replaced it.

All four ligths side by side
All four ligths side by side

First from the left
Light and Motion Sola Video 2000FS
Price: 979€
Max power: 2000 lumen

Second from the left
Ikelite Vega
Price: 495€
Max power: 2000 lumen

Third from the left
Epogue EL-1000Video
Price: 195€
Max power: 1000 lumen

Fourth from the left
Underwater Kinetics UK Aqualite
Price: 270€
Max power: 600 lumen

At least Epogue and Sola lights are currently on sale so the price is actually bit less, but the price category is the same still. In this test there is actually two kind of flash lights. Higher and lower. Around 200 euros you will get pretty nice light that has replaceable battery and attachment to use either flex mount or ball mount system.

My current main system is using ball mount but I have used flex mount also. The main difference with those systems are that flex mount can handle only limited weight and ball mount much more. My main flashers Ikelite DS-161 are just way too big to flex mount. Flex mount main benefit is speed, you can very easily change the light position.

Epogue EL-1000Video
Epogue EL-1000Video

Let’s start by Epogue EL-1000Video which is the cheapest of these, but not by far the weakest. You have to remember that you can get 4-6 of these lights for the price of one Light and Motion Sola Video Light. Giving you 4000 lumens all together and multiple ways of light your subject. So the price is just amazing. There is of course downsides as well. The shaft of beam is very sharp and the switch is not so well thought as it does not have any lock positions. It is just magnetic switch that turns 360 around the lamp.

Epoque underwater
Epoque underwater

In total darkens it’s very difficult to change the light into correct power output, there is no led lights telling what is the power and you easily turn of or turn off it just by accident. UK Aqualite has much better power switch, you can easily set the correct output power even with your eyes closed.

Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite
Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite

So in short for the cheaper dive ligts the main difference is power output and power switch implementation. I would say that you can live with either one, just have to know about them and prepare. These cheaper lights had still actually one advantange over the Vega and Sola, replaceable battery, 18650 battery that the use are coming as standard and you can by them for a cheap price and have several with you on your dive trip.

Ikelite Vega Controls
Ikelite Vega Controls
Ikelite Vega
Ikelite Vega
Ikelite Vega underwater with snorkels
Ikelite Vega underwater with snorkels
Ikelite Vega underwater
Ikelite Vega underwater
Sola Controls
Sola Controls
Sola Video 2000SF
Sola Video 2000SF
Sola underwater with snorkels
Sola underwater with snorkels
Sola underwater
Sola underwater

Lets then go to the more expensive lights Vega and Sola. Both of these lights has integrated battery so when the battery is out, it’s finish and you can’t do anything with the light until you have charged again. The battery life is good but if you do several dives in a day, it might be a problem. Ikelite Vega is pretty strait forward, it’s easy to learn hot to use and clear light indicating the power output and battery life. Sola has more funtions, it has software keylock and spotlight funtionality. Although it’s not that difficult to learn how to use but still much more complex that Ikelite’s Vega. Ikelite’s Vega is still missing the spotlight functionality that can be handy when photographing macro. Ikelite’s shaft of light is bit more narrower than Sola’s. The only case when this would be an issue is when photographing or shooting video with very wide angle lens, but some might say that you will get more power into subject if you can get light closer the subject.

One thing Sola 2000SF have clearly over Ikelite vega is to be able to use spotlight. The benefit is that you get intense beam into one area, and something like macro photography, it really matters.

Sola using spotlight
Sola using spotlight
Maro shot from ring
Maro shot from ring using 10 times makro filter

Conclusion:
There was benefits and cons in all the lights but the price point of Ikelite and Epogue is excellent. If you consider only quality, the Sola is winner but not much as the Ikelite comes close. As the price goes up you will get more power and more features, but are those important to you, I can’t tell. I probably will get at least one Ikelite light to myself, and switchable battery on Epogue is very nice but as I have already the UK Aqualite I’m not sure will I get one.

All the pictures in this post have been taken either Nikon 1 AW-1 or Nokia Lumia 1020

Strange fish at the pool
Strange fish at the pool

Small underwater light test from Juhani Väihkönen on Vimeo.

My First mobile phone video(Nokia N8)

I was visiting at my friends at Brasov, Romania and decided to make my first video only using my mobile phone. The phone is Nokia N8. The lightness of the phone made it difficult to make stabilized video even I had my manfrotto travel steady cam with me. The time lapses was still successful for my opinion.

Programs I used

  • Adobe Premiere Pro CS5(Main Editor)
  • Adobe After Effects CS5(for stabilization of some footage)
  • Adobe Lightroom 3.3(Data manage and Timelapses)
  • Neat Video Plugin(for reduce noise)

Edit: I forgot to tell how to Interpret the footage before adding to timeline. So basically you need to interpret the footage if your framerate is showing like 500 frames per second. So select all video clips and select modify-> interpret footage and write frame rate to 25 frames per second in Europe at least. In US you might need to use 30 frames per second.

I had my GoPro attachments that I used to attach my mobile phone to tripods, suction cup and steady cam. The program I used in the phone for time lapses was FastMotion that I bought from OVI store.

My Mobile phone custom Rig

20110115_mobile_phone_rig_0002

Tripod attachement

20110108_budapest_0023

Tripod in use

20110115_mobile_phone_rig_0001

Suction cup(GoPro)

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Suction Cup in Use

Embedding Nokia Ovi Albums to your website

I finally got time to test new Nokia Ovi album embedding and I think it’s quite nice feature for showing pictures to your friends. As a photographer and programmer I could not start thinking of where this live is going. More and more mobile phones include GPS receiver and coordinates are saved into pictures automatically. There are these feature in SLR also but at least I haven’t seen’t any decent way to do it, well I have used only Canon and Nikon SLR so there probably is already some models in market.

Anyway there are currently four ways to show pictures from OVI in own site. But the most coolest thing in here is wherever I go in this world I can always add pictures to these galleries from mobile phone and after adding the picture in one of these albums it will show those pictures in this blog. There are usually some problems also, like you see in here, background is white and my blog background is black, it just don’t look so nice.

First is this Horizantally Moving pictures. In this album there is some pictures from Egypt that I took with mobile phone.

It’s very nice for example bottom of the page, little similar to Adobe Lightroom filmstrip.

Second way is to show your pictures traditionally as Photo grid. One interesting thing in here is that I also added video for that and it really works. Here are some pictures from event here in Finland, it was located in Kaarina city and called "700 Rock".

Third ways is just Slideshow, which is also very traditional way. Here are some misc pictures from finland.

But I think the last ways as FishBowl is the most coolest way to show your pics. These pictures are taken from Thailand.