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Any rumors of a Skydio with a slightly better camera?

DroneRat

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Ive been shopping for a drone mainly for artistic landscape/nature photography—especially still photography.

The simple thing based on most reviews appears to be to buy an Air 2S…however, I am growing increasingly weary of DJI given the recent ban on sales of chips/semiconductors (and associated labor) to China, military blacklisting and the allegations of DJI drone use in the Uighur genocide. Increasingly it appears buying a DJI drone means supporting some kind of techno-fascism and a (potentially) dictator who it appears this week reserved himself yet another term.

1) Do any skydio drones rival the Air 2S in photo quality? Capturing nuanced and subtle color of variations in trees and leaves, the blues of the water and sky and of fog/mist are important.

2) Are there any rumors of upcoming skydio drones that might rival those dji drones with ~1 inch+ sensors?

Whats the timeline for these?

3) Also, How good are the current skydios for photography and how well do they resist wind? I might want to fly over the ocean to photograph sharks and whales.
 

Saladshooter

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Ive been shopping for a drone mainly for artistic landscape/nature photography—especially still photography.

The simple thing based on most reviews appears to be to buy an Air 2S…however, I am growing increasingly weary of DJI given the recent ban on sales of chips/semiconductors (and associated labor) to China, military blacklisting and the allegations of DJI drone use in the

. Increasingly it appears buying a DJI drone means supporting some kind of techno-fascism and a (potentially) dictator who it appears this week reserved himself yet another term.

1) Do any skydio drones rival the Air 2S in photo quality? Capturing nuanced and subtle color of variations in trees and leaves, the blues of the water and sky and of fog/mist are important.

2) Are there any rumors of upcoming skydio drones that might rival those dji drones with ~1 inch+ sensors?

Whats the timeline for these?

3) Also, How good are the current skydios for photography and how well do they resist wind? I might want to fly over the ocean to photograph sharks and whales.

If anything new is on the horizon, it would probably appear in January but I don't feel that Skydio has the intention of releasing something that would be a direct competitor to DJI. A bigger camera is almost assured on a new model, however Skydio would still have to come forward with much better range and software to support it.

So to directly answer:

1) Skydio colors are rich and actually hyperreal. I've captured good fog, sky blues are extra blue, clouds are hard to keep from overexposing. Noise can be a problem in lower light and the S2 will not fly at all at night and really low light.

2) No rumors floating, Skydio is small and is generally able to keep things under wraps until they are ready to talk about them.

3) The current Skydio drones are better for video than photo due to their tendency to dance in the sky, limited photography settings and the smaller camera. For photography I would be looking toward the larger DJI drones (Air 2S, Mavic 3) and Autel (Lite+, Evo 2 Pro). I routinely fly over water with my Air2s Mavic 3 and Skydio 2 but would be very careful at low altitude with the Skydio as I feel its sensors are sometimes fooled by the water's surface and can be at a very different height than the app is reporting.
 

DroneRat

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If anything new is on the horizon, it would probably appear in January but I don't feel that Skydio has the intention of releasing something that would be a direct competitor to DJI. A bigger camera is almost assured on a new model, however Skydio would still have to come forward with much better range and software to support it.

So to directly answer:

1) Skydio colors are rich and actually hyperreal. I've captured good fog, sky blues are extra blue, clouds are hard to keep from overexposing. Noise can be a problem in lower light and the S2 will not fly at all at night and really low light.

2) No rumors floating, Skydio is small and is generally able to keep things under wraps until they are ready to talk about them.

3) The current Skydio drones are better for video than photo due to their tendency to dance in the sky, limited photography settings and the smaller camera. For photography I would be looking toward the larger DJI drones (Air 2S, Mavic 3) and Autel (Lite+, Evo 2 Pro). I routinely fly over water with my Air2s Mavic 3 and Skydio 2 but would be very careful at low altitude with the Skydio as I feel its sensors are sometimes fooled by the water's surface and can be at a very different height than the app is reporting.
Thanks this is very informative. Haha maybe soon I too will have multiple drones for multiple purposes lol

This is random but how are skydio drones when it comes to sand? I want to fly at beaches a lot and am not sure what will happen if it drops in the sand on launch accidentally etc?
 

lidocaineus

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Thanks this is very informative. Haha maybe soon I too will have multiple drones for multiple purposes lol

This is random but how are skydio drones when it comes to sand? I want to fly at beaches a lot and am not sure what will happen if it drops in the sand on launch accidentally etc?
If you're at beaches a lot, make sure you have plenty of compressed air. You WILL get sand in the antenna cavities and the areas around the cameras (there are zero o-rings around them). Do not land on the sand (this goes for any quad) because you'll kick up a whirlwind. Find a less sandy area and put down a landing pad. Worst case, use the case (either of them) and do an automated landing. It's less coverage than a pad, but it's something.

Photos are fine on the Skydio (if you shoot in RAW), but DJI makes framing and composition way easier. For example, there is no histogram on the Skydio. You heard that correctly. Even though it can auto-expose, it can show you what the exposure is. This makes things like shutter priority a "best guess" scenario because you have NO idea if you're under or over-exposing part of the image. Your best bet is to stick to auto for stills.

For specifically autonomous tracking, the Skydio absolutely destroys any DJI. It's not even close. But again, you run into the exposure / lack of histogram problem. To get proper shutter speeds, you learn what ND filters work for what environment. It's usually fine (ND8 for very cloudy / dusk, ND16 for cloudy, ND32 for everything else), but it doesn't make me feel like I have control. There is also no flat or LOG profile. Fortunately, the output nails it most of the time, but there are situations where I had the latitude of a flat or log profile.

I've contacted Skydio about the very poor tweakability for anyone wanting to more flexibility than the built-in auto modes, but it doesn't seem to get any traction. You would think they'd have a TINY bit of focus on this, as their ridiculously effective tracking is ultimately useless if the footage you get is difficult to work with.

The Skydio is a leap forward in a lot of ways, but it's got a lot of things they can improve (exposure features, terrible controller, mediocre transmission quality, the awful way the orbit skill maxes out at 16 mph). But if you're willing to work within certain parameters and limits, you can get some absolutely stunning shots. It's just a lot of work right now. Hopefully they get better.
 

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