Access camera settings from within DD

I had terrible results using auto exposure and focus. Flying up to altitude with DJIGo4 to set exposure and focus manually works but it’s a pain to takeoff with Go4, set focus and exposure, land, close Go4, open and connect DD then start the mission. If I need a battery change would I have to go through all this again? Camera settings should be available in DD.

Also why do we need to land b4 starting another mission? Litchi doesn’t make us do that…

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Hi.

Whereas I don’t have any experience of it, I’m led to believe that the ‘Manual’ function within the DD app does allow you to change the camera settings. I’ve yet to try it, and probably won’t as I’m happy with the way I manage my flights.

I don’t have any problems setting them with Go4 and switching to DD whilst still in the air. There is no need to land between fixing the camera settings in Go4 and starting a mission in DD.

Furthermore, the only setting I have found that needs resetting after each battery change is the focus. The exposure settings are maintained in Go4 after each change.

You don’t need to land between missions either. I’m still using the traditional method, which is to after a mission, switch the RC to S, halting the drone in the air, close the app down, switch the RC back to F, restart the DD app and select the new mission. If you need to set the camera up again, of course you will need to go back into Go4, but that can all still be done with the drone in flight.

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It doesn’t.

Nothing new here.

The only reason to land any longer is to swap batteries.

  1. Open DJI Go4 and set camera (I guess if you use a Mavic)
  2. Close DJI Go4
  3. Open DroneDeploy
  4. Select Manual Flight
  5. Go to first waypoint and altitude
  6. Select Add and build the flight list
  7. Fly

No need to fly manual. Just start the mission from where you are - having set your camera up.

Focus always needs to be set up for a Mavic. Rarely do I touch Exposure. Even with a completely blue sky, a whisper of cloud will blow in from somewhere and mess it up.

If “use GO…” is selected for exposure, you can have that set from a previous flight in GO and no need to open GO first to set that if your last settings are what you want. They persist through power cycles.

That leaves focus. I always pull focus manually using either DD or Map Pilot with a P4P or M2P. If DD would simply add “double tap to focus” ability on the camera screen in the app, then the user could pause over a well contrasting area and pull focus. That would then eliminate needing to open GO as part of the workflow for those that have had less than stellar results with auto settings.

Here in the pacific north west, sky cover condition can be all over the map in a 20+ min. flight. I have had the best results in these conditions using shutter priority, white balance on sunny unless totally overcast. Auto exposure invariably ends up with some images with unacceptably low shutter speeds for me.

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Back when I used Pix4D it did a much better job a this in my opinion. As far as I could tell, while it let the camera autoadjust settings on the first image, it maintained those settings througout the entire flight, so you didn’t get stripes of different colors on the end result.

This is a needed feature in the DD app.

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Fixing the camera settings will only be any good if the lighting levels and tones of the subject you’re shooting don’t change.

When leaving the app settings on Auto, the only time I get stripes etc in the finished ortho, is either when the amount of cloud in the sky changes dramatically, or more commonly, when just leaving or entering a tree’d area. The aperture opens right up over heavily tree’d spots but then doesn’t close quickly enough for lighter subjects like roads or grass etc. If I were to fix the exposure to lighten the trees, the remainder of the map would be burnt out.

Exactly! The majority of the drone flights I have experienced are over very contrasting subjects and/or under varying lighting conditions. The problem we have is that standard drone cameras don’t and/or can’t change settings fast enough to account for these broad changes while travelling at 15mph. Even this example shows that mapping subjects are a little different than taking standard standalone portraits. It was shot with a Phantom 4 Pro on auto-exposure on a mostly sunny day and this is after exposure correction in post-processing had already been applied. There’s basically 5 different conditions that the camera is having to compensate for on-the-fly. Moving onto a concrete slab from the trees or vice-versa can ruin a map if not prepared for. A static ISO in this case would have caused either black shadows or white highlights from which no data could be retrieved.

Notice the changes in the images (it starts with the last frame on the top row) with ACDSee batch filtering. Particularly those whites and blacks. Information is retrieved from both. It doesn’t seem like that big of a change at first glance until the GIF restarts. Image 222 is a great example of highly contrasting subjects in one shot and how digital post-processing brings back data.

I think this is time better spent than manipulating camera settings for each flight with trial and error and/or guesses especially in a corporate environment where many pilots are expected to perform the same task. Auto settings wherever possible has to be maintained. Smarter normalizing in DroneDeploy would be a better solution.

You are saying to use auto exposure and let everything gray out, then fix the images exposure before processing the ortho?
If the subject cant be captured with manual settings I’m OK with your workflow but I prefer to get it right in camera when possible.

Would you share your software and process for adjusting the images w/o messing up the gps metadata? I have a way but I doubt that it’s the best way so I’d love to learn how to do it better. Thanks!

Mavic? No. P4P :slight_smile:
I havent had luck getting the app to connect to the drone unless I restart the radio so your workflow wouldnt work for me unless I figure out the connection issue. Maybe it’s an Android thing? Are you using an Ipad?

I’ve never experimented with manual flight in Dronedeploy. Maybe that’s where I’ve been missing the boat so I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!

I’ve never used manual flight mode in Dronedeploy. After reading some other comments I’m wondering if we can get focus in manual flight mode and then switch to autonomous flight mode. Have you tried this? Thanks!

I haven’t had good luck getting the app to connect to the drone unless I restart the radio and I wouldn’t want to do that while airborne…
Maybe it’s a limitation with the Dronedeploy Android app?

Sometimes I fly late in the day. When the sun is very low the lighting gets flat, like overcast. The problem is that it gets dark fast so If I fly a second mission I often need to change the exposure.

Thanks!

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Hi Bob,

I have not used DD’s manual flight mode. If you can tap-focus in that mode then that should work well. It also means that with a few more lines of code, tap-focus should be able to be executed anytime during flight, including autonomous.

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Thanks Dave, I’ve been trying to use manual flight mode recently but unfortunately it doesn’t seem to exist in the Android app. I guess I’m going to have to go with drone Harmony or drone link…

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