Mavic 3E & DD - Horrible results! Help?

Hey Everyone,
I’ve recently purchased the Mavic 3 Enterprise. Dig it!! Looking forward to a great relationship.

However, when I flew a Zeitvew simple roof ortho mission with DroneDeploy and the M3E I was horrified with the results. I’ve been flying my Phantom 4 & 4 Pro v2 with DroneDeploy since 2017 without hardly ANY missed images EVER. I’ve flown close to 200 successful missions. I’ve got the latest version of both the firmware and DD. I’ve flown a few test flights recently after this one and they all have missed images issues.

Here’s the “coverage checker” image of the flight. Note the green circles around only SOME of the missed image areas:

Any advice? Suggestions?

Interesting that this is happening on the DJI RC Pro where Pilot 2 has its own Flight Route capability for the first time!!! DJI Go 4 did NOT have that capability and NEVER had missed image issues.

I sure hope someone can lend some solutions to this issue.

Thanks in advance,

1 Like

Those little gaps are caused by the shutter command being tied to a waypoint or location, the only way to fix that is to just tell the drone to take a picture every 2 seconds, regardless of what ever the software tells it to do this ensures that on flat terrain your photos are even, on hilly terrain you get extra images when climbing and descending (which is good!) and gets you way better results.

But Honestly if you want good results get UGCS to make the autopilot flight files, then fly it with the native DJI Pilot app, its annoying you cant do it on site real quick like you can with the DD app, but the quality of the end product is better.

We love DD but until DJI plays nice and officially allows 3rd party apps without random workarounds the DD app is essentially unusable with these drones.

I wish DD had an option to just make the flight with the DD app and then export the KMZ it so it could be flown with the native DJI pilot app, this would solve all the issues on the M series of DJI drones (mavic and matrice)

DJI hates DD and any other 3rd party app, every time we’ve tried it we always get all sorts of errors, camera randomly stops working, landings do random things, etc.

If you want great images use these settings with the M3E:

Flight speed: 7m/s
Side Overlap: 80%
Front Overlap: (irrelevant, controlled by aircraft speed and auto shutter timer)
GSD: 1.75
Flight elevation: 60meters above ground (for 1.75gsd)
Set the drone to flat out take a photo every 2 seconds regardless of anything (for 80% coverage)



This the cause for 99.99% of the issues with crappy images on the Mavic, the damn thing never auto focuses so the images are waaay out of focus and blurry unless you remember to hit focus.

Always make sure to focus on a nice and flat spot, not on the middle of the forest or on top of buildings.

your image quality will drastically improve.

1 Like

Were you running RTK or not. If not did you PPK? DroneDeploy uses pre-calculated waypoints for shutter trigger as @Visio mentioned which when you are using standard GPS navigation on something this small can causes this issue. Especially if there are trees in the vicinity. The sloped rooves also cause a considerable amount of multi-path interference. Using DJI Pilot 2 to fly with 80/70 overlaps and a 1 second shutter would be much better. Make sure you are far enough above the roof to capture the actual overlap and use the distance to surface setting to account for the height of the structure. Did they have you do an oblique orbit as well?

Hey Visio,
Thanks for your extensive reply.

You said…“Those little gaps are caused by the shutter command being tied to a waypoint or location, the only way to fix that is to just tell the drone to take a picture every 2 seconds, regardless of what ever the software tells it to do this ensures that on flat terrain your photos are even, on hilly terrain you get extra images when climbing and descending (which is good!) and gets you way better results.”

I have NEVER experienced as many gaps/missed images in a DD flight EVER. The recommended setting, at least within the Flight Route (Pilot 2) is to set it to Distance Intervals.

Regarding the settings, I’ll give some of those a try - certain settings are set in stone by Zeitview. I DO have a message to them regarding options to increase overlap and “Distance Interval shots vs Timed Interval shots”. So we’ll see about that. I’m trying to get ahold of M3E pilots that have flown for Zeitview WITH the Pilot2 settings to see what they’ve run into…hopefully, not literally, of course. LOL

When you say, “pause flight, hit the focus key, then resume” you mean only at the beginning and only once, correct?

It doesn’t look like I have had issues with the AF. Samples here of both the 115’ ortho test with Pilot 2 app using Flight Route AND the coverage checker. NO issues!!!:

Again, thanks for your time and reply.

Hey Michael,
Thanks for you reply.

No, I didn’t use RTK nor run PPK.

I’ve never had an issue with DD and missing images with over 180 missions since I started using it in 2017. So, I’m really confused as to why this is happening. I’ve done my best to stay consistent with my settings - they are set in stone by Zeitview. I’ve flow in diverse environments too (at least for my area of California) - trees everywhere encroaching on the roof edges, airports, military bases, heat, etc. and I’ve not had any issues like this. Most of my missions have been, and had to be, 70’ above the roofs of industrial buildings riddled with AC units and the like or 115’ orthos with semi trucks all over the place.

One second shutter seems WAY too slow. I’m pushing for 1/2000 second at 20 mph to REDUCE the chance of motion blur. Do you mean 1 second shot interval? I’m currently using distance Interval with the Pilot 2 settings. I do like the increased overlap though. I’m unfamiliar with “distance to surface” setting. I’ll have to research that.

No, no oblique orbit requested. But I did have the gimbal set to 45 degrees as required. No flights are ever NADIR with these types of mission.

Again, thanks for your reply and your time with my issue.

Yeah that is probably your problem, the M3E cant reliably do 1 second shot intervals, don’t even try, DD is probably trying to do it and that’s what’s causing your problems, its trying to take pictures too fast, if your SD card cant keep up with the write speed or the drone screws up, that will cause those gaps

You might want to get one of these for good measure, they are rated for that drone:

We used to get these all the time, the solution was just to set the shutter interval to 2 seconds (works 99.95% of the time with no missed shots) and also has the added bonus of adding extra shots when going up and down which makes the quality of the job increase in orders of magnitude.

If your job is under 60 meters height and 2 seconds is too long just fly slower, unless you are doing a massive job it shouldn’t be an issue, usually jobs that require under 60m altitude (1.75gsd or less), are super small jobs that will take a few minutes at best to do.

My recommendation would be, don’t use the auto shutter interval, it tries to take pictures faster than 2 seconds sometimes and it causes that, its easier to just set the drone to flat just take a picture every 2 seconds, and control the forward overlap with the drone speed, you get much more reliable data.

The only time you would benefit from using 3 second shutter interval over 2 second shutter interval is when you fly at 115m or higher while maintaining 7m/s speed

With drones having extra helps, I always plan my missions with 1/500 shutter speed in mind, (hence why the 7m/s) you could theoretically do 10, but if you plan the mission that way and you get there and SUPRISE! its a cloudy day you are going to have to remake the mission haha.

If you need help calculating the drone speed to the best overlap use this tool, it works GREAT with the mavic 3 E all variants.

I hope this helps.

Thanks Visio! I appreciate it.

It all boils down to, what will Zeitview and their clients, accept from the M3E. I’ve reached out to other Zeitview pilots to see what they have experienced with M3E and ZV. So, we’ll see.

I’ve had some promising test flights with the Pilot 2 w/Flight Route. It’s flying pretty fast, as fast as with DD, and it’s not missing a beat. I’ll probably just stick with that and the recommended settings.

My logic is telling me to set it at Distance Interval shots not time. I mean, it slows down around path changes, wind variations, etc. The test flight over the housing development in my gallery was shot at Distance Interval shots and Shutter Priority - 1/2000 sec shutter speed and they look pretty good with no missed shots. What do you think?

Reading the memory card, I’ve got a few of these and haven’t had an issue. What’s the difference? What are your thoughts:

DroneDeploy just released a new version. I’ll run a test on my mission tomorrow and see how it performs with the same settings. I’ll also fly the mission with Flight Route in Pilot 2.

Again, thanks for you time and attention to this.

1 Like

Well, I flew a Zeitvew mission today using DJI’s Pilot 2 and their Flight Route. It was a quick 115’ Ortho. DJI’s Flight Route was almost perfect. DroneDeploy failed again:

M3E Pilot 2 with Flight Route:

M3E with DroneDeploy:

I was hoping the latest version would be better. Nope.

C’mon DroneDeploy! Find your solution!!!

1 Like

@Visio I’ll have to disagree with the statement that the M3E can’t reliably take 1s interval shots consistently. With the right card we do it every day. While I prefer to slow the bird down and calc it to a 2s interval it has no problem with 1 or even 0.7s. This is a good key though is to make sure that the card being used is freshly formatted and capable of storing M3E images that fast. They are bigger than what comes out of a P4P and it’s unlikely a P4P ever shot at a 1s interval.

@CertifiedDroneMedia I have never had any trouble planning missions for Zeitview or any other Contractor for that matter with DJI Pilot 2. Just use their calcs and you’ll actually end up giving them a truer representation of those calcs using the native software. DroneDeploy doesn’t know how to account for structure height. There use to be a market app but it has been gone for a while so whatever you plug in you can be guaranteed you are already missing a couple of percent of overlap per every 10ft of structure height. You put in the structure height in DJI Pilot 2 and you give them exactly what they asked for.

1 Like

I agree Michael. Thanks. I shot this last mission sticking with DJI’s suggested speed using Pilot 2 with with its Flight Route and my Sandisc Extreme cards - it captured the images perfectly at 20mph at 1/2000 sec shutter speed. DD hasn’t EVER allowed or suggested anything faster than 7mph at that elevation with P4P.

I’ll certainly wait to use DD until they’ve got the kinks worked out…MAYBE. Pilot 2/Flight Route is becoming much more comfortable to me. The automatic switching from AFC to M focus upon starting flight route is something I’ll have to research but the results seem to be pretty acceptable if not perfect. I just switched it back to AFC within the first seconds of the route.

Any opinions on this focus switching?

1 Like

I always slow the M3E down. Most of my jobs are at 225ft +/- on 50 or so acres and I limit it to 25mph. I have no need to fly at 33… I find it limits image blurring in coordinated corners and calms the attitude a bit. Basically whatever it wants to run at I take 15-20% off.

As for the focus mode I have noticed that as well and have not figured out how to make it default to AFS. I too just tap it to AFS after the first picture. We also learned to turn of AFC when running video…

1 Like

I operate a DJI Mavic 3 Enterprise, and have flown Zeitview missions with my M3E using Drone Deploy, and have not seen the issues you have described here. I also understand that Zeitview wants us to use their GPS checker before leaving the job site, and that appears to be showing the missing GPS tags with your M3E media files.

I also see allot of discussion in this thread around flight and shutter speeds. When practical, I always define my DD mission on the PC before going into the field. It is just easier for me that trying to do it on the job site. When doing this I make sure DD is using the M3E for the so called ‘Planning Camera’ and find that setting affects the speed at which the DD Flight Plan uses during the mission.

As you have already stated, Zeitview requires us to use specific setting for their projects, typically 75/65/75 (Forward/Side Overlap and Gimble Angle) and to turn off the ‘Dewarp’ feature. So those requirements notwithstanding,
I set the M3E Camera to ‘Auto’ and fly the mission using DD. I also disable the DJI Pilot 2 App prior to flying the mission using DD.

In your case it may be trying to set the camera setting manually, or that DD is using the wrong camera profile (maybe a bug) that is causing you to miss images. Maybe not enough satellites in view or a high KP during the flight.

One of the key strengths of using the M3E is that we can choose the workflow and flight control software that is best suited for our operation. DJI Flight Hub, Drone Deploy, etc., or the excellent mapping capability built into the RM510B controller.

One thing is clear, and I think this is something we can agree on. The Phantom 4 Pro v2 is still a very relevant and capable aircraft. I will not be selling mine any time soon. I am using mine as my backup for my M3E.

My apologies if none of my observations/comments are not helpful.

Fly Safe.

1 Like

Hi James,
I really appreciate your reply and insight. We are on the same page with everything you stated in your email. Very strange. I conducted some small flight “missions” of my own prior to a ZV mission and they were perfect!!! Not sure what happened.

I did have an M3E mission using Pilot 2 and Flight Route and it was accepted. So, I guess we move forward with Pilot 2 app. I’m getting more comfortable with it.

I’ll keep plugging away. Thanks again James.

Safe flights,

Good stuff James. I have seen missing shots in DroneDeploy inconsistently from time to time for the last 7+ years regardless of drone and it was always in GPS-challenged locations. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just the nature of GNSS systems.

Also, I want to emphasize checking that the mission camera correctly populates when connecting the drone and verifying that the flight plan is what you expect regardless of where you plan.

On the statement of dewarping did you mean to say turn it on? Their standard in my experience has been that they want it on for flights in our area.

1 Like

Zeitveiw wants Dewarping ON.


Thanks guys…

I believe that for Sites specific mapping missions, ZV wants Dewarp turned off. Not sure why anyone would want the resulting vignetting we get on the M3E with it turned off. I may be wrong here… I will go back and check the ZV Training Material.

1 Like

Well, I just heard back from ZV today in a response to my question about using the M3E on the SITE Tech missions I just accepted…

"That’s right! You can use Mavic 3E to fly this mission but make sure to turn ON the dewarp in settings. You can check if the DJI pilot 2 works fine for the flight route, if not you can get back to us before flying the mission.

And on the mission dashboard itself it states “When flying with an Mavic 3 Enterprise (M3E) it is required that dewarp is turn ON.

That pretty much says it all…as it has many times before when providing my flight plans and settings using the M3E for these missions lately. I’m not sure where they have said to leave it OFF for any missions.

Thank you for confirming the Zeitview requirement for M3E Dewarp setting on Sites projects. It may be project specific and I just missed that.

I see under camera settings, Zeitview wants you to check camera exposure and White balance. There is no setting in Pilot 2 App that can be used to control WB on the M3E. WB is always set to Auto regardless of the camera mode. There are allot of posts on the DJI Forum related to that ommision in Pilot 2. Video on the M3E is always set to 29.97 FPS and cannot be changed either. In addition, ISO is always in Auto mode, with no way to change on the Pilot 2 App. that I can find.

Because the of the limitations on the camera settings, the M3E is kind of a ‘One Trick Pony’ when compared to the P4P v2 aircraft. What the M3E does, it does well. It really is a great mapping tool.

Of course you probably already know all this. Zeitview may not, hence the redundant instructions on their project boilerplate.

Thanks again and Fly Safe.

1 Like

This is what it is and almost every example I have seen is when the subject is a homogenous red or green. I have flown over 500 missions with the M3E (almost always full auto) and the only two maps that I can recall that had any issue were extremely green agricultural fields on cloudy days. I think people aren’t taking these conditions into account and when is and is not good for mapping. Sometimes we don’t have a choice though.

This is an Enterprise drone meant for specific use cases but more importantly company usage where you often have 10’s or 100’s of Pilots and standards are in place and Pilots should keep their sticky fingers out of settings. If someone needs more extensive videography then they should probably go buy a drone that is meant for that, like a M3 Pro. I know I am playing devil’s advocate but these design intentions can also be a very good thing depending on your use case.

In my experience the M3E is MUCH more capable than the P4P. It is faster, handles wind better, has better software, longer battery life the ability to RTK/PPK, has a faster camera, is more portable… it’s just a better machine. I’ve also flown over 200 missions with Zeitview with the Air 2S, Phantom 4 Pro and Mavic 3E and very rarely have any problems with data running full auto.

Fly safe!

I appreciate your insights regarding the M3E vs the P4P v2, however if we can agree to disagree, that would be a good start.

As you suggested, I did go out and buy a Mavic 3 Pro, right after I purchased my M3E in 2023 as a way to compensate for the limitations of the M3E as a photography platform. I am happy with that decision as they are both excellent tools that I use to serve the different needs of my clients.

I think you missed the point of my comparison of the M3E to the P4P v2. It was meant to point out that the P4P can support both mapping and photography use cases. The M3E’s superior mapping capabilities notwithstanding, the P4P v2 is certainly a more versatile platform in a general sense. My bad for not stating that more clearly.

I also run full Auto when executing mapping and photogrammetry missions and have had great success in doing so. I use Pro mode on the M3P and set the camera setting accordingly, again to great effect.

I think being able to run Drone Deploy on either the M3E or P4P is a big asset.

Fly Safe.

1 Like