Maiden Flight with the DJI Mini 2


Staff member
I went out yesterday to Central Park at the Huntington Beach Library. I knew it was a large park with some water, trees, open spaces and people. I had lot's of fun learning to fly the drone.

First off, this drone is so easy to fly! Having spent some time playing around and helping my 11 year old grandson at Christmas with his higher end toy drone ($200), the DJI Mini 2 was a complete opposite in terms of ease of use. While the toy drone had touted it's smooth flying, it had to be calibrated basically each time it launched into the air with using trim controls. And despite carefully doing that, it would still drift all over the sky like a drunken sailor. It crashed into trees, bushes, the parking lot, etc... I will have to give it credit that it was durable, but no matter how much it was calibrated it would not, and could not just hover in place even. Now we did have fun with it, my grandson enjoyed all of the near misses, and the times we could keep it in the air for more then 60 seconds before it collided with something. So it was fun, I will give it that. :)

Fast forward 6 months later, and the DJI was the complete opposite experience. You press the launch button, it turns on the props and raises 3 feet into the air, and it doesn't move a muscle! There is nothing to calibrate or trim, it just sits there, solid as a rock. :)

The package I got with the drone came with 2 batteries, I had bought 2 more. Each battery has a 31 minute run time on it. I used 3 of them yesterday at Central Park before the 32gb memory card that comes with the drone filled up. I have a larger 256gb card I will stick in it now. It takes the micro SD card.

I decided to video all of my attempts at flying, just in case. And also to be able to review how well it captured and the detail. The video can be 1080p, 2.7k or 4k. I set it to 4k. For photos, you can capture in jpg by default or you can switch on jpg and Raw. The Raw being in the dng format. I switched it on as I wanted to take some sample photos once it was flying that I also could play with. The sensor is 12mp, and it's a smaller sensor, the 1/2.3rds. I certainly would have likes a larger sensor, but it does work well for what it is.

I had read about needing to use ND filters to get smooth video's. So I had gotten a set of them. Trying to install one on the camera which is mounted on a gimbal is a little tricky, and you want to be careful since the gimbal moves around all over. But after a minute of some careful work, I got it to snap on. I had no idea which ND filter to use, they come in a set like 8x, 16x and 32x. I chose the 16x as it was getting later and the sun was getting lower so I figured the scene would be a bit bright. The idea is to get your shutter speed to be twice the frame rate. my frame rate at 4k was 30fps. With the 16x ND filter on, it got it down to 1/100th. So about 3 times the fps and not double. But for a first flight, I figured it was close enough as my goal really was just to learn how to fly it, and not cinematic quality footage at this point.

The DJI Mini 2 is about $449 for the normal package, I found this one on sale for $399 at Costco the other day. One of the key points of the drone is that it's under the weight to where you need to license it with the FAA, as it is considered a hobbyist drone. For me, that's perfect. I can have fun with it with my grandson, I can fly it around out in the desert where no one is to capture some cool aerial footage and photos. While it does have a max range with the battery of about 4 miles, I can't see ever doing that. One of the biggest things the drone loses because of it's lightweight size and price point is it does not have any obstacle avoidance sensors. You can fly it safely, you do have the camera allowing you to see on your iphone (which mounts to the controller) where you are. But it's still a bit scary at first as you don't want to fly into anything.

For me at Central Park, I took the drone up to 100 feet in the air. All of the trees looked to be about 50 to 60 feet max, so that way I could practice flying and flying movements with it and not have to worry about flying into trees. And since it doesn't have the obstacle avoidance sensors, that is a concern you have to be aware of. Also by flying it at 100 feet in the air, you really couldn't hear it, and its amazing at just 100 feet in the air, you really have to look for it to spot it. This way I figured I wouldn't be bothering people or annoying them with the drone.

I spent a lot of the time flying the drone along the sidewalk paths that go through the park, learning how to gently press the joysticks so as to get smooth movements. It definitely takes some practice, and it's something I will be going out and doing more of. In most cases you have to press one joystick to go forward, while also pressing the other joystick to get it to curve around on the curving parts. A gentle finger is what's needed.

I think that's enough for my maiden flight. I did capture some 4k video footage. Nothing spectacular, but I think it turned out kind of fun.

All comments are welcome,




Well-Known Member
Very cool Jim. I’m glad it went well. It’s amazing how easy they are to fly. I know people tend to hate them, but I think they are an incredible tool to add to the toolbox. Especially the Mini 2 considering how easy it fits into a bag.


Staff member
Very cool Jim. I’m glad it went well. It’s amazing how easy they are to fly. I know people tend to hate them, but I think they are an incredible tool to add to the toolbox. Especially the Mini 2 considering how easy it fits into a bag.
Thanks Brian.

I was one who hated them, and I am still not sure if I like them. It's a tool for me at this point. The reason I hated them was because of the people who misused them. People who would hover then 10 or 15 feet above your head, or knowing you are taking photos, they fly them right in front of you and then hover them. So sadly it was people who for years abused them. And because of those people, that's why they are banned in so many places, especially National Parks. It always just takes a few selfish people to ruin something for everyone.

Mike Lewis

Staff Member
Nice start. yes, it is amazing how stable to better quality drones are. I could not believe it when I first flew mine. Honestly hard to actually crash it even if you wanted to with all the obstacle avoidance, GPS, and return to home capabilities. Glad you gotr out with yours, it looks good at 4K.

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