The All New Mechanical Shutter of the DJI Phantom Pro and its Application in 3D Modelling

Image credit:

Not long ago, people gathered around a small house to witness a miracle, a miracle many of them never believed in but they could not miss the possibility of actually seeing it with their own eye and to their amazement, it was their lucky day as Wright soared through the sky, realizing a dream that has been tingling in the mind of almost every human before him. Little those people knew that every person in 21st would have the ability to buy such things and use them according to their needs.

Technology has surrounded us from all directions these days and we have no option but to surrender. Just take an example of cameras, we find them everywhere, in offices, homes, in movie making, as car dash cams and Drones. Drones and camera, what a magnificent combination. It’s like the perfect amalgam in a lab, which yield 100% products. Just a few days ago, DJI launched their flagship drone, which featured an all new camera with a mechanical shutter. Let me brief you about it.

In the very beginning of camera era, there was only one kind of shutter, the mechanical shutter. They were further divided into two types, focal plane and leaf shutter, but both of them served the same purpose; they block light from reaching the film when closed, and move out of the way every to let light accumulate on the film while open. Like most things now, the shutter has gone digital, and now includes two more options to control the amount of light: hybrid shutters (electronic first curtain) and fully electronic shutters.

In layman’s terms, a mechanical shutter is used to control how long the pixels on an image sensor collect light. A simple mechanical shutter can be used to turn the entire sensor array on/off during the exposure. This eliminates the need for added electronics at each pixel location that would be used to turn on/off the pixel and store the charge (accumulated light). By using a mechanical shutter, a simpler, less expensive, and more efficient sensor can be used: one that has a higher fill factor (uses more of each pixel to actually capture light). Of course, nothing is ever cut and dried. Some cameras use both a mechanical and an electronic shutter! In these cases, the electronic shutter is used to supplement the mechanical shutter by providing features like a faster flash sync speed where mechanical shutters are just not fast/accurate enough.

A typical error caused by average shutters, which would not be a problem with mechanical shutter

The Chinese drone maker DJI has been a dominant force in the field of drones, but they are not banking on it. In fact, it seems to be pushing out new product faster than ever, putting full pressure on the throttle, as their utter domination on the drone market continues.

The DJI’s flagship drone, Phantom 4 pro was launched a couple of months ago. The Pro boasts a better camera, more advanced obstacle avoidance, greater battery life, and additional intelligence the new Mavic Pro — a cheaper, smaller drone DJI released in October which, at least on paper, was just as powerful as its larger cousin. Much to everyone’s amuse, it is well versed with dealing with a very complicated but common problem of “rolling shutter” effect, which can give a Jell-O-like shake to footage, especially when filming quick pans or chasing fast-moving subjects. DJI says a new mechanical shutter on the Phantom 4 Pro will help to alleviate that. And it has added the ability to adjust the lens aperture, giving filmmakers greater control over depth of field in their images. The camera can now shoot 14 photos per second in burst mode and capture slow motion video at 60 frames per second.

This was much needed as the new drone boosted top speeds that were never seen before. Thanks to the new sensors, top speed while in obstacle avoidance mode has been bumped from 22 miles per hour to 31 mph.

According to a survey, more and more people (30% of our users!) are using drones to make 3D models. It’s simple to make a 3D model with DroneDeploy, Pix4D and other similar products and in fact, every map includes a 3D model view — but to make a high-quality model that looks great from every angle, there’s a bit more to it and Mechanical Shutter would leave no stone unturned to ensure the quality of the images, without hindering any quality. The drones in the pre-defined path flight of DroneDeploy or Pix4D have to take images while moving on a high speed, they can’t just slow down for every shot. That’s where you realize the importance of Mechanical Shutter in the new DJI Drone.

A typical 3D model built using pix4D. image:Pix4D

Rachel Stinson

Rachel Stinson has always had a knack for writing, food, fashion, and places. Blogging has combined all four for her with an added bonus of enthusiastic audiences. She expertly analyzes real estate, restaurants and electronics stores with respect to pricing and people involved and can express her opinions in an unhesitant, engaging manner for all matters.

View All Posts