The DJI Avata really has set itself apart from the other Cinewhoops in the FPV world and it’s due to one key factor that really makes it so much different.
That’s the camera the DJI Avata has and the plethora of functions and features it’s capable of.
When it comes to the realm of FPV flying and the footage of those flights, there has always been a gap between the two. The footage in the goggles has always been of such a lesser quality than that of the attached action camera.
For those of you not in the know, that smooth, non-grainy, not pixelated, just extraordinary footage – it does not come from the camera the FPV pilot is using to fly the aircraft with, that is till now.
No, that footage is usually from a separate device attached to the aircraft itself, be it a GoPro 10 or 11, one of the DJI’s Osmo Action cameras, or one of my personal favs the GoPro Session (what a great form factor for FPV the Gopro Session is!).
With any luck the newest GoPro Hero 11 Mini will be even better. The footage has always been great from that separate action camera source, though.
DJI being DJI, well, they’ve changed all that with the DJI Avata. The camera in the Avata provides some excellent quality video footage and photos without needing that secondary attached camera.
By combining the functionality and quality of the action camera into Avata’s built-in camera system, DJI has given us all something special.
Now, that’s not to say that you can’t still attach a secondary camera, as you can. Plus, it never hurts to have more than one set of footage. As with all drones out there, some great accessories can be found for the DJI Avata.
These two wonderful products are out already and will give you the option of having an action camera attached to the DJI Avata.
The Original Dobo’s DJI AVATA GoPro Action Camera Mount.
It does just as it says.
To get even further off-topic, if you are concerned about the Avata’s Plastic Prop Guards, and its durability there are the Ribbed Riders as well.
These bumper guards add the increased protection you may be looking for. I have personally found them to be a great addition to my Avata and highly recommend them.
Now, what if you don’t intend to use a secondary camera? That’s OK! The DJI Avata’s built-in camera provides excellent footage and is more than capable of competing with most secondary camera options available.
However, to get the most from any camera system you may use, it’s important to know how to adjust the settings and what those settings mean. That way, you get the footage you’re looking for and nothing else. So, let’s get into it.
The Avata camera stats
Before we learn how to change settings, we should know what we got. Here are the camera specifications, so we know just what the DJI Avata Camera is capable of.
I’ve also included the New GoPro Hero 11’s specifications for comparison. You’ll see they’re not far off from one another.
- Sensor: 1/1.7-inch CMOS
- Effective Pixels: 48 MP
- Lens : FOV: 155°
- Aperture: f/2.8
- ISO Range : 100-6400 (Auto)
- Video Resolution: 4K @ 50/60fps, 2.7K @ 50/60/100fps, 1080p @ 50/60/100fps
- Max Video Bitrate: 150 Mbps
- Color Mode : Standard D-Cinelike
- EIS : Supports RockSteady and HorizonSteady Can be disabled
- Takeoff Weight: Approx. 410 g
- Max Speed : 8 m/s (Normal Mode) 14 m/s (Sport Mode) 27 m/s (Manual Mode)
- 27MP 1/1.9” sensor
- 8:7 aspect ratio
- Cinematic 5.3K60, 4K120, and 2.7K240 video
- HyperSmooth 5.0 video stabilization with Horizon Lock
- 24.7MP stills from video feed
- 8X Slo-Mo
- 27MP still photo capture
- Hindsight video capture
- Time-Lapse scheduled capture
DJI Avata and GoPro 11 comparison
As we can see from the above specifications for the DJI Avata and the GoPro 11, there are some things right out of the gate we can see are very similar.
One is that both cameras have right around the same sensor size, with the GoPro 11 being just slightly larger than the Avata’s. The Avata’s sensor is 1/1.7-inch, and the GoPro 11’s is 1/1.9”.
However, we can also see that the Avata has a higher pixel count than the GoPro 11, with the DJI Avata having a 48MP sensor and the GoPro 11 having a 27MP sensor. Now, here that makes a bit of a difference. Having more pixels means it provides better detail in the footage. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it is a difference.
The DJI Avata camera features Rocksteady and HorizonSteady, so the horizon will appear straight, and the footage should look silky smooth. The GoPro 11 has a similar feature called HyperSmooth and Horizon Lock.
Although DJI did an excellent job with their version of this function/feature, GoPro has been doing it longer, and they just keep improving on their variation. Here GoPro does win out, of course. DJI, though is nipping at their heels.
We’re not going to cover every difference here. The above gives you the idea. The DJI Avata’s camera is really superior to anything else found built into an FPV cinewhoop and the DJI Avata’s camera is very comparable to that of an action camera.
In the end, the GoPro 11 does beat out the Avata’s camera. It’s not by a large margin at all though and with the new DJI 03 Air units, which have recently been released. We’ll be able to equip that amazing FPV camera to our other FPV quadcopters.
Exciting times for sure. Let’s get back to those camera settings, though.
Avata camera settings
When it comes to the DJI Avata, accessing the camera settings may differ depending on which set of goggles you are using.
For the DJI Goggles 2, accessing the camera settings is as easy as a swipe up from the bottom of the touchpad. Once completed, you will see the camera menu at the bottom of the screen.
From here, you will be able to swipe left or right to reach the setting you want to change. Such options available from left to right are stills to video.
Next to this will be the camera mode, either Auto or manual. Next is the ISO, then the shutter and right of the shutter would be the M.M or (Manual Metering) and WB or (White Balance), and to the right of those would be the Aspect ratio and finally, the last option on the far right would be Video Quality.
Now here I should point out that if you are in the Auto setting mode, most of these functions will not be able to be adjusted and are meant to be changed when using the manual mode setting so that you can adjust the camera parameters to suit the environment you’re flying in.
For the V2 Goggles, it’s similar, yet different. The V2 goggles do not have the touch menu screen as the Goggles 2 do. No, it has a 5D Button toggle, and it is by using this 5D Button toggle that you will be able to access the camera settings menu.
- Tap the 5D Button toggle. This will bring up the sidebar menu.
- From here, toggle down to the camera and depress the 5D button toggle to select the camera settings menu.
- The top of the list in this menu will be the Camera Parameters. Select this option.
- It is here that you will find and be able to adjust such settings as the stills to video.
- Next to this will be the camera mode, which can be either Auto or manual.
- Next to camera mode is the ISO, the Shutter, and then the EV or Exposure Value.
- After that, you will see the WB (white balance), and to the right of that would be the Aspect ratio and, finally the Video Quality.
Now once again, I should point out that if you are in the Auto setting mode, most of these functions will not be able to be adjusted and are meant to be changed when using the manual mode, so that you can adjust the camera to suit the environment you’re flying in.
Now that we know how to gain access to the camera parameters, it would probably help to know what each one does.
When looking at the camera parameters menu, to the far left you will see the Auto/Manual selection. This one’s pretty straightforward.
When in Auto, the camera will select the best parameter settings for the environment you’re in on its own.
When the manual selection is chosen, you will be able to adjust most of the camera settings yourself. Easy, right? It gets a little more complicated from here.
In the world of cameras, ISO is an acronym for the International Organization for Standardization. Which probably sounds strange to you, right? I hear you. you’re probably wondering what the heck does this have to do with cameras?
This is a throwback to the days of actual film use. Originally, ISO was used to measure film speed and that film’s sensitivity to light. ISO works in conjunction with shutter speed and aperture to form the photography triangle.
In those days of film use, the ISO would be changed by using different speed films and was not just a camera setting option. With today’s modern digital cameras, its effect has remained the same but works a little differently than it did in those days gone by.
With today’s camera systems, you can change the speed and, therefore, the sensitivity with a push of a button as opposed to swapping out rolls of film to change the film’s sensitivity to light.
Let’s look at what ISO does. ISO controls the amount of light your camera lets in and, therefore, how dark or light your photos will be, something you might adjust for technical or artistic reasons. In order to make sense of this, here’s a breakdown of ISO settings and their effect.
This is the best choice for shooting outdoors on sunny days. The brightest situation you’ll likely be shooting in.
When the lighting is still good but less intense, such as indoors by a window or outside on a cloudy day this slightly higher ISO is ideal.
If you’re shooting indoors without an additional light source like a flash, you’d want to work in this range.
When it’s dark out, or if you’re shooting indoors with dim lighting, you’ll need a high ISO. If movement is involved, you’ll also want to pair that high ISO with a fast shutter speed.
As shown above, the higher the ISO, the darker an area you can shoot in. The reason for that is the higher the ISO is, the more light will be allowed to enter the camera.
With the DJI Avata, we have an impressive ISO range of 100 to 6400. This allows the Avata’s camera to still be able to capture good imaging even in low light conditions.
To the right of the ISO setting is the Shutter setting tab. As mentioned above in the ISO section, Shutter Speed is also one of the three pillars of photography and works directly with ISO and Aperture to form the Photography Triangle.
Here again, this setting deals directly with the amount of light that is let into the camera’s sensor or how fast the shutter will open and close. More light means a brighter photo, and less light means a darker photo.
It also affects the freeze or blur of any movement in your picture. When adjusting the shutter speed, you have to consider two things. Light and motion. This shutter speed chart illustrates how different speeds capture motion.
Shutter speed allows the photographer to use motion — or freeze motion — to tell a tale or capture a vibe. This one can be quite subjective, and there is no right or wrong, just trial and error and your preference for what you want that shot to look like.
Knowing how to properly use the shutter speed opens up a world of creative possibilities.
EV Exposure Value / M.M
Depending on which set of goggles you are using, you will have one of the above options. Exposure Value, or EV for short, in photography, is a number that combines aperture and shutter speed. It represents how much light is in the scene and tells you what settings will give you the right exposure.
Some aspects of EVs are obsolete in today’s world of digital cameras. But the idea behind it is key to understanding the exposure triangle that we have mentioned in the above sections.
EV is the amount of light that is in front of the camera. For reference, let’s look at some examples of EVs in real-world situations.
EV 16 — Bright sunny day on the beach or in the snow
EV 12 — Overcast day or open shade
EV 10 — Just after sunset or before sunrise
EV 8 — Bright Street scene at night
EV 6 — Home interior
EV 4 — Floodlit building
EV 1 — Blue hour
EV -3 — Scene lit by a full moon
EV -6 — Night scene with little moonlight
As we can see from the list above, the higher the EV, the better-lit the area being captured is, with the negatives being for lower-light situations.
Recently there has been a bit of a change with the introduction of the M.M. setting. M.M. represents Manual Metering. As we have mentioned earlier, this is an option within the New Goggles 2 but is not present in the V2 goggles.
M.M. also reflects the Exposure Value and is the measurement of the exposure value when setting the ISO and Shutter speed in the manual settings, with Minus (-) meaning underexposed and Plus (+) meaning overexposed.
White balance (WB) is the camera setting to eliminate unrealistic colors within your shot and is directly related to the color temperature of the lighting. This way, something which appears white in person is also rendered white in your photo/video.
In simple words, white balance allows you to select the most accurate colors for the scene that you’re shooting. Proper camera white balance must consider the light source’s “color temperature,” which refers to the relative warmth or coolness of white light.
By adjusting the white balance, you can make your image look more natural with realistic colors, using white as your guide to determine what those colors are. White balance is related to the lighting conditions you find yourself shooting in.
Most cameras come with the option to manually set or adjust the white balance. Typical settings include “sun,” “shade,” “tungsten,” and “fluorescent.”
Some cameras come with the option to manually set a color temperature by choosing a specific Kelvin value.
As shown in the chart below, not all light is the same, and it is for this reason that WB is needed.
These varying color temperatures will affect the look of your image unless you properly set the white balance. Your white balance may need to be adjusted throughout a shoot if you are shooting outdoors, as the temperature of the light changes throughout the day. It is a variable that requires monitoring, not a “set it and forget it” type of camera setting.
In nearly all digital cameras today, WB can be handled by the Auto setting. It’s not perfect, however, and may require adjustments manually to achieve the best and proper settings.
The Aspect Ratio relates to the image’s size. With the DJI Avata, we have the 4:3 or 16:9 as available options, depending on the video quality selected. Here image size and aspect ratio are one and the same.
Aspect Ratio is the term used to describe the active horizontal and vertical dimensions of your camera’s digital sensor, the aspects you are opting to use. These dimensions are expressed in a ratio – width: height.
The 16:9 ratio is mainly used for videography as it is the same ratio as a widescreen TV, and the 4:3 ratio is mainly used for Photography.
When we look at the Video quality setting of the DJI Avata, we do mean video and not photos. Here we also encounter a difference between the Goggles 2 and the V2 Goggles.
Here’s the breakdown:
If being used with the DJI Goggles 2:
If being used with the DJI FPV Goggles V2:
As we see, the differences are subtle, but there just the same. When selecting the video quality, it is subjective to the person taking the video.
Some people shoot everything in 4K 60fps, while others might choose to have their video in a lower format, such as 1080p. No one can tell you which is best for you.
There are some things, such as slow motion, where you will want the highest frame rate possible, which would mean that you would want to adjust the VQ to either 2.7K at 100 or 120fps or 1080p at 100 or 120fps.
Just remember you’re the artist, and as such, it is up to you to select the Video Quality that the subject you’re shooting looks best in.
Sometimes it may even be more about the system you’re using in post-editing and its capabilities that will determine which Video Quality you can use, as most older systems struggle with playback of 4K video.
We’ve covered a lot of ground. Hopefully, you now better understand the various settings within the DJI Avata camera and what they mean and do.
So, go on get out there and test adjusting these settings for yourself and let’s see what you come up with. Happy Flying!
Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!