If you are new to the Mavic Mini, one thing you will have to do is to get familiar with the DJI Fly App so that you will have a better understanding of how to fly your drone and how to get better aerial photos and videos.
The DJI Fly is the application you will use to fly the Mavic Mini. You can do a lot of things in the App like check the drone’s status, view the live transmission video, update your firmware or customize your camera settings.
This article will guide you through everything you need to know about the App and help you get the best settings to make your Mavic mini perform to its fullest potential.
Tips: please make sure you use a compatible device because many Android phones may have compatibility issues which might cause laggy transmission or a potential crash.
Here is a quick guide:
- Main Flight Page Introduction
- Flight Mode
- Drone Status
- Satellites, WiFi and Battery Information
- Advanced Settings
- Auto Take-Off & RTH (Return to home)
- Map and Location
- Flight Telemetry
- Camera Information & Photo Settings
After you power on the drone and the remote controller, then mount your phone on the remote and launch DJI Fly, if everything goes well, you will be shown the home page. Here you can access the current location by tapping the icon in the top left corner.
If you click the book icon in the top right corner, you can find video tutorials of how to use QuickShots, flying tips, Flight Safety and user manual.
In the bottom left corner, you can access the photos and videos shot on Mavic Mini by clicking the Album button. The SkyPixel is an aerial photo and video community launched by DJI, people can share their work here. The Profile next to it is a place where you can check your flight logs, view DJI Forum, DJI Store, Find My Drone and Settings.
Now let’s get into the main flight page by tapping the Go FLY button. Let me walk you through every icon with juicy details.
There are 3 flight modes you can choose when flying. To change the flight mode, you just need to tap on it.
- Mode P – P means position, it’s a common model we use for the fun of flying or practicing.
- Mode S – S means Sport, you can experience high-speed flying.
- Mode C – C means CineSmooth Mode. Your drone will fly at a very slow speed when you fly in this mode, the gimbal and your drone will also move more precisely. I would recommend using it when you are shooting a video. If you want to capture nice smooth buttery cinematic videos, this mode won’t disappoint you. It will also make everything easy to control.
Next to Flight Mode is the Drone Status. It shows the current status your drone is in. According to different situations, it may show something like Normal which means it’s good to go. You may also get firmware update available, GPS signal weak, etc.. This is something you need to pay attention to every time before you fly.
If you click on the status, you will see a more detailed page.
Auto RTH Altitude
You can set the return-to-home altitude you want when the drone comes back to the home point itself. Normally I prefer to make it higher than 100ft but this should be set flexibly according to where you fly the drone. We will cover this with more details later.
It allows you to set the max altitude your drone can go.
This will determine how far your drone can go.
It shows us the total storage available, how many photos you can shoot, and you can also quickly format your SD card here. Please note that the Mavic Mini doesn’t come with internal storage and an SD card, you will need to buy one, if you don’t know which one to choose, check this article Mavic Mini compatible SD card list for more details.
Let’s move on to the top right corner. The icon with a Satelite shows how many satellites your drone is connected to. It may bounce which is totally normal. The bar next to the satellite shows the signal strength, it varies from location to location.
The WiFi icon right next to it shows the signal strength between the aircraft and the remote controller. You need to make sure that you always get a really strong connection so that you don’t lose connection to your Mavic Mini.
The Battery icon shows the percentage of the battery level. Next to the battery icon shows the estimated flight time remaining. If you tap on it, it will show a pop up displaying more information about the battery temperature, flight time and different voltages of each of the cells within the battery.
If you take a look at the upper right corner on the main flight page, you can see 3 dots which is the quick access to Advanced Settings.
Safety is one of the most important things you should look at. It may save you from a potential crash.
Normally, you need to set this to the Max height according to the local laws, e.g. in the United States, the FAA doesn’t allow drone pilots t0 fly over 400 ft. But sometimes you may find that this will limit your drone when you fly on a tall hill. The Max Altitude is calculated from the ground level, if you are on a location that is much higher or lower than the ground level, you may have problems. So don’t forget to change the settings when you fly in a special location.
I recommend you set it to No Limit so that you can fly as far as you may need to in order to get the photos and videos you want to shoot.
Auto RTH Altitude
I would like to have this set to around 150 ft, it would work just fine most of the time. But remember this is very situational depending on where you fly. If you fly in a park or an open area, there are no tall obstacles, it won’t be a problem, but if you fly in a city where tall buildings are around you, you may need to adjust this accordingly to like 300 ft or higher.
Update Home Point
It allows you to update the home point if you move locations during flight. You don’t have to manually set the home point before every single flight because the drone does that automatically once it establishes a GPS connection. But if you move mid-flight to a new fly spot and your home point is changed, you can update the home point right here if you want the drone to return to your current location, otherwise, it will go back to the initial spot you take off.
IMU and Compass
IMU and Compass are two of the most important sensors to the Mavic Mini, sometimes you may need to calibrate them to sure your drone flies correctly. If there is something wrong with your IMU or Compass, your drone will not be able to take off.
The compass simply tells the drone which direction it’s flying, just like a handheld compass. IMU is short for Intertial measurement unit which sounds pretty complicated. For most pilots, we just need to know that it can help the drone hover precisely and keep the drone balanced during flight.
So when you need to calibrate the compass and IMU?
If you see a message in the top left corner on the screen saying that you need to calibrate, you just need to follow the instruction to finish the process, it’s pretty simple and straight forward. Normally, it will happen before you fly your drone for the first time, after travel, after a crash, or if you find that your drone just isn’t flying properly.
Tips: Don’t calibrate your drone next to any metal and any electronics. Those items will throw off the compass calibration and sometimes it’ll actually tell you that the calibration is failed.
It’s better to turn the Emergency Propeller Stop on just in case. Normally you won’t need to do this, but it’s hard to say if you have to stop the motors in midair for safety reasons.
Whether you need to keep the Payload Mode on or not depends on your flight, e.g. sometimes if you have to fly with the propeller guards on, you can turn it on so that you will get a more accurate remaining flight time of the battery.
Find My Drone
If you crash your drone and have trouble finding it. This will help you find your drone. It shows you the last-known location of your drone, you can also have the drone start flashing and beeping if you’re around it but have no idea where it’s.
We have mentioned this earlier. You can switch flight mode from CineSmooth, Position to Sport. But you don’t need to change it here because it’s a waste of time and not that convenient during flight, just tap on the screen homepage, you can do it easily.
The units displayed in the telemetry so you can choose between imperial or the metric system whatever you guys are familiar with. You can also view the metric system and either meters or kilometers next up.
Gimbal Mode. We can change the way the gimbal reacts to the movement. There are two modes you can choose. The Follow Mode means the gimbal will remain fixed horizontally when the aircraft is moving. When in FPV Mode, the gimbal follows the movement of the drone, the camera will bank with the aircraft as you go left to right. This is one of the most important sections. I often set this to the Follow Mode so that the gimbal stays level no matter which way I fly the drone.
Advanced. Tap on advanced, this allows us to change the pitch speed of the gimbal so how fast the gimbal looks up and down as well as the smoothness of the gimbal when it’s pitching so that’s how smooth the gimbal comes to a start and how it comes to a stop. The Allow Upward Gimbal Rotation allows the camera to point upward if you turn this on, otherwise, it would be locked rate at zero degrees and there’s no way to look upwards.
- Best settings: If you set all these to 0, the gimbal will move up and down abruptly when you dial the gimbal control wheel. In order to get better gimbal movement and cinematic footage, I recommend setting both the Pitch Speed and Pitch Smoothness to 15.
- Also, just keep the Allow Upward Gimbal Rotation on so that you will be able to look up.
- Recenter Gimbal – This is pretty straight forward. It allows the gimbal to just recenter itself if you’re at a weird angle and you just want the gimbal to come right back.
Gimbal Calibration – we’ve got gimbal calibration here which we can do so if our gimbal is experiencing some sort of issue we can recalibrate it to make sure it performs properly.
Stick Mode – This enables you to set your personal preference of how you like to operate your drone. There are 3 options available, you can change between mode 1 mode 2 or mode 3 according to your preference, for most people, Mode 2 is the best practice. If you are used to the way you play video games, you may prefer to use the other two modes.
RC calibration – This allows you to calibrate the sticks of your remote controller.
Flight Tutorial – If you’re brand new to drones or the Mavic Mini you may need to go through the tutorial to get a better understanding of how to fly.
You can change the image size or the aspect ratio of the photos we shoot we can go with 4 by 3 or 16 by 9. 4 * 3 gives you the largest image of pixels which will give you more space for after effect. And if you use 16 * 9 you will end up cropping out pixels.
You can also see the SD card information which we already mentioned in the status of the aircraft.
Camera Advanced Settings
The Histogram allows you to monitor the exposure level. This is pretty much the easiest way to tell the exposure value. In order to not get too bright or too dark images, you can keep in on so you can monitor in real-time.
You can turn on different gridlines like cross lines, up and down lines and a crosshair right in the center to help you shoot better aerial photos. Personally, I think that all of that sometimes can be very confusing and it kind of takes up the way or it gets in the way of flying my drone. So for me, I keep that little crosshair on so I can line up my photos appropriately.
If there’s a portion of the image that’s overexposed, we can easily find out through some zebra patterns. This is a little bit annoying if you turn it on because you will always see that zebra patterns on your screen. It sometimes gives you sort of a feeling that something is wrong with your camera and will also interfere with your flying.
When shooting and there are lights in the frame it’s not going to flicker we can match the Hertz of the love the specific lights. Normally we just need to leave it to Auto.
Whether you want to turn on this or not depends on your preference, personally, I never turn video subtitles on any of the drones that I fly.
Catch When Recording
When you are shooting a video, a cached lower resolution version will store on our mobile device. You can set the storage space for caught videos depending on your device’s total capacity.
- Tips: It’s recommended to turn it off because most of the time you don’t need the caught lower resolution photos and videos, and most importantly, if you fly your Mavic Mini with an old device it will slow down your phone or tablet, the live transmission may be laggy, and sometimes you may even get a CPU overload warning.
Reset Camera Settings
This will allow you to get back to the default settings of your camera whenever you want.
This shows the frequency band that you are operating over when flying the Mavic mini.
You can see the channels that your drone and the remote can connect and the level of interference on those channels. It also allows you to select channels manually. It’s recommended to set it to auto so that it can automatically choose the best channel for you.
This is just all of the information about your drone, like the aircraft version, the RC firmware version, the name, and the model. You can also see the app version, how many times the battery was charged. You can see things like our serial number for the camera etc.
Next, the arrow in the middle of the left side shows the Auto Takeoff button, you just need to put your finger on it until the drone starts the motors. You Mavic Mini will go up to an altitude of 1.2m and then hover precisely where it is. Please note that it will turn into the RTH (return to home) button after the drone takes off.
If you tap on it, it will open up a larger map and if you tap it again, it then brings the full view of the map, shrinking down the camera video.
Benefit – we can view around we can see some of the different zones as some of the different controlled airspaces points also if we’re flying around we’ll see our flight path and then we can also see where our home point is we can take advantage of some of the different tools on the right side so we can see as a key for some of those different restricted zones on our map we can also clear our flight path using the eraser icon we can also reset our home point we can change the orientation of the map and we can also change the different overlays on the map (Standard, Satelite, and Mixed) according to your preference.
Right next to the Map shows the flight telemetry.
H means the height of the drone, D means the distance of the drone, and above that shows the speed correlated with that direction of movement. e.g. the speed right above the H means the vertical flying speed whether going up or down. The speed above the D shows horizontal speed so we can easily know how fast it goes forward, backward, left or right. You will get a better understanding of how it works once you get your Mavic Mini up in the air.
Let’s move on to the right side in the middle, you will see the camera information, the big white button allows us to take photos, if you want to shoot a video or use QuickShots (A simple and auto way of taking aerial videos), just click the rectangle icon above to switch.
Best settings for taking photos and videos.
- I always shoot the highest resolution that my drone’s camera allows me to because chances are you’re further away from your subject. I guess that it makes more sense to shoot in 2.7 K at 30 frames per second.
- You can choose Single shot or Timed shot accordingly.
Below the big white icon lies the Play button, you can quickly view all the videos and photos stored on your micro SD card.
EV (Exposure Value)
Move on you will see the EV control, you can tweak the exposure value so we can go up to make it brighter as we increase the value, or you can go down and make it darker. You can customize according to the environment.
What does EV mean and how to use it when shooting?
If we switch to Photo mode, you will find a camera icon at the bottom right corner on your screen. You can switch between Auto and Manual when tapping on it.
- Auto – Auto means the camera will determine all the dimensions automatically according to the light, you don’t need to do anything when shooting.
- Manual – Manual allows you to customize the shutter speed, ISO to get your desired photos or videos.
This is pretty much all the information for the DJI Fly App, I hope it’s helpful for you. I believe DJI will keep updating the drone and the application, we will also follow the footsteps to keep the information up-to-date. If you have any questions, spot any mistakes or want to share your settings, please leave a comment below.