40 Tips and Tricks for Your New DJI Mini 2
Whether the DJI Mini 2 is your first drone or just another piece added to your powerful fleet, there are certain features that you may have overlooked.
In this article, we will show you how to tweak the DJ Fly app, advise you on what to do and what not to do when flying, list the paperwork and tools you must carry in your drone bag, and many other aids that will help you become a better pilot.
I have been flying my Mini 2 for more than a year now, and I can’t wait to share with you how powerful this small drone is. So, let us get right to the point so you can take off and put everything into practice as quickly as possible.
1. Get the Fly More Combo
Many Mini 2 users, as I understand, purchased this drone as their first. This usually means they have a limited budget, and a few bucks can make a big impact.
However, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of purchasing the Fly More Combo rather than the ordinary version. Aside from all the extras like extra propellers, screws, and a travel bag, the two spare batteries will be an important part of your training as a Mini 2 pilot. The 40 minutes of added flight time, as well as the possibilities provided by the two-way charging hub, make this bundle well worth the money.
2. Or purchase spare batteries
If you are on a limited budget and cannot afford the Fly More Combo, I strongly advise that you buy more batteries. You will not be able to achieve everything this drone has to offer if you only have one.
For example, I like taking a few panoramas of every location I shoot at – at least one wide-angle, and a 360° Sphere. I also frequently take a few AEB images and record some shots, which require the use of an entire battery.
Because DJI Mini 2 batteries cost $55, obtaining an additional one and then purchasing another one later would be a nice alternative if you don’t want to spend a lot of money all in one go.
Professionals, on the other hand, will almost certainly need to get more batteries, even if they purchased the Fly More Combo.
3. Prepare a drone logbook for maintenance
Many inexperienced drone pilots ignore the value of keeping a logbook. Without it, it is difficult to determine how many times the propellers have been used or when the drone was last thoroughly cleaned.
Having a logbook for your drone will not only assist you in maintaining it, but it also can help you avoid some incidents that could be catastrophic to the aircraft or, worse, to humans.
Applications such as Air Data UAV can make your life a lot easier in this regard. However, it is always recommended to keep track of all key data in an Excel file.
4. Update the firmware
I recommend you wait a few days before updating your firmware when new versions are released. It is critical that your aircraft, battery, and controller firmware is up-to-date. The rationale for this is that some major difficulties, such as troubling connectivity issues, can be resolved by one of these software updates.
On the other hand, several users (including myself) have reported issues with the DJI Fly app’s most recent versions, which may have been avoided if we had waited to update. Therefore, you should follow some YouTubers to stay up-to-date on this topic.
5. Check the weather
The weather is one of the most critical aspects of a drone’s operation. We’ve already discussed how it can affect your Mini 2 in this article, but we can’t emphasize enough how critical it is to keep this component under control.
Because flying your drone in the rain is illegal in some countries, it is a must that you plan ahead of time and keep an eye on the weather to avoid any unpleasant surprises (though sometimes that is impossible).
Here is a list of a few apps that you might find useful:
6. Follow the law
The most crucial piece of advice I can give you in this article is to always follow the law. There are no exceptions in this case. It is your legal responsibility to know where you are allowed to fly and where you are not.
Have you heard of the Benjamin Briere case? He was arrested and imprisoned in Iran on spying allegations after flying his drone in an area where he was not permitted to. So, whether you are flying in your nation or another, remember to fly responsibly.
Living in the USA? Check this website to know if you are clear for takeoff.
7. Always have this in your bag
When I first started flying, I wanted to do everything perfectly and be as prepared as possible for the operation. Because of this obsession, I built myself a travel backpack to carry both my DJI Mini 2 and my Parrot Anafi in the same place, something that you could do if you are on a tight budget.
I felt very happy when I tried my creation, but it also made me think about what I needed in my drone bag. It turns out that I had forgotten the most important thing, which was my pilot certification and drone insurance.
Since then, I’ve kept a digital copy of these papers on my tablet, as well as a copy online in Google Drive, just in case something happened to my device and a police officer demanded confirmation of my ability to legally fly my drones.
In addition to your qualification as a drone pilot and a copy of your drone’s insurance, it is recommended to have a screwdriver, gaffer tape, spare propellers, a pen, and any other tool or accessory you might need during the operation.
8. Choose the right video settings
Most commercial drones come preprogrammed to fly and shoot amazing footage in the most basic of ways, which means the video settings will be set to automatic by default. While shooting in auto mode might be useful in some instances, if you want to stand out among the mass of drone photographers, capturing your videos in pro mode will make a significant difference.
While in camera view, touch on the camera icon that reads “auto” in the bottom-right corner of the screen to switch to pro mode. Experiment with different settings for white balance, aperture, ISO, and shutter speed to determine what works best for you.
9. Choose the right photo settings
As we have seen above, you need to start taking your images in manual mode and select RAW as your default format. Images saved in an uncompressed format will require around 4 times more space in your microSD card, but the possibilities in postproduction will also multiply, allowing you to further edit your photos.
Additionally, consider using a 4:3 aspect ratio for your pictures. Unlike the aspect used in most televisions, which is 16:9, a 4:3 creates a frame that is 33% wider than it is tall.
10. Have a pre-flight checklist
One of the last things you want to do with your new drone is crash it or neglect to bring a vital accessory to the location where you were filming, which may be hundreds of miles away. For these reasons, bringing a checklist with you is of utmost importance.
To help you with this matter, let me share mine with you, which is broken down into four sections: Aircraft limitations, the day before flying, preflight checklist, and take-off.
☐ UAS Operator Registration
☐ Flying above sea level at +4000m
☐ 120 m is the max. Altitude
☐ UAS Insurance Documentation
☐ Winds of up to 10 m/s (36 km/h)
☐ Avoid Manned A/C
☐ UAS pilot certificate
☐ NO Take-Off from Moving Objects
☐ Avoid crowds
☐ Operating temperature: 0 ° to 40 °
☐ Careful Taking-Off from Sand
☐ Avoid Prohibited Areas
☐ Check weather
☐ Shot list and Storyboard
☐ Controller Charged
☐ Firmware Update
☐ Obtain permissions
☐ Aircraft Batteries Charged
☐ App Updated
☐ Check NOTAMs
☐ Ground Station Charged
☐ Flight Route / Area Planned
☐ Pre-Notification Requirements
☐ SD card formatted
☐ Site Survey / Obstacle Check
☐ First Aid Kit Packed
☐ Equipment Packed
☐ All equipment brought in
☐ Set Comms
☐ Home point (RTH Height)
☐ Inspect UAS for faults
☐ Warn Spectators
☐ Check SD card on A/C
☐ Compass calibrated
☐ Check Controller
☐ Propellers tightened
☐ Check Signal Strength
☐ Double-check obstacles
☐ Establish a take-off point
☐ Batteries Properly Fitted
☐ Check Satellite Strength
☐ Establish landing point
☐ Battery temperature
☐ Check Wind Speed
☐ Turn-off Phone Wi-Fi
☐ Turn-On Controller
☐ Turn-On UAS
☐ Hover for 15 secs at 5 m
☐ Record to monitor behavior and sound
☐ Check that all controls are responsive
11. Return to home safely
Sometimes we get so caught up in doing what we love that we entirely overlook some crucial details that might result in disastrous repercussions. Not correctly configuring the return to home (RTH) option is an example of this.
To set it up, go to the settings menu, select Auto RTH Altitude, make sure you have a home point configured, and you are done. As you can see, doing so is quick and simple, but failing to do it might result in your aircraft being lost or crashed.
12. Make sure everything is working properly
When we train to fly a drone at a flight school, the first thing we learn is to double-check that all of the aircraft systems are in working order. We should be careful to test the spoilers, yaws, and other navigation systems before taking off, much like a commercial aviator does (even though in quadcopters it works a bit differently).
Here is how you test them:
- Take off and elevate the drone to an altitude of around 3m (10 ft).
- Move the right stick forward and backward.
- Move the right stick left and right.
- Move the left stick left and right.
- Move the left stick up and down, and listen for some strange noises coming from the engines.
- Make sure that the home point has been updated.
13. Have the controller facing the aircraft
Despite the connectivity issues we have seen in recent weeks as a result of the newest DJI Fly updates, the Mini 2 is a reliable drone in this regard. However, this does not mean that there won’t be times when we need to increase the strength of our controller signal.
To do this, we may face the aircraft with our controller or purchase a remote range extender, such as this one. You may sometimes forget to face the drone with your remote, but it should be the first thing you try if you discover you are losing connection.
14. Pay attention to notifications
Searching YouTube for drone crashes is usually a fun way to learn what not to do. I observed a theme in a couple of these videos: people not paying attention to or ignoring the warnings provided in DJI Fly.
For example, if the app indicates that the drone is having compass troubles, the best course of action is to bring it home. The same is true if the drone keeps losing contact with the controller and you are confused about why.
Fortunately, DJI Fly and other fly applications, such as Litchi, offer warnings in a clear way. As a result, if you crash your drone because you didn’t pay attention or ignored a warning, it is highly likely that it could have been avoided.
15. Improve your image composition (use grid lines)
Anyone can use a drone to capture images, but creating great shots requires knowledge, expertise, and patience… It is not a simple process! One of the first things you should do if you want to reach a wider audience is to use all the resources available to you.
Gridlines are one of these fantastic tools, and they are incorporated in DJI Fly. They help you improve your image composition, which is the process by which all the components within the frame come together to make the final image.
Go to the settings menu (when in camera view), then press on the camera section, then scroll down until you see “Gridlines.” Once there, you have the choice of selecting one of three alternatives, or a combination of all.
16. Enable histogram
As a drone photographer, you must capture photographs on a screen that is sometimes difficult to view. When trying to capture the perfect moment or landscape, the light reflections that obstruct your creativity are not the finest partner in crime.
To make your life easier in this situation, activate the histogram in the DJI Fly by going to settings, camera, and then histogram. This useful tool provides a graphical depiction of an image’s brightness, with each tone represented as a value on a bar chart.
17. Practice makes perfect (so keep practicing your shots)
This is a rather basic suggestion, but I’ve seen that some pilots become irritated when they don’t get the shots correct the first time they try. We have all experienced the frustration of attempting to achieve something and failing miserably, but that is what practice is for.
To minimize frustration, make a list of your favorite shots and then set aside time to practice them. Don’t do any AEB photos or panoramas… Only practice the shots that you want to get right the first time.
I’ve been disorganized in the past with this aspect, and making a to-do list for my practicing sessions proved to be quite beneficial.
18. Don’t be afraid to use Quickshots
Using Quickshots seems to be a forbidden fruit to certain pilots. True, flying manually produces better results, not to mention more creativity, but intelligent flight modes may be quite beneficial in some situations, so don’t be hesitant to employ them when the time comes.
By default, Quickshots come in 1080 resolution, so change the settings if you need them to be at 4K or any other.
19. Tweak the gimbal settings
DJI has quietly added features to the Fly app recently. The Advanced Gimbal Settings tab is one of their newest improvements. All three flight modes (cine, regular, and sport) may have their pitch speed, pitch smoothness, yaw rotation speed, and yaw smoothness adjusted independently. The pilot has now more control over these parameters, allowing him/her to make the recorded film appear more cinematic.
You should also enable the “Allow Upward Gimbal Control” rotation option, which allows you to tilt the gimbal upward a few degrees. Both of these options may be found in the settings menu’s control tab.
20. Respect the wind
In drone operations, many aspects can be controlled, but the weather is not one of them. As mentioned above, you should always check the weather forecast for the time of your drone operations, as well as whether or not it will rain.
More significantly, you must be aware of the wind’s maximum gust speed. The duration of your flights is strongly influenced by the wind. The longer the aircraft has to combat severe gusts, the shorter the battery life.
Furthermore, if you lose contact with the drone in an extremely windy location, the aircraft may enter attitude mode (no GPS) and be blown away by the gusts. There have been many lost drones as a result of this, so be careful of the wind conditions in your area.
21. Take advantage of QuickTransfer
It’s strange to see unedited professional images on social media these days. Whether you’re shooting with a DSLR or a DJI Mini 2, Photoshop has become a photographer’s closest friend. However, there are instances when you just want to share your photos without having to edit them on a computer.
QuickTransfer, a Wi-Fi sharing option in the DJI Fly app, is the ideal method to share your content quickly and wirelessly.
To use Quicktransfer:
- Turn on Wi-Fi on your device and open DJI Fly.
- Power on the aircraft, press and hold the QuickTransfer button (located underneath the battery compartment).
- A prompt will automatically appear on the device screen.
- Tap on connect.
- Tap on View Album.
- Download whatever file you want to share.
22. AEB Mode is your friend
We all want stunning photos of the vacation we have been saving up for months. Using Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) mode is one of the finest techniques to increase the quality of your images.
The drone will take three photographs at varying exposures in this mode, which you can subsequently merge using software like Lightroom to produce an HDR image. Because these stills have a higher dynamic range, they will look great in your digital photo album.
They do, however, have a disadvantage: because you are capturing three shots instead of just one, they take up a lot more space on your flash memory.
23. Shoot a panorama everywhere you go
The panorama mode is one of my favorite features of the DJI Mini 2. I thought I could just capture wide-angle images with this drone when I first got it, but it turns out there are three distinct sorts of panoramic photos: wide-angle, 180°, and spherical (360°).
The spherical panoramic mode is my preferred panorama option since it allows me to trim bigger photos in postproduction. Also, watching a 360° image in VR or on my computer display is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a strange sensation to be able to see a whole region as if you were there in a 360° perspective.
24. No device? No problem!
When I first started flying drones, I thought that controlling them using a phone was a must. However, after I lost my drone camera view on my phone and attempted to manually return it home, I found that I could still control it.
If you find yourself in a similar position, keep in mind that your drone may be flown independently by the controller. We lose out on numerous capabilities that are only available on your device’s screen, such as the ability to manage camera settings, pick photo or video mode, view what the camera is filming, and a long list of other things.
That said, it is ideal for an emergency circumstance like the one I encountered.
25. Use the wheel to zoom
We all like the wheels that certain drone controllers offer for zooming in and out because they are far more convenient and precise than doing it on our device’s screen. I was surprised to see how many YouTube reviewers complained about not being able to zoom in/out with the wheel when the new Mavic 3 was released.
Fortunately, they just ignored this functionality, as the Mavic 3, Air 2S or Mini 2 controllers all allow you to zoom with the wheel. The tricky thing is that you must click the function button, which is on the left side of the left stick and has the letters “Fn” on it.
26. Choose the right microSD
As we discuss in this post, the optimum microSD card for your Mini 2 depends on your specific demands as well as the needs of your drone. These flash memories are categorized by capacity, read mechanism, and dimensions.
Drones utilize the microSD card format (standard in all of them). The read mechanism must be at least UHS-I, which allows for reading speeds of up to 50 megabytes per second.
Finally, consider capacity, which you should do depending on your actual requirements.
A Samsung Evo Plus with a storage capacity of 128 GB is my recommendation. In most cases, a 64 GB microSD card will be enough, but the extra space on a card with higher capacity will allow you to use it in several drones in the same session, which is great if you run into any issues.
27. Get some ND filters
Neutral density filters, or ND filters, are darkened glasses that go in front of your drone’s camera. They come in a variety of tones and are measured in numbers (known as stops in the world of photography).
We can better manage the exposure of our photographs with these filters, which provide better results. The most popular of these bundles contain the ND4, ND8, and ND16 filters. However, they can also be purchased independently.
The ND4 lets you slow down your shutter speed from 1/100 to 1/25 of a second, which is a significant difference. A must-have item.
» MORE: See my recommendations for the best ND filters for your Mini 2 in this article
28. Use map navigation
Getting lost in the air or losing sight of your drone can happen more often than we would like. The Mini 2 is particularly small, and its white color coating can be lost in certain backgrounds pretty easily. To avoid these problems, use the mini-map located in the bottom-left corner of your device.
On this map, you can observe a few elements that can assist you in quickly returning to your original location. It depicts the flight path of the aircraft, the locations of the home point and the controller, and also a satellite image of the area.
29. Or, use compass navigation
You may replace the mini-map with a compass if you want a simpler method to orient yourself. Tap on the little arrow in the bottom right corner of the mini-map to do so.
Enabling compass mode allows you to view where the north pole is, as well as your home point and controller’s location, all while a blue arrow remains centered, heading forward, and two lines on the side serve as attitude indicators.
30. Fly VLOS (Visual Line of Sight)
This may be quite evident depending on your country’s legislation, as flying VLOS (in your visual line of sight) is required in most areas. This implies that you should always be able to see your drone when flying it.
Some reckless pilots fly their drones BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight), which implies that they cannot see where the aircraft is. Flying in this manner can be quite dangerous, particularly in metropolitan areas, because some birds may attack the drone and the pilot will not realize it until it is too late.
If you need to fly BVLOS, make sure you have a waiver and/or the required certifications to do so.
31. Learn to use ‘Find My Drone’
We know you’re having a great time with your Mini 2, which captures incredible photos and movies and makes it difficult for you to concentrate on other elements of the drone. However, understanding how the “Find My Drone” feature works is critical if you want to continue enjoying the aircraft (if something goes wrong flying it).
To use the Find My Drone function in the DJI Fly app, go to Profile, then Find My Drone. This will display a map of your drone’s most recent registered location. You may make the drone flash and beep here, or you can have Google maps automatically create a route that will take you to that area.
» MORE: For a more detailed guide on how to use the “Find My Drone” feature, check out this article
32. Bring your power bank
Drones are such smart tools. I can’t imagine how many people and hours of work went into making them. Whoever came up with the idea of having the controller charge the device while flying deserves a pat on the back.
Being able to do so ensures that our phone or tablet will not run out of battery while flying. This does not, however, imply that you should leave your power bank at home because you can charge your batteries with it, so it is well worth bringing it with you for your drone operations.
Even with the three batteries supplied in the Fly More Combo, we may forget to accomplish something vital like taking a 360° spherical panorama of the operating area. To avoid this, you should recharge your first battery using your power bank when it runs out. It may not fully charge during your flight, but it will give you some more time to do any tasks that you may have overlooked.
33. Don’t take unnecessary risks
This should go without saying, but I know from personal experience that when flying, you can be carried away by your emotions, which can result in a crash. Do not risk it unless you have a job that requires it.
I understand that some images need a touch of danger to appear incredible, but most of the time, the great footage you’ve seen on YouTube was created by a professional with many hours in the air. Of course, they had to start somewhere, and if you want to reach that level, you should practice those shots. However, only do so if you already have the necessary experience and flight time.
34. Take advantage of the Two-Way Charging Hub
If you purchase the Fly More Combo, you will have access to the two-way charging hub, so don’t hesitate to use it. This accessory allows you to charge the Mini 2 batteries in a sequential (one after the other) fashion, as well as charge any of your devices like a power bank.
The disadvantage is that you’ll have to use one of the Mini 2 batteries to do it, but it’s worth it in some cases.
35. Mavic Mini accessories work on the Mini 2
One of the most often asked questions about the Mini 2 is if the Mavic Mini’s accessories, notably the intelligent flight batteries, are compatible with it. Yes, in a nutshell.
The Mavic Mini batteries may be used on the Mini 2, but you must be careful because they will provide less power. This means that on a windy day, the battery will be depleted considerably more quickly since it will have to work harder to provide the same force in the engines as the ones that came with the drone.
The following are some of the most common Mavic Mini accessories that are compatible with the Mini 2:
36. Enable Payload Mode (if you need it)
Another vital issue to verify with the rules of the country where you are flying is whether or not you are permitted to fly with a payload. If you are intending on adding some extra weight to your drone, DJI Fly has a mode for that, so make sure to utilize it if that is the case.
To enable payload mode, go to the settings menu, select the safety tab, press “Advanced Safety Settings,” and then turn on Payload Mode. This mode should only be utilized if the aircraft has propeller guards and is flying in a wind-free zone, according to the app.
37. Try alternative fly apps
The DJI Fly app was the only way to fly the Mini 2 until recently. However, some of the most well-known software developers for drones have been supporting the market leader’s latest mini drone since December 31, 2021.
You can utilize applications like Litchi, Dronelink, Drone Harmony, and others to create Waypoint missions, track a subject, and perform other tasks that are not available in the official app. Some of these are rather inexpensive, so I strongly recommend you try them.
38. Use DJI Assistant 2
You can utilize your DJI Assistant 2 with your Mini 2 if you do not already know (but only with its controller). When I noticed that, I was disappointed since I had hoped to use it to update the firmware on my Mini 2. Instead, we discovered that we can use this program to back up our flight data (available for both Mac and Windows on this link).
39. Stay Hydrated
I could not end this article without mentioning two points about drone operation that have nothing to do with the aircraft itself.
It is essential to stay hydrated to maintain body temperature, keep joints lubricated, and provide nutrients to our cells, among other things. If you have to walk long distances and the weather is particularly hot that day, you will quickly lose liquids, and may get to the point where you’re not functioning optimally. This can be dangerous to yourself, your drone, and others nearby.
As a result, I recommend that you always carry a bottle of water with you. I have a half-liter thermos in my operatives that has saved me from dehydration on multiple occasions, making it one of my most indispensable items in my drone kit.
40. Bring sunscreen
Sunscreen is another item that is not linked to the functioning of your aircraft but is important on sunny days when flying your drone.
This is vital in missions where you will be flying outside for several hours, especially in snowy areas, because the cold will make you forget about the sun, resulting in sunburns. A small sunscreen bottle can fit in any drone travel bag or backpack, so start carrying one for your skin’s health.
Thank you for taking the time to read these tips. I hope you have found these 40 DJI Mini 2 tips useful. It is now up to you to put these ideas into practice, or simply continue to enjoy Droneblog.
Benjamin Brière: French tourist jailed in Iran on spying charges