best camera settings

Best Photo & Video Settings for DJI Phantom 4, Mavic Pro, and Mavic 2

Today’s drones are equipped with amazing cameras, but the photos and videos coming off of those cameras only look amazing if the settings are configured properly.

Here are the settings we have found from hundreds of drone flights to yield the very best results:

Photo Settings

The best photo settings remain similar for pretty much all DJI drones.

You can find these photo options by making sure you’re in photo mode and tapping the following icons in DJI Go 4:

camera settings icons DJI Go 4 app

When you’re in the camera settings, you’ll see options to configure the photo, image size, image format, white balance, and color. Here are the best settings we found:

  • Photo: Single Shot
  • Image Size: 4:3
  • Image Format: RAW + JPG (you only really need the RAW file, but sometimes the JPGs can be a nice backup)
  • White Balance: Auto
  • Color: D-Cinelike (color only impacts the JPG files, the RAW files are unchanged by the color setting)

best dji drone photo settings

When you have these options configured, your settings panel within DJI Go 4 should look like this:

DJI Go 4 Camera Photo Settings

Best Video Settings

The best video settings vary slightly depending on which drone you have. We’ll cover the highest quality video settings we’ve found for the Mavic Pro, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, and Phantom 4 Pro.

All video settings can be found within the DJI Go 4 app by first switching your drone into video mode, and then tapping on the settings icon:

dji go 4 video settings icon

Mavic Pro Best Video Settings

Within the video settings menu on the Mavic Pro, you’ll see options for video size, video format, NTSC/PAL, white balance, style, and color. Here are the best settings we’ve found:

  • Video Size: 4K, 3840 x 2160, 30fps
  • Video Format: .MP4
  • NTSC/PAL: NTSC
  • White Balance: weather dependent, typically either sunny, cloudy, or manual
  • Style: Custom, +1, -1, 0
  • Color: D-Cinelike if the footage will be color graded in post-production, Vivid if you are looking for the best quality straight off of the drone with no editing

best video settings mavic pro

Mavic Pro Exposure Settings

Getting great video also depends on having the proper exposure settings and shutter speed on the Mavic Pro. Typically for any kind of video shoot, whether you’re using a DSLR, your drone, or a professional cinema camera, you want your shutter speed to be 1 over 2x your frame rate. For example, if you’re shooting at 30 frames per second (30fps), you want your shutter speed to be set at 1/60th of a second.

Having the correct shutter speed following this formula [1/(2x your frame rate)] makes your footage look smooth and natural. If you are filming a bright subject and your shutter speed becomes too high, it can cause noticeable and unwanted banding in your video footage.

Professional cameras allow you to change your aperture and ISO to adjust your exposure while keeping your shutter speed at a constant 1/60th of a second. However, the Mavic Pro’s camera has a fixed aperture, which means it cannot do this.

To get the best video footage possible out of your Mavic Pro, we recommend investing in ND filters to decrease the exposure and help you maintain a 1/60th of a second shutter speed in brighter lighting conditions.

That said, here are the best exposure settings for the Mavic Pro:

  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter: 1/60th of a second

mavic pro exposure settings

Image is too dark

Increase the ISO until desired brightness is achieved.

Image is too bright

Increase the shutter speed (1/120, 1/240, 1/400…etc) until desired exposure is achieved. 

Using ND filters by Polar Pro can help you maintain a 1/60 shutter speed even in bright lighting. Keeping the shutter speed at 1/60th of a second is preferred for video.

 

Mavic 2 Pro & Mavic 2 Zoom Best Video Settings

The Mavic 2 Pro boasts an impressive 1″ 20MP Hasselblad camera sensor and is capable of recording HLG 10-bit video, producing some of the best video quality we’ve seen from a prosumer drone. The Mavic 2 Pro also includes a variable aperture, which means you can use the aperture to adjust your exposure and help keep your frame rate at 1/60th of a second. Here are the best settings we recommend:

  • Video Size: 4K HQ, 3840×2160, 30fps
  • Video Format: .MP4
  • White Balance: weather dependent, sunny, cloudy, or manual
  • Style: Custom, -1, -2, -2
  • Color: HLG (vibrant colors, great for a beautiful image straight off the drone), D-LogM (ideal for a flat profile perfect for color grading)

The Mavic 2 Zoom similarly is a great drone and produces great image quality. It’s telephoto zoom camera is unique for a drone, and can produce cool effects. Unfortunately for video purposes, the Mavic 2 Zoom does not have a variable aperture, which means you will likely need to pick up ND filters, and it doesn’t support HLG 10 bit recording. Still, the photo and video quality is a huge improvement over the original Mavic Pro, and the Mavic 2 Zoom can absolutely be used for commercial shoots.

Here are the best settings we recommend:

  • Video Size: 4K HQ, 3840×2160, 30fps
  • Video Format: .MP4
  • White Balance: weather dependent, sunny, cloudy, or manual
  • Style: Custom, -1, -2, -2
  • Color: Normal (great for no editing), D-Cinelike (ideal for a flat profile for color grading)

mavic 2 pro video settings

Mavic 2 Pro / Zoom Exposure Settings

The exposure setting will vary slightly between the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom because the Pro has a variable aperture while the Zoom has a fixed aperture. This means you can use the aperture to adjust the exposure level on the Mavic 2 Pro, while you’ll need to purchase ND filters for the Mavic 2 Zoom to keep your shutter speed at 1/60th of a second while recording.

That said, here are the ideal exposure settings for both the Mavic 2 Pro and 2 Zoom:

  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: 2.8 (increase as needed on the Mavic 2 Pro to compensate for an overexposed image)
  • Shutter: 1/60th of a second

mavic 2 pro exposure settings

Image is too dark

Increase the ISO until desired brightness is achieved.

Image is too bright

Increase the aperture until desired exposure is reached (on the Mavic 2 Pro).

On the Mavic 2 Zoom, using ND filters by Polar Pro can help you maintain a 1/60 shutter speed even in bright lighting.

Phantom 4 Pro Best Video Settings

The Phantom 4 Pro is one of the most iconic drones from DJI. It has the iconic drone shape, the image everyone first thinks of when they think of a consumer drone.

While the Phantom 4 Pro is an older drone, it still produces great image quality. (Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the original Phantom 4, the images we see out of that drone are grainy and significantly lower-quality than what clients are expecting).

Here are our recommended video settings to get the best image possible out of your Phantom 4:

  • Video Size: 4K, 3840×2160, 30fps
  • Video Format: .MP4
  • NTSC/PAL: NTSC
  • White Balance: weather dependent, sunny, cloudy, or custom
  • Style: Custom: +1, -1, 0
  • Color: Vivid (for great video straight off the drone), D-Cinelike (for color correcting the video footage in post-production)

video settings phantom 4 pro

Phantom 4 Pro Exposure Settings

Like the Mavic 2 Pro, the Phantom 4 Pro includes a variable aperture that you can adjust to compensate for the exposure being too bright or too dark. You may need to pick up ND filters if the scene is too bright, but in most cases, you can get by without one.

Here are the exposure settings we recommend:

phantom 4 pro exposure settings

 

More Tips for Capturing Beautiful Footage

We hope these photo and video settings help your great aerial images look even better. Give them a try and let us know what you think! And if you’re looking for cinematic camera moves or tutorials on using Point of Interest, check out our other articles below:

5 Best Simple & Easy Cinematic Drone Shots

How To Take Great Drone Photos – A Brief Tutorial

Bring Your Drone Photos to Life – Drone Cinemagraphs Tutorial

How to Take Long Exposure Photos Using DJI Drones

How To Edit Drone Photos To Make Them Pop

 


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About the Author

Stetson Doggett

Stetson is an Ithaca College alum and a certified drone pilot. He has been flying the DJI Mavic Pro since it first came out and loves finding new ways to improve his aerial photo and video quality. Stetson is from Acton, Massachusetts, and when not in the air he enjoys playing board games, producing YouTube videos, and watching Stranger Things.