Now that I’ve had my DJI Phantom 4 for a few months, I’ve definitely noticed the need to replace the factory standard camera lens.
Before I explain, let me just say, I am not a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just one of those tech-geeks who’s used various cameras over the years, and has taken some great shots (along with a ton of bad ones). I’m still learning…
When I first flew my Phantom 4, I was blown away on a variety of levels. One being the cool factor of a drone, and another being the ability to remotely record stunning 4k video. With every flight, however, I started noticing what once looked great, wasn’t looking great anymore. Nothing changed other than my eye and my opinion.
What I was really starting to notice as I gathered more footage, particularly in bright sunlight, was that the image was being white-washed. Additionally, on super bright sunny days, my video had a strange ghostly ripple effect. Apparently, it’s the shutter, and I think I had eventually read that this effect was called (at least by someone) “jello roll.” There was always the option to do some post production to try to correct things like some of the white-wash, but I wanted to get better footage to start with.
After a little research, I found that a filtered lens would be the solution. As a matter of fact, I had read a blog entry by someone, somewhere, who stated that using a filtered lens on the Phantom 4 isn’t a recommendation, it’s a requirement. OK, so now I had another learning curve to tackle. Which lens(es) do I get? To be straight forward, I had read some good things here and there on the PolarPro lenses, and I figured for $30 more than the regular set, I’ll get the PolarPro Cinema Series Vivid Collection. I mean, more $, means better, right?
The lenses are great. The Vivid Collection 3 pack comes with an ND4/PL, ND8/PL, and an ND16/PL. I used the ND8/PL a few times, then one afternoon I put on the ND4/PL and just left it on. Most of my shots have been early in the morning or just before sunset. I’d say that my experience with the ND4/PL has been great.
Below is a video using the ND4/PL around 5PM on Nov 2nd on the east coast (and no post production). I think the colors on the trees are pretty good considering I think I missed the peak of some great fall foliage by a few weeks.
Product details including some usage tips for the Cinema Series Vivid Collection by PolarPro can be found here. Oh yeah, you’ll need a new gimble guard as the stock guard provided by DJI does not fit over these lenses.