DJI Pocket 2 for Kite Aerial Photography

I’ve recently taken three flights using the DJI Pocket 2 with WiFi dongle for aerial photography, conducting two short flights on Airpup and another brief flight as a kite aerial photography (KAP) rig.

With the WiFi dongle, the Pocket 2 is a small (~140g), 3-axis gimbal-stabilized camera capable of sending a remote video feed to DJI’s Mimo app and being remotely controled by the app. The original DJI Pocket didn’t offer a video feed, so when I saw they added this feature to the Pocket 2, I picked one up, just in time for Airpup’s debut on CBS.

Attachment for flight

Attachment to Airpup was simple– I used the Pocket 2’s included hard case to provide a horizontal 1/4-20 mounting point, and a velcro strap and small foam block to keep the camera from twisting.

DJI Pocket 2 mounted on Airpup

For KAP, I coupled the Pocket 2 with a Chris Fastie’s 3D printed Picavet from the Kaptery, replacing the picavet’s main mounting shaft with three inches of nylon 1/4-20 screw stock.

DJI Pocket 2 on a picavet kite aerial photography rig

Features and usability

Remote control and video feed functions work quite well on the Pocket 2. Although the video feed to my Android phone can begin to stutter above about 100 feet, it has been consistenlty usable up to about 250 feet and doesn’t lose connection until about 400+ feet. That said, my (admittedly old) phone battery is drained completely in about a half-hour of useage. On future flights I will use a spare battery.

Stability in flight is an issue with the Pocket 2. Unfortunately, DJI doesn’t offer the ability to lock in a camera heading and only a tilt lock is available. While the Mimo software offers an object/person tracking function, if the camera’s motion is too severe, it can be difficult to lock in object tracking. The tracking is also imperfect and hard to lock on.

The panorama features also didn’t work in flight. The Pocket 2, for some reason, switched direction 180 degrees when asked to perform a panorama. It then complained about the handle moving and failed to generate a complete panorama.

Overall, The Pocket 2 can make a great rig for casual aerial photography. Without a heading lock, however, it isn’t a good option for orthophotography and is only mediocre at aerial video.

Flight photos

I mostly have fooled around with the device, and don’t have any great footage or photos to share yet– the battery life of my phone being a major limiting factor here.

The old Milwaukee water tower and view south, Milwaukee, WI. Video Still.

The old Milwaukee water tower and view south, Milwaukee, WI. Video Still.

Prepping a picavet using my bicycle as the frame. prepping a picavet using my bicycle as the frame.