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Drone photographers in Panama City Beach, Florida know With the success of the Mi Drone, Xiaomi has stepped it up with the new FIMI X8 SE Drone. This drone is a clone of the DJI Mavic Air but is this serious competition for DJI? The FIMI has a 4K camera with a full three axis gimbal providing 4K video at 30 fps with a recording speed of 1000 Mbps, shutter speed up to 1/8000 second and has various intelligent GPS flight modes. Has a 33 minute flight time with a range of approximately 3 miles line of sight. The camera takes photos at 12 MP sporting a Sony IMX378 1/2.3″ sensor and an f/12.2 inch aperture lens. It has many intelligent flight modes including waypoint, panorama, hyperlapse and image tracking. Also has some Cineshots such as dronie, spiral, rocket and orbit or circle point of interest with 3x digital zoom. This drone weighs less than 2 pounds and is foldable which makes it very portable. It has higher dynamic range, lower power consumption and better color performance.
The FIMI X8 has second generation high definition digital video transmission called TDMA with the latest decoder and encoder resulting in better video quality and lower delays. Adaptive stream bit rate technology and strong anti-jamming performance increases the video transmission distance to about 3 miles. Positioning is faster and hovering is more accurate due to the GPS and Glonass dual star positioning system. Even if the FIMI X8 drone is in a GPS denied area, the bottom and front camera allows it to hover steadily. For a safe flight this drone has excessive power warning, low batter warning for return, GPS real time, approaching no fly zone, automatic hover, dual IMU system, wind warning and manual return to home.
Return to home feature is not accurate but generally lands about 5 to 15 feet from where it left. There is a slight blue tint to the video but hopefully Xiaomi will rectify this with future software updates. This is something which can be adjust in post processing with some color tweaking. The only thing I don’t like about the gimbal is that it’s close to the ground so I highly recommend getting a landing pad. The FIMI X8 drone doesn’t have obstacle avoidance so make sure it is above trees or poles before starting your flight movement. It doesn’t come with any micro SD card and maximum capacity is 64 MB.
I would say the FIMI X8 drone is the best buy for all the features it has. Of course DJI still has the top of line drones but at a price more than double of the FIMI. I would like Xiaomi in the future to have this drone with obstacle avoidance and larger memory capacity. Also would be nice if the landing feet were couple of inches higher. One other thing I don’t like is Xiaomi has no repair centers in the US like DJI so good luck sending it back to China to get repaired. I’ve sent my Phantom 4 drone to the DJI repair center in California and received it back within 3 weeks after being repaired at a reasonable cost. So I guess you could say the FIMI X8 drone is disposable and that is a major disadvantage.
Drone photographers in Panama City Beach, Florida need to knowa another thing I’ve noticed is the FIMI drone doesn’t hover in place steadily like the Phantom 4 drones and seems to drift more. This would be a major concern if you are shooting footage close to buildings for real estate purposes. This drone is for sale at the Gear Best website for around $500 but sometimes can find it on sale for about $400. The battery cost is generally around $80 so make sure to buy an extra one if you will be doing a lot of flying. Even though it's advertised with a 3 mile range, probably more realistic is 2 miles. Because of its lightweight it doesn't seem to hover in place light the Phanton 4. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of improvements Xiaomi brings to the table in the future. So look out DJI, you’ve got a tiger on your tail.
Happy flying to all you drone professionals in Panama City Beach, Florida.