By the time you read this article, the end of 2022 will only be a few hours away.
At this moment every year, we will habitually sigh, "This year flies so fast." Then, scribbled farewell to the old year and greeted the new year in a hurry.
And this year, I want to make the farewell a little more ritualistic, at least not so hasty. So at the beginning of December, when I received the DJI mini 3 drone, I had an idea: use it to find ten "circles" in Guangzhou to bring 2022 to an end.
Why look for "circle"? If you are smart, you must have discovered that a period is a circle, and the annual rings that symbolize the time of a year are also circles. This ancient and magical symbol is often regarded as a cycle: it is the end and the beginning.
In the Chinese context, we also endow "circle" with quite a lot of beautiful meanings: completeness, dream come true, reunion, flowery moon and full moon, etc. Therefore, these ten circles also entrust New Year blessings, and wish you all the best in the new year.
ten dollars ten dollars
Let’s talk about the tool itself first: the DJI mini 3 drone. This is the "Youth Edition" of mini 3 Pro, with the same sensor size and similar appearance design, but it does not have multi-directional obstacle avoidance and higher-standard shooting options. The price starts at 2689 yuan, and it is mainly portable and entry-level.
In nearly a month of free time, I took it to more than ten places in Guangzhou. I will put the specific experience experience in the creative notes below for the reference of interested friends.
1. Guangzhou Circle Building
The first stop, I came to Guangzhou Yuan Building. This controversial building, located in Liwan District, was nicknamed "Tu Hao Yuan" because of its resemblance to a copper coin.
The designer of the building, Joseph DiPasquale, a professor at the Politecnico di Milano, once explained that its design concept comes from jade in oriental culture. The reflection in the Pearl River, or the circular square in front of the gate, can form the visual effect of the number "8", implying smooth business.
In the industrial area where the elevated roads fly across, the Guangzhou Yuan Building objectively plays the role of a "fixing sea magic needle". Its appearance brings a visual order here and neutralizes the roughness of the surrounding area.
2. Liwan Plaza
If Guangzhou Yuan Building is a jade biscuit, then Liwan Plaza is like a jade bracelet, and the emerald green is particularly eye-catching under the warm sun.
Whether it is the building, the square, or even the planning of the parking lot, they are all in a circular shape, which makes the obsessive-compulsive disorder very comfortable. The oblique light at 4 o'clock in the afternoon makes the people passing through the square draw slender figures on the ground, giving a glimpse of the childishness of Lilliputian.
3. Datansha Sewage Treatment Plant
During the Renaissance, artists believed that beauty arose from ideals, geometric shapes, and proportions. For classical art and architecture, the perfect symmetry of the circle made it the most beloved and perfect shape for artists.
Sewage treatment plant, a place that doesn't sound so beautiful. But the six neatly arranged circular cisterns endow the place with some beauty and poetry.
4. Kecun Interchange
How many detours are there for the overpass in Guangzhou? This is a puzzle that I haven't solved yet after I have been in Guangzhou for more than two years.
The Kecun Interchange is near the headquarters of Aifaner. It takes about 500 meters to arrive from the top of the building. When this photo was taken, Guangzhou had just been unblocked for a long time, and you can see that the traffic on the road was relatively light.
But now, the overpass has become completely lively. The blood vessels of this city are bursting.
5. Panfu Interchange
Compared with Kecun Interchange, Panfu Interchange can be regarded as "small and beautiful".
There are different opinions about the origin of the name "Panfu". But it cannot be denied that it has a beautiful meaning: "Panfu", which coils up blessings. Just like the blessing characters hung on the door during the Chinese New Year, it makes people feel very cordial.
6. Southland Aoyuan
Near Chimelong Paradise, there is a community with a unique shape called the Southland Olympic Garden.
At the beginning of the millennium, it was rated as "China's No. 1 Disc". Looking at it, I remembered the city I had built in the Simcity game, with a sense of willful order.
7. Guangdong Olympic Sports Center Tennis Stadium
When it comes to where to find circular buildings, sports venues are indispensable.
This is the tennis hall, one of the 12 newly built venues for the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games. One large and one small can accommodate 10,000 people and 2,000 people respectively. This shape can be said to be the cyber version of the Hakka enclosure.
8. Guangdong Olympic Sports Center
Next door to the tennis hall is the main hall of the Olympic Sports Center.
The first time I saw it was not long after I came to Guangzhou. When I took a taxi and passed by, the master enthusiastically introduced to me how brilliant and eye-catching it was at that time, but because of its relatively remote location, how lonely it is now and so on.
This time, with the help of DJI mini 3, we can appreciate its stunning and superb from the air. The elegant ribbon roof is quite artistic. The grandstand area, which can accommodate 80,000 people, uses 21 colors, just like the petals of kapok.
9. Guangzhou Bicycle Skating Extreme Sports Center
When we came to the bicycle skating hall, it was almost sunset. The setting sun dyed half of the stadium's shell red, leaving the backlit side in cool tones. The collision of cold and warm adds a little sense of science fiction.
As a venue for extreme sports, the design of the shape also pays attention to the sense of movement. The flowing and stretching curve symbolizes the burning posture of the Asian Games torch. The overall shape of the venue also looks like a bicycle helmet.
10. Guangzhou University City Sports Center
On the lakeside of the quiet university town, there is the third largest stadium in Guangzhou.
In terms of appearance, the most recognizable design of this stadium is the green and white roof, implying "clouds, mountains and pearls of water". Its curved shape is also very much like a sail full of vigor, which represents the athletes moving forward with all their strength.
The above are the ten Guangzhou "circles" I found. I hope they can put an end to all your regrets in 2022, clear all your troubles, and start a successful 2023.
In early May this year, I reviewed the DJI mini 3 Pro . It's small and versatile, which left a very deep impression on me.
But since it is a Pro, the price will have a certain threshold: the ordinary remote control version starts at 4788 yuan, which may discourage some entry-level players. So half a year later, DJI launched the "Youth Edition" mini 3. Compared with the mini 3 Pro with the same package, it is 1500 yuan cheaper.
The price difference of 1,500 yuan is mainly obtained from reducing these configurations:
- Sensor: 4800W pixels → 1200W pixels
- Video transmission: O3 (1080P, up to 12 kilometers) → O2 (720P, up to 10 kilometers)
- Video performance: mini 3 does not support 4K/60 frames, 1080P/120 frames slow motion, focus follow, master lens, D-Cinelike color mode and other functions
- Obstacle avoidance performance: mini 3 does not support front and rear obstacle avoidance, only downward obstacle avoidance
- Flight speed: maximum descent speed 5m/s → 3.5m/s
From such a rough point of view, the price of 1,500 yuan is not small. In actual use, is the experience gap between the two as big as it appears on paper?
For me, the answer is no.
First is the sensor. The mini 3 and mini 3 Pro differ only in pixels, with the same size of 1/1.3 inch and f/1.7 aperture. Therefore, there is little difference between the two in terms of image quality performance (levels, fineness), and the advantage of the mini 3 Pro’s high pixels is more reflected in the secondary crop composition.
Followed by image transmission. The main difference between O3 and O2 video transmission is the clarity, and the perception of the difference in transmission distance is not strong. In downtown Guangzhou, the furthest usable distance is about 1.5 kilometers.
Then there is the video performance. I shoot relatively few videos and have no right to speak. But the video quality of mini 3 can only be said to be unsatisfactory. It’s okay to record family outings and city scenery, but it’s not enough to use it for professional creation.
The following is the obstacle avoidance performance that everyone is more concerned about. The mini 3, which only supports downward-looking obstacle avoidance, is still unscathed after flying for nearly a month. It is not because of my flying skills, but because I have found a skill: stay away from utility poles, fly as high as possible, and fly forward as much as possible.
In cities, the biggest threat to drones is not tall buildings, but power lines. Even for UAVs with omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, it is difficult to identify and avoid them when encountering wires, so this is a test of whether the pilot is careful enough.
In actual use, an experience with a large gap is actually the ability to search for stars.
The satellite navigation system of mini 3 is GPS + GLONASS + Galileo, while the mini 3 Pro is GPS + Galileo + BeiDou. After the latter is turned on, the star search is faster and more, which means that the waiting time before takeoff is shorter and the positioning accuracy of the return point is higher.
So it can be seen that although the gap of 1,500 yuan is not as big in experience as it is on paper, there are quite a lot of functions that you need to endure or give up.
For friends with ample budget, I certainly recommend you the more powerful and versatile mini 3 Pro. No regrets, one step in place.
But if you're on a tight budget, with few flying opportunities, and wondering if the mini 3 is worth it, the answer must be yes.
We can change the perspective and compare it with the previous generation mini 2, and you will find that the core parameters of the mini 3 are actually upgraded.
- Lens: 1/2.3 inch, f/2.8 aperture → 1/1.3 inch, f/1.7 aperture
- Battery life: 31 minutes (standard battery only) → 38 minutes (standard battery) or 51 minutes (long-life battery)
- Video performance: mini 2 does not support HDR mode, mini 3 does
- Others: The gimbal of the mini 3 supports lossless vertical shooting; the blades are longer and the wind resistance performance is increased
The picture quality is much stronger, and the battery life is longer. These two points are crucial parameters for entry-level drones. And the gimbal of mini 3 supports lossless vertical shooting, this upgrade is extremely practical.
In DJI's official promotional pictures and text descriptions, the audience of mini 3 should be those who want to record outings in the suburbs, gatherings of relatives and friends, and camping in the wild. These scenes have little demand for obstacle avoidance, and are more inclined to record and entertain.
Another point should be added, that is, people who need to travel abroad. It is foreseeable that from 2023, the demand for overseas travel will increase significantly.
The DJI mini series has always adhered to the foldable body design of less than 249g, not only for portability, but also to reduce legal risks. An aircraft of this weight does not need to be registered in some countries or regions, making travel more worry-free.
The significance of traveling is to see a wider world, and bringing a drone can enrich your perspective on the world. In 2023, would you consider buying a drone and going out to see it?
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