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DJI Phantom 4 Pro Melted While Taking Lava Shots

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Phantom 4 Pro Melted

Traveling nature photographer Erez Marom went to Hawaii to photograph the active Kilauea Volcano and came back with more than just landscape photos. His DJI Phantom 4 Pro melted while he was shooting lava formations just outside the national park. The overall drone weathered the high temperatures, but the plastic located on the camera melted. Marom managed to save his photos, but the drone’s camera is now unusable.

These images are from Erez Marom Photography

DJI Phantom 4 Pro Melted

Marom and his friend spent nearly three hours shootings abstract lava formations by ground, boat, helicopter and drone. The destruction of his drone’s lens gradually happened. The first sight of damage was when the right side of the image started getting darker. Marom flew the Phantom 4 Pro approximately 33 feet, but the molten hot lava still damaged the aerial camera.

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How Hot was the Lava?

According to Live Science, lava can range from 1,165 F to 2,120 F, so the plastic on the drone’s camera melted while it baked in the air. Much like how a s’more gets cooked over an open campfire, the camera’s plastic part on the DJI Phantom 4 Pro melted away while Marom captured nature’s beauty.

Phantom 4 Pro Melted Phantom 4 Pro Melted

Legality

Flying drones at the Kilauea Volcano is illegal, but the drone photos that Marom took were shot just outside the boundaries of the national park. The photographers were supervised with a certified local guide, and these drone shots were taken on private land where they were allowed access. That goes to show just how hot lava can be, even if it’s already flowing at a distance from the source.

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Tips for Shooting Volcanoes

Before taking out a drone to shoot a unique event like an active volcano, make sure it is legal first. Manually adjusting the settings is another crucial step. Marom recommended to be aware of the contrast when shooting at night time. HDR shots might be a possibility, but nearly all of Marom’s lava formation photos were single shots. Another tip was to learn from his experience and refrain from flying too long and too close to lava.

Phantom 4 Pro Melted Phantom 4 Pro Melted

Repairs and Warranty

Marom’s drone needs to be sent to DJI for repairs, but he might just replace the gimbal and camera himself. DJI does offer a warranty plan called DJI Care, but it says nothing about lava damage.

Phantom 4 Pro Melted Phantom 4 Pro Melted

The drone’s most expensive part may have been destroyed, but the photos were considered more important than the camera itself. Marom is a professional photographer, so he viewed the drone as an expendable camera since the photos were extremely unique. More of Marom’s work can be found on his website, Instagram and Facebook accounts.

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