DJI Drone Fail Over Iceland Waters – chasejarvisTECH


In the days before my trip to Iceland, I had the chance to play with the DJI Phantom, an affordable, out-of-the-box quadcopter for budding aerial videographers. As I establish in that test flight post, the footage you yield from the DJI Phantom + GoPro combo may not be pro quality, but it’s perfectly serviceable for BTS material, AND it gives a person the opportunity to cut their teeth on a rig that comes in under a grand (or just slightly over, if you include the camera).

Ever the hacks, we tried to circumvent the GoPro limitation and mount a Sony RX 100 II, for three reasons:

1. The RX 100 II has image stabilizations (many commented on the shakiness of the GoPro footage on our first test flight).
2. It has a nice sensor and shoots RAW images.
3. Built-in Wifi. Our plan was to use the iPad Mini with the Sony app and control the camera shutter from the ground.

Seem pretty reasonable, right?

When you watch the video, know this: It brings us no joy to lose expensive gear, ever. I don’t encourage people to go out and perform needless hacks and unsanctioned upgrades, especially if you’re not insured, like we were. In our case we had a legit interest in yielding some higher end footage with a DJI Phantom we had invested in.

Couple UPDATE points… any assumption that i was just goofing around at tourist site just plyaing with my camera couldn’t be further from the truth. we had chartered the entire site for the shoot, been out on boats there at the site earlier – were working with the management there, paying high fees to be there with permits for very specific objectives. We also sought to potentially recover the unit out of concern for the environment but were discouraged from pursuing that option because of danger to divers due to swift current, big tides and huge floating chunks of dangerous ice.

Thanks again for going on this journey – and others – with me. And I hope you don’t mind my sharing all the stuff – even things like this that suck.

Everything is very open with a really clear clarification of the issues.

It was definitely informative. Your site is extremely helpful.

Thanks for sharing!

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Rui Neves says:

Have you thought about what might have caused the crash was the weight of the camera.
I’ve tried it with a fishing sinker 300 grams in Phantom 2 vision plus and shortly after lifting becomes unstable and collapses. The characteristics is more or less the same weight of your camera SONY.
I made the experience on land and at low altitude and had no damage.

Thank you

I love Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. It plays an important role for business. They are manufacturing such an amazing products that are not easy for a person to make. I like that…………!!!!

I love reading through a post which could make men and women think. Furthermore, many appreciate it for enabling me in order to comment!

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Marcin Dobas says:

Hello. Please let me know how long can fly Phantom 2 with RX 100 ?
How long and / or how high ?

Have you tried this ? or taht flight was your first flight in that configuration ?

All the best

Pete says:

Chase – just wanted to add a big thank you for your experimenting with the DJI + RX100. I’ve recently acquired a Phantom 2 Vision and am already on to researching options for capturing high quality stills from above. I am elated with the controllability of the Phantom system and have high hopes to find a solution to use it with the RX100 or similar. Was wondering if you and your team have had any further attempts after the above incident? I’ve been following the dronexperts mod, but recently saw a review indicating shotty craftsmanship and some drawbacks. Hopefully there’s a reliable solution out there. Thanks again! Huge source of knowledge for the community!

Lance says:

I’ve had numerous close calls with the DJI F550. Just starting out it’s a lot to learn and lots of practice is needed to be co fident flying these things! At the end of the day you have to accept your risks and keep moving forward.

Anders Eklund says:


I had the same experience with my Phantom II. Even though GoPro was mounted it. just went tight down, no wifi,
no nothing. Sometimes they just crasch apparently. Flying these funny quads is actually quite filled with anxiety,
But you get amazing pictures, espevially for videos.

Now with the gimbal the GoPro isnt shaky, and gives beatiful videos (sometimes). Still I hate the feeling
of crashing, bit I guess it is part of flying these quads, and hexas.

Great blog! Looking forward to more Phantom quad pictures/videos.

Ed Kim says:

I’m about to purchase a Phantom 2 and was also thinking of putting an RX100 II for the upgrade in picture quality and small size. Sorry it didn’t work out but it was great seeing your video. It gives me some ideas on how to move forward with the idea.

You should bring Grant with you next time. He’d figure out a way to “Macgyver” it.

Hope to see the sequel soon.

J Moore says:

Chase –

Late to this discussion and surprised by all of the negative feedback. This is an awesome video demonstrating some of the many reasons that you’re where you are — positive attitude, willingness to break the rules, and more importantly, your ability to have fun.

All I want to know is … where did you get those hats? The wardrobe alone makes this video a classic.

Did you try again to change the camera on the DJI? If you didn’t see it, here is a tutorial how to mount a Sony RX100 on the DJI. Maybe it helps :)

the.ronin says:

Oh man sorry about your loss! I’m more than willing to bet you had IOC engaged by accident. I have had “fly away” incidences that looked exactly like that and it was because IOC was engaged. Less likely but very possibly, your wifi was transmitting on 2.4Ghz which is the same frequency used by the radio controller and likely interfered with it. Thanks for sharing the video – check out where there are tons of great info on the Phantom.

It brings us no joy to lose big-ticket gear, ever. I don’t animate humans to go out and accomplish causeless hacks and adulterine upgrades, abnormally if you’re not insured, like we were. In our case we had a accepted absorption in acquiescent some college end footage with a DJI Phantom we had invested in.

Wayne Rainey says:

Thanks Chase- I have checked your site and found solid tips for years now and this was great info that is directly pertinent to my next project. I’m sure you know this but there are a lot unfortunate souls out there that somehow get a boost by insinuating superiority from experience. Of course the knowing or doing of something isn’t extroidinairry, but the tenacious will to innovate and take risk and then share that experience- that is special.
You have, it seems to me, always been giving -even in the face of what must be very sad people (trolls),
This thing you are doing is something you can’t memorize or get from a book or the internet. This thing you are doing is sharing – and that requires not only knowledge and experience but also grace- and that is what makes you special.

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Mirza says:

I winced when the DJI Phantom keeled over. Not a good situation to be in but thanks for sharing.

Chet Strange says:

It’s insane the amount of hate being thrown around here. Rad concept, less than rad results, haha. Anyone who’s had an idea not pan out in reality can relate, thanks for the share dude.

Lisa Ech says:

Loved the video, but reading some of the comments below disappointed me. I am amazed at the lack of fortitude. This was clearly an experiment and failure only happens when you don’t learn something. I am sure Chase was pretty clear on what was advised/instructed by the equipment at hand. He was pushing the boundaries; that’s how discoveries are made.
Chase, sometimes being at the forefront is a thankless job, but I am sure when everyone is flying their drones around, able to take high quality, raw photos from a great distance, you will be one of many forward thinkers we will be able to thank.

Did you guys ever figure out what actually went wrong ? All the drones that I use for AP believe it or not are utilizing a $29.00 kk2.0 board as apposed to the expensive Naza flight controller. One of my primary small sized multirotors for carrying a GoPro is a QAV500, it was used to capture some of the awesome shots on shark week. I have never experienced an issue with fly away’s or loss of control. It requires a little bit of tuning on the KK but once tuned it is a solid flight controller that is cheap to replace in the event of crashing over Iceland. Aside from that awesome video showing your work behind the scenes even when mishaps occur.

Carel Stander says:


Know this is an old post with a lot of old farts complaining, but just for interest sake..

Guy I know flies the Blade 350 with a RX100. They trigger it with software installed on SD card. Even suggested a band around the camera to keep shutter depressed – so its shoots continuous. So it can be done – with Wi-fi switched off.

Regards from Cape Town

Chris says:


I love that you took the chance with the DJI and RX 100 II, if you guys had pulled it off the negative people here would have very different comments. Thanks for showing us that things don’t always work out!

Patrick says:

Thanks for sharing the video. I disagree with the criticasters here.
I think you took a calculated risk to get the shot.
Some times you get good results testing, but mes up going for it. (ask nasa)
To get results, you beter dare to take a a chase.
When it works your the hero. If it doesnt, shit hapens.
Al the more repect to you for sharing.

Tere Alonso says:

Love how you share the good and bad experiences of being a pro photographer. While most simply share their accomplishments, you share the reality of the situations a photographer faces, making a good shot more valuable. Keep up the good work :)

Curt Clayton says:

Ouch!! Yeh, that was painful to watch but as Chase said, he was gambling that he’d get some great images. Commercial photography is incredibly competitive and no one get’s to the level that Chase Jarvis has without taking risks; creative and otherwise. Kudos to Chase for for posting this informative video!

Rob says:

Nice video – saying ‘bye bye’ to nice equipment in a spectacular manner is always entertaining. But that move with the sandwich…priceless!

Jaymo says:

Hey Chase….I love your blog….great stuff.

Just thought I would throw in to what has already been eluded to, but maybe has not been stated directly. The DJI Phantom is a toy. It is not a professional device on any level. In fact, I would say it is somewhat of a curse to the professional community in that it gives a very big false sense of security to new pilots. The fail-safes are not trust worthy, the units fly terrible in the wind and there is no vibration dampening between the motors and the camera mounts. DJI makes fabulous electronic internals, but the in-house Phantom should be considered a high end toy and nothing more. To expect professional results from it is a bit foolish? Don’t ya think?

The GoPro is a great camera, and when attached to a quality gimbal will produce amazing results. Anyone planning on purchasing a Phantom should follow your advice and get the proper clearance and permits to fly in public. Phantoms will crash and will fail. The frequency can easily be overpowered by other EMFs in the area and people will get hurt by un-trained pilots. The culprit here, I believe, is the quad-copter and not the camera. Both cameras will produce great results.

Have you seen the hand made X-Pro Heli? Fly’s really well with tons of power, laser cut aluminum framing, modular sections…….takes a beat down! costs $2000 but the quality remains long after the price is forgotten.

I guess what I am getting at, is the thread here focuses on a lot of things besides that actual culprit in your crash. The Phantom itself needs to be addressed for what it is. It is an entry level quad that should not be flown around people, crowded places or events where a pilot cannot crash land. I hope people recognize the efforts you take as a professional, in having insurance and the proper permits, while out in the field.


Brian Barnes says:

Wow, lot’s of negative comments. It’s too bad. I like to push boundaries and experiment as well. Sometimes you fail, but even failure is a win. When you succeed, the payoff could be huge. Big risk, big reward! If you’re not willing to push the envelope, just stay home. Good job Chase (Oh, and get a serious Octocopter. :P)

Bud Virgie says:

I truly appreciate this send. I’ve been looking every one of greater than on behalf of this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have ended my day! Thx again

Hi Chase, just a quick tip for any sort of wifi related problems .. wich is this one I think .. try to install one of the many wififrequency scanner apps (there are some pretty good ones .. some hard search but they are out there .. so you can check for some free frequencys when operating multiple devices …

Ian says:

yeah but what about the fashion fail? those one piece snow suits and the crazy hats?… :-)

Timo says:

So, what would you do differently if you wanted to try it again?

matso says:

wow, you’ve got a nice insurance company here, would you mind recommending it to us?
I’m in the market to get insurance for my gear and to know that you’ll be reimbursed after that… even with this footage published :)
I’d love to throw and destroy my stuff in an epic manner every once in a while to get whatever the latest in the market is ;)

Mark says:

Very interested to know the insurance company if they pay up after this video is posted online!

Brian says:

Thanks Chase – I always appreciate the BTS you provide us. I look forward to your next one.

Neil says:

Better to have tried and lost than never to have tried at all. Would have loved to see the images if that had work.

Hello Chase, I’m trying to do almost the same thing you did with the Phantom and RX100II, in my case the camera is the RX100 and does not have Wi-fi. I made two flights, the first was successful and the second, after an unsuccessful update, not finished properly the calibration, the Phantom totally lost control hitting a wall at full speed and falling from a height of three meters above a cement floor. The good news is that the Phantom did not break and the camera was very easy to resolve damage, But even if it had broken I would use the broken camera in the Phantom to be sure whether or not it was possible to fly with this set. I will continue testing the possibilities in search of the best result, taking my risks, without putting people in danger, knowing that is how you make discoveries! I appreciate the video showing great presence of mind!

Amazed at all the hate on here. Chase couldn’t have been more clear about the situation.

All this amounts to is jealousy… its these kind of idiotic responses that make bloggers never share anything REAL about their experiences and life. I guess Chase just needs to conform to the mold everyone wants him to showing only the little bits of perfection that happen from countless hours of accidents and failures.

The video is entertaining, thanks for posting Chase.

The hate on display and quotation of user manuals is quite the loud beacon as to why all these losers aren’t top photographers themselves. A lot of people talk about creativity and risk, but few understand it by experience.

I think what has made most people angry though is how you didn’t throw a temper tantrum when it crashed and get angry with the situation and your crew. You know, because that’s what really successful people do… not. You can only laugh about the uncontrollable and what is already happened and out of your hands! The response would have been the same without insurance I’m sure.

Wow — really surprised at all the hate (envy?) out there on this one. Just because a warning label tells you not to do something doesn’t mean it can’t be done — those are often just CYA clauses put in by lawyers.

Thanks for sharing the test, Chase — if we didn’t push our equipment (or ourselves) beyond the recommendations and warnings, we’d never get anywhere.

Brian Noneya says:

Chase- I’ve always been a huge fan. Love your work, and love that you share everything with everyone to learn from.

Yeah, it sucks you sunk it, but as you stated in the video and again here, there was a high level of reward if you pulled it off. Plus you knew the risk, accepted it, and were insured if it didn’t work out. All that aside, the thing I absolutely loved about this video is something that may have fallen to the wayside in everyone’s angst about the Phantom going in the drink (who really cares about that anyway, there is a larger story here), was the comment you made at the end of the video. You said something along the lines of, “things don’t always work out, it’s not always high-fives and chest bumps’. THAT statement is the lesson in this video. As I said earlier, I’ve always been a fan, and to see mistakes made makes learning more enjoyable and easier.

Forget the haters- I thank you and wish you continued success.

Gerard Fogarty says:

A little bemused at the attitude of so many experts out there.

If you take the time to really watch the video, you can see how cut up & disappointed Chase is at having lost that equipment. It’s obvious he doesn’t take losing that sort of gear lightly.

As for putting the gear at risk, anybody who knows anything about the world of professional photography, knows that the gear is a tool that often has to be put in harms way in order to get the shot. That’s why Chase has insurance – because he knows those risks will always be there.

Thanks for sharing one of the low points Chase.

John Tebbetts says:

For those considering a Phantom, just a heads up. Plan on the possibility of a lot of DIY getting the firmware to work, at least we did. New unit, straight out of the box, and despite several non-productive hours of screwing around with it and talking to support staff, and after multiple reloads of the firmware (which should have worked as advertised out of the box), the solution was “send it back to us and we’ll have it back to you in a couple of days.” Two weeks later, no Phantom. A refund was requested and notification was sent that a refund had been made to Visa–even a “confirmation” number of the transaction. Then a couple of days later, a box arrives (still remains unopened) which appears to contain a Phantom. And best of all, after checking with Visa about the “transaction confirmation” we received, Visa concluded that although the Visa name was used on the transaction confirmation, it was not a number or document that Visa sends. Visa refunded our money.

Folks on the phone for hours were very nice. But end of the day, even at a “bargain” price, a bargain may not always be a bargain. At least working photogs whose time is really worth money should know the possibility that they may invest some hours in making one of these things fly….at least that was our experience.

Craig Angevine says:

Thanks for responding, Chase. You’ve certainly earned the right to accidentally dump a camera or two in the ocean. If I had your budget I’d most likely get into the same kinds of experimental shenanigans. :)

Anonymous says:

tiny sony action cam (hdr 10, 15 or 30) has image stabilisation. the cheapest one for like 100 bucks. quality nothing worse than gopro.if the weight of the camera was the issue

Good effort, and well done pushing it to its limits! If I ever get one I’ll be sure not to try this, haha. One more thing what is the high tech material you spoke of, gaffa something? sounds amazing! haha

Leo McKillop says:

Chase thanks so much for sharing this. Not sure where all the negativity is coming from (and why) in the comments, I think they missed the point of the video. Anyway It’s nice to know I’m not the only one crashing my phantom. Please continue to share videos like this where everything does NOT work out. They remind us you’re human and that’s a good thing.

Phil Bekker says:

What a bunch of wallies !! Eating a roll, cute little outfits – and you guys are how old ? You deserved to lose your gear. Less me, me and more tested technique thank you.

Steve Korn says:

Great video, valuable lesson and more importantly, a great bit of philosophy. Risk and reward, in the end it’s just stuff and by taking a risk, you open the door for great things to happen.

Terry Behal says:

Epic testing from and EPIC photographer!! Way to push the limits and take the risks that push things to that next level! Love it!! Chase, thank you for sharing those true to real life risk taking! You are the MAN!! Without the risk there is no reward! This is an inspirational video that shows me that one needs to constantly push things and think outside the box! Although costly, look at what you have taken with you….. An incredible piece of footage and the hunger to do it better!!

Doug Betzold says:

HI Chase,
Thanks for showing this one. Fun to see some of the lighter side when you guys are in the field. Interesting reactions from the hobbyists out there. LOL I’m pretty sure if your insurance adjuster sees this video that claim might be denied. Happy Holidays!

Ed says:

Everyone is perfectly entitled to destroy whatever they own, but disposing it in our world’s already too dirty waters is pretty irresponsible.

Craig says:

Chase, it seems you forgot what it’s like for photographers who can’t afford such an abundance of cool equipment. At least test over land until ALL the kinks are worked out. And what about a rescue mission! Just because it’s insured doesn’t make it a disposable unit! This video bothered me a little and I felt compelled to say something…Still, accidents happen, thanks for sharing.

chase jarvis says:

thanks for the note craig.

1. we did test it over land and got decent results. that was in the video.
2. we didn’t have time to ensure it was all worked out – that’s why we called it out in advance that it was a risk. if I couldn’t afford the risk (not just money – but time, footage, etc) I wouldn’t have taken the risk
3. we took the risk and it failed. nothing in me considers that unit disposable. it was a bummer to lose it.

thx for engaging!

faisal says:

Not available widely, the big issue.

Brand Arrows says:

Thanks for sharing this video.I guess the main problem for your crash is because of wifi.

Amy S says:

One of the things I love most about this, Mr Jarvis, is your willingness to show the trial and error part of your venture.
Often, when we never see failure we have no sense of reality.
Knowing failure makes the accomplishments so much sweeter and a lot more fool proof…until the next time we try. Plus, it means you’re trying.

chase jarvis says:

thanks Amy. that’s the goal of showing failure. super happy you picked up on that bit.


Call us next time, will you? :)


Willis Lim says:

Wow, there is a lot of hate going on around here. It’s not like they did it using your money right? Thanks for having a go and then to put it out there to share with everyone.

Dumb ass says:

The manual specifically says to turn off the wifi on the camera to not cause this! RTFM. Ths phantom and it’s cheap uneducated owners are gonna make it really hard for those of who have been doing this for years and try to do things right.

chase jarvis says:

dear dumb ass – i’ve been working with drones since 2007. nothing that happened here was a mystery. jt was however a first crash. so if you’re trying to share with me your vast knowledge and experience – please do. hiding behind the name dumb ass isn’t helpful to anyone. please try to add value with a comment that’s attached to a real name – otherwise you’re out.

Merle says:

Always sad to see gear lost, but your willingness to risk for the sake of a good shot is absolutely awesome! Keep doing it! Next time though, do a bit if research maybe? ;) I fly heli’s and also learned the hard way that a wifi enabled camera will interfere with the 2.4ghz receiver in the heli. If you’re ever interested in setting up FPV on a heli, tweet me @macinatic89. I’ll be glad to help!

I’ve had some good results using the new Ricoh GR with its built-in intervalometer.

The Phantom flies *okay* carrying it and the quality of the image files are excellent. Set the shutter above 1/200 to counter vibrations and movement, the rest to multi-point focus, metering, idiot settings etc. and you get very usable raw files out of it.

The battery on the drone runs out before the card gets filled.

chase jarvis says:

um – thomas – why would you really want me to loose 10k? that’s pretty weak sauce on your part.

let’s be brutally clear what happened here.
1. we knew the risks.
2. we did a test flight where the troubles of wifi weren’t exhibited = had good control of the chopper. then stabilized it and
3. on the next flight – encountered the interferenece. and crashed it.

i’m sharing this shit so you can see what experimentation looks like. so reconsider talking shit perhaps next time.

Thomas Zieba says:

You never go Chase retard. It’s blatantly obvious, and plastered all over the DJI website, and common knowledge that WiFi runs on the 2.4Ghz spectrum, that they’d interfere. This is why Americans can’t have nice(r) things. I kind of wish Chase downed a $10,000+ S1000, the equivalent to a nice L lens.

Duran says:

nevermind the natural hazard of the lithium polymer battery and plastic/electronics that will be really good for the environment.

Gene A. says:


First off, the best case scenario was unstable footage flying a much heavier camera, as well as a VERY short flight time. The worst case – well, you saw it. You should never run WiFi and the Phantom remote together – both are on 2.4GHz and can interfere, causing flyaways. I’ve lost a Phantom-GP3-Gimbal combination by getting electro-magnetic interference from power lines, 30 yards away. Live and learn…. Just keep the WiFi turned off in the future and stick to the Gimbal/GoPro combo.


chase jarvis says:

we were aiming to capture RAW still images Gene. regardless of published specs throughout 15 years of experimenting with gear i’ve had lots of great results… Interesting note on power line interference at that distance. thx fo the heads up

Gene says:

Too bad you were insured, otherwise you would have gotten everything you deserved and not just a waste of time.

chase jarvis says:

not sure what you mean by that gene. are you suggesting that by experimenting we deserved to lose everything and become disappointed? that’s a pretty lame approach to life IMHO.

Adam says:

Thanks for the video. I’m guessing the WiFi of the Sony interfered with the DJI and caused your crash. I know they advise a person to not use the GoPro WiFi as it interfers with the DJI control system. Again Thanks for the Video I’ve been a fan of your for many years. I always appreciate the educational information your site provides!

I would agree Adam. I would have upgraded the motors, balanced them as well as the blades and hooked up something other than the Sony for this kind of effort. I have watched quite a number of videos on Youtube where the DJI has crashed because of WIFI interference. Its all a learning curve but maybe a little more research before ditching a sweet little camera like that as well as DJI.. Thanks for the infotainment. :)

chase jarvis says:

yep. we experimented first at low altitude and got good results so we decided to push it… too far ;)

Bruce Pollington says:

No risk, no reward. As a retired pro who is new to the Phantom, two thought occurred: First, probably tough to get lock on six satellites that far North and second, Even if the compass had been re-calibrated before the flight, the Phantom would likely have had trouble with a declination correction of as much as 50 degrees West depending on your location. When you are that far from Adorama, you either work with what you have or you choose to go home without the shot. Thanks for the continuing inspiration, Chase!

Lawrence Soto says:

I’m curious if you guys made any sort of recovery attempt because the card might still be salvageable?

chase jarvis says:

good question. the footage we had in the can wasn’t worth the effort. the crash location is not overly deep but very very cold water and a swiftly moving current filled with multi thousand pound chunks of ice – so we ruled it out ;)

kaychoon says:

How about some fishing lines? Wonder if that would be too heavy to fly with. :/
At least you’d get the wreck back :P

runbei says:

Hey Chase, thanks a lot! For reawakening my memories of losing a $1500 Sony early digital videocam (and almost losing my humble self) to a rogue wave on a cliff south of Carmel… Looking forward to my next rebirth when I won’t have that humbling memory.

Kevin Bohren says:

The Gimble would not have mattered Raien… Chase was looking to obtain Hi-resolution still images… you can’t get that with the gopro.

I’m glad to have seen this video as I was looking at ways to switch out a better camera. I think I’ll stop looking for now.

Raien says:


Its too late now but for the price of the Sony Rx100 camera, you guys should’ve just bought a $300 gimble and still grab amazing, stabilized footage with the GoPro. The only downside to what you guys were doing, the phantom is not recommended. LOL! Looks fun though.

chase jarvis says:

oh we were very clear that the payload wasn’t recommended. said it in the video as well as did a several minute test flight where everything worked reasonably well. also aware of the conflicting frequencies of the various wifi … but that’s why we experimented with it.

Timmy says:

So basically you’re just a moron with too much cash and no brain.

Chris Worden says:

What’s great about guys like you, Timmy, is that you can say things on the internet you’d never say in person. Are you really such a small human that you must post such a negative comment about a cool video/product test?

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