DJI Follow Me vs Active Track- which one should you use

active tracking

The two intelligent flight modes, active track and follow me have been game-changer in drone the industry, and even though they have a similar function they are completely different so what is their difference?

Active tracking works by using the drone’s camera and sensors to keep the target in the frame, whereas follow me keeps track by creating a virtual tether between the drone and a GPS-equipped mobile device.

Both these automatic flight mode have their own pros and cons, but not every DJI drone have both of them. however, DJI is combining these two in the new active tracking update so let us talk about these-

Active track

Active track is an automatic tracking technology that uses the camera to lock on to a subject and keep track of it.

Pros of active track

  • Gimbal involve actively together to track the main object
  • Actively avoids obstacles
  • keeps subject in frame
  • No need to carry controller

For active track, you basically draw a rectangle on the subject and choose a mode such as parallel, track, or circle subject, then the drone will track the subject without you having to do the controlling manually. and this technology is present in almost every DJI drone

What I love the most about Active track is the fact that it avoids obstacles seamlessly, so when flying in trails or low altitude the drone will actively avoid obstacles using its obstacle avoidance sensors.

Another big advantage of active tracking is it uses the gimbal to keep the subject in the frame. however, in follow me mode the gimbal stays in place the whole time so when you have to manually adjust it before setting it out to fly, and if the drone increases altitude the subject can be out of frame.

Active track 3.0

If you are active in the drone community or if you already have a DJI drone you probably know the new update active track 3.0.

Active track 3.0 is the new update people are hyped about. DJI has combined camera tracking and GPS tracking together to create an amazing technology which is like a hybrid of active track and follow me.

Active track 3.0 is available for most DJI drones that already have active tracking mode.

Cons of active track

  • Drone hover when the object out of sight.
  • Doesn’t function in low light conditions
  • You cant use high frame rate than 30 fps when in active track mode

Active tracking uses the camera to track, and so there are 100s ways of which the drone can lose track.

The first disadvantage of the active track is if the subject is covered and/or out of sight it won’t be able to track it again so it will hover until you manually lock the target again.

Active tracking will not properly function in low light conditions because the camera will have a hard time separating the subject from its surrounding

You can`t record more than 30 fps when on active tracking, so if you want that cinematic slow-mo you have to do it manually

Which DJI drones have active tracking

DJI dronesActive tracking
Mavic proYes
Mavic 2 proYes
phantom 4Yes
phantom 3Yes
Mavic miniNo
Mavic mini 2No
Mavic airYes

Most DJI drones have active tracking except the original mini and mini 2. According to DJI active track is not available on them because they want to stay under the 250 gram but I think it is because people will choose them instead of other more expensive drones.

DJI follow me

Follow me is another wonderful technology in DJI drones, it works by creating a virtual tether between the drone and a GPS-equipped mobile device or a tablet

Pros of follow me

  • Drone won’t lose track unless it is 100s of feet away
  • The pilot/object doesn’t necessarily have to be in the frame all time.

The best thing about following me mode is the fact that it doesn’t lose track unless the subject is going at a very high speed and creates a big distance between the drone and a controller and even then it can reconnect once it a closer range.

What makes this different from active tracking is the fact that subject doesn’t have to be in the frame at all times, you can see this as a positive thing because for instance you can go under a bridge and the drone will still follow you or you can also see it as a negative because the drone won’t record the subject at all times or in some instance the drone will second the subject but it will almost be out of frame.

Cons of follow me

  • Can not keep subject in frame
  • Manual gimbal adjustment
  • You have to carry your controller with you
  • 10 meter altitude
  • No obstacle avoidance

Follow me can not keep the subject in the frame because it doesn’t allow gimbal movement it just follows the controller. you have to correct the gimbal before you take off.

You also have to carry the controller with you at all times otherwise this mode can not be activated.

The last thing is you have to stay 10 meters above the ground for follow me mode to work the reason is obstacle avoidance sensors don’t function when the drone is in follow me mode and keeping the drone 10 meters above the ground can help avoid some obstacles.

Which DJI drone have follow me

DJI dronesFollow me
Mavic airYes
Mavic proNo
Mavic 2 proYes
phantom 4Yes
phantom 3Yes
Mavic miniNo
Mavic mini 2No
Mavic airNO

So which is better follow me or active track?

Follow me is better than active track because it uses GPS to locate the subject which makes it accurate, active track can be better in some cases because it allows gimbal movement to keep the object in frame. However, active track can lose its subject when it is out of sight.

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