Ouch: Photog Loses DJI Phantom Drone and Sony RX100II in Icelandic Waters

Those with delicate constitutions where the destruction of photography gear is concerned should look away or skip over this one. Whatever you do, don’t press play on the video above… or if you do press play, don’t watch past about the 3:50 mark, because that’s when things get ugly.

The video features photographer Chase Jarvis, who was recently shooting with a DJI Quadcopter in Iceland when he and his team decided that they would hack the machine and mount a Sony RX100II camera on the drone instead of the standard GoPro it’s meant to carry.

The camera would be controlled from the ground using an iPad Mini and Sony’s PlayMemories app — so far so good. Well, good until this happened:


We told you it would get ugly, you have only yourself to blame if you watched the whole thing… As you can see, after modding the Phantom, Jarvis loses control of the drone and is forced to watch, helpless, as the poor thing plunges into icy Icelandic waters while still attached to his RX100II.

The moral of this story? Well, as Jarvis puts it on his blog, “I don’t encourage people to go out and perform needless hacks and unsanctioned upgrades, especially if you’re not insured, like we were.” Even when you don’t mod them in unsanctioned ways, camera drones occasionally fail… it’s a fact of life.

You can head over to Jarvis’ blog to read the full story, but before you do, be sure to read over the above quote a couple of times… lest you find yourself down well over a grand in gear thanks to some ill-advised modifications.

  • Dover

    You nullified your imagined superior position by talking down to 344242342342 while criticizing him for talking down to you.

  • Dover

    “His photography is absolutely phenomenal.”

    Do not mistake his past accomplishments with this abortion of a video. The only thing Chase accomplished in this 6 minutes is to distance himself from actual pros.

  • Airwolf

    Hey Chase, Good to see you actively reply to comments so I just wanted to clear a few things up. Firstly I don’t use the word fool lightly, you have produced some nice work and like it or not will have aspiring photographers looking up to you as a role model.

    When you take on the position as Broadcaster you need to start thinking about the wider consequences. As you say you chartered the site and had permits which I expect nothing less from a professional, on the other hand though there are a lot of people who don’t. They watch Chase Jarvis strap a camera onto a new toy and fly it in the air without explaining the safety or preparation of it. Next thing you know some kid follows your example and is flying this thing over New York city causing serious incidents. What if the WiFi interference sent the drone upwards into the flight path of a landing jet? or crashing down on a freeway?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all up for modifications and experimentation with kit, Its how we progress and challenge the norm.. but only when it doesn’t cause wider safety issues. Anything that flies in the sky can be dangerous and that’s why there are some serious courses and exams to take before doing this kind of work. When people see videos of drones falling out of the sky here and there it doesn’t help the confidence within that industry. It just restricts the use of these pieces of equipment for you guys, its a tough world for photographers nowadays and I don’t envy your challenges.

    To sum up finally, if you were aware of the challenges of the frequencies you have to admit is was “foolish” to try and push the limits… the result was you lost the kit!

    I was not aiming to hurl insults at you but more of your actions without explaining the implications or dangers to the watching audience.

    By the way I “hide” behind the fake name as I don’t want to receive a ton of email from disgruntled Chase Jarvis fans…which then ask me for jobs a week later! Needless to say I have worked in the Film, Advertising & Television industry for over 20 years with some of the worlds top clients.

    So if you ever find yourself in London UK, your more then welcome you to pop in to our building in Soho where I can show you the work we do and a couple of our Bafta’s

  • MarvinB7

    344242342342 wasn’t talking down. He was just being an @$$#^!

  • Praverb

    Drone down Drone down

  • Hausman56

    Worth knowing that Jökulsarlon is big and there are not too many people. It’s rentable, they did it for some James Bond movie where they close the whole thing down and let it freeze over but even open it’s basically a large lake (roughly 4×4 miles) and if you take a boat in a bit you can get very clean shots without anybody in it.

  • James

    If they try it again, I’d like to recommend replacing the iPad’s antenna with a highly directional one, so you could get more range. It’s actually not that hard to do if you’re comfortable with taking electronics apart.

  • JJ

    Ignorant and arrogant… He is becoming a wanker!

  • devtank

    Because he’s been afforded every luxury to do so at the expense of other photographers and people who have worked for him.

  • devtank

    Ill second that, by saying that anonymity affords true sentiment regardless of whether it is up to anyones particular standards of “intelligence” or standards. Anonymity is democratising.

  • devtank

    I was particularly interested by this posting, not because it was Chase Jarvis but because I wanted to see if it was a legitimate screwup, but upon watching (with the sound off -night bed sleepy person next to me), I saw that it was Jarvis. I knew that there would be an elevated sense of discomfort. I want to like the guy, for his work alone, but my take on him is tainted by some of the things he’s blogged about, his treatment of colleagues, his pervasive cavalier attitude and general lack of sensitivity.
    I figured the comments would tell me what I chose not to hear because I don’t have the audio level up; I am not wrong.

  • Eric Hansen

    SoCal wants its sunglasses back.

  • Chris

    When I saw Chase put the food inside the case I just laughed and thought – now that’s a FUN guy to be around. He shoots great stuff, and he’s FUN. Being great gets you in the running for advertising jobs – the ugly truth photographers want to ignore – it’s the being a FUN guy that gets you hired. Personality seals the deal, not your portfolio. True story.

  • hasofy

    Chase, the flyaway was most probably caused by inteferenence with Wi-Fi on the camera, on the same frequency. You should not fly the Phantom with Wi-Fi enabled on the camera. I fly with the RX 100 attached to My Phantom. It has no Wi-Fi and there are no issues.

  • Juan Arboleda

    think this video is a Fake……. the splash not respond to the physics of
    the fall of an object on the ice and bounce into the water and you can
    see the phantom see flying 10 or 20 meters beyond…look 6:18,
    see the position of the clumsy cameraman getting very difficult to
    follow the object but very agile to move the camera and zoom into the
    critical moment and tumbling water phantom is not appreciated, it seems
    plus 2 stones thrown and video cuts editing….other modern Sascuash video
    is my opinion

  • glenn

    I may be going to iceland in feb with a DJI vision 2. do you know how does the aurora effect the GPS signal?

  • David

    Control 2.4GHz, video 2.4GHz. Bad idea.

  • ChanKane

    Bravo! Thanks for a REAL flight experience!! I’ve had the same thing happen to me, and yes, this is the real deal!

  • stewart young

    Sorry but this guy is a dick, to call this guy a pro is an understatement. I have never known a pro to use a botched up hot shoe & gaffer tape wtf….Has this buffoon never heard of a 3D axis gimbal. To get better photos he would`ve been better off to had just upgraded the go pro lens. if he wanted to use a bigger camera then he sjould of used a bigger hexacopter and not a quadcopter which is designed for a go pro and nothing else.

  • stewart young

    Wifi would no doubt interfere with the quadcopters GPS & compass settings, hence it got confused and ditched into the sea, would of being better off just flying it with a FPV cam via fatshark goggles or tripod mounted LED monitor and putting the sony cam on a gimbal. A little quadcopter/hexacopter research goes a long way. may i remind you that these RC copters are not toys……really he should of turned off the gps b4 he started.