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Author Topic: beginner drone with camera?  (Read 1012 times)

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« on: January 09, 2019, 11:52 »
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hi everybody!

for those experienced in such matters, what is your advice for a cheap drone, with camera, to learn the chops (flying it basically).
I'm not looking for anything capable of producing good footage, just a drone that i can learn to fly without being afraid to though away a lot of money in case it crashes, necessarily with a camera (to start getting the feel of shooting drone footage), as a mid step towards a really good video capable drone.

thanks!


« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2019, 11:55 »
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oh! i forgot to add, it would be nice if it were small enough to fit a back pack or a light travel bag.. to take anywhere basically... although it's not absolutely necessary...
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 11:58 by RRPT »

« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2019, 12:07 »
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Well, you have to define what "cheap" is for you.  :) $100? $500?

Anyway, anything by DJI will work great. The cheapest one is the DJI Spark (about $400 or so, depending on where you are). Maybe that's not what you meant by "cheap" though?

The thing is that the drones that are really cheap are MUCH, MUCH, incredibly MUCH harder to fly. And much easier to crash. You will probably crash them within the first couple of minutes since they don't have any of the great support systems the more advanced drones have.

So you wouldn't really be practicing for the more expensive Mavics, Phantoms or Inspires anyway. Completely different flying experience.

The more expensive drones are very easy to fly, and very difficult to crash. Still possible though, but difficult.

So, what are you looking for specifically?
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 12:10 by increasingdifficulty »

« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2019, 12:36 »
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I fly a fair bit and have my license to work with drones professionally in Norway.

I'd highly recommend getting something from DJI.  They are like the Apple of drones.  They are great quality and they work great and work out of the box - no messing around.  Simply look at the DJI lineup and pick what is in your price range.  You'll get what you pay for.
I'd recommend the spark or the Mavic.  Both are great for backpacking and hiking.  The phantom starts to get too big if you bring anything else along on a trip... and the Mavis is a great compromise between great quality and compact.

The DJI drones are stupid easy to fly - but you should still practice lots in an open area first.  I'd also recommend practicing on a completely manual drone so that you know how to control the drone if all the safety features stop working (like gps)

This is the one I learned with.. it was great fun and can be flown in the house, as long as you don't have any expensive lamp shades ;)
https://www.amazon.com/Walkera-LadyBird-Mini-Quadcopter-Radio/dp/B008YTI9MU

« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 12:40 »
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Thanks for the answers!

increasingdifficulty. Yeah, you got me :D both in the price range and the purpose of this drone.

I was thinking something around $100-$150, and yes, my purpose was to use it mainly as a practicing drone, to upgrade when i felt confortable. I never flew a drone, so i really didn't know there was such a difference in the flying experience (i know by theory what the more expensive drones have to support the flying experience, but i never tried them).

So, you think i would do better in go straight to a better drone, something like the DJI spark? I definitely would like to get into the drone world, starting to learn about it.

leaf! i'll consider your advice.. i really don't have expensive lamp shades :D :D. Is it such a big difference when you go outside? i mean, does wind constitute a major issue?

« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2019, 13:19 »
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Thanks for the answers!

increasingdifficulty. Yeah, you got me :D both in the price range and the purpose of this drone.

I was thinking something around $100-$150, and yes, my purpose was to use it mainly as a practicing drone, to upgrade when i felt confortable. I never flew a drone, so i really didn't know there was such a difference in the flying experience (i know by theory what the more expensive drones have to support the flying experience, but i never tried them).

So, you think i would do better in go straight to a better drone, something like the DJI spark? I definitely would like to get into the drone world, starting to learn about it.

leaf! i'll consider your advice.. i really don't have expensive lamp shades :D :D. Is it such a big difference when you go outside? i mean, does wind constitute a major issue?

All the DJI drones have GPS stabilization so they stay where they are put... so you don't really notice the wind.  Otherwise, yes, it would blow the drone around a lot.  You need the practice with a 'cheap' drone because when the drone is facing you, all the controls are backwards.  It doesn't seem like such a big deal until you try it... and you crash it.  With the DJI drones, when you let go of the sticks it stands still... but if it starts to drift and you panic.  Or you are using a dji drone and you think it should be going a certain way and it doesn't and you panic - if the drone is facing you and everything is backwards, it is a recipe for disaster.

« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 13:34 »
+1
One important thing.... if you live in the US  you must pass an FAA test to be rated and you need the rating to sell your footage.

« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2019, 13:51 »
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i mean, does wind constitute a major issue?

It depends on what drone you have. With the DJI drones, you can go inside and eat dinner and come back out and the drone will still be hanging in the air where you left it.

I'm sure there are many cheaper drones that will stay in place in the air even without attention, but the first one I bought was a $100 without any of those systems.

That meant you had to control it every second, or it would just fall to the ground and crash. And the range was really bad too, and guess what happened when it got out of range? That's right. Crash.

I think it survived about a week or so.

The DJI drones are very easy to fly. And there is even an option so that away from you is always away from you, no matter which way the drone is turned. So you don't actually HAVE to learn how to fly backwards (even if it's a good idea to know how to).

---

I would go with something that works (which means DJI). If you go with a $100 drone with range of a couple of hundred feet, it will be fun for 30 minutes and then you will want something else. Or it will crash and break.

« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 14:08 »
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thanks! so helpful everything.

increasingdifficulty, would you recommend the DJI Ryze-Tello, as an introduction? (forgetting the insufficient 720p video)...

One important thing.... if you live in the US  you must pass an FAA test to be rated and you need the rating to sell your footage.

I don't live in the USA, but i'm already learning about laws in Portugal and Spain, where i spend most of my time... anyway i'm curious, do the agencies ask for the FAA rating in order to accept drone footage clips? how does that work, is it like a model release kind of thing?

« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 14:12 »
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thanks! so helpful everything.

increasingdifficulty, would you recommend the DJI Ryze-Tello, as an introduction? (forgetting the insufficient 720p video)...

Well, I don't have any experience with that one, but it seems you only control it with your phone... which is... probably not that good.  ;)

Couldn't see if it has any of the self-positioning systems, does it?


I don't live in the USA, but i'm already learning about laws in Portugal and Spain, where i spend most of my time... anyway i'm curious, do the agencies ask for the FAA rating in order to accept drone footage clips? how does that work, is it like a model release kind of thing?

No. They don't ask. At least not yet.

« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2019, 02:07 »
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I recommend spending less than $100 on your first 'drone' and go for a cheap toy-grade quadcopter in the $30 - $80 range. And forget about cameras and filming when you're first starting out - learn how to fly first. Later on you can attach a light weight action camera or keychain camera when you get more comfortable with flying (check if the quad is powerful enough to lift it.) The cheap toy-grades quads like the Syma X5C-1 and FY326 Q7 are fully manual with no automation. They may be more challenging to fly initially than the more expensive drones but this will make you a better pilot with arguably quicker reflexes too. Spending time practising with a cheap quadcopter will develop your manual flying skills and will allow you to get out of sticky situations in the air and reduce the chance of flyaways. However, flyaways are always an ever-present risk when you're first starting out. I admit I had my share of flyways when I first got into quadcopters over 5 years ago (during the first year) but I haven't had any since.

Yea sure the expensive drones like those from DJI are great but the technology is not perfect. Things can go wrong like the GPS playing up and acting weird. Ive fooled around with a Phantom 2 a number of times and for the most part, it was reliable. However, one day in my backyard, it started drifting wildly all over the place in GPS mode, despite getting a good GPS lock (plenty of satellites detected.) The Phantom was about waist height and it was a dead flat calm still day without the slightest breeze so it wasn't the wind that was moving it around. It was pretty extreme drift. I was constantly having to counteract that drift with the sticks all the time (never a second's rest.) There were some verandah posts in very close proximity but I was easily able to avoid them and had 0 crashes / collisions because of all the practise I had flying cheap toy-grade quads during the previous few years. Basically, the Phantom was acting like a toy-grade quad on that particular day.

The DJI Mavic is certainly a popular choice these days. Though in my opinion, it has one major design flaw for beginners. And that is no user-selectable Atti mode. The vast majority of the time, it provides a safety net with it's default GPS mode. Though in instances when the GPS decides to quit for whatever reason, the Mavic automatically switches to Atti mode. The problem is that people who are completely new to drones have no manual flying skills and no previous experience with Atti mode. Yet Atti mode is forced upon them and in such situations, the newbie pilots are often overwhelmed and as a result panic and crash or experience a flyaway.

By the way, over time, when you get proficient with flying the cheap quads, you can always upgrade to a more expensive drone later on.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 18:43 by dragonblade »

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