Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

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wcshaff
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Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by wcshaff » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:23 pm

I am looking to ease into a quadcopter for aerial photography to complement on-the-ground pictures and video. The recommended quadcopters with good cameras start at $1000 and up. This is not an investment that you want to crash while learning how to fly. I am leaning to a simple learner model (ie. Blade Nano QX) to master the flying, and then graduate to a quad unit with good photo capabilities. I am interested others experiences in this area.

hyla
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by hyla » Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:29 pm

My roommate uses one of the $1000 plus models you reference for aerial video (a dji phantom). From what I have seen, it is fairly idiot proof - you control steering and elevation, but the quad stabilizes itself, and also has legs which surround the camera, to protect it when landing on flat surfaces. He is careful with it - flies only in good weather, where he has nice flat landing zones, but did not practice with a cheap version first, just started learning with the real thing with short flights in a nice grassy field. I also believe crash insurance is available for drones and he has that (not sure if it was purchased through the manufacturer or separate).

Cheyenne
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by Cheyenne » Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:34 pm

I've been flying the "Ominus" by "Dormida" quadcopter. It's a real nice flyer with multiple settings for different levels of difficulty. It's a good way to master flying a quad. Price: <> $80.00. I have three of them and use the first two for spare parts (you'll need them). They have a version with a camera but the reviews of that are not so good so I never bought one.

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Watty
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by Watty » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:18 pm

It would be good to double check the details of your credit cards to find out if one of these have and extended warranty that would cover damage to the drone at least for a month or two.

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warowits
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by warowits » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:37 pm

I have not made the jump to drones, but was sorely tempted to do so this year. Everything I could find out points to the new DJI Phantom as being the one to get. In photography I find that it is sometimes cheaper to just buy the high quality equipment first, rather than getting the cheap stuff and then upgrading later. I was impressed with the Phantom 2, with the release of the mark 3 maybe you could get a good deal on a used mark 2?

Userdc
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by Userdc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:56 pm

I'd start with a super cheapo like the $50 syma X-5c before sinking any money into an intermediate or advanced model.

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4nursebee
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by 4nursebee » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:57 pm

DJI phantom 3 pro + ipad
I did all the online training in less than a couple hours.
Easy to fly, especially being cautious. First day easy
One hard landing in grass left some stains.
I've replaced one rotor.

Anyone looking for serious video/camera work in HD ie 4K would be quickly disappointed in a lesser machine.
Or just get the inspire...
4nursebee

2comma
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by 2comma » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:47 pm

Funny, I was just thinking of getting one for Christmas. I love to sail and I've seen some incredible videos but one sailor mentioned he missed their moving boat once and made a water crash landing (not good). But I hesitate because I know myself, I get easily bored so it wouldn't be long before I was "bikini snooping" around the anchorages and dropping fake FedEx packages full of glass from 10' off the ground on unsuspecting neighbors. When I say hold my beer and watch this people run!
If I am stupid I will pay.

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Rainier
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by Rainier » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:56 pm

Get a $35 model to practice on, they are way harder than the bigger ones.

I have a Yuneec Q500+, B&H has great deals on them. Wish I got the 4K though. So much fun to fly, but still a little stressful, especially flying over water. PM me if you want to see some of my videos on Vimeo.

Also if you live within 5 miles of an airport they won't work so make sure you have a good place to fly before buying.

gd
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by gd » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:29 pm

If you're going to do it commercially, in any interpretation of the word including incidental to a business, you've got some regulations. I know this only incidentally, but as I understand it you've currently either got to have per-flight notification/permission or have a section 333 exemption requiring a valid pilot's license (with current flight review) and registered drone. There are undoubtedly lots of people ignoring this, but once brought to their attention, the FAA is very unforgiving of people who flaunt their regulations.

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AAA
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by AAA » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:31 pm

I bought one of the cheaper ($50) toy models to get started. It was kind of fun for a while. The video and still images are horrible, but that was expected. I planned on graduating to one of the more professional models but have not done so for two reasons:

1. Part of the purchase justification would have been having at least the potential to make money from editing aerial videos, but as you may know it is currently against the law to use drones for commercial purposes. So I am having something of a wait and see attitude.

2. Unless you live in, or plan to visit, an area where the drones can be used without the potential of neighbors or other people getting upset by having them fly around their house, it might not get used very much. Also, at least in my case, I don't like attracting onlookers.

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wcshaff
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by wcshaff » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:38 pm

Thanks for all the input. My end game is not commercial but enhancing photo opportunities during travel -- ie. use in scenic areas such as National Parks.

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Rainier
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by Rainier » Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:00 pm

Drones are banned in US National Parks, just an FYI.

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peterinjapan
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by peterinjapan » Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:09 pm

I have a DJI Phantom and enjoy using it, though honestly it requires a lot of knowledge of how to use well. I think other options would be better.

Pinotage
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by Pinotage » Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:54 pm

Rainier wrote:Drones are banned in US National Parks, just an FYI.
Thank goodness, that's wonderful to hear!

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Crimsontide
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by Crimsontide » Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:59 pm

Userdc wrote:I'd start with a super cheapo like the $50 syma X-5c before sinking any money into an intermediate or advanced model.
+1 exactly what I started with.

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Will do good
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by Will do good » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:50 pm

Pinotage wrote:
Rainier wrote:Drones are banned in US National Parks, just an FYI.
Thank goodness, that's wonderful to hear!

+1

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AAA
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by AAA » Tue Dec 08, 2015 9:53 pm

Rainier wrote:Drones are banned in US National Parks, just an FYI.
That's what I meant about having some idea of where you would actually use the thing.

Rodc
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by Rodc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:28 pm

gd wrote:If you're going to do it commercially, in any interpretation of the word including incidental to a business, you've got some regulations. I know this only incidentally, but as I understand it you've currently either got to have per-flight notification/permission or have a section 333 exemption requiring a valid pilot's license (with current flight review) and registered drone. There are undoubtedly lots of people ignoring this, but once brought to their attention, the FAA is very unforgiving of people who flaunt their regulations.
Even hobbyists have regulations, like not flying above 400 ft (which most folks shooting video likely do not do) and not within 5 miles of an airport and not around people.

Often ignored, but folks have been busted.

Read an article just two days ago about a guy who had an accident and sliced the eye of a toddler in half (yes now blind in one eye). Not sure why anyone makes these things with unprotected blades but they do.

I understand the expectation is 100,000 to be sold in Manhattan (I wonder how many are going to some rural area to fly) and 1,000,000 over the Christmas season. Seems high to me but at any rate the market is exploding.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:13 pm

I got my better half the UDI U818A Quadcopter for Christmas. I couldn't pass up the Black Friday 50% off sale - $47.99. A VGA resolution camera is included.

It will be useful to check out the condition of my roof (that sounds like a good excuse). I have a lot of tall trees around my property, so it's not going anywhere far.

A few years ago, a friend gave me small RC helicopter. It was great for about 2 minutes, then it crashed. It was a cheap "starter" design and was too difficult to get stable flight. Hovering a few feet in the air was the best I could get.

What I needed was a quadcopter, but they were far too expensive at the time. Problem solved.
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mister_sparkle
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by mister_sparkle » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:56 am

I would verify that your homeowners insurance covers this exposure, just in case.

barnaclebob
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:57 am

wcshaff wrote:Thanks for all the input. My end game is not commercial but enhancing photo opportunities during travel -- ie. use in scenic areas such as National Parks.
You obviously have no business owning a quad copter.

averageJoe
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by averageJoe » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:11 am

Big difference between toys and legit photo based platforms.
I STRONGLY suggest you hook up with a local RC flying club and join the AMA. The club should be able to connect you with an experienced
instructor so you can learn the technical aspects and the rules.
Short cuts really expose you and others to personal and property risk you do not need.

Good luck and operate responsibly.
Rules re: "Quads" are changing so keep informed.

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dbCooperAir
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by dbCooperAir » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:20 am

Some years ago I got into flying electric R/C planes when we were taking laptop batteries apart for the cells (yes this is dangerous, don't do it unless you have a clue).

Take a loot at this, its the Bogleheads of the RC world, looks to have a very active Multirotor section(s):
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/index.php
Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him. | -Dwight D. Eisenhower-

keystone
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by keystone » Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:37 am

The DJI Phantom 3 is on the top of my wish list, although I have no personal experience with it. From all the videos I have seen, it looks pretty easy to fly with the GPS feature.

On a slightly related note, my dream is to own a turbine powered RC plane. My son and I can watch videos of them all day long, but I feel like you really need to know what you're doing before you dabble with that given the size of the investment.

SimonJester
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by SimonJester » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:57 am

keystone wrote:The DJI Phantom 3 is on the top of my wish list, although I have no personal experience with it. From all the videos I have seen, it looks pretty easy to fly with the GPS feature.
Until the GPS malfunctions, then these go into "return to China mode" where it quickly become a flying hazard until it either crashes and destroys itself or injures someone.

I recommend you start with the $50 to $150 toy copters without GPS, learn how to fly it and control it safely before getting into anything bigger.

As others have mentioned you cannot operate these in national parks. Join a local RC club and learn about AMA rules. You should never fly around and above people.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

buyholdforever
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Re: Quadcopter (drone) experience/recommendation

Post by buyholdforever » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:57 pm

A friend brought a DJI drone over to my house. I was being really careful and immediately flew it into the side of my brick patio and broke it! I felt really bad about it...

When you first get it take it to a very very large open area until you get used to it. Don't do what I did. :)

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