Anyone got any thoughts on First Camera Drone (Budget)

Discussion in 'Aerial and Drone' started by anthony_w., Oct 5, 2020.

  1. Does anyone have any advice or thought on a First Camera Drone (Budget) Buy?

    I like the DJ ones but they are too expensive lol. I was looking Syma etc.
     
  2. I dipped my toe into the water with a DJI Mavic Mini, for about $350. I think the Mavic Pro 2 has the best camera, but I wanted to see how it fit in my photographic life before spending that much. The controller consists of a cell phone slipped into a small device with an USB connector. It works pretty well and takes decent 1080p video. It's not hard to fly, but has little in the way of obstacle avoidance and very few "programmed" flight patterns. I bought it nearly a year ago, in November 2019, and have less than an hour of flight time to date. That's still better than having a $1600 Pro 2 sit idle. On the plus side, the Mini comes in a zipper case about 8"x6"x2", with drone, controller and 3 batteries, small enough to fit in a camera bag or suitcase (batteries must be in carry-on).

    Any drone will take a lot of time to fly it proficiently. Then think of what you will use it for, photographically speaking. Where will you fly it? It's not enough to be legal, you have to be discreet, with no kids or onlookers if possible. Have an air control map handy, and know the law.

    I have used drone footage from others in introductions and closings for music videos. I'd like to do more of that. I'd like to shoot a pumpkin patch from a height of 5' at 20 mph, or fly off the edge of a cliff. That weathered barn looks totally different from 100' in the air. All things I can't do with an earthbound camera (more than once, anyway).
     
  3. I plan to use it as an extension of my Photography hobby. I would only use it now and again and would stay within the law by registering with the CAA. Its the law that you must do this in the UK anyway. This is (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg.
     
  4. Syma refers to itself as a toy company, but for under $100 something like a Syma X25 Pro could be serviceable. Don’t expect much from the camera, and the 12 minute flight time would be limiting, but it could be fun.
     
  5. The Mavic Mini weighs 249 grams in flying trim, just under the limit.
     
  6. I don’t know those models specifically, so I’ll make some comments on things I see on spec sheets.

    Battery life: if it says 13 minutes, expect to actually get less than that.

    Radio range: a few hundred feet is a limitation. If you want aerial selfies or b-roll for YouTube or something it’s probably fine. If you’re looking at the Apple TV screensaver, or amazing landscape photos, and wanting to do that, you need more flight time and more distance. (And a good camera.)

    No GPS: if it has short radio range and no GPS, I’d it able to return to you if it goes out of range? (I don’t know the answer to that.)
     
    Ed_Ingold likes this.
  7. Drones in the sub-$200 class are largely intended for use indoors, or in the back yard on a calm day. Even the cheapest DJI drone (Mavic Mini) has GPS, limited obstacle avoidance and automatic homing. 2.7K video is not awe-inspiring but useable for 2K clips. The drone provides a very stable platform for stills and video. Still I wouldn't fly it if the wind is 15 mph or more - about when you see the tallest branches with leaves move noticeably. Heavier drones have more power, more speed, and the ability to manage higher wind velocity.

    Just for the fun of flying, even the least expensive drone is probably more entertaining than a model train or dune buggy.
     

Share This Page