Basic Drone Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Aerial and Drone' started by eric_guel, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. Hi, all.

    I primarily do commercial photography (conventions, conferences, headshots, marketing shots, etc.).

    These days, I often get calls for real estate where they ask, "Do you have a drone?"

    So I'm looking for suggestions on a basic drone that will get the job done. I'm not trying to do any major stuff here, just very simple overhead shots of businesses shot at a decent resolution.

    Think: Minimum Effective Dose.

    Thanks, everyone.

  2. Mavic Pro Plat or Phantom 4. Though DJI are doing a $150 off on the Mavic Pro so that might be a great value option.
  3. You will also need the proper FAA certification for commercial use of a drone.
    Since you mentioned businesses, for safety reasons, you cannot fly above people.

    Unless you were brought up on video games, they are not as easy to fly as the marketing make it out to be.
    The most confusing is flying it back towards you, when left and right are reversed; the drones left is your right, and the drones right is your left. Though you can always fly it backwards, to keep the controls in sync with your body.

    Rather than starting out with a $1,000+ drone, I would get a sub $100 quad/done to learn and practice on.
    Crashing/loosing a $100 quad is cheaper than crashing/loosing a $1,000 quad.

    Tip, go find an underground parking structure or a gym or similar large enclosed space to lean and practice in. You want CALM air and a contained environment, so if you do something wrong, you won't loose the quad on the roof of a house or into the trees or into the street to be crushed by a car.
  4. I simply don't agree.

    With the introduction of the amazing Mavic Air, you'll see, drone flight is simple & virtually 'User Friendly'.
    Since I've owned mine, I have yet to crash it !
    This ain't no toy - It has so many wonderful innovations along with 4K video images; all assembled in
    a quality built ridiculously TINY PACKAGE !
  5. The Mavic + accessories is a $1,000+ quad, over 5x more than my current "trainer" quad.

    Hmm, I may upgrade my quad in year or two.
    Beyond my trainer, that would be another expensive hobby. I want another lens before I upgrade the quad.

    So how well does the Mavic handle wind? That is a concern where I live.
    Is there an auto sensor stabilization, or do you have to manually keep the quad steady. I did not see this on the Mavic site.
  6. It's remarkable !
    Even with me feeling gusty wind at ground level, and the Mavic Air reporting back that it's experiencing upper level High Winds (via the attached iPhone displayed controller), I see NO evidence of it in the footage !

    YouTube is full of folks reviewing the various functions of this breakthrough drone...
    Gary Naka likes this.
  7. Actually, given the drone assassination attempt attack in South America, and how drones are being used by ISIS in the mid East, scenarios like that is a real possibility.
    With technology, the bad comes along with the good.

    That problem exists now.
    I've read of people bringing down drones that were snooping in their property, with high pressure water and shotguns.
  8. Eric, I am new to drone photography. As an amateur I don't have to justify the cost and I do not have to worry about commercial use of the drone and an FAA permit to use it commercially. Like everyone doing drone photography in the US I do have to follow the FAA safety regulations and register myself as a drone user. I have seen the DJI Mavic pro in the hands of professionals and it seems to do a very good job. I believe the Mavic Pro has a 12 MP camera. My drone is a Phantom 4 Pro v 2. I am using it for aerial sunsets and like the 20 MP camera. Flying the Phantom 4 Pro is pretty easy right out of the box. In the mode I use it once I take my hands off the controls it maintains position while I toggle the camera and do any camera adjustments I want to do. The image quality is very good. One of my friends has a Spark. I like the small size. I think you can get started for just under $1000 that includes a well integrated system like DJI. You can get the DJI Spark for about $400, a DJI Mavic with a basic controller for under $850 and the Phantom 4 Pro for with an advanced controller for under $2000. The advantage of DJI is that you get the components you need integrated into one package. I would think that the Mavic would be a good choice if you want to get started but look at the Spark. Good hunting.
  9. I am not an aerial photographer with drones, but I thought I'd mention that my local Barnes and Noble bookstore is selling a small light weight plastic drone with a built in camera for $50.
    Just saying that it might be a way to try out the concept before investing a lot of money.
  10. Going 'hands free' while doing the video or stills targeting sounds very useful.

    I understand the one button 'return to a designated point'is very nice to have too.
  11. Posting a drone video on YouTube or Instagram is considered "commercial use" by the FAA, requiring a license. There might be a minimum weight of the drone for that to apply, but a Mavic Pro exceeds any limit I've read about (> 2 lbs).
  12. Yeah, sometimes, the law can get tricky in itself.
  13. I. met guy using a drone, in Cornwall,England, to shoot stone circles. He had a pre mapped course for the thing using technology similar to a typical GPS with a route, and waypoints along the route. He uses an iPad and app to interact w with the unit as it's flying.


    Geoff Mason Brown was working on a full length film and we spent some hours hanging out together with him, chatting and having tea, after watching him fly his quad copter...
  14. The most advanced drone at the moment that I can think of is the DJ Mavic Platinum.
  15. I bought a DJI Mavic Mini just before Christmas. On advice from others, I didn't want to spend more than necessary to get something which would fly well and take decent 12 MP images or HD video. Just as well, because I have less than 20 minutes of air time on it after 3 months. A drone is not only a financial commitment, but it it takes a lot of time to learn to fly it well. To fly for money (or trade), you need a commercial drone license, which will cost about $150 plus 20-40 hours of study. There's no flight test, however, just maps and regulations.

    The heavier the drone, the more stable it is, especially in wind. For my money, I think the Mavic Pro 2 is the best value. It has the same 1" sensor as the larger DJI drones, at half the cost. It has excellent obstacle avoidance sensors (completely lacking in the Mini), and the version 3 will have even more for 3D protection. The Pro 2 also has standard and programmable flight patterns you would find useful for real estate photography. Want to zoom up to an open door and stop? Start at the door and zoom away in a straight line, then play the video backwards.

    You can fly them indoors, but without GPS guidance for stability and probably poor compass accuracy as well. Outdoors, they are much less likely to fly away if you calibrate the compass and GPS location before taking off. That done, they are supposed to return to their takeoff location (within inches, if not a few feet) automatically. However, things can go wrong ... go wrong ... go wrong.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020

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