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Greetings Airmen,

I am just getting started with Part 107 training and can't wait to start flying. My dilemma is this: which drone to start with? I'm getting into this as a fun way to reignite my long dormant interest in photography. So you can understand why I would be interested in a "prosumer" level drone. 4K video and high end photo quality are important to me. But having never flown a drone before I am worried about crashing my new $2K-$4K investment on my first day out (I do intend to get some flight training). 

So, when I heard about the new Mavic Air I was intrigued. Awesome video capabilities and easy to fly. Combined with 12 meg pixel stills this would seem to be the perfect platform to get started with. And with a price point starting at around $800.00 the inevitable first crash is not as scary. 

Having said that, I should also mention that I have aspirations to do some limited work with my drone in the photography, inspection, mapping and possibly agricultural fields whenever possible. Because of that, I am also very interested in the release of the Typhoon H Plus this summer. It checks off everything on my "want" list and it provides the ability to upgrade to better cameras. For that reason alone I find the H Plus more desirable than the P4Pro which it seems to be in direct competition with.

So, there's my dilemma. Affordable and easy for a beginner to fly with the Air, or a more substantial investment that provides better camera capabilities but is more difficult for a new pilot to fly in the H Plus?

input please.

 

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You aren't the first and certainly not the only beginner to express this concern.

You need to start with defining your requirement, what problem do you want to solve?  If you want to include aerial footage as a professional photographer what's your deliverable?  Etc..

Here's a review by Casey Neistat, not that he's the expert on the technology his review are often entertaining and usually provide good insight for beginners.  In this video he does provide some  comparison footage between the MAVIC AIR, MAVIC PRO, SPARK and the Phantom4Pro.

In my opinion the footage from both MAVIC's and the SPARK is crap as compared to the Phantom4Pro.

You don't have to conflate the issue of learning to fly with quality footage.  You can purchase a much less expensive Hubson type drone to learn to fly with: 

http://www.hubsan.com/na/

These drone are generally small enough to fly indoors and big enough to fly outdoors in a light breeze, and they shoot (crappy) HD Video that you can use to figure out your video workflow.  There are also smaller options that you can use indoors to learn primary flight.

Once you're comfortable with flying you'll have a better perspective on what you need next. 

16 hours ago, SolarFox said:

I have aspirations to do some limited work with my drone in the photography, inspection, mapping and possibly agricultural fields

This is just my opinion but I would not consider any of the drones you mentioned suitable for commercial work.

Phantom4Pro's are no more difficult to fly than a MAVIC.  

 

 

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I went straight into the Phantom 4 Pro and I feel like you literally have to try to crash it. As long as you leave it in the regular mode of flight you’re good. It’s got so many different safety functions and it’s popular for a reason. 

Side note: the only time mine has fell from flight was in sport mode when I underestimated stopping distance and it kissed some tree branches. Learned my lesson :D

 

My biggest struggle since getting 107 is obtaining controlled airspace authorization. I’m not having much luck from the FAA form I filled out but I’m sure there’s other threads for that topic.  

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Although I don’t think @SolarFox was asking for product reviews, @Craig Dimmitt Has hit upon an important point, hardware redundancy.  If your going to fly an expensive payload over or in close proximity to people you really need to have it.  

56 minutes ago, Completenirvana said:

I went straight into the Phantom 4 Pro and I feel like you literally have to try to crash it. As long as you leave it in the regular mode of flight you’re good. It’s got so many different safety functions and it’s popular for a reason.

This is probably one area that seperates professionals from hobbyists.  To do this professionally you need to be able to fly manually.  What happens when the mode your flying in fails because of a GPS or magnetometer failure or interference?  

It’s one thing if things go wrong with a $1200 toy drone over the beach shooting footage for YouTube and something very different when your flying a 12 pound drone with a $5000 payload over equipment that costs tens of thousands of dollars or worse yet close to people.  

Thats not to say that you can’t become a very good pilot with a P4 but most people learn to rely on these “safety functions” and as a reult are not prepared for when they fail.  The reason their so popular is becuase their relatively inexpensive and easy.  

Safety is not a popularity contest.

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Point well stated, Av8Chuck. Thank you. And thank you Craig and Completenirvana for for your thoughts. All very helpful. While I've decided to wait and see what the reviews for the new H Plus have to say before diving in head first I am also exited to hear rumors that the P5 may be just around the corner. In the mean time I'll probably dip my toes in the water with a Hubsan X4 H501S as a relatively inexpensive crash dummy.

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