wjules

All new to me - Help me pick up choose a drone

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Hi, I'm very new to this drone scene but very intrigued and plan to buy one sooner than later. The question is, what to buy, especially as a new drone operator? Should I expect a lot of crashes and just buy a junk one first? Or get what seems like the best fit for me and just go for it and don't crash ; ). Maybe I'm expecting a harder learning curve than it will be.  Seems like you have to buy before you can try and fly one, i.e. no test flying product available it seems. 

On product;  I've seen the Phantoms and the Inspire both from dji. A cinematographer I met recently was the one encouraging to try this venture and possible work with her so she was pushing the Inspire, which after looking at it I see it can use two controllers one to fly and one to shoot, so I can see it would be advantageous for cinematography with a crew.  But I'm sure there are probably many great options that would work for me. Im not sure of my future usage but I would want to use it for commercial purposes once I get established. 

So those of you using them for commercial purposes or intending too.....what features have you have you found the most useful or features that are not big deal.  Do you find the wider angle cameras benefit most shoot styles or something not as wide?  I am not familiar enough to know how loud most of these drones are but I'm thinking flying too close and low with wider angle lens would be annoying. Thoughts? 

And how challenging was it for most of you learning to control these without damaging them? Or are most of these strong enough to handle a little learning curve?  

Thanks for any input!

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@wjules

Everyone here is going to have a different opinion on the really good questions you raise.  Many people would advise a beginner to start with an inexpensive drone, get comfortable flying it, and then move up to something like a Phantom, Inspire or Typhoon.  If that's the course you decide to take, Alan has a very good article on "starter" drones here: http://uavcoach.com/cheap-drones-for-beginners/. The irony is that these drones are much harder to fly, and so when you've learned to fly something like a Hubsan X4, you'll find flying something like a Phantom much less challenging.  I often use the analogy of learning to drive a manual shift car and then going to an automatic. My first was a little RC helicopter that's sitting in a drawer somewhere.  I was never able to fly the damned thing for longer than 30 seconds, but I didn't let it get to me.  I have also never seen a simulator that I thought was worth anything, but that may be just me.

I'm going to break with the conventional wisdom, though.  You sound like your well grounded (no pun intended!) with a very good idea of what you want to accomplish and a pretty good network of friends and colleagues who can offer you some guidance.  I think you would be well served to start with something at least at the Phantom 4 - Yuneec Typhoon H level.  Start slow.  Take it easy, and set consistent, moderate goals for yourself to learn to fly.  I think it would also be great to accompany your cinematographer friend on a shoot to learn what's involved first hand.

I think if you're aspiring to use this drone commercially, you will find any drone that uses a GoPro to be unacceptable - way too much lens distortion, so I would rule those out.  The Typhoon H & the Phantom 4 each sell for about $1300, but you'll need to figure on dropping several hundred more for things like additional batteries, spare props, etc.  The Typhoon has the ability to add a second controller which is very useful for cinematography.

Surprisingly field of view is not as big an issue as you might think as it's usually possible to move further or closer to your subject. The Phantom 3 that I fly has probably the equivalent of a 35mm full frame lens, and for me ( I do mostly real estate work) that works well.  The Inspire Pro has a micro 4/3 camera with interchangeable lenses, but that'll set you back close to 4 grand.

Whatever you choose, Good Luck!  Persistence pays off.  Fly safe.

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I have to respectfully disagree with Silk Purse's choice of drone models. The Phantoms are somewhat expensive as are the Typhoons and Inspires. My first drone is a Blade Chroma 1080 P with  CGO 2 camera. The quadcopter is controlled with an ST+10 transmitter, rather than with a smartphone. My problem with a smartphone concerns signal strength loss as well as screen washout with strong, bright sunlight. 

I am able to make very good videos with my Chroma, using Microsoft Windows Movie Maker. Now, can the average viewer determine if the finished product comes from a Phantom 4, a Yuneec Typhoons, or  DJI Inspire? I sincerely doubt that anyone would detect the difference in video. 

The price of a Blade Chroma on sale was $599.00. Two additional Venom batteries totaled $ 216.00, extra props were $14.99, a carrying case was $148. 00. All purchased on Amazon.com. 

As to drone prop noise, the prop sound is way loud. With the ST+10 transmitter, there is on the touch screen a icon to turn off the audio. I recommended looking so youtube videos about the Blade Chroma CGO2 model.

My advice is to get comfortable with a Blade first. Phantom 4's are expensive and if you either crash the quad or have a flyaway (lose the GPS lock) and that sometimes happens, you will be out several thousand dollars. The same applies to the Typhoon or the Inspire. 

If you decide to eventually make money doing commercial videography or photography, be prepared to be held up by the FAA. This government agency requires a license to fly the drone as well as an exemption. Not to mention drone insurance in the amount of one million dollars. If you get a membership from the Academy of Model Areonautics, you can get flight insurance in the cost of membership. Contact the FAA about licensing requirements.

Good Luck, 

Jim, Intermediate Pilot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello and welcome  @wjules I too agree with the info that @Silk Purse provided, however if you have never flown any type of R/C type of aircraft, be it a plane helicopter and of course a drone I would disagree with that. There is of course a learning curve as in anything, so when you shell out $1000.00 or more and you take your first flight there may be a busted prop or to, a crash or hard landing or it might just get away from you by pushing the sticks the wrong direction.

I would most certainly start out with a less expensive one, Alan has many listed here.  I have flown all types of RC planes over the past 24 + years and it had been awhile since I last flew so when I got into the drones I got one of the less expensive ones to get back into the swing of flying and I am glad I did. As @Silk Purse mentioned the less expensive ones do take a lot more to control, so after flying one of those the Phantoms or Yuneec will be much easier to fly.

Since that time I now have the Yuneec Q500 4K as well as the new Yuneec Typhoon H.  I along with my partners we do fly commercially and we have 3, Phantom 3 pros a Phantom 4 as well as and Inspire.

They all are great and all offer a mix, myself I prefer the Yuneec brand. Great customer service. We have trained folks on all the units we have as well as we have sold a mix of both.

This site is a GREAT source of information, read lots, ask a ton of questions, and FLY FLY FLY...

Follow all the rules,regulations and again as @Silk Purse said Fly Safe.

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9 hours ago, wjules said:

Hi, I'm very new to this drone scene but very intrigued and plan to buy one sooner than later. The question is, what to buy, especially as a new drone operator? Should I expect a lot of crashes and just buy a junk one first? Or get what seems like the best fit for me and just go for it and don't crash ; ). Maybe I'm expecting a harder learning curve than it will be.  Seems like you have to buy before you can try and fly one, i.e. no test flying product available it seems. 

On product;  I've seen the Phantoms and the Inspire both from dji. A cinematographer I met recently was the one encouraging to try this venture and possible work with her so she was pushing the Inspire, which after looking at it I see it can use two controllers one to fly and one to shoot, so I can see it would be advantageous for cinematography with a crew.  But I'm sure there are probably many great options that would work for me. Im not sure of my future usage but I would want to use it for commercial purposes once I get established. 

So those of you using them for commercial purposes or intending too.....what features have you have you found the most useful or features that are not big deal.  Do you find the wider angle cameras benefit most shoot styles or something not as wide?  I am not familiar enough to know how loud most of these drones are but I'm thinking flying too close and low with wider angle lens would be annoying. Thoughts? 

And how challenging was it for most of you learning to control these without damaging them? Or are most of these strong enough to handle a little learning curve?  

Thanks for any input!

I too am New, after much research I have decided to go with the DJI Phantom 4! I will be here this Thursday,  and I am so geeked!

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15 hours ago, New Pilot said:

I have to respectfully disagree with Silk Purse's choice of drone models. The Phantoms are somewhat expensive as are the Typhoons and Inspires. My first drone is a Blade Chroma 1080 P with  CGO 2 camera. The quadcopter is controlled with an ST+10 transmitter, rather than with a smartphone. My problem with a smartphone concerns signal strength loss as well as screen washout with strong, bright sunlight. 

I am able to make very good videos with my Chroma, using Microsoft Windows Movie Maker. Now, can the average viewer determine if the finished product comes from a Phantom 4, a Yuneec Typhoons, or  DJI Inspire? I sincerely doubt that anyone would detect the difference in video. 

The price of a Blade Chroma on sale was $599.00. Two additional Venom batteries totaled $ 216.00, extra props were $14.99, a carrying case was $148. 00. All purchased on Amazon.com. 

As to drone prop noise, the prop sound is way loud. With the ST+10 transmitter, there is on the touch screen a icon to turn off the audio. I recommended looking so youtube videos about the Blade Chroma CGO2 model.

My advice is to get comfortable with a Blade first. Phantom 4's are expensive and if you either crash the quad or have a flyaway (lose the GPS lock) and that sometimes happens, you will be out several thousand dollars. The same applies to the Typhoon or the Inspire. 

If you decide to eventually make money doing commercial videography or photography, be prepared to be held up by the FAA. This government agency requires a license to fly the drone as well as an exemption. Not to mention drone insurance in the amount of one million dollars. If you get a membership from the Academy of Model Areonautics, you can get flight insurance in the cost of membership. Contact the FAA about licensing requirements.

Good Luck, 

Jim, Intermediate Pilot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a quick point out here, it is my understanding that the AMA insurance would become null and void for any such commercial operation as it is meant to protect model aircraft users and not commercial entities.

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Correct on the AMA insurance, it is not for commercial use. I do suggest anyone flying whether it be for fun or profit to get insurance coverage.  You sure do not want to crash into something or someone with out, hopefully you never will, but I am all for covering everything I have

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Thanks to all for taking the time for such detailed responses. I'm taking notes and hope to be out there soon with whatever purchase I make and start practicing.

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Hello @wjules, as with us all, we read, ask, research, talk, listen etc. and it comes down to our own thoughts of what we think will best benefit us to get the end results we are looking for and of course the best value for our money.

Keep on the forum as this is a great place to learn and make some great friends and contacts to help along the way.  And of course Alan is always adding more to the UAV coach site. Get started flying and you will enjoy it.

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