I'm Starting to Feel the Drone Bug

Armanius

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What did (or didn’t) you do...?
You are assuming I was at fault? LOL!

She thought I said something, but I'd specifically said the opposite, but she did not hear me correctly. I'll have to keep further details off the forum if I don't want my precious gear to disappear!
 

PakkyT

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I want a drone but I have zero need for one and I think I’d get bored with it. I keep eyeing them and just about bought a spark!
A co-worked/friend of mine went in with another buddy of his on a nice drone. So they only paid half each and have shared custody. Might be an option for others looking to buy one, might not use it a lot, and find the nicer one's prices to be a bit high. Cost of ownership goes down and when you are not actively using it, it can still be getting use. You just have to make sure you have an agreement in place on how to handle things like damage and repairs (either share all costs or the person using it during the damage must pay full cost).
 

Levster

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The drone GAS is getting stronger... I've narrowed it down to a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced or a DJI Spark. I like the 3 Advanced because there is a slight sensor bump and the controller is Lightbridge (so more range), also the gimble is 3-way so will cope with side winds. The DJI Spark looks like an awesome bring anywhere drone, although my concerns are that it won't handle wind well (I live by the coast so wind is almost constant) and the 2-way gimble won't handle side winds movement. I can pick up the DJI Phantom 3 Advanced for under £400 second hand and the DJI Spark Fly More Pack can be found for around £520 in the UK new. On balance I think I'd enjoy using the Phantom more but the Spark is so portable!
 

JensM

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I knew it was a bad idea, reading this tread.

Now I fancy getting one, and probably need it as much as I need a root canal. My teeth are fine...

Intriguing pieces of gear, have been privy to professional footage live streamed and the possibilities in the consumer market are wast and somewhat unexplored, the local discussions has more or less been focused on the possible negative sides.

If I end up with exploring film making possibilities with my existing gear, a drone may be a great supplement for that footage you simply can't get running traditional gear. If keeping it on the stills side, I am somewhat leery as to the need for one.

Good topic, anyhow. :)

*Edited to add this: https://gizmodo.com/the-dji-mavic-air-wins-1822840318
 
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Lu1Wang

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I knew it was a bad idea, reading this tread.

Now I fancy getting one, and probably need it as much as I need a root canal. My teeth are fine...

Intriguing pieces of gear, have been privy to professional footage live streamed and the possibilities in the consumer market are wast and somewhat unexplored, the local discussions has more or less been focused on the possible negative sides.

If I end up with exploring film making possibilities with my existing gear, a drone may be a great supplement for that footage you simply can't get running traditional gear. If keeping it on the stills side, I am somewhat leery as to the need for one.

Good topic, anyhow. :)
You if are into video, drones are definitely great tools for the task due to superb stability in both flight control and footage.

However, if you wish to get better than cell phone level of stills with aperture control, the choice is rather limited at the time. You either have to get the 1'' sensor Phantom 4 Pro/Adv model, or Inspire model with the X5 series M4/3 cameras. If you plan to travel a lot with a drone, then none of the above is really viable IMO. For now, Mavic will do. Given enough light, they do provide you some interesting perspective and help you get the shot you wouldn't be able to without. Doesn't always have to be flying high above though.
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SpecFoto

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I'd love to stretch to a Mavic Pro but the cost is almost double that of a Phantom 3. This would be my first proper drone so I think a cheaper one would be best.
Before I bought my first drone I was in the same position deciding how much I wanted to spend on this new hobby. But as I travel around a lot I finally decided the portability of the Mavic Pro was the key issue. It just folds up so small and is so easy to carry it means you will use it more. Got it last fall and used it mostly in my backyard which is open to a big natural area, mainly due to so many flying restrictions in the area I live, and got to know it a bit. But then 1 month later the wife and I went to Thailand for 9 weeks and spent 5 of those in Hua Hin, a beachside community about 3 hours south of Bangkok. I took 2 EM1's, 4 primes, 1 zoom and the Mavic Pro with controller, 3 Mavic batteries, my iPad 4 Mini for the view screen, and all fit fine into a messenger style shoulder bag. Try that with a Phantom 3 :biggrin:

Anyway I flew 26 out of 35 days in Hua Hin along the beach, over the edge of the golf course and in the foothills. Got about 23 minutes flight time with each battery so just about 70 minutes of flights per day. Really got to learn how the Mavic performs and it is just great, easy to fly, if you have any issues just let the controls go idle and the Mavic will hover just fine while you sort things out. As it was the end of the rainy season in Hua Hin, there was wind, a lot of days I flew with winds of 10 of knots or more. Not an big issue, except if you are going downwind first and coming upwind on the way back, your speed will be halved and you have to watch the remaining battery life. While most times I try to fly with the Mavic in sight, there was a interesting small island way offshore. Finally on the next to last day, I got up enough nerve to fly out to the island, 3,300m over open ocean, circle it and return back.

Regarding the Mavic camera, I feel the video quality is fantastic. The stabilization works better than my EM1's IBIS video by far. The jpeg are very good, they end up with a file size of about 5MB, or about 2/3 the size of the EM1 on fine, large. The raw DNG files are 12MB or larger.
 
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Lu1Wang

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Based on my observation, most new pilot whom bought an entry level Dji wifi drone either upgrade to a higher end transmission model like P4 or Mavic within 3 month, or crashed their aircraft and quite the hobby all together. I'm not saying their beginner drones are bad, in fact they are quite good. It's just they got a steeper learning curve compare to higher end models due to the lack of stable transmission, less stable flight control and less safety features like obstacle avoidance.

Again, unlike cameras, when it comes to drones, it is actually better go straight to higher end models rather than starting with "beginner" ones. They are much easier to fly and a lot more user friendly.
 

Levster

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Based on my observation, most new pilot whom bought an entry level Dji wifi drone either upgrade to a higher end transmission model like P4 or Mavic within 3 month, or crashed their aircraft and quite the hobby all together. I'm not saying their beginner drones are bad, in fact they are quite good. It's just they got a steeper learning curve compare to higher end models due to the lack of stable transmission, less stable flight control and less safety features like obstacle avoidance.

Again, unlike cameras, when it comes to drones, it is actually better go straight to higher end models rather than starting with "beginner" ones. They are much easier to fly and a lot more user friendly.
From what I’ve read the Advanced P3 is the Pro P3 but without the 4K. It’s a balance between dipping your toes in and not going so low budget that it’s a terrible experience all round!
 

Lu1Wang

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From what I’ve read the Advanced P3 is the Pro P3 but without the 4K. It’s a balance between dipping your toes in and not going so low budget that it’s a terrible experience all round!
P3A is indeed a great compromise, assuming you are satisfied with 2.7K video quality. It also uses lightbridge, which is one of the higher end Dji transmission out there that should give you superb range and stable video downlink during flight.

The only problem with the older P3 models is the control being extremely sensitive, therefore when you get your hands on it, make sure to go easy with the throttle, no matter the direction. New models reduced the acceleration and top speed in the normal mode, and added sport mode in order to let you operate the drone at its full capacity. It was designed to ease the new pilot into the controls. Old models don't have such options other than beginner mode, which limit your flight distance and altitude to nearly useless
 

SpecFoto

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The only problem with the older P3 models is the control being extremely sensitive, therefore when you get your hands on it, make sure to go easy with the throttle, no matter the direction. New models reduced the acceleration and top speed in the normal mode, and added sport mode in order to let you operate the drone at its full capacity. It was designed to ease the new pilot into the controls. Old models don't have such options other than beginner mode, which limit your flight distance and altitude to nearly useless
I want to second this about going easy if you don't have a reduced mode option. I fly in the standard P-mode, it is plenty fast enough, and only once put the drone in the sports mode. But you lose collision avoidance in this faster mode plus the camera gets a bit wobbly, so I see no reason to fly in the faster mode, as I am not using this drone for racing. Actually I use the Cinematic mode for most of my filming, it moves the drone with more smoothness and avoids jerking movements in starting/stopping. Also have reduced the rotating turn settings way back to achieve smoother video when turning the drone around. The default setting turn way to fast and the video is jerky because of it.
 
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The shorter flight time and wifi transmission killed it for me... However this is the best bang for your buck ATM. The rear obstacle avoidance can also save lives!
One review I saw suggested it had slightly better IQ than the Mavic Pro. That would be important for me, if true.

Just out of curiosity, how much flight time is generally needed? If I were to buy a drone, I would envision using it mainly for very short videos and landscape stills. I'd rarely use the action tracking modes. But, I'd probably take a while to figure out the shot I want (especially since I'd be new to drone photography), and I'd probably use it many times during a day, as I go from place to place.
 
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