Finally after years of searching and doubting we’ve bought a drone. Actually we bought a drone already a year ago, but we’ve been practicing and thought it would be nice to show you some results.
The last couple of years there’s been a breakthrough in the marketing of drones. Like many times before, the military was the first user before drones came to the greater public. Some big firms are leading the way (for instance DJI, Parrot, Yuneec,…). We started out in February 2016 with a very little drone (the Nano QX RTF), which was our first experience in flying such a thing. It didn’t go very smoothly at the beginning, but after a lot of practice we started to see the results of the patience (and the crashes).
In June 2016 we’ve made the decision to go bigger and better. I’ve been following the DJI company already a few years, they’re one of the top company’s in commercial drones (starting at middle range to high range budget). In April 2016 they brought the Phantom 4 out, the successor of the very popular Phantom 3 line-up. Thanks to that, the Phantom 3 decreased in price and that was our opportunity to buy one. The specifications were still very good. The Phantom 4 is a bit more advanced but in camera quality there hasn’t been a big update since the Phantom 3. And having a good camera quality was one of our main goals. After all, to get that other photography perspective was the main reason we were buying a drone.
So, we’ve been flying for a year now (weather permitting). See beneath for the foto and film results we had so far. We already did a little upgrade: a special sun-filter for the camera (ND8 filter), two extra batteries and two extra (32GB) memory cards.
What is our experience so far?
First the positives:
- it’s incredible great fun and you see things you’d otherwise never see (the great aerial perspective)
- it’s fairly easy to fly (when you follow the instructions carefully!)
- can easily get 20 min flight time out of one battery
- having control of a thing that can fly is something really special
- the photo and film results are very good out of the 12 megapixel camera (great stabilization effect of the gimbal in video mode)
Than the negatives:
- it’s a big, loggy thing to carry, you don’t just pack and take it everywhere (we’ve bought a special carry-on case with it)
- you’re very dependent of the weather conditions (rain and wind!). My experience is that you really don’t want to use it above 3 beaufort. Through GPS it stabilises very good, but if you (by any reason) lose GPS signal (which we had on a few isolated cases), it’s very hard to gain control over the drone in windy conditions.
- it’s not so easy as it looks like, a lot of practise and following instructions (!) is the key to a succesful flight.
- to get a good light on the picture isn’t always that easy (the ND filter is helping in good light conditions : more vibrant colours). My experience on that is that it’s better to shoot in RAW and JPEG on the same time. Afterwards, you can modify the RAW file on the computer (but then you get pretty big files, which we bought the extra memory card for).
A few specifications of our drone (DJ IPhantom 3 Advanced)
- max flight time: 23minutes (charging time for one battery: 1 hour)
- max distance: 5km
- weight: 1,280 kg (with propellers and battery)
- 12,4 Megapixel camera ( 2,7K video, 12 megapixel pictures)
Luckily there’s an official DJI seller not so far from Ghent (Aerobetics in Sijsele). I would certainly recommend buying a drone in such kind of store. Those people know what they are talking about and you have a wide range of possibilities to compare.
What’s next? We’re are following the new trends in drone-land (that is getting bigger and bigger). Our drone is for sale (contact me here), not because it’s a bad product but because DJI brought the Mavic out. The Mavic is a more compact drone (which was as you can read above one of the negative reason of the Phantom 3).
More drone material coming soon…
A few good articles about drone photography: how drones are changing our view of the world , how camera drones are changing our world , 20 of the most beautiful drones shots of 2016 , waterproof drones , drone farming , 1000W led on a drone