Tagged: DJI Phantom 3
The DJI Inspire 1 Pro Black Edition takes the bright, white shell and remote control of the Inspire 1 and transforms them into black. Inspired by high-end film making equipment the world over and also its cousins the DJI Ronin and Ronin-M, this new look adds style and gravitas to the already head turning Inspire 1 and allows it to fit in neatly on a film set. AERIAL IMAGING EVOLVED
The DJI Inspire 1 Pro and Inspire 1 RAW are the smallest, easiest professional aerial filmmaking platforms in the world. They combine DJI’s unparalleled leadership in aerial technology with world-class M4/3 imaging capabilities. Whether you are a professional photographer or a Hollywood filmmaker, the Inspire 1 Pro and Inspire 1 RAW are ready to take your work to new heights.
ZENMUSE X5 AND X5R
The Zenmuse X5 and X5R are among the smallest Micro 4/3 cameras ever made and the only M4/3 cameras designed specifically for aerial imaging. Both can capture ultra-clear 4K video at up to 30 frames per second and capture photos at 16 megapixels in Adobe DNG RAW. The Zenmuse X5R is also the first camera of this type able to shoot 4K raw video, making it perfect for professional filmmaking. As M4/3 cameras, you have a choice of lenses and also full wireless control over focus, aperture and more.
COMPREHENSIVE APP CONTROL
The DJI go app gives you an unprecedented level of control over your camera while you fly. Use the intuitive auto focus mode to compose the perfect shot and change everything from focus to shutter speed and aperture with the tap of a finger. Through the same app you also control how your Inspire flies, from auto take-off and landing, to fine tuning of your flying experience and even a set of intelligent flight modes. Inspire 1 Pro – Professional aerial filmmaking platform | DJI
Use the Inspire 1 Pro or Inspire 1 RAW just like you would a camera, with a shutter button for stills and a record button for video built into the remote control. It also features a jog dial that allows you to change camera settings quickly, and customizable buttons for you to personalize. Plug the DJI Focus into the remote control to extend its reach as far as the Inspire 1 Pro or Inspire 1 RAW flies.
Take control of your focus for the first time, and combine it with aperture control for another layer of creative freedom. Do you want to start on a shallow depth-of-field of your subject and then bring the background into sight? With remote focus control you can, with a tap of the screen inside the DJI GO app. Using the DJI Focus, you can even turn a dial just like you would turn a lens allowing for even more refined control.
Want to shoot your own GoPro videos from high vantage points and other places you can’t normally reach? You may want to mount one on a quadcopter. Getting started isn’t difficult, but you’ll benefit from our recommendations and tips for beginners. Welcome to the world of multi-rotor RC aircraft. A cursory search on YouTube or Vimeo will yield a bountiful selection of footage captured from radio-controlled (RC) model aircraft known as multi-rotors. The name comes from the fact that these particular models rely solely on horizontal propellers (rotors) to provide lift and directional control. Most multi-rotors have four propellers, so they are called “quad-rotors”, or just “quads”. For the sake of simplicity in this article, I’ll brand all multi-rotors as “quads”, while recognizing that there are versions with three to eight airscrews…sometimes more.
Despite their unaerodynamic appearance, quads are ideal for capturing photographs and video footage from the sky. Many of them can heft a surprisingly heavy payload (i.e. good quality imaging equipment) and hold a steady posture in the air. With the ability to hover in place and fly in confined spaces, quads can often provide perspectives that no other filming technique can mimic. Watch some of those YouTubevideos and you’ll see what I mean. Not only that, but quads are fun to fly with or without a camera attached.
But before you zip out and buy a quad of your own, there is one more thing you should know. Switch over to a news site and it won’t take a lot of digging around to find the unglamorous B-side of quads. How about the wedding photographer who flew his camera-toting quad into the bride and groom? Then there is the wise guy who took his quad over Manhattan, only to crash into the side of a high rise, where his machine plummeted to the sidewalk 300 feet below. Let’s not forget the genius who flew his quad so high and so near JFK airport that it was spotted by a passing (and quite perturbed) airline captain! This unfortunate list goes on and on, yet the takeaway is but twofold:
- Multi-rotor models are capable of inflicting surprising amounts of injury and/or damage…think “flying Cuisinart”.
- Multi-rotor models require diligence and practiced skill to fly competently…think “unicycle”. If you’re still reading, I assume that you have some aspiration of owning a quad and perhaps racking up those YouTube views. That goal is reasonable and attainable even if you’ve never operated a RC vehicle before. Just recognize that diving into multi-rotors without heeding the lessons above could render you the next bungler featured on the evening news. Not to mention that doing something with your quad that captures the attention of CNN is also likely to attract the attention of local police, the FAA, and quite possibly the FBI…and that’s no joke. My point is not to discourage you from buying a quad, but to inform you of the aspects of quad ownership that are often unintuitive.Let’s get started!
As with any RC vehicle, there are two basic components to deal with: the transmitter and the vehicle itself. The transmitter is the device you hold to provide control inputs. A quad transmitter is the standard two-joystick box that is also used for RC airplanes and helicopters. Moving the left joystick up or down changes the power setting on all four motors and makes the quad climb, descend, or maintain altitude. Moving the left joystick to the left or right causes the quad to yaw in that direction (i.e., it pivots about an imaginary vertical axis through the center of the vehicle). The right joystick controls pitch and roll. Simply put, whatever direction you move the right joystick will command the quad to tilt and translate in that direction.
Most quads are arranged in an X configuration (when looking from above) with a motor/propeller at each corner. A rechargeable lithium polymer battery provides power for the motors and the electronic equipment onboard the quad. As a beginner, it isn’t really necessary to understand the function of all of a quad’s electronics. Those lessons will come as you progress in the hobby. For now, you just need to understand that the four motors work in unison, at different speeds, to keep a quad hovering and maneuvering through the air.
I’m Learning To Fly, But I Ain’t Got Wings
One aspect of RC flight that many beginners have trouble with is the light touch that most quads and other RC aircraft demand. The overwhelming tendency of beginning pilots is to over-control and then overcorrect. The result is a herky-jerky flight path that that may or may not end well for the quad. Watching videos from these types of flights can make you turn green with nausea.
Fly with a light touch. The overwhelming tendency of beginning pilots is to over-control and then overcorrect.
Another hurdle for beginning pilots is overcoming the perspective of being outside the model. When the quad is in front of, and facing away from you, everything seems normal. Right is right, and forward is forward. When the nose of the quad is pointing towards you, however, the perspective changes. Now, when you command the quad to tilt to the right, you will see it tilt to your left. When you command it to tilt rearwards, it will move away from you. The quad is still responding to your commands the same way. It’s just that the quad’s right/left and front/back are no longer the same as yours.
Perhaps the hardest thing about flying a quad is simply keeping track of which end is which. Quads lack the wings, tail surfaces, and other visual cues that you are used to seeing on airplanes and helicopters. So, it is often difficult to know which way the quad is pointed. Such disorientation leads to erroneous control inputs. Commanding a zig, when you meant to zag is the root cause of many crashes.
While the challenges of becoming a competent quad pilot may seem daunting, I have yet to meet anyone that didn’t eventually get the hang of it. Most catch on rather quickly…especially kids. Mastering the necessary skills is simply a matter of getting some flight time under your belt and learning from your mistakes. And yes, that also means occasionally making repairs to your quad after an especially ham-fisted or harebrained flight.
Where To Start
Logging flight time does not mean that you have to put an expensive, camera-ready quad at the mercy of your fledgling skills. That would be like learning to juggle using flaming Ginsu knives or moody honey badgers. There are a couple of more sensible alternatives. One option is to get a RC flight simulator for your PC. The one I use is RealFlight 6.5, which includes a quad in its stock database of flying models. Just as important, RealFlight includes a USB controller with the same look and feel as a RC transmitter. This helps to make the transition from virtual flight to genuine flying pretty seamless.
One great thing about a software simulator is that it also lets you try your hand at RC airplanes and helicopters of all skills levels. It is really remarkable how broad the performance spectrum is for different models. Plus, no matter how badly you mangle the quad, airplane or helicopter on the screen, pressing the reset button will instantly make it as good as new!
Another way to learn quad flight is to purchase a micro quad. These are small (about 5”x 5”) quads that look and behave the same way that larger quads do. They are really amazing little machines. The advantage of learning with a micro quad is that they have such low mass and so little power driving their tiny propellers that they are very unlikely to cause any harm when you smack them into something (and you will).
My first quad was the 1SQ from Heli-Max. It is a “hobby grade” micro quad, as opposed to “toy grade”. This means that you can buy spare parts and keep it going if you somehow find a way to damage it. My 1SQ absorbed quite a bit of abuse as I learned the basics of quads, and it is still going strong with nothing more than replacement propellers.
Buying a micro quad with a gamepad-like transmitter or one that is controlled by an iphone won’t really help you transition to larger, more capable quads.
eBay is flooded with all types of micro quads. Some appear to be genuine, while others are obvious knock-offs of popular hobby-grade quads. Then, there are other quads of even more questionable pedigree. Honestly, I don’t know how to tell the good eBay finds from the bad. My recommendation is to spend a few more bucks and buy a micro-quad from your local hobby shop. If you decide to go the eBay (or similar) route, at least make sure that the micro-quad you choose includes a 2-stick transmitter. Buying a micro quad with a gamepad-like transmitter or one that is controlled by an iphone won’t really help you transition to larger, more capable quads.
A neat thing about micro quads is that you can fly them indoors. Foul weather and darkness need not impede your training. As I said, you will bump into things as you learn (and beyond). So be sensible and stay away from pets, kids, the plasma screen, Aunt Edith’s urn…you get the idea. And for Pete’s sake, turn off the ceiling fan! Other than exercising those precautions, there is little to worry about. As your piloting skills progress, you can challenge yourself to increasingly difficult tasks. You may start out just trying to land on the coffee table. In time, you’ll be dusting your ceramic frog collection with the micro quad’s rotor wash.
Once you feel that you have the hang of quad flying, it’s time to upgrade to something capable of carrying a high quality camera. It is worth mentioning that there are some micro quads with integrated cameras (including the V-Cam version of the 1SQ). These quads are also a lot of fun and you can get some good experience tackling the challenges of filming without the benefit of a viewfinder. Just don’t expect the image quality to meet the level that we’ve become accustomed to from GoPro and similar cameras.
Beyond micro quads, there is a lot of room to grow in terms of cost and capabilities, but let’s focus on the next logical step. The DJI Phantom is a very popular quad that is capable of carrying a GoPro camera. The Phantom includes all of the things that you want in an intermediate quad: attitude stabilization, brushless motors, a GPS unit, a built-in GoPro mount, etc. What has made the Phantom so popular is that all of these components come preconfigured and integrated as a flight-ready system. You can bring home a Phantom and have it flying in the time it takes to charge the included battery (about an hour).
If you choose to buy a Phantom, I think you will agree that it is considerably easier to fly than a micro quad. I’ve found the Phantom’s stabilization and position-holding ability to be rock solid. I can park it in the sky and take my hands off of the joysticks. Even if there is a light breeze, the Phantom will stay in place until I command it to go somewhere else.
Unlike micro quads, the Phantom has enough mass and horsepower to cause grief when you hit something with it. The conscientious world citizen in you should want no part in causing a dent in a car, or maybe buying stitches for a stranger. The savvy economist in you should never forget that you don’t want to squander the nearly $1000 tied up in a Phantom with the latest GoPro by crashing it into a lake. Play it safe on both counts with your first flights and find a nice open space devoid of other people. You will appreciate the elbow room until you get comfortable flying the Phantom. Even later, you should always ask yourself “Is it safe to fly here?”
Some makers will shun the turnkey approach afforded by the Phantom, since it’s an all-in-one package that works out of the box. Fortunately, DJI and other companies offer many quads in kit form. This lets you choose the components you want and customize the quad to your liking. Taking the DIY route also provides you with an intimate knowledge of how the different components of a quad work in unison to achieve controlled flight.
You may find that a Phantom/GoPro combo is all that you need to satisfy your aerial photography ambitions. For many fliers, however, this stage is a gateway to more capable set-ups. One popular upgrade is to add a First Person View (FPV) system. FPV provides a real-time video downlink from the quad. When you connect that downlink to a portable screen or video goggles, you get the same bird’s eye view as the onboard camera…neat stuff for sure. FPV systems are often coupled with a two-axis gimbal that lets you pan and tilt the camera during flight. Just be aware that most FPV systems require a HAM Technician license to operate legally.
GoPro Heroes are awesome little cameras that will serve you well. If, however, you yearn to carry higher end video equipment, there is probably a multi-rotor to fit the bill. The cost and complexity of these aircraft climb accordingly. Most of the larger multi-rotors have six or eight motors. Some of these units can run several thousand dollars (without video equipment). It’s a matter of balancing your budget and skills with the image quality that you aim to achieve.
Finding Solidarity and Community
With the ever-growing popularity of quads, there’s no reason to jump in to the hobby alone. Unless you live way out in the boonies, there is probably an established quad flyer not too far away. Search for RC clubs and hobby shops in your area to get started. Most RCers are happy to share their knowledge and experience. There are also numerous online forums that discuss all aspects of quads and other RC endeavors. My favorite is RCGroups.com. The only problem with online forums is filtering out the genuine good advice from the well-meaning misinformation of self-proclaimed experts. With a little lurking, you can usually pick out who the trustworthy members are.
You should also consider joining the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), which is a national organization that provides a united voice for all types of aeromodelers. In fact, AMA membership is a prerequisite for joining most local RC clubs. Among other things, the $58 annual dues provide an insurance policy for you and help the AMA in its efforts to protect modelers from unnecessary regulations. This is especially important now, as the FAA is considering folding model aircraft operations into its jurisdiction.
This beginner’s guide is admittedly light on technical information. There will be plenty of time for that stuff once you’re ready to buy a quad of your own. I hope, however, that the roadmap presented here will help you to avoid some of the common mistakes and misconceptions of budding multi-rotor pilots. Flying quads is a lot of fun, and shooting videos only sweetens the deal. It just takes a little bit of training and situational awareness to be successful. Now go have fun and make a video worthy of awards, not the news! Credits: TERRY DUNN http://www.tested.com/ http:// http://
This guide will show you how to fly a quadcopter, step-by-step.
Everyone goes through different struggles when piloting a quadcopter for the first time. UAV flying definitely has a learning curve.
So if you’re having trouble flying your quad, you’re just getting started, or you’re looking to hone your skills — don’t worry.
You’re in the right place.
No matter your quadcopter model, this guide will help you prepare for your first flight, stay safe, get airborne, and learn some basic and advanced quadcopter flying techniques.
Our goal is to give you a guide that will take out all of the guess work – from going through a pre-flight checklist, learning the controls, controlling your quadcopter’s flight pattern, and even some advanced techniques. Have fun!
Line of site – The pilot can see their quadcopter during flight.
FPV (First Person View) — The pilot can see where they’re flying through the UAV’s camera.
Transmitter/Remote Control – The hand-held device that allows you to maneuver the quadcopter and adjust its settings.
Propellers – They spin according to the manual controls of the pilot. The intensity of the spin correlates to the intensity of the quadcopter’s movement.
Camera – Many quadcopters either come with a camera or allow the pilot to attach a camera to them. This is how pilots practice aerial videography and photography. (A camera came in second place when we interviewed UAV experts about their favorite drone accessory.)
(Note: For simplicity’s sake, this article assumes that the left stick controls yaw and throttle, and the right stick controls roll and pitch. Some transmitters allow the pilot to switch these controls based on what’s most comfortable.)
Roll – Done by pushing the right stick to the left or right. Literally rolls the quadcopter, which maneuvers the quadcopter left or right.
Pitch – Done by pushing the right stick forwards or backwards. Tilts the quadcopter, which maneuvers the quadcopter forwards or backwards.
Yaw – Done by pushing the left stick to the left or to the right. Rotates the quadcopter left or right. Points the front of the copter different directions and helps with changing directions while flying.
Throttle – Engaged by pushing the left stick forwards. Disengaged by pulling the left stick backwards. This adjusts the altitude, or height, of the quadcopter.
Trim – Buttons on the remote control that help you adjust roll, pitch, yaw, and throttle if they are off balance.
The Rudder – You might hear this term thrown around, but it’s the same as the left stick. However, it relates directly to controlling yaw (as opposed to the throttle).
Aileron – Same as the right stick. However, it relates directly to controlling roll (left and right movement).
The Elevator – Same as the right stick. However, it relates directly to controlling pitch (forwards and backwards movement).
Bank turn – A consistent circular turn in either the clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
Hovering – Staying in the same position while airborne. Done by controlling the throttle.
Figure 8 – Flying in a “figure 8” pattern.
(Flight modes can typically be adjusted with certain buttons on your remote control/transmitter.)
Manual – Similar to flying a helicopter. Once you tilt the quadcopter (roll) it will not auto-level itself back to its original position. Even if you let go of the stick and it returns to the middle, the quadcopter will stay tilted.
Attitude (Auto-level) – Once the sticks are centered, the copter will level itself out.
GPS Hold – Returns the quadcopter’s position once the sticks have been centered. The same as attitude mode (auto-level) but using a GPS.
When learning how to fly a quadcopter, the controls will become your bread and butter.
They will become second nature once you know how they act individually and how they interact together to form a complete flying experience.
With any of these controls, the harder you push the stick, the stronger your quadcopter will move in either direction.
When you first start out, push the sticks very gently so the quadcopter performs slight movements.
As you get more comfortable, you can make sharper movements.
There are four main quadcopter controls:
(Image source: Quadcopters Are Fun)
Let’s go through each of them.
Roll moves your quadcopter left or right. It’s done by pushing the right stick on your transmitter to the left or to the right.
It’s called “roll” because it literally rolls the quadcopter.
For example, as you push the right stick to the right, the quadcopter will angle diagonally downwards to the right.
And if you’re still struggling to get the hang of it, Korey Smith from My First Drone put together a useful bank turns video as well.
Click to Open Overlay GalleryA staff member from DJI Technology demonstrates the DJI Phantom 2 VIsion+ drone. Kin Cheung/AP
IF YOU WANT to understand why the government freaked out when a $400 remote-controlled quadcopter landed on the White House grounds last week, you need to look four miles away, to a small briefing room in Arlington, Virginia. There, just 10 days earlier, officials from the US military, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FAA gathered for a DHS “summit” on a danger that had been consuming them privately for years: the potential use of hobbyist drones as weapons of terror or assassination.
The conference was open to civilians, but explicitly closed to the press. One attendee described it as an eye-opener. The officials played videos of low-cost drones firing semi-automatic weapons, revealed that Syrian rebels are importing consumer-grade drones to launch attacks, and flashed photos from an exercise that pitted $5,000 worth of drones against a convoy of armored vehicles. (The drones won.) But the most striking visual aid was on an exhibit table outside the auditorium, where a buffet of low-cost drones had been converted into simulated flying bombs. One quadcopter, strapped to 3 pounds of inert explosive, was a DJI Phantom 2, a newer version of the very drone that would land at the White House the next week.
Attendee Daniel Herbert snapped a photo and posted it to his website along with detailed notes from the conference. The day after the White House incident, he says, DHS phoned him and politely asked him to remove the entire post. He complied. “I’m not going to be the one to challenge Homeland Security and cause more contention,” says Herbert, who runs a small drone shop in Delaware called Skygear Solutions. Click to Open Overlay GalleryA DJI Phantom 2 drone is equipped with three pounds of mock explosive at a January 16 DHS conference. Daniel Herbert
The White House drone, of course, wasn’t packing an explosive and wasn’t piloted by a terrorist—just a Washingtonian who lost control of the device while playing around in the wee hours. But the gentle censorship directed at Herbert illustrates how serious the issue is to counterterrorism officials.
A Drone Maker Takes Decisive Action
The Phantom line of consumer drones made by China-based DJI figures prominently in the government’s attack scenarios. That’s not because there’s anything sinister about DJI or the Phantom—in fact, just the opposite. The Phantom is the iPod of drones, cheap, easy to use, and as popular with casual and first-time fliers as with experienced radio control enthusiasts.
With all the attention surrounding the White House landing, DJI felt it had to take action. So last Thursday it pushed a“mandatory firmware update” for its Phantom 2 that would prevent the drone from flying in a 15.5 mile radius of the White House. So far it’s the only drone-maker installing what’s known as GPS geofencing. http://
The technique is not new to DJI. The company first added no-fly zones to its firmware in April of last year to deter newbie pilots from zipping into the restricted airspace over airports, where they might interfere with departing and arriving aircraft. If a Phantom 2 pilot flies within five miles of a major airport’s no fly zone, the drone’s maximum altitude begins to taper. At 1.5 miles away, it lands and refuses to take off again. Municipal airports are protected by smaller zones, also programmed into the drones’ firmware.
For DJI, airport no-fly zones were a response to the growing popularity of the Phantom 2 and perhaps a hedge against the constant threat of increased regulation. “We started seeing the community of pilots grow,” says spokesman Michael Perry, and many users have no idea where they can and can’t legally fly the drone. “The guy in the White House incident, I’m pretty sure he didn’t know that flying in downtown DC is illegal.” Rather than put the onus on every user to learn local air traffic zoning rules, DJI translated them into code, and added a little buffer zone of its own for added safety.
The White House geofence is only the second one that isn’t centered on an airport, according to Perry—the first was Tiananmen Square. It won’t be the last. Now that the company has perfected the ability to erect geofences at will, the sky’s the limit—or, more accurately, the skies are limited. DJI is preparing an update that will increase the number of airport no fly zones from 710 to 10,000, and prevent users from flying across some national borders—a reaction to the recent discovery that drug smugglers are trying to use drones to fly small loads of meth from Mexico into the US.
‘I Want to Fly Wherever the Heck I Want’
This geofencing has critics, including hobbyists chagrined to find their favorite flying spot suddenly encompassed by a DJI no-fly zones. “I live just inside a red zone and find it quite offensive that a company would attempt to restrict any potential usage in/around my own house,” one user wrote in response to the first geofencing update last April.
“One could theorize that every zone anywhere could be a restricted zone,” wrote another. “Thank you but no thank you. If I spend thousands of dollars then I want to fly wherever the heck I want as long as it is under 400ft and 500ft away from airports.”
“This is NOT something users want,” another critic added. “I have a good relationship with my local airports and have worked with every local tower or control center. I get clearance to fly and they have been great, but this ‘update’ takes away my control.”
Ryan Calo, a University of Washingtonlaw professor who studies robots and the law, traces the resistance to two sources. “One is a complaint about restricting innovation. The second one says you should own your own stuff, and it’s a liberty issue: corporate verses individual control and autonomy,” Calo says. “When I purchase something I own it, and when someone else controls what I own, it will be serving someone else’s interest, not mine.”
DJI, in other words, has flown into one a core discontent of the Internet age. Technology’s no-fly zones already are everywhere. Lexmark printers and Keurig coffee makers have been programmed to reject third-party ink cartridges and coffee pods. Auto dealers are beginning to install remote-control immobilizers in cars sold to sub-prime borrowers, so they can shut down a driver who’s delinquent with an auto payment (the technology already has resulted in a 100-vehicle automotive hack attack.) In 2009, some Kindle owners discovered Amazon has the power to remotely delete the book they’re reading, after the company purged George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from e-book readers, an action Jeff Bezos later apologized for .
“The fate of small drone flights over DC may seem like a little thing—a spat worked out among private players,” wrote EFF’s Parker Higgins in a blog post Monday. “But these small battles shape the notion of what it means to own something and illustrate the growing control of manufacturers over user conduct.”
Geofencing Won’t Prevent Terrorism
While alarming to some, DJI’s paternal interference in its customers’ flight plans probably will reduce unintentional incidents like last week’s White House landing. But it certainly won’t prevent the scenario feared by official Washington: an attacker looking to weaponize a drone. For one thing, hardcore drone hobbyists tend to be tinkerers, and sooner or later their rumbling will translate into published firmware hacks and workarounds anyone can use.
“Right now there doesn’t exist any hacks to remove the geofencing or downgrade the firmware,” says Herbert. “I’m sure they’re coming. People will figure it out eventually.”
But, he notes, drone fliers who don’t want geofencing have many options. DJI’s mandatory update only affects the Phantom 2 line—ironically, the older Phantom 1 that landed at the White House isn’t included. And Phantom 2 owners will receive the mandatory update only when they link their drone to their Internet-connected PC or Mac. And if you really want to exercise your own judgment when flying, DJI says you can simply buy from a competitor.
“We do provide different layers of security to make it difficult to hack and get around,” says DJI’s Perry. But for those determined to avoid geofencing, “there’s an easy way to do that, which is to buy another quad-copter.”
That may be true for now, but it’s easy to see lawmakers and regulators jumping on DJI’s mandatory update as an easy cure, and mandating geofencing industrywide. When that happens, you can expect that circumventing drone firmware, for any reason, will become illegal, the same way hacking your car’s programming is illegal. One thing is for certain: Nobody willing to strap a bomb to a toy drone will be deterred. http://Remote Control Toys on Sale
Every quadcopter pilot needs high-tech equipment and the best quadcopter that works perfectly for their skill level. There are hundreds of different types of rc helicopters such as quad, hexa, tri and DIY quadcopters so there is bound to be one that fits your skills perfectly. I myself started at the bottom flying beginner level copters. Since then I have worked my way up to advanced level copters, giving myself knowledge of the features and skill level necessary to fly a variety of quadcopters and rc helicopters.
Over my years of flying I have flown some of the most simply built quads to the most intricately designed allowing me to put together an in-depth compilation of the best quads for novice, intermediate, and professional fliers. Every quadcopter has specific features that make it better suited for a beginner versus a professional or vice versa. After all the times I’ve crashed and burned, I can definitely put my two sense in on the quads that are more difficult to fly than others. Regardless of what skill level you’re shopping for you will have much more knowledge when it comes to finding the best drone for you by reading our quadcopter reviews. From mounts and gimbals, to DIY and RTF quadcopters, we have it all!
If you are just starting out, chances are you’re not going to be ready for an fpv quadcopter. You will just need a simple quadcopter without many special features; the best quadcopter for beginners is one that you will be able to part with when it’s crashed and won’t be too expensive to replace or fix. I wouldn’t want you to make the same mistake I did and buy a $1,000 dollar quad to practice on. No matter how big of a man you are, I guarantee you will shed a tear when your pride and joy torpedoes into a tree right before your eyes.
For more advanced fliers a quadcopter that is more heavy duty, can handle the weight of a gimbal, or is already fitted with a camera will be your best bet. By now you can control almost any quadcopter and are ready to start focusing more of your attention on your aerial photography and video skills. Now that the major learning curve is in the past it’s possible for you to turn this hobby into a profession! Who wouldn’t love to get professional aerial photography taken, or their taco delivered via drone?Below I have compiled a list of the best quadcopters based on their quadcopter reviews and my individual experience flying them to make your decision easier for you. http://amzn.to/1IpBPPE
When deciding on what is the best quadcopter to purchase you need to make sure you get one that is suitable for your skill level. There is no need to go out and buy the most expensive version you can find when you have absolutely no experience. Start off with something halfway cheap and get some flights under your belt before moving on to the best of the best. Here are some of the top rated, and what I find to be the best quadcopters based on skill level. Always remember to read the quadcopter reviews to see what other people have to say about the copter you want.
Hubsan X4 H107
There are many different versions of the Hubsan X4 quad and they all have good quadcopter reviews. The best one for abeginner quadcopter enthusiast though is the original Hubsan X4 H107. This one is 100% ready to fly and includes a 2.4GHz radio and a rechargeable 3.7 V 240 mAh battery. Considering it comes with everything needed to fly out of the box, the only thing you need to do before you get flying is charge your battery. The battery takes about 30 minutes to charge and allows you to get almost 10 minutes of flying time. Due to the lightweight airframe, ultimate stability, and small size of 60 mmx60 mm, you will get longer flight time which equates to more practice time! This is the best drone for flying indoors or outdoors but just be sure it’s not windy while flying outside.
The best copter for beginners in my opinion is the Syma X1 and the quadcopter reviews will agree. It is equipped with the latest 3-axis flight control system enabling it to have an incredibly stable flight. You’re going to want to practice most of the time but it’s also nice to be able to have a bit of fun. Even when I was first starting out this quadcopter gave me the ability to perform tricky pirouettes, flips, rolls, and more. It has a full 3D flight which gives you the freedom to go up, down, left, right, forward, backward, leftward flight, and rightward flight. There’s so much learning potential with this quad and at such a great price!
Estes 4606 Proto X Nano
Great for enthusiasts just starting out, the Estes 4606 Proto X Nano has a plastic body and should only be flown indoors. This was actually my first quadcopter I bought after reading it’s quadcopter reviews and I’m thankful it didn’t break every time I flew it into a wall. For the rare occasion when I broke a blade, there were conveniently 4 spare rotor blades included with the quad. There are even LED indicators on both the front and back which help you stay oriented during flight. Unless you’re holding your quadcopter in your hand, it’s very difficult to determine the front and back so the lights are a lifesaver especially in dim light. Included with the Estes 4606 is a 4-channel 2.4 GHz radio and a 100mAh 3.7 V LiPo battery making this a complete RTF quadcopter right out of the box.
DJI Phantom Aerial UAV This quad is a good step up from an inexpensive, simple beginner quad, but this is the largest jump I would make going up from a beginner version. You remain to have the simplicity of a RTF quadcopter but you also gain multiple innovative features with the higher price. Before stepping up to this level be sure you have a pretty good handle on basic controls to avoid demolishing the Phantom into the side of a tree. Once your Phantom arrives the only tasks you will need to complete before your first flight is charging the battery and attaching the landing gear and propellers. The transmitter included with the Phantom is pre-tuned by the factor and only needs 4 AA batteries installed before your first flight. The speed is a big jump between the toy you used to have and the technical beast that has just landed in your possession. The maximum speed is 22 mph and still allows you to capture action shots of any event, sport, or scene. The Phantom comes automatically fit with a GoPro mount but the camera must be purchased separately. You will be able to take aerial photos and videos like never before with the Phantom and GoPro super team.
Parrot A.R. Drone 2.0 There are many cool perks of this quad that makes it the best quadcopter if you’re kind of in between skill levels. First off, it has an incredibly robust structure which is built to withstand crashes and absorb impacts. The body is crafted out of foam which isolates the expensive parts to keep them safe and absorb vibrations creating a smoother flight. Also included with the Parrot A.R. Drone 2.0 is an inside hull which further protect your quad from damage. Even if you’re not fully advanced to an intermediate level yet, you can still move up to the Parrot and use the hull until you’ve reached perfection. The most advanced feature incorporated into the Parrot is the ability to control your drone via iPhone, iPad or any Android device. From your device, you can view life steaming video from your Parrot and fly via FPV. You can also record and share photos and videos directly from the FreeFlight 2.0 app. This may seem like a huge jump from a basic toy quad but as long as you start out with the hall and work your way up to fpv flying, the Parrot should last you many years of flying. DJI Phantom 3 Standard While I wouldn’t normally consider the DJI Phantom 3 an intermediate level drone, DJI has made the standard model affordable enough to barely make the cut. However, I wouldn’t recommend going straight from a mini drone to something of this caliber. Even though the Phantom 3 is extremely easy to fly, you would be better off having more experience under your belt with something like the UDI U818A. Initially, I was going to recommend a cheaper quadcopter, but frankly if you’re willing to spend anything in the $400 – $600 range, you’re better off saving up for the Phantom 3. All of the other drones in that price range simply can’t compare to capabilities of DJI’s new Phantom. For starters, this model comes equipped with a camera that can record video in 2.7k HD and take pictures in 12mp. While this is pretty great quality, what really should make you happy is the new f/2.8 lens with a 94⁰field of view. What makes this lens so great is that there is no more unwanted distortion, or in other words no more fisheye effect. This is awesome because not only does the video quality look better, you can also easily upload it online without a ton of boring editing. With the new DJI GO app you can even watch the footage live as you’re flying in 720p. This app can also be used to change your camera settings, perform auto takeoff and landing, edit and share your videos, as well as perform many other impressive tasks. One task that I’ve found to be quite useful is the new interactive flight simulator. This feature is great when first starting out as it allows you to practice flying in a safe virtual environment. While flying the Phantom 3 is honestly fairly easy, you should be warned it’s slightly more complicated to take pictures using the standard model’s remote controller. This is only because DJI left out all the fancy buttons for recording and taking pictures on the standard remote. This leaves you having to do everything on your smart phone or tablet, which can be inefficient if you’re wanting to take professional video or aerial photography. If so, you may want to save up for either the advanced or the professional model.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional When many people begin flying drones, they dream of the day that they’ll own a Phantom and take rule over the skies. Whether they’ve watched some videos of the Phantom online, or maybe even seen one flown at a concert – they just knew they had to have one. Sadly enough there is a problem that most people end up facing in their conquest of getting the Phantom 3. This worrisome problem is whether to get the standard, advanced, or professional model. Okay, maybe it’s not so big of a problem; but if you’re planning on getting the Phantom 3 then it’s one you’ll have to face. Essentially, the Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional are internally exactly the same. The only notable difference is that the professional model comes with a camera that shoots video in 4k UHD. So, if you’re anything like me and want the best quadcopter possible for aerial imaging, go with the professional model. If you don’t care about the 4k camera though then just go with the advanced. No matter which model you choose, you’ll still get all of the same beneficial features besides the camera. The most important feature having to be the now built-in DJI Lightbridge system. This system effectively increases the range of your live video feed up to 15,000+ feet out while simultaneously connecting you with GLONASS satellite positioning. The extra satellites really help with improving flight stabilization and making sure the drone is where it needs to be at all times. This improved flight stabilization coupled with the 3-axis gimbal results in aerial video footage like you’ve never seen before. If you’re lucky enough to ever get the chance to fly a Phantom 3 Advanced or Professional, one of the first things you’ll notice is a light clicking noise after you turn it on. This clicking is actually known as the Vision Positioning system. DJI implemented the VPS to help with flying close to the ground and indoors without the aid of GPS. Essentially DJI installed an optical camera and ultrasonic sensors that scan the ground underneath the drone when you reach around 10ft off the ground. Even though DJI says the Vision Position technology helps with flying indoors, I still wouldn’t recommend it in close quarter environments. In a large enough room such as a warehouse or concert venue though you should be good to go.
Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K Another great drone that is steadily gaining popularity is the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K. While I wouldn’t quite compare it to the Phantom 3, it does come with a few benefits that some may prefer. For starters, included with the Yuneec Q500 is their handheld Steadygrip system that holds the CGO3 camera with the 3-axis gimbal. With this device all you have to do is attach your smart phone on top and you now have the ability to record seamlessly smooth 4K UHD footage right from the palm of your hands. This is a great addition for anyone who wants to take footage while on the ground without all the shakiness you would normally expect. This would have been amazing back in my skateboard days.. The next big advantage of the Yuneec Q500 is the ST10+ personal ground station. What’s so nice about this all-in-one controller comes is that it comes with a 5.5 inch Android tablet. This is awesome news because it eliminates the need of having to buy an extra one just to use with your drone. Since the quad itself already cost so much, the built-in tablet is definitely a nice bonus. Another “unique” bonus with the Typhoon Q500 is that you can watch the footage back in slow motion. All you have to do is record the footage in 1080p at a high FPS, then go back after and slow the footage down. This is extremely useful when making some cool videos. When comparing the footage from the Phantom 3 and the Q500 4K though you will notice that the colors from the Phantom are much more vibrant. Also I prefer the 20mm lens on the Phantom as it makes the footage not as blurry around the edges. Though the lens on the CGO3 camera is a little wider so I guess some people may like it better. Where the Typhoon Q500 could really use some help though is in the speed category. While it can reach a top speed of around 40+ mph without GPS, with GPS it can only go around 15mph at most. When you’re used to flying a Phantom 3 which can reach a top speed of around 30+ mph, this can seem a little slow. Since we’re on the topic of speed though I do have to admit that the Yuneec customer service is much better than DJI’s. This alone might just be the biggest reason to go with Yuneec as they’re much more pleasant to deal with if you run into problems. Which in the drone world is highly likely to happen.
DJI Inspire 1 It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s the most expensive drone on the market – the DJI Inspire 1! Haha, with all jokes aside, if you’re looking to get the best quadcopter that money can buy, short of building your own, then the Inspire 1 is what you want. This drone makes capturing amazing aerial footage more simplistic than ever before. While the camera is essentially the same as the Phantom 3, the Inspire 1 does have a lot of added perks that set the two drones apart. If you’re used to flying the Phantom series, as well as many other quadcopters, then you’re all too familiar with the propellers and landing gear sneaking its way into your footage. It’s so annoying trying to perfectly angle the camera to avoid seeing them, and when they do show up, it usually ruins the video. DJI avoids this with the Inspire 1 by giving it retractable landing gear that moves up while you’re flying. You can either press the auto take off button while you’re on the ground and it will do it for you automatically, or press the transformation button while you’re in the air and it will do it on command. Once the landing gear is finally up though you no longer have to worry about any part of the drone coming into view of the camera. This revolutionary design made it possible for the Inspire 1 to have a camera that can turn and film in 360°. While it may take some skill to fly the drone around and fully utilize the potential of the camera, you could always buy the upgraded package with two controllers and have someone fly or control the camera for you. Having the ability to control the camera while someone else is flying really brings me back to the days of doing airstrike missions on Call of Duty. Besides simply making the flight experience more entertaining, the dual operator feature also makes capturing the perfect footage or picture easier than ever before. For the most part, the Inspire 1 is a lot like the Phantom 3, just improved in many ways. One of the first differences you’ll notice is that the Inspire is much faster than the Phantom. While the Inspire can reach top speeds of up to 45+mph, the Phantom 3 can only go about 35mph. Another advantage the Inspire has is better Vision Positioning technology. This is the technology that allows the DJI drones to fly indoors and without access to GPS satellites. With the Inspire you can actually detect the ground up to a range of 16ft below, which is slightly better than the Phantom 3 at only 10ft. You can also upgrade the camera at any time thanks to the detachable gimbal. This comes really useful if you ever want to change or upgrade your camera, or if you want to use the DJI OSMO. There is one area where the Phantom 3 does outperform the Inspire 1 though and that is in range. Using the Lightbridge technology I can manage to watch the live feed with the Phantom 3 at a range of over 15,000ft. However using the Inspire 1 I can only watch the live feed at a range of over 13,000ft. Though compared to the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K which only has a live feed range of about 2,000ft, both DJI quadcopters seem pretty impressive . Credits: http://bestquadcopterreviews.org
We take the new DJI Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional quadcopters out for some test flights! Eric Cheng of DJI joins us to discuss how these new quads differ from previous models in terms of their flight capability and cameras, bringing in features previously introduced in the Inspire 1. We then put these quadcopters up in the air to test the new stabilization systems and 4K video!
Thanks to Eric Cheng for some of the Phantom 3 video footage. http://