This category includes all the important tips, information and “how to” guides about quadcopters.

where to buy a drone

Where to buy a drone?

Where to buy a drone?

If you wonder where to buy a drone, here I listed a couple of choices where you can find good deals with fair prices. These online stores mostly focus on drones for sale, they are reliable to do online shopping with ease and peace of mind, some also provide you with financing option, so that you can pay for your favorite drone in small manageable payments. Most of these drones can be bought from their official websites, I’ll list them in further updates for this post, you can also find good deals on Amazon drone store, but for those of you who want to take a further step to find the best price, you need to do a little comparison among these stores, there is no website that gives every single drone cheaper than others, it’s just all about comparing and hunting for the perfect deal, If you know any other marketplaces that you think is worth it to include in the list, please let me know so I can add it for others to use.


Banggood

This online store is pretty much famous for their lower prices and availability of their products, most of the time they offer their drones cheaper than anywhere else, and for those who want to build a drone, here you can catch good deals on parts and electronics. Go to page


AllBuy

This is another website where you can find drones on sale. If you don’t know which drone is the best to begin with, just go to their “top selling” page and look for a drone with best offer and most orders. Do not look for professional drones here. Go to page


Everbuying

Here is where you can buy your drone from China at wholesale price, they offer mostly cheap and small drones at a good price. They also ship internationally. Aside from discounts on the drones, there also offer stock clearances which leaves you with interesting purchasing options. Go to page


HobbyTron

This is an RC shop, you have variety of options to choose from, their top selling items are the drones. You can find many new and interesting drone toys, there is also a “daily deals” page where they offer eye-catching discounts on drones. Go to page


DroneFly

These guys, I know them very well. I remember when I asked them what is especial about your offers in compare to other online stores? They said that they make sure the drones are in a perfect condition and tested before delivery, they do care about customer satisfaction. Also, they offer the drones with reasonable price and provide financing option. Go to page


Drones Etc

Here you can buy professional drones, what is good about this marketplace is that they offer full warranty and repair services, they too also provide financing option. There you can find drones with limited editions and also interesting drone bundles.Go to page


GearBest

Here is where you should mostly look for small and cheap drones and there are not many options to buy professional drones. They have good customer service, they offer one-year repair and replacement service to many of their products, they also have a 45 day “no-questions-asked money back guarantee”, as it is mentioned in their website. Go to page


HobbyKing

This website actually is one of my favorites, If you are into building drones, here is the right place for you to buy all you need. For the most part you can buy drone accessories and electronics cheaper than anywhere else. Go to page


Please make sure to check back for updates as I’m going to extend this list with more sellers and the list of the drones’ official websites just to make your research easier and your purchases safer. If you have any doubt or question in mind before buying a drone, do not hesitate to ask me, I’ll be glad to assist you.

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buy a drone

The Epic Guide To Buy A Drone


Buy A Drone : The Epic Guide

Do you want to buy a drone? This long article works best for you if you are either a beginner and you’ve never had a drone before, or,  you are an experienced pilot and you’ve already smashed your first drone into pieces and now you feel confident enough to buy another one! either ways you are at the right page, no matter how much you are willing to spend and what type of drones you are looking for, I’m going to guide you – step by step – how to buy a drone like a pro and where to look for a reliable seller. So here the topics,

1. What do you need to know before buying a drone?
2. What type of drones are best for you?
3. How to buy the right drone?
4. You are already an expert buyer, but wait!
5. One last important thing, what is the benefit of the report?

You may already know that we only remember %10 of what we read, for that reason I advise you to note down the important pieces that are mostly helpful for your buying decision and use them as your reference or you may want to bookmark this page as I’m going to update it frequently with new information relative to any changes in the drone market.

1. What do you need to know before buying a drone?

Depending on your age and flying skill levels you need to know a few important facts before taking any further steps to buy your favorite drone. About the age, don’t get me wrong,  it makes no different if you are at your twenties or thirties, but so far, many people have bought a drone for their kids, the following information under the subject “age” may come helpful for you if you fall in this group or if you just want to buy a mini drone.

1.1. Buying a drone for the first time

As a beginner most probably you are wondering what drone is the best to begin with. Perhaps you are excited to buy a professional drone but on the other side you are nervous if you get a drone that is not really a great starter. Unfortunately you’ll find a lot of drones advertised as the best drone for beginners and it’s just confusing to choose one, then you may begin reading the buyers feedback and what you will realize is a lot of “This is a great drone for beginners, i recommend it” with five stars. Next, you fall in the trap buying the wrong drone and become just another angry buyer who left with these types of comments” This drone is a piece of junk” or ” I could have thrown my money out of the window”. further in this article I’ll teach to how to buy a drone with a minimum risk and mistake but for now let see what type of drone is best to begin with.

Some people believe, as a beginners one should buy a cheap toy drone to warm up first before flying more advance ones . I also agree with that, but it’s not that much necessary to do so, you still can opt for advance drones from the beginning, let me explain why?

The more professional the drones is, the easier it is to take control of. Needless to say, they all have a couple of handy features including Geo Fence, Return Home or Fail Safe, which can come to your help and let you learn controlling the unit very easy. I don’t say you’ll become a pro pilot in just a few days but you’ll get the confidence that you needed, maybe the very first flight makes you a bit nervous but if you carefully follow the flight instructions then there is nothing to be worried about. Failing to pay attention to the instructions, you’ll be a good pilot the hard way, and eventually you may lose or crash your drone. For instance, if you forget to calibrate GPS/compass and the drone loses connection during the flight, most probably it’ll be the last time you see your drone and it flies away just infront of your eye when there is nothing you could do to save it.

1.2. Your second drone

If you’ve already had a drone or experienced flying a drone for a couple of times, you may agree with me that buying a drone at this stage is even harder as you now have expectations. Your first drone maybe was a pain in some ways and you don’t want to have the same problem with your second choice, for instance, you want to buy a drone that takes better quality images and smoother videos or you need higher video downlink range for FPV. So, this time you need to research even more and you don’t want to make a mistake with your second purchase. But don’t worry there is a solution for that and you don’t have to spend so much time, in further readings I’ll teach you how to quickly scan the drones in the market and simply buy the right drone from your checklist.

1.3. Age

Unless you are buying a drone for a kid, there is no limit to your options. but how about the kids?

Clearly, they don’t need a high-end drone with 4k camera to follow them while they are climbing the Everest. What you need for them is a teeny tiny drone that is suitable for indoor flights and is safe, so narrow down you choices to only mini drones and nano drones. I have already checklisted the important tips before buying a mini drone in my other post, you can also subscribe and get my free ebook “How to buy a quadcopter under $100” , in that, I compared 30 mini drones and rated them based on buyers experience. With all these information, you already have everything you need to buy with confidence. The reason I mentioned under $100 is that the price for majority of mini and nano drones are somewhere between $20 to $100.
One last thing, when looking to buy a drone, you should remember this important fact that a few of these small and cute drones in the market are not actually that much cute and are not really suitable for kids as they advertised, they have sharp blades which may cause deep cuts.

2. What type of drones are best for you?

Buy a drone

Generally there are two reasons when you buy a drone, you are either a hobbyist or you want a drone for a business. If you fall in the first group, then there are plenty of options with wide range of price tags that you can go for depending on your budget. Buying a drone for business, you are limited to high-end quadcopters, hexacopters or octacopters, which are not considered cheap or affordable.

Drones are mainly fall into three groups, they are recreational drones, photography drones and lift drones. The third group is not really demanding as much as the other two, not everyone can easily trust these units as they are at their early stage of development and some of them are very expensive. There are also drones for security and monitoring purposes which I have explained in my other post – Top 5 ways to start your drone business – but they are not a good fit in this article.

2.1. Recreational drones

Obviously these type of drones give you a couple of minutes of excitement either with or without camera and you should not expect them to work for you as a high-end drone . let me sort them into 3 groups.

2.1.1 Mini/nano drones with/without camera
Price range: $20 – $200

A drone with in this range is generally small and a perfect option if you are only curious to experience flying drones or just simply want to buy a drone for your kid. Choosing these drones, you should know that they mostly have a few things in common. First of all, they usually won’t live for long, of course you get what you pay for, you should expect them to die even from the first flight. For instance, one or more rotors suddenly stop working, you may also receive a defective drone in the first place, moreover, they have a very short flight duration (something around 6 or 7 minutes) and relatively long charging time and if the drone includes camera or live streaming feature, do not expect too much from it, especially at nights you mostly get grainy footage. I’m not trying to discourage you from buying these drones, actually they are really fun but it is not also a bad idea if you know what might come next. One last note about the price is if the drone does not include FPV, it usually cost you less than $100.

2.1.2. Racing drones
Price range: $150 – $450

Although you can find more or less expensive racing drones than the price rang i mentioned, the majority cost you around this range.The racers have completely different story from other type of drones, needless to say, you buy one of these to have a high-speed drone and to enjoy the race with others. What makes your racing experience even more exciting, is the FPV system, especially when you wear goggles, it is just incredible, you have to try it. The thing is you can fly a racer without these extras but it’s not wise to fly the drone too far as it gets hard to control, the drone moves very fast and chances are you crash it. If you are looking to buy it with the extra accessories it may cost you even double the price of the aircraft itself, the FPV set cost you around $300 in addition to the price of the drone.

2.1.3. Semi-advance drones
Price range:$200 to $700

Drones in this range are best to buy if you are a recreational photographers. With these drones, you are able to take decent images and videos, but generally, you may not want to expect much for professional shots. For the majority of these drones the camera is not included, they are called camera-ready drones and if you have a GoPro and want to buy one of these units, there are many choices to look for.  You can expect to have Return Home features with your drone but do not much look for other advance settings such as Follow me or Focus modes.

2.2. Drones for photography

If you are a serious photographer or a video professional, you need to buy a drone that includes not less than 3-axis gimbal and if it comes with a built-in camera it should, at least, take 12 MP stills and 1080p videos. The drone must be very stable during the flight against mild wind gusts to get smooth footage, plus, the availability of settings on the controller plays important rule, especially when it comes to controlling the camera and gimbal. 

2.2.1. Professional drones
Price range: $700 – $1500

Professional drones are the most demanding type, everyone nowadays is looking to buy one. Especially, photographers and video professionals are most welcome buyers to have one of these units for both recreational and business use. Professional drones are the big pieces of this cake that investors are highly focusing on to gain more market share, for that reason, you’ll see a lot of improvements on every new drone comparing to the previous model or more upgrades with the existing ones just to make them perfect options for any buyer who wants to take high quality images and videos without spending a fortune for a drone.  Depending on the camera,  you should expect to take videos up to 4k and take photos up to 16MP. the majority of professional drones have all the advance features and capabilities which you could not easily find in cheaper ones. Circle mode, Watch Me mode, Follow Me mode, GLONASS, waterproof design, are just a few examples of what will come with your drone. These extra capabilities are very helpful for beginners and fun for those who like use drones during the sport activities.

2.2.2. High-end drones
Price range $1500 and up

Known as high-end drones, they are the leaders in the field of professional photography and cinematography. As the price goes up in this group, not only can you buy quadcopters but also there are many other choices such as hexacopters and octacopters, which are perfect for lifting heavy weights. although drones with more legs require much more battery power in compare to quadcopters, in general their operating range is usually 1 km or more and their flight time can be up to 80 minutes.If you own a business and need to buy a drone, think of this group first.

2.3. Last words

Please note that in terms of capabilities and quality, drones are not limited to their price as I group them here, for instance when I mentioned to not expect much for professional photos from Semi-pro drones, it doesn’t mean you can’t find one, there are always exceptions, but generally they have the same characteristics.

With all that said, I guess now you already know what type of drones you want to buy. The next is to follow certain steps and to make sure that you are buying the right drone the smartest and the easiest way possible. So, please read carefully if you don’t want to be the next angry buyer.

3. How to buy a drone?

3.1 Set your budget and preferences

How to buy a drone

The first step is to find out about the available drones in the market and to note down their names. Typically when you want to buy a drone for the first time you may begin your search with ” best drones for beginners” , ” buy a drone” , ” best drone for the money” and words like that, then you find websites with similar topics to read about. This is not what we are going to do, the reason is, when you click on these websites you’ll find a list of recommended drones, then there is a technical description and perhaps the story of the author’s experience flying the drones. I don’t say this is all wrong, but in fact it’s very time consuming and you have to read through a lot of unnecessary information before you get what you needed, and there are many websites recommending their own list which may vary from one author to another, after all it is just confusing to make the last firm decision. what we do here is to search faster and more efficiently while having more drones in our options to compare and pick one. For now lets narrow down our search to more specific result  by setting budget and preferences. The group of drones with limited range of price that I explained above are going to be very helpful here, firstly, see which group you fall into with your allocated budget, then create a list of preferences. You may ask, how am I supposed to know what my preferences are when I don’t know about all the available drones features and specs? the answer is, you don’t need to. All you have to to do is to write in simple words, what do you want to get when you buy a drone? Then in further steps you’ll surprisingly find out about all the available technical solutions and features without a need to search for them. let me show you how it works, follow this example;

Allocated budget: Not more than $700

Preferences:

a) You are not interested in mini drones, nor buying racing drones

Note: Up to here, when you cross off mini drones and racing drones along with your budget limits, which is up to $700, your searching effort is less to drones with the price tag between $300 to $700 which are semi-advance drones. however if are willing to pay up to $800, then professional drones are included.

c) You already have a GoPro camera and want to use it with your drone ( So you don’t need buy a drone with built-in camera)

d) From the camera you expect to get nice and decent aerial images or videos, so you can share on social networking sites.

d) You don’t want to be involved in any technical twist with your drone nor making extra purchase before you can fly your drone.(RTF drones)

Note:

RTF ( Ready To Fly): Everything is in the box to begin the flight with.

BNF ( Bind To Fly) The package comes without a transmitter, you have to buy it separately.

ARF ( Almost Ready to Fly): You need to buy one or more extras for your drone before you can begin your flight. e.g. battery, motor or any other additional electronic parts.

PNF/PNP (Plug and  Fly/Play) You need to buy a transmitter, receiver, battery and charger separately.

f) You are also interested to experience live streaming (FPV) with your drone.

Note: If you are using GoPro, you can build your own FPV system with your drone. Otherwise look for a drone that already has an FPV system, in which you can watch live aerial footage either by your mobile app or the screen on the controller.

3.2.  Make a list of drones

If you are done with the first step, now its time to find and create a list of drones that are closest to your criteria. Pick one feature from the above that is your first priority and begin searching. In our case I’ll go for “drone with GoPro”.

Disclaimer: The websites or the drones that I show in this article are just for explaining purposes, I do not encourage nor discourage you to buy from any particular website or to buy a specific drone.

So, you have a couple of websites to look into, you’ve already narrowed your search here and saved a big time. At this stage you need to do a quick scan through the websites and list down the name of the drones that are ONLY IN YOUR PRICE RANGE.

In our case, I’ll choose only 3 drones, but you choose at least 5. Here are the drones I listed;

1. IRIS+ : $599

2. QR X350 PRO : $650

3. Chroma camera drone: $699

Now, look for the other features that you want to have with your drone. You can either search through Amazon or any other e-commerce websites that sell drones or directly go to their official websites. To do so,  simply type “buy  +  the name of each drone”, e.g. ” buy qr x350 PRo” . It’s very easy step and it won’t take your time, you can easily and quickly find the features, from their description, and if you couldn’t find what you want, remove that drone from your list. Note that we are still doing quantitative search, do not be concerned about the quality for now. here are the examples;

FPV1 chroma blade

3.3.  Compare drones from your list

Now that we have narrowed down the list and removed the drones that don’t match with our criteria, it’s time to begin with qualitative research . The mission here is to compare the drones left in your buying list. By comparing, I don’t mean it is necessary to find the best drone now and remove the rest. you should at least keep 2 or 3 drones with more compelling features at the end of comparison. During this stage you’ll eventually learn about all the features available with the drones in your price range that you didn’t know about.

Firstly, you need to go to this very helpful website called, specout.com to compare all the physical aspects and features including flight details, cameras, controllers and such. Although you may not find all the drones there but for the most cases it may come handy and please note that only use this website for comparison of your selected drones, DO NOT begin your research from the ground up in there for now. Yes, there is a reason, in this websites you will find drones sorted by many categories, such as drones for beginners, drones for GoPro, cheapest drones and all. In my case at first it was compelling to me and i thought this could be a complete source for buyers, but when I played around with a few options, I came up to this point that the result is not what i expected to see. For instance, I checked the drones for beginners then I realized not only the drones that i knew they are absolutely perfect for beginners were not in the list, but also i found other multi rotors that I believe they are not even close to be drones for beginners. My advice is to take your selected drones to this website only when you want to compare their physical aspects and to learn more about their features. Anyways, as a disclaimer let me add this, all I said is only my personal opinion, feel free to use this website based on your own judgment.

Here is the snippet of what you will get when comparing the drones, on the left side of the page you can select what to compare. To get to this point, first enter the website from the link I provided to you, then on the top right of the page search your drone name, find it and click on it, then you’ll be redirected to that specific drone page, on the right pane of that page there is an option to add more drones to compare with the first selected drone.

compare

3.4.  Final decision

This is the last step of your quality search. You are getting closer to buy your amazing drone, but this step may totally change your mind. What you need to do now is to read buyers reviews and find out which drone is best to buy among your last options. Needless to say, you should be very careful with the reviews, there are some people so called buyers who manipulate the reviews and for heaven’s sake don’t just count the stars, read what people say about the drones. You don’t need to go for positive reviews, only read critics as much as you can. The reason you are doing this is only one thing, you want to know if the product suffers from any obvious issues, after reading a couple of negative reviews you may find out that this drone has a serious problem, for instance, with the battery, with the calibration, or there have been a lot of complaints that one rotor stops working after a few flights. If you found out that most critics hovers around one or two issues, step back from that drone, otherwise if was just random complaints, keep the drone in your list . Don’t be picky, sometimes you’ll find buyers complain about short flight time, don’t simply cross off the drone, there is a solution for that. I found Amazon reviews very helpful, you can also search for the forums of any particular drone, most probably you can find one. I’m sure, up to this point you already know which drone in your list is best to buy but if  you want to be double confirmed with your last choice, watch some YouTube videos. If your priority is the aerial videos,  type ” your drone + footage” or ” your drone + flight test” and watch the videos uploaded by users not the one made by the company. In addition to that you can search the photos taken by the drone, but this is a bit tricky as the images can be easily manipulated by photo editors.

4. You are already an expert buyer, but wait!

You know you can’t be always lucky, chances are the drone you receive is defective. As I mentioned in my other posts, the majority of manufacturers and sellers are not really supportive of the buyers. At least, make sure whoever you buy your drone from is not going to be totally dead when it comes to customer complaints. The sellers responsiveness is very important fact especially when you need them for replacement or refund . You can easily find out about all that when reading buyers feedback.

5. One last important thing, what is the benefit of the report?

Following all the steps up to this point, you shouldn’t have any problem buying the best drone based on your budget and your preferences. However, Some buyers believe it’s not always that much easy to spot the right drone among many options available in the market and it’s still time consuming to do the whole lot of research and comparison learning about all the technical aspects and to pull out the best drone. Therefore, Sometimes they just surrender and buy a drone that they have heard the name of more frequently and it turn out not to be always the perfect buying decision. When I say its not a perfect choice it can be anything, for instance, buying  a drone with the same quality and features with much less cost.

For that reason, I decided to make a report to those who want to buy a drone in much easier way. So, if  you ,for any reason, need my help, just  fill out the form in below and let me know what you are looking have and your budget, then let me do the rest that I’m good at. I’ll personally assist you in the form of report which includes the following benefits:

1. A narrowed list of recommended drones with all the necessary details that you need to know according to your inquiry and the brief reason behind the selection of each drone.

2. List of reliable sources where you can buy a drone from, introducing you with the sellers that are reputable and more supportive based on your country.

3. Guides and tips for you selected drone

4. You can keep in contact with me if you needed info and had any technical inquiries after your purchase

You may now wonder how much I’m going to charge you for that. The truth is this service is totally free for you and I’m not going to charge you at all. On the other side, I may or may not receive a commission depending on the seller and it will not affect the price of the drone that you buy. Rest assured that even if I earn commission, it’s still not going to negatively affect my suggestions to you, I’ll be honest with my report, and let you know if I’m earning from the sellers in the list.

Image: Jakub Steiner


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Top 5 Ways To Start Your Drone Business


Top 5 Ways To Start Your Drone Business

The world population is increasing rapidly and starting your own successful business is getting harder every year as the competition gets tighter. More important than your business idea, skills and budget is the right timing to take action. There are a lot of programmers out there capable of creating Facebook, YouTube and such websites in just a few weeks, but the fact is, it’s just too late! It’s been only a few years since drones have created a buzz among people and businesses and they are at their early stage of attracting investors. If you are looking for creative and reliable source of income, here are 5 drone business opportunities that you may want to consider.

1. Wedding photography

Wedding photographers can use this option as an advantage to their business. These days, aerial photography for wedding ceremonies with the use of drones has become a new trend and the idea is getting viral all over the world. If you don’t have a background in wedding services and you find it hard to enter this business field to compete with the existing ones, Then be the first one in the town to provide drone photography solutions, train and support these companies.

2. Delivery drones

The use of drones for delivering parcels is another interesting idea you may want to add to your list. Giant companies are already investing on drones. Amazon Prime Air, Swiss WorldCargo, Domino’s pizza and DHL, are just a few examples . So, think of drone delivery business to serve your local area. I don’t say compete with amazon or DHL, but depending on your budget you can take a small piece of that cake out of the niche market. You can begin as little as buying a drone, learning how to fly it, and start with one small restaurant in your neighbourhood to let you slowly try delivering food with drones. If it was a success,then with no doubt you will figure out how to expand your business.

Top 5 Ways To Start Your Drone Business

3. Advertising

Nowadays, if a drone flies over the streets, it will capture people’s attention. Think of an advertising company and having these drones as flying billboards. One important fact is that this business may not be very attractive to investors in the next few years, when people are no longer excited to look at drones flying over their head. So, what is important here is right the timing to take action and to make decent money.

4. Farms

Think of how you can create professional aerial services to farmers. 3D Robotics is working on a new project to help farmers and to revolutionise agriculture. The drone flies over the vineyard and takes aerial images and then farmers use these images to see vine stress and colour variation which help them decided when is the right time to harvest the grapes. Your business can be based on providing these type solutions and training to farmers. If you want to be involved with even bigger projects, think of serving government by providing aerial services to check the gas pipes, railroads and such.

5. Security drones

One of the many uses of drones in the future is for security purposes. Soon, we will witness police drones following criminals in the highways, catching suspects from the crowd of people or taking photos of your car plate. This is all possible with the use of image recognition software. One business option is to provide drone security solutions to monitor private or public properties. A drone can patrol people’s house, companies, manufactures and such by flying over the premises and identifying intruders. The advantage is that the drone is not easily reachable and is safe from hands during the flight.

The last word

The opportunities that drones can give you are endless. I’m not emphasising to choose one of the above options for your future business. What I’m trying to say is that drones are very helpful in many ways and drone manufacturers are not able to serve and provide superb support to every specific need of all businesses. So, this is a good chance for you to find existing problems in any industry that can be solved with the use of drones, then establish your company based on providing aerial solutions for that specific industry with a great support.

You may have much more interesting drone business ideas than mine, for that reason I recommend you to do a lot of research to get familiar with all types of drones that are available in the market, read their reviews and learn more about their capabilities, limitations and features, then try to come up with a great drone business plan. For instance, you may not be aware of waterproof drones, but now that you know, it may help your creative mind for more interesting drone business.

Images: Steve JurvetsonGabriel Garcia Marengo

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mini drone

Important Tips Before Buying A Mini Drone


Important Tips Before Buying A Mini Drone

No matter what type of a mini drone you want to buy, whether it is a quadcopter, a hexacopters or any other types, you may need to know how to be prepared with the handful of information before pulling out your credit card. 

infograph

Let me explain the tips from the Infographic in more details.

1. Sometimes buying a faultless drone is like playing Russian roulette! Some users have already experienced receiving defective units. Read all the reviews and return policies. Make sure you are already prepared and know what to do next, if your drone stopped functioning after the first few flights!

2. Before buying a mini drone, you MUST check for the repair kit and other extra parts. Find out about the price, availability. Most probably you’ll need them.

3. Check how hard is to repair the particular drone, and if there is a soldering process involved for replacement of parts.

4. Check if the drone uses SD card, mini SD card or USB for file transferring process, find out if these are included in the package or you need to buy separately.

5. A few drones need to connect to your smart phone for controlling or live streaming. Find out if your phone is compatible with the software.

6. If you are using either Mac or Windows, make sure it is a hassle-free process for transferring files to your laptop or pc.

7. Some users opt for more powerful batteries to get extra flight duration. But not all the batteries will eventually fit your drone due to limitations of design. You may want to check if it is possible to upgrade the batteries.

8. A few drones have sharp blades and are not recommended for kids, they can cause deep cuts. So, do your research before making disaster.

9. Careful! If you found in the description that the drone is “Camera Ready”, needless to say the camera is not included. There have been a few cases, buyers simply didn’t notice that.

10. Make sure you have the latest firmware upgrades installed for your drone before flying it.

Lastly, The prices for each particular drone may vary offered by different resellers. Make sure to find out the best deal and the most trusted one.

Photo by Ed Schipul

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best drone for filming

Best Drone For Filming

Best Drone For Filming

I’ve had a few people asking me to recommend them the best drone for photography and filmmaking. The fact is, if you are looking for the best drone to record stunning footage, first thing you need to do is to cross off all the quadcopters with less than $200 price tag from your list of options. There are a couple of factors you must have in mind before buying a drone, but before I explain, bear in mind that there is no such thing as “Best Drone For filming” in the market. I’ll tell you why;

Mainly, there are two types of drones designed for aerial photography. The drones with camera mounts, in which you can add your GoPro or other models of camera, and the drones with built-in cameras.  So, what you need to do is, firstly, to decide whether you want to use your own camera or to buy camera-ready drones.

Next thing is the concern of the gimbal. having the right gimbal with your drone can make a big difference. Even if you buy the best camera, as long as the gimbal could not hold the camera properly there would be no guaranty of taking smooth videos. Watch this short video for your better understanding of the importance of gimbal.

So, you definitely don’t want this. I assume that you already know the differences among 1 axis, 2-axis, and 3-axis gimbals. The 3-axis gimbal manages all the three dimensions; pitch, yaw and roll of the drone during the flight and, with no doubt, it is the best choice to produce smooth footage.I don’t say 1-axis and 2-axis gimbals are horrible but you may the quality of the video may not be what you expect if the video is taken windy weather. Based on my research, Zenmuse and Tarot, the two examples of popular brand names for gimbals.

Update: Checkout Inspire 1 Pro with  Zenmuse 5 series here, i guess for now, they are the best gimbals in the market.

 

Last but not least, if you are ready to invest for an expensive drone, you must check for the skids. Some of these drones are not really well-designed for professional cinematography. The problems is, when you tilt or pan the camera, you may have the skids or the props blocking the view. DJI have Already come up with a solution with it’s Inspire 1. The drone moves up the skids during the flight for clear view.

PHOTO: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

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How to increase quadqopters flight duration

How to Increase Quadcopters Flight Duration

How to Increase Quadcopters Flight Duration

 A little flight time and a long time to recharge is the main issue with most of the drones. The Lipo Battery used in drones is usually 300mAh or 500mAh. There are many factors involved in getting less flight time, such as humidity, windy weather and the weight of the unit.As i explained in my e-book, the flight time for the quads under $100 is usually not more than 10 minutes. Upgrading the batteries to the more powerful one gives you a few minutes extra, however, not all the quads let you do that due to the limitations of their design. If having more flight time does really matter to you, you may need to follow a few general rules.

1. Fly your quad in less Windy weather

Most quadcopters cannot easily withstand the wind with the speed of more than 10 mph, especially for the lightweight drones, it is very difficult to fly in a slightest breeze. Even if they are stable enough to do so, they still need to receive more energy from the battery to remain hovering at the same spot and to fly against the wind. Needless to say, the higher the altitude, the stronger wind. Unless you want to record a video of your neighborhood from high altitude, enjoy flying your drone just around you and fly it in the wind with 5 mph or less.

2. Remove extra accessories

If you are a beginner, it is almost necessary to install prop guard for safer flight. However it is an extra weight to your drone. Once you get the hang of flying your drone and become confident enough that you won’t be smashing it into things, then remove the guard to get more flight time. Also, if you are not recording and or taking pictures in a particular flight, then just remove the camera and gimbal if they are not integrated to your drone.

3. Do less throttling and stunts

Needless to say, when throttling up, the drone needs to lift up its weight against gravity which reduces flight time. Try to move it more vertically rather doing a lot of ups and downs. Moreover,  flipping or 360 degree inversions are parts of the fun when flying these units, but doing sutnts will eventually give you less flight time.

4. Do not record a video

If you like recording a video during the flight, you should expect less flight time, if your drone also has a FPV feature, the batteries of the transmitter deplete fast due to live streaming.

Lastly, you may also need to buy some extra batteries and multi-charger to enjoy flying these quads continuously, so that you don’t have to wait for long time recharging the batteries. Some of the drones have around 80% charge right out of the box, make sure to fully charge them before the flight.

Image by Juhan Sonin

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Quadcopters Flyaway Solutions Explained

Quadcopters Flyaway Solutions Explained

The “Flyaways” happen when the quadcopter gets the mind of its own and leaves the pilot forever. This would be more terrifying when you invested in an expensive drone. Usually the suppliers blame users for their mistakes, which I believe is not always the case. However there are rules of thumb you want to follow to prevent disaster.

1. Don’t fly the quad too far

Quads have a limited flying range. The small quads – with less than 100 $ price tag – usually have the maximum flying range between 100 to 300 feet. The problem is when you fly these little things out of their range, they lose contact with your transmitter. Here are three scenarios happen to your drone next.

1. The quad just keep flying higher and higher until the battery is dead. If you are lucky, you’ll find your drone somewhere around you on the ground but in 100 pieces.

 

2. Another scenario, is your quad descends when losing contact, however it does not reconnect to your transmitter, it just free falls to the ground, this time maybe in 80 pieces!

 

3. Not to be always negative, in the third case, the quad descends and re-connection to your controller.

Lastly, these quads do not always stay visible in the air, meaning, as you fly them higher it is possible to lose sight of your drone due to its size or the color that is not eye-catching. In that case you lose the orientation of it and consequently you can’t navigate it back home. 

2. Don’t fly it around to the quad’s max range

These quads are small-weighted and they are hardly controllable at more than 10 mph wind. As you fly your drone in the altitude it is possible that the wind pick it up and take it to the point where you lose connection of it.

3. Do your homework before the flight

Read the instructions provided by suppliers carefully.  Calibrate your transmitter, accelerometer, gyroscope and any other setting that is applicable specific to your drone. Make sure to calibrate on a flat and level surface, do not do this while holding it in your hand! Trimming also is necessary before each flight. There have been a couple of cases where the quad took off and continued throttling up without any control like it was lunched to reach the moon due to lack of proper pre-flight settings.

4. Avoid flying around high density wireless network area

Nowadays, it is not that easy to find a place around with a low wireless signal interference. Quads mostly communicate with the transmitter on a 2.4 GHz frequency channel. This is the frequency used in many other wireless networks. So, with no doubt it is possible that your quad gets confused and loses connection with your transmitter.

5. Do not always trust the “return safe” feature

A couple of expensive drones have “return safe” feature. If you lose connection, your drone will eventually fly back to the landing point automatically with help of GPS. However there are a few cases where the button didn’t work and the drone simply flew away. Some of the suppliers seem like they are more busy with selling their products rather than listening to your exciting flyaway stories, and they don’t simply hold responsible for the bug in their product if there is any. So always play safe!

With all that said, it is advised to write your name and your number on a label and stick it on your drone for flyaway cases, maybe one of the neighbors becomes your hero.

Image by Vicki Burton

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