My First Camera Drone

Over the past years I have been following the developments with respect to so called “drones” with some interest. The first mass market player being the Parrot AR drone. Especially the combination of affordable drone with a camera that seemed easy to fly appealed to me. However looking at actual footage it became clear to me that it was a nice toy, but seemed not suitable for creating quality video.

Over the past few years this changed notably. Especially the DIJ Phantom seemed to bring quality video at an affordable price-point. I atarted investigating the drones that seem to be able to deliver quality video for an affordable price at this moment (summer 2015)

In this article I want to share my experiences selecting a “drone” that I want to use for creating nice video footage for personal use (e.g. holiday footage, outdoor activities, sports etc.). I will gradually extend this article during my quest for the “best” camera drone that fits my (not yet exactly defined) budget and requirements. If you are into this subject yourself you will probably get bored by this article quickly, when you find yourself in the same situation it might be of interest to you.

My First Shortlist

I started creating a shortlist so I don’t have to consider each drone in detail. At first I started out with only a rough idea about the requirements being: able so shoot “quality video footage” for an “affordable price” (e.g. < € 1500,) this for now resulted in the following list.

  • DIY Phantom 2 with add-on camera (e.g. GoPro)
  • DIY Phantom 2 Vision+
  • DIY Phantom 3
  • Yuneec Q500 Typhoon
  • 3DR Solo (not yet available in Europe?)

Detailing requirements

Off course when spending a serious amount of money the above mentioned requirements are not really suitable, so when diving further into the subject matter and comparing specifications and actual footage shot by the drones on the shortlist I became more aware of what I really needed.

Get a Gimbal

When comparing footage it became clear to me that to shoot any serious video using a drone you need a gimbal. The video that made me realize this can be found here.

Other requirements

  • GPS support
  • Video Link / FPV
  • (Affordable) Spare parts
  • Support by seller and supplier