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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk
Thread started 14 Dec 2017 (Thursday) 00:38
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To Drone or Not to Drone, That is the Question.

 
Scatterbrained
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Joined Jan 2010
Chula Vista, CA
Dec 14, 2017 00:38 |  #1

So I've been itching for a drone for a while now, actually, ever since the Mavic Pro came out. Meanwhile, I kept putting it off. Then my wife suggested I should go ahead and get one, now I'm not sure if I really should get one, or if it was just a bad bought of G.A.S. I'm not sure what bothers me more; the thought of buying a drone and not using it, or buying one and crashing it into the ocean, a house, ect., and destroying it. Bear in mind I have no intention of shooting video with it, only photos. Which makes me wonder how much I'd actually use it once the "newness" wears off.

So, for those of you who have purchased a drone for still photography, how much do you actually use it?


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sjnovakovich
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Joined Aug 2007
Central PA
Dec 14, 2017 08:13 |  #2

I'm in pretty much the same boat.


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MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
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Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Dec 14, 2017 08:28 |  #3

I'm in the same camp. I want one with a decent camera for still shots & HDR stuff from that high perspective here on the Florida coast line. I just haven't done it because of the idea that I'm not sure how well it handles wind at the coast and the idea of watching it go into the ocean. That and all the crazy politics going on with them right now, I've just left that stuff alone. But I really want one. I'd probably be happy with a basic Phantom 3 at this point, I almost bought one refurb just to play with it and see if drones were something I wanted to add ultimately. My other issue is I don't really want to get into something that is only good for a while and then I want a new camera on it and cannot do anything about that. I kind of wish there was something affordable that was a little more modular. But that also opens a world of what if's, in terms of dropping a good camera. Sigh!

Very best,


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Scatterbrained
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Joined Jan 2010
Chula Vista, CA
Dec 14, 2017 08:44 |  #4

MalVeauX wrote in post #18517633 (external link)
I'm in the same camp. I want one with a decent camera for still shots & HDR stuff from that high perspective here on the Florida coast line. I just haven't done it because of the idea that I'm not sure how well it handles wind at the coast and the idea of watching it go into the ocean. That and all the crazy politics going on with them right now, I've just left that stuff alone. But I really want one. I'd probably be happy with a basic Phantom 3 at this point, I almost bought one refurb just to play with it and see if drones were something I wanted to add ultimately. My other issue is I don't really want to get into something that is only good for a while and then I want a new camera on it and cannot do anything about that. I kind of wish there was something affordable that was a little more modular. But that also opens a world of what if's, in terms of dropping a good camera. Sigh!

Very best,

The 3DR Solo uses a GoPro, so I guess you could just add a new GoPro as they come out, but I don't care for the fisheye look of GoPro cameras. Man, it's almost enough to make me rent one from LensRentals, but I'm afraid I'd have to send it back before I even got the hang of it enough to determine if it'd be worthwhile long term.


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TreeburnerCT
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Stratford, CT, USA
Post has been edited 1 month ago by TreeburnerCT.
Dec 14, 2017 08:56 |  #5

A few years ago I got into quadcopters with a purchase of a Quanum Nova (Cheerson CX-20) which used Ardupilot software and was a really good GPS enabled drone for a couple hundred dollars. I flew it a lot at the start, but not having real time video feed and not having remote control over the camera and the inability to take stills eventually led to it just sitting unused.

Fast forward to this year, I'm itching to fly my drone but the Nova still doesn't cut it, so I splurged and got the Mavic Pro. It's really an amazing piece of technology, and the newness still hasn't worn off. I love flying it from my backyard out over Lake Mohegan, and it's portable enough to throw in the back seat and take wherever you want to go. It's such a quick setup and break-down with the always-on props and the integrated camera and gimbal, and with real time video and gimbal control it gives you access to shots you would never get or even think of otherwise.

As for crashing it, I went for the DJI Refresh package which will replace a crashed and recovered drone for a small deductible. However, the better deal is to get a Personal Articles Policy from State Farm for around $60 a year which will cover your drone even in the event of a flyaway. Don't let reports online of flyaways and inability to fly places scare you; I live within 5 miles of an airport and they have no problem with me flying, and there's nothing in the drone to stop me from doing so although it does give a warning about the airspace.

I use mine with an Asus Zenpad 10.1" tablet as the screen using the Mavmount 2, and have upgraded the RC with a Cyclone Antenna to increase range in my wifi-congested suburban neighborhood, and I still fly it every chance I get although it's tough in the winter time because its dark by the time I get out of work!

Hope you treat yourself and have an awesome time with it! If you do, be sure to join us over on MavicPilots.com! Also, here's a few shots I got of the first snowfall of 2017 a few days ago using my Mavic Pro:

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4689/27196251709_32997aeb3f_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/HreU​8x] (external link)2017 Aerial First Snowfall Lake Mohegan (external link) by Joe Eckert (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4647/27196250329_4e55c97e25_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/HreT​HK] (external link)2017 Aerial First Snowfall Lake Mohegan (external link) by Joe Eckert (external link), on Flickr

-Joe

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Sideshot
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Joined Nov 2017
Post has been edited 1 month ago by Sideshot.
Dec 14, 2017 09:21 |  #6

I have been looking at drone for the past couple of years, the less expensive they get the more interesting they are.

My hang ups are do I want to put 1k worth of drone and camera into the sky ? and What will I do will all of the footage ? I guess it boils down to do I want to spend 1k on a toy ?




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nathancarter
Cream of the Crop
Joined Dec 2010
Dec 14, 2017 10:06 |  #7

Let's phrase the question a different way:
Would you drop $1k on a new lens that gives you a perspective and look that you'll never be able to get with any other lens? Many of us would jump at the chance. Heck, many of us would drop four-figures on a new lens that's an incremental upgrade to the focal lengths that we've already got covered.


My wife has a Phantom 4 Pro and she uses it every day for stills and video. Of course, she's a working/licensed/insur​ed real-estate photographer, so the daily work is not "fun" stuff, just repetitive overhead shots of homes and residential neighborhoods.

We do sometimes take it out for fun stuff. We got some cool footage of the traffic on I-75 during the evacuation prior to Hurricane Irma. We've shot some footage for music videos, and some beach footage of the giant pink Don Cesar hotel in St. Petersburg Florida.


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Scatterbrained
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Joined Jan 2010
Chula Vista, CA
Dec 14, 2017 11:21 |  #8

nathancarter wrote in post #18517715 (external link)
Let's phrase the question a different way:
Would you drop $1k on a new lens that gives you a perspective and look that you'll never be able to get with any other lens? Many of us would jump at the chance. Heck, many of us would drop four-figures on a new lens that's an incremental upgrade to the focal lengths that we've already got covered.


My wife has a Phantom 4 Pro and she uses it every day for stills and video. Of course, she's a working/licensed/insur​ed real-estate photographer, so the daily work is not "fun" stuff, just repetitive overhead shots of homes and residential neighborhoods.

We do sometimes take it out for fun stuff. We got some cool footage of the traffic on I-75 during the evacuation prior to Hurricane Irma. We've shot some footage for music videos, and some beach footage of the giant pink Don Cesar hotel in St. Petersburg Florida.

Well, therein lies the rub, I have no interest in video, only stills, and photography is a hobby for me, not a source of income. Which is why I asked if others who had purchased one for stills actually used it regularly, beyond the "new toy" period.


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TreeburnerCT
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Joined Dec 2016
Stratford, CT, USA
Dec 14, 2017 12:37 as a reply to Scatterbrained's post |  #9

I shoot stills almost exclusively - video takes up too much room and takes too long to watch.

-Joe


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DaviSto
... sorry. I got carried away!
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Joined Nov 2016
Abuja Nigeria
Post has been edited 1 month ago by DaviSto.
Dec 14, 2017 13:39 |  #10

TreeburnerCT wrote in post #18517838 (external link)
I shoot stills almost exclusively - video takes up too much room and takes too long to watch.

-Joe

Hey that 'takes too long to watch' point is so right. What makes video profoundly uninteresting to me (in general and not just in relation to drone photography) is simply the plain fact that life is too short and there is so much else to do.


Comment and (constructive) criticism always welcome.

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RMyers
Member
Joined Dec 2009
Austin, TX
Dec 14, 2017 14:19 |  #11

Went through the same pattern of thoughts. Already knew from previous gopro ownership that I just am not interested in video much. Ended up finally getting a Mavic Pro and have enjoyed it. I do some video just to practice what the pros do, but I did get it mainly for shooting pictures. Honestly, I still don't know how much it will fit into what I shoot, but I am enjoying it.

I really need to get certified so I can fly easier near my house. I'm in range of two private airports so I should notify them to fly. Funny that I can go to downtown Austin, TX and fly easier than in my backyard. And then national and state parks have restrictions. So sometimes you see something that would be awesome to shoot from the air and you aren't allowed to fly. So, learn the restrictions before you buy. You might find it too restrictive to have fun, depending on where you live.


Rusty
Austin, TX

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Inspeqtor
I never knew that!
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Joined Mar 2008
Elkhart, Indiana
Dec 14, 2017 14:54 |  #12

RMyers wrote in post #18517906 (external link)
So, learn the restrictions before you buy.

What agency is the best to contact to learn the restrictions?


Charles
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TreeburnerCT
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Joined Dec 2016
Stratford, CT, USA
Dec 14, 2017 15:02 |  #13

The FAA makes the restrictions, so best to check out their "Where to Fly Page" at https://www.faa.gov/ua​s/where_to_fly/ (external link)

If you get your commercial certification the Air Traffic Control (ATC) Contact Requirements are actually more stringent. As a hobbyist you are only required to contact ATC if you are within 5 miles of an airport, but commercial drone pilots are required to contact ATC anytime they are in restricted airspace, which can be up to 30 miles from even smaller airports.

-Joe


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Inspeqtor
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Joined Mar 2008
Elkhart, Indiana
Dec 14, 2017 15:11 |  #14

TreeburnerCT wrote in post #18517941 (external link)
The FAA makes the restrictions, so best to check out their "Where to Fly Page" at https://www.faa.gov/ua​s/where_to_fly/ (external link)

If you get your commercial certification the Air Traffic Control (ATC) Contact Requirements are actually more stringent. As a hobbyist you are only required to contact ATC if you are within 5 miles of an airport, but commercial drone pilots are required to contact ATC anytime they are in restricted airspace, which can be up to 30 miles from even smaller airports.

-Joe

Thank you


Charles
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Pigpen101
Member
Joined Mar 2017
Dec 14, 2017 16:06 as a reply to Sideshot's post |  #15

I bought 1 a few years ago, DJI, pelican case, & extra batteries. I wanted to get into real estate photography (no video). I spoke to a firm that handles a lot of expensive properties (millions$$), they were very excited. The manager wanted to set up an appointment where he could gather all the agents together and I could pitch my idea (they were already hooked, actually). About this same time, they were getting popular and popping up on news reports daily. This changed their minds and they said they would have to give it some more thought. Never shot 1 image for them. I now shoot for a local newspaper and they love the fact that they are the only paper in our area with aerial images. The uniqueness does ware off, and if it weren't for the paper it would get very little use. I would probably not buy 1 now mainly because of the limitations and invisible "GPS" walls that are programmed into the drone. I know a guy who does construction and he bought a drone because he mostly does roofs. He tried to take a shot about 1 mile from our local airport and it was not even able to leave the ground. This is safety, I understand that. However, now anyone can add their property to a "no fly zone" list. You could just be flying around and all of a sudden the drone just stops. Just make sure you know you'll have a place to fly it before you buy. They do draw a lot of attention.




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