Drones: What Features Should You Look For?
Drones are fast becoming the go-to vehicle to get those amazing and beautiful, once only attainable by helicopter, aerial photography and videography shots. They’ve given photographers and hobbyists alike a chance to get rid of the ladder and climb that Y axis in a completely new, innovative, and fun way. In this introduction to drones, we’ll cover the most important information to look for when choosing to take to the skies. Get your neck stretched out and your sunglasses on cause here we go!
What is a drone?
A drone by definition is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can either be maneuvered with the help of pilot on the ground with a remote control in hand or autonomously with an onboard computer. Most drones used recreationally rely on a user controlling it from the ground, and depending on the type of vehicle require a bit of practice to master. Some offer a computer assistance mode that coordinates with GPS to prevent itself from flying off into the sunset to never be heard from again…..but we’ll cover that in more detail later on.
What should you look for in a drone?
The first question to ask yourself when purchasing a drone is what exactly you are trying to get out of this purchase. The majority of users want something between the $20 to let’s say $200 range. These are typically smaller and less easy to fly and are considered more of a fun toy rather than an investment. These smaller drones can come equipped with a camera to capture still images as well as video. The most popular kind of drone today is what is called a Quadcopter, meaning it has 4 spinning blades that provide lift as well as maneuverability. One of the more popular sold at Nebraska Furniture Mart is the Odyssey X-7. This little guy comes equipped with LED lights that make flying in the dark a blast…. just watch out for any expensive objects! It’s reasonably priced and would make a great gift to somebody just starting out as a drone pilot.
How about we step it up a level and go with a Quadcopter that can also take photographs and video. The AEE Toruk Drone with Camera comes equipped with a few more bells and whistles than the less advanced quadcopters. It features a mount that is compatible with most AEE as well as GoPro cameras you can be sure that you are getting high quality images at a, comparatively speaking, modest price. On a full charge this product can remain aloft for up to 25 minutes and the 10 inch propellers can keep this going forward at a maximum speed of 44 miles per hour! It also comes with some autonomous functions as well to help minimize a potential crash. Systems such as Auto Return Home and GPS Auto Stability in combination with an all-weather body for use in light to medium rain or snow make this quadcopter more protected than some of the others.
If you’re serious about taking this up as a hobby or even part of your photography career, quality and ease of flight come at a higher cost, but the systems inherent in these higher end drones can dramatically improve flight and picture quality. The Q500 Typhoon Quadcopter by YUNEEC which currently retails for less than $1300 is one of the more premier and sophisticated drones on the market. It features an ultra-high definition camera that shoots in 4K resolution along with the ability to capture slow motion video. Follow the steps provided in the instruction manual to get into ‘Watch Me’ mode, when this happens the drone will go into autonomous flight mode and will shoot video while following the controller! A 6.4” color display built into the controller provides real time video footage giving the user an immediate view of the area.
The last thing to keep in mind when it comes to buying a drone is the safety aspect. Extreme care must be taken when taking flight. Some of the higher end drones come equipped with functions that prevent the aircraft from entering No-Fly Zones and cap the maximum flight height to the allowed 400 feet as outlined by the National Aviation Authority. Be aware of all local laws and regulations before taking flight so that you can have a productive, fun, and safe experience!