Fast, big, small, stable or slow? 4K Camera or not? GPS?
The first step when buying a drone or a quadcopter is to consider what exactly you need to be satisfied. We hope you will find help in our buying guide:
6 Things to consider that will help you choose the right drone:
1. Which flight style suits you?
Should it be fast, stable or unstable? Different models are completely different to flying. Since design and computer systems are different, they appear different in the air.
A model can be designed to be:
Fast and fly at incredible speed across the sky and easily maneuver through obstacle courses
Stable and hovering eyes and keeping the camera completely stable when the drone is high above the city and filming 4K video.
Between a small nano quadcopter that you fly indoors must be just fast for it to be fun but also reasonably stable for not running into the walls.
Here’s what you can think of when choosing which drone to buy:
Stability is important for the photographer, especially if you want to record video. But if you are a sports photographer you may have to compromise between stability and speed.
Speed is important if you like drone racing and fun maneuvers where the drone instantly responds to your commands from the transmitter easily straightens up a sharp turn.
A fun instability is suitable if you like to fly a nanoquadcopter indoors. Indoor flying for fun doesn’t need that much speed and just being stable in the air isn’t fun. Therefore, a compromise is best.
So it is important to know if you want to use it for photography or for drone racing or just for fun indoor hobby flying. Imagine when the super-fast racing drone gets into the hands of the pilot who is going to be photographing from above for a house sale or children’s soccer match. Sure there will be quick pictures but they hardly make the photographer happy. Every photo blurred for this model is not built to be stable in the air.
2. Should it have a Camera?
If you are most likely to fly indoors with a mini quadcopter, it is often unnecessary to pay extra for a camera drone.
But camera quadcopters are getting cheaper and better. More pilots want the opportunity to shoot directly from the air or record video from tricks and crazy maneuvers.
If you are considering skipping the camera, our advice is to think again. It does amazingly much for the feeling and what you can do with your quadcopters. Many cheaper outdoor models now come with built-in cameras.
The professional photographer will of course choose one of the more advanced camera models. Nowadays, there are cameras that are so good that they are used to record Hollywood movies.
But you absolutely do not need to invest in a model with a high-resolution 4K or 5K camera that is mounted on a tripod under the machine: a regular single camera mounted in the nose does a lot for the experience.
How good camera do you need?
Most people are satisfied with a video resolution of normal 1080p. This resolution is starting to become standard on many drones.
For professional photographers, it is obvious to choose a model that can handle high resolution video in Ultra High-Definition of 2.7K or 4K.
But cheaper, lower-resolution cameras work perfectly for us who are flying for fun, taking pictures and video to website or blog. Or who wants to fly with first person view:
3. Do you want to be able to watch streaming video on the controller?
The hand control or radio transmitter is used to control the drones. Of course, a good control is very important and in our tests of drones we always comment on the control in our reviews.
Some handheld controls come with a built-in LCD screen that lets you watch video streamed in real time. Some models also allow you to connect and use the screen of your smartphone or iPad.
Choose a model with First-person-view streaming if you want the flight streamed directly from the camera in the air to a screen that sits on your remote. It’s called First Person View or FPV.
If any of these are important to you then you need to choose a model where the controller has a screen.
4. What extra equipment does your machine need?
A GPS is the most popular accessory. It provides the following benefits:
Using this, the autopilot in the quadcopter can calculate its exact position.
And you can program the autopilot to fly and film between different places or let it hold its own position in the air.
More advanced models also have a “come back” feature that makes it return and land automatically when you press a button on the controller.
Since the GPS does not always work indoors, some models have built-in sonar to navigate with autopilot inside buildings.
Now, some models have also come up with a tracking system and image recognition program that the drone uses to become an independent photographer. For example, it can automatically hang down the ski pack to film a downhill skier. Or by yourself keep the camera focused on your child running across the football field during the match. You point out what it should film and then release the remote control.
5. How long in the air do you need?
Flight time determines how long your multicopter can stay in the air without having to charge the battery.
Normal flying time is around 10-20 minutes and the batteries are charged in 40-90 minutes.
If you plan to fly indoors, flight time is not crucial when deciding which model you want to buy.
But if you buy a drone to fly outdoors and if you want to photograph or record a movie, it is much more important. Then a few extra minutes of flight time can be absolutely crucial to the choice of quadcopter.
Extend flight time:
Our best tip for those who want to fly longer is to buy one or two extra batteries that you can replace on site, and invest in a quick charger.
Several things affect how long you can fly:
- If you use a camera or GPS.
- Battery capacity.
- Machine weight.
- How to fly (if you do many maneuvers and tricks).
On a quadrocopter, the wing width is measured between the propellers. This measure describes how big the copter is. The wing width is usually written in millimeters, but we usually convert it to cm.
Flying indoors: small
A small model is best if you are flying in small spaces like indoors. It is easy to navigate the living room with it, but outdoors has wind and other greater effect on the smaller it is. A small quadcopter is about 10cm.
Flying outdoors: between
The mid-range models are great for flying outdoors if it doesn’t blow too much and indoors with caution. An intermediate model is around 15-25cm.
Video film outdoors in blown: great
A larger indoor quadcopter risks injury unless the pilot is experienced or has a drone with an automatic system to avoid obstacles. On the other hand, it manages to deliver stable video even when it is blowing. These larger drones with camera are about 30-40cm large also checkout the drones around 200 for more details.
If we instead talk about a very large hexacopter with 6 propellers or an octocopter with 8 propellers, they are even bigger.