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Author Topic: Best Drone for Novice?  (Read 544 times)

stockjock

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Best Drone for Novice?
« on: September 05, 2017, 02:57:55 PM »

A new variant of the Gear Acquisition Syndrome virus seems to be infecting me and I have started to think about buying a drone.  Steve Huff's review of the DJI Spark got me thinking but he is reviewing it primarily for the video and I would be using it for stills.  And the older DJI Phantom 3 4K is available as a refurbished unit for less than $500.  I am thinking that might be a good starter drone.

Can anybody offer any comments about the Phantom 3 4K versus the Spark and the Mavic Pro when it comes to ease of use and quality for still photography?  Obviously, the Phantom 4 Pro would be the best choice but that is too much $$ for me to commit to something I may not like or quickly crash.

And is there a good web site where people discuss drone photography?

Thanks.

Paul
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Miles

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Re: Best Drone for Novice?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2017, 04:59:46 PM »

I believe lensrentals.com just did a blog on this.  Go to their website and then select their blog and scroll for the article.  Hope this helps.
Miles
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Colorado_CJ

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Re: Best Drone for Novice?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2017, 09:45:29 PM »

I recommend the Mavic Pro.

I am a long time R/C pilot and I am active in MultiGP "Drone" racing (just got back from a race in Grand Junction actually).

I had the same dilemma between the phantom 4 and the Mavic.  I chose the Mavic.

For the money, the Mavic Pro is hard to beat.  It is MUCH more compact than the Phantoms, so you can easily put it in a pack to hike to locations.  It is also MUCH quieter.  This is a big deal if you are going to be flying around people.  Because it is much smaller and a lot quieter, you can usually set it up, fly it, and get your footage before people start coming to you and asking questions/annoying you. 

It does have a smaller sensor compared to the phantoms, but the footage is very high quality.  The stabilization of the gimbal has to be seen to be believed, it is incredible.  Many people take between 1-3 second exposures at night and have a nice sharp image.  It's just like a flying tripod.

The downlinked video is great and makes it very easy to get the shots you are looking for.  If you want to spend a little more ($450), you can buy the DJI Goggles.  Using these, you have a huge 1080P display right on your head.  It is EXTREMELY immersive. 

If you buy the Mavic Pro along with the goggles, you still come out a little cheaper than if you buy the Phantom 4 Pro.

Here's a quick video of a photographer/videographer who has both and what his opinions are.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBXuAGK4VNE
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stockjock

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Re: Best Drone for Novice?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2017, 09:28:38 PM »

I posted the same question on the Drone forum at DPReview.com and got a reasonable amount of input there.  This is what I wrote after I made my decision:

Thanks to everybody for their input and opinions on what the best drone might be.  I went through several iterations in my own thinking.  Initially I was focused primarily on price and thought a refurbished Phantom 3 4K or Phantom 3 Professional would be a great starter drone.  Prices are really good here and right at the moment you can buy a refurbished Phantom 3 Professional from Newegg for $539!  And I did toy with the idea of buying a used Phantom 4 or 4 Professional but none of those negotiations every went through.

And reading all the comments on here that focused on size and portability made me realize that it was true that I didn't really want a huge drone that I wouldn't bring with me or that I would feel self conscious using.  That really made me focus on the Mavic Pro even though it was more expensive than I initially wanted.

What I finally decided to do was buy a Refubrished Mavic Pro from Amazon through the "DJI Official Store" which hopefully is exactly what it sounds like.  Price is $799 but with the 5% cash back on the Amazon card that makes it $760 which is an acceptable price.  Since I was going to buy the $99 DJI Care regardless of whether or not I bought a new or refurbished drone the fact that it wasn't new was less of a factor since I have a level of protection against a lemon.

Hopefully the Mavic Pro will let me learn whether I like drone photography and flying a drone and if I do I can upgrade to the more serious Phantom 4 Pro or, as one optimistic poster suggested, a new, smaller, better Phantom 5 in the future.

Paul
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