Very many have opened their eyes to drones and the opportunities and perspectives they can give your photography. However, there are some question marks that may appear on the road with you who are going to buy their drone for the first time. In addition, there are some rules you must abide by, both for your own safety and the safety of others. In this post, you get help with choosing your particular drone for your needs, but also tips on what to think about on your first flight.
Which drone should you choose?
Before you invest in a drone, it’s smart to think about what you want to use it for. This is because there is a big difference from one drone to another. The most expensive is not always the best to meet your specific needs. You can roughly divide drones into four categories:
- FPV / racing drone
- Photo & video drones
- Drones for industrial applications
A toy drone is a small drone that can be used indoors, it often has no camera at all or has a lower quality one. Small toy drones can be a good introduction for you who are a beginner in drone flying. You will learn to take control and navigate the drone and gain an understanding of how it works. Therefore, it may be a good idea to invest in the small toy drone for a couple of hundred dollars to teach you the basics. Drones under 250 grams also do not have the same requirements with insurance and permit requirements as a larger and more advanced drone has.
FPV / racing drone
The racing drone can achieve higher speeds, withstand faster maneuvers and can fly through smaller openings. These are fun to fly but require more from the pilot. The racing drone’s camera is fixed to give the pilot a more realistic picture of the drone’s movements. To keep the weight down, the camera is usually very small, which gives the image and video a lower resolution.
Photo and video drones
Drones for film and photography are designed to be stable in the air and make soft and slow movements. The GPS receiver and altimeter ensure that the drone stays where it is if you let go of control – and since you as a pilot often focus mostly on composing the image, the drone’s sensors help you avoid flying into things. Such drones are available in the fordable versions, which are very suitable for traveling. You can easily pack these drones in your luggage. If you are interested in learning more about these drones, visit Aeroflydrones.
Drones for industrial use
Drones for industrial use are often designed for a specific application, e.g. inspections, search, thermal mapping, 3D scanning of buildings or other practical purposes. There are drones that can navigate the “lighthouse” that is located on the ground, for even greater precision than a GPS can offer.
The properties of the drone
Which drone is right for you is a compromise between the features that are most important to you. You need to consider which qualities are most necessary, and which ones you could consider giving up. For some, size means more than performance, for others, image quality means everything. Here are a number of features that can have an impact on your choice of drone.
Size and mobility
The biggest advantage of an ultra-compact drone is that it can always be included because it can be taken in the camera bag. Large drones require a lot of space and often have a lot of equipment to carry, while some of the small ones fit in a larger pocket. A small size often means less power, lower flight time and weaker wind resistance. On the other hand, the smaller drones with a low center of gravity have the advantage of taking off and landing in strong winds due to their low center of gravity.
Camera and sensor
Most photo and video drones on the market have the camera mounted in a gimbal with 3 axes that stabilizes the image. But the cameras are very different in different models.
The smallest drones usually have a camera with a 1/2 “2.3 sensor, while the larger ones have a 1” or Micro 4/3 sensor. A larger sensor, gives, among other things, a cleaner image and less noise in the darker. Even larger drones often have system cameras or camcorders that can be mounted directly on the drone.
Distance and speed
Are you planning to follow a sports car with your drone? Or will you just make silent flights at sunset? Small drones usually have a maximum speed between 30 and 50 km/h while larger drones reach speeds above 90 km/h.
There is also a big difference in how far you can fly with your drone. Drones that use WiFi as a connection between the drone and the control unit often have problems at a distance of about a hundred meters, while the top models can reach several kilometers away.
Flight time is, contrary to what you might think, one of the parameters that does not differentiate drones as much. The larger and heavier a drone is, the more energy it requires, so even if it has larger batteries, it does not have much longer flight time. Most drones on the market therefore have a flight time of between twenty and thirty minutes before they have to change the battery. Many people therefore prefer to have extra batteries to be able to fly longer.
Intelligent Flight Modes and Sensors
Many modern drones have various intelligent flight functions that can help you as a photographer and filmmaker. For example, you can ask the drone to follow a subject, run in a circle automatically, or always hold it in the center of the image while controlling the drone’s movements.
These drones also often have anti-collision sensors that prevent the drone from flying into walls, branches or other obstacles, so you can focus on getting good pictures.
Before you fly for the first time
Before you launch your new drone into the air, it’s good to have all the things in place. There are many countries in the world where you can fly your drone without a driver’s license. But in some countries, you need to get the permission, if you don’t want to get the penalty. So, do a good research.
Whether you are flying for fun or have it in your profession, you need to know what it is like to fly drones. In general, you need permission to fly your drone when it disappears out of sight, when you cannot see it with your own eyes. You also need a permit if the drone weighs more than seven kilos. Further reading and more information about drone flying can be found on the country’s Transport Agency’s website.
Drone pilots have a number of rules to follow and it is always your responsibility as a pilot to know the latest rules and follow them. You will be introduced to the rules when taking your drone driver’s license, but be sure to stay up to date with the latest rules.
Your drone must be insured before you fly with it – and this applies if the drone is to be used for business purposes. If you are a private individual and are going to fly your drone, it is not a requirement that you have your drone insured. Not all insurance companies want to insure your drone, so it is a good idea to research the market for current offers.
Where can you fly?
As a private person, you can fly in urban areas and over major roads, but there are a number of areas where it is not allowed to fly for various reasons. It can be airports, military areas or particularly sensitive natural areas.
You must always check the map before you fly, as control zones can be temporary – so even if you know an area, it may be forbidden to fly there for a limited time, so it is good if you stay up to date with the latest rules. Here you can see a good map of where you can fly and not!
To make it easier for you who are a drone pilot, you can read the Transport Agency’s rules for drones. Read more here!
Update your drone!
Before you start using your photography drone, it is a good idea to check if apps and firmware need updating. Both the control unit, drones and batteries have a built-in firmware that must be updated to the latest version before you fly – and it is really annoying to have to spend an hour on it when you are out in the woods at sunrise. Remove the drone wings, turn on your controller and drone and follow the on-screen instructions. If you have multiple batteries, remember to turn on the drone with each one so you know everyone has the latest firmware.