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Old 08-25-2019, 04:09 PM   #1
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Reliable Drone Recommendation?

have done a little research on drones just for the fun of catching pics and video of the boat in front of meaningful sites or also catching it moving under way. would need to have decent battery range, say > 15 minutes, and strong enough motors to handle some outdoor windy environments.
I don't think i need 4K resolution because in my mind this just uses up memory too fast, and 1080p HD should be more than adequate.
Seems like decent starter units with GPS etc. start at about $200-$400... I've also looked for "floating" and/or waterproof; but there seems to be very few that meet this requirement, plus the price jumps up to like $1200 and up, yikes!
Just worried about it running out of power at the wrong time and before you know it, it has sunk....
I'd like to know if other TF members have lessons learned and found certain brands and drone features they recommend?
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:16 PM   #2
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I have the DJI Mavic Air that use primarily for taking stills of anchorages and surrounding landscapes. I rarely shoot video although it produces excellent results. I'm not an expert but when I was shopping I was told repeatedly that DJI is the most reliable and has the best user interface. DJI has models on Amazon for a few hundred to a couple thousand.

There are many instructional videos on Youtube to help you get started.
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:23 PM   #3
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I have a mavic pro 2 and I love it. Be sure to get a few polarized filters for the camera to. Great night shots. I get appx 18 to 20 min on a full charge. Cost me appx 1600 for the extra battery package, hard case, and filters. I use my old samsung S7 for the screen on the controller.
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:25 PM   #4
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I have the Phantom 3 Advanced, now replaced by the Phantom 4.

It took a while to get confident handling it over water but once you get that confidence the sky's the limit (literally!).

One thing I would love to play with, but haven't yet, is the follow me function. Haven't got the nerve for that in a boat yet!





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Old 08-25-2019, 08:14 PM   #5
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I like the follow me function right now I have been using the hyperlapse mode for many functions I do with the LED van for promotions. Here is a link if I may add was the other day to promote it to watch the football games on the big screen outside at a place in Sea Bright, NJ on Sept 8th.

Here is the hyperlapse function. I'm waiting for a good red sunset or storm to use this function.

https://1drv.ms/v/s!Av8ULzgK0UJjghUMU2Ikn_awf_np
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:24 PM   #6
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Memory cards changed since last time I looked. Make sure your new drone takes advantage of the latest, greatest memory cards.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:09 PM   #7
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We are very satisfied with the DJI Spark. It has exceeded our expectations in terms of video quality (Youtube streaming doesn't always do it justice - download the HD version for best quality) and ease of use (relative). It was a good compromise between the studio quality $1500 craft, and something I wouldn't commit suicide over if I dropped it in the water (have done that once already - drone #1 is at the bottom of the Neuse River now........)

The intelligent video modes and automated cinematic clips are just fantastic. There is already enough to worry about with the current battery level, GPS signal strength, return to home location on a moving bat, remote control data link strength, sunlight on the phone screen, and 50 other things -------- that these automatic modes are a real treat. It really taxes my pea brain just to keep track of everything while flying - even more so when moving the boat.

There are two modes of active tracking using image recognition that I use the most. You can find a lot of reviews, explanations, and tutorials on this, and the Spark in general on Youtube. Watch as many of these as you can.

DJI is hands down the most stable, best and shortest learning curve software to get started on because of the HUGE user base and a plethora of forums and FAQs on the internet. I wouldn't buy any other brand, regardless of price level.

I have used several different video editors - all free. The current one I am using is OpenShot running on Windows. Seems to do most everything I need it to with little effort. Nothing's perfect - you have to trade off a decade-long learning curve vs. what will be "good enough".

Anyway, here's a few active tracking and scenic videos recorded with the spark this past spring:

https://youtu.be/c7BNoQ3AXgE
https://youtu.be/ieZBHIPRJMU
https://youtu.be/7_6UbApxzXA

Good luck and have FUN!
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Old 08-26-2019, 12:30 AM   #8
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Another vote for Mavic Air! You won’t be disappointed!
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Old 08-26-2019, 04:39 AM   #9
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You may also want to look at a typhoon they have 6 rotors where you can lose up to two engines as long as they are not on the same side has good picture and video
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:32 AM   #10
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Thanks for the comments, so it sounds like no one is messing around with a floating drone.
If I have to spend $1500 or more I would probably not bother as its not that important to me and i have other things i can spend $1500 on... plus if you spend that and it accidentally ends up in the drink... harsh!
I'll probably look at the less expensive options to play around with on land for a while and see how much interest I have to pursue it further.
By the way I stumbled across this guy that suggests a way to take a normal drone, add foam cylinders on the bottom and make it floating. Based on the video, seems like it works well and probably doesn't add more than a gram or 2 of weight...

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Old 08-26-2019, 11:42 AM   #11
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Most drone can handle a few pounds of weight if you notice he is landing in calm water I have a 107 drone license with 4 drones 3 DJI’s and the Typhoon I did have but had a head on with a large wave make it back to shore just as the salt water did it in not good for a drone that was a fast 1800 lost and unhappy wife lol
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Old 08-26-2019, 11:54 AM   #12
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I don't think the weight of that setup is a problem, but the drag would change the flying characteristics dramatically. I would not trust any of the auto-flying functions, like "Return Home" or "Follow", with an aero-dynamic alteration like that.
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Old 08-26-2019, 12:06 PM   #13
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DJI Mavic 2 Pro is my choice.
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Old 08-26-2019, 12:39 PM   #14
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Unless it is a swimming pool or a flat calm pond, a few float noodles won't keep it from getting wet. Might let you get the SD card out, tho.

Everywhere I have flown so far, a few pontoon floats would have been useless.
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Old 08-26-2019, 12:45 PM   #15
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I have a Holy Stone HS 100. It was under $300 and is a halfway decent starter drone. So far I haven't crashed it which is why I bought a relatively cheap one initially.
It has the gps features, follow me, return to home, etc.
15 minutes + on a battery, the controller will stay charged for 2 drone battery flights.
Once I get better, and this one dies, I'll get a better one, maybe the dji spark.
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Old 08-26-2019, 01:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boathealer View Post
Unless it is a swimming pool or a flat calm pond, a few float noodles won't keep it from getting wet. Might let you get the SD card out, tho.

Everywhere I have flown so far, a few pontoon floats would have been useless.

Thanks, yes well the noodles may not completely useless; if nothing else it would probably keep it from sinking so you could retrieve and perhaps salvage the card and maybe some parts from it.
But I agree we don't know much about how it handles; one thing the guy doesnt show is that modified drone rising up more than about 10 ft... makes you wonder.....
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Old 08-26-2019, 01:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jleonard View Post
I have a Holy Stone HS 100. It was under $300 and is a halfway decent starter drone. So far I haven't crashed it which is why I bought a relatively cheap one initially.
It has the gps features, follow me, return to home, etc.
15 minutes + on a battery, the controller will stay charged for 2 drone battery flights.
Once I get better, and this one dies, I'll get a better one, maybe the dji spark.

Thanks Jleonard; Yes it seems like some of the Holystone products have decent reviews, I spent a little time looking at their HS700...
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