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Old 20th July 2020, 17:05   #1
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The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

Dear Fellow BHP'ians

Anything that moves is reviewed here at our forum. There are threads on locomotives and aviation too. So much credit to TBHP that i go here for a view / counter view before i plonk money on something.
My teen son is keen to buy a drone, he mentioned something like DJMavic. I got quite excited too. This conversation with my junior was just in passing last week and we both forgot about it. I remembered this today and i strangely couldn’t find a thread on buying and owning and flying drones in India.

I did a bit of research on the MavicMini on Youtube and sounds like its a good one to acquire for aerial photography. It does come at a cost of upwards of 60K INR. Before i spend that, i wanted to pick the brains here on
a) What other brands ?
a. Usage will be utmost once a month when we go out on long drives
b) What precautions do we take while flying the drone
c) Do we need to secure government approvals / inform government authorities if we own drones
d) Anything else that is relevant in choosing, buying, owning and caring for a drone

Any ownership experience of drones will be merrier as well - to read, view and to admire.

I will really appreciate all inputs on this one. Thank you.

Last edited by jkrishnakj : 20th July 2020 at 17:06. Reason: Corrected spelling
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Old 22nd July 2020, 08:05   #2
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Gadgets Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 22nd July 2020, 08:36   #3
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

https://www.imastudent.com/dji-mavic-mini-standard-kit
This site has the basic kit for 46k much less than amazon. However I have no idea about the authenticity of the site.
For aerial photography nothing can beat DJI. Its stability is unmatched. The mavic mini comes with optical stabilization sensors too. However due to its light weight it can get carried away with strong winds at higher altitude. And since its wifi based it can get wireless interference.
Since its less than 250gms there is no need for DGCA registration. However do not fly it near public places,airports,gov buildings etc. Cops are very enthusiastic about seizing drones.
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Old 22nd July 2020, 08:38   #4
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkrishnakj View Post
What other brands ?
Honestly, DJI is the leader in this space. There are a handful of other companies that *might* have competitors:
• Autel (recent "EVO 2" seems like a really good Mavic competitor!)
• Parrot (Anafi etc)
• Xiaomi
• Syma (lower budget?)

I don't know of any competitor to the 249g Mavic MINI, so you'll have to do your research there.


What precautions while flying?

• Never fly over people / crowds
• Don't fly in cities (people + wires + interference etc)
• Always maintain line-of-sight (required for a good connection between transmitter & drone, and also for good piloting)
• Look around and understand the area you'll be flying in before starting up the drone
• Watch out for power lines and other hard-to-see obstructions commonly found in the countryside
• Make sure you have a good GPS connection before taking off
• Don't try any of the advanced flying modes unless you're sure of your knowledge of them & piloting capabilities (it's a whole new ballgame)
• Don't push the limits of the battery, always keep some "reserve" in the tank
• Read about "fly aways", be scared, do what you can to avoid them


Do we need government approval?

Read this thread (India gets its first Drone policy)


Anything else?

• The tech moves FAST. If you buy something today, there will 100% be a better model 6-12 months from now. However, 'affordable' drones are so good these days that you'll really get your bang for your buck.
• Keep the batteries @ ~60-70% charge when storing it for long periods. This is ideal for Li-Ion
• Remember that whatever you shoot, you'll have to spend 10x the time EDITING the footage, so be selective about what you shoot, and be disciplined about actually finishing the edit ASAP, otherwise you'll just be sitting on hours of footage that went 'wasted'
• Learn about cinematography movements. Just because you buy the best drone doesn't mean you'll end up with good footage. You need to learn how to move the camera in a way that is pleasing to the eye.
• Consider first getting a non-camera drone, just to play with, and hone your flying skills. The Hubsan X4 is super-cheap ($35?) and super fun. It is MUCH harder to fly than the GPS-aided DJIs, but it's a good thing to learn on, and can be flown indoors.


Attaching a few snippets I've shot (Mavic 1 Pro)

Name:  drone2.gif
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Size:  2.01 MB

Name:  drone3.gif
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Name:  drone1.gif
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Name:  drone4.gif
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And Phantom 1 w/ a GoPro3

Name:  p1.gif
Views: 6283
Size:  2.94 MB

Name:  p2.gif
Views: 6056
Size:  1.90 MB

Name:  p3.gif
Views: 5989
Size:  2.14 MB

Last edited by Rehaan : 22nd July 2020 at 09:32.
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Old 22nd July 2020, 12:30   #5
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

DJI Mavic & Phantom series are expensive drones and mostly used by vloggers or professionals. But if you want it just for fun and once a while use, I would suggest to go for DJI Tello.



My cousin bought one for his son from US. It cost him only $99. Its a fun little small drone and can shoot a 720p video. It can be used indoors as well. Even I have played with it a few times and very easy to use. One can control it with mobile phone too. There are some pre-programmed stunt commands in the app, which the kid loved.

However after a couple of months the kid got bored and now the drone is just lying idle. So its up to you, if you really want to spend 60K or you can start with something like a Tello. And may be upgrade to a better one later if you are really keen and interested in aerial photography.

Tello costs around Rs. 10000 in India on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.in/DJI-Tello-Recording-Processor-Technology/dp/B0821CWD5Z
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Old 22nd July 2020, 13:18   #6
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

DJI more or less rules in consumer grade drones though Skydio is coming up as a worthy competition. Even though 3D robotics was the first to come up with consumer drones it never did fairly as they were complicated to operate and fly.

Once you get the drone ,register it at https://digitalsky.dgca.gov.in/

Besides that you have to check for what fits your need best: For photography DJI is indeed the better option and for sport footages Skydio is a better bet.

The auto tracking system of Skydio is better than DJI ,perfectly suited for video footages like Cycling/ JetSkis/ etc.

Drones are one gadget which you would not upgrade very often so getting the best possible under budget is advisable.



This was made with a DJI Mavic 1 on auto follow.

A few pictures snapped with Mavic 2 , these are unedited .
Attached Thumbnails
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The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice-dji_0276.jpg  

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Old 22nd July 2020, 21:21   #7
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

Cross-linking to this thread:

Using a Drone to shoot a Car Commercial at the High Alpine Road, Austria

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Old 23rd July 2020, 12:16   #8
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

Really nice thread!

I recently started considering buying a drone to capture aerial shots. My day trips to places near my hometown have increased since Corona restricted any out of station travel.
A drone will really help capturing the natural beauty of the place with a unique perspective.

I was looking at budget options to start off. Amazon links below:

https://www.amazon.in/DJI-Tello-Dron...5486206&sr=8-5

https://www.amazon.in/Amitasha-Folda...5486206&sr=8-4

Anyone owning expensive drones who can explain the advantages of spending 60k over these budget drones.
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Old 23rd July 2020, 12:37   #9
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
• Consider first getting a non-camera drone, just to play with, and hone your flying skills. The Hubsan X4 is super-cheap ($35?) and super fun. It is MUCH harder to fly than the GPS-aided DJIs, but it's a good thing to learn on, and can be flown indoors.
Completely agree with Rehaan. I am in the learning phase right now with the intention to buy a proper drone later on. These small, cheap drones have no automation or sensors on them. This makes them great to learn on. And they're cheap hence breaking them doesn't pinch.

I am using the this drone. (Brought this extra battery to extend flying time)
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Old 23rd July 2020, 12:50   #10
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

I bought a DJI Mavic Pro 3 years and have used it a lot. I had never flown a drone before and was very scared about crashing such an expensive piece of equipment. But they are so easy to use and fly and as long as you dont try anything fancy, you will be OK.

Today the DJI Mavic Air 2 is possibly the best. The Mavic Mini has the advantage of being under 250 gms so it does not require a permit in the USA but in India I dont think that matters. You either get a permit or you dont.

I bought the drone to film our off-roading work at my company Overlander India but in reality I use anywhere and anytime just because the birds eye perspective is awesome!
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Old 23rd July 2020, 13:51   #11
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

I bought the Mavic Mini from this online store:

https://www.shopmoment.com/shop/mavic-mini/mavic-mini

For the price, I think it is one of the best drones out there. Shoots really good stabilized videos at 2K resolution and weighs 249 grams which essentially means you don't need any license to fly the drone in most countries.

The drone does tend to go haywire in strong winds owing to its weight but for a starter drone, its difficult to beat this one.

A friend of mine brought it with him when he was coming from the US so I didn't have to pay any duties.
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Old 23rd July 2020, 14:03   #12
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

I have the mavic mini fly more combo, and it is a really good drone. Shoots some real nice footage and has a very good range too. I carry it for my vacations and also during bike rides.

Apart from the aerial photography one other thing about drone is that i can set it up at a height and then set it to take continious photos and pose in front. This is very helpful when you don't have people around and you want to take some nice shots of yourself or family.

The only thing i miss in mini is lack of object tracking and obstacle avoidance, but then you get what you pay for. I am contemplating of selling it and getting a new one with the above two features.

You need to register the drone with GOI once you acquire it, you will get DAN (Drone Acknowledgement Number) and OAN (Owner Ack Number), and can fly it peacefully in allowed fly zones. Be careful of Birds, i have had eagles coming behind the mini, thinking it's a small bird. A hit can be fatal and might break the drone.

Word of advise if you go for mini, make sure to go for fly more combo, it's worth the extra 100$ and some more.
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Old 23rd July 2020, 14:42   #13
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

I have bought a Mavic mini few months ago and will vouch for it. Easy to fly, sturdy, amazingly smooth even in windy situation and picture quality that isn't compromise.
Added bonus is the weight and as explained by @Athek, in India registration is simple.
Plus enough easy templates that can be used to create fun videos. Couple of example from my first week :




For some reason, YouTube doesn't show the videos in full resolution.
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Old 23rd July 2020, 15:05   #14
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

Found the Mavic Mini on amazon for an absolute steal deal today. The basic kit comes in at 31k. And you can apply a ₹1000 off at checkout as well. I have no idea what the reason for this sudden price drop is. The seller is appario retail and it is a trusted one. Also obviously is amazon prime as well. I have attached the screenshot below.

The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice-img_7062.jpg

Link - https://www.amazon.in/DJI-Camera-Rec.../dp/B07RRMPZ4L

I had assumed that this very kit is priced at around 55k to 60k and that the fly-more combo comes in at around 65k to 70k. If you do indeed get this for 30k it is a no brainer. The Mavic mini is a fantastic drone and shoots amazing video at 2.7k resolution which is in fact even comparable to the much larger and more expensive Mavic Pro. (I have come to this conclusion based on certain videos showing direct comparisons. Like one from Casey Neistat for example.) The fly more combo is still priced at 69k on amazon and is most certainly NOT worth more than double the price of the base drone.

I say go for it! No question of any other brands offering such a product at this price.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 23rd July 2020 at 19:01. Reason: Adding link from Amazon. Thanks! :)
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Old 23rd July 2020, 16:01   #15
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Re: The Drones Thread - Reviews, Tips, Advice

That is a great price, pretty much a steal price. Anyone considering to pick one, should pick it immediately, before they price correct or bump up the price.
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