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Drones...


Matt Ashmore

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What are people's thoughts on drones nowadays? Worth investing in?

Drones have been around for a while now so they are potentially a little cheaper... and the drone shots/video market is potentially a little more saturated as a result.

 

In the UK, I believe rules have been relaxed if your drone weighs under 250g. Anyone have experience of taking advantage of this rule change?

 

And what make/model would people recommend as a cheap starting out drone? Is it still all about the DJI Mavic drones? Or do other (cheaper) makes like Holy Stone 'cut the mustard' so-to-speak?

 

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12 minutes ago, Matt Ashmore said:

What are people's thoughts on drones nowadays? Worth investing in?

Drones have been around for a while now so they are potentially a little cheaper... and the drone shots/video market is potentially a little more saturated as a result.

 

In the UK, I believe rules have been relaxed if your drone weighs under 250g. Anyone have experience of taking advantage of this rule change?

 

And what make/model would people recommend as a cheap starting out drone? Is it still all about the DJI Mavic drones? Or do other (cheaper) makes like Holy Stone 'cut the mustard' so-to-speak?

 

I've seen a photographer doing the thing using an octocopter with an attached professional camera. It was 10 years ago, and it was worth $10K+ at the time (excluding the camera and lens, of course). Since then, I have found the mundane "drone photography" just a pathetic effort to do "the thing"...

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It is becoming a bit ubiqitous, especially in cinematography. When a crane shot took a day to set up and cost £10k they were used sparingly, only if the story required it, and uusually to good effect. Now it can be a bit yawn. They should probably be rationed.

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Matt if you still wish to go ahead and get a drone after reading the above comments you will, of course, go for the best camera available.

 

Allan

 

Edited by Allan Bell
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AoA is your friend. 15 pages for drone.

Yes a lot of Ukrainian and Russian drones, but also many where drone is shorthand for drone view or shot with a drone.

 

wim

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Added a drone (DJI Mini 4 Pro) to the toolbox earlier this year, something that I've been wanting for years. "Refreshing" to have an entire new creative vantage point to use, both for stills and footage - really got my creative juices going. So only just started out with it, but already captured stills/footage that I previously would be unable to get that IMHO is pretty good and I believe will be selling well.

Besides using it for stock, I'm also looking into Photogrammetry, as well as using it as part of my "offerings" for assignments/services and other content creation.

 

I chose the Mini 4 Pro as it has good enough quality stills/footage, but in a package small enough to not add too much more bulk or weight "in the bag", but mainly because it enjoys the least amount of restrictions in terms of where one can use it - it is ok to use pretty much everywhere (close to and over buildings, close to and over people (just not large crowds)) as long as there are no flight restrictions. Also it is pretty quiet (hard to hear it when it goes beyond 10-15 meters in height), unobtrusive as to not draw attention from people. Also a lot of safety features which makes it difficult to crash/ruin unless you really almost want to or completely left your caution/logic/brain at home :) Not 100% foolproof, but not far off, something that is very much appreciated when for example one is using some of its many automated functions, using oneself as the subject (for example active track) thus not being able to check the flight path as intently as when doing other work and the risk of something getting in the way is much greater.

Been taking my time to get used to it, gaining experience and one-by-one "educating myself" on all its functions of which there are MANY.

Best! & Have a great weekend!
/M

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Getting an DJI Air 2s drone (until it crashed but that's for another story) in April 2022 has been a game-changer for me. 

 

If I knew how useful it would have been I would have invested back in 2018 but better late than never I suppose. Super happy that Martin got into this game, as he has mentioned it has opened up a world of possibilities.

 

Of course a drone is fun and such a thrill to see all the angles etc. Need to do something crazy like I attempted on NYE (for a big reward) for it to crash, otherwise it's very safe.

 

Thinking of a drone as a business tool, in my case, within less than a year I managed to pay off the initial investment. Nowadays, my drone footage/stills are selling almost everyday and 3 top down images have so far sold for nice prices at Arcangel as book covers. I've also used it for commissioned work in the real estate market as well as shooting some social events, all remunerated of course. 

 

For the first time in almost 2 years I'm without a drone but have a mini 3 pro on the way as it's great to travel and fly in more places but I'm really eyeeing the Air 3 with its 70mm lens...heavier drone but more professional results. 

 

I've written extensivelly about my drone experiences on my blog, notably the following articles which I'm shamelessly sharing with you:

 

https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/?s=drone

 

Alex

 

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27 minutes ago, Brasilnut said:

Getting an DJI Air 2s drone (until it crashed but that's for another story) in April 2022 has been a game-changer for me. 

 

If I knew how useful it would have been I would have invested back in 2018 but better late than never I suppose. Super happy that Martin got into this game, as he has mentioned it has opened up a world of possibilities.

 

Of course a drone is fun and such a thrill to see all the angles etc. Need to do something crazy like I attempted on NYE (for a big reward) for it to crash, otherwise it's very safe.

 

Thinking of a drone as a business tool, in my case, within less than a year I managed to pay off the initial investment. Nowadays, my drone footage/stills are selling almost everyday and 3 top down images have so far sold for nice prices at Arcangel as book covers. I've also used it for commissioned work in the real estate market as well as shooting some social events, all remunerated of course. 

 

For the first time in almost 2 years I'm without a drone but have a mini 3 pro on the way as it's great to travel and fly in more places but I'm really eyeeing the Air 3 with its 70mm lens...heavier drone but more professional results. 

 

I've written extensivelly about my drone experiences on my blog, notably the following articles which I'm shamelessly sharing with you:

 

https://brutallyhonestmicrostock.com/?s=drone

 

Alex

 


If you're going to use the Air 3 in conjunction with the Mini 3 Pro is that really the best choice? The main camera is the same (as the Mini 4 Pro), but in the Air 3 package which is less "allowed". If doing a 2 drone setup wouldn't something like a Mini 3 Pro/Mini 4 Pro + Mavic 3 Pro (with the 3 cameras) make more sense? Just thinking out loud! :) 

Best! /M

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9 minutes ago, Martin Carlsson said:


If you're going to use the Air 3 in conjunction with the Mini 3 Pro is that really the best choice? The main camera is the same (as the Mini 4 Pro), but in the Air 3 package which is less "allowed". If doing a 2 drone setup wouldn't something like a Mini 3 Pro/Mini 4 Pro + Mavic 3 Pro (with the 3 cameras) make more sense? Just thinking out loud! :) 

Best! /M

 

This is what I have in mind and it can all change.

 

My plan is to use the mini 3 pro to fly pretty much anywhere in large cities and to travel around. Less weight/space and as you've mentioned fewer regulations when flying a sub 250gram drone. I'll use the Air 3 for more local travel and where I can obtain authorization for trickier spots.

 

The Air 3 has two cameras, the standard 24mm equivalent (not that interesting for me) and a 70mm optical zoom lens (super interesting for me, especially for book covers). Also can do some cool footage from far away to use as stock. 

 

The Mavic 3 pro has the standard 24mm lens and more features like adjustable aperture, etc. 

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1 minute ago, Brasilnut said:

 

This is what I have in mind and it can all change.

 

My plan is to use the mini 3 pro to fly pretty much anywhere in large cities and to travel around. Less weight/space and as you've mentioned fewer regulations when flying a sub 250gram drone. I'll use the Air 3 for more local travel and where I can obtain authorization for trickier spots.

 

The Air 3 has two cameras, the standard 24mm equivalent (not that interesting for me) and a 70mm optical zoom lens (super interesting for me, especially for book covers). Also can do some cool footage from far away to use as stock. 

 

The Mavic 3 pro has the standard 24mm lens and more features like adjustable aperture, etc. 

I think we're on the same page, roughly at least. In the future, I will probably add another "heavier" drone to the arsenal - probably be a Mavic 4/5 Pro at that point. But the no.1 drone, the one that is always with you, that can always get something will be something Mini sub 250 grams. And currently, those 48Mp images aren't too shabby with good acquisition (panos) and good/gentle processing.

Adjustable aperture is something that I do "miss". That and a few more grams of allowance to use "heavier" filters such a GNDs and reverse GNDs. At this point I use it (drone) for 85% stills and 15% footage - footage is hard when one started out as a stills photographer for some reason.

/M

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16 minutes ago, Martin Carlsson said:

I think we're on the same page, roughly at least. In the future, I will probably add another "heavier" drone to the arsenal - probably be a Mavic 4/5 Pro at that point. But the no.1 drone, the one that is always with you, that can always get something will be something Mini sub 250 grams. And currently, those 48Mp images aren't too shabby with good acquisition (panos) and good/gentle processing.

Adjustable aperture is something that I do "miss". That and a few more grams of allowance to use "heavier" filters such a GNDs and reverse GNDs. At this point I use it (drone) for 85% stills and 15% footage - footage is hard when one started out as a stills photographer for some reason.

/M

 

The three benefits for me for investing in a heavier drones are:

 

- More battery life

- More power to get to places quickly, especially in sport mode or to avoid certain risks (predatory birds for example)

- Handles the wind much better

 

I probably should have started with the mini and worked my way up to a heavier drone, not the other way around. I may get quickly frustrated with the mini especially in days it's a little more windy! Also I'll see how a slightly smaller sensor than what I was used to with the Air 2s will behave. 

 

Adjustable aperture would be nice and not having to always guess the ND filter for the day. Still waiting for the day a retail drone will be able to produce natural bokeh on some shots, it's only a matter of time. 

 

Overall, I'm happy that we're able to get the certain angles that 15 years ago were only possible by hiring an expensive helicopter, all for less than a grand US. 

 

Footage is def worth it and then submit to Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Pond5...the sweet spot is around 10-15 seconds and doesn't need to be fancy moves. I've just checked my results and since I've started in April 2022 I've earned around about $700 from drone footage vs about $2k from stills. 

Edited by Brasilnut
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Interesting conversation.

 

Martin, Brasilnut,

 

The DJI Air 2 is 570g.

The DJI Mini 2 is 249g

 

I believe that 250g is the magic weight (at least in the UK) as to whether or not you have to start doing training courses and getting licenses to fly.

As I understand it, a drone under 250g, you just have to register with the correct authorities and then you are good to go.

 

Did this factor into your thoughts at all? For me, stock photography is a hobby but the idea of having a cheap drone to open up new opportunities is appealing.. but I have a day job so having to spend lots of time/expense passing  qualifications to get licenses doesn't appeal.

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