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My apologies if this has previously been discussed at length already. I'm in the market for a drone and at first considered the DJI Inspire 1 Pro, with X5 Zenmuse lens. However, at €3800, it would take me a lot of sales to recover the initial outlay and I'm wondering if it's going to be worth it, as I don't plan on doing much else with it.

 

Is anyone using a drone with a less superior camera, perhaps the X3 Zenmuse, and getting through QC with it? I would welcome any actual-experience views on what drones and lenses you are using to get through QC, please. But, perhaps not "I hear such-and-such drone/lens is good and/or should pass because of it's specs", as it's too much of a risk to take financially with the outlay.

 

Thanks for any concrete advice.

 

Steve

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I had seen it Gen (read it twice to be honest and the singular comment, which expresses a similar query to my own), but thanks for posting. It really doesn't say anything of any real value for me because the only lens it mentions is the one I referred to above. I'm sure there are others and I'm now looking at the Phantom 4 Pro, which has a different lens, but it may be enough. That's why I was asking for user experience to be honest.

Edited by Steve Valentia

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I'd be interested to know the answer too because I've been very tempted by a drone for a while.

 

Here in Australia, there is so much space and scenic beauty, along with less restrictions, that I very often see people with drones. I've seen amazing footage taken on my doorstep.

Most people use Phantom 4 which is not suitable for Alamy. 

 

I've been dragging my feet to invest in one recommended by Alamy. No way I would recover the cost with the collapse of image prices (I'm thinking of mainly using stills from footage).

Of course, I could do it purely for fun but that would be the equivalent of leaving my images on my hard drive.

 

So sorry, I have no user experience, I was just trying to help.

 

Gen

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Gen Said:


Most people use Phantom 4 which is not suitable for Alamy. 

 

So sorry, I have no user experience, I was just trying to help.

 

**************************

Thanks for the help Gen. Actually, I'm now looking at the Phantom 4 Pro, which has an improved 1 inch sensor, 20megapixels Raw, a mechanical shutter (f2.8 - f11) and 4K video. The problem is that I don't know how this translates to an edited image file in terms of noise etc. I'm tempted to try it out though, but may do a bit more digging first. :)

Edited by Steve Valentia

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I hadn't investigated any further but the price of the Phantom 4 Pro is not unreasonable. Very tempting! 

Let us know how you're doing if you decide to go for it.

 

Gen

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Have you  read this at DXO?

 

wim

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Thanks for the link Win.

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oh yes very tempted to get a drone - been eyeing the Phantom 4 Pro

Shooting sunrise at the beach yesterday - and there were two drones up - would have liked to compare their imagery with mine

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I have a son-in-law who flies drones. He builds his own. One thing I know. Unless you are adept at electronic games where you need to use both thumbs while visualize the scene on a connected tablet, the crashes and expenses of repairs will eat you up. He's very good at flying, but still is ordering parts constantly.

I can't do repairs, that's not my talent.

 

I've been interested in drones for several years, but would absolutely hate to crash one. Especially if it broke the camera.

I don't know if I could handle the stress of it. I have enough of that already.

Betty

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Have you  read this at DXO?

 

wim

 

Interesting. I assume the DXO benchmark tests, are carried out on a bench. Some of their parameters (sensor noise and dynamic range) will still apply to airborne use, but I wonder what drone vibration does to the sharpness? I suppose noise may also be influenced by vibration (microphony in the camera electronics/sensor)? Be interesting to see some airborne shots of a decent test target.

Edited by M.Chapman

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Have you  read this at DXO?

 

wim

 

Hi Wim, no I hadn't, thank you for sharing. It makes very interesting reading, and I expected that the Zenmuse X5 would come out on top. The Inspire 1 Pro (which uses that lens) was my first consideration, but the €3800 price tag is a bit too steep.

 

However, things got more interesting, for me, as I went deeper into the review and found a comparison chart between the lens on the Phantom 4 Pro and the Canon EOS 1D II, which had very close test results. I still own the 1Ds II and use it successfully for Alamy submissions on a regular basis. So, this was encouraging. I can also see that DXO compared the P4P lens to a Canon G7, and I'd be interested to know if anyone is passing QC with that camera, currently. For me, these are important "real world" tests, as the real arbiter here is QC.

 

Betty LaRue Said...

 

I have a son-in-law who flies drones. He builds his own. One thing I know. Unless you are adept at electronic games where you need to use both thumbs while visualize the scene on a connected tablet, the crashes and expenses of repairs will eat you up. He's very good at flying, but still is ordering parts constantly.

 

The technology that enables drones to fly safely without crashing is developing all the time. The two drones that I am interested in have obstacle avoidance sensors all around and underneath them, intelligent flight mapping to allow them to follow a route and/or a moving object and the capacity to automatically return "home" when the battery is more than 1/3rd empty without hitting anything on the way back.

 

They are basically, as fool-proof as they can get, and some actually do fly themselves. OK, they might crash, but I might trip and fall downstairs or reverse my car into a wall today. I'll try to take the same precautions to avoid this as much as I can, but at the same time, I will want to go downstairs and drive my car. I also want to fly a drone (I think). :)

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Have you  read this at DXO?

 

wim

 

Hi Wim, no I hadn't, thank you for sharing. It makes very interesting reading, and I expected that the Zenmuse X5 would come out on top. The Inspire 1 Pro (which uses that lens) was my first consideration, but the €3800 price tag is a bit too steep.

 

However, things got more interesting, for me, as I went deeper into the review and found a comparison chart between the lens on the Phantom 4 Pro and the Canon EOS 1D II, which had very close test results. I still own the 1Ds II and use it successfully for Alamy submissions on a regular basis. So, this was encouraging. I can also see that DXO compared the P4P lens to a Canon G7, and I'd be interested to know if anyone is passing QC with that camera, currently. For me, these are important "real world" tests, as the real arbiter here is QC.

 

Betty LaRue Said...

 

I have a son-in-law who flies drones. He builds his own. One thing I know. Unless you are adept at electronic games where you need to use both thumbs while visualize the scene on a connected tablet, the crashes and expenses of repairs will eat you up. He's very good at flying, but still is ordering parts constantly.

 

The technology that enables drones to fly safely without crashing is developing all the time. The two drones that I am interested in have obstacle avoidance sensors all around and underneath them, intelligent flight mapping to allow them to follow a route and/or a moving object and the capacity to automatically return "home" when the battery is more than 1/3rd empty without hitting anything on the way back.

 

They are basically, as fool-proof as they can get, and some actually do fly themselves. OK, they might crash, but I might trip and fall downstairs or reverse my car into a wall today. I'll try to take the same precautions to avoid this as much as I can, but at the same time, I will want to go downstairs and drive my car. I also want to fly a drone (I think). :)

 

The Phantom 4 can be used almost hands free to fly between points or follow objects (whilst you concentrate on taking photos or video), plus the avoidance sensors should make it almost impossible to crash. (I do realise that you just posted that).

The sensor is, I believe the same 1" as in the Sony RX series cameras and they pass qc ok here.

 

I am getting a drone shortly but only a cheap one (3dr Solo) to learn how to fly it and do my CAA exams before shooting commercially with possibly a Phantom 4.

In the UK at least, commercial shooting is regulated, so I would only be able to fly as a hobby user until I have the credentials and insurances required.

Having said that, there are many maverick fliers supplying vde footage to media users, even to the BBC! so the revenue stream may not be that straightforward, and my option would not be to shoot stock with it as a first earner.

Edited by mickfly
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Have you  read this at DXO?

 

wim

 

Hi Wim, no I hadn't, thank you for sharing. It makes very interesting reading, and I expected that the Zenmuse X5 would come out on top. The Inspire 1 Pro (which uses that lens) was my first consideration, but the €3800 price tag is a bit too steep.

 

However, things got more interesting, for me, as I went deeper into the review and found a comparison chart between the lens on the Phantom 4 Pro and the Canon EOS 1D II, which had very close test results. I still own the 1Ds II and use it successfully for Alamy submissions on a regular basis. So, this was encouraging. I can also see that DXO compared the P4P lens to a Canon G7, and I'd be interested to know if anyone is passing QC with that camera, currently. For me, these are important "real world" tests, as the real arbiter here is QC.

 

Betty LaRue Said...

 

I have a son-in-law who flies drones. He builds his own. One thing I know. Unless you are adept at electronic games where you need to use both thumbs while visualize the scene on a connected tablet, the crashes and expenses of repairs will eat you up. He's very good at flying, but still is ordering parts constantly.

 

The technology that enables drones to fly safely without crashing is developing all the time. The two drones that I am interested in have obstacle avoidance sensors all around and underneath them, intelligent flight mapping to allow them to follow a route and/or a moving object and the capacity to automatically return "home" when the battery is more than 1/3rd empty without hitting anything on the way back.

 

They are basically, as fool-proof as they can get, and some actually do fly themselves. OK, they might crash, but I might trip and fall downstairs or reverse my car into a wall today. I'll try to take the same precautions to avoid this as much as I can, but at the same time, I will want to go downstairs and drive my car. I also want to fly a drone (I think). :)

 

 

The sensor is, I believe the same 1" as in the Sony RX series cameras and they pass qc ok here.

 

 

 

 

Can you let me know where you saw the information about the sensor, please. This is the sort of thing I was asking about in the OP and I'd like to confirm that it's actually the Sony RX sensor.

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I see the Phantom 4 rates the same, 65, as my first Sony A350, which was fine for QC. I only replaced it because it was dropped.

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I don't own a drone myself, but this gentleman is a great friend and I've worked with him in the past. The quality he gets from his drones is outstanding, more than enough to pass QC on this platform.  Take a look: http://www.oakwoodaerialphotography.ie/

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I don't own a drone myself, but this gentleman is a great friend and I've worked with him in the past. The quality he gets from his drones is outstanding, more than enough to pass QC on this platform.  Take a look: http://www.oakwoodaerialphotography.ie/

That was interesting for me, but only because I live not too far away (I was actually in Ballydehob on Friday). But, your post is a bit like saying "this guy has a camera and takes great images that will pass Alamy". There's no mention of what drone(s) he uses, the camera, sensor size or anything else as far as I can see on the website.

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I don't own a drone myself, but this gentleman is a great friend and I've worked with him in the past. The quality he gets from his drones is outstanding, more than enough to pass QC on this platform.  Take a look: http://www.oakwoodaerialphotography.ie/

That was interesting for me, but only because I live not too far away (I was actually in Ballydehob on Friday). But, your post is a bit like saying "this guy has a camera and takes great images that will pass Alamy". There's no mention of what drone(s) he uses, the camera, sensor size or anything else as far as I can see on the website.

 

Great to see someone else in West Cork, I love Ballydehob!

 

If you take a look at his About page, all the details are there.  He uses the cameras that come with the drones. Why not email him? Just mention my name, what you want to know and he'll definitely help you out.

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C

 

 

 

 

Have you  read this at DXO?

 

wim

 

Hi Wim, no I hadn't, thank you for sharing. It makes very interesting reading, and I expected that the Zenmuse X5 would come out on top. The Inspire 1 Pro (which uses that lens) was my first consideration, but the €3800 price tag is a bit too steep.

 

However, things got more interesting, for me, as I went deeper into the review and found a comparison chart between the lens on the Phantom 4 Pro and the Canon EOS 1D II, which had very close test results. I still own the 1Ds II and use it successfully for Alamy submissions on a regular basis. So, this was encouraging. I can also see that DXO compared the P4P lens to a Canon G7, and I'd be interested to know if anyone is passing QC with that camera, currently. For me, these are important "real world" tests, as the real arbiter here is QC.

 

Betty LaRue Said...

 

I have a son-in-law who flies drones. He builds his own. One thing I know. Unless you are adept at electronic games where you need to use both thumbs while visualize the scene on a connected tablet, the crashes and expenses of repairs will eat you up. He's very good at flying, but still is ordering parts constantly.

 

The technology that enables drones to fly safely without crashing is developing all the time. The two drones that I am interested in have obstacle avoidance sensors all around and underneath them, intelligent flight mapping to allow them to follow a route and/or a moving object and the capacity to automatically return "home" when the battery is more than 1/3rd empty without hitting anything on the way back.

They are basically, as fool-proof as they can get, and some actually do fly themselves. OK, they might crash, but I might trip and fall downstairs or reverse my car into a wall today. I'll try to take the same precautions to avoid this as much as I can, but at the same time, I will want to go downstairs and drive my car. I also want to fly a drone (I think). :)

 

 

The sensor is, I believe the same 1" as in the Sony RX series cameras and they pass qc ok here.

 

 

 

 

Can you let me know where you saw the information about the sensor, please. This is the sort of thing I was asking about in the OP and I'd like to confirm that it's actually the Sony RX sensor.

 

Can't find the forum post (drone forum) where it was stated that they are the same sensors as RX series, but the website says "The onboard camera has been redesigned to use a 1-inch 20-megapixel CMOS sensor", which should be able to pass Alamy QC.

The Phantom 3 1/2.3” CMOS which is 6.17 X 4.55mm as used in many cell phones, so no good here.

The big factor here in the UK, besides the initial cost of the drone/gimbal/camera is the expense of the CAA training and testing which is required to get PfCO.

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C

 

 

 

 

Have you  read this at DXO?

 

wim

 

Hi Wim, no I hadn't, thank you for sharing. It makes very interesting reading, and I expected that the Zenmuse X5 would come out on top. The Inspire 1 Pro (which uses that lens) was my first consideration, but the €3800 price tag is a bit too steep.

 

However, things got more interesting, for me, as I went deeper into the review and found a comparison chart between the lens on the Phantom 4 Pro and the Canon EOS 1D II, which had very close test results. I still own the 1Ds II and use it successfully for Alamy submissions on a regular basis. So, this was encouraging. I can also see that DXO compared the P4P lens to a Canon G7, and I'd be interested to know if anyone is passing QC with that camera, currently. For me, these are important "real world" tests, as the real arbiter here is QC.

 

Betty LaRue Said...

 

I have a son-in-law who flies drones. He builds his own. One thing I know. Unless you are adept at electronic games where you need to use both thumbs while visualize the scene on a connected tablet, the crashes and expenses of repairs will eat you up. He's very good at flying, but still is ordering parts constantly.

 

The technology that enables drones to fly safely without crashing is developing all the time. The two drones that I am interested in have obstacle avoidance sensors all around and underneath them, intelligent flight mapping to allow them to follow a route and/or a moving object and the capacity to automatically return "home" when the battery is more than 1/3rd empty without hitting anything on the way back.

 

They are basically, as fool-proof as they can get, and some actually do fly themselves. OK, they might crash, but I might trip and fall downstairs or reverse my car into a wall today. I'll try to take the same precautions to avoid this as much as I can, but at the same time, I will want to go downstairs and drive my car. I also want to fly a drone (I think). :)

 

 

The sensor is, I believe the same 1" as in the Sony RX series cameras and they pass qc ok here.

 

 

 

 

Can you let me know where you saw the information about the sensor, please. This is the sort of thing I was asking about in the OP and I'd like to confirm that it's actually the Sony RX sensor.

 

Can't find the forum post (drone forum) where it was stated that they are the same sensors as RX series, but the website says "The onboard camera has been redesigned to use a 1-inch 20-megapixel CMOS sensor", which should be able to pass Alamy QC.

 

The Phantom 3 1/2.3” CMOS which is 6.17 X 4.55mm as used in many cell phones, so no good here.

 

The big factor here in the UK, besides the initial cost of the drone/gimbal/camera is the expense of the CAA training and testing which is required to get PfCO.

 

Thanks for the sensor information.

 

In terms of "licensing": In Ireland, you are required to register the drone with the IAA. However, there is no distinction between a hobbyist and commercial drone user; IF you stay within the IAA restrictions for flying it, which include: no more than 400m high, no more than 300m from the launch site, not over built up areas, not over more than 12 people and no take off or landing from private land without permission.

 

Other than that, you CAN work commercially without further training and authorisation. Although with the approval (following training and a flight test) you can APPLY to fly outside of the restrictions - and you need to give 90 days notice, so it's not always commercially viable. There is no restriction on selling images that are taken while flying within the IAA limitations.

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I came across a couple of people using them on my last trip, one in the paddy fields of Bali, the other on Hong Kong harbour, where I would have thought there would be restrictions. It does give food for thought but it would be something I could only use whilst on the road due to restrictions at home.

 

Is it not possible to rent one for a wee while to test the market? Almost four grand is a hell of a gamble... you know how much you earn per image here and elsewhere so it would be quite easy to calculate how many sales you would need just to cover the costs... and thats before you even take into consideration labour etc.

 

Having made the OP, I'm now considering not buying the €3800 drone, but the Phantom 4 Pro, which in Ireland is €1600 (about £1300) for the basic set up. I'm not sure if they can be hired, but I had someone send me a .dng file from a cheaper model, the Phantom 3  (about €1000) and that looked almost Alamy passable with a bit of tweaking.

 

I was called by a graphic designer this morning who wants me to do some exteriors of hotels and she was interested in the addition of a drone for that work, so it may be worth the investment, even at my laughably low €800 a day, rate. I'm still at the deciding stage though and may give it a week to consider my options.

Edited by Steve Valentia

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Last winter Olympics a news drone crashed just behind a skier doing the slalom.  Missed him by inches.

 

That would be my worry using a drone, hitting something or someone.

 

do you have to have insurance to fly a drone?

 

Jill

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do you have to have insurance to fly a drone?

 

 

Not in Ireland unless you fly commercially and outside of the restrictions, then you need Public Liability Insurance.

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do you have to have insurance to fly a drone?

 

 

Not in Ireland unless you fly commercially and outside of the restrictions, then you need Public Liability Insurance.

 

 

I think I would have it anyway.

 

Jill

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I primarily shoot aerial photos and I can tell you this. Alamy is essentially not accepting photos from the Zenmuse X5. I've submitted photos taken with the stock DJI 15 mm lens as well as photos shot with an m.zuiko 17 mm and 60 mm. The photos always come back rejected with the explanation of "digital camera not suitable for alamy". Its been a bit frustrating. Especially because I contacted contributor relations to ask for clarification on drone photos they were accepting and they replied saying "We don’t review cameras, we make our decision by looking at the images we’ve seen from them". An answer that seems to contradict the rejection explanations I get. 

Edited by Alamy
Removed references to competitor agencies

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