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How to choose a drone: buying a drone with the goals in mind

Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz

Posted 3-4-2019

Radio-controlled quadcopters became fashionable for a reason. They are easy to control, and models for beginners do not require special training, but the electronic stuffing is not inferior to semi-professional copies.

A weighty argument in favor of flying drones - the cost: multirotor models have become more affordable than planes, gliders and even cars on the radio control.

Not to be confused by the diversity of choice, we suggest to be guided by the purpose for which you buy a drone.

Size and weight

The bigger and more massive - the more stable in the wind, but also the more expensive.

For room flying, drones with a propeller-to-propeller diagonal of 200 mm are created. Weights up to 250 grams are considered safe.

Models with an inter-axis diagonal of about 250 mm are designed for flying outdoors in quiet weather. The weight of such devices is from 0.5 to 1 kg. They have a camera and other sensors on board.

Quadcopters larger than 350 mm diagonally are adapted for flying and shooting on the street. They have a camera built in or attached to a hanger. They weigh from 2 kilograms and have unlimited possibilities.

Camera

For amateur photography camera resolution of 10-15 megapixels is optimal. Devices with a 4K camera are much more expensive.

The camera broadcasts video to the remote control monitor in online mode if the quadcopter is equipped with FPV-system. Otherwise, you will be able to see the footage in the recording and only after landing.

For clear photos and videos you need at least three-axis stabilization (three-axis) - pay attention to the specifications of the drone.

Completion

Most drones come fully assembled. But there may be variants, pay attention to the markings:

RTF - assembled and ready to fly, just need to recharge the battery;

ARF - requires assembly, almost ready to fly;

BNF - it does not have a radio remote control, the equipment should be bought additionally and "tied" to the device.

Protection and propellers

Protective frame for propellers will help protect from collisions with people, well, and keep intact the furniture and walls in the apartment. Protection for the drone needs and he himself if he pilots a novice - during the falls without a frame propellers simply can not survive.

Landing legs of the drone will serve as an additional safety measure when landing. If the device is heavy (over 1 kg), then the feet with rubber tips will soften the impact when landing.

Massive propellers at drones for shooting - with them the device is more stable in flight, small - for racing quads and acrobatic tricks.

A propeller with three blades gives more speed, but also adds vibration. Keep this in mind if you buy a drone with a camera and intend to shoot.

Radius and duration of flight

Standard range for simple models is from 30 to 100 meters. Farther away is more expensive by an order of magnitude. But will you fly further? Professional models can fly 3 to 5 km away from the remote control. But they are as expensive as an inexpensive car.

A standard amateur drone is designed to fly for 7-25 minutes. The price of radio-controlled model directly depends on the battery capacity. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy extra batteries to prolong the flight.

Speed

The flight speed is not important if you plan to take pictures of the surroundings or spy games in the apartment. Overpaying for the manufacturer's claimed speed of 40-50 km/h is a waste of money.

Control hardware

The remote control is usually included. In the case of the BNF package, you need to buy it separately.

As an option - control via smartphone after installing a special mobile app.

For beginner pilots the best option is the remote control. It is more convenient than the smartphone.

When choosing a quadcopter, remember that the best drone is your drone. And the brand does not have much to do with it. But to be fair, let us say that the most popular models are considered to be Hubsan, Yuneec and DJI.


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