Anyone using a quadcopter for aerial stills?

Started Jul 5, 2013 | Discussions thread
Carey Brown
Carey Brown Senior Member • Posts: 1,594
I got a DJII Phantom a week ago

... and I'm hooked. It's taken a bit of getting used to flying it. I started off flying with the "home-lock" setting off (which is what DJI recommends), and then after using that till I got the hang of it I turned this setting on, now it's much easier to pilot. I've had a blast taking video with the GoPro Hero3 Black, but, to be honest, without some additional hardware the results are limited. And, there's no way a Phantom could carry a DSLR, way too heavy for it.

  • Phantom quadcopter base price $700
  • hard case (yes, you'll need one of these) $200
  • extra battery, props, and vibration dampening $100
  • GoPro Hero3 Black $400
  • FPV (First Person Viewer) $300 - not necessary at first but needed for quality videos
  • Gimbal mount $300-500 - not necessary at first but needed for quality videos

The FPV setup allows you to see, either via goggles or battery operated TV monitor, what the camera sees as it is happening. Without this you are limited to piloting the thing near enough that you can see the affect that moving the controls is having; flying very close to things is pretty impossible from far away.

The gimbal automatically keeps the camera level (based on gyroscope feedback) as the copter tilts in various directions. Something that is also needed for quality video. One of the neat tricks that the Phantom does is compensate for breezes; it attempts to stay in one place. A side effect of this is lots of sporadic tilting.

The thing is pretty darn sturdy; I've crashed it a few times.

Oh, and did I mention that it's addicting.

 Carey Brown's gear list:Carey Brown's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.5 1-5x Macro +7 more
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