Making your first drone purchase reminds me of buying your first vaping or e-cigarette toolkit. At some point, if you want to get the best bang for your buck, you have to get a little geeky about it. So with that in mind, I took my first plunge into the world of drone geekdom by purchasing my first trainer drone—the Hubsan X4 H107C HD 2MP Camera 2.4G 4CH 6 Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter (see pic below) It may look like a toy that would disintegrate the minute it collides with anything, but according to a number of reviews I’ve read, including this one from Eye In The Sky, it is “the only camera drone under $100 you should buy.” I shall reserve judgement for now having just placed my order for one on Amazon.co.uk, spending about £73 in total with postage and accessories including extra propellors, a propeller blade protection frame and a battery charger.
The Hubsan does not have the 20 minutes or more flying time of the DJI Phantom 2 Vision, which causes professional filmmakers and photographers to break out in an excited sweat, probably because of the built-in 14 megapixel camera that shoots high-definition video, its tilting capabilities, and supposed ease of use and integration with an Android or Apple phone.
However, with a starting price of between £500 and £600, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision seems more like a quadcopter one should progress to after one has earned their flying credentials. What if you turn out to be crap at flying these things, then that is £500 down the toilet. I’m not convinced that getting the smooth drone footage one sees on Vimeo or YouTube is all that easy. Depends on the quadcopter, how it behaves in different wind conditions, I guess, and the flying abilities of the person behind the remote.
Anyway, more on that later, hopefully, as I progress with flying my own eyes in the sky. In the meantime, I shall be sitting anxiously waiting for my Amazon brown box to arrive wondering if my interest in drones as a technology will be matched by my operating capabiities.