Ok, so you want to buy a Drone (also known as UAV, multicopter, multirotor, quadcopter, quadrocopter, hexacopter, octocopter, and so on….)
Your options range from the tiniest thing for less than $50, to, tens of thousands of dollars for high-end photography or broadcast video drones. And everything in between. We can break things down into three main categories: Toys, Consumer Drones, and Professional Drones.
Toy Quadcopters / Drones
Toy Drones are… toys. That means, they’re fun to play with! Also, they can’t fly very far, and won’t injure anybody if it falls (less than a baseball, frisbee, or soccer ball smacking into you…). Toy quadcopters (they are nearly all 4-rotor quadcopters – not hexacopters or octocopters) range in size from a large insect to a small bicycle wheel. They’re all very light which means that when they fall on the ground, there isn’t much weight to fall with any force, so they don’t hurt anybody or break easily.
Toy Drone Reviews
Consumer Quadcopters / Drones
After you’ve flown around your house and your toy drone has gotten clobbered by the gentle wind in your back yard or local park, you are so addicted to these little flying machines that it is time to upgrade to something with some more substantial power… something that you can fly around outside in normal weather, maybe with a GoPro camera attached… you maybe even have the desire to make some cool photos and videos. After all, the world looks beautiful from up there… oh yes, the world looks amazing from up there!
Consumer drones are the ones that are making waves. Led by the DJI Phantom (but followed by many others, such as 3d Robotics and Walkera) these things are fantastic flying machines, allowing you to open the box and start flying without any knowledge or experience – amazing and a bit scary! Make no mistake – these things are not toys (despite what professional drone pilots say) – you can modify these with first person video to fly more than a mile away, you can shoot 4K video, 360º photos, and make very professional content. They are also capable of injuring you or others around you. These are serious flying machines that have managed to reach the market before any serious regulations have been able to catch up with them (and we are all hoping that everyone flies responsibly – that’s right – read everything on this site for starters, and fly safe!)
Which Drone to buy?
DIY Quadcopters / Hexacopters / Octacopters
If you don’t mind doing some soldering, and if you are comfortable actually learning about how these things are built, if the “don’t need to look under the hood” nature of DJI Phantom and similar drones is too restrictive for you, then you can build your own. It will be cheaper, it will work better, and you’ll have the support of thousands of experts in various online communities.
Professional Quadcopters / Hexacopters / Octocopters
Now you need more than a GoPro. You’ve already modded your DJI Phantom 2 beyond recognition. You need to take really professional videos and photos with a big camera. You understand the risks. You have clients who know the difference, and who can pay. It’s time to bring out the big guns 🙂 You know all about gimbals, flight controllers, cameras, you need high-quality avionics and redundancy, that’s right, time for the big machines!
More about professional drones, including reviews, will be published soon….