Gone are the days when you could surprise someone with a drone. What was created as a defense technology is now a hot commodity in the consumer market. The number of registered drones in the US is approaching a million!
Drones are so popular because of their versatility, ease of use, and relative affordability. Paying just a few hundred dollars, you get a device that can fly through the air for a long period, transport cargo, take photos and videos, and so on.
Of course, most ordinary users buy drones for the sake of beautiful photos and videos. Aerial shots can be a great decoration for any YouTube channel or social media account. Also, such spectacular videos at weddings, parties and other events are very popular.
If you want to buy a drone, you will have to spend a lot of time choosing one model from the wide range on the market. What to focus on and how to make a choice? In general, many characteristics will help you distinguish between drones and find the best option for you.
For example, you should know that drones come in airplane and helicopter types. The first take off with the help of a springboard and stay in the air due to the motor and two large wings. The latter have propellers and can rise and fall vertically.
What to look for in a drone for a beginner
To make your choice easier, first, imagine the whole process of using your new drones. Each step you take is another selection criterion.
1) The cost of the drone.
So, first, you need to understand how much you are willing to pay for a drone. Weigh all the pros and cons, and evaluate your budget. The financial framework will significantly narrow your search.
2) Ease of use.
Keep in mind that the higher the class of the drone, the more functionality it has and the longer it will take you to learn how to fly it. On the other hand, many drones have features that make the whole procedure easier. For example, the headless mode allows you to control the drone no matter which way its head is pointing. The return-to-home mode automatically returns the drone to the take-off point using GPS.
3) Battery capacity and flight time.
Now you are ready to use it for its intended purpose. What tasks will it have to perform? If you need to film a party, a small battery is fine here. If you are using a drone to deliver cargo from point A to point B, you will need a more powerful device.
4) The quality of the camera.
Most amateur drones have a small camera of 10-15 megapixels, commercial shooting requires 4K resolution in order to broadcast the image on a large screen.
We will talk more about the technical characteristics of drones below.
Distinctive types of drones
The word “drone” combines a huge number of remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), which differ greatly in their technical characteristics.
Aircraft drones (fixed-wing drones) need a special launch pad for takeoff and landing. But thanks to their aerodynamics, they can stay in the air for a long time and travel long distances. Therefore, the military often uses such drones for aerial reconnaissance.
Helicopter-type drones (multi-rotor drones) take off from any platform, even from your hand. Depending on the number of propellers, they are divided into:
- single-rotor helicopter drone (has one propeller);
- tricopter (has three propellers);
- quadcopter (four propellers);
- hexacopter (six propellers);
- octocopter (eight propellers).
The more rotors, the more power and flight speed. But at the same time, more moving blades require more power and can shorten flight time.
Fixed-wing hybrid VTOL drones are a good demonstration of how fast this niche is growing. They combine the parameters of the two above groups. On the one hand, they have a fixed wing, which improves aerodynamics and allows you to glide. On the other hand, they have propellers that allow them to take off and land vertically.
Essential qualities a drone should have
How to choose a quadrocopter and not miscalculate? The first and main criterion for choosing a drone is the priorities and goals of the buyer. The second criterion is your ability to fly different types of drones. Beginners should start with simple models that have simpler functionality.
Here are a few technical specifications that are important for any drone.
- Stability. Choose stability characteristics based on the subject and shooting conditions. For example, for photos and videos of nature, 30 fps is enough, but to create video and photo content about sports competitions, you need devices with higher rates.
- Range of flight. Most modern drones receive a signal several kilometers from the control panel, the standard distance is 2-3 km. It is enough for both amateur and professional filming.
- Protection and reliability. Quadcopters can be equipped with protective systems for the body and the screws of the device. Small drones usually have wheels that are attached to the sides of the structure. At the moment of falling or hitting hard surfaces, the wheels will keep the body of the device safe and sound. Drones of relatively large sizes are equipped with frames that protect the blades from mechanical damage. Mid- to high-end quadcopters can return home when the battery is low or in any other emergency.
- Viewing angle in the camera. It can be from 55 – 60 ° to 180 ° and even more. A wider angle (ceteris paribus) allows you to fit more space into the frame at the same time; while a narrower one covers a smaller space, however, objects that are in the frame look larger, and it is easier to see individual small details on them.
When choosing the best beginner drones, you should also pay attention to such parameters as the volume and weight of the drone, flight range, the presence of additional sensors (height sensors, obstacles, etc.), the frequency of the radio channel, and so on.
Even if you have chosen a very high-quality drone with a reliable body and a protective level, the risk of breaking devices is always very high. The drone may lose control and fall from a great height or become caught in trees, power lines, or other obstacles. Even collisions with birds, falls into the water and other troubles are possible. A drone is not a book that is constantly on the shelf. This is a device that is always in a high-risk area during flight.
Therefore, always be prepared for the fact that you will need drone repair. As the drone market is steadily expanding, drone repair shops are also on the rise. However, you should choose your repair engineer carefully. This should be an expert who already has a lot of experience and can really do a quality repair. Then your drone will delight you for a long time with a good video from a bird’s eye view.
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