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Why did you buy your first drone?

Diane

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Recently I saw some drone footage, and they are so stunning that make me want to buy one.
But I am not a professional photographer.So I am hesitating, should I buy a drone and try to shoot a video?
I'm curious about when you bought your first drones. What motivated you to buy it?
Have you ever regretted buying a drone?
 
I'll start with a bit humor... "Why did I buy my first drone?" Because I'd go to jail if I got caught stealing it... LoL

Actually, my first drone was a $30 GoolRC 161 from eBay and it was a DJI Mini Look-a-like. It flew great and I had a lot of fun flying it, but its camera was almost useless, even for Photos, video was a waste of time. Since it was an inexpensive drone, when the batteries were low, the lights flashed for about 10-seconds and then immediately landed, no control at all... So I would start the video just so it would show how long it was flying and at about 10-minutes, I'd bring it back and land it. before it went into its forced landing routine... Then I just deleted the video... I am not a photographer but I wanted to take photos from on high, and I watched a lot YouTube Video and was torn between the Mini 2 and the SE. The Mini 2 won out and my Photography progressed to shooting Photospheres and publishing them on Google Earth nd Google Maps... I'll post a link to one below and you can use your mouse to scroll all around 360 degrees and even zoom in...


That's my story and I'm sticking to it...
 
I’d seen some drone footage and was in awe at the vision that I thought only helicopters could get. Couple that with a desire to fly and I’d found my dream. Bought a used Air 1 (still have it) because it had 3 axis gimbal, some obstacle avoidance and was in my budget. No regrets.
 
Recently I saw some drone footage, and they are so stunning that make me want to buy one.
But I am not a professional photographer.So I am hesitating, should I buy a drone and try to shoot a video?
I'm curious about when you bought your first drones. What motivated you to buy it?
Have you ever regretted buying a drone?
As a kid, I was envious of a guy who had one of those chrome plated P-51 Mustangs. Ha, I’m sure some of the other “old timers” like myself here, remember them. They were gas powered and tether controlled, you could only fly them in a circle ! Oh man, did I want one,
I never got it though.
A few years ago, I started seeing drone reviews on YouTube and thought, “ hey I can do that”, AND I can afford one too ! So I researched a little more and bought my first drone, an MJX Bugs 3. I recently stuck my neck out financially, and bought my MA2. It’s like owning a Maserati in comparison.
 
Bought the Phantom 0 in 2012. The gimbal mounted GoPro camera took ok video but terrible stills but it was the first reasonably priced means to get a camera in the air. I got better stills by extracting them from the video. My biggest client was Sothebys and they were very excited to see aerial photographs of their luxury real estate. My avatar was take on the Phantom, (you had to start/stop the video on the ground, no control in the air) I didn't realize the horse on the equestrian estate was looking over my shoulder. Since then I’ve bought the Inspire1Pro with interchangeable quality lens which does beautiful photographs but video is constrained by low bit rate. I still have the M2P & just bought a Mavic 3 Classic. Stills are good (more noise than a full format DSLR but not too bad), video is good. If you have a reason to get interesting angles on property, people or scenery then the Mavic 3 Classic is a good compliment to yr camera but you have to learn how the operate the drone & in most countries, you’ll need a license. This is a lot of work but for me was worthwhile.
 
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Flew RC airplanes for about 20 years. Mostly giant scale where it gets very expensive. Thousand dollar gasoline engines---ARF airframes at $3-$700, servos at $80 each and many require 6-10 servos. The final straw was where a bad ($50 new) receiver destroyed $2500 on the 4th flight. That was the straw that broke the camels back. Quads are a lot less expensive and with horizontal hold and return to home, a LOT MORE FORGIVING. IT IS A HORRIBLE FEELING WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF AIR SPEED, ALTITUDE, AND IDEAS AT THE SAME TIME!

So I got the $55 Costco toy on a whim for the grandchildren----and well I guess you can figure out the rest of the story.
 
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have played around with different types of models in the RC hobby for a long time,then discovered drones and gradually worked my way up to my present collection
 
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I purchased my first drone almost 9 years ago, early 2014.
At that time I was a professional photographer, and saw the potential in drone photography.
The image quality from the drone cameras at that time was unusable, but by chance I stumbled upon a Dutch company called Dronexpert. They had managed to adapt a Sony RX100 to the Phantom 2.
The RX100 was then one of the best compact cameras available, with a 1" 20Mpix image sensor. And because of the high quality glass lens it gave just as good or better images than the Mavic 3.

The camera was mounted on a plate between the Phantom's legs, and by use of electrical motors it could be tilted 90 degrees. The camera had no electronic shutter, so to take a picture a servo motor moved a small arm that pushed the shutter button down! All controlled from the RC of course. The downlink to a screen mounted on the RC had reasonably good range.

The biggest problem was the lack of a gimbal to absorb vibrations, so it was only usable with shutter speeds from 1/125 s and shorter. Longer shutter speeds could work, but I needed to take 7-8 photos and hope one of them was sharp...
But in daylight and shorter shutter speeds it worked just fine!

At that time I was connected to a photo agency with strict quality requirements, and they accepted the photos.

I guess it is safe to say that nobody got better photo quality from a Phantom 2 than I did :)


The tail is the downlink antenna.

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The monitor mounted on the RC

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The motor that presses the shutter button.

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One of my first flights. I saw this scene and had very short time to capture it, and had almost no flight experience.
I was very, very nervous :)

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Not bad quality from a Phantom 2, almost 9 years ago :)

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Recently I saw some drone footage, and they are so stunning that make me want to buy one.
But I am not a professional photographer.So I am hesitating, should I buy a drone and try to shoot a video?
I'm curious about when you bought your first drones. What motivated you to buy it?
Have you ever regretted buying a drone?
I am a photographer and wanted a truly different perspective. What better than take to the sky. Bought the Air2 and the Mini2 and no regrets with either purchase.
 
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Recently I saw some drone footage, and they are so stunning that make me want to buy one.
But I am not a professional photographer.So I am hesitating, should I buy a drone and try to shoot a video?
I'm curious about when you bought your first drones. What motivated you to buy it?
Have you ever regretted buying a drone?
Because I am a 60 Yr old child. Big boys toys, no regrets.
 
my first was a Skyviper. my son got it for me and i got one for him. had a range of about 350 ft and about 5 mins of flying time. we both hung them up in trees etc. a friend of mine got an Air2 i saw the pictures and videoa and was blown away. i them got a used M1P. six weeks later i crashed it into a tree limb. i saw one advertised at a pawn shop near my house. i bought iy and sent the first one out for repairs to Thunder Drones. i now have two of the M1P's but thinking i may send one to my son who is active duty USCG
 
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In the summer of 2020, my sons teenage sons bought cheap drones from amazon. They were toy grade with no gps and with cameras that worked but took pretty horrible pictures and video. It was a ton of fun though flying around the yard and going up as high as you dared. I got in on the action and got one myself.

Though the fall I upgraded to GPS drones. I found my self frustrated by the limited distance and instability controlling it. I started watching reviews on youtube and as I saw more and more about DJI, I decided to take the jump in the spring and got a Mavic Air 2. This drone gave me all I wanted in range, stability, and image quality. It was amazing!!

After a bit over a year, I started to explore options for even better image quality. I bought an Air 2S (aircraft only since it's compatible with what I had already) and was amazed by the capabilities of its camera.

My sons have since given up flying drones. I still have the cheap toy ones I got because they are fun to buzz around the yard. I got a small FPV drone which satisfies my desire to fly fast and keep my skills sharp. My cheap GPS drones are collecting dust. I reserve flying my A2S for flights where I want to capture some nice shots with the camera. I try to get out at least once a week.
 
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As a private pilot I was always intrigued by the views from above. My grandson received a Dji Phantom 2+ in 2015. After seeing the photos, videos and flying it for a bit I was hooked. Black Friday 2016 saw me buy the Phantom 3 standard. Then in 2019 bought the Mavic Mini as it was easier to travel with than the Phantom. Still fly both and love taking pictures and videos, as well I fly a number of electric foam RC planes and continue to fly the full size plane. So as Oldhollowman stated “Big boys toys”.
 
Because I'm a photographer and drones are the best camera for landscape and architecture due to the fact that you can put the point of view in any point of the three-dimensional space. And also because I enjoy flying, and flying a drone is 1.000 times better than Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Mini 2-->Air2S-->Lite+-->Mavic 3

I intend to keep the M3 for a long time as my stabilized drone for photography, but I'd like to get an Avata and a VTOL in the future, just for flying.
 
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Recently I saw some drone footage, and they are so stunning that make me want to buy one.
But I am not a professional photographer.So I am hesitating, should I buy a drone and try to shoot a video?
I'm curious about when you bought your first drones. What motivated you to buy it?
Have you ever regretted buying a drone?

I bought my first drone because I wanted to take photos from up in the air. I wanted to be able to get about the trees and the wires to shoot the sunsets and sunrises.
 
Great thread. So many reasons presented. My Mrs is anti-gadget anyway and also watches the pennies so I was never going to be able to get one. I love gadgets and spending money and I was amazed when she saw a Spark shot our nephew had taken of the coast somewhere here and said “you should get one”. Wooosh I was in BestBuy as soon as we were on hols in Naples FL. The rest is history and her 50th wedding anniversary to me saw me opening a Mavic Air 2 to add to the stable. Never looked back! Enjoy your new hobby.
 
I have always enjoyed photography. I've enjoyed seeing other's photos and I'm inspired by the amount of creativity in the photography world. I have also always been a gadget guy intrigued by the constant advances in technology. Bought my first drone...a DJI Spark and was absolutely floored by the amount of technology packed into such a small package. Fell in love with the hobby, got my part 107, upgraded to a Mavic Air2 and now a Mavic 3. Turned the hobby into a small business and loving it!
 
I got a$1k bonus from work & decided to turn our 2nd bedroom into a cockpit for Microsoft Flight Simulator. I only needed a gaming computer, 3 monitors & the flight control hardware (!)

So, anyway... A friend taught me to fly his Phantom 2 a few years ago & I wondered if GPS drone prices had come down & if flight times had improved.

I bought the Mini 2 bundle & a compatible 64-bit flagship phone for $300. I live in Mesa, AZ, which is in Maricopa County, which is mostly restricted airspace of one sort or another because of all the airports (Sky Harbor, Mesa-Gateway, Falcon Field, etc.), an Air Force base & hospitals with helicopter landing pads.

Luckily, I live within a half-hour drive of some scenic trailheads in Tonto National Forest, which welcomes drone pilots as long as they follow FAA rules & don't harrass the local wildlife (especially eagle nests!).

So I'm proud of the 68 flights I've made in my first year & hope to beat those numbers next year!
 
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