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Newbie asking for help on choosing equipment

bzmot

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Hi guys

First off, thank you for accepting me. Lukasz here, typing from Belgium.

I've been flying DJI Mavic drones for some time for leisure and the photo/video experience. I have never done FPV freestyle though. The topic fascinates me. I would like to get a drone that can do videos the kind of which you can see when you type: "viking valley fall" on youtube. I believe this is called freestyle cinematic but the exact nomenclature escapes me, so bear with me. Now, I understand there is a learning curve, I know about simulators and I wanna put the hours in. Maybe join some community in my area to get better. But first I would like to ask you for advice on choosing the gear. Not being a big DIY guy, I would like to ask for some recommendations on ready to fly drones, something I can take out of the box and fly it. Preferably one that could also carry a GoPro Hero 8 or a similar payload. So here goes:

1. Which drone should I choose so it's ready to strap on a GoPro and fly? I have a comfortable budget (well, not into thousands and thousands of $$$...) but I understand most of them are cheaper than Mavics anyway.
2. Would the DJI fpv system be better for the fpv camera or the analog system (that would be cool for me because I could use the DJI Racing Edition Goggles, which work for the Mavic too)?
3. Are there any other considerations I should think about (number of rotors, their size etc.)? I want to execute scenic flights in the wilderness, maybe graduate to navigate some tight spaces indoors and in urban exploration later on.

I'm sure the third question is super broad, but I will appreciate greatly if you give me some hints!
 

HighTechPauper

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Welcome @bzmot!

1. This is a long long list subject to a million opinions, but give me some time and I will go in depth here in the next day or so.
2. Since you are just starting, it would pay to go DJI in my opinion. I have not, but only because I have too much analog gear. Also you cannot use your existing DJI RE with this setup, it is a different proprietary system for the video part and there is no way to get the signal other than the DJI FPV goggles. Though a ground station may be in the future, nobody wants more gear to carry around and more cables strung between expensive components that can easily be damaged.
3. There is no one platform that will do all of what you are asking, small enough and safe enough to get into small spaces and indoors is one thing, flying scenic flights in wilderness is another, they each require some specialty slant to the build requirements.

For now think about this...

Scenic, 5 inch or larger (economically up to 7 inch prop size), 6S capable builds that you can fly on big 4s and 5s for reliability (hate to blow up, especially in wilderness)
.
Indoors, 3 inch CineWhoop.

Make a decision now if you want to go full DJI control, in the long run it may be more cost effective for you since the control link is part of the package by default.
DJI will have limitations currently (and possibly forever) with how far you can go (no real long range available right now) so analog is the king of distance still, we let the go pro get the pretty picture instead of seeing it in our goggles.
 

Wayno52

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Something like this could work well for you imho. Can strap a GoPro to it if required and basically add batteries and charger and you are good to go.
Sim training first for many hours would still be highly recommended.

 

tevek

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Another option could be the Iflight DC5 which I recently bought. You need the DJI goggles to go with it but you don’t need to buy the DJI controller. I have a ‘few’ analogue quads that are all bound to a Taranis QX7S controller as is the DC5. That way I can be a lot more flexible depending on where I am and the weather. You could mount a GoPro on the front but I haven’t as yet as the microSD footage from the air unit is more than good enough for me.
I bought the higher kV 4S model as I have quite a few 4S batteries that I already use for my other gear. Also if you do end up with analogue quads as the fleet grows, you can use an adaptor plate for your fatshark diversity module and use the same DJI goggles.
As @HighTechPauper has noted, there are some limitations with the gear if you running long range, but my experience is that I can fly and see much further than I ever did with analogue.
 

bzmot

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Welcome @bzmot!

1. This is a long long list subject to a million opinions, but give me some time and I will go in depth here in the next day or so.
2. Since you are just starting, it would pay to go DJI in my opinion. I have not, but only because I have too much analog gear. Also you cannot use your existing DJI RE with this setup, it is a different proprietary system for the video part and there is no way to get the signal other than the DJI FPV goggles. Though a ground station may be in the future, nobody wants more gear to carry around and more cables strung between expensive components that can easily be damaged.
3. There is no one platform that will do all of what you are asking, small enough and safe enough to get into small spaces and indoors is one thing, flying scenic flights in wilderness is another, they each require some specialty slant to the build requirements.

For now think about this...

Scenic, 5 inch or larger (economically up to 7 inch prop size), 6S capable builds that you can fly on big 4s and 5s for reliability (hate to blow up, especially in wilderness)

Thanks! Is this a brand selling ready to use models (Scenic, I mean)?
 

bzmot

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Another option could be the Iflight DC5 which I recently bought. You need the DJI goggles to go with it but you don’t need to buy the DJI controller. I have a ‘few’ analogue quads that are all bound to a Taranis QX7S controller as is the DC5. That way I can be a lot more flexible depending on where I am and the weather. You could mount a GoPro on the front but I haven’t as yet as the microSD footage from the air unit is more than good enough for me.
I bought the higher kV 4S model as I have quite a few 4S batteries that I already use for my other gear. Also if you do end up with analogue quads as the fleet grows, you can use an adaptor plate for your fatshark diversity module and use the same DJI goggles.
As @HighTechPauper has noted, there are some limitations with the gear if you running long range, but my experience is that I can fly and see much further than I ever did with analogue.
Thanks! This looks nice!

Now please bear with me a little more...

1. Does this thing come with a battery?
2. Is the higher kv motor also more powerful somehow or is it just about battery compatibility?
3. Do they have something to strap the gopro on in this store and if so what am I looking for (remember! total newb!) :)?
4. Do racer drones usually come without tubes and are flown without them? I understand tubes are widely used for cinewhoops but perhaps that's because they fly indoors a lot?
5. I'm confused about analog. Can this drone be easily adapted to analog? Does analog give more range or less range?
 

bzmot

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Something like this could work well for you imho. Can strap a GoPro to it if required and basically add batteries and charger and you are good to go.
Sim training first for many hours would still be highly recommended.

Thanks!

Do you recommend any particular sim? Liftoff? Something else?

Do you think it's preferable to wear goggles on the sim or is a screen sufficient?
 

tevek

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Thanks! This looks nice!

Now please bear with me a little more...

1. Does this thing come with a battery?
2. Is the higher kv motor also more powerful somehow or is it just about battery compatibility?
3. Do they have something to strap the gopro on in this store and if so what am I looking for (remember! total newb!) :)?
4. Do racer drones usually come without tubes and are flown without them? I understand tubes are widely used for cinewhoops but perhaps that's because they fly indoors a lot?
5. I'm confused about analog. Can this drone be easily adapted to analog? Does analog give more range or less range?
Hi
1. No they don’t come with batteries or chargers. There are a variety of chargers and batteries to choose from.
2. The differences in kV ratings in motors are fairly complex but in my case, the higher kV motors are suited for my 4S batteries, whereas the lower kV motors suit the bigger batteries - 6S in this case. Very generally speaking, for those looking at greater performance, higher output, and sometimes further distance, they go for 6S. For more general flying, cruising and longer flights, I use 4S, they are generally cheaper and more available. You can certainly make the mistake of running 6S on underated (4S) motors and their electronics that will cook the lot or run smaller batteries on gear rated for 6S that will last much longer. Depends on what you are looking for.
3.You can buy a variety of third party TPU holders for GoPro types of cameras. They are available from either eBay or your local drone supplier.
4.Not sure what you mean regarding tubes.
5. The difference between flying analogue and digital is fairly contested at the moment. For long distance range flying, many believe analogue is still the go due to the amount of gear available (ground stations etc) that you can buy to assist with doing so. In my case, I have both but the digital experience for me is better as I only fly short to mid range (1 -2 Kim’s) but the goggle experience is way better and easier to use with my old eyes.
 
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HighTechPauper

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I wasn't referring to a specific make or model, it was a category of quad. You seem to be looking for very specific answers, but so much of this is up to you to decide. As far as distance, it is not unheard of for analog to go 10+ miles with a ground station and directional antennas, I have not seen anyone do the same with digital yet, but perhaps it is possible with a specialized setup.
 

bzmot

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I wasn't referring to a specific make or model, it was a category of quad. You seem to be looking for very specific answers, but so much of this is up to you to decide. As far as distance, it is not unheard of for analog to go 10+ miles with a ground station and directional antennas, I have not seen anyone do the same with digital yet, but perhaps it is possible with a specialized setup.
Well it's because all this is very new to me and DIY is not my forte. That's why I want something that's ready to use.
 

bzmot

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I run gear with ducts in the smaller gear (2-3”) but with 5” and above their performance doesn’t need either the protection or the flight benefits of the smaller gear.
I see. So if a 5" catches some branches or twigs on the way it can just keep going or will the rotors stop spinning and down it goes, like a Mavic?
 

tevek

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I see. So if a 5" catches some branches or twigs on the way it can just keep going or will the rotors stop spinning and down it goes, like a Mavic?
Generally I’ve had fewer issues with my bigger quads being caught as I’ve had more success ‘chainsawing’ my way out of the smaller stuff. You can also run ‘props out’ to also help a bit but I’ve also had my fair share of climbing, throwing things and once used a fire truck to bring an errant quad down. Trees have always been the enemy and you need to be mindful of them, but in my opinion the higher prop speeds of racing quads give an advantage over the DJI stuff.
 

HighTechPauper

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Well it's because all this is very new to me and DIY is not my forte. That's why I want something that's ready to use.
If you want something truly ready to fly with all the good stuff just get one of the full DJI setups from GetFPV, including controller (TX),1 quad battery, 1 goggle battery, and a charger you can get by for about 1,400.00 to 1,600.00 and have everything you need but extra quad batteries.

1584665593542.png
 

bzmot

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If you want something truly ready to fly with all the good stuff just get one of the full DJI setups from GetFPV, including controller (TX),1 quad battery, 1 goggle battery, and a charger you can get by for about 1,400.00 to 1,600.00 and have everything you need but extra quad batteries.

View attachment 4010
Thanks!!!
 
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bzmot

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Generally I’ve had fewer issues with my bigger quads being caught as I’ve had more success ‘chainsawing’ my way out of the smaller stuff. You can also run ‘props out’ to also help a bit but I’ve also had my fair share of climbing, throwing things and once used a fire truck to bring an errant quad down. Trees have always been the enemy and you need to be mindful of them, but in my opinion the higher prop speeds of racing quads give an advantage over the DJI stuff.
Great, thanks!

Would there be any specific sim app you would recommend? Liftoff? Something else?

Also, on an unrelated note: do you think once you learn to fly racing drones, it will be easier to control a cinewhoop after that?
 

tevek

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Great, thanks!

Would there be any specific sim app you would recommend? Liftoff? Something else?

Also, on an unrelated note: do you think once you learn to fly racing drones, it will be easier to control a cinewhoop after that?
I’ve got Liftoff which I only use from time to time as I get bored easily.
As for flying a cinewhoop, most people learn to fly on the smaller quads and then move into the 5” rigs later. They are usually more robust in a crash and can be flown in much smaller areas. Since you are looking at RTF packages, you can get DJI 3” quads such as the bumblebee that would be more forgiving as easier to learn on than the bigger quads.
 

bzmot

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Tha
I’ve got Liftoff which I only use from time to time as I get bored easily.
As for flying a cinewhoop, most people learn to fly on the smaller quads and then move into the 5” rigs later. They are usually more robust in a crash and can be flown in much smaller areas. Since you are looking at RTF packages, you can get DJI 3” quads such as the bumblebee that would be more forgiving as easier to learn on than the bigger quads.
Thanks so much for all your answers! I got a Taranis radio now so off to the sims I guess!
 
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Scv Flyer

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Definitely start on the sims it will save you a ton of money and time at the bench. Also be aware even though you can buy a RTF quad you are going to crash and break stuff so you are going to have to learn how to work on your rig. The new RTF builds available now are much better than even 12 months ago. We are here to help and if you can find people in your area I know you’ll be able to get help as that is what this community is all about!!!!

I watched the video that you mentioned and I personally would consider that long range. If that is the type of flying you want to do I would personally recommend going with an analog setup ( everyone has a different opinion on this ).

The RTF options you have been recommended in this thread should all be available in analog and digital options. I personally haven’t tried the DJI goggles but I know the picture is really amazing however I have heard other pilots have issues with the variable latency that is built into the system when going long range. I’m sure others will disagree and I’m not trying to start a digital vs analog debate, I’m just putting in my two cents.

I hope you enjoy whatever you end up purchasing and welcome to the hobby!!
 

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