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Does anyone have any experience using flying devices that you can mount a camera to? I would like to try this just as a side hobby and there are a lot of links and information that come up once you do a search on the Internet. As I'm really beginner in the area, the concerns that I have right now are battery life and amount of time that it could spend in the air. The other interesting question is whether it would be better to buy a full equipped devices that comes with a camera or just a flying widget that you can use with your own camera. However, any information on the matter would be useful at this point. Price range - as I said, hobby and I don't want to spend a lot of money on it but I don't want to make a compromise with quality either so just looking for the best available offer.

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There are existing sites covering recommendations for mobile camera platforms such as quad rotors. Recommendations aren't really that suitable on SE. –  Dr Mayhem Jun 4 at 11:24
    
All due respect sir or madam but there are plenty of similar posts over here. I'm looking for someone with first hand experience who used such device that I could communicate with instead of just looking at pre-written reviews and recommendations. In this industry everything tends to become obsolete quickly but if you still believe that this is not the place for such a question, please direct me to a place where I could obtain the information that I need. –  mmvsbg Jun 4 at 14:57
    
Sorry - we do have a software recommendation site, but not a hardware one. A quick Google shows a couple of user review sites. –  Dr Mayhem Jun 4 at 14:59
    
I still insist that half of the questions here are hardware related and a good part of them is "I have XXX budget to buy XXX, please help" so I'm not sure why you're picking on this question particularly. And if there's no hardware related recommendation site may be one should be created since this is a niche :) –  mmvsbg Jun 4 at 15:05
    
@mmvsbg - I think there are elements of your question that could be answered here, but Dr. Mayhem is probably right about specific products. We handle a lot of answers about product A vs product B for a given situation, but there is a lot less value in selecting a product out of all possibilities. That said, parts of your question, such as the bit about buying fully equipped vs building part of it yourself is probably a good question that is answerable. –  AJ Henderson Jun 4 at 15:20

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The on board cameras you ask about I have found to be sub-par in resolution, so I would focus on models you can attach a camera to.

One of mine - the Parrot AR Drone 2 - I simply gaffer tape a gopro to - the obvious problem is any movement of the drone to cope with flight results in a camera shift - the onboard cameras have this issue too of course. This can be stabilized out with good post-processing tools, but it's worth, budget allowing, to have a Gimbal for the camera.

Having used a Phantom 2 Vision system with a remote control for the Gimbal with video feedback, this was absolutely a winner for a film production, as the director I could watch each run, in high winds which occupied the pilot. This requires quite a bit of gear - the camera signal broadcast to a monitor (for us over wifi), the control of the gimbal, and the control of the drone. The positive of this system was the Gimbal and Drone control was centralised, so each didn't need their own battery, broadcast, and control systems.

So if you want smooth shots that don't "give away" it's taken by a flying machine and have a smooth flight quality, it really is worth having the camera separate on a Gimbal of some sort. The advantage of the prebuilt systems for this (We take XYZ camera) is they've 1. worked in the weight of the camera for that drone, and 2. figured out it's best positioning in terms of a balanced flight and drag, and tested it for that. Eg. If I gaffer tape my gopro in the wrong place, the drone stabilisation software fights it and the footage ends up shakey.

Good luck, it's all very very fun!

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Also an interesting product, though not releases yet: kickstarter.com/projects/airdog/… –  Professor Sparkles Jul 4 at 12:49
    
Interesting indeed but it would have been times better if there was an option to manually control it like a drone if you wish to. –  mmvsbg Jul 11 at 11:53

For a different sort of flying device to lift a camera, consider a kite.

A suitable kite is probably much cheaper than a drone. Plus it doesn't require batteries, so can stay up in the air much longer.

A range of cameras can be lifted with a kite. With a big enough kite, it is possible to lift a DSLR. Or a point and shoot or action camera can be lifted with a smaller kite.

Though a kite does need suitable wind conditions. Most lifting kites have a fairly narrow range they will fly in, some are designed for light winds, some for stronger. And it takes a bit of practice and skills to get it flying nicely.

For a general guide, the KAP Wiki is a good place to start.

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