Drone decision

edited September 2019 in Filmmaking

I want to get a drone for some shots. The drone will only be used on a rare occasion, so I'm thinking low budget to justify it to the missus lol

my choices so far are: 

Hubsan X4 H501C Brushless With 1080P HD Camera GPS Altitude Hold Mode RC Quadcopter RTF. 

WLtoys Q303 - A RC Quadcopter

WLtoys Q333 - A RC Quadcopter

GTENG T905F RC Racing Quadcopter

the hubsan seems to be the best overall, but I'm not liking the camera distortion. The q303/333 have less camera distortion, lower price, however on the q303 you can see the rotor blades in shot. The gteng might be the winner because of price, and camera quality. But would I get smooth camera moves out of it

any advice would be great as a I know nothing about drones, thanks

edit: length of flight time is not important, nor is what it looks like



  • edited September 2019

    You're not going to find that much variation in the cameras on most consumer drones. There are a lot of them, but most of them are based on more or less the same camera, and usually with relatively inexpensive chipsets so the bitrates are low and the compression aggressive.

    Most of them fly reasonably well as long as it's a calm day. Most of the gimbals perform well also. Parrot makes some inexpensive camera drones also, which is worth a look.

  • I think it very much depends on the look you want from the drone shot. If you are looking for Planet Earth sweeping shots then like most things you are going to have to spend some money. If however it is a quick shot that can get away with being a bit more messy then sure go for it. But, like you said how many times will you need it, and will it become superceeded by a newer version that does the job better for the same money.

  • One thing to consider is that the cheaper Consumer drones most likely will not be  GPS stabilized and thus will be very difficult to get a steady shot in anything other than a dead calm day..  So there is a possibility to be buying twice.  Although starting out with a toy drone   may be a blessing since you will hone your pilot chops on something that if/when it interfaces with the ground at a most inopportune moment the financial loss will be negligible.   However, there is a strong possibility that you will not be happy with the camera performance on the majority of the cheaper drones.   Currently the DJI Phantom 3 standard can be had for a reasonable price.  Something to consider.

  • The Autel Robotics drones are decent also. And if you can swing it, the DJI Mavic, though the heavy compression IMO makes it unsuitable for 4K capture; the high detail regions in most of the Mavic footage I saw looked like mush. 60 Mbps is just not enough for even marginal 4K. It's 4K for the marketing bullet point, not practical use.

  • Thanks for replies. Sorry for delay in replying, I thought my post hadn't got onto forum.

    Whitecranephoto - I'd love to get a Parrot bebop 2 

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator
    edited September 2019

    If you already have a GoPro or other action cam in the same form factor as a GoPro and can stretch the budget a little I'd look for a FreeX MCFX - 01 like this one.

     If you don't already have an action cam then I would say the Hubsan. The GTENG is probably going to be a lot harder to learn to fly because it's an FPV racing type quad and I really don't know anything about the WL Toys models you list. The better ones for aerial photography from WL Toys are the V303 seeker and the XK Detect X380.

    Another option is pick out one without a camera and velcro an 808 keychain camera to it. 

    With any quad under the price of a DJI Phantom 3 you're going to be dealing with rolling shutter (jello), shaky shots and overall poor quality from the camera. 

  • edited September 2019

    If you can't spring for a DJI 3 Standard - base model now - you could probably pick up a Phantom 2 to go with a cheap (but nearly as good) GoPro clone for peanuts.

    I've got a spare one I probably couldn't give away (no, it's not for sale; it can fly where the newer ones can't.. ;) )

  • It would only be used for slow panning/dolly types of shots, so jello shouldn't be a problem.

    I have a flip camera. But that's quite heavy.

  • DJI is supposed to be announcing a consumer drone in two days.

  • Just seen it, called spark, looks good.

  • edited September 2019

    DJI Spark $499.00 US DJI Phantom 3 Standard $499.00 US (@best buy) It would be prudent to compare the specifications. The Spark is a mini drone. Also, Litchi works with the Phantom.  

  • *thumbs up*

  • edited May 2017

    Spark video output looks better then I'd thought a 2 axis gimbal would look. Although it's also got some "DJI Smooth" or something in the mix, which would imply EIS, and as the image sensor is 12Mp (4000x3000) and it's only producing 1080p video, it's got room to play around with the image and remove any slight Yaw wiggle..up to a point. Also seems to produce better colour than the Mavic which had some weird purple cast in the video Casey Neistat did.

    I'm tempted to get one for fun, but the more versatile (because you'd realistically want to get the $699 Spark bundle with a second (might be a third, they're not being very clear just yet) battery, proper controller and use a tablet or a phone for the display) would be the Phantom 3 Standard @ $499, which already comes with a controller and would use the same table/phone for display. Buy it a second battery and I think you'd still save some money to buy a cheap backpack for it and have some change left over.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator

    A DJI refurbished Phantom 3 Standard is only $399.00


    If you don't mind the thought of zero company support you can get a 3dr Solo with gimbal and extra battery for $337.00


  • Thanks again guys

  • With all the Drones that have come out over the last year or so, I've been putting off buying my first camera quadcopter. Bottom line. Out of all, which do you pick as the best entry point? I understand there will be pros and cons, but the one you recommend the most.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @JonWalter Mavic Air. For combination of features, price point and portability, that's the current sweet spot. 

  • I got the bebop 1 in the end. I’m embarrassed to write I’ve not used it yet though *hangs head in shame*

  • @godofthunder isn't that always the way, the fun is in the research and search, then when you get it, its cool and all, but now the work begins in capturing those shots and learning what you can realistically do with it.

  • edited April 2018


  • @Andy001z I have GAS, gear acquisition syndrome.  And I procrastinate a lot these days. I’ve been planning a short film for over two years now. Lol

  • Wait until you've shot it. You can then procrastinate about editing it. :)

  • or converting all the footage into workable media for hitfilm.

  • Nooooooooooooooooooo!

  • Yeah, that one's going to cost money; because ideally you'd convert it into something like ProRes or Cineform, neither of which are small, so...larger HDDs required.  The good thing is: if you buy those you won't have money left over for a drone, so won't need them to store..the...drone....footage......on....  Oh...wait. 

  •  I don't allow the best drones without DJI Drone, it's my favorite, I currently have DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter, which is my best drone. I highly recommend it! ! !

  • I advice you to choose hubsan-x4-h502e

  • DJI Mavic 2 Pro Drone is one of the best drone camera i am personally using this drone. It has long-range power bettry. 

  • edited August 2019

    *cough* still not used it, or done any film stuff.

    life got in the way sigh

Sign In or Register to comment.