I’ve decided for Christmas to buy myself a drone. I photograph fox hunts and would like something to capture aerial views.
Looking at used to start so not breaking the bank. Distance travelled is primary concern as Hunt is often out of sight in the woods.
Looking at Mavic Air and Mavic 3 Standard.
What things should I consider as priority in my purchase? Distance? Camera? Collision Avoidance?
If the hunt is "often out of sight", one of your first considerations has to be the legality of flying any drone out of visual line of sight - in most places it is a major prohibition.
Flying using the screen alone is more difficult than you probably think, especially for an absolute beginner.
Suggest you think this one through very carefully, as there are a great many steps between putting down your credit card and enjoying the video & stills.
Despite having previous glider, single-engined and twin-engined flying, I managed to drive a drone sideways into a tree and lost it. As alexol notes, it is not trivial, especially if the drone is out of site (and that happens at around 500 metres, depending on the background). The angle of view of the camera, Sun location and other factors are at play and it is a mono view, so depth perception is often lacking. My suggestion would be that you buy one of the Pro 4 clones (about $300 U.S on line) so that if you lose it, you don't break the bank. This drone is over 250g, so you will need to get certified. The one I lost, (Mavic Mini) cost me about $300 to replace at Black Friday prices. The new Mavic Mini 2 is under 250g, has collision avoidance, 4k camera and does not require certification. From my experience with the Mini, the platform stability and camera stabilization are excellent and the Mini 2 would probably make an excellent unit for you as well, but is more expensive than the clones. Good luck in your quest!
With all due respect to previous posters to this thread, I have a couple of points/suggestions for you. This comes from over three (3) years experience as an FAA Part 107 certified remote pilot.
1) The "requirement" to fly within line of sight is, frankly, impractical. If the drone is directly above me, I can't see it above about 200' (~60m). If the drone is away from me I can't see it beyond about 500' (~150m) no matter the altitude. I depend on the visuals from the controller and have flown safely as far away as 7500' (~2.25KM) [~1.4 miles].
2) The FAA Part 107 certification is NOT required so long as your flying is purely recreational. IF you are receiving ANY compensation (barter or money) for your photos or video, then you ARE required to be certified.
3) The Mavic Mini 2 is an excellent choice to get started at reasonable cost. Start small and upgrade as necessary to your needs. I started three years ago with a Mavic Air (lowest end DJI product at the time) and have graduated to two (2) Mavic 2 Pros in my full-time photography business.
4) Have fun flying and capturing scenes and perspectives that we have only dreamed of capturing personally.
I also hold a 107 and have for a while now.
I'm surprised that - as an apparently trained 107 holder - you sound as if you are actively advising a new (presumably recreational) drone pilot to deliberately break FAA rules which I understand apply equally to recreational or professional pilots, 107 holders or not.
Perhaps you should mention the financial penalties in the (admittedly unlikely) event that he is caught.
Rules or not, flying out of sight to photograph something happening "out of sight in the woods" is not exactly beginner stuff.
Sorry, but your advice in this case is bad.
I personally didn't read where he "recommended" anything. In his first point he makes note of his inability to see everything within the parameters of the FAA part 107. He didn't tell the guy to go and do it. People are allowed to make their own decisions as adults and face whatever consequences are there.
His final point was to have fun. Not to go and be reckless.... If you're on 1200 acres in Montana and can safely fly over a mile away without risking anything but your investment in a flying camera, I say go for it. Fly with caution.
Despite having previous glider, single-engined and... (
The Mini 2 dropped the Mavic name, as the new Air 2S will. DJI Mini 2, is indeed under 250g, however, it does not have collision avoidance. It will require Part 107 in the US if used in a business or furtherance of a business. I am surprised you don't see more preppers posting regarding drones, as straight up and straight down is quite an edge in a hostile environment. Oh, Mini 2 is great advice.
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