You’re thinking of buying a drone, too? I would like to share my thoughts and experiences on buying my first drone. Maybe I can help.
Being a blogger, documenting, taking pictures and capturing different angles on our travels are crucial. Famous bloggers own one or more, and it really make their posts stand out. You can reveal the hidden beauty of the place, secret pockets of beaches and beautiful formations only visible up high. That’s one aspect that tickled me on buying my drone. And I have a couple of more reasons to tell.
Why buy a drone?
Aside from documentation of our travels as my main reason, you can also use it to earn money. It’s widely used for wedding pictorials and SDE’s, mapping, surveying and inspection. Of course, you can just add it as one of your hobbies. Join local groups, meet new friends and fly together.
As we are familiar with, drones are generally expensive. Yes there are toy drones for kids, but we want to tackle drones that has decent imaging capabilites. The price is directly proportional to a drones’ features so find one that suits your needs and goals.
Some brands equipped with a camera and are good beginner drones are Hubsan, Syma, and Yuneec which generally cost P1000 to P10,000. Most of them has a a decent camera that is capable of capturing HD and even 1080P footages. But generally lacks gimbal and adequate flight time.
The top manufacturer of drones with hobby to professional-grade cameras is DJI. I started my search at their portfolio. There are Tello, Spark, Phantom, Mavic, Inspire and other heavy-duty products.
Selecting my first drone
At first, I was inclined towerds DJI Spark as it features ground breaking technology like gesture control at an entry-level price. It has 12MP sensor and can shoot 1080P video. But I was worried that the 2-axis gimbal might be a bottleneck for me on doing travel videos. Nevertheless, DJI Spark is of great value with respect to its price.
DJI Phantom series are promising drones. It has 12MP sensor like the Spark and features a better 3-axis gimbal and can shoot 2k videos. It’s just around P20,000, around the price of my previous candidate. But travelling with a large bag will be difficult for me. I usually travel with my girlfriend and I help carry her bags. So bringing another luggage dedicated for a drone will be a deal breaker for me.
DJI Mavic Air
Here comes the DJI Mavic Air introduced last February. Advertisements were aired and after seeing it, I was amazed. It packs a lot of updated features but the one I liked best is its portability. It’s even smaller than the DJI Spark when folded. But the price as expected is steep. In our country, Philippines, (Fly More Combo) it’s just around P5000 less than the Mavic Pro which sports a little more features than the Air.
I was thinking deeply if shelling out more than P60k for a drone is worth it, or buying a cheaper and very capable DJI Spark would do. But my hands are itching so hard to own one after watching reviews of the Mavic Air. To convince myself, I searched for ways on how can an expensive drone help me earn some money and not be a liability.
After taking with a grain of salt that buying an expensive Mavic Air would bring me some cash, and telling myself that it’s not just for hobby, I gave in and bought one.
Finally, got my drone
I asked my girlfriend to accompany me to Mall of Asia, Pasay City, Philippines to look for the Mavic Air. I found one at the CyberZone and got the Fly More Combo for 61k, with half credit card and half cash payment so I can manage my credit limit well.
Seeing the prized drone in person for the first time made my heart jump, it’s like I was star-strucked. After weeks of watching plenty of reviews on the internet, now it’s in front of me. We cannot test the drone inside the shop (sigh) so we just check the charger and batteries if they’re working.
Now that I have my drone, I am planning to get a license at Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) so I can use it for commercial purposes. But for now, I have to be worthy of it by learning how to fly, maintain it and capture beautiful moments.
Why didn’t I start with Toy Drones?
Others may say, start with cheap drones and learn from it. But I think it’s out of way if you already know your purpose of buying one, and if you have the budget. Yes you may learn the basics on a cheaper drone but wouldn’t it be irrelevant if the one you’ll be using in the future is an advanced drone? It’s similar to studying how to drive a manual car but you’ll be driving an automatic. Again, if you have the budget, purchase that quality drone and learn from it so you can save money and be familiar with it.