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MARK ANDERSON

TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONAL / BON VIVANT

DRONES

Drone Fleet

This was my very first drone. Purchased in early January 2018.

Great travel drone. Can be used with or without separate RF remote. I'll likely replace it soon with a Mavic Air (or Mavic 2 when available)

Limitations:

  • 12 minute flight time
  • 2-axis gimble and limited movement range (if you're shooting video, this is huge)
  • Form factor not good when packing, as the arms don't fold in
  • Stability in moderate winds, so-so
  • No rear sensors. When shooting video, a LOT of shots are easier to achieve when you start at the end-point and fly backwards.
  • No HDR Photos
  • Only 24mbps video
  • No 4K video - 4K is very useful for re-framing shots when down-sampling to 1080P
  • No advanced auto pilot: will stop at obstacles instead of flying around/over them
  • Limited intelligent flight modes - when filming video it's nice to have the drone do the flying while you focus on controlling the camera

Two weeks after purchasing the Spark, I passed my FAA Part 107 exam, became a certified, commercial remote pilot, and bought a Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian

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Sold my Spark and bought the Mavic Air. Largely due to increased flight time and 3-axis gimbal

Great travel drone: samller than the Spark when folded.

Benefits over Spark:

  • 17 minute (realistic) flight time
  • 3-axis gimble and wider movement range (if you're shooting video, this is huge)
  • Form factor when folded is good for packing
  • Stability in moderate winds.
  • Rear sensors. When shooting video, a LOT of shots are easier to achieve when you start at the end-point and fly backwards.
  • HDR Photos
  • 100mbps video
  • 4K video - 4K is very useful for re-framing shots when down-sampling to 1080P
  • APAS: advanced auto pilot: will fly around/over obstructions instead of stopping
  • More intelligent flight modes - when filming video it's nice to have the drone do the flying while you focus on controlling the camera

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Purchased this in 2nd half of January 2018.

This is a fantastic drone. It has 3-axis gimbal, with a 1-inch sensor in the camera, compared to 1/2.3 for Spark and Mavics, which loads of people think is one two-thirds: it's not: 1/2.3 is marginally over half an inch, so is 1/4 of the area of the Phantom 4 Pro).

In additon to a much bigger sensor, it also has a variable aperture, which means ND filters are rarely required. Further, it has a mechanical shutter, which elimiates artifacts found with electronic, rolling shutters.

Sensors on all 4 sides and the bottom protect from most crashes.

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Purchased this in 2nd half of January 2018.

Was looking for a smaller drone to practice with indoors. This one was about $40. Best thing: it has altitude hold.

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Accessories

This is the perfect size for carrying the Phantom 4 Pro, batteries, controller, iPad mini, etc.

There's are back-pack and messenger styles. I got the messenger style.

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Flying before sunset or after sunrise requires navigation lights that are visible from 3 nautical miles.

Besides, being required for navigation, I also find them very useful during daylight to help orientate the drone.

I attached the left and right lights (red and green) to these with velcro, which clip on to the Phantom 4 Pro landing gear perfectly.

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One of my greatest fears is losing my drone. If I crash it in the first year, DJI Refresh will replace it twice, but to make a claim, I need a body, so to speak.

There are several tracking options on the market, from Bluetooth to GPS/cellular. Bluetooth's range is too limited, and I plan to fly in a lot of places where there is no, or spotty, cell-service. That doesn't leave many options.

After a lot of research, I opted for the Marco Polo RF tracker. Very light, long range and long battery life (so plenty of time to find my downed drone!)

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This charger allows me to simultaneously charge all 3 batteries and the controller for my Phantom 4 Pro.

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