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Old March 24th, 2014, 05:25 PM   #16
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

@ Bruce, I assume you are referring to the cheaper Turnigy batteries rather than the genuine DJI ones. I have found no advantages in the DJI ones at all, in fact I seem to get about 30 secs more from the Turnigy. From the forum reports though there seem to be one or two Chinese companies selling poor quality copies with greatly reduced flying times.

@Scott, apart from the larger battery, there really doesn't seem to be much else that the P2 offers. The spec talks about increased payload, but the motors appear to be the same as the P1.

I really can't see that adding a gimbal to the P2 is different to the P1. If you haven't done it before, it may seem daunting, but I was completely new to it and it was extremely simple. It involves attaching the mounting plate with two screw to the existing fitting threads on the shell, pushing the 4 rubber vibration grommets through the holes on the matching plate and plugging the lead into the battery balancing plug. No set up to do, it will level up out of the box. If you want to use the remote tilt lever, one lead needs connecting to the Naza plug, just a push fit both ends. The limits of travel and speed of movement of the manual tilt lever will need to be set up in the Phantom software to your own requirements, that would apply to any gimbal manual tilt.

As regards advanced features on the Futaba Tx, the basic control parameters on all aspects of the phantom attitude control including yaw are customisable from within the DJI assistant software with the standard DJI tx. So speed of response to inputs can be adjusted to suit your own requirements. There are always things that you could do to any RC control equipment to add range, extra channels etc if you feel so inclined, the question is do you need it?

The Phantom is tried and tested, it will carry a GoPro, 2 axis gimbal and fpv if required, it requires no soldering or fiddly assembling of components to be ready to fly and is very affordable. By all means pay an intermediary company to screw the legs and props on, connect up a Zenmuse gimbal and spray it with a waterproofer, but for the extra money, you would be getting close to the cost of a basic hexacopter. It's up to you to decide where to spend the money, but the Phantom 1 will give you a cheap and simple quad with minimal effort to fly.

Roger
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Old March 25th, 2014, 10:16 AM   #17
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

Thanks Roger. Just screwing/bolting things on and connecting wires via plugs is no problem---I can handle that. :-)

I need to do a bit more research...but so far, I'm not seeing much of a reason for the Phantom 2's bigger batteries. I might be wrong, but my impression is that the bigger batteries don't increase flight time more than maybe 10%. If they DOUBLED flight times, that would be different!

But I also don't know how hard or easy it is to swap batteries on either Phantom. If it's as easy as landing, popping open a battery bay, swapping batteries, and launching again, no problem---I'd be fine with having plenty of fully-charged batteries on hand (for the Phantom 1) and just going with a new battery for every shot! :-) (But if the process is more involved than that, then I could see where longer flight times would be nice.)

I'm also interested in the differences---beside camera weight capacity---in the bigger hex- and octa-rotor platforms and the Phantom. My understanding is that the bigger platforms are more stable in wind (I guess due to greater overall weight and more props)...but do the bigger platforms also offer dramatically increased airtime per flight?

Scott
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Old March 25th, 2014, 01:35 PM   #18
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

The Phantom 2 has a plug in battery which is self connecting, whereas the P1 has a battery door to open and a plug and socket to connect Both are very easy to do, with the P2 probably being more convenient. Many people, including me, cut a couple of slots in the door on the P1 which enables the battery connection to be made outside the housing for speed.

Hexacopters have more lifting power but this is also counterbalanced with more weight. Flying times aren't necessarily longer, because longer flying time requires bigger batteries and therefore more weight. It is a scale of diminishing returns, with a trade off of how much you want to lift against how long you want to fly. Another consideration is that greater weight carrying and endurance is also an expotentially increasing cost and maintenance scale.

The larger and heavier the platform, the more stable it is in higher winds, but a gimbal can make big differences to even a small quad, ironing out quite surprising turbulence. I stand by my original advice though, which is to start off simple and low cost to gain experience. Then if you want to upgrade later, you will have no problem selling on your working system.

Roger
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Old March 27th, 2014, 06:36 PM   #19
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

Might already be posted in other threads but the new H3-3D three axis gimbal has now replaced the two axis. They should be shipping next week, eagerly awaiting mine, phantom 2 arrived today :)

John.
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Old March 27th, 2014, 07:12 PM   #20
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Steele View Post
Might already be posted in other threads but the new H3-3D three axis gimbal has now replaced the two axis. They should be shipping next week, eagerly awaiting mine, phantom 2 arrived today :)

John.
I think if I wanted to spend $1000 on a gimbal, I wouldn't be putting it on a Phantom 1or2 !! i'll stick with my very satisfactory $75 2axis gimbal for now :-)

Roger
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Old March 27th, 2014, 07:47 PM   #21
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

The $1000 includes the phantom 2 :)

John.
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Old March 27th, 2014, 09:28 PM   #22
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

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Originally Posted by John Steele View Post
The $1000 includes the phantom 2 :)

John.
Yep, and I've read rumours that the gimbal itself is only $100 more than the original H3-2D gimbal, which would make it under $500 US.

It's a definite buy for me. The side-to-side movement that the original gimbal can't compensate for really ruins the footage in my opinion, so I'm looking forward to seeing how much better the 3-axis gimbal works.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 06:07 AM   #23
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

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Originally Posted by John Steele View Post
The $1000 includes the phantom 2 :)

John.
I'll eat humble pie in that case, I must have misread the review :-(

I still wouldn't pay that amount for a gimbal to fly a GoPro on a Phantom, preferring to upgrade to a hexacopter and better camera if I wanted to go in that direction. I can understand feeling familiar with the Phantom platform, as I do myself, but it is still an entry level quad at the end of the day.

Roger
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Old March 28th, 2014, 07:06 AM   #24
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

So I'm trying to get straight on how these gimbals work: with the 2D gimbal, you control tilt, but not pan; and with the 3D gimbal you control pan and tilt, right? (Just making sure I understand.)

If that's the case, then yeah, I think the extra $100 to control pan is well worth it.

One other random Q for you guys: in many of the GoPro vids I see from the Phantom 1-2 (and even some hexcopters), I often see the props at the top corners of the frame. I'm assuming this is either because operators just tilted too high...or used too wide a setting on the GoPro---is this correct?

I'm still researching what platform we'll buy. I found a complete F550 system sold by Helipal.com that looks good---it's basically all DJI components, they just assemble and test everything for you. Their demo vids look good, and they have excellent vids on assembly, control, etc. plus regularly updated PDF manuals.

DJI Sale DJI F550 V2.1 w/ NAZA V2 Flight Controller (RTF) - HeliPal

Roger, your point about starting cheap is well-taken...but in our university environment, purchasing can be a bit of a bureaucratic process (that takes time), so I've learned it's often better to ask for more up-front and buy into the middle of a product line's range---rather than start near the bottom and step up gradually.

Helipal.com also has a breathtaking vid shot from the F550 of huge flocks of birds flying by. Really awesome, and the slo-mo improves it immensely.

Scott
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Old March 28th, 2014, 09:38 AM   #25
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

2 axis gimbals stabilise motion in pitch and roll, 3 axis adds yaw stabilisation as well.

Props are visible in quite a lot of videos because the camera is set up for a horizontal view. As soon as the quad moves forward, it pitches forward and the props appear in the top of the camera view, because the gimbal takes out the pitching motion. The same is sometimes seen in roll, or when the quad is holding it's position against a side wind and leaning to one side to do so. A prop may well appear as the gimbal holds horizontal position.

The third axis stabilises unwanted yaw movements, although if the quad is set up for smooth yawing for panning shots, the stabilising can affect those movements in an unwanted way. If you are unable to get shots without unwanted yaw movement creeping in, then the 3 axis gimbal is the way to go.

I take your point about aiming at a higher budget allocation, in which case I would definitely go for the bigger package, with the Phantom to fall back on if you don't get the higher budget.

Roger
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Old April 6th, 2014, 09:27 AM   #26
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

UPDATE: I continue to take my time with the purchase of our multicopter system. After narrowing things down to a DSLRPros Phantom 2 package or an XProHeli XP2 package, I discovered another (somewhat popular) American retailer/integrator of drone systems, Aerial Media Pros:
Aerial Media Pros

They attend NAB every year, and appear to be tight with DJI (they've been a leading American distributor of DJI gear for several years, supposedly). Their website is pretty good, and they inspire a bit more confidence (for some reason) than DSLRPros in terms of customer service.

Aerial Media Pros also sell F550 and Phantom 2 packages, and I've emailed them asking for their opinion on an F550 versus Phantom 2 (not only because I like gathering as many opinions as possible, but also as a routine test of their customer service response---though they're at NAB this week so I know I might not get a prompt response).

@Jody Arnett: you mentioned earlier thinking an F550 is a better choice than the Phantom, and this is what I'm hung-up on at the moment---whether to go with the quad or hex? The price difference between these isn't much.

One bit of technical info I still haven't found an answer to is the following: will the Naza-M v2 controller work just like a Wookong WK-M and enable a hexacopter to still fly if one of the props or motors fails? If so, this strikes me as a reasonably good reason to go with the hex—that sounds like good insurance (whereas a quad will fall from the sky if a prop breaks or motor fails).

The other question I'm still not satisfied on is...given a hypothetical scenario where you have a quad and a hex that are of identical weights and flying in identical conditions, which one would be more stable? (Remember, this is a hypothetical scenario!) I think you suggested, Jody, that the hex is more stable...but I've heard others suggest that stability is more a function of weight than number of props.

So which would do better in moderate winds? A heavy Phantom? Or a light F550? :-)

It may sound like I'm overanalyzing all of this, but I've learned it's good not to be in a rush over these things.

And since I've decided that I *definitely* want a 3-axis gimbal, it sounds like everyone is backordered now on the Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal. (@Roger, I don't know if Tarot or any other gimbal manufacturer has also come out with a less-expensive 3-axis gimbal for GoPros?)

Scott
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Old April 6th, 2014, 05:16 PM   #27
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

Scott,

From what I've read, the F550 is more stable in the wind than the Phantom. I'm not sure if this is due to it generally being heavier than the Phantom, or if it is due to the extra two rotors. That's something I'll find out for myself when my F550 arrives. I'll keep you posted.

As for flying when a rotor fails, I think that feature is reserved for the Wookong controller.

Personally, my main reason for buying the F550 is future-proofing. I can add bigger batteries for more flight time. And when finances permit, I can add a better camera and gimbal.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 08:04 AM   #28
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Re: About to make the jump to drone videography...

Thanks Jody---future-proofing makes sense---I'd like to be able to carry larger cameras in the future with the same platform if possible...

Scott
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