The drone market has taken off in the past few years. But with so many models on offer, choosing a drone can be confusing. Whether you want to take to the sky or just speed around your own home, the crew at Ted’s Cameras has put together this introduction to selecting and flying your first camera drone. And, of course, you’ll find all the models mentioned in this article at your nearest Ted’s Cameras store. Visit https://www.teds.com.au for more information.
Here’s what to look for in drones for beginners…
Usability – Since you’re polishing your skills, you want a fairly simple drone with a battery, four rotors, and four clip-on attachments for safety. The controller or app should be easy to use too.
Battery life - Most beginner drones will last around ten to 15 minutes in the air. If you want to keep flying, buy multiple batteries so you don’t need to stop and recharge.
Weight - Typically, the cheaper the model, the lighter it is. Lightweight drones are perfect for training and learning how to fly – but they can’t handle huge amounts of wind.
Design - Planning to film with or race your drone? Speed, stability and manoeuvrability should be on the top of your checklist. On the other hand, if you’re just going to use your drone indoors, prioritise size and safety.
Camera quality - This is relative to price, so think about how you’ll be using your drone. If you’re flying for fun, you can probably compromise on photo quality. But if you’re a photographer, or using your drone to get a unique perspective on your work as, for example, an engineer, architect or farmer, then you might want to splurge on a drone with better photo quality.
Tips for flying a drone for the first time
Let’s talk safety. Drones are lots of fun. They give you a bird’s eye view of the world, but they are flying objects so they need to be operated with care.
Here are some drone safety tips:
- Fly in ideal conditions - Choose a good-weather day with clear skies and no rain or wind, and an open space that’s away from people, property, major roads and airports.
- Stay low and slow - Make sure you can see your drone at all times (it's a legal requirement in Australia), and don’t go too fast, too quickly.
- Watch out for obstacles - Watch out for trees, power lines and tall structures.
- Read the manual - Every manufacturer includes useful information about how to use the drone safely, and a list of nifty features to supercharge your flight.
- Test the tech - Charge the battery, check the propellers, and turn on your app or remote controller before lift-off.
The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) also lays out the law for drone users. A lot of it is common sense, but you can read up on the rules online or on the app - Can I Fly There?
The best drones for beginners
Now, it’s time to fly! While we have a range of drones in-store, these are our three recommended drones for beginners. They’re easy to manoeuvre, and have all the features you need to carve up the sky.
This affordable, remote-controlled drone is the perfect entryway into flying. It might be small, but it packs a punch, with a 60-metre range and seven minutes of flying fun on one battery. It boasts a 720p HD camera with adjustable angles, and the built-in six-axis gyroscope ensures the drone comes back to you with smooth, bump-free footage. With the preset commands, you can easily snap pictures and videos and perform tricks, like flips.
Another budget-friendly option, the DJI Tello is lightweight, durable and simple to use. A collaboration with Ryze Tech, it was designed with newbies in mind. Before you fly, download the Tello app to control your drone from your smartphone. Then, take-off, capture 5mp photos and 720p videos with a tap of the app (or click of a button). The rechargeable battery offers up to 13 minutes of flight time, and you’ll get an alert when the drone is running out of juice.
This mini drone has more bells and whistles than the Tello, so it’s great for those who have a handle on flying. It’s fitted out with a high-resolution camera and top-notch technology that allows it to reach a speed of 50 km/h. Instead of using a remote, you control it with the help of hand gestures. Move your hands and the drone will respond accordingly. Thanks to FaceAware, Spark can achieve lift-off with facial recognition. Plus, it fits in the palm of your hand, making it ideal for travel.