Latest Indulgence: Camera Drones

DJI Phanton 4 Unboxing, Setup and First Flight

Camera Drones are nothing new, they have been around for several years now and have become pretty cheap to own. DJI, a Chinese company, popularized the camera drone with their Phantom line of quadcopters. From that, many camera drone companies have spawned and create their own twist on the perfect flying camera.

I originally ignored my desire to have a flying camera because of one reason. Like most things, if I don’t think I have the chops to pick something up right away, I avoid it. I just don’t have the time to spend learning something new. I have time for a hobby, but I have to be good enough at it to enjoy it with limited time invested. I hope that this changes one day soon as I love nothing more than immersing myself in something new and learning everything there is to know about it.

Many of you know that I have a love of technology. Whether it be new cameras, phones, computers, or whatever, I love technology.


A month ago, I decided to purchase a camera drone. I wanted to be able to add a new element to the videos I create. It had to be something different than what I was doing or could do with the current gear I already had. I also wanted to be able to create footage on par with what I could capture with the cameras I currently use.

DJI came out with the Inspire 1 Pro, which is a camera drone that has a gimbal mounted micro four thirds camera on it. The camera can accept different lenses, which was what I wanted. Typical drone cameras are similar to a GoPro camera. They do not have an adjustable iris (aperture) and it is hard to get really good footage that looks dynamic and has depth to it. Prior to DJI’s Inspire 1 Pro, a comparable set up would cost over $10,000.

I’m one of those guys who gets into something and gets confident fast. I am a fast learner and can usually pick up on things. Within hours of owning the Inspire 1 Pro, I felt pretty confident at controlling it in the air. After a couple of flights, I got a little too close to a wall and crashed it. Thankfully there was minimal damage as only a prop and the foot of the landing gear was damaged. I quickly sent it in to have it repaired.

While I was waiting for my Inspire 1 Pro to be repaired, I was able to get my hands on a DJI Phantom 4. This is DJI’s latest Phantom camera drone that just came out spring of 2016. This camera drone is light weight and agile. It is simple to set up and get in the air. The camera is pretty decent so long as you are flying it in daylight. I have been pretty impressed with this drone, especially at the price point it comes in at. With my new found respect for solid objects, I have been more careful flying the Phantom and have spent a lot more time flying it than I have the Inspire 1 Pro, which is still out for repair.

Here is a video of the Phantom 4 setup and my first flight.

Here is a video of some flight testing I did up in the foothills in CA.

The Phantom 4 has this cool feature that helps it avoid obstacles. This would not have helped me with the Inspire 1 Pro because I simply got too close to a wall with the Inspire. The Phantom has sensors in the front and on the bottom of the device that do a good job keeping it out of trouble.

For me, the camera drone is new. It’s something that I can get excited about because it is different than what I am used to. I feel my best when I am challenged. Even though these drones are easy to fly compared to the typical hobby radio controlled drone, I have had a lot of fun learning about this platform. It’s new, and it makes me think. Now that I have my first crash taken care of, I feel more confident  (real confidence) and am ready to tackle new flight challenges.

If you want to see some of the video from my flights and future flights, check out my Instagram or my Youtube channel. I will be adding more content there as I have a chance to get out and fly.

1 Comment

  • Brian Kellogg
    October 6, 2016 at 11:11 am

    The video is so smooth. I am thinking about buying one. Nice post!

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