Drone ?

I know this is a Nikon forum, but I have been debating on getting a drone for photography. I have my eye on the DJI Phantom 4 Pro+. I wanted to know if any other of my fellow Nikonians own drones or are looking into get a drone for photography? I like the Phantom 4 Pro+ because of the mechanical shutter, adjustable aperture, 1-inch sensor, and touch screen controller. I thought about the Mavic Pro, but I want that manual control and larger sensor. I plan on being super brave with it and taking out on my kayak. :o

I am hoping DJI will have some black Friday deals on the Phantom 4 Pro+ Obsidian.


  • dumerdumer Posts: 11Member
    There's a guy who got the new Phantom 4. Just helped him install the new tires, forged wheels and racks for his truck for kayak mount. He mentioned he got Phantom 2 before and the new Phantom 4 is a great upgrade.
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 219Member
    @dumer Thanks for the input. I am currently waiting for the black Friday sales then I might pick one up.
  • OlibennyOlibenny Posts: 2Member
    dumer said:

    There's a guy who got the new Phantom 4. Just helped him install the new tires, forged wheels and racks for his truck for kayak mount. He mentioned he got Phantom 2 before and the new Phantom 4 is a great upgrade.

    Thanks aswell.
    This information about "forged wheels" help me to.
    thanks for the advice
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 1,088Member
    We own about 50 of them, have licenses for many states. DJI is the only company we buy models from. We also have real pilots licenses. The Quadcopters are better than fixed wing or helicopter. As a former US Army Colonel I never refer to them as drones. Phantom 4 are quite good. The average user though seriously crash them in the first week so get set up,right or you are at risk. We have a lot of imagery on UTube. We have about seven Inspires from DJI. Maviks are probably their best model to begin with and my personal choice for starting. The cameras on these rigs are Sony and they are pretty good. Some of ours are 4K to 6 K video.
    Better get dialed in concerning terrain etc. as altitude, height of trees etc. is ultra important. On the ground my preferred rig in D7500 Nikon and 16-80 and the 200-500 Nikon. When using quadcopters over water be sure you have experience as that is a good way to lose your rig.
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 1,088Member
    Noticed the kayak part of your post. As the owner of about 12 kayaks, know this, they are easily the worst boat to fly a Quadcopter from. I strongly recommend flying your Phantom or Mavik from a more stable boat or shoreline. As a PhD Aquatic Scientist I have flown a lot around water, and think the kayak is quite risky. Here's how I would ALWAYS fly using a kayak. Take your rig to an island, a reef, a peninsula or the like. Do NOT try to fly it from a kayak. Since we have done this all over the USA, Caribbean, etc., and have invested in kayaks, they are just tipsy and whatever to do this with at all! And we can certainly control a kayak. Get a different boat or plan on the island,reef,etc. and if it is ocean know your tides etc.
    Make sure you get a drops and spills deal with your rig like B&H is so good at. But you have to have a wrecked rig to send back in case of an accident. Over water you risk just losing it. We do this stuff daily in Key West, Adirondacks, etc. and the kayak is easily your weak link in your plan!
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 219Member
    edited November 2017
    @DaveyJ Thanks for the input. Does sound like you have a lot of experience with drones and flying in general. The inspires do look like incredible machines.

    As far as the kayak goes, the one I have is very stable, I can stand in the kayak without an issue plus it has a peddle drive which leaves my hands free (Ultimate FX Propel). Stability really isn't an issue right now with my boat.

    With that said, I definitely plan on getting some experience on dry land in general. Also want to get accustomed to hand launching and hand catching before taking it out on the water. I did purchase the Phantom 4 Pro+ Obsidian with the DJI Care Refresh and was debating on putting some floats on the landing gear. If the drone decides to go for a dip, I can at least recover it and use the DJI Care Refresh.

    My biggest concern is a malfunction. What if I am out there and the drone decides to land in the water with no input from me. Pilot error I understand, but would like to think as long as it has power and no input from the user, it will stay in the air. Do you have an experience with DJI drones falling with no user input?
    Post edited by webmastadj on
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 1,088Member
    Every crash we have had, lost two in one event, was due to operator error. Essentially those were due To not taking into account elevation differences. What works in the Florida Keys doesn't work as well at our AMA National Championship called Black Sky Harescramble held each year on Father's Day. The 20 minute video on that starts with clearing the hay. Cutting, bailing, etc., it is also the only National Off Road motorcycle race held with a fishing tournament on our farm in the same two days. At that property start elevation for a quadcopter is very different than hilltops, or even partly up the steep slopes. A fair amount of aerial in those UTube videos. The Phantom 4 will do well. I have tried those kayaks, but although they are fashionable our favorites are sea touring long kayaks with rudders, etc., and although they are good fir ocean trekking.....not good as a photo platform. I would plan on doing your quadcopter controlled flights from shoreline!
  • JJPhotosJJPhotos Posts: 47Member
    I have the P4P and can recommend it absolutely.

    One thing you should be aware of is that the remote-control signal can sometimes drop out and in that case you may have to rely on the Return To Home (RTH) feature. This logs the GPS coordinates prior to take off and the Phantom will fly itself back to this point if it loses contact with the controller. If you are on a mobile platform on the water I can see this being problematic.

    I wouldn't bother attempting to launch or land it from the surface of the water either as you will almost certainly end up soaking the camera which has very little clearance above the height of the skids in any event.

    Happy to discuss further. A selection of my drone shots can be seen on my instagram feed. All are from the P4P.



  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 219Member
    edited November 2017
    @DaveyJ Most of my kayaking is in local lakes and rivers. If I was in a sea kayak, I definitely wouldn't take the drone or my D500 with me.

    @JJPhotos I have thought about the return to home feature becoming an issue. It would be nice if you could have it return home but then not land. I think a better feature would be to return to user but I guess if it lost signal that would be an issue. How often do you lose signal and where are you flying? As far as launching / landing on the water, I didn't plan on it. I was going to stick to hand catching and launching.

    Now it is a waiting game for the drone to be shipped. I am surprised that the lead time on the Obsidian is still 10-15 days.
    Post edited by webmastadj on
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 1,088Member
    A roll over or a splash could be as bad in a local lake or river. The Adirondacks is a place if many lakes and rivers. I would still not take a Quadcopter out in one. I use sea touring kayaks in the Atlantic, Pacific, and small inland waters. Recently I have almost discontinued their use as they are not very stable to fish from, let alone run a quadcopter from. However, what you do with your Phantom 4 is your choice and passion. I do wonder how that will work?
  • webmastadjwebmastadj Posts: 219Member
    @DaveyJ I will update this thread when it comes in. I contacted DJI today, and they said December 27th :|
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,493Member
    Just remember, DJI is spying on you for China. :wink:
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • DaveyJDaveyJ Posts: 1,088Member
    No doubt China is a factor.
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