Here are the items that have helped us be successful in drones and aerial photo & videography. It takes a long time to research the best bang for your buck when it comes to these things, so we’ll save you the hours we’ve spent reading through threads on various forums with thousands of post, and let you know what gear we use.
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DJI Phantom 3 Professional This is now our backup quadcopter/drone. The integrated 4K camera and 3-axis gimbal with the Lightbridge FPV system makes the whole package more compact and streamlined over the old setup. It freed up our GoPro for other uses.
Phantom 3 4480mAh Intelligent Battery with 2 extra batteries (in addition to the one the Phantom 3 comes with) we have the flexibility of going a night without having to recharge and still fly the next day while on vacation. Of course you can burn through 2-3 packs in a day if you have a lot of footage to capture or just want extended practice. Get at least one additional battery, it helps out quite a bit.
Phantom 3 Hardshell Backpack Nothing beats having a custom backpack that fits everything you need. My last case i had to cut all the foam myself and i spent hours upon hours trying to make it look good and it was average at best in the end. This case is the best value i have found, fits the Phantom 3 Drone, charger, 8 propellers, 4 batteries (with one in the quadcopter), lanyards and other cables or loose items.
Lexar High-Performance MicroSDXC 633x 64GB UHS-I/U3 (Up to 95MB/s Read) w/USB 3.0 Reader Flash Memory Card – This is the microSD card i use on my phantom 3 pro. It comes with a nice USB3.0 microSD card reader.
DJI Osmo This handheld gimbal and camera lets me capture 4K videos without any of the annoying shake that you are used to when using an action camera such as the GoPro series.
DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D This was the main Quadcopter i flew. I had the H3-2D gimbal on mine but with the H3-3D gimbal you will get an additional axis of stabilization (yaw axis). I’m still amazed to this day how well it flies and the amazing footage i can record with my gopro attached.
Gopro Hero 3 Black Yes i know it’s not the most current model, BUT there is a very good reason why i went through the effort of hunting down a new in box hero 3 black when the 3+ was already on the market. The 3+’s had an infinite focus bug which made them less than ideal for aerial photo and videography. Gopro at the beginning after the 3+ launch was sending out cameras with focus set so objects close were tac sharp but focus at infinity looked very soft. In the meantime lot’s of people are using 3+’s happily so i guess the problem is solved. There’s also people using the new GoPro Hero 4 black successfully with the Zenmuse Gimbal.
Immersion RC 600mw 5.8 GHz A/V Transmitter This is the transmitter which sends the video signal from the GoPro on the quadcopter down to my monitor which is with me on the ground. 600mw is after my research a good balance between power of transmission and energy usage. People get 1-2 miles of signal without issues. A good cloverleaf antenna such as the 5.8GHz Fatshark spiroNET Antenne Set Cloverleaf is also a good idea for best range and quality of transmission.
FlySight 32 Ch Black Pearl 5.8Ghz FPV 7″ Diversity Monitor with Integrated Battery From my research the best FPV Monitor to get. Why i chose the black pearl: Built in Receiver, so no additional component to plain monitor, in addition it has 2 antennas and switches between them if the other has a stronger signal. It has a built in LiPo so i don’t have to buy an extra 3s LiPo and have to rubberband it to the Tx and risk it dangling mid flight and worst case disconnecting mid flight while i’m relying on it. It comes with a charger so i don’t have to buy an extra LiPo charger.
DJI iOSD Mini On-Screen Display for Real-Time Flight Information This little device adds data On Screen so you can see the following information on the ground on your monitor: battery status of Phantom, distance between aircraft and home point, control mode, FailSafe mode, pitch attitude, roll attitude (theres a cool artificial horizon, makes you feel like you’re in a real aircraft), Flight velocity, GPS satellite info (how many are locked), Aircraft nose direction (with Attitude line, will let you see when you’re flying towards your home point, vertical velocity, compass error indicator, and more. Totally worth getting, the battery indicator, GPS satellite info are indispensable.
Plug and Play FPV Cable is really nice because it allows you to connect your DJI Phantom 2, iOSD Mini and FPV Tx without having to solder. For me a no-brainer 🙂
GoProfessional DJI Phantom 2 Case After getting sick of taking everything apart and putting it into the DJI box (which i had to custom fit for the gimbal anyways) that the Phantom 2 came in i bought a plain case with the pick and pluck foam and spent a whole day measuring, marking and cutting the foam layers below the pick and pluck. Needless to say if you want a perfect fit and no hassle of foam being all over your living room, go with this case…
Eneloop Ni-MH AA Batteries for the Transmitter (TX). These are great because they don’t discharge as fast over time as traditional rechargeable batteries. After 5 years they still have 70% charge. I currently charge them on the Eneloop Charger that came in the starter pack i bought but the charger i’m getting next is the La Crosse BC-700 which will tell me how many mAh are charged into the battery. It also discharges the battery first then charges which let’s me monitor the health of the batteries. Don’t want to risk crashing my Phantom 2 because i cheaped out on batteries for the Tx.