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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 5th February 2018
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Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

Am getting my hands on a Zerotech Dobby compact selfie drone. Amazingly sophisticated and it folds up and fits in to a (decent sized) pocket. They're now down to 120 from around 300 when they were launched about 18 months ago.

Did have a look at a cheaper alternative to a DJI Phantom to use my Go Pro clone action cam on, but the Dobby was too much to resist and for a lot less dosh. It's arriving tomorrow!

Ian
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Old 5th February 2018
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

Sounds fun - let us know how you get on with it.

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Old 5th February 2018
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

I have to admit to being fascinated with drones and model helicopters. The only thing I can't seem to get my head round is the limited range of the cheaper versions such as the one you are considering. Unless I'm mistaken and viewed the wrong version, it has an operational range of 328 feet which must be fairly limiting for uses such as video recording. Still no doubt great fun to use though. As Jim says, please let us know how you get on with it and your thoughts on quality and value for money.

John
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

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Originally Posted by Johnheatingman View Post
I have to admit to being fascinated with drones and model helicopters. The only thing I can't seem to get my head round is the limited range of the cheaper versions such as the one you are considering. Unless I'm mistaken and viewed the wrong version, it has an operational range of 328 feet which must be fairly limiting for uses such as video recording. Still no doubt great fun to use though. As Jim says, please let us know how you get on with it and your thoughts on quality and value for money.

John
The on-paper specs (100m horizontal range and 30m altitude limit) don't seem to be accurate. Below is a video of a guy sending his Dobby 783 metres away, when it lost control signal and it then came back. He also got it well above 30m in altitude, which is supposed to be the limit. The video is of the controlling smartphone screen and not best quality camera footage:


I think short flights will be fine for me, though I am seriously thinking of getting a third battery. A QC power bank, which I have, will recharge a battery in about an hour.

Ian
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Old 6th February 2018
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

Thanks for posting that Ian, it's definitely an impressive video which proves the point regarding the range obtainable. Apparently most reviews claim the photos that can be obtained are great quality too. You do seem to need additional batteries though so a good decision on your part to get some. Looks like a very clever piece of kit which should give many hours of enjoyment.

John
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Old 6th February 2018
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

I can imagine how even a tiny camera drone like that could expand your photographic horizons enormously. Although I would probably lose mine over a cliff, into the sea on day one!
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

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I can imagine how even a tiny camera drone like that could expand your photographic horizons enormously. Although I would probably lose mine over a cliff, into the sea on day one!
There are two dangers to normal (don't fly in windy conditions, for example) flying a drone like this - wandering into an obstacle like a tree or a wall (or a person!) and the battery failing while in flight. The latter is largely covered by the smart features on this one; it remembers the location of where it took off and when the battery gets low it can, I believe, automatically return. There is definitely a manual return to home option. You can see the battery status on the screen of your smartphone. Otherwise, the Dobby is fully automatic in terms of staying in the air - and it will also land automatically if it has to. It has a sonar and secondary camera on its underside to sense your hand if you want it to land on your palm or to ensure a smooth landing on the ground.

The camera is smartphone quality but fixed focus. It's a 13 megapixel sensor but the optional electronic image stabilisation reduces that to 8 megapixels (4K) stills and pixel-binned 1080 HD video (30 frames per second). As long as the props are properly tightened the problem of vibration 'jello' is largely fixed, though artificially slowing the shutter speed by fitting an ND filter (supplied) when the ambient light is very bright also helps. All this is second hand information but widely corere are some 3D printer deroborated by owners. The ND filter supplied is a permanent looking fix but thsigns for a sliding filter holder you can fix in front of the camera

I'm mainly interested in using this for social media and I'm very hopeful it will be very good for this.

Ian

PS I forgot to mention you can make the Dobby automatically orbit you, hover at any point in flight, and it can recognise shapes and follow them and it also has face-recognition tracking. I think you can also give it a coordinate to fly to and it can land automatically when it gets there. (PPS - maybe you can't pre-program a flightpath after all - no big deal though!)
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Old 6th February 2018
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

Wonder what the cats will make of that thing buzzing about ?
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

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Wonder what the cats will make of that thing buzzing about ?
Haha - we have Starship Enterprise drone and they aren't too bothered until it crashes! The Dobby, however, is very loud as it has small props...

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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

It's arrived and after charging up the batteries I have had a preliminary play - so far I'm very impressed indeed. There are several flying modes and I only used the default one and I wasn't going outside (actually snowing lightly here!). The default mode is really easy. It just stays put until you dab the controls on your phone screen. The moment your finger leaves the screen it stops moving again. Impressive stability, only being wafted very slightly by its own wake. It's also not as loud as I had feared.

I've taken some stills and video and again I'm very pleased - probably because clips and photos uploaded to YouTube and other places are compressed. It's perfect for social media use.

I only had one crash! I tried the face tracking mode but that's strictly for outdoors! It started to fly backwards but before I could react it reached the far wall. No harm done as it dropped about 5 feet onto a laminate floor, thankfully! Just a light scuff on the top cover.

Overall I'm immensely impressed - I will post some camera work when I have something that won't scare the cat (oh and the cat doesn't like Dobby, not one little bit!

Ian
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Old 6th February 2018
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

Just recharged one of the batteries from about 8% charge remaining and using my Samsung smartphone QC 2.0 fast charger the battery was fully charged in 45 minutes, which is encouraging. The mains charger that comes with the drone is also a QC type. I do have a solar charger somewhere - wonder how quickly that would work, or not!

I like the fact that you can charge these batteries using a USB cable - our Olympus camera chargers are a pain in that regard!

Ian
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Old 6th February 2018
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

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I like the fact that you can charge these batteries using a USB cable - our Olympus camera chargers are a pain in that regard!
I bought one of these from Ebay to charge from a micro USB port. I've tried it on a 'battery bank' and it worked OK. When the sun is out, i'll try it on a solar charger:

BLN-1 USB LED Battery Charger for Olympus OM-D E-M1 E-M5 PEN E-P5

Jim
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Old 6th February 2018
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

Hide your pets - here's an indoor Dobby drone selfie:



I've tweaked this in Lightroom from the 13 megapixel JPEG, but not by much. It's a tough challenge for a camera as the walls in the room are yellow and there is a skylight so the lighting consists of yellow reflections and (overcast) daylight. But really not bad at all.

The drone was hovering in front of me about 4 feet away. No (E)IS was used for this one.

Ian
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Old 6th February 2018
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

Not bad at all indeed, in fact it looks pretty damn good on this laptop. If that was the inaugural flight you were rather brave to try it indoors. In my case, SWMBO would have banned any flights within 500 ft of anything breakable.

John
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Old 7th February 2018
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Re: Anyone here in to drones/quadcopters?

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The drone was hovering in front of me about 4 feet away. No (E)IS was used for this one.
Very impressive result.

(I'd better ignore this thread, otherwise I'll be tempted to get one!)

Jim
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