Best camera drone for middle-aged kids?

harnold9harnold9 Website User Posts: 5

Sorry if this topic doesn’t fit here but I’d like to ask for your quick help: I’m looking for best camera drone for my two kids. They love outdoor activities, technology, and filming/photography so I thought why not combine all three in a new fun hobby? They are 9 and 11 years old and know cameras well (from an iPhone to a DSLR). So which camera drone would be best for them? I found this drone review here Does anybody have recommendations or like one of these models? Appreciate it!



  • HIS__FilmsHIS__Films Website User Posts: 535

     Hey! I own a DJI Phantom 3 standard! It is a very easy to use drone, with outstanding quality! I love it so much for my films! I will always go with DJI for my drones! FOREVER! I love that company! Great quality stuff!

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast
    edited May 2018

    The DJI/Ryze Tello would be a reasonable start. It's fairly easy to use, stable and fairly cheap and produces EIS 720p video, which is adequate quality, although only back to the phone it was recorded on, so can have dropouts and the bitrate is quite low.

    Otherwise, anything with a 720p camera for less than $50 with propguards will probably do fine to practice on, although without EIS. Buy something with propguards, BTW.

    Check some reviews by Quadcopter101 on YouTube. He's usually fairly neutral about things. Alishanmao is also pretty good, but as he can fly a brick held up by a balloon with his hands behind his back, he's often a little bit too forgiving on things that fly like crap because he's just too skillful to imagine how the average user will manage.

    One thing to be aware of, and to prolong the life of the quad when not being used: ALWAYS charge the batteries to 50%-60% (no sooner than 30 minutes) after use. So for about 1/3 of the time it takes to charge them to full (they'll be at about 15%-20% or less when they're empty). So stick them on the charger, set a timer on your phone and remove them when done. Do it for all the batteries if you buy more than one. Every time.  Every. Time.

    You can buy cheap Lipo testers to attach to the battery terminals on ebay for only a few $. They'll give you the individual cell voltage (if you have multi-cell batteries) as well as the total charge. "Storage" charge is 3.85v per cell.

    They will a) last longer before they no longer hold a charge for long and b) be quicker to charge up when you need them next.

    If you forget to remove them/don't hear the timer: charge them fully, then fly them for half the time you would normally, instead. Set a timer to remind you when to land when you do this.  Do NOT store the batteries fully charged or completely empty.  Every 3 months or so, (such as over winter if the quad lasts that long ;) ) recharge, fly flat, and semi-charge the batteries again.

    This applies to anything with a LiPo in it, even 'Smart' batteries from DJI.

    Another alternative: if you have multiple batteries, set a timer to fly for only half the time they would last on a full charge, and not have to recharge them to 50% because they're already there when you land. You should do this the first 5-10 times you use them anyway to 'run them in'.

    You will want to buy more than one battery and a charger for each one. You do not want to be waiting 1-2 hours for each battery in turn for a 7-12 minute flight time; depending on size of battery/quad. 

    A single flight then a long wait will not allow you to learn anything before you've forgotten it again. You, or your sons, will need 2-3 flights at a time to get to learn how it flies. No more flights than that, as you start to get mentally tired and will start to fly worse when it's new to you. Wait a day, then go again. Set yourself tasks. Flying in a circle, Clockwise/Anti-clockwise. Doing a figure 8 both ways. Then backwards. It'll take a while.

  • mikep83mikep83 Website User Posts: 1

    I made sure I read a lot of different drone review websites before I picked out the right first drone for my kids. I started out with a holy stone drone and it was great for awhile but then in broke. I'm pretty sure I'm going to upgrade to an Altair drone this time, maybe the 818 hornet. It's getting a lot of good reviews from different websites including this kids drones article, so I guess I'm going to give it a shot. 

    Looking forward to when my kids get a little older and I can let them fly my DJI Mavic!! 

  • alaska_vfx_filmeralaska_vfx_filmer Website User Posts: 450 Enthusiast
    edited November 2018

     To all Palacono said ???, especially about charging batteries and Quadcopter 101. I started drones about the same time as hitfilm (abt 2 years ago), I started with a 40$ toy-grade (Syma x5c type) to learn on, i have since acquired several others including a DJI Phantom 3 standard. I assume you are wanting something with a gimbal (camera stabilizer)  and live view,in which, as has been said Dji is probably your best bet, unless you like doing a ton of diy work, but if you want  something you can let your kids fly safely and not be risking 400+$$$ on their learning, than somthing cheaper is in order. The syma x5c is a toy, the stock camera is crummy but its a good place to start. the syma x8c, one of my other drones is the x5c's big brother and can carry a gopro, but is still in the hobbyists toy-grade catagory. the Dji is the photographers drone, and priced accordingly and i've  gassed on long enough?

    Ok one last thing, if you go for a cheaper trainer quad, DON'T COUNT ON CAMERA QUALITY. 

    Ok, now I really am done.

  • WhiteCranePhotoWhiteCranePhoto Website User Posts: 896 Enthusiast

    So far in my experience the DJI drones are the easiest to fly. Autel drones are decent (I used one for a few shots in our feature film last year), and less expensive than DJI drones.

    Most reasonably priced drones have pretty pitiful cameras on them though. Don't expect much... but you don't need a great camera to practice flying, and if you're careful with your settings and the lighting conditions during which you shoot, you can still get some pretty good footage. 

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

     You can pick up something like an old Phantom 1 with a cheap ebay gimbal and a fake GoPro wannabe and a 5" FPV monitor for peanuts on ebay. Would have cost you close to $/£800 a few years ago, but the flights will be 6-8 mins at most.

    Or for double peanuts, a Phantom 2 setup with a proper gimbal, Smart batteries and an actual GoPro Hero 3/ 3+ in a nice case and a 7" monitor. Batteries might be knackered if they've not been looked after, but if they're too far gone you can still buy non-DJI copies for £/$25 each that will give you 15+ minutes flight time.

  • alaska_vfx_filmeralaska_vfx_filmer Website User Posts: 450 Enthusiast

    Palacono  If you're going to be spending a couple hundred plus on monitors fpv gear and gimbals, you might as well get a 3 standard, I got mine complete and nearly new for 200$ and I see them often for 300$. Also if you're in the US you'll have to get a ham license to legally go fpv. 

    Just my opinion.

  • JBaymoreJBaymore Website User Posts: 334 Enthusiast


    Also if you're in the US you'll have to get a ham license to legally go fpv. 

    Following this discussion.  Thinking about a drone.  When I finally get a drone........ I already have had this in place for the past 40 years or so!  ;)



  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast
    edited November 2018

    @LiamMcM1 a 3 Standard is fine and you got a good deal, but it'll still be more and you need to supply a phone or tablet to see what you're doing, which isn't free. How many batteries with that?
    A P2 kit with 2x chargers, 5 batteries, 7" monitor, GoPro, hardcase went for ~£/$250 on ebay recently. A P1 setup is half that.

    By FPV monitor, I meant a 5.8Ghz monitor - not FPV goggles - to see what the camera sees (with optional Telemetry added; chinese modules for DJI NAZA-based gear are £/$5-10).  The same as your 3 is sending back to your phone/tablet. They're nearly all brighter and clearer to see with a matte surface, than phone, tablet etc. even with a non-reflective screen protector added to those. If you go really small and cheap: a 4.3" one is £/$11 on, a 7" with built-in DVR recording and twin 5.8Ghz receiver modules is £/$65.

    But if you have a spare phone/tablet (buy a sunshield for it at a minimum), want something that's very plug'n'play, a 3 Standard is about as low as you'd want to go. It is a greater expense when (not if) you crash it though - as your first aircraft -  hence my cheaper suggestions. You'd ideally want to start with something with GPS and barometer  that stops stone dead when you panic and take your hands off the controls, i.e. all DJI craft. Really cheap ones just keep on going... :(

  • WhiteCranePhotoWhiteCranePhoto Website User Posts: 896 Enthusiast

    Yeah, that last part was one of the things that bothered me about the Autel drone. I was doing some practice flying at a friend's place (huge back yard) and tried a shot coming up the hill and overflying us. I let go of the throttle as soon as the drone reached overhead of us as planned, but the drone didn't stop for another few hundred feet... 

    With my Mavic 2 Pro on the other hand, even at full speed if I just let go of the throttle it stops within 10-15 feet.


  • alaska_vfx_filmeralaska_vfx_filmer Website User Posts: 450 Enthusiast
    edited November 2018

    Palacono, You're absolutely right. Actually to go the older route would be better applied to me than most people.

    Most people carry a good (more or less) smartphone, where as I carry a cheap outdated smartphone not up to spec. I didn't mention it before before, but for that reason (my phone) I am trying to sell my phantom now, but of course I think it would be a great option for someone else (most people), especially when I started rounding up the costs you outlined above. also the old route still wont have all the built in app tools. 

    So, though I agree with what you said in my case, for you're average person with a decent phone wanting a gps drone (especially a filmmaker) would probably be happier with a rtf DJI somthing with a stock camera.

    Again, just my opinion

  • PalaconoPalacono Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,442 Enthusiast

    @LiamMcM1 a great, cheapish tablet that is bright and has acceptable lag is the Amazon Fire HD 8 with Alexa. Although it's an Amazon tablet you can sideload the Google Play store and download DJI's Go App and you're all set. The subsidised version comes with screensaver/lockscreen ads, which you can put up with or pay a small fee to have removed. I keep one as a backup to my usual 10.1" tablet, just in case I drop that one day, or want to use a slightly more portable setup.

  • alaska_vfx_filmeralaska_vfx_filmer Website User Posts: 450 Enthusiast

    Palacono  thanks for the tip.

  • FetureFeture Website User Posts: 2

    What is your budget? DJI drone is great, you can find it on site. Also for the newbie, wingland S6 4K drone is okay, the price is affordable.  Also xiaomi 4K drone is fine. it's up to your budget. Happy time.

  • rovenroven Website User Posts: 14

    @Feture the Wingland S6 seems a good one as well. This gives me an idea for a good gift for my younger brother who's into drone and photography. We'll just finish the installation of the new rack and bak bed cover on the truck before I let him decide which one of those choices he like.

  • alaska_vfx_filmeralaska_vfx_filmer Website User Posts: 450 Enthusiast


    Anyone tried this yet? 

    Looks pretty good for the price point, possibly the new budget filmmakers drone?  Wonder what the used ones will cost in a couple of years!?

  • BradRCBradRC Website User Posts: 1

    Yes, LiamMcM1 the Zino is a good option if you need 4k camera. For less you can look for the FiMI A3. It also has GPS and brushless motors. Unfortunately, the gimbal is only 2-axis not 3-axis like the Zino.

    You will like the FIMI A3 if you like to fly FPV (first person view), featuring 5.8G video transmission it can be paired with almost any racing goggles.

  • alaska_vfx_filmeralaska_vfx_filmer Website User Posts: 450 Enthusiast

    BradRC  I agree, I only saw the release of the Fimi after i had commented about the Zino, and kind of hated to dig it back up. Glad you did, it certainly deserves mentioning here.  

    Again, I wonder what the used ones will cost in a couple of years!?

  • alaska_vfx_filmeralaska_vfx_filmer Website User Posts: 450 Enthusiast
    edited February 2019

    BradRC , Do you know if they ever resolved the issue with the fimi's short battery life, and landing in place on low battery?

    Those were pretty much the biggest turn-offs for me. 

  • Freddy111sFreddy111s Website User Posts: 1

    I think DJI Mavic Pro is better for children and easy to use. I also need help in choosing a right camera for Instagram profile which I am building up for travel photography. I found reviews of different cameras on this website but cannot decide between them. If anyone of you know which one is better and affordable, please let me know.  

  • triforcefxtriforcefx United StatesModerator, Website User Posts: 1,060 Moderator


    Time to let this thread RIP... It's old and appears to be attracting spammers. I believe the current tactic is to have real people make accounts and post, but then add spam links for views or whatever.

  • TheBenNorrisTheBenNorris Staff Administrator, Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 1,566 Staff
    edited November 2019

    @triforcefx does seem to be that way, time to bring the hammer down, thanks.

    I'm now closing this thread. @JoJose I've removed the links from your comment as they appear to be malicious. If I do not see believable evidence you are not a bot in the next week then I will remove you from the forums.

This discussion has been closed.