3D solo flyer..wannabe?

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#1
I've recently gotten the desire to get into drones. I am debating if I should purchase a 3D solo from someone that has used it once. It comes with the 3 axel gimble and an extra battery for $350. In 2018, is the 3D solo still viable and is it worth the price.
 
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#2
It really depends on what you want to do with it and where you're mainly going to be using it. I like my solo's because I got them for an awesome price, I like stripping them down, changing parts and upgrading parts. However I'm unhappy with the short flight time (15 minutes and only getting worse since there's no new batteries on the market) and the size of the solo, it's pretty damn huge. That's good when flying in somewhat windy conditions, it handles wind well. However it's bad if you want something that's very easily transportable. There's a difference between being able to fit a drone into your backpack along with your other stuff, and having a backpack that's entirely taken up by the drone and if you're lucky, you may fit a small water bottle in there (but not recommended since you're keeping your batteries in there anyway). So bad if you're planning on long hikes into the wilderness to take some drone footage. However if you're just planning on going around driving and using your drone, then it's not a concern.
So seriously, it depends on what you're planning to do with your drone. I drive places with my drone, I bring 8 or so batteries with me, I have no issues. I'm also using my drone for private survey's and I'm glad the software is available for me to do that. There's other costs to keep in mind, you'll want a GoPro hero 4 Black to get the full use of the camera system (about $129 refurbished) and if you damage your Gimbal, you're going to have to fork out between $300 - $400 to replace it (you can of course use a cheaper gimbal solution, but you need to get the soldering Iron out and be prepared not to be able to use the smart shots).
I think the solo is a great place to start if you have eventual interest in learning about drones, taking them apart and maybe even building your own drone later. If you just want to fly and take video though, there's other cheaper (in the long run) options out there.
 
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#3
It really depends on what you want to do with it and where you're mainly going to be using it. I like my solo's because I got them for an awesome price, I like stripping them down, changing parts and upgrading parts. However I'm unhappy with the short flight time (15 minutes and only getting worse since there's no new batteries on the market) and the size of the solo, it's pretty damn huge. That's good when flying in somewhat windy conditions, it handles wind well. However it's bad if you want something that's very easily transportable. There's a difference between being able to fit a drone into your backpack along with your other stuff, and having a backpack that's entirely taken up by the drone and if you're lucky, you may fit a small water bottle in there (but not recommended since you're keeping your batteries in there anyway). So bad if you're planning on long hikes into the wilderness to take some drone footage. However if you're just planning on going around driving and using your drone, then it's not a concern.
So seriously, it depends on what you're planning to do with your drone. I drive places with my drone, I bring 8 or so batteries with me, I have no issues. I'm also using my drone for private survey's and I'm glad the software is available for me to do that. There's other costs to keep in mind, you'll want a GoPro hero 4 Black to get the full use of the camera system (about $129 refurbished) and if you damage your Gimbal, you're going to have to fork out between $300 - $400 to replace it (you can of course use a cheaper gimbal solution, but you need to get the soldering Iron out and be prepared not to be able to use the smart shots).
I think the solo is a great place to start if you have eventual interest in learning about drones, taking them apart and maybe even building your own drone later. If you just want to fly and take video though, there's other cheaper (in the long run) options out there.
Thanks so much for your response. Currently, I have a GoPro Hero 3 and have recently become interested in drones.

Truthfully, I have an interest in starting off with photography and videos for businesses to help with marketing. Eventually I would love to expand my services to larger clients. I guess I have a few options and just don't know what to do.

I found two on Offerup, one is a Phanton 2 including the 2 axel gimbal with the GoPro Hero 4 - $375, then there is a 3dr solo drone for $350. Lastly, I see the DJI Spark, $399 and the Parrot Bebop 2 with Skycontroller and Cockpit FPV glasses for $399. Basically, I would like to do some video/photography if I enjoy it I can always expand to something more expensive.

Would love your expertise.
 
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#4
So like I said, it depends on what you want to do with said drone, now and in the future. Also consider the availability of parts, batteries, replacements etc. Like I said, the solo is great if you're interested in learning about taking apart drones, upgrading them and eventually making them. This may be something you want to do later on if you want to make a heavy lift drone for specific photography equipment.
If you're not interested in building drones down the road and just interested in photography, you may want to go with a drone that is more popular and has greater availability of parts should the unforeseen happen.
The 3DR solo does have the benefit of smart shots however you'll need a gimbal to make them work, and that could be an additional $300 - $400 these days. That phantom 2 you mentioned has a 2 axis gimbal however not sure what (if any) smart shots it does. Then again, a replacement gimbal looks pretty cheap for the phantom.
You should really work out a budget and an expense plan before committing to buying anything, make sure you really want to invest the money you have without a guaranteed return.
Don't forget, if you want to fly for business purposes, you'll also need a part 107 commercial license.
 
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#5
So like I said, it depends on what you want to do with said drone, now and in the future. Also consider the availability of parts, batteries, replacements etc. Like I said, the solo is great if you're interested in learning about taking apart drones, upgrading them and eventually making them. This may be something you want to do later on if you want to make a heavy lift drone for specific photography equipment.
If you're not interested in building drones down the road and just interested in photography, you may want to go with a drone that is more popular and has greater availability of parts should the unforeseen happen.
The 3DR solo does have the benefit of smart shots however you'll need a gimbal to make them work, and that could be an additional $300 - $400 these days. That phantom 2 you mentioned has a 2 axis gimbal however not sure what (if any) smart shots it does. Then again, a replacement gimbal looks pretty cheap for the phantom.
You should really work out a budget and an expense plan before committing to buying anything, make sure you really want to invest the money you have without a guaranteed return.
Don't forget, if you want to fly for business purposes, you'll also need a part 107 commercial license.
Okay its me again. Wouldn't you think the current models with the cameras embedded are more limited. For instance, I could see that someone would make a future gimbal for the Solo that allows the use of the GoPro Hero 5 or 6 edition.

I'm a techie person and like to upgrade my computers all the time so I can see me doing some similar work to the drone.

Sorry for the extra info but just weighing my options.
 
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#6
Well considering there isn't a 3rd party plug and play gimbal available for the camera's the solo currently supports........ can't see someone dedicating the time to make one for a Hero 5 or 6 that specifically works with the 3DR solo. After all, people complain that the GP isn't the best for cinematic video, it's more of an overpriced action cam. Plus costs being what they are, people would probably want to make a gimbal (that works with smart shots) for a cheaper camera who's lens can be easily interchanged. There are however some gimbal options currently out there that aren't plug and play and don't offer smart shots.

Yes, embedded camera's are limited, however if the camera is specifically designed for taking cinematic video at 4K.... then that's really what you're looking for anyway. After all, I don't see any 8K tv's on the consumer horizon yet. Plus you know that you can take pretty crappy video and make it look like a million bucks in post production.

I think the main reason the solo was so popular is because the company made a potentially good drone (that needed tinkering to get it up to it's full potential) and when the company went bankrupt and did a firesale with it's inventory, you were getting a drone priced at over $2000 (including Camera and Gimbal) for about $300 (not including Gimbal and no camera). As the months go on, Drones and Camera's are improving and prices are dropping.

So once again, it all boils down to what you want to do with your drone. Go hiking to remote places? Take footage in the middle of nowhere? Travel quick and light? Shoot 15 mins at a time? Do fly thru's of enclosed spaces? Or go driving to remote places, travel while carrying large loads, fly for longer periods of time? You kinda just need to choose the drone that best suits your current needs and budget.
 
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#7
Well considering there isn't a 3rd party plug and play gimbal available for the camera's the solo currently supports........ can't see someone dedicating the time to make one for a Hero 5 or 6 that specifically works with the 3DR solo. After all, people complain that the GP isn't the best for cinematic video, it's more of an overpriced action cam. Plus costs being what they are, people would probably want to make a gimbal (that works with smart shots) for a cheaper camera who's lens can be easily interchanged. There are however some gimbal options currently out there that aren't plug and play and don't offer smart shots.

Yes, embedded camera's are limited, however if the camera is specifically designed for taking cinematic video at 4K.... then that's really what you're looking for anyway. After all, I don't see any 8K tv's on the consumer horizon yet. Plus you know that you can take pretty crappy video and make it look like a million bucks in post production.

I think the main reason the solo was so popular is because the company made a potentially good drone (that needed tinkering to get it up to it's full potential) and when the company went bankrupt and did a firesale with it's inventory, you were getting a drone priced at over $2000 (including Camera and Gimbal) for about $300 (not including Gimbal and no camera). As the months go on, Drones and Camera's are improving and prices are dropping.

So once again, it all boils down to what you want to do with your drone. Go hiking to remote places? Take footage in the middle of nowhere? Travel quick and light? Shoot 15 mins at a time? Do fly thru's of enclosed spaces? Or go driving to remote places, travel while carrying large loads, fly for longer periods of time? You kinda just need to choose the drone that best suits your current needs and budget.
I would prefer to travel light honestly and use it to capture footage in remote places. Carrying a large drone isn't the idea scenario for me BUT if it's cheap then why not...LOL.

Do you have any recommendations for a smaller lighter drone? I see, with Best Buy, the DJI Spark, $399 and the Parrot Bebop 2 with Skycontroller and Cockpit FPV glasses for $399. Also, I'm not tied to buying only from Best Buy, I'm starting to realize that in tech there are off brand companies that create the same or better gadgets.
 
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#8
If you want light weight, portability and good video, speed, lots of options, longer flight time, look at a DJI Mavick
 
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#9
The Solo is a good choice for learning. I can attest that it takes a fair amount of practice to become proficient at flying one (I'm not there yet). During that phase you're going to screw up - not a pleasant thought if you have a client watching.

But a Solo with camera and gimbal is a real winner. It's stable and pretty user friendly.

The absolute best thing about the Solo is this forum - that can soften the learning curve. (2nd best thing is price.)

Any commercial work is going to require a FCC Part 107 license - aviation is a whole different world - and the stakes are much higher than most people realize. Without one a mistake can be really expensive.

I wouldn't consider the Solo if you're going to backpack in to remote places - (note IrishmanPDX comments). In the 90's I did a video on the Grand Canyon - Grand Canyon Hiker: Tips, Tools, and Resources for Grand Canyon Hikers
- so I speak with some level of experience on that subject.

Bottom line - grab a Solo - fly it and then evaluate your options and motives.
 

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