Upgrade or buy something else?

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#1
Hello,

I've been read this forum for a few months now and finally made an account. I purchased a refurbished Solo from Best Buy about a year ago. I don't have a gopro or gimbal. I will soon be moving to a location where I can fly without worrying about bothering people and I have a dilemma.

Should I spend the money on buying a GoPro, gimbal, and upgraded gps or just buy a DJI Spark (or something equal in cost). Unless my math is off, both options should be fairly close in price if I get a good deal on a gimbal. There is a small chance I may use which ever one I pick for work.

I wanted to hear some other thoughts on this.

Thanks
 
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#2
I think it depends on your need, what are you going to do with it? If you want to use Smart shots like Follow Me or Cable Cam Solo is better IMO. If you want to float around taking video the DJI stuff does that well.
 
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#3
I would like to travel with it and take it on short trips, but the smart shots would be really nice. If I do use it for work, it would be for real estate photos. I guess that would also fit into traveling too.

Also if it matters, I don't have an Android device.
 
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#4
I weighed this option heavily when I bought. I was/am looking to do the same thing. I'm pleased with my decision so far. I picked up the K88 ZTE for $75 so I could use solex and missions. I'm on the learning curve, but I don't have any real complaints so far.

I wanted something that was flexible and versatile for future needs. The solo seem to fit that bill.

Hope this helps.
®
 
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#5
I would like to travel with it and take it on short trips, but the smart shots would be really nice. If I do use it for work, it would be for real estate photos. I guess that would also fit into traveling too.

Also if it matters, I don't have an Android device.
So putting a lot of honest thought into this one for you...
As much as solo owners love the solo the fact is that it may not be suited to everyone. Honestly, if you really want to travel with your drone then a smaller, fold up drone is a pretty good choice. Even the DJI Mavic folds up small enough to fit into the water bottle holder on a backpack. Like you said, price wise the Spark is pretty similar to the upgrades you need. Gopro 4 black $129 refurbished. Gimbal $300 - $450. GPS $50. You'll also want a couple of extra batteries because 12 - 15 min flying time isn't going to be enough. Let's call it $600 even (hey you've managed to snag some bargains along the way). Well for $530 you can get a "Spark Fly More Combo". Plus they are still making batteries for the spark. You can pick up batteries for the solo still, but what's out there is about 3 years old at this point and they've just been degrading (i.e. shorter flying times, likely to fail). And for $789 you can pick up a Mavic pro.

I have 5 flying solo's and I love them because I can take them apart, tinker with them, replace parts (with some limitations), however even I'm seriously thinking about getting a DJI as an extra drone just because I want something with a longer flying time and that's more easily transportable. I'll still keep my solo's and use them (survey's, photography, video). But for travel, keeping a handy drone "on hand" so to speak, I'm thinking something smaller and lighter is good idea.

The solo is excellent but is now needing some serious help in the battery and gimbal department. People are working on this but do you really want something that comes prepackaged and ready to use, or to break out the soldering Iron, do the wiring yourself, break out mission planner to update parameters... Plus the other thing that makes solo excellent is Solex, an app used to control the drone that is android based. So you'd also need to get an android device.

So hoping this long reply does help with your decision. If not the short answer is "If you ever want to get into building your own drone, start with a solo, if you just want to fly for fun with something that's small and easily transportable, get a mavic!".

o_O
 
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#6
If you watch YouTube vids from sites like thirdphaseofthemoon
They have what looks like a DJI 4 Pro, they were trying to get it to fly offshore in very light Tradewinds and that overpriced toy was getting blown back a Solo however is not even fun to fly in less than 25-30mph gusts, she just pitches her nose down and powers through!
I have many quads and am now able to fly my EMAX HAWK 5 instead of it "flying me" lol, just recently got my Hawk to 109mph and there is more speed in her!
I got my Solo in the glory days (NIB Gimbal $35), I'm using a GoPro 3+black edition and the Rev. B GPS, I Put in the 3D printed isolation plate took off the copper shield, using Solex of course. I have 2 batteries that I use and 7 that I peridocilly check that they are at "store voltage" Of my 2 fly batteries they both still give me 18+ min flight time (with gimbal) so I'm happy, I would never get a DJI For a Camera bird!, just my humble opinion
 
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#7
So putting a lot of honest thought into this one for you...
As much as solo owners love the solo the fact is that it may not be suited to everyone. Honestly, if you really want to travel with your drone then a smaller, fold up drone is a pretty good choice. Even the DJI Mavic folds up small enough to fit into the water bottle holder on a backpack. Like you said, price wise the Spark is pretty similar to the upgrades you need. Gopro 4 black $129 refurbished. Gimbal $300 - $450. GPS $50. You'll also want a couple of extra batteries because 12 - 15 min flying time isn't going to be enough. Let's call it $600 even (hey you've managed to snag some bargains along the way). Well for $530 you can get a "Spark Fly More Combo". Plus they are still making batteries for the spark. You can pick up batteries for the solo still, but what's out there is about 3 years old at this point and they've just been degrading (i.e. shorter flying times, likely to fail). And for $789 you can pick up a Mavic pro.

I have 5 flying solo's and I love them because I can take them apart, tinker with them, replace parts (with some limitations), however even I'm seriously thinking about getting a DJI as an extra drone just because I want something with a longer flying time and that's more easily transportable. I'll still keep my solo's and use them (survey's, photography, video). But for travel, keeping a handy drone "on hand" so to speak, I'm thinking something smaller and lighter is good idea.

The solo is excellent but is now needing some serious help in the battery and gimbal department. People are working on this but do you really want something that comes prepackaged and ready to use, or to break out the soldering Iron, do the wiring yourself, break out mission planner to update parameters... Plus the other thing that makes solo excellent is Solex, an app used to control the drone that is android based. So you'd also need to get an android device.

So hoping this long reply does help with your decision. If not the short answer is "If you ever want to get into building your own drone, start with a solo, if you just want to fly for fun with something that's small and easily transportable, get a mavic!".

o_O
I appreciate you taking the time and commenting. I think i'll go with Spark based on everything you said. I may just get cheap off Gopro 3 or an off brand and use the stock mount. I do like my Solo, i just don't think I'll have the time needed to make it the best it can be.

Thanks again.
 
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#8
I appreciate you taking the time and commenting. I think i'll go with Spark based on everything you said. I may just get cheap off Gopro 3 or an off brand and use the stock mount. I do like my Solo, i just don't think I'll have the time needed to make it the best it can be.

Thanks again.
Well either resell the solo so you get some more cash towards your spark, or keep the solo and maybe later down the road you can still look at developing it. Who knows, by that time maybe there will be a 3rd party gimbal and battery solution too. Good luck with your purchase!
 
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#9
Well either resell the solo so you get some more cash towards your spark, or keep the solo and maybe later down the road you can still look at developing it. Who knows, by that time maybe there will be a 3rd party gimbal and battery solution too. Good luck with your purchase!
Defiantly keeping the solo. It was at the top of my list when it was released, just never saved up the money for it. I'm will to wait for gimbal prices to drop and more 3rd party options.
 
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#10
Defiantly keeping the solo. It was at the top of my list when it was released, just never saved up the money for it. I'm will to wait for gimbal prices to drop and more 3rd party options.
I don't think gimbal prices will drop just because there are a finite amount of them with no more being produced. I'm sitting on three that I bought at BB when they were $40.

IPDX is right when he mentions the different points of view. I also own a Mavic Pro. The DJI death squad on here will tell you that they suck but I'm here to say that isn't the case. I've had mine over a year with zero problems. No lost gps, range issues, start up problems, etc. Does that make it the best drone in the world? Nope. However, for portability, range, ease of set up, reliability, etc, it's hard to beat.

Btw if you check DJI's website you can get a refurbished unit for cheap. You won't regret it.
 
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#11
My 2 cents worth (as that's about how much its worth). I prefer the 3DR.... still, as it has the expandability and modification ability - the same as a pixhawk (Ardupilot) stuff. There still is a large community out there developing and making advancements with ardupilot (and mission planner and pixhawk...) that I really, really, really, really appreciate. Most other platforms you are locked into what they have to offer and that's all. If what the other product has is all you want or need to do, then it will be fine for you. Note I have Mikrokopter as well and I like it for the one thing I use it for (aerial mapping) with the camera pointing straight down. I don't use it for anything else and have no other expectations from it. My pixhawk systems do all sorts of stuff and have all sorts of sensors and gadgets attached that I can buy from multiple manufacturers and sources. So it comes down to what you need and what it can do for you. If it does what you want (and well) then it does not matter who's logo is stuck to the side of it.
 
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#13
My 2 cents worth (as that's about how much its worth). I prefer the 3DR.... still, as it has the expandability and modification ability - the same as a pixhawk (Ardupilot) stuff. There still is a large community out there developing and making advancements with ardupilot (and mission planner and pixhawk...) that I really, really, really, really appreciate. Most other platforms you are locked into what they have to offer and that's all. If what the other product has is all you want or need to do, then it will be fine for you. Note I have Mikrokopter as well and I like it for the one thing I use it for (aerial mapping) with the camera pointing straight down. I don't use it for anything else and have no other expectations from it. My pixhawk systems do all sorts of stuff and have all sorts of sensors and gadgets attached that I can buy from multiple manufacturers and sources. So it comes down to what you need and what it can do for you. If it does what you want (and well) then it does not matter who's logo is stuck to the side of it.
I agree with that for sure. I'm just not convinced that you can modify a Solo to the level of a Phantom 4 Pro. Then there's this notion that DJI drones don't offer autonomous flight modes. I'm not sure what shots the Solo offers that DJI doesn't? I'm going to dust mine off and take a look tomorrow.

There comes a point where you're throwing good money after bad. There are several dyi platforms out there if you're inclined. I know it sounds as if I'm bashing the Solo, I really don't mean to but I was at a similar crossroads 18 months ago, and considered buying the Mavic when it came out. I let myself be, using similar tactics, talked out of it. I went thru a couple more units, several hundred dollars and 6 wasted flying months before I finally gave up and bought the Mavic. Well after trying the Karma that is... I was convinced DJI was the devil! I just would hate to see someone else get steered away from DJI because of some of the personal animus here for that company.
 
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#14
Hello,

I've been read this forum for a few months now and finally made an account. I purchased a refurbished Solo from Best Buy about a year ago. I don't have a gopro or gimbal. I will soon be moving to a location where I can fly without worrying about bothering people and I have a dilemma.

Should I spend the money on buying a GoPro, gimbal, and upgraded gps or just buy a DJI Spark (or something equal in cost). Unless my math is off, both options should be fairly close in price if I get a good deal on a gimbal. There is a small chance I may use which ever one I pick for work.

I wanted to hear some other thoughts on this.

Thanks
I thought about this a little more, and my best advice is just buy a cheap used Gopro, a hero 4 silver or black depending on whether you value the back LCD or the Higher Resolution more respectively. And try it out when you get there without a gimbal. At that point you can decide whether to look for the gimbal, or whether to find a newer model. and in any case you'll still be able to use the gopro on your bike or surfboard or skiing, or whatever extreme adventures you might want to get into..
 
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#15
I thought about this a little more, and my best advice is just buy a cheap used Gopro, a hero 4 silver or black depending on whether you value the back LCD or the Higher Resolution more respectively. And try it out when you get there without a gimbal. At that point you can decide whether to look for the gimbal, or whether to find a newer model. and in any case you'll still be able to use the gopro on your bike or surfboard or skiing, or whatever extreme adventures you might want to get into..
That's not a bad idea. I actually bought a $35 sports camera off Amazon for my Solo if I decide to fly it. The 3DR gimbals I have don't work...I know because I destroyed one trying it! Hahaha!
 
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#16
DJI has the proprietary software issue and it apparently controls everything the user does, icluding preventing flying depending on location. That per se is not a bad thing but there have been some bugs reported and the fact DJI collects the user's info (for what purpose one can imagine). Solo's open platform allows for tinkering with it independently of the factory. This has been keeping me away from DJI.

As far as the camera and gimbal. There's a new 360 camera called Rylo, which allows you to mark what spots to lock on and create standard videos out of the 360 one. The camera has a waterproof case that protects it in case of falls and no moving parts, therefore a lot more robust than any gimbal, let alone that now you can explore different "smart shots" without having to make several fly-bys.

The camera costs around $500 if I'm not mistaken but imagine that it's also replacing the (now) expensive (and fragile) gimbal.

And my experience and perception of GoPro is that it's just an over hyped camera that leaves a lot to be desired in terms of image quality. A Sony action cam does circles around it.

I've been following Rylo's group on Facebook and it seems to be a good camera, and I'll likely get one soon.

So, the Solo is not as compact as the DJI models mentioned, but still a nice machine and allows for mods the others do not.
 
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#18
DJI has the proprietary software issue and it apparently controls everything the user does, icluding preventing flying depending on location. That per se is not a bad thing but there have been some bugs reported and the fact DJI collects the user's info (for what purpose one can imagine). Solo's open platform allows for tinkering with it independently of the factory. This has been keeping me away from DJI.

As far as the camera and gimbal. There's a new 360 camera called Rylo, which allows you to mark what spots to lock on and create standard videos out of the 360 one. The camera has a waterproof case that protects it in case of falls and no moving parts, therefore a lot more robust than any gimbal, let alone that now you can explore different "smart shots" without having to make several fly-bys.

The camera costs around $500 if I'm not mistaken but imagine that it's also replacing the (now) expensive (and fragile) gimbal.

And my experience and perception of GoPro is that it's just an over hyped camera that leaves a lot to be desired in terms of image quality. A Sony action cam does circles around it.

I've been following Rylo's group on Facebook and it seems to be a good camera, and I'll likely get one soon.

So, the Solo is not as compact as the DJI models mentioned, but still a nice machine and allows for mods the others do not.
I've seen that camera. It's pretty interesting but you can't control it from the controller or from far away... I guess you could pick your shots in post but I'm also suspicious of the video quality. Casey did a review on it and wasn't overly impressed if I'm not mistaken.

I hear you on NFZs but I swear I have never been prevented from flying anywhere that I've wanted to by DJI. I'm actually appreciating the system because it has warned me of helipads and unpaved airports around me that I wouldn't have known about otherwise. I like that it keeps me abreast of possible hazards while I'm flying. As with anything, you can focus on the negative or the positive. I don't doubt that there have been bugs but DJI constantly updates the system and you are capable of submitting any false NFZs to them for review.
 
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#20
I have three Solo's with working gimbals and one Mavic Pro. When I travel I always take the Pro.
Flying around for fun and to get the shot I want I fly the Solo. If your going to do real estate photogaphy
both are great. If you buy the Mavic Pro you will not be disappointed. That said when I traveled to Scotland
I took my Solo and filmed a castle from the 1200's. The Solo with Hero 4 Silver camera did not disappoint.
Here is a video taken with Solo In England where we stayed in the house that inspired the author to write the book "Wuthering Hieghts"
 
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