Category Archives: Reviews

Brother AiRScouter headset combines FPV and VLOS for drones

For those situations where drone pilots need a ‘FPV’ first person view  (that means seeing what the drone’s camera sees) while maintaining visual line of sight (VLOS) with a drone , the Brother AiRScouter might just do the trick.

Japanese electronics company Brother is breaking into the drone industry with a headset that’s a mashup of Google Glass and FPV goggles. The AiRScouter is a headset with a screen on one eye that displays exactly what your drone’s camera sees. That leaves your other eye to maintain visual line of sight with the drone.

Smart glasses like the AiRScouter could become the new trend in the drone industry. This year Epson announced a partnership with DJI to create a similar set of smart glasses called the Epson Moverio BT-200 Smart Glasses. Those sell for about $700.

In the box you’ll get the goggles, which pretty much remind me of Google Glass, and are very easy and quick to set up. You can adjust the goggles to go on either eye; you’ll typically want to place the glass over your stronger eye. You’ll also get a control box, which powers the headset and can tuck into a larger pocket. Continue reading Brother AiRScouter headset combines FPV and VLOS for drones

Drone filters: how they can improve your drone photography

Do you use a drone for photography or videography? One of the best investments you can make is a set of drone filters.

Neutral density (ND) filters are coin-sized l pieces of semi-transparent glass and have long been used by videographers . Their purposes is to reduce the amount of light your drone’s camera receives. An ND filter allows you to slightly slow your shutter speed down or (if your drone’s camera allows it) use a wider aperture than you would otherwise be able to use.

ND filters fix common problems you see in any photo — but particularly aerial photos — including glare, overexposure, harsh shadows and other issues.  That means you can get those shots of silky soft, flowing water, or maybe just shooting straight down on a bright day, without worrying about harsh shadows.

Additionally, aside from DJI’s Zenmuse X5, most drones have a fixed aperture, which means the only variables for correct exposure are ISO and shutter speed. On a very bright day, the camera has no other option than to increase shutter speed to properly expose a scene, which results in shaky footage. polarpro drone filters

I tested out PolarPro’s 3-pack of filters for my Yuneec Typhoon H, which includes ND4, ND8 and ND16 filters. The 4-gram filters are easy-to-attach and drastically improve the quality of my shots.

The Typhoon H does come with a stock filter, but the PolarPro filters are a huge improvement.

  • The ND4 2-stop neutral density filter should be used for filming on mild days or during the golden hour (the first and last hour of sunlight in a  day) and reduces highlights and lens flare.
  • The ND8 3-Stop neutral density filter should be used on bright days to help prevent lens flare and mild rolling shutter.
  • The ND16 4-stop filter is the darkest shade and works well on very bright days and creates the smoothest cinematic look to your videos of all the filters.

Here’s a guide on what filter to use, when:

polarpro filter guide

If you do end up getting a set of PolarPro filters, I also recommend getting the Polar Pro 3-pack filter case, which is just $4.99. It’s a small price to pay to protect your glass!polarpro drone filter case

PolarPro makes a variety of filters for many drones including the DJI Phantom and Zenmuse camera.

 

Yuneec Breeze review: an easy-to-fly selfie cam drone

Yuneec’s Breeze markets itself as a drone that is easy to fly without any experience, a claim that certainly holds up. It’s probably the easiest drone I’ve ever flown, as it took off in my living room and hovered, allowing me to control the direction of the drone.

It has a few different modes: Pilot mode is what traditional drone pilots wold be used to. There is also Follow, Orbit, Journey and Selfie mode.

Yuneec Breeze Size and Packing

The Yuneec Breeze is super light at just 0.81 pounds. I was impressed with how the propellers and legs fold up into about the size of an iPad (though of course slightly thicker). Every Breeze comes with a compact hard case, making it easy to travel with.

The battery took about 45 minutes to charge. You do get two batteries, which is a necessary addition since the flight time goes up to just 12 minutes. Continue reading Yuneec Breeze review: an easy-to-fly selfie cam drone

DJI Osmo Mobile review: bringing smooth video to your smartphone

DJI’s Osmo was an impressive piece of technology when it was first announced — bringing that silky, smooth drone like footage to the ground. Priced initially at $649, it was a huge cost-savings for people who wanted to ditch their $1000+ SteadiCams, but it was still too pricey for most hobby photographers to justify.

DJI is fixing that with the launch of the $299 Osmo Mobile.

For under $300, smartphone photographers can get the footage they are used to from a drone, but now with their smartphone camera.

It’s easy to use — set-up is simply taking it out of your purse (it’s about 6 inches tall) and turning it on. It uses Bluetooth to connect with the phone, and relies on the DJI Go app (the same one you’re used to using on your Phantom or Inspire) to control the settings. Continue reading DJI Osmo Mobile review: bringing smooth video to your smartphone

GhostDrone 2.0 review: too many gimmicks, not enough function

In an era where everyone is trying to be the next hot drone maker, many companies it seems are falling into the trap of a “cool, distinguishing” feature that turns out to be a marketing gimmick and nothing more. Ghost Drone 2.0 VR is no exception.

I was initially really excited about the Ghost Drone 2.0 VR given the hype around its maker, Ehang. (You may recall them wowing audiences at CES 2016 with a  human-sized drone).

The $899 Ghost Drone 2.0 calls itself the easiest-to-fly drone in the world, requiring only an Android or iOS device to fly, and comes with a set of VR goggles.

GhostDrone 2.0 Setup

Setup was extremely easy. All I had to do was screw on the self-tightening propellers. I also had to do a software update on the drone, which could not have been easier. No cords or plugging anything into a computer involved! I had to simply log onto the app and everything was done wirelessly. Easy! Time to go flying.

Drone Girl Ghost Drone
Firmware updated, and ready to go!

GhostDrone 2.0 Flying

Flying is where things went downhill. I live and work in downtown San Francisco, so I typically fly in smaller parks that are sprinkled throughout the city.  I chose one near my office, which is a block long and surrounded by buildings on all sides. I’ve had no problem flying other drones there in the past — very few people are around that area on weekends which is ideal for testing new drones. Continue reading GhostDrone 2.0 review: too many gimmicks, not enough function

Review: MzeroA’s Remote Pilot 101 course

The Part 107 exam availability is about a week away — and it’s not going to be an easy test for people unfamiliar with aeronautics.

If you’re like me and have trouble committing to — and understand — a book, then reading the FAA’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge may not be enough. There are a number of online and in-person training courses to help you learn what you need to know

I tried out MzeroA’s Remote Pilot 101 course, which consist of more than three hours of training videos, as well as 9 practice quizzes to cap the end of each section and one final exam at the end. Continue reading Review: MzeroA’s Remote Pilot 101 course

PolarPro Drone Trekker Backpack Review

Enter to win this backpack! Scroll down for details on how to win:

Looking for a backpack for your Phantom lineup of drones that also doubles as a camera backpack?

I decided to give PolarPro’s Drone Trekker a try.drone trekker

The case fits any DJI Phantom model drone as well as any laptop up to 13-inches in size with a laptop sleeve in the back.

This case seems designed particularly with the photographer in mind. While the main compartment is designed for a Phantom drone, the padded inserts can be removed or reconfigured to store a DSLR camera body and lenses. It also has an external tripod mount, which I find useful when shooting my own Drone Girl videos.

drone trekkerI review quite a few drone backpacks and what I found really intriguing about this one was a TSA approved combination travel lock. I could see this coming in handy not just when you’re traveling, but also in cases where you need to ensure the contents of your backpack are secure — perhaps even just from your kids!_MG_2119

While walking around with this backpack, I enjoyed the form-fitting and ergonomically designed shoulder straps with chest and waist supports that alleviate pressure points.

This drone backpack is 19x13x9.5 inches, so unlike most hardshell cases, this meets most airline carry-on restrictions.  If you need to check your drone in through the airport, I would still recommend a hard shell case. But for carrying your drones on hiking adventures or wherever you like to fly, the ultra-padding on this case makes it pleasant to carry.

If you’re in the market for a Phantom backpack, this one holds up!

You can win this backpack for yourself! Simply ‘Like’ the Instagram photo embedded below and ‘Follow Me‘ on Instagram at @OfficialDroneGirl by Friday, August 26 by 9 a.m. ET to be entered to win!

CONTEST TIME! I’ve partnered with PolarPro to do a giveaway of this Drone Trekker backpack. . To win this backpack, you have to do two things: 1. ‘Like’ this photo on Instagram 2. ‘Follow Me’ on Instagram. . The contest ends on Friday, August 26 at 9 a.m. ET, when one winner will be chosen at random. . The winner will be contacted via Instagram Direct Message and must respond with their mailing info within 72 hours of being contacted or a new winner will be chosen. . WANT MORE ENTRIES?! For every friend you tag in the comments who also likes this photo AND follows this page (up to 10 friends), both of you will receive an additional entry!! . #contest #dronegirl #polarpro #drone #dji #iflydji #tech #ameliadronehart #dronelife #drones #giveaway #win #2inning #droneoftheday #multicopter #p4 #phantom #liketowin #dronersio #dronereviews #quadsquad #UAV #djiglobal #dronesaregood #aerialphotography #dronetrekker

A photo posted by Sally French (@officialdronegirl) on

One winner who both ‘Likes’ and ‘Follows’ will be chosen at random. The winner must respond with their mailing info within 72 hours of being contacted or a new winner will be chosen.

 

Toy drones! Drone Girl reviews TDR’s Spider and Robin

The first piece of advice I will give anyone looking to getting into drones for the first time. Don’t start with an $1,000 drone you will inevitably crash. Pick up a $30 toy drone and start practicing with that.

I got a chance to try out two toy drones — TDR’s Spider Stunt Quadcopter ($39.99) and TDR’s Robin Pro with built-in LCD ($139.99). Continue reading Toy drones! Drone Girl reviews TDR’s Spider and Robin