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Best solution for night flying around buildings

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Band_Auditor, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. Band_Auditor

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    Planning to buy a drone. Been looking into Phantom 3 Advanced but open to others. Requirement is a drone that can fly around skyscrapers in the downtown area (without line of sight). Camera also needs to have an aperture/sensor large enough to capture decent night shots without a light. I have a DSLR which is good at night, but probably too heavy for most drones. Purpose of drone will be capturing nighttime cityscapes from within the downtown area. Price point $800-$2000. Would prefer a turnkey solution but am capable of performing some customization. Looking for suggestions on make/model, customizations, or kits. Ready go.

    This is the type of shots I want to take with the drone:
    https://instagram.com/p/3kjyn6M_67/
     
    #1 Band_Auditor, Aug 12, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
    Ariel@Hivemapper likes this.
  2. DreamsHD

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    Well firstly everything you want in a drone is against the FAA lol
     
  3. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    Hi Band_A.
    To lift your DSLR, you'd have to spend way more than the price of the P3 and you'd still not have something to equal the P3's performance and ability.
    Weight is a huge issue and everything is a compromise.
    But the P3 is currently the best available solution for what you are asking.
    I have a 36 MP SLR on land and the P3 isn't in the same league but it sure flies a lot better and is capable of quite good results.
    Have a look at the aerial shots here to see what can be done with a P3.
    https://500px.com/meta4

    You say you want to fly around skyscrapers in the downtown area (without line of sight).
    That term is misused causing confusion.
    The P3 can certainly be flown beyond visual range but to keep control and see what it is doing, you have to have line of sight.
    ie .. you can't fly it around behind a tall building.
    The P3 has a long range but the crowded airwaves in an urban environment might reduce this somewhat.
     
    Band_Auditor and AmirChar like this.
  4. AmirChar

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    Meta4 - did you really take all of these with just a P3P? Those look amazingly crisp.. I haven't been able to get anything that clear and crisp with my P3P.. how are you taking these, are you doing a lot of post editing?
     
  5. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    Thanks .. yes the P3 is a great aerial camera.
    I pay particular attention to the sun angle to get the best lighting so I have very little post work to do.
    I like to shoot under overcast skies or with the sun rather than into the sum.
    Night shots of city lights always look very bright.
     
    snerd likes this.
  6. Band_Auditor

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    Thank you Meta4 for your response. Do you think the Phantom 3 Professional would have any advantages over the Phantom 3 Advanced with respect specifically to night shots?

    Any suggested ways to boost my ability to fly around buildings (or even around the block) in a downtown area? I read a thread about using EZUHF to extend range to something that can fly around a building. Not sure how difficult that is to mod or if it is even the best option. http://www.phantompilots.com/threads/ezuhf.6222/
     
  7. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    The camera is identical except for the Pro version being able to shoot 4K video.
    If you are shooting stills, there is no advantage beyond the faster charger that comes with the Pro.
    I suspect that trying to go to uhf would be difficult and would mean giving away the huge advantages that the P3's Lightbridge offers.
    There are a lot of potential problems in trying to fly behind obstacles and I'd recommend becoming proficient out in the open first.
     
  8. Band_Auditor

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    BTW your arial downtown night shots are fantastic, they certainly have proven that the Phantom 3 is more than capable there.

    If the ability to fly around buildings is a requirement, what are my best options?
     
    Ariel@Hivemapper likes this.
  9. RoyVa

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    The only way I know of and is not approved by FAA is to fly using a P2vision + using the waypoint autonomous flying.
    FAA say no night flying, only fly line of sight, not over populated areas and not over 400 ft. Plus other restrictions. Sorry but looks like the door has been closed.
     
    Waternut13134 likes this.
  10. Ariel@Hivemapper

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    If you are flying near buildings we (Hivemapper) may be able to help. We have over 10 million building heights and boundaries (precise distance to the building).

    Here are some examples....Hivemapper | 3D map for drone fliers

    All of this data gets loaded into your drone so you can see your distance to a building in real-time

    If we don't yet cover your area please let us know and we can prioritize it.
     
  11. turbulence

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    If you wanna be 100% legal go find a local flight club with a helicopter and rent a flight. That way you can also use your DSLR.