Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Phantom 2 Vision for a newbie in this hobby?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by un hombre, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. un hombre

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ireland - Poland
    Hi all,

    I have been doing my research for some time now and to be honest, I am not getting any smarter the more I read...

    I have been practicing on my Hubsan H107C for a couple of weeks now and I am hooked up and I would like something bigger, to do some proper outdoor photography. By no means I need a "pro" equipment, just decent quadcopter with good camera/stabilisation properties, proper range and FPV would be a nice bonus.

    Here are my choices and thoughts about those:

    1) Phantom 2 Vision - Seems to be the most capable out of the box set, unparalleled battery time, everything ready to fly in the package, stable hovering, flight modes ranging from gps assisted simple for amateurs and fully manual if one needs. It does seem to be a perfrect choice for me but the horror stories of fly aways are steering me away from this. I cannot justify spending 900 Euro on something that might as well just fly away and crash by itself, even if it was properly calibrated, had all the gps satelites etc.

    2) Walkera QR X350 pro - strongest second contender. For 899 Dollars I can have a fully working FPV platform, iLook+ camera, fpv screen built in controller, gimball etc, or for 869 dollars a version with Devo 10 controller and external Boscam FPV image receiver. It used to be my favorite however it seems to be lacking consistancy with quality, lower flight times and no quality low voltage protection, worse quality of materials. Seems to be more "raw", though, faster and for the money, offering better image stability (gimbal) and cheaper batterries/parts.

    3) 3dr Iris+ - This newcommer will offer worse equipment than Vision, out of the box. For the price of Vision you get just the RTF quad plus a Tarot gimbal, so you are missing the camera (possibly go pro) and whole FPV capabilities. What you get is more autonomous quad, based on open platform, nice modes like "follow me" or "circle" mode, plus you basically get all the other modes that phantom offers. It seems to offer a bit worse battery life and might be a bit more difficult to understand and set up, but more advanced features might be a worthy advantages to follow this path.

    4) Parrot Bebop - a bit more like a toy, with only 12 minutes advertised time, however there are some things I fancy. It will most likely cost less than Vision (even with the SkyController) and offer similar functionality. Having GPS + Glonass + Gallileo should mean it will have the best precision and hopefully no fly aways. Other things I like is the fact, I can play with it with my phone or hook up the advanced controller if I want to do some serious flying. What I don't like, on the other hand, is that it heavily relies on Android/IOS app, which might be problematic.

    5) Rclogger NovaX - Not really much known at this point, other than they are finalizing the firmware and the quad should be a good one, heavily relying on peoples' feedback and opinions.

    Now, I won't lie to you, the most important factor for me at this point is to have an equipment, that has the least probability to go crazy by itself (fly away) and crash, aside from user error. I don't care if it crashes by my mistake, my fault and I will live with that, however flyaways without possibility to control the quad because of some glitch - not acceptable for me. You may as well say that if not acceptable, than I should stay away from this hobby, but I presume some platforms are more stable than others so I would like to hear your opinion as some of you most likely fly other things than Phantoms.

    Second most important factor is the image quality but this is very similar among all of them, as I can hook up a camera of my choice to a gimbal on either of them, aside from Phantom Vision.

    How would you approach buying your first FPV quad, if you had to do it from scratch and you would not like to do any tinkering and too much assembly?
    Would you buy Phantom 2 again, or would you buy something else, maybe something I mentioned above?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Wally

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2014
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Amsterdam, the Netherlands
    I have about 50 flawless flights under the belt and think the phantom 2 vision plus is great and very reliable. Don't let the fly-away stories get to ya; for every malfunction story there are hundreds of succes-stories that never get told. Many of the fly aways are pilot errors as well. Off course some remain mysterious, but knowing what you do goes a long way.

    Don't know anything else about the other options.

    I would buy a P2V+ again for sure.
     
  3. ProfessorStein

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Messages:
    1,136
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    That's the thing... if the Vision is truly "properly calibrated, had all the gps satelites etc", it doesn't fly away. And many, if not most of the other consumer UAV options have the same caveats (heck... many even use the exact same guts as the Vision anyway... licensing the NAZA controller and other components). So you're never going to get away from the fact that you have to take your time doing your pre-flight checks and making sure your bird is truly ready to go before you take off.

    And, if you're willing to do that, there ain't no better platform in the price bracket you're looking at, IMHO, than the Phantom 2. And, in particular, the Vision series if, as you said, you want excellent capability straight out-of-the-box.

    I'm with Wally. I'd buy a Vision again in a heartbeat, even after researching the newer players on the market.
     
  4. HarryT

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    622
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    My only caution with the Vision+ is that WHEN you crash it (and I say "when", not "if", because everybody crashes, particularly beginners), the camera/gimbal unit is fragile, and is a $700 replacement part. The Phantom 2 plus Zenmuse gimbal, GoPro camera, and FPV kit costs a little more than the V+, but is a lot less expensive to replace when damaged.
     
  5. ATOMSK

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2014
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston
    There are some retailers that offer the Phantom2 with Zenmuse H3-3D for less than $1000. If you want to go a slightly different route.
    http://www.uavdirect.com/UAV-Drone-3-Ax ... -h3-3d.htm

    So you can add the GoPro of your choice and config a FPV system to your exact preference.
     
  6. un hombre

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ireland - Poland
    I presume the same situation holds for the regular Vision model? Can you replace the camera setup, if it gets damaged during crash and is it as costly?
     
  7. Buckaye

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    420
    Location:
    Orlando
    I agree with the people who say you shouldn't concern yourself too much with the fly-away stories. I also agree with Harry T that it is a matter of when, not if, you crash. I have flown RC heli's for a while and still have had 2 minor crashes - and one damaged the Zenmuse - however, I was able to bend it back to proper shape.

    You have to realize that whenever your putting anything in the air - there's a possibility that it will come down in a way you didn't intend. It goes with the territory.

    Having said all that - IF YOU READ ALL THE DIRECTIONS AND TAKE YOUR TIME - I can't think of an easier bird to get the hang of with this kind of range, power and video capability than the Phantom 2. However, it's not a toy - you have to take baby steps and really understand all the functions.

    Good luck!
     
  8. MadMitch88

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2014
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    I own the Phantom Vision+ and it's a superb bird right out-of-the-box solution, with an awesome 3-axis gimbal that gives the most stabilized video I've seen on any UAV. I've flown over 25 flights with it and it's very stable in GPS mode and flyaways seem almost impossible (unless you're a complete noob and dunce when it comes to quadcopters). I owned the AR Parrot last year and it's decent for the price but too gimmicky when it comes to flight characteristics and the camera is pitiful. I lost it in the deep woods when I tried to make it fly an autonomous flight using QGroundControl, so obviously it has problems and shortcomings. You need to invest in semi-pro equipment like the Vision+ to even get a nice taste of what UAV's and aerial videography should be like in 2014 and beyond.

    However, if high-quality video is your main priority then I might give consideration to the Vision or Walkera. I'm becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the lens distortion of the Vision+ video and would literally pay $100 for any video editor like Adobe Premiere Pro that offers a quick and easy plugin fix for it. If you aim all your shots at greater than 45 degrees downward then it's not that noticeable, but any horizon shots have really bad barrel distortion. There is a Photoshop plugin that corrects this distortion on still photos, but I mostly shoot video so it doesn't help me that much.

    DJI needs to get a better lens on this camera quickly or many of their loyal customers will jump ship to whatever quad offers a 4K GoPro in the next iteration.
     
  9. HarryT

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Messages:
    622
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    The regular Vision has no gimbal, and is therefore a lot tougher (it's the gimbal that's the fragile part of the Vision+). However, the lack of a gimbal obviously means no image stabilisation, and that makes a tremendous difference to video quality. Of course, if you just want it to fly FPV, it's not an issue.
     
  10. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7,729
    Likes Received:
    3,448
    Three things ...
    The lens (and the whole camera) is the same in the Vision as the 2+
    The Vison has no gimbal and is next to useless if you want good video
    Photoshop (and a bunch of other software) will correct the fisheye distortion in video just as easily as it does for stills.
     
  11. ProfessorStein

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Messages:
    1,136
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Big +1, +2, and +3 for those.


    Adding that replacing the Vision camera/carriage is a triffle bit less expensive than replacing the Vision+ camera/gimbal. As Harry said... if it's FPV or still photos you're after, the straight Vision is the way to go. And, likewise, if you want video, Vision+.
     
  12. un hombre

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ireland - Poland
    To be honest I am after occasional photos and mostly videos.

    I read that vision + is heavier than vision and therefore a bit less responsive to control, is that true?
    Is the battery life much inferior as well?

    To be honest I was not considering vision +, gimbal seemed more delicate, construction heavier and I could not justify the extra cost.
     
  13. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7,729
    Likes Received:
    3,448
    There is no noticeable difference in handling or battery life.
    If you are wanting video you should check the difference between the video quality of the two.
    One is good .. and the other isn't.
     
  14. lake_flyer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    The Low Lands
    +1
    And a LOT less expensive with a cheap chinese gimbal that works pretty good for 50 bucks. Add a Fatshark FPV setup and IOSD Mini and you have a great setup.

    I thought about the Vision+ but decided I'm definitely not the one size fits all kind of person. I like a product to be open and adaptive, like the P2 is. God knows what camera or gimbal or electronics I might want to add in the future. The Vision+ is a great package but limits your choices in the future. And you're stuck on 5,8GHz, which is restricted in range in a lot of countries.

    I started with the FC40 package to learn as much as I could about quad FPV flying, before taking the final step. Now I own 2 quads (of which the P2 is fully equipped now for long range FPV) for basically the same money as one Vision+ and I have a whole future of possible upgrades in front of me.
     
  15. un hombre

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ireland - Poland
    This makes sense for me.

    Ok, lets assume Vision + costs now around 1200 dollars.

    What would be the cost to set up Phantom 2 to be FPV (excluding cost of camera)?

    Phantom 2 + H3-3D gimbal is around 950 dollars.
    What other equipment do I need to have Gopro or any other camera (like say sj4000 clone) to transmit the picture to a 5.8 ghz screen?

    I presume this IOSD mini, 5.8 ghz Boscam lcd receiver, some transmitter? Can anyone estimate cost or maybe you, lake_flyer?

    In terms of weight, is this kind of set up heavier than Vision+?
     
  16. lake_flyer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    The Low Lands
    Well, personally I would go for a non gimbal setup first. You will learn it better if you see the movements of the craft in your footage, especially in the beginning. Later add a gimbal of your choice, it doesn't have to be a zenmuse perse. You can start with a cheap one from ebay and see how it works before spending hundreds of $ on a 3D zenmuse. But that's my take on it.

    I spent 590 Euros on the P2 and around 350 on the Fatshark PredatorV2 (250Mw Tx + goggles). I'm adding a very cheap gimbal to my Gopro but it's still on the boat from China. I get around 1km of stable FPV right now (stock antennas) but that's easily extended with other antennas. 1km is OK for now. Added iOSD mini (must have!) for 69 Euro. Making a switch to choose between Gopro or FPV600 (Fatshark cam) as soon as I have the gimbal. I want to see the motions of the craft relative to the airspace and not relative to the lens, in my goggles. Flying FPV through a gimbaled Gopro is nice but you can't see very well what's happening with your quad, you have to refer to the rotors that sweep into sight. More then a few people have noticed too late their quad was in a VRS (vortex ring state) because the image remained stabilized for too long.

    But around a 1000 bucks (cheaper in the US I guess) you can get started with a very serious Phantom 2 platform (be it without a zenmuse) that's always possible to adapt to your future needs. And since you are a beginner as I once was, you just don't know what you want before you have the experience.

    I quote myself: "Once the knowledge is there, the learning only starts"

    Good luck with the decisions!

    Jan
     
  17. un hombre

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2014
    Messages:
    226
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Ireland - Poland
    Thanks a lot, mate!

    That makes even more sense. I know what I want for now... Learning on Hubsan has given me an idea what would be a nice to have for now.

    I would like to have a biger quad, that would allow me to fly outside, stable in the light wind and for longer distances.
    I would like to make videos for my own private use and I do not need the stability of a 3d gimbal, stability that is offered by Standard Phantom 2 vision is more then enough for me.

    An FPV would be nice, but best of the line gimbal is not necessary for the moment.

    I was even thinking about buying Mobius Actioncam and putting it somehow on Phantom... At worst, I guess I can just stick it underneath but I thought about buying some basic Walkera plstic gimbal, removing the go pro 2 holder, leaving just the plate with rubber ammortization and sticking the mobius on it.

    I am just not sure, if Walkera gimbal would install on Phantom without any problems and modifications?

    FPV would be kind of essential for me, as if I loose it out of sight or don't know what is it's orientation, I could easily just correct it according to the screen.

    So my thinking was Phantom 2 + some gimbal plate with ammortization attached to it + Mobius action cam and some basic FPV transmitter/receiver plus 7 inch screen. I guess I could add FPV later and start with Phantom on shorter distances, just learning and polishing my skills, however I would really like some decent aerial footage from a decent camera.

    Would the Phantom + Mobius combo make sense? Will it be adequate for FPV later? I don't see a point investing in Go Pro 3, really.

    Also, would you be able to tell me what would be the minimum cost of a basic FPV set for me to enjoy and use on Phantom 3?

    I guess screen would be good, no need for glasses now, I can always buy them later.

    Screen + transmitter + iosd and something else? Would anyone be able to estimate and tell me if it is difficult to install by yourself?

    I have just realised, though, that if I go Phantom 2 way, I will loose the Ground Station/Mission planner thing that is supported by only the Vision models?
    It is a shame, to be honest, because it is a very cool feature...

    Thanks!
     
  18. ProfessorStein

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Messages:
    1,136
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    The only caveat I would add is that it's often less expensive to buy the bird and the gimbal as a "package". So I might still look that way.
    Nothing says you can't still buy it as a set and take the gimbal off to learn to fly... then reinstall the gimbal when you're ready (at least then you'll have it, and know it's a solution that's going to work - it's already been matched... and you might save a little money in the long run).
     
  19. ATOMSK

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2014
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston
    If I had to start from the very beginning I would buy this one http://www.dslrpros.com/dslrpros-produc ... l-kit.html
    from DSLRpros.

    it comes with everything you need with upgrades and a case!
    FPV
    gimbal
    OSD
    4 batteries

    All for less than $1000.

    The only thing you have to add is the GoPro. Which will be the GoPro4 when that comes out
     
  20. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7,729
    Likes Received:
    3,448
    That dslrpros package is for an outdated Phantom 1.
    The value of the package is debateable.
    when they say"The 4 easy to change batteries will give you over half an hour of flight without needing to recharge".
    They are meaning it only gets 8 minutes flight time on one battery.
    And by the time you add a Gopro, you could have bought a P2+ for the same money.