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DJI Phantom – First Impressions

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I haven’t been this excited over a piece of tech since I got my hands on the first GoPro Hero nearly two and a half years ago. Back then the ideas and possibilities of this small water proof camera seemed endless. Over this time GoPro have boomed, and now everyone knows about them. Some of the stuff being captured now is truly ore inspiring. The versatility of this small little device is changing the industry in many ways. Some for the better some for the worse, it depend on how you look at it.

I’ve had two dreams since I was very young and first started dabbling in this tech business… one being, owning something capable of capturing super high speed film and the second owning a device that could carry a camera to capture aerial shots. Now part of that dream has come true..

I’ve been on the look out for some time for a Octo/Quad Copter. There has been a huge gap in the market. There has only really been two options, a foam tacky based toy, or a pretty high tech and very expensive professional RC type thing. I’ve been waiting for a Pro-sumer based product to reach the surface.

I happend to do a bit of research a few weeks ago, and discovered that DJI had just realised this. A all-inclusive design with a small sturdy body suitable for easy travel. I couldn’t believe the luck, I was trying to come to terms with the fact that I might have to fork out a few thousand pounds on a quad and here is everything I need/want for £470.

Being in Canada, I couldn’t find anywhere that stocked them. So I ordered one in the UK and got it sent to a friends house who was coming to Canada the following week to visit. It all worked out rather nicely.

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After a few minor issues we managed to get it flying, and oh boy, does it fly.. the maneuverability and speed of this ting is next level. Easily the most fun RC device I’ve played with.

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Taking it on the slopes for the first time. I wanted to try and capture snowboarding in way not many people have done before. The aim was to try and snowboard whilst controlling this and chasing others down the hill.

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I was successful with the first flights, only crashing it once (the battery was dying and it could fly back up). This is the first edit I’ve put together from the footage captured on the hill. Still a little shaky which I have since fixed by balancing the props and building a custom shock absorber mount.

Here are a selection of stills taken from footage of recent test flights:

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Shots from over our house looking down towards the lake.

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Views over Nelson, BC one evening.

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Looking over the WhiteWater Ski Resort car park.

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First Flight over water. I was nervous. The lake is glacier fed and bloody cold, so going in after it would have sucked.

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Strange artefacts in the lake.

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Finally, an evening sunset in the valley.

So yeah, there it is, a quick run through my thoughts on this new ‘toy’. Basically I love it, and cant wait to take it more places. It really excites me that we have access to such amazing things these days. Seeing the world from this perspective is important to understanding the bigger picture, that we’re all part of the same thing. Its my way of understanding the Overview Effect I guess.

I have a very strong feeling that these will become the new GoPro and boom massively. If you are thinking of getting one and have no previous RC experience, please be careful. This thing goes fast and could cause some serious damage, plus it would be an expensive crash :s

Either way, I’m look forward to seeing where this all goes :)

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