Drones come with either an integrated camera or a gimbal. This suspension allows you to mount a GoPro or – via an adapter – your own cameras. If you want to mount a special camera, you should inform yourself in advance at a photo retailer. Individual models cannot be fixed in the gimbal. The two major manufacturers on the market are Parrot from France and the Chinese company DJI Innovations.
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Current models and prices of drones
You should expect at least 300 Euro if you want to take pictures with a drone. Cheaper models are only suitable for learning the controls. Since they are also simple in structure, a crash does not directly raise concerns about the many hundreds of euros that have just been destroyed.
The models of the Phantom series from DJI are very popular. These have a stabilisation of the flight behaviour and can be equipped with a GoPro. In the low four-digit range, the Phantom Vision already comes with an integrated HD video camera with 14 megapixels. On the smartphone, you can see what the drone is filming and move the camera around three axes.
It is also possible to adjust the flight control according to the direction of view of the drone, relative to your own position and relative to the last line of sight of the drone. What sounds theoretical simplifies intuitive operation in practice. If the radio connection is interrupted, the phantom drones fly back to the starting point on their own and are not lost immediately.
As an alternative, the Parrot AR.DROHNE 2.0 with integrated camera (even with the cheapest model from approx. 350 euros) is suitable for beginners. Its control is easy to learn and it is an inexpensive introduction to the world of drone flights. Anyone who wants to shoot high-quality video and photo shots with a drone has to upgrade to a resolution of 4K anyway or invest directly in such a drone. This has the advantage that you can drag photos from the video in HD quality. Separate flights for photos and videos are no longer necessary.
Legal principles for the use of drones
Even if you’re burning for the drone after you buy it and just want to take off, it’s not that easy. The freedom to fly is restricted by a number of laws aimed at public safety, privacy and the prevention of personal injury and damage to property.
The operation of drones of less than 5 kg does not require a special permit. In the range up to 25 kg a permit is required. From a weight of 25 kg the operation is forbidden. However, this only applies to private users. If you use the drone commercially, every flight must be registered with the aviation security authority. You should take out liability insurance before your first flight.
Insurance cover in case of drone accidents
The usual insurance cover does not cover the operation of all types of aircraft. Many insurers offer no or extremely expensive supplementary tariffs. Favourable conditions are to be had with a membership in the model flight association, however, limit the flight permission to the association area. Special offers already exist – a distinction is made between private and commercial use. Many of these policies even offer worldwide insurance cover. You should check the scope of the insurance benefit carefully, since a drone can be a high claim in an emergency.
After the “launch preparations” also the flight with the drone is regulated by German law. However, many specific laws are missing in the still young field of drone flying, so that the photographer is often in the legal grey zone. Sensitive areas such as airports, power stations and prisons must definitely not be flown over. Some cities have their own no-fly zones – so Berlin is only allowed to fly outside the S-Bahn ring. If you observe these regulations, nothing will stand in the way of enjoying flying over fields, lakes, coastlines and forests.