Two micro quads with built-in cameras for picture and video recording, from GearBest
Disclaimer – these micro quads were provided to me at no cost to review.
A while ago, chatting on facebook with Gary Mortimer (sUAS News Editor) we were discussing the future of multirotors used for photography, and Garys opinion was that they would get smaller, and you would carry several around ready for deployment at a moments notice.
So when Adam from www.gearbest.com offered these two diminutive camera carrying quadcopters for review, I jumped at the chance, as these two looked like a step in that direction, both would fit in a small bag, for instant deployment to capture some aerial photos or video.
First is the F803C , about 120mm around the outside, boasts a 1MP camera. The F803C comes complete
The first thing to do after un-boxing the F803C is to remove the lipo battery and put it on charge. While charging install the propeller guards, you will need to pop the propellers off (they are press fit) and put the guards in place, affixing with the 4 small screws supplied. I flew mine without the propeller guards, and broke one propeller quite easily.with 2.4 ghz controller (styled similar to an xbox controller) , charger, screwdriver, propeller guards and 4GB micro SD card, and a usb adaptor to use the card with your PC.
Flying is very straight forward, controls are the same as the Syma X12 I reviewed a short while ago. It does the normal flips and rolls after clicking the left bumper button on the controller, and the right bumper button selects between fast and slow modes. The controller has trim buttons for all directions, but so far, after about 10 flights, I have not needed to use them, quite impressive!
While flying outside, you will want to be in fast mode, and in this mode it has more than enough authority to fight small to medium breezes. Flying is very nimble, with a slight oscillation after fast maneuvers. Orientation is easy with the different colored props front to rear, and bright led lights underneath for flying at dusk. My quad came with the orange props at the front, I swapped them to the rear as I am used to that configuration.
Photo taken with the F803C’s camera
The camera faces directly ahead, the photos are taken at 1280 by 960 pixels , and video is recorded at 640 by 480 pixels and 30 frames per second. Audio is recorded as well, but only manages to capture the motor/prop noise.To take a picture you simply depress the left thumb stick on the controller, and after a brief pause, you get an audible tone indicating the photo has been taken. To record video, you depress and release the right thumb stick to start recording, the controller will then continually beep while filming is taking place (its a great reminder) , depressing and releasing the right thumb stick again will turn the recording off.
I have found, with the forward facing horizontal camera, its very easy to line up the target you want to photograph/film , and with its small size and propeller guards its very easy to follow your subject around closely, with no fear of harming anyone.
The color is quite good, and the camera performed well bout outside in very bright sunlight (its summer here) and also inside, as you can see later in the video.
The second micro quadcopter I reviewed is the Skytech M62R , this one is slightly larger at 150mm
around the outside. Has a 0.3MP camera. The M62R comes complete with 2.4 ghz controller (also styled similar to an xbox controller) , charger, screwdriver, propeller guards, propeller removal tool and 512MB micro SD card, and a usb adaptor to use the card with your PC.
The propeller guards on this one clip into place, without removing the propellers, and require no screws. A set of landing gear also clips into place. With the landing gear installed this looks like a micro DJI Phantom !
The propellers are also color coded to help with visual orientation, and led lights to help light it up when it gets dark.
Flying outside, you will want to put this one into fast mode (using the right bumper button) , and as with the other quads 3D tricks (flips and rolls) are access with the left bumper button. This quad is different however, that while in photo/video mode , the 3D tricks are disabled. The controller has all the standard features, including trim buttons for roll/pitch and yaw.
The most noticeable difference in flying between the F803C and the M62R, is the M62R has no noticeable oscillations, and is slightly less nimble/more stable.
The camera on this one is mounted differently; it is angled down approximately 30 degrees. This allows you to take better overhead photos (such as houses/properties) but makes following people while filming slightly more difficult. You can see the comparison between the F803C and M62R here in this video
Audio is recorded as well, but as with the F803C only manages to capture the motor/prop noise. To take a picture you simply click the top button on the left “d” pad. To record video, you click the bottom button on the left “d” pad once to start recording, and again to stop recording. There is a red LED light on the underside of the M62R that lights up while recording.
Both are fun machines to use. Like the Syma x12 ,both have been flown by the guys in the work shop, they have proven very popular.
I would select the F803C for racing with your friends, filming the racing with the on-board camera, or for following subjects around doing sport and activities.
I would select the M62R for taking interesting photos of property and landscape (where the 30 deg angle camera works best)