The F450 is a perfect beginner aircraft. It is cost effective, resilient and easy to repair if needs be. Parts are very easy to get a hold of, and cheap. So a small budget can go a long way, and it gives a good taster in the world of aerial photography. I produce a fair number of these systems, either for people looking to get into AP, wanting a practice rig, or simply need something small and compact to take trekking up the nearest mountain trail. Complete with video link and LCD, as well as charger and lipos they are very much ready to fly. Just a couple of hours practicing and/or some tuition can get you confident on the sticks.
AeroXCraft GoPro Gimbal
A high quality 2-axis gimbal for you GoPro, it can accommodate both a Hero 2 and Hero 3 with slight modification. Naza will stabilize the horizon for you on the roll automatically. It will also stabilise the tilt, but still allow you full tilt control, down to a 90 degree straight down view point via the knob on the DX8 remote control. As an upgrade advanced vibration dampeners are included to reduce vibrations and jello in the final footage, to save time in post processing. Complete with battery holder and room for the video TX it is built to take the inevitable hard landings with ease.
As standard the autopilot is able to self level, and hold its position via GPS. To help you out, DJI provide some useful flight modes, called Inteligent Oreintation Control, IOC. Two modes are available on Naza, course lock and home lock. These greatly improve the flight experience for a new pilot, especially home lock. Whilst technically course lock could be considered more of a tool than an aid.
In the simplest terms, when home lock is activated, it creates an imaginary line between the pilot (more specifically the take off location) and the aircraft, and maintains this for the entire flight whilst home lock is engaged. Now, no matter which way the quadcopters nose is pointed, the autopilot translates your forward and backward commands to the line between you and the aircraft. This means if you have flown off 100m, the aircraft is pointed in a random direction, and you have lost oreintation, and have no idea which way is left or right, or forwards or backwards. Simply pulling back on the elevator will bring the aircraft back along the line between its current location and you. Equally, left and right, now moves the aircraft side to side perpendicular to that line. Making bringing the UAV home much simpler.
Course lock, follows the same principle, except you dictate the fixed line it follows. As an example, fly over to a road, point the aircraft along the road, lock this as course lock. Forwards elevator will now move you along the road, no matter what the direction of the nose. In this scenario particular useful if tracking a moving vehicle or similar. As the name suggests, you are locking the current course of the aircraft and fixing it, whilst the switch is engaged.
Lastly, as a safety system it features a return to home function in case of signal loss. This is also setup on a switch on the remote controller. So in an emergency situation, the flick of a switch will bring the aircraft home and land it. To stop you panicking, a useful tip. If you activate return to home within say 20m of home, it will rise to the set height, and then back up to its home location before landing. However if further out, say 50m, during the return to home maneuver it will yaw to face the direction of travel, this can of course be a little disconcerting.
Currently you can see a recent build in the showcase section, F450 Build. Also, in the shop, an example F450 system. These can be tailored to any budget or specification. The above complete package with everything needed an be in the air for less than £2k. However, it is entirely possible to get a F450 in the air for around £600 to get you going as a precursor to fitting a gimbal and camera.