The decision to purchase a more advanced quadcopter is one hopefully resulting from time spent with smaller, less expensive versions. Understanding how to operate a drone is very, very important before you shell out several hundred or over one thousand dollars, as you don’t want to shatter your new quadcopter into a million bits. The 3DR Solo from 3D Robotics and the Phantom 2 from DJI are two quality drones to consider, with both offering a number of special features.
The 3DR Solo is a camera-free quadcopter, however you may add a gimbal and a GoPro camera to the device fairly easily. The DJI Phantom 2 does not come outfitted with a camera either, though its sequels the Phantom 2 Vision and the Phantom 2 Vision+ drones do. However, the drone is compatible with the Zenmuse GoPro gimbal, which as with accessories for the 3DR Solo may be obtained for additional costs.
How well the 3DR Solo does in flight is debatable. While the quadcopter is clearly advertised as offering smooth, safe flights, reviews on Amazon indicate otherwise. It’s considered an easy drone to operate so long as you keep it low to the ground and hover frequently, however trying to create a serious flight pattern with it isn’t as pleasant. “…out of the box the first flight was a disaster. One side lifted off the ground while the other side remained still and it flipped over and became a lawn mower (and yes my props were on correctly),” writes one of several reviewers on Amazon who took issue with the quadcopter.
The Phantom 2, in comparison, is frequently reviewed as a steady and stable drone when in operation. Its 2.4 GHz radio transmitter allows for easy control, and flight time is also longer than what’s offered with the 3DR Solo. The Phantom 2 offers 20 to 25 minutes of flight time, while the Solo offers about the same.
Determining which is the best option generally comes down to what you’re looking for in a drone. Despite ho-hum reviews on Amazon the Solo is still considered a great drone for professional use. Both drones offer the ability to capture stunning images when equipped with the right cameras and gimbals, with the Iris+ allowing you to direct the camera on a specific object and keep it there.