Jumpstart Your Drone-based Travel Photography with Dromida XL FPV
Drones are a huge boon for travel photographers. Shooting from high above the beaches of Maldives, the mountains in Nepal, or the wilds of Yellowstone National Park provides a stunning alternative to old-school, on-foot photography.
But, professional drones (like the $800 GoPro Karma) are pricey. And, if you lack the piloting experience, can be even pricier when they inevitably crash. And, let’s be honest, you will crash your first drone. A lot.
Enter Dromida’s XL FPV. It offers more features than typical sub-$100 toy drones, but it’s not quite professional-grade. Which makes it perfect for serious travel photographers seeking an “in” to drone piloting and photography.
Dromida was kind enough to send us a sample. Here’s what we found …
What is the XL FPV? In Dromida’s own words:
The XL FPV is your one-way ticket to instant First Person View adventure! You can shoot exciting, full high-definition video or take stunning still photos with the included DroneView 1080p Wi-Fi Camera. Store your stuff on the included micro memory card, or share it with your friends on social media—the choice is yours.
Here’s a 60-second promo video with the highlights:
The Traveler’s Take
Let me say straight away: you won’t travel with this drone. It’s too big and non-portable to pack in a suitcase or backpack. And, while it’s not quite fragile, it isn’t durable enough to survive air travel half-way around the world. To be fair, it’s also not designed to be.
So why the XL FPV then? Because, if you’re a travel photographer looking to jump into droning, it’s perfect. It has a number of features ideal for crash-prone beginners like myself.
First and foremost: the auto take-off and landing is a big plus. The remote features a dedicated button that automatically launches the drone from ground-level up to six feet where it will hover, awaiting your next command. Conversely, once it’s close enough to the ground, pushing the same button will gently bring it back to earth. I (and my cat) found out the hard way that your first, second, and third drone launches rarely go smoothly. So, this feature is a must-have, particularly while you’re still learning to fly.
Secondly, it offers altitude-hold which does exactly what it sounds like. A click of a button provides easy, hassle-free hovering which is, of course, what you want for smooth aerial video and photos.
Speaking of which, the camera is solid enough for high-res 1080p resolution. While it’s not quite up to par with the cameras on most legitimate pro drones, it’s very, very good, especially given the $250 (USD) price tag.
The remote does feel a bit like a toy — not fragile, but not completely solid. But I really dig the expandable “tray” for holding your smartphone (which serves as the piloting screen). The only down-side is that it doesn’t expand enough for larger phones like the iPhone 6 Plus.
The drone includes a number of additional features — like Auto-Flip and the ability to adjust the agility to a fine-tuned “sport” mode — that work well for more experienced stunt-piloting. But, even without these features, it’s a great first drone for travel photogs looking to get into drone photography.