Buying and flying a drone is an amazing feeling all by itself. But, once you master your piloting skills, the time will come when you will want more from your stock-equipped bird, whether we are talking about the latest DJI model, or some other, not so high-end brand.
For those who were not informed that well, there are tons of cool and useful drone accessories that can make your factory drone not just more interesting to look at, but more useful and with a wider range of possibilities. This is where we jump in and present our list of the coolest drone accessories. You can choose a few, or you can choose all of them! All up to you.
1. Carrying case
Okay, the first, and the most obvious choice is a carrying case. Why, you ask? Well, just think about it, no matter how good of a pilot you are, unpredictable situations can happen from your home to the spot where you will take off with your drone. So, do you want to invest a few hundred dollars, or even thousands in a drone and risk to damage it while not even flying? That’s right, you don’t.
Now, the price range for a carrying case for your drone goes from some $50 to a few hundred, depending on the brand and the protection it offers. You don’t have to get the most expensive one in order for your drone to be safe, but buying the cheapest option makes the chances of a damage during the transport higher. Our advice is to find a golden middle when it comes to price to quality ratio.
2. Micro SD Cards
When it comes to aerial filming, there is no such thing as too much memory cards, especially when your drone has a high-end camera that captures Full HD or higher resolution. The most important thing is to remember that the higher the class the card is, the lower the chances are that will you end up with useless, unreadable footage. Therefore, we suggest using class 10 or higher cards.
Also, this is a common sense, thing, the higher the capacity of a card is, the more air time and footage you’ll have.
3. External Battery Pack
Even though you’ve charged, all your batteries before the flight day, having an external battery pack (also known as a power bank) is a smart thing. As the batteries age, or during winter, they tend to have a shorter power life so they don’t hold as well as they used to in the beginning. Therefore, in order not to head back home when all the batteries are depleted, you can use the external battery pack to recharge the empty ones while you fly.
4. Propeller Guards
Now, before you go all “I don’t need prop guards because I don’t crash!”, have in mind that unpredictable things can always happen. For example, you might have a nice time with your friends on a Sunday backyard BBQ session, and after a few beers, an idea to kiss a drone while in the air might pop out all of a sudden. Now, does, having a set of prop guards, sound so crazy?
After all, when you’re buying a drone, you have to consider its maintenance and protection too.
5. Extra or Stronger Batteries (Or both!)
Every experienced drone pilot will tell you that having extra batteries, possibly stronger ones, is something you can’t go out with. And, pretty soon after you get the hang of controlling the drone, you will understand what we are talking about. So, in order not to allow us to say “We told you so!”, get a few extra and keep on flying!
6. Camera Filters
Everyone who bought a camera drone had probably experienced the feeling of disappointment when taking a look at the first aerial footage of the first flight. We are not talking about the smooth circling around some point of interest, or a flawless zooming out or zooming in and missing the thing you wanted to end your shoot with. No, the perfectly framed footage comes after plenty of practicing, and don’t worry, you will get there.
What we are talking about is sun glare, not so live colors, overexposed footage, or underexposed… Basically, not even close to the quality of the footage from the commercial, right? Well, the thing is, no one tells you that for those commercials, they used camera filters that prevent too much light to go through the lens and keep the colors as close to realistic as possible. Such filters are not expensive, but they make a huge difference, believe us! This is a MUST accessory for all camera drones.
If you want smooth panoramic shoots without the jello effect, like in the drone commercial videos, just attaching a GoPro or any other action cam on the drone and hitting the sky is not going to cut it. Drones produce an unbelievable amount of vibrations, which are transferred to the camera, hence the jello effect. Now, in order to drastically minimize that vibrating effect, you need a gimbal. This is a really useful gadget, not just because of the vibrations, but because it keeps your camera leveled no matter what you do with your drone.
There are 2-axis and 3-axis models. The first ones will just keep the camera leveled, while the second ones allow you to tilt your camera up or down during the flight. All in all, a gimbal is really a useful tool, especially if you want to make professional footage for commercial purposes.
8. FPV System
This one is for those who have mastered the drone piloting skills and are looking for the real adrenaline fueled experience. The FPV (First Person View) includes a small on-board camera with a transmitter, a receiver, and a display (which can be a standard LCD screen or FPV goggles for the real deal!). Now, the price range for this experience can go from under $100 up to a few hundred for the pro goggles and high-res cameras. Our suggestion is to start off with a cheaper system, and once you get really good at it, you can invest more.
9. Extra Lights
This is not a necessary accessory, but it sure makes your drone look way cooler. Also, for night flight (note that they are not allowed by the law in most countries), it makes it much easier to keep track of the drone while in the air. The sets are not expensive and are usually really easy to install. One more thing, have in mind that more lights will mean shorter flight time due to higher power consumption.
10. A Friend
Okay, we are aware that this is not an accessory per say, but think about it! You will have more fun if you have someone with whom to share the excitement when you nail that tight turn you were struggling with before. Also, if you equip your drone with a 3-axis gimbal, and add another pair of FPV goggles to your system, your friend can operate the camera while you focus on flying. Or, he or she, can simply enjoy the flight experience directly from the pilot’s cockpit! Either way, flying a drone with a friend is much more fun than flying alone.
So, what have we learned after reading this article? Well, for starters, now you know that your factory equipped drone will soon become not much of a challenge as soon as you get the hang of flying it. Also, now you know that you can make it much more interesting and widen its capabilities with just a few improvements that are usually not that expensive.
We have offered you the most popular options, the choice is now yours to make and make sure you share your thoughts on this topic with us, and let us know how your drone handles after “Pimping it up”.