Category Archives: Accessories

The Importance of Shutter Speed in Cinematography

As a keen photographer I know all about the shutter speed and it’s importance when taking a still picture. If you want to have a sharp picture make sure it’s high enough on the contrary if you want to convey the movement in a photo you should slower the shutter speed to anything below 1/30 depending on what you are shooting.

In cinematography it plays an important role as well. Naturally we want crispy looking videos, so the logic would dictate that the greater the shutter speed the better.

Continue reading The Importance of Shutter Speed in Cinematography

Advertisements

Master Airscrew Q-Tip Propellers

Yesterday I received Master Airscrew Propellers. Apart from the premium packaging they look like any other normal propellers and are made from plastic. There were only 2 colours being sold on eBay: green and orange, I opted for orange.

 

They came with some screws and a tissue! I thought “no, I have to screw them on”. But it turned out that they are not needed. I think the reason for the screws is that they can also be used with other makes of drones where you do need them.

The props are supposed to be perfectly balanced, more efficient and quieter. I can’t check whether they are perfectly balanced, but upon closer look you can see why they might be more efficient and quieter than normal propellers.

They have, what is called in aviation, a Q-Tip – a slight kink at the end of the propeller. This is to control the air spillage over the propeller tip. In theory, it delays the tip vorticies, which cause drag and turbulence. A propeller, like a wing, works best when it has unturbulated air over the airfoil sections. The Q-Tip delays the vortices, the propellers then have smooth air,  making them more efficient and quieter.

As I mentioned before I bought them on eBay for £29.99 and I hope that the reason for such a high price is not only because they are made in the USA.

I didn’t have a chance to test them, the weather over here in the UK is awful, but if what the makers are claiming is true,  I would give the propellers 4/5. One point knocked off for being way too expensive.

May the force be with you!

Phone mount

Another accessory that came through the post is the new phone mount.

As you well know the one that comes with the drone is simply terrible. It shakes, wobbles and doesn’t hold your phone firmly enough, you can’t even sneeze without the phone flying away.

Another issue I have is the positioning of the clip. Why is it on the side? It’s like Tesla Model 3 with the speedo on the centre console.

The one I bought attaches (as the majority of third-party ones I’ve seen) to the centre of the remote control – to the tip that is used for the neck strap. The attachment mechanism is made of metal and is easy to install, especially as it comes with all the screws and tools.

The actual phone holder is made of plastic even though it’s made to look like aluminium. I honestly thought that the whole thing would be made out of metal.

In all other ways, it seems perfect. To test how well the phone is attached to the mount I performed a very scientific test: attached the phone to the remote control using the new mount and threw the controller to my sofa from around 3 metres away. It survived the impact and the phone stayed in the original position.

I give it a score of 4/5 (would have given it a solid 5, if the whole mount was metal), it’s an almost perfect mount, but it would have been better if they made the whole thing from metal without any plastic parts for the sake of durability. Continue reading Phone mount

Phone hood

Another accessory that I bought is the phone hood. It covers the phone from most angles, putting the phone in allowing you to better see the image on the screen.

 

The hood is made from a leather-like material and is of excellent quality. It snaps on very easily, covers just the right portion of the phone and is easy to adjust.

It seems to be perfect for my Galaxy S7. I would give this product 5/5 as I honestly can’t think of anything they could have done better.

If you want to buy it, either go to Amazon or eBay and search for Pgytech phone hood. It comes in different sizes, I believe 3, mine being the smallest one.

Again I have no association with the makers of the product and have nothing to gain by advertising it.

Landing gear extensions

Got another accessory for my drone: landing gear extensions. They are made from black plastic and make it less likely that the drone would tip over during rough landings by widening its stance. The plastic is a little bit flexible so the whole mechanism when installed offers a bit of dampening. Another advantage is that it raises the gimbal away from the ground, allowing for landings on rocks, sand and other uneven surfaces.

The installation is dead easy. The skids just snap on and snap off when needed. Hopefully, they don’t unexpectedly snap off, but if that happens I have propeller guards that the drone should lean on and stop the propellers from touching the ground.

Landing skids
Landing skids

Once installed, I discovered that the extensions snap off if the drone is dropped from a height of approximately 3-4 inches, as shown in the video below. This can be easily fixed with undoable cable tighteners, by tightening the extensions to the main landing gear.

Because of this issue, I can only give this product a rating of 3/5. I still think they are worth having on the drone though.

Again I have no association with the makers of the product and have nothing to gain by advertising it.

Propeller guards, why I think they are a must.

Phantom 3 series drones use brushless motors for propulsion. At full speed with sharp blades, especially the carbon fibre ones, they have enough force to chop yours or somebody else’s finger off. If your drone hits someone it can seriously injure the person. Having the propeller guards should at the very least mitigate the injury caused.

Safety issues aside, they could stop you from crashing and destroying your drone. Say your drone touches a wall. Now those high RPM propellers would break to pieces sending your drone to the ground. If it was high enough chances are you would need to get a new one or at the very least spend hundreds of £ replacing the gimbal, camera and possibly the shell.

With the guards attached it would simply bounce off and carry on flying.

I understand that the guards add to the total weight of the drone and mess a little with the airflow, shaving off valuable 10-30 seconds of the flight time. Now imagine what you could have done with all that time? Personally, I have never used more than 75% of the battery.

There are two types of guards available: permanent ones and detachable ones. There almost zero difference between the two and the obvious choice is to go for detachable ones.

They cost few quid and take about 10 minutes to install, only because you have to deal with 16 screws.

My personal view is that DJI should have included that accessory by default. I see no reason why you shouldn’t install them on your drone as they don’t affect the flying characteristics of the drone and encourage everyone to do so. I have mine the same as in the picture above, they are nothing special but they do the job.