Aerial Photography

Getting started with aerial photography and video has never been easier, the onslaught of affordable RC helicopters and especially RC Quadcopters has made it possible for even rank amateurs to get a good platform for their aerial goodness.

The costs of using full sized aircraft for photo/video is prohibitively expensive in most cases. Be it photos for real estate agents, video for a tourist attraction etc..
And as the cost and difficulty of operating RC flyers capable of lifting good quality cameras has dropped, it has created a niche market for RC pilots with their "rigs".

A popular "standard" RC helicopter for aerial photo is the T-REX 600 a 3D heli with lots of mounts and mods available. 

Quadcopters are the perfect platform for this, the extra propellers gives extra lift and stability ensuring a smooth ride.
Of all the RC Quadcopters out there one of the most popular ones is the unbeatable Gaui 500X, it's low price tag and excellent performance makes it a perfect choice for your first serious platform.

It has ample lift capability and quite a few custom mounts exist already, for instance:


GoPro Hero2 - The Perfect Camera for AP

What can Aerial Photography/Video be used for?

  • Photo and video for real estate agencies
  • Photo and video of tourist attractions
  • Video for commercials or movies
  • Covering sporting events
  • Stock photo and video (Good nature footage sells easily on "stock" sites)
  • Powerline inspection
  • Search and rescue
And a whole lot of other things, even just for fun! A lot of people attach cameras to their aircraft to be able to fly in first person view (FPV) using a camera such as the GoPro Hero2 and FPV goggles for direct video transmission.

You can also take it a step further by attaching the camera to a motorized gimball mount and utilizing a head tracking system, move the camera by moving your head around!

The sky is the limit(pun intended)!

Blade mQX Quadcopter

The Blade mQX is a fantastic new quadcopter from Blade Helis.

It is a tiny high tech flyer with incredible speed and  maneuverability. Weighing in at just 75grams (2.65oz) it is still strong and stable enough to be flown both in and outdoors even in breezy conditions. It's ultralight frame makes sure any damage from crashing is kept at a minimum.

The mQX is the best "intro level" out there right now, it's easy to fly and requires no assembly, just charge the battery and take off!

It's 8.5mm brushless motors gives it great speed and a 3-axis stabilizing system makes the controls feel extremely precise.

The Blade mQX comes included with a standard 500mAh battery a charger and you can buy it with or without the transmitter, an E-Flite MLP4DSM 4-channel DSM2.
The controller is a standard spectrum stick radio (it does however have audio signals on the trim, to tell you what increment your on), more than enough to control the mQX, but if your looking to upgrade to a more serious quadrocopter later (like the Gaui 500X), buying a real transmitter like the Aurora 9 right away, is preferable.

The battery gives around 15 minutes flight time per charge thanks to the ultralight build.
Don't be afraid to let your son or little brother try it out, it can take quite a few crashes without breaking, but the propellers can of course break/bend and Blade has included spares in the box.

For a total of $240 with the transmitter or $194 without, this is a steal considering how much fun you can have with it, powerful motors makes it able to perform tricks only seen by expensive nitro aircraft and it's durability ensures it can survive even the handling of 12 year old boys.

Gaui 500X Quadcopter Kit

Gaui released their first quadrocopter in 2010 and have already established themselves as an leader when it comes to high quality rc quadcopters.

The Gaui 330X-S was well received by the RC community as a solid device that was simple to assemble and fly.
The Gaui 500X Quadflyer is the 330's big brother and make no mistake, this is a workhorse. With a payload capacity of up to 2,2Kg (that's 4,4 pounds!) it is the perfect model if your looking for a stable platform for aerial photography or video! 
There are already multiple camera mounts available for it.
The stability of the 500X is inherited from the 330, it comes from the GU-344 quadflyer gyro an unbeatable three-axis stabilizing system.

500X Frame

The 330X-S design was based on UAV designs and it certainly shows in the 500X, the collapsible frame makes sure any damage from impacts are greatly reduced and it has excellent wind resistance which comes from the efficiency and loads of the propellers.
Using a high capacity battery a flight time of over 20min can easily be achieved.

500X Kit Parts

It comes delivered as a kit but the instructions are fairly simple and build time should be no more than 1,5-2 hours, if you have any experience with RC gear.
The kit comes with 4 Scorpion brushless motors, blades , 4 ESC and a protection frame which comes in handy indoors, in thight spots or for those first few test runs.

You will also need a RC transmitter, of all the 2,4Ghz transmitters available right now, the Aurora 9 is probably the best you can get for under $500. It's on sale at for $344.18, down from the normal price of $659.95! It's the only radio you'll need for a long time, easily reprogrammable from helis to quads and planes, features 5.1 inch touchscreen and is very easy to navigate and configure your setup with.

At $529,00 from amazon the Gaui 500 can seem a bit pricey if your just looking for a toy (your better of going for the Parrot AR Drone), but if you have plans of attaching a payload, use a GPS system or generally use it in a professional setting, it's the most bang for your buck your going to get for quite some time.

The 500X quality and specs are more than comparable to custom built quadcopters costing from 10,000$ and up.

What are you waiting for?

Parrot AR Drone Quadcopter - The Perfect High Tech Toy

The AR Drone RC Quadcopter is a fantastic new RC device, combining the best of many worlds, including modeling, video gaming, and augmented reality.

It can be controlled by your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and there are mods that let you use a normal 2.4GHz controller on it.
 It features a bunch of sensors, front camera, vertical camera, and an ultrasound altimeter.
The Parrot AR can also be used for video gaming with AR.FlyingAce, a dogfight between two AR.Drones.


The on board cameras sends real time video to your iPhone as you fly, giving you a first person view of the flight! The video can also be recorded and saved for later.
The ultrasound altimeter gives the Parrot AR Drone exceptional stability and with the 1000mAh battery the flight time of about 12-14min, which is pretty darn good and should be enough for any usage and is comparable to the Gaui 330X-S

Simple, Fun and Robust

It has 4 15w brush less rotors, giving it great maneuverability and the carbon fiber frame can take a crash or two without any damage, although the 2 gyros on board will make sure those crashes don't happen too often.
It has an indoor and an outdoor hull which is super simple to switch. There is also an autopilot that can take care of take offs and landings.
The controller application is very intuitive and easy to use and you can download new apps and games from the iStore.

 It's a great toy for people of all ages, something both father and son or anyone with interest in high tech gadgets will enjoy. It is hands down the best intro Quadricopter on the market to day and can be bought from

And as is always the case with RC gear, remember to pick up a spare battery.

Video Review of the Parrot AR Drone: