Under construction

Originally developed for military and special operation applications.
Now used in a small but growing number of civil applications, such as policing and firefighting, and nonmilitary security work, such as surveillance of pipelines, Amazon delivery, Real estate arial photos.
Hobby Drones have become popular around 2015 and fall into 3 categories:

  • NANO / MICRO (Toy) Quadcopter Drones - They fit in the palm of your hand and cost less than $70. Some have built-in cameras.
  • Hobby quadcopter drones - $70-$500 - They are easier to control due to better on-board sensors and more stable in flight than smaller quadcopter drones because of their larger size. Typically these cool new drones come with a built-in camera or an installed mount that is compatible with the most popular brands of small portable cameras
  • Professional Quadcopter Drones - Most include an HD on board camera. Well suited for taking aerial photography with longer flight times, typically around 30 minutes or so. Prices start at around $500.00 and can go into the thousands. Most new Professional drones include: Waypoint mission planning, Follow me mode, Return home function and Optical Flow Sensors for indoor flying along with real time telemetry monitoring.

I couldn't find any reviews or summaries which answered questions about features I was intersted in.

  • Is the user control via a controller or yoursmart phone or tablet?
  • Does the video show up on your control device or does it just download on a chip in the drone.
  • Or do you have a separate controller to fly the device which sends the video to your smartphone or tablet via bluetooth.
  • Do you need special goggles for First Person View (FPV)
  • What is the weight. Drones over 0.55 pounds must be registered with the FCC $11.

Some consumer drones:
Photo Drones [ Rating x.x - score out of 5, (number of reviews)]
Model video battery
cost Rating Comment
Amazon Best Buy
DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter 4K 28 $1,399 3.7 (37) 4.1 (16) 8.6 cnet
DJI - Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter 2.7K HD 20 $699 4.8 (37) 8.2 cnet
DJI - Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter 2.7K HD 25 $500 4.3 (414) 4.6 (251) 8.0 cnet
Parrot BeBop Drone 2 with Skycontroller 1080P 25 $400 4.5 (2) 3.6 (5) 7.5 cnet
UDI U818A 2.4GHz 4 CH 6 Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter 640x480 7-9 $43 3.8 (3,596)
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadcopter 720P ?? $200 3.4 (202) 4.1 (149)
Protocol - Dronium One RC Drone HD 7 $90 3.1 (8) 3.6 (110)
HUBSAN X4 H107C Quadcopter 720 7 $35 4.3 (74)
Propel Black 2.0 720P ?? $80 2.5 (20)
Blade Nano QX RTF no 8 $82
Hubsan H107D X4 640x480 8 $150
SYMA X5C Explorers HD 7 $41
Propel Black 2.0 HD Sonic Drone with Camera | Costco $80

Best drones of 2016 - CNET
Best Drones 2016 - Top Rated Quadcopters on the Market | Toms Guide
Top Drones Reviews - We Rate The BEST Quadcopters

900 MHz (require a separate transmitter/receiver) Wi-Fi With a range up to 600 m (1,968 ft) (Work with app on smart phone or tablet)

Sample Configurations:
RC Telemetry Video
Configuration 1 (US) 2.4 GHz 915 MHz 5.8 GHz
Configuration 2 (Europe) 2.4 GHz 433 MHz 5.8 GHz

Configuration 3 (US)

Configuration 4 (Europe)

2.4 GHz

2.4 GHz

915 MHz

433 MHz

1.3 GHz

1.3 GHz

Basics of Radio Frequencies for FPV Quadcopter Drones - Drone Flyers
WiFi and 2.4 ghz debate (posts moved from another thread) | 3D Robotics Drone Forum


See Drones: Aerial Drone Photography - B&H Photo
video - Still camera
Follow me mode - Video you while biking, skating, jogging and doing other activities.
Return Home - GPS in drone
Expert and Normal flight modes
First Person View (FPV)
  Video goggles that beam the drone's eye-view right into your peepers.
Intelligent Orientation Control (IOC) - Has to do with forward direction relative to home.
Altitude Mode
Headless Orientation Control Mode
GPS-Based Navigation System
3-Axis Electronic Image Stabilization  
GPS-Enabled Autopilot Functions
Brushless Motors
Prop guards
7-Sensor Flight Stabilization System
Perform Flips, Rolls with 1 button

Understanding How Your Drone Is Controlled - For Dummies

Guides - Ratings - where to buy
Drones for Sale: Best Camera Drones - B&H Photo
Drone Buying Guide | B&H Photo
Drones and Drone Accessories - Best Buy
Aerial Drones with Cameras: Toys, Games & Hobbies - Best Buy
Protocol Dronium One RC Drone Orange 6182-7BA - Best Buy
May 2016 Best Drones For Sale List | MyFirstDrone
May 2016
Aerial Drones with Cameras: Toys, Games & Hobbies - Best Buy

The basic rules are:
  • Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
  • Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
  • Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
  • Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
  • Don't fly near people or stadiums
  • Don't fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 pounds
  • Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft; you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft

FTV - First-person view - Video Piloting from  fpv goggles or a video monitor.
QuadCopter - 4 rotor copter
RC - Radio Controlled
RPAS - Remotely Piloted Aerial System
RTF - Ready to Fly
RPV - Remote-person view (same as FPV)
UAV - Unmanned Arial Vehicle
UAS - Unmanned aircraft system (DoD)
UAVS - unmanned-aircraft vehicle system 
RPAV - remotely piloted aerial vehicle 
RPAS  - remotely piloted aircraft system 
Aerial Photography and Drone Glossary | explora | B&H 

UAS Regstration FAA
How drones could replace workers on American farms | PBS NewsHour
Feds OK Amazon's delivery drone tests (for real, this time) | PBS NewsHour
Argus camera contains 368 cellphone imaging chips and can pick up a 6 1/2 inch object.
NOVA -| Rise of the Drones
David McRitchie notes

last updated 11 May 2016