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The Best 10 Drones for Beginners

This post is the latest in the Drones and Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Special Series,  which profiles interesting information, thoughts and research into using  drones, UAVs or remotely piloted vehicles for journalism and photography, that Kike learns about during his travels.   1. Hubsan H107D FPV X4 Mini RTF Quadcopter: With 6 Axis Gyro Stabilization and immersive FPV flight, it allows you to record flight...

This post is the latest in the Drones and Small Unmanned Aerial Systems Special Series,  which profiles interesting information, thoughts and research into using  drones, UAVs or remotely piloted vehicles for journalism and photography, that Kike learns about during his travels.


1. Hubsan H107D FPV X4 Mini RTF QuadcopterWith 6 Axis Gyro Stabilization and immersive FPV flight, it allows you to record flight video into an SD Card.

HUBSAN ON KIKE CALVO DRONE BLOG2. Nano QX RTF with SAFEThis little mini-copter received the 2014 Editor´s Choice – Innovation of the Year by Airplane Magazine. Its tough and light weighted, and its airframe comes with blade guards. It features exclusive SAFE technology with stability and agility modes. The Nano QX RTF comes with a radio.  You don’t need to buy one.  But be aware you will need to buy separately a DSMX compatible radio if you get the BNF version (bind and fly.)


3. Walkera Ladybird V2 Lady Bug RTF Quadcopter Drone Quad with Devo 4 Transmitter: This copter is the smallest Quadcopter with ladybird canopy. It comes ready to fly with a Devo 4 Radio, receiver, battery and a charger. It features a Walkera 6 axis gyro control system.



4. The Hubsan X4, an Old Time Favorite: Along with the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter, this 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Quadcopter helped me polished my flying skills on my early beginnings. Need some skills? Get a Hubsan X4 today.

Hubsan X4 (H107L) 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Quadcopter

5. Jumping Sumo with FPV: The Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sum jumps over 2.5 feet high and always falls back on its wheels. Its equipped with a wide angle camera that streams live immersive views on the piloting screen. I am sure the Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo will bring lots of fun to your home.

Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo

6. Syma X1 4 Channel 2.4G RC Quad Copter – UFO: With a dual fly mode Indoor/Outdoor and a 2.4GHz Radio control, it provides stabilty and agility in flight, allowing you to experiment with 3D maneuvers like pirouettes 3D fun flips and rolls. Controlling distance is about 35 Meters.

Syma X1 4 Channel 2.4G RC on KIKE CALVO DRONE BLOG


7. Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider White: An ultra-compact drone with amazing stability and speed, indoors and outdoors from the creators of the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0. It allows you to take aerial shots, so selfies from the sky with its embedded vertical mini-camera are now possible. The wheels are removable, so it can roll across the floor, up the walls or across the ceiling.



8. Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Quadricopter:  This copter was my first approach to the world of remote control quadricopters. It even came in my photo bag to CERN in Geneva while I was part of a multidisciplinary team at Yale University working on he project  ¨Discovering the Higgs through Physics, Dance and Photography.¨ It is controlled using an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, capturing 720p high-definition live video, that is stream & recorded into your smartphone or tablet while you are flying.

AR.Drone-2.0-Elite-Edition-Snow-with-Outdoor-Hull ON KIKE CALVO BLOG


9. DJI Phantom 1 Quadcopter: With a maximum horizontal speed of 22 miles/hour (10 meters/second), the Phantom is a complete quadcopter and remote transmitter, pre-tuned by the factory and ready in minutes! Outdoor flight is made possible by advanced GPS positioning that compensates for light wind.

DJI_Phantom on KIKE CALVO Blog


10. Estes 4606 Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter:  Sometimes good things come in very small sizes. This copter, made of a plastic body, has a detail LED light that indicates front and back of the machine. It also helps the pilot fly  low light.  It comes with a 2.4GHz Radio.

Estes 4606 Proto X Nano R/C Quadcopter on KIKE CALVO DRONE BLOG


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Learn More About Drones:

Kike Calvo´s Drone Collections 

Drone / UAV Dictionary: Includes 300 Commercial UAV Applications

Drones: Their Many Civilian Uses and the U.S. Laws Surrounding Them.

Cool stuff for Drone and Unmanned Vehicle enthusiasts

Drone Entrepreneurship: 30 Businesses You Can Start

Small Unmanned Aircraft: Theory and Practice

Introduction to Unmanned Systems: Air, Ground, Sea & Space

UAV Fundamentals Executive Course

How to Start an Unmanned Aircraft Vehicle (UAV) Business Course on DVD

Small UAV Construction

Getting Started with Hobby Quadcopters and Drones: Learn about, buy and fly these amazing aerial vehicles

Introduction to Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Drone Pilot (Cool Careers)

Fly by Wire Aircraft: Fighters, Drones, and Airliners

Introduction to Remote Sensing, Fifth Edition

Popular minicopters and drones include:

DJI Phantom 2 Vision

DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with Zenmuse H3-3D 3-Axis Gimbal

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+

3d Robotics Iris+ Multicopter 915 Mhz 3DR IRIS+

DJI Inspire 1

Parrot MiniDrone Jumping Sumo

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition Jungle

Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider


Walkera QR LadyBird V2 Mini

Hubsan SpyHawk FPV RC Plane

Badboy Quadcopter With Camera

The New Hubsan X4 H107L

MaxSale Hubsan X4 H107C 2.4G 4CH RC Quadcopter With Camera Mode 2 RTF

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Meet the Author

Author Photo Kike Calvo
Award-winning photographer, journalist, and author Kike Calvo (pronounced key-keh) specializes in culture and environment. He has been on assignment in more than 90 countries, working on stories ranging from belugas in the Arctic to traditional Hmong costumes in Laos. Kike is pioneering in using small unmanned aerial systems to produce aerial photography as art, and as a tool for research and conservation. He is also known for his iconic photographic project, World of Dances, on the intersection of dance, nature, and architecture. His work has been published in National Geographic, New York Times, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair, among others. Kike teaches photography workshops and has been a guest lecturer at leading institutions like the School of Visual Arts and Yale University. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic blog Voices. He has authored nine books, including Drones for Conservation; So You Want to Create Maps Using Drones?; Staten Island: A Visual Journey to the Lighthouse at the End of the World; and Habitats, with forewords by David Doubilet and Jean-Michel Cousteau. Kike’s images have been exhibited around the world, and are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection. Kike was born in Spain and is based in New York. When he is not on assignment, he is making gazpacho following his grandmother’s Andalusian recipe. You can travel to Colombia with Kike: