Dear fellow Drone enthusiasts,

I have recently started my own roofing company and I'm looking to purchase an RC Camera Drone to carry out roofing surveys and assessments.  I want really high quality images but I don't want to spend the earth!

Can anyone advise me on what they think would be the best package to purchase?

I would need to access buildings of up to 20m maybe control through a monitor where the drone would have to fly out of visual sight.  I would want a really robust (if possible) drone with a high (as possible) quality camera and a control with a screen to see where im flying.

My apologies if there has already been a thread posted on this topic but I did try a brief search to no avail. 

Thank you in advance!

P.S. I'm looking spend no more than 350GBP all in but if that's totally unrealistic then so be it..

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You need to define "really high quality images " I do nook know a camera in that price range that fulfills my definition of that :-)

The DJI Phantom 2 could be what you are looking for, although it may end up costing slightly over your budget.

DJI has some example pictures of what the footage coming out of the Phantom would look like here: http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-2-vision-plus/actual-footage

"high quality images" ?  - DJI is also a easy way to unreliable hardware that may crash and do damage to other peoples property - using it for commercial operations would be embarrasing.

you could at least go for a iris+

George, you are in the UK and will need to comply with the law, your roof inspections are commercial use so you need a licence as well as your company.

Its not too bad, these guys are the best for hooking you up to become legal.

http://www.resourcegroup.co.uk/our-markets/unmanned-aviation/

I've been researching this topic for a roofing magazine article in the US.

First, you need a GoPro camera ($300) that is capable of shooting 4k video.  From the video you use software ($80) to export high resolution stills.  But you will need to replace the wide angle GoPro lens (170 degrees) with a more standard lens (90 degrees, $125) to get up close views of roofing features/flaws.  Although you can change the angle of view in the GoPro menus to a narrow field of view, it crops the sensor and reduces the quality of the image.

Second, you need an MR that has a camera switching function for flying.  You fly with the wide angle FPV camera to avoid limbs and wires.  Flying with your video camera focused down on the roof makes it more probable that you'll back into an obstacle.  

Third, a flight controller that offers a 'Position Hold' mode will enable you to get into position, and then switch to your video camera to concentrate on the photo.  Alternatively, you could use a two operator setup where the pilot flies, and a second controller operates the camera.

Finally, a radio setup that is resistant to signal loss when you fly out of sight over the edge of a roof will keep you from losing control.  If your work is primarily one story buildings, you can probably keep 'Line Of Sight'.  If you're flying over tall buildings, an EzUHF will give better coverage.  Another way of dealing with loss of signal would be to use 'Auto' mode on a Pixhawk.  Program the flight plan using GPS for positioning, 'Point Of Interest' to control which way the MR is pointing, and you control the camera tilt.

Thanks for the reply. Probably something like 10MP plus?

Thanks man!

Many thanks.

Wow! Amazing response, that's really helpful thank you.

you could use a Canon S100 , a bit bigger sensor than most compacts in that weight-class, decent quality  - and anything like a standard IRIS and up should lift it and still fly fine.  (contrary to what RTF manufacturers say, there is no "up to" limit - the more payload, the less agile and wind-capable it will become.)

You can't fly commercially in the UK without a BNUC-S piloting licence which costs something like £1400, plus insurance, plus special permission to fly nearer than 150m to any neighboring buildings.  A decent gopro capable drone is roughly £500-800 depending on how much you can build yourself.

A DJI Phantom is the typical starter ready-to-fly package but you'll need lots of practice in the open before you go anywhere near a building or people.

If you are saying there is not a maximum takeoff weight for any multirotor you are very wrong...

The motors are rated for a maximum speed and thrust, anything above that is pulling too much current, overheating, and causing power system failures.

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