I seem to be in the minority of people with 3DR Solo‘s these days.
I read all the reviews on Amazon and was very nervous to take the plunge. But I saw a point where the price of a 3DR Solo with gimbal installed and a backpack was below $600 and pounced.
I’m glad I did.
First off my brief interaction with 3DR tech support regarding a stick calibration that the controller required was pleasant and thorough (though I am perfectly ok with the electronic correspondence, I could see how, it the topic was more serious that it would be far more comforting to speak with an actual human being)
The 3DR Solo is really fun to fly, it really makes you feel comfortable flying, and because it’s flight characteristics are adjustable it can really be tailored to pilots of all levels.
The live feed through the GoPro works very well with what feels like almost no lag. And the range of connectivity between the controller and the 3DR Solo has been more than adequate for my uses. Only one time has it automatically tried to “return home” and that was when it ran into the custom geofence I had set up.
The footage from the gimbal and the camera [GoPro hero 4 Black] looks smooth and professional. Although I will add with some frustration that since my purchase of the 3DR Solo, GoPro has released the Hero5 which is now redesigned and lacks the necessary port (the 30pin rear port) that would allow the 3DR Solo to use it. I have been doing a fair bit of digging and all things seem quiet as to wether there will be a) a modification to the current gimbal b) a brand new gimbal or c) a partnership with a new camera company, as GoPro seems perfectly happy “partnering” with 3DR long enough to rip off their smart shots and then lock the 3DR Solo out of compatibility with future GoPros
However, speaking of the smart shots they are wonderful. Being able to set up a shot using the cable cam (setting two or more points that the 3DR Solo will automatically fly between, in a smooth in a customizable way) allows you to focus on the gimbal and where the camera is looking. The 3DR Solo will fly back and forth as much as you need to until you get the shot.
All in all I can’t say enough about the 3DR Solo. It’s been a really fun and easy addition to my photography kit. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with at lest a little to moderate drone experience as it is complex in its features but they are very accessible.
Points of notice for people on the edge of purchase, on iOS 10 (the OS of the device I use to pair with the controller) the 3DR Solo app has crashed on me numerous times. However this doesn’t (hasn’t) effect the controllers connection with the3DR Solo nor the drones positioning. It has remained rock steady, giving me all the time in the world to get the app launched again. Also I would recommend getting at least three battery’s. I have been pleased with the overall battery life of them, but for days when you will be shooting for a while it’s good to have more than one or two.