The first multicopter that I got to work properly was the QAV500 from GetFPV.com back when they were still FPVManuals.com. I did my first aerial photography shoot with it by hacking a canon point and shoot camera to take a picture every 3 seconds because the old GoPro camera was not good enough. I really loved this copter and it looked so cool and was fun to fly. It developed a mystery issue and I had a few minor crashes and never got it diagnosed. Finally, it had the same issue and "landed" on concrete and just exploded into a bunch of pieces (not fire, just broken everywhere). Then I realized it was an issue with the way the prop attached to the motor shaft and determined it was a faulty motor. Lesson learned!
After the QAV500 was destroyed, I built out a QAV400 which is a smaller version and it performed pretty well. I bought this to specifically shoot photos because it did not have a gimbal. This is my favorite picture I shot - it was a still pic I shot out at the big wave spot Jaws on Maui.
Fast forward to today and my friend Ethan has built a MXP230 fromxHover.com and has tricked it out and tuned it up to make this awesome park flying FPV video. This quad is even smaller than the QAV400 and it uses a small HD camera called the mobius HD Cam. If you are looking for a rocket to zip around with to have fun and practice your FPV skills, you might consider this little copter! Keep in mind that Ethan is a pro and it takes practice to be this good.
Amazon has the Hubsan X4 for $36 with free shipping right now! I love having a backup and enjoy watching the price fluctuations over time (I am a day trader..) and this is the lowest I have seen. It will most likely go back up OR maybe there is a new and improved version about to come out? Either way it is a win for one of the coolest toys you can own for this amount of money. Amazon changes their prices all the time, so this might only last a few days.
I cam across a Turnigy branded GoPro clone camera on HobbyKing.com that might be an ideal way to lower your cost of flying aerial photography over water or other places where spending less money increases your confidence! This thing is less than $90!! It looks like a near replica of the GoPro, but I would not count on it bolting directly into the Zenmuse on the DJI phantom 2. I have not decided yet if I am going to order one, but if anyone has a chance to check it out please let me know! There are a few reviews complaining about excessive lens flair, but here is a positive review I copy and pasted from Hobbyking:
Got mine today. Great video and same video resolutions as gopro, quality looks just as good. Nice point is it has a LCD rear panel. Not managed to find a decent user manual yet, I don't think one exists. You also have an option to flip the video for an upside down mount. There is a lot of talk if this supports video out. Well it does. It a complete copy of the SJ4000. It also has the latest SJ4000 firmware installed which is N201405270ZV01 and it's this version that supports video out via the USB socket just like the gopro. Here is an extract from foxoffer web site USB to AV Out Cable for SJ4000 Action Camera. Please notice only the latest SJ4000 camera can support AV out, the latest SJ4000 use new firmware and PCB board. If you camera ordered after May and have the N201405270ZV01 firmware, it should be no problem to use AV out feature with this cable. If you buy this cable with SJ4000 camera from foxoffer, we will test it before shipping, ensure you will get the right SJ4000 version. At $99 this is a steal when I paid for and lost my £300 gopro. Cheers John
If I hear more about this camera I will be sure and let everyone know about it!