Which model suits your budget and needs? Where the heck in Singapore can you purchase drones for your aerial photography hobby? We’ll get you in the zone.
We’ve got them smartphone photographers, professional photographers… and those who own drones and take insane aerial shots. We’re just as fascinated with the buzz behind drones, quadcopters and aerial photography in Singapore, which is fast becoming a favourite hobby here. We summed up a nifty guide on drones to help you figure out these tech wonders.
Which drone should I buy?
DJI Phantom 4
For serious photographers only
Most good drones these days already have the standard 4K video, but the Phantom 4 stepped it up by increasing the video bitrate to 100 Mbps, meaning you’ll enjoy more details in your videos. With 30 minutes of flight time (that’s more that the average drone!), it also has close to 12 stops of dynamic range, it comes equipped with a mechanical shutter, a 1-inch sensor, is able to shoot up to 20MP and has numerous intelligent flight modes help users in nearly all scenarios. It will set you back close to $2000 but they say quality don’t come cheap…
The first timer’s choice
If you’ve never flown a drone before, it’s best to start small and cheap. The best part is that you don’t even have to compromise quality. Going for less than $50 in the market and weighing in less than 1kg, the X5C is capable of a seven-minute flight time supported by a 100-minute recharge time. Don’t be afraid to take it outside as in can be use both indoors and out, thanks to a wind-resistant build. It shoots with a 720p HD camera and 2GB memory card, but with the low price tag, don’t expect too much quality-wise. Otherwise, the Syma X5C is a great way to start in the world of drones.
DJI Mavic Air
Best overall for consumers
Whether you’re a traveller, a hobbyist committed to drone-flying and or would like to step up from the novice category, the DJI Mavic Air is all about good reviews. The air folding design makes it great for travel (folded, it is the size of a camera flash which you can easily pop into your bag), while the 4K resolution camera with the three-axis gimbal for stabilisation lets you capture nice-looking photos and video.
Yuneec Breeze 4K
For those who don’t want to deal with piloting a drone
If drones and aerial photography fascinate you slightly but actually piloting a drone does not, the Yuneec Breeze is perfect for non-commital types. A simple, lightweight camera drone for selfies or low-altitude shots, the Breeze is cheap and easily repaired. After downloading its mobile app (for both iOS and Android), you can navigate it freely and easily. Image quality is best suited for viewing on the phone and good enough for online sharing.
How do I fly a drone?
We’re not exactly experts when it comes to manning these aerial contraptions, but at least we can steer you in the right direction to people who are. For starters, you can sign up for classes at places like SkillsHQ Academy and Avetics. Also keep a lookout for pilots who frequent the open fields in Punggol, Tuas and Old Holland Road – you might just pick up some first-hand tips! And if you’re a self-taught kinda individual, there’s plenty of tutorial online for whichever your drone model is. Just make sure you’re in a room with high ceilings and preferably minimalist decor…
Singapore drone laws you should know before flying
Flying a drone ain’t like flying a kite! There’s a set of rules that come with it to ensure the safety of others (and yourself). Here are some pointers to take note of.
Stay away from protected places
While you might have good intentions in your aerial mapping expedition, the authorities feel that some secrets should remain hidden. As such, you can’t fly your drone within 5km of a protected area – including airports and air bases.
Don’t fly too high
Unfortunately, you can’t quite reach for the stars, even if your drone’s physically capable of busting through the stratosphere. Watch your altitude while flying; you can’t soar higher than 61 metres above mean sea level.
Watch your weight
Not you, silly. Flying a drone is fit for people of all shapes and sizes. Sadly, this doesn’t apply to drones; you need a permit to fly if your drone’s heavier than 7kg. However, this hardly impedes recreational users since most drones weight far below that threshold.
Apply for a permit before you can point and click
Before you go trigger-happy with your drone, do bear in mind that all activities of aerial photography require an application to the Civil Aviation Authority Of Singapore. This also applies to instances of surveying and aerial advertising.
Don’t attach anything dangerous
We don’t quite understand why anyone would do this consciously. But you do run the risk of a hefty $100,000 fine (and a five-year jail stint) if you’re found lugging arms and explosives, biological agents, radioactive material or dangerous fireworks on your drone. Then again, why would you even have these things?
Where to buy drones in Singapore
Unlike drones, you won’t have to find yourself flying across continents just to get your hands on these babies. Snagging one for yourself is easier than you think; you can either walk into a store and snap one off the shelves, or break no sweat by purchasing a drone online from several Singapore-based websites. Shop away!
The Drone Shop, 3 South Buona Vista Road, #01-29 Viva Vista, Singapore 118136, 8725 5730
Sky Hobbies Singapore, online
Radio Control-Sports, 150 South Bridge Road, #01-07 Fook Hai Building Singapore 058727, 6533 5332
Rotor Hobby, Blk 809 French Road, #02-37 Kitchener Complex, Singapore 200809, 6296 3686
Hobby Square LLP, 1 Rochor Canal Road, #02-60 Sim Lim Square, Singapore 188504, 6338 1934
Singapore Hobby Supplies, 150 South Bridge Road, #B1-23 Fook Hai Building, Singapore 058727, 6532 1993