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Tech traveller: Droning on

Whatever your photographic requirements, you need to know what drone kit is worth investing in and what, exactly, you’re allowed to do with it

Tech traveller: Droning on
Image: Getty

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The internet is filling up with aerial vistas filmed on the latest personal drones. You can now pick up a decent quadcopter with accurate GPS, collision-avoidance sensors, and a 4K gimballed camera for just under £1,000, like the DJI Mavic Pro.

But before you blow all that cash on top-of-the-range kit, there’re a few things you should be aware of. All countries have their own set of rules for these UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), so make sure you read up before heading out with your new toy. The UK’s o ° cial code can be found at dronesafe.uk. There’s advice about training and regulation, and the free Drone Assist app will show you where you can and can’t fl y. International travellers should grab AirMap, with information about the rules and restrictions on a local map, and real-time collision alerts while you’re flying.

Before splurging on high-end kit, consider cutting your pilot’s teeth with an entry-level toy drone. Syma has a good range with HD cameras built in that start at around £35. At that price-point, don’t expect the picture quality to be exceptional, and without the GPS and flight-assist features of the more expensive models they’re harder to control. But £35 is a lot less to lose if you have a catastrophic accident.

Once you progress to the larger UAVs, think seriously about insurance, both to replace damaged equipment and for public liability. There are plenty of personal drone insurance specialists out there, so do a bit of research to get the best cover for your circumstances. Finally, before you head o˙ into the blue, take the time to read up on fi lming techniques. The UAV Coach blog has a nice guide that walks you through the basic shots to master.

Get the gadget: Olloclip Filmer’s Kit

Photography-loving iPhone users can beef up their mobile camera kit with Olloclip’s new collection of lenses and accessories packed neatly in a custom-made bag. The pack includes four clip-on lenses to fi t iPhone 7 and 7s — the Core lens set providing Fisheye, Super-Wide and Macro 15x lenses, the Active Lens Set with Telephoto 2x, and Ultra-Wide lenses. When purchased separately these lenses will set you back about the same amount as the Filmer’s Kit, but in this pack you’ll also get a Pivot video grip, which allows for much smoother camera control with a 225-degree articulating head. RRP: £219.95

Kate Russell is a technology reporter for @BBCClick and author of Working the Cloud

Published in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)