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Vince DeStefano Gets A Ready To Fly Steadi 470 UAV For Under $3,500 AUD

May 1st, 2013

Long time readers an members of the PFRE flickr group know Vince DeStefano of Melbourne. Vince has contributed many articles on aerial real estate photography and Pole Aerial Photography over the years.

Recently Vince has invested in a UAV system for his real estate photography business (you can do that if your business is in AU). The video to the right is of a recent test flight he did.

Here is Vince’s description of his system:

Just wanted to tell you about my new quadcopter I have purchased for aerial video and photography. It’s the perfect tool for real estate photographers and it has now replaced my elevated pole rig.

Its called the Steadi 470 and its made by a company called Zero Tech. The beauty of this quadcopter is that it has been built and designed to shoot aerial video using a steadi cam system. It has absolutely no other purpose than to shoot video and stills.

Lots of guys spend countless amounts of time and money researching and building their own drones for aerial photography. Zero tech has done all the hard work on this one and it just works!

Now the best bit is that you don’t need to have any experience flying models… that’s right its that simple I handed it to my wife to fly and then to my 5 year old daughter. Within in 3 minutes each of them was able to take off, fly around, take photos and land it.

I have mounted a Sony Nex-5 to it, and it takes beautiful video. I was amazed at how stable and steady the video is. You see it uses similar technology to what is being used in Vincent Laforet’s new video. 2 Servos help to keep the camera gimbal always stable.

The quad copter uses GPS to keep it in the one location, Hence you push the throttle up to take off and then you can completely let go of the remote control. It stays in the same spot. Wind up to force 4 won’t affect it.

It also connects to an android tablet or jail broken iPhone, and you can set “pins” on a map, and it will automatically fly to those pins based on commands given by the tablet.

This is the cost break down:

$2000 for the quad copter
$400 for the remote control
$150 will get you three batteries
$50 for a charger
1 X android tab or iPhone/iPad
Sony Nex-5 camera around $300 second hand
Strato snapper to trigger camera around $50
WIFI router $50

I paid the company Dragon RC to build mine, and they charged me $350 but I get full support from them.

So for under $3500 AUD you get a fully operational and ready to fly platform

Vince, thanks for all the details. We’d love to see some results when you get them.

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13 Responses to “Vince DeStefano Gets A Ready To Fly Steadi 470 UAV For Under $3,500 AUD”

  • Pretty sure you can’t fly a UAV in Australia for reward without a commercial pilots license(among other things).

    CASA have flagged changes to the regulations, but until then there is bugger all chance of getting insurance for these activities.

  • @Ken – Yes you have to be licensed – Allan MacKenzie explains the current AU procedure in this post: http://photographyforrealestate.net/2013/04/09/a-behind-the-scenes-look-at-a-uav-shoot-by-allan-mackenzie/

  • Hi Vince

    Just curious as to how you are going about the aerial shots, I looked into this about 4 years ago but it was to unclear as to the rules regarding UAV’s.
    I know you now need to be licensed or accredited and at the time, I assume still is, not worth the cost, may as well get a full pilots license.
    Are you/have you been accredited, if so may I ask the approx. cost and effort into getting this done. Or are you going the free aerial with photo shoot option that some companies are using, feel free to message me privately in regards to this.

    I have had a look at the Dragon RC site and there costs are different to what is quoted above, did you cut a deal with them or do a custom package to get that price. e.g. did you get the basic kit or the upgraded standard, enhanced or professional setup, what’s the difference just the amount of way points? hard to tell.

    Thanks in advanced

    Adam

  • Hi Larry

    The way I read Vince’s story was that you could go out and drop $4k on a drone then start shooting with it. Other businesses that are commercially flying drones have spent circa $20k getting there licensing in place with the Aussie equivalent of the FAA.

    The link below is a news article from March which gives a good round up of the state for UAV’s in Australia.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-01/drones-set-for-large-scale-commercial-take-off/4546556

  • This is the current list of licenced operators in Australia. Those currently allowed to operate commercially. http://www.casa.gov.au/scripts/nc.dll?WCMS:STANDARD:1001:pc=PC_100959 Vince has being closely following the licensing and there are changes ahead, where there will be licensing by weight categories, which defines there usage….

  • This article best describes, where CASA is heading with much work to do. If you Vince’s machine falls in the lowest weight catergory, then it will be a simple on line apply action to begin flying. http://m.theaustralian.com.au/business/aviation/the-approval-process-will-likely-reflect-the-size-and-purpose-of-an-unmanned-aircraft/story-e6frg95x-1226592674640

  • Thanks for the article Larry, Just thought I would answer a few questions.

    Ken – Yes you can get insurance, most of the big insurance companies who deal in Aviation will insure you. Yes you need to invest in an operators certificate. Regarding the 20K investment that others make, I think you have missed the point on Larry’s article – its not about the licensing, its about the equipment and how effective this product is for the price. Licensing is a completely different can of worms.

    Adam – Yes you need to be licensed under CASA and you need insurance (well you would be silly not to) I am going through the process of getting accredited, although this process may change again (very soon) You can expect to invest around $8000 – $10,000 on obtaining an Operators Certificate. The CASA website under UAV’s explains the costs.

    UAV photography can be very profitable if you create your business model correctly. Without giving away to much my aerial pole system has done over 2000 jobs in 7 years at an average transaction of $180 – this had an initial investment of around $6,000 – My aerial photo business taking photos from fixed wing has probably yielded even more jobs, Hence there is no reason you wouldn’t cover your costs in terms of insurance and initial outlay on UAV . Even if you only did 50 UAV jobs per year then you would still be making a small profit.

    Regarding Dragon RC – this is their website http://www.dragonrc.com.au/ – Their pricing is exactly as I have written so not sure what you are comparing. I went for the basic option as it is only the waypoints that differ. 4 waypoints is plenty for real estate.

    Dragon RC also has a hexcopter in the works for those that want to lift a DSLR,

  • Here’s another product that may be of interest:
    http://www.pdnonline.com/gear/Object-of-Desire-LA-7929.shtml

  • Hi Adam,
    Our prices have not changed. Why don’t you contact us and have a chat.

  • Hi Vince? Are you flying your drone for paid work at the moment?

  • Hi Tim, as per my comments above , I’m am currently going through the process. It is illegal to fly commercially or for pay in Australia. You can however fly for r&d purposes.

  • Hi Vince, if you not flying it commercially why is on your retail price list on your website?

  • Hello Tim (from….unknown) If you read our website it says that we are not currently offering the service yet. There is no law against showing a price for future service. Secondly if someone was to want an aerial drone shoot we could contract the flying it out to a licensed operator if needed. We are not breaking any laws and our stance clearly written on our website –

    See: Excerpt from my website

    “How much does it cost?

    Currently CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) governs the use of a UAV for commercial purposes and requires that all operators hold a Controllers certificate and operators certificate. Property Snaps is currently going through the process of obtaining such requirements. When operating the pricing for Drone/Uav Photography will start at $330 per site for photos and slightly more for video.

    You can download our full price list here”

    Timothy Feel fee to call me on 0408 559 555 and I will be more than happy to have chat with you about the legalities and regulations of UAV’s I have been speaking with CASA long before the hype, I can assure you we are across all regulations.

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