Everything you need for your experience level of APV is wrapped up in a neat little package with the Q500 Typhoon
Compare Prices on Yuneec Q500
Aerial photography has become a favorite pastime for society. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at aerial photography and video (APV) and gathering your own video or still photos, then this may be a great start.
The Q500 Typhoon drone was developed by Yuneec as a ready to fly (RTF) quadcopter. This is a brilliant aerial solution of a mini-helicopter, camera, and video camera all in one. This means that there is very little set up involved to get it out of the box and into the air.
There are a variety of other gadgets out there that offer some of the same technology as the Q500, but the video quality of the Typhoon is exceptional. With a higher pixel count and a three-axis gimbal mount for the camera, shaky videos and blurry stills are virtually eliminated.
There is not much in the way of assembly. The batteries will need to be charged before you get started. The rotors are packed unattached so they will need to be manually threaded into the motors. After this, you’re ready to go.
Below is a quick list of the Yuneec Q500’s technical specifications:
- 1080 HD Camera with Aerial Optimized Fixed Focus
- 8GB micro SD card
- CGO2-GB 3 axis precision gimbal
- ST10 personal ground station
- (2) 5400mAh 3S 11.1V LiPo batteries which are included
- 3S 11.1V LiPo DC balancing smart charger with AC Adapter
- 10-channel 2.4GHz with 5.8GHz video downlink transmitter
- Transmission band of 5.8GHz
- Control range
- Pitch of -90° and 0°
- Yaw of 0° and 360
- 130° field of view
- Video transmission range
- FCC compliance up to 1968.5 feet
- CE compliance up to 984.252 feet
- Automatic smart white balance feature
Yuneec also has a few accessories that can be purchased separately that can enhance the flight and usage of the Q500. These include a sun shade, a car charger, a USB adapter (doubles as a charger), as well as an extra set of four rotors.
Yuneec Q500: Features
This drone has three flight modes:
• Smart Mode is the recommendation for the amateur pilots. This mode is meant to acclimate the pilot to the controls. The quadcopter will fly in the direction of the transmitter control stick no matter where the front of the transmitter is pointing. The Follow Me feature is set in Smart Mode. This means that the pilot can walk while holding the transmitter, and the aircraft will simply follow. The GPS is located in the transmitter and the quadcopter is tuned into it. So if you’re in the mood to film yourself running down a hill, the Smart Mode and Follow Me feature will be quite helpful.
• Angle Mode is what experienced flyers will probably prefer. When the control stick is pushed forward, the Q500 will tilt forward. It will move in coordination to the tilt of the stick. The pilot is more in control in this mode. If you release the stick completely, it will just hover and remain in place.
• Home Mode is just that – it returns the quad to its home base where the flight first began. It will find its way back and activate its soft landing feature. So if you lose sight of your craft, just put it in Home Mode, and wait. It will find its way back to you.
The transmitter has a three-position switch on the front right. The rubber cover on the switch offers a firm grip and clicks when turned to a new setting. Since the Typhoon uses a global positioning system (GPS) for navigation, you’ll need to ensure that you have a strong signal so you don’t lose it. The GPS can be deactivated for flights where it’s not necessary.
Yuneec Q500: Camera Action – (Videos – Click to Play)
The camera is ready to go out of the box. It can record at 1080p, and you can control if its 48, 50, or 60 frames per second (FPS). Photo resolution is an amazing 12 megapixels. Yuneec combines the 12 megapixel 1080p/60FPS camera with the three-axis gimbal into a single unit. This means that the video captured is smooth and steady while the still pictures are not blurred and provide extreme colorful detail.
The view of the camera is 130° so there is a slight fish bowl effect. If you’ve ever used a GoPro camera, it’s quite similar. It has an automatic white balance feature that helps with color balancing as well as the fixed focus that keeps the photos looking in scope and helps to eliminate blurring. The gimbal action controls the tilt of the camera. Its main purpose is to keep the camera steady for a smooth and stable flow of video. By mounting the camera on three axes, the stability is enhanced much more so than cameras mounted on regular two-axes gimbals.
Personal Ground Station
The Yuneec Q500 has a personal ground station touch screen that runs off of an Android operating system (OS) and has 10 channels that the pilot can use.
By basing the OS on Android, the pilot can view anything that the camera has captured right on their smart phone. Some controls are also accessible from the smartphone such as video starting and stopping, and taking photo stills.
The throttle is a small stick that protrudes from the transmitter. Using your thumb, it moves in a circular-type pattern that controls the quadcopter. The throttle is spring loaded so it moves smoothly and without much effort. When the throttle stick is in its original position, the Q500 hovers in place.
On the left hand side is the camera slider which controls the camera angles. Thanks to the three-axis gimbal, the camera can look straight ahead to almost completely vertical. Above this is the button used to snap a picture. Almost exactly opposite is the video start/stop button. Remember, that these two functions can be adapted by your smartphone.
The control rate slider button is on the right side of the transmitter. There are two indicators here to control the angle speed of the camera – aptly identified by a rabbit and a turtle. Slide it to the rabbit for more of an angle, or slide it to the turtle to move slower and easier handling.
Under the controls is the touch screen display where you can watch the live feed coming from your ‘copter as it flies. Other pertinent information is also displayed here similar to a digital camera with its icons for flash, mode, etc. This transmitter will show the flight mode, GPS status, satellites it has acquired in its range, latitude and longitude coordinates, battery life, speed, and distance. Because it may be difficult to view due to its reflective glare, a sun shield can be used that will reduce the glare and make it a little easier to see.
From the display screen, you can control how many frames per second you wish to record. It can be set at 48, 50, or 60 FPS. This setting is where you can control the amount of lag (delay) in the camera feed.
Flight of the Q500 – (Videos – Click to Play)
The maximum height that the quadcopter can be flown at is 400 feet (122 meters) above ground.
Flight time can run up to about 25 minutes.
This all depends on how hard you’re flying it. If the drone is just cruising along at an easy pace, it will take less power which will extend the life of the battery and the run time.
Since Yuneec does all of their technology developing and testing in-house, it helps to improve their products liability. This model is their first stab at APV and so far, it seems to be holding its own with its competitors.
Of course there is some software that Yuneec provides that will allow you to make some adjustment to the flying controls. Installing the software is pretty easy and guides you through the recommended settings. There are four screens that pop up that are used to adjust and tweak the control and flight settings to how you want them. You can calibrate the accelerometer and gimbal, and set up your preferred flight boundaries.
Flying a quadcopter can be a truly fun experience, but remember that there are rules when using this gadget. Local laws are applicable even to drones. One main important rule is to keep a constant visual of your aircraft. If it’s out of your line of sight, it’s gone too far. This is where the Home Mode comes in handy. Reel it in, and keep it within eyesight.
Yuneec Q500 : Our Verdict
Everything you need for your experience level of APV is wrapped up in a neat little package with the Q500 Typhoon.
Experts and amateurs can operate this quadcopter and capture some awesome footage and photos. Improvements and new versions are always coming out, but for the price, flight range, and battery life, the Yuneec Q500 seems to be a great value for the amount of fun it can provide. It’s easy to fly, simple to operate, and worth the price tag.