Advice needed on what to purchase- Iris?

Hi, I am a cameraman hoping to get into UAV filming and photography commercially. However I have no experience at all in flying UAVs. My interests lie in two areas:

  1. Because of my family farming background, I am particularly interested in land/ crop surveys, moving on to doing full orthographic work. I also have ties to some conservation work which could really benefit from this.

  2. My experience in shooting documentaries for the natural history/ adventure sectors also means I have a heavy interest in the cinematographic potential of bigger copters, carrying bigger cameras.

I know I am likely to be told that these are two very different areas which of course they are, but being still young my budget is not very impressive. As the Iris is designed for GoPro, I know that this will not produce amazing results for aerial photography of large areas, particularly detailed images of crops. However the new Pixhawk system, and the way the 3DR software is advancing, and the versatility and relative cheapness of the Iris (plus as a system to learn to fly on) makes me think I have to start here.

I have also considered planes, can anyone persuade me on one of these? I’ve looked at the Event 38 products but not done lots of research yet…

Any thoughts greatly appreciated! My main constraints are: budget and experience…


I think maybe an IRIS as a first step to familiarise yourself with the flying of the things may be wise before looking at spending lots of money and/ or risking expensive photographic equipment.

You can always progress to a larger frame with bigger motors/ more lift later and cannibalise the iris for the control gear/ Pixhawk etc

Unless you are willing to part with insane amounts of money a larger quad (or probably better still would be a hex) in a ready to fly configuration is going to be out of the question therefore to keep the cost under control you will likely need to build it yourself from a kit of parts - Having at least some experience of flying is likely to be fairly essential to complete that task so again experience with the RTF IRIS is probably a good bet.

Just for interest, I am looking to start building a larger Hex using the Q800 frame kit shortly…

But in the mean time I am gaining flight experience with the IRIS.

Not had any experience of autonomous planes, flown plenty of normal RC ones though. Planes were way easier than RC helecopters when I flew them, but to be honest I would say the IRIS is way easier than a plane now. The advantage of a plane is they tend to give more flight time per battery or fuel tank but of course they never stop moving so not nearly so convenient for many photographic/ video uses, this video is a fairly good example of the advantage of a quad…

Thanks Louise, much appreciated! I think the Iris has more pros than cons at this stage for me, planes are something I am still considering but perhaps I’ll wait to see what results I can get from the Iris on a basic level first before worrying about that. I do hope to make the transition to bigger copters quite quickly to keep up with everyone else on the filming front, the potential is pretty exciting from a camera operator’s point of view. So I’ll definitely be learning to build kits from scratch.

Of course, anyone who disagrees please let me know, but right now I’m going to for an Iris!

They are incredibly easy to fly, especially with a gps assist mode, but I think the setup of a scratch build is likely not going to be quite so easy.

The idea of dragging a DSLR up in the air is really getting me excited, I do like photography but nearly everything here has already been snapped a thousand times - A good sized hex would give me a unique vantage point that no one (to my knowledge) has covered round here. It also brings two, well three, fascinations together, rc flight, computers and photography, plus, plus, plus :smiley:

Is it me or has the forum formatting switched to centre justify all of a sudden?

About a year ago we put together this document showing a simple mapping workflow using the arducopter and a gopro with some free software which might be of use. You can get surprisingly good results with a gopro camera considering the fisheye lens!

Mapping with Arducopter.pdf (436.7 KB)

There is a bunch of free software that you can use to also stitch photos to make a big 2D map.

I dont think you will need to use a DSLR camera for mapping purposes, they are only really needed if you want to take some nice pro-level air photos, but for all other applications a gopro/ regular camera does the job well. You can also easily modify some of the compact digital cameras (like SX260) to remove the IR filter to get some useful NVDI type images to analyse crops.

@Louise yes, a recent update of the forum software did this, I am looking to get this back to normal :wrench: as soon as I get some time

Super info PDF, great stuff. We use a Canon s100 for data collection, a DSLR is overkill for the type of images we are after.

We produced this for a costal erosion project. Not perfect but is great fun to do.

Hey now, I have been using the legs you sent me a month ago and they work pretty good! I wanted to ask you if you could send me another set of the red mounts for the legs? The plastic snapped on one of them already. I’'l pay for shipping to CA in the USA. Thanks.

Thanks for all the info everyone, very interesting stuff!

Further to questions about Iris legs (which I’d like to order at some point!) etc, will the consumer Iris have a mount (or similar) underneath for a gimbal, or is this still a DIY job? Assuming the GoPro mount on the front will affect the COG too much with the gimbal attached there…?

Sure @Jeff_Miller , please send an email to support and I can arrange that for you.

The Consumer Iris will have some injection moulded long legs as an addon, dont know ETA but should be soon. Below are 3D printed prototypes showing what they will look like.

Great, I’ll be wanting a set at some stage! With my question about gimbal mounting- I’ve seen the very useful 3D printing plans on this forum for a mount attaching to the front GoPro mount and rear vents- will this be the way to go? Thanks and apologies for all the questions!

Yes that will be the way for now to use an adaptor, we will soon sell them for the FY-G3 gimbal for a couple pounds as soon as I finish some tweaks. I think there will also be some mount for the Tarrot brushless gimbal, but in our testing the FY-G3 is much better so we sell that one instead.

That’s great news, thanks! Can’t wait to get my hands on the thing now…

just ordered the fy-g3… was planning on using it on the Q800 which I also ordered but might be tempted to duct tape it to the IRIS while I am waiting for motors etc :smiley: