As I’ve mentioned, flying the CX-23 in GPS mode was a whole lot easier than the CX-35. I say “was” because I no longer have one. That’s a story you can find here.
I’d recommend this as a beginner drone. Anything classified as a “toy drone” is just too frustrating, and I think gives you the wrong impression of drone flying. The CX-23 costs in the region of US$200, which is good value for money, given all its features.
The first time you take off with the CX-23 you immediately know you’ve made a step up from a toy drone. Go up to about three meters, take your hands off the controls, and the drone just hovers in place. And I really mean in place. It’s spookily stable, especially after struggling with a non-GPS drone which will glide around in all directions in even the lightest breeze. You have to work hard to keep a non-GPS drone where you want it to be.
Something I learned from flying the CX-23 is how important it is to have a camera with a 2- or 3-axis gimbal. That’s the device that magically keeps the camera stable at all times. You get some strange video with something like the CX-23 that has a fixed camera.
The thing is, when you – for instance – move forward, the drone has to tilt forwards, to make the air move backwards. When you stop, it does the opposite … it momentarily tilts back to blow some air forwards. If you watch the video from this, it’s quite vomit-inducing because the camera has no choice but to move with the drone. The same thing happens with sideways movements.
So, I quickly learned, that to make half-watchable video, it’s necessary to cut out all of the starts, stops, and turns. That way you can create some reasonable forwards, backwards, upwards, and panning shots. But not downwards, they are a disaster.
The ones I like the best are the fast upwards shots or “punch outs.” The CX-23 seems quite stable provided there is no, or minimal, wind.
Based on that, I decided to make a five minute video in and around Khanom – where I live in Southern Thailand. I compiled a long list of locations and the types of shots I wanted to get. Then I had to wait for the right weather. I wanted sunshine, and the CX-23 wanted windless days. It took a while but I was about fifty percent through the list when the CX-23 dropped in the river.
Initially I thought I might replace it. And maybe one day I will because it’s a fun little flyer, but it’s not the priority. I’m going to move up to a drone with a proper 4K camera and gimbal. So, I thought – maybe I can still make a video with half the shots I wanted. And I did.
For sure, it’s not as good as I wanted, and it clearly shows the effects of not having a gimbal. The video should be way smoother, and of a much higher quality. But it demonstrates nicely what you can achieve with a hobby drone. Take a look…