15% off Drone Accessories | Moment | Promo Code MomentDrones
Perhaps naively knowing what I know now, when photography specialist retailer Moment said they were sending me a drone and some accessories to go with it, I did not expect testing it to be such a hassle. Which is why, almost a month later, I’ve taken the DJI Mavic Air 2 for a spin only twice: once near my hometown in Fenwick Island, Delaware and a second time at Lincoln Park in Jersey City. Regulations around unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are strict where I live in NYC, and the consequences for flying in the wrong zones are severe.
With the exception of five designated areas in New York City parks, only three of which don’t require paid memberships, flying a drone in NYC can result in up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. So rather than take my chances in Flushing Meadows or La Tourette Park, I decided to cross state lines into Liberty State Park ... only to find out UAVs are barred from state parks, statewide. Worse yet, it’s illegal to fly within 5 miles of an airport, so even at the park I could fly at, I had to be careful to stay outside the proximity of EWR.
After paying the FAA-mandated $5 fee to register my drone under part 107, my government-sanctioned testing locations were mostly relegated to local parks in New Jersey or, if I wanted to drive a bit farther out, mountainside upstate. As long as you don’t live in a major metropolitan area, however, you should have a little more freedom with where you take off. At my parents’ house, for instance, my buddy and I fired it off in the backyard where he mistakenly launched it at full speed into a neighboring house (oops!). Later that night, I took it out to the beach and no one said anything except the guests at a nearby hotel who thought for sure it was a UFO.
Setting up the Mavic Air 2 took me about 30 minutes overall what with the firmware updates and actually finding the cable that connects your phone and the included remote control. Equipped with Lightning, USB-C, and microUSB, it’s fairly hardware agnostic. The DJI Fly app makes it easy for first-time flyers and veterans alike to get your shuttle off the ground, walking you through the steps of initial configuration and letting you know when one of the propellers is on the wrong arm. But enough of my thoughts on the drone itself—our sister site took care of that for us early last month.
In his review for Gizmodo, Carlos Zahumenszky covered DJI’s sky beast at length, calling it “such a darn fun toy that is easy to learn how to use, but difficult to master. Someone with experience in video and drones can create truly marvelous things with it at a very reasonable price.”
Rugged Drone Landing Pad | $13 | Promo Code MomentDrones
Before sending the Mavic Air 2 into the air for the first time, I placed Moment’s $15 landing pad on the ground in front of me and set it as my home base. Whether because its battery is depleted or because I’m done playing with my remote-controlled helicopter for now, the home base is a safe point of near-instant return your drone can touch down on at the press of a single button in the app. Weighing 0.75 lbs. and measuring 17.6" x 17.6" x 0.07", the lightweight but durable Rugged Drone Landing Pad is black on one side and red on the other. On top of being reversible, it also has six square folding points, making it a breeze to travel with.
- Works as a helipad and work surface
- Easy to clean
- 155mm x 150mm x 25mm folded for travel
- 447mm x 447mm x 1.75mm unfolded for use
- Materials: Ripstop, elastic band, HDPE
- Covered by our lifetime warranty
The Rugged Drone Landing Pad was designed by Joel Swenson who, in his product testimonial said, “We considered everything from packability to the ideal weight that wouldn’t fly away when starting up a drone. We wanted something more functional than what was already on the market and not a repurposed product from another industry.”
Rugged Drone Carrying Case | $43 | Promo Code MomentDrones
A must-have for traveling photographers, Moment’s rugged drone carrying case straddles the line between affordable and pricey at half a Benjamin, but its hardshell design keeps it sturdy and presumably long-lasting (idk, I’ve only had mine a couple months). The front pocket is perfect for storing manuals and FAA certifications to bring with you wherever you go, and internal dividers protect your drone and its accessories from friendly fire. Oh, and speaking of fire, its tarpaulin jacket can withstand the elements, within reason of course. A low-profile handle and 0.88 lb. weight yield a truly portable form factor while water-resistant zippers are a subtle fixture I couldn’t do without.
- Bonded hardshell construction
- Weatherproof tarpaulin and water-resistant zippers
- Padded interior and divider walls
- Secure interior storage pockets for blades, SD cards, filters, and cables
- Integrated external stow pocket fits drone landing pad
- Low-profile grab handle and lash points for easy carry and tie down
- 185mm x 100mm x 270mm
- Materials: nylon mesh, durable zippers, velcro, microfiber liner, molded foam
- Covered by a lifetime warranty
Measuring 7.3" x 3.9" x 10.6", the case provides ample storage for even the most excessive trappings. It may not fit, say, your payload release AND your water balloon launcher (and in all seriousness, I did have trouble fitting the landing pad), but it comfortably housed my drone, remote controller, and the charger for both, along with its detached propellers and three lens filters.
Variable ND Lens Filters | $26 Each | Promo Code MomentDrones
“Like sunglasses for your camera lens” as Moment so plainly describes them, variable neutral density (ND) filters let you block out unwanted sunlight from obstructing your shots. Constructed from aerospace-grade aluminum, these featherweight lenses are sold in 2-5 stop and 6-9 stop flavors. Which one you should buy depends on your needs. Are you shooting in a super bright location? Get the 6-9 stop. The 2-5 stop, on the other hand, is built for capturing photos and video footage in normal weather conditions. In most cases, it sounds like the 2-5 stop is the way to go UNLESS you plan on taking your drone to the beach and/or desert on the reg. Otherwise, the 2-5'll do just fine.
- Works on the Mavic Air 2
- Aerospace-grade aluminum frame
- Covered by our lifetime warranty
- Filter ships with a CNC’d metal container with padded foam liner included to protect your filters in the field
- Covered by a lifetime warranty
Moment also sells a circular polarizer/linear (CPL) cinema glass filter for the Mavic Air 2 in the same fire red finish and cut from the same material as the ND filters. These lenses give you control over how light reflects off objects in your line of sight. Complete with scratch- and water-resistant coating, these cute lil’ lenses can endure the perils of flight no questions asked, and on the off-chance they don’t, well, all three are spared by Moment’s guaranteed lifetime warranty. Still, you’ll want to keep ‘em in the CNC-milled, foam-lined carrying tins to prevent any mishaps.
Like everything else on this list—and a whole helluva lot more—Moment’s variable ND and Cine CPL filters are 15% off using our exclusive promo code MomentDrones.