The DJI F450 quadcopter is a vehicle that can be used for both fun and creating professional aerial views. The multirotor is actually designed as a frame which makes it extremely light and versatile, given the fact that owners can add or remove certain technical elements.
Be aware: this is an ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) model and it requires medium to advanced building. The quadcopter is delivered in pieces and requires wiring, soldering and some basic tools like a glue gun and a multi-meter. If you want a multirotor that is ready to fly out of the box, this is definitely not a good fit for you!
Here you can see how the assembly looks like:
Once you manage to put it together, the DJI F450 is actually pretty fun to own as it does a lot of cool stuff due to the NAZA autopilot system. It can hover, roll, cruise and you can use it for a wide variety of aeromodelling activities.
- This action is a DIY HJ-F450 Quadcopter kit, it is unassembled. Come with high quality electronic accessories, only need a 3S Lipo battery and a 6CH above radio system to complete.
- 1 x F450 frame kit, 4 x F450/F550 Landing gear
- 4 x DJI 2212 920KV Brushless motor , 4 x HP Simonk 30A Speed Controller
- 1 x APM2.8 Flight controller, 1 x NEO-7M GPS+GPS Bracket
- 1 x Gemfan 1045(CW+CCW) Black Propeller, 1 x Gemfan 1045(CW+CCW) Orange Propeller
The best part about this multirotor is actually the fact that it is made piece-by-piece. The frame is sturdy and shock resistant, but in the case of a more violent crash, you just replace the damaged parts and move on. The RTF quadcopters require extensive replacement in such cases and things can get pretty expensive.
Another piece of advice: be very careful when you purchase this multirotor because it comes in many arrangements. For example, you can simply buy the kit for about $30 to $50 but this means you will only receive the frame and the necessary elements to build it. This doesn’t mean that it will fly after build (it won’t be complete).
You can also purchase the DJI F450 with other elements like a camera and a flight controller, but these assemblies will be more expensive. Also, there is the possibility to buy it in RTF mode, with an attached camera from specialized stores or online.
Because the DJI is extremely popular among hobbyists, there are a series of fake copies on the market. They are cheaper, but the material is not as durable as with the original one.
As mentioned, the DJI F450 can be delivered in several ways. If you decide to buy the kit, the box should contain the following:
- 1 x DJI F450 Frame with integrated PCB Wiring
- 4 x 15A/30A E300 OPTO ESCs
- 4 x 2212 920kv E300 3s or 4s motors
- 4 x Propellers NEW Self Tightening (according to the kit type, the propellers could be different in size: 2 x 8 inch Propeller CW&CCW – 2 x 10 inch Propeller CW&CCW)
- Screws and other connectivity elements
If you purchased the NAZA-M Lite or the NAZA-M V2 autopilot system, the flight controller will also be included in the package. The DJI F450 can be hooked up with the NAZA-M or the DJI Wookong M Multi Rotor Controller, but in this review, we’ll be talking about the NAZA-M.
Here you can view a tutorial on how to add the NAZA-M main controller:
Pay attention to the fact that it has to point in a certain direction.
Design & durability
The DJI F450 frame is built from ultra-strong materials, which makes the quadcopter very resistant to crashes or other unpleasant events. The arms are built from PA66+30GF material and the main frame plates use a compound PCB material which is designed to implement high-strengths.
The arms and plates are designed to protect the ESCs and the battery, and there is enough space between the top and bottom plates to add elements that need protecting.
Usually the kit comes with arms colored differently: 2 red and white ones or 2 black and 2 white ones. These offer an improved visual orientation during flight.
The DJI F450 doesn’t come with an included or built-in camera, but it allows for a lot of space for the user to add one. Many recommend using this quad with a GoPro camera and Gimbal if you want scenic views and fantastic pictures.
The DJI F450 also supports an FPV video transmitter that allows for real-time streaming to a smartphone or tablet. Of course, like with all other extra-components, this one is not included in the kit.
Battery & flight time
Again, since this is just a kit, the battery is not included and the producer recommends a 3S or a 4S Li-Po. One of the complete models I saw on the market used a 14.8V 4000mah 30C Li-Po Battery.
Flight time depends on the battery you install on the quad and on how heavy it is after you install the camera. You can see here an example of flight time with a Multistar 6600mAh 4S 10c Li-Po:
The user registered 33 minutes with the quad mostly hovering and without any camera.
Another user mentioned a flight time of 18 minutes with a 3S Li-Po 5000mAh with E300 Motors and ESC. This time the quad was not just hovering, but it wasn’t pushed to the limits either. So, I guess that it completely depends on your own settings.
The NAZA M V2 GPS flight controller is the most recommended if you want to have a complete experience with the DJI F450. This controller manages to provide better flight performance and the all-in-one design makes the installation really simple. Just make sure to remember that this item will be introduced in between the two plates so make the preparations for its installation in time.
The NAZA M V2 GPS flight controller is also preferred due to its amazing features, like:
- Inner damping
- 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope.
Due to all these, it knows the altitude and can be used for automatic controls like automatic return to the start point. This is possible only if your transmitter supports failsafe through port-U. The NAZA has a built-in failsafe function and when the communication is interrupted with the GPS module in use, the Return to Home failsafe will be activated.
If you don’t have any experience in flying quadcopters at all, it may be a bit difficult to get used to the DJI F450’s flying mode. This is why many users recommend trying with a cheaper model at first, to get used to the idea of piloting a quadcopter.
According to users, the DJI F450 can achieve the following flight performance:
- Maximum Altitude – 1528 Ft
- Maximum Speed – 80.07 Mph
- Maximum Ascent – 1277 Ft
In flight, this multirotor is very stable and quite easy to control once you learn its moves. It can do a series of acrobatics like rolling and hovering over one point for long time periods.
Also, it has a very interesting failsafe for beginners: hands off the controller. When it doesn’t receive commands, the quad is centered automatically by the GPS module and simply hovers waiting for further instructions.
Value for money & guarantee
The DJI F450 is built as a kit, to which users can add various elements, just to make it as affordable as possible. Thus, if you just want the kit, you will spend somewhere around $50, but if you want the quad to fly, you’ll also need the flight controller, a battery, a radio set (transmitter and receiver), and a charger. All these will add to the investment, making it get somewhere about $300 – $500.
Of course, there are more expensive options on the market, but these will also include the GPS system on the flight controller, landing skids and many other accessories.
There is no mention of a guarantee on the DJI site, but I think you could contact them in the case your kit was delivered incomplete or broken. Of course, this depends on the provider you’re using.
The F450 Frame is indeed unique as it offers a large degree of versatility. The fact that you can actually add a series of elements like a camera of your choosing, FPV transmitter or landing skids (the original feet are too small) make it very easy to work with.
The arms are specially designed to make the entire vehicle lighter and easier to maintain in the air while the plates are durable and shock resistant. Here you can witness a pretty violent durability test:
Other quadcopters don’t allow small parts to be changed, especially if we’re talking about an RTF. With the DJI F450, each piece can be replaced and at a very affordable price. Even more, the fact that you have to put it together, gives you valuable insight into the build mode, and let’s face it, it’s quite fun!
Similar models or main competitors
Competitor #1 – F550
A model very similar to the F450 is the F550. This one is actually a hexacopter as it has 6 arms, each one with a motor and a propeller. Both models can be controlled via GPS, but they differ in size and weight. The F450 is lighter (it has 2 arms less) and has the capacity to carry an FPV and Gimbal for about 14 minutes.
The F550 is designed for heavier loads and it manages to provide a smoother flight and better wind resistance. The fact that it has 6 motors means that it can still be controllable in the case one of them dies. Still, this also means it will need a more powerful battery.
In the end, the F450 can be used for both entertainment and work (professional or amateur video or photo) while the F550 is more recommended for high-quality aerial images as it can carry more gadgets.
If you like DJI F550 you can find and check its price on Amazon.
Competitor #2 – Phantom 2
Another quad that compares with the F450 is the Phantom 2 (also from DJI). The Phantom is an RTF and has an included camera directly from the box, which makes it a better fit for users without technical knowledge.
The two quads are somehow similar in motor power and capacity, but the main difference is the platform: the Phantom is a close platform that doesn’t allow for improvements while the F450 is an open platform that gives you complete control over what you want your quad to be.
Just a quick example, to understand what I’m talking about, is the battery. With the F450 you can choose from a wide variety of batteries, while with the Phantom you are stuck with one expensive battery. You can see more about the comparison between the F450 and Phantom 2 from a professional point of view:
You can also check the price of Phantom 2 or buy it on Amazon.
Competitor #3 – Wirlwind FY450
This is actually the cheaper version of the F450 (one of the copies we mentioned at the beginning of the article). This quadcopter implements basically the same design as the F450 with 4 arms and two plates with space in between which makes it a pretty good copy.
The main difference can be felt on first touch, as the material in the arms is not of a very good quality. This is to be expected considering the price difference. Otherwise, the size is the same and the power distribution boards are somehow identical. Probably the one used by the F450 is more durable.
Also, there is a huge difference in the types of wires used to connect the FY450. To maintain the low price, the manufacturer included thin wires that will probably break quicker due to the vibrations in motors and propeller.
If you want to see a more detailed comparison and a flight demonstration, you watch this video:
In the end, the FY450 is designed for people on a budget looking to test a quadcopter and see how it feels like. It can’t be used for high-quality aerial images and it may have balance problems in flight. However, if you like the Whirlwind FY450 more you can check its price on Amazon.
The DJI F450 was designed for hobbyists and people who need a lot of versatility from their quadcopters. It is a quite advanced vehicle that can deploy professional results when it comes to aerial imagery, but it also requires a bit of work and some technical knowledge.
- It is very stable in flight and offers a smooth experience which makes it great for professional/amateur aerial viewing.
- The built is sturdy which offers protection to the vital (and more expensive) elements
- It is shock resistant and, in the case of a crash, repair parts are affordable
- Users can improve the quad with time by adding a GPS module, FPV transmitter, a professional camera, landing skids, and others.
- It is light and resists quite well on a windy day (medium wind speed)
- It requires some technical knowledge and a few basic tools to be put together
- On descending, the rotors create turbulence which makes that footage unusable
- It may get pretty expensive in time with all the accessories it needs to be a great professional tool
The fact that it can be found in so many options on the market can definitely be frustrating for a newbie, but it is also a fantastic opportunity for someone on a budget. An RTF quad will have to be purchased on the spot, while the F450 can be purchased in pieces, over time.
So, if you like DIY projects and are a quadcopter passionate, this frame will definitely give you the best starting point to an amazing experience!