Photography drones allow individuals to shoot from the air that was previously only possible from a helicopter or aircraft. More and more photographers are buying drones and trying their hand at aerial photography.
If you are completely new to drone photography, check out the previous article on choosing the best camera drone. It outlines the key elements to help you choose an aerial photography drone, including safety, type of video transmission system, smart features, portability, and maintenance.
Image quality is the most important thing.
If you have at least basic knowledge about the design of cameras, then you know that the matrix is \u200b\u200bdirectly related to image quality. The same is true for drones. In the market today, the 1” sensor has become the new gold standard used in consumer drones such as the new Mavic 2 Pro and the professional photography drone Phantom 4 Pro V2.0. The most powerful photography drone, the Inspire 2 (with Zenmuse X5s camera) uses a 4/3 CMOS sensor.
The larger sensor makes shooting in low light easier, so don’t worry if you shoot mostly at night. But according to tests, both drones and Mavic Pro and Phantom also shoot well during the day.
Do you need 4K video?
Drone video resolution can range from HD to 4K. If your processing tasks are limited to adding a simple filter and uploading to Facebook or Instagram, then 1080p will be enough for you. If you are a vlogger or are going to shoot a movie, then you are better off working in 4K. Video processing may reduce resolution and sharpness during scaling, cropping, and rotation. If you start at 1080p, the end result may not be as crisp. 4K gives you headroom in terms of work resolution.
You can also see the “FPS” parameter in the drone’s stats. FPS – frames per second refers to how many individual frames the camera captures every second. In principle, 24 or 30 fps will give a fairly smooth video, but for special effects like slow motion, you need 60 fps.
Is Raw/DNG support required?
If you’re not into Lightroom or Photoshop, you can skip this section. But almost every photographer modifies their photos in some way. If the drone can shoot in RAW / DNG format, this gives more scope for post-processing. In RAW/DNG format, all data received from the camera’s matrix is recorded. This is especially important for night shots. RAW/DNG format gives more options for photographers.
The left photo was taken with a P4P drone in RAW. On the right is after processing.
Does the drone hover well enough?
Hover stability is also the most important parameter for obtaining a high-quality picture. If the drone is not hovering, it may constantly try to ascend, descend, or drift with the wind, which will affect the photos, they may be blurry. A stable hover requires a good flight controller and quality sensors on board. In this regard, many pilots are confident that DJI drones have gone far ahead and become the market leader. Even the younger Spark model provides very high quality hovering.
Buy a drone with a gimbal already installed.
Gimbal is a key element to ensure video stability. Many cheap drones offer gimbals as an accessory or don’t allow you to mount one at all. Without a gimbal, it is impossible to get a stable video. Always choose a quad with the gimbal already installed. As you know, the DJI Phantom series is the first consumer drone equipped with a 3-axis gimbal. Mavic 2 also uses a miniature 3-axis gimbal designed for small drones, which can be considered the benchmark in stabilization systems.
Don’t worry about flight time.
This is true. Many photo drones cannot fly more than 30 minutes. The drone industry does not yet have a solution to this problem. Drones with a flight time of more than 20 minutes are leaders in the industry. It is better to choose drones with the longest possible flight time, such as the Mavic2, which provides 31 minutes in the air. It is also very important to learn how to use every minute to the fullest and buy at least 2 extra spare batteries.
Good drones for road photography. Not only because they give a good image, but also because of the expensive flight controllers. But it is thanks to them that we have additional opportunities for shooting. Drones can automatically follow an object, follow set points, take selfies and be controlled by gestures, and much more. Different drones have their own features. The Mavic 2 Zoom, for example, has a 2x optical zoom that allows you to take close-up shots without getting too close to your subject. The Phantom 4 Pro has a mechanical shutter to avoid distortion when shooting moving subjects, while the professional Inspire 2 supports dual camera operation.
Buy a popular model.
There are many advantages to buying popular models. For beginners, it will be much easier to find answers to questions. With a popular model, you can quickly find a solution to a question on the forums that has already been solved by other pilots. At the same time, there are hundreds of tips, instructions and tutorial videos available on YouTube to help you become a good pilot and photographer. You can also buy many additional accessories.
This is a flagship consumer drone that will suit enthusiasts and professionals alike. You can choose from two options – Pro or Zoom. In the PRO version you get a Hasselblad camera with a 1” sensor. While the Zoom version has a 1/2.3-inch 12MP sensor and 2x optical zoom. Both give you 31 minutes of flight time and video transmission up to 8km away. In addition to this, an omnidirectional collision avoidance system and easy-to-use intelligent flight modes.
- Two options: Pro and Zoom
- Up to 31 minutes of flight
- Max. Speed 72 km/h
- Video/control transmission up to 8 km
- Anti-collision sensors on all sides
- Creative auto shooting modes such as DollyZoom and Hyperlapse
This is a professional-grade drone that fits into a small and compact body. It is great for enthusiasts and those who are interested in high-quality photography, while it can be always with you. But portability isn’t the only plus. It can shoot 12MP photos and 4K 30fps video. Mavic Air is comparable to the best photography drones on the market
- 430 gr.
- Up to 21 minutes flight time
- Max. Speed 68km/h
- Advanced Pilot Assistance (APAS)
The DJI Mavic Pro is known for its versatility. This is the “Swiss knife” among drones. It can shoot 12MP photos, 4K 30fps video and fly up to 7km and stay in the air for up to 27 minutes. That’s not all. It also has a 3-axis gimbal, many smart modes and an advanced flight safety system.
- Up to 27 minutes flight
- Max. Speed 65 km/h
- FlightAutonomy detects and helps you avoid obstacles
- Intelligent Flight Modes (ActiveTrack, TapFly, Gesture)
Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
Designed for professional photographers. It has much of the original Phantom 4 Pro, but also more features. The most notable update is the new remote control with support for the OcuSync video transmission system. This allows you to switch between 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz to get high-quality video transmission at a distance of up to 7km. Thanks to the 1” sensor that can shoot 20MP photos and 4K 60fps video, you will get the best quality available in this series of drones.
- Up to 30 minutes in the air
- Max. speed – 72 km / h
- OcuSyncHD remote control for communication up to 7km
- Smart modes – ActiveTrack, TapFly, Draw
Professional drone for photographers and filmmakers. This revolutionary drone can shoot video in 6K resolution and CinemaDNGRAW, it accelerates from 0 to 80 km/h in 5 seconds and can reach a speed of 93 km/h. Supports control of 2 operators, has a separate FPV camera and a 360-degree rotating gimbal. The Inspire 2 is a great drone for anyone looking to set up their own business and get a Hollywood quality drone.
- Up to 27 minutes flight
- Max. speed 94 km/h
- Interchangeable cameras ZenmuseX4S, X5S, and X7
- 2 battery system
- Battery self-heating
When choosing which drone is best for you, first determine the key requirements. For example, many aspiring photographers don’t need Hollywood quality. Having determined the required image quality, it will be much easier for you to choose a model. No matter what level of quality you’re looking for, DJI has something to suit your needs. From the consumer Mavic 2 series to the professional Inspire 2, there are drones for everyone!