Drones for aerial photography manage to provide a new type of perspective that traditional photography can’t: the wide view from above. Thus, drones have been gaining their popularity as a gadget used for taking pictures and videos that are otherwise difficult to capture using ordinary photography methods.
Actually, in today’s world, you can’t think about drones without thinking of gorgeous videos and images depicting the world from above. Even more, you can’t think about drones without thinking of high-end cameras and great accessories, right?
So, if you’re here to learn everything you can about drones that mesmerize users with gorgeous shots, you are in the right place. Take a look at our reviews and let us know what you think.
Best Drone For Aerial Photography
Aerial photography drones typically pack quite a serious punch. Because of what they’re designed to do, they have to be superior in multiple areas. This is especially true where the camera specs are concerned.
DJI Inspire 1
Size: 17.2 x 11.9 x 17.8 inches
Camera: Zen Muse X5 4K
Flight time: 15 minutes
Controller type: DJI Inspire 1 Flight Controller
Special features: Live HD view, indoor flying without GPS, Vision Positioning System
Best use: Great for basic aerial photography, considering it doesn’t come with a lot of features that would be helpful otherwise
The DJI Inspire 1 has a ready-to-fly aerial system that boasts a 4K camera and a 3-axis Zen Muse X5 gimbal stabilization system. This drone has some of the best M4/3 imaging capabilities currently on the market, and has a sleek, glossy black shell to go along with it.
You get up to 2km of range between the drone and the controller, and have special features that maximize your photos and videos, including the Vision Positioning System. This feature specifically combines sonar waves and visual data to roll it together into one and ensure that hovering, raising, and lowering the drone for photo ops is much easier.
You can mount your smartphone or capable smart device to the controller and link it with the DJI GO app to get a live HD view of your current flight transmission, as well. You have the option to use multiple routes of RAW for both photos and videos based on your preference.
Where the camera is concerned, you get a 1/2.3” sensor and can record in 4096x2160p at 25fps or 1920x1080p at 60fps. You get 9 element rectilinear wide-angle lens and 12MP photographs, as well. 4K videos are amplified with the 360-degree angle range and the 3-axis gimbal stabilization system in general.
Yuneec Q500 Typhoon
Size: 22.2 x 16.5 x 9.4 inches
Camera: 4K CGO3
Flight time: 20 minutes
Controller type: ST10+ Personal Ground Station
Special features: Watch Me, Follow Me, Return to Home, Handheld SteadyGrip
Best use: Great for those who want a superior camera drone that comes with features to further improve the ability to take great photographs and videos
The Yuneec Q500 Typhoon is truly a marvel where aerial photography drones are concerned. With the 4K CGO3 camera, you get up to 4K resolution at 30fps for Ultra High Definition and 1080p resolution at 120 fps for slow motion videos. You get 12MP photographs, as well. The No-Distortion lens ensures that you get a perfect shot every time, which is made better by the integrated 3-axis gimbal precision stabilization system.
The included features, such as Follow Me and Handheld SteadyGrip, maximize you getting the best shots possible. Follow Me, for example, can be turned on to record what you are currently doing. You can also use the ST10+ Personal Ground Station’s 5.5” display to view a live feed of your flight.
The controls also offer adjustable video resolution, white light exposure, white balance, and other useful controls including Shutter Speed and ISO. You can choose between JPEG or RAW DNG format for your photos and videos. You can download the CGO3 app to customize and edit all of your photos and videos, as well. It can be linked with the controller itself for Handheld SteadyGrip.
DJI Phantom 4
Size: 12.8 x 5.6 x 14.9 inches
Camera: 4K UHD
Flight time: 28 minutes
Controller type: 2.4GHz Wireless Communication Controller
Special features: Precision Hovering, Tap to Fly, Visual Tracking, Sport Mode, ActiveTrack, Vision Positioning, Atti Mode, Position Mode, Intelligent Flight Modes, Auto Takeoff, Auto Land
Best use: Great for those who want a superior drone with a high-tech camera all wrapped up into one for the purpose of both flying a great drone and aerial photography.
The DJI Phantom 4 is a truly incredible drone. The Ultra High Definition 4K camera offers a 4K resolution at 30 fps and 1080p at 120 fps for slow motion video. The sharpness has improved drastically from the previous drones in this line, which has been designed to boost the overall quality of images and videos. The advanced 3-axis gimbal stabilization system has also been improved, as well.
The DJI GO app is compatible with the controller and connected smartphone or another smart device, where you can edit, create, share, and more with your live feed, photos, and videos. You can add text and music, for example, to your videos when you edit them in the app.
The live feed specifically has a resolution of 720p in HD. You also get an impressive 5 km of range between the drone and the controller, which is pretty good.
The multiple flight modes that are available, such as Visual Tracking, helps you to get the best photos and videos. They were created and designed to work specifically with the drone to ensure that they would better each outcome. All of the available flight modes can be turned on from both the controller and the app.
DJI Inspire 1 Pro
Size: 16 x 16 x 12 inches
Camera: Zen Muse X5 4K Micro4/3 camera
Flight time: 18 minutes
Controller type: 2.48GHz controller
Special features: Remote Focus, Point of Interest Waypoints, Course Lock, Home Lock, Follow Me
Best use: For professional aerial photography, such as movie making and great for someone who does professional photography for a serious living
The DJI Inspire 1 Pro is a serious piece of hardware where aerial photography drones are concerned. It was created with serious professional photographers and movie makers in mind, which is why it’s such an incredible drone to have if you have the bank to spend on it.
With the Zen Muse X5 4K camera you are getting 4K video at 30 fps and 16MP still photographs in Adobe RAW DNG. These specs ensure that professional movie makers and photographers have the best camera on a drone on the current market. It’s one of the smallest cameras to date, being a Micro 4/3 camera, that has been specifically designed for filmmakers especially.
The controller includes a record and shutter button to ensure that you can start recording or snapping pictures as soon as the need arises. The jog dial ensures that the settings of the camera can be changed quickly. You can personalize the flight, photo settings, etc. using any of the customize buttons on the controller, as well.
Size: 13.1 x 13.1 x 9.5 inches
Camera: GoPro, not included
Flight time: 30 minutes
Controller type: 4+ Channel DSM2 or DSMX transmitter, both not included
Special features: Smart Mode, Aerial Photography (AP) Mode, Follow Me Mode, Tracking Mode, Return to Home, adjustable flight boundaries
Best use: For those who already own a GoPro, or plan on getting one, and want a drone that is compatible with this type of camera
The Blade Chroma is a drone that can be customized to your liking. You can choose to add a GoPro if you want to make it a camera drone or leave it as it is. You can upgrade to a CGO3 4K stabilized camera, CGO2+ 1080p stabilized camera, or a GoPro-Ready GPH4 stabilized brushless gimbal based on your personal preferences.
You also have a choice of which transmitter you’d like, considering it does not come with one, and can choose from a Spektrum 4+ Channel DSM2 or DSMX transmitter. Though a lot of the main things you’ll need are not included and have to be purchased separately, there are a lot of cool features that you can make use of, such as Smart Mode and AP Mode.
The drone uses both GPS and GLONASS to ensure full reliability and better accuracy, and has also brought Advanced SAFE Plus Technology to the table for the purpose of creating a superb drone.
Size: 18.1 x 14.2 x 17.7 inches
Flight time: Depends on the chosen battery
Controller type: None
Special features: None
Best use: Great for hobby fliers who want to build their own drone with the needed components and then add their own choice of camera
The DJI S900 is a drone hobbyist’s ultimate dream. It comes with the basic frame and allows you to customize the heck out of it. You get to choose the battery, transmitter, camera, you name it. For example, it’s perfectly compatible with the A2 flight controllers and DJI WKM’s.
Walkera QR X800
Size: 24.4 x 24.4 x 18.1 inches
Flight time: Depends on the battery you choose
Controller type: Multi-Axis flight controller
Special features: None
Best use: Great for those who would rather build their own camera drone based on the specific specifications they are looking to achieve
The Walkera QR X800 is a fantastic drone that lets you customize quite a bit. You can choose your own battery, between 6000 to 12,000mAh, for whichever flight time you’re looking to get. You can go with a Walkera iLook, GoPro Hero 3, or a single lens reflex DSLR where the camera is concerned.
You can connect it to MAVLink software, such as Mission Planner, for example, to get special features such as GPS Waypoint Flying. Basically, this drone is only as powerful as you make it.
Size: 3.1 x 8.6 x 11 inches
Camera: 4K UHD
Flight time: 12 minutes
Controller type: iOS or Android smartphone or smart device
Special features: Selfie Mode, Pilot Mode, Orbit Mode, Follow Me Mode, Journey Mode, Indoor Positioning System, VisionTrack,
Best use: Great for aerial photography and an overall drone flying in general
The Yuneec Breeze some seriously superb specs and features that go great with the camera. For one, you get a 4K UHD resolution camera that also takes 13MP still photographs. You get a handful of features that amplify the camera experience, such as Selfie Mode, and you can fly it both indoors and out.
You will need some form of smart device, whether it be a smartphone, tablet, or iPad, for example, to control the drone considering it does not come with a controller and is run through the Breeze application. You will need an Internet connection, too.
Through the app you can save, share, and a lot more when it comes to posting your videos and photos on your social media accounts.
Size: 13.2 x 3.8 x 14.4 inches
Camera: 1080p Full HD camera
Flight time: 10 minutes
Controller type: Bebop & Sky Controller
Special features: Return to Home
Best use: Great for those who want a basic aerial photography drone that doesn’t come with any features
While the Parrot Bebop does not come with most of the features you’d see in other drones, it still has some great stuff to offer. The only real feature that is worth mentioning is Return to Home, which can save you in a bind. The camera takes 14MP still photographs and has a video resolution of 1080p HD.
The field of view is also 180-degrees, which is a nice touch. You can use the Free Flight Pro application for smartphones and other smart devices to further better your flight experience.
Things To Consider Before Buying a Drone For Photography
Before you get to choose the drone that will take you to new heights and clearer perspectives, you should first check some important details about the prospective drone that you are about to buy.
These details will help you in choosing the best drone to use for your hobby or profession. While these details provide useful information, they are not the only things that you need to check. However, these details will give you a rough estimate of the drone’s capabilities, and will greatly help you in deciding.
Also, do note that there are no perfect drones, and every product available in the market has its pros and cons. It is a matter of weighing these pros and cons and arriving at the best possible combination that will help you decide which drone to buy. Don’t be frustrated if a drone is lacking on a particular function, because all the necessary features in a single drone will probably cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
Thus, it is more pragmatic to look for the right combination of benefits and drawbacks that will give you the most suitable drone for your needs. We hope that these details may help you in deciding what type of drone you want to buy to help with your aerial photography.
Ease of Flight
One of the most important aspects in choosing a drone is its ease of flight. Remember that not all drones are easy to fly and require advanced knowledge before being used. With this in mind, check for drones that contain basic buttons if you are just starting to learn how to fly these aircrafts.
Also keep in mind the drone’s stability while in air, as having an easy-to-fly drone that begins to wobble while midair will prove to be hard to manage too.
Typically, heavier drones provide more stability while in air, at the cost of a more difficult control while flying. Easy-to-fly drones are also relatively cheaper than more complex ones, but provide limited mobility as a drawback.
Still, it is a great starting point especially if you are just learning how to operate a drone. As you learn how to control a drone more properly, you can upgrade into a more complex one which also gives a lot of added features.
The drone’s functions are an important thing to consider when buying one that you can use. This is especially true for amateur pilots who are just learning how to fly unmanned aircrafts. It will be a huge inconvenience when you buy a really expensive drone, only to crash it on its first flight.
Thus, it is important to note if the drone has the functions that you need in order to fly it properly. One function that you might want to consider is if the drone has an auto-pilot mode. This function will let the drone fly automatically back to you whenever you lose control. This will prevent unwanted crashes that might cost you a lot of money. This feature will also prevent your drone from being lost.
As a photographer, you would want to get the camera which will give you the highest quality of detail as possible for the images you capture. Keep in mind that drones can either have a built-in camera or not.
If what you want to buy is one with a built-in camera, check if the camera’s quality is up to your standards. Normally, drones with a better camera quality come with a higher price range. If the camera you are looking for is not up to your standards, you can opt for a drone with an attachable camera instead. If you want a drone where you can manually attach the camera check the kind of cameras that can be attached. Also check if your camera is compatible with the drone.
Another important thing to note in the camera of the drone is if it has a gimbal system attached to it. A gimbal system is sort of a series of weights that adjusts their positions depending on the movement of the camera and the drone itself. Through these gimbal systems, it is possible to capture photos without much blur caused by the drone’s flight or the wind’s speed.
If you are looking for a drone that provides a stable camera that you can use to take clear pictures, you should keep in mind to check the gimbal system attached to it.
The purpose of getting a drone is to give you a better look of the place in a higher perspective. Thus, a long battery life is a must. However, not all drones are built to last long during flight.
Typically, a drone’s flight lasts to an average of 10 minutes, with some advanced ones having the capability to fly for 25 minutes straight. It is important to check for the drone’s maximum flight time in order for you to gauge the activities you are going to do while operating the drone.
Also if possible, look for drones with a spare battery so that you can double up your flight time without having the need to charge your battery at once.
Value For Money
Due to a lot of drones available in the market, it is hard to grasp if what you are eyeing on buying is the right choice. Different drones provide different features that you might need. However, they also incorporate some drawbacks that will have you thinking twice before buying them.
Look at the drone’s features, and, if possible, request for a test flight. Also check if the features and functions of the drone are reasonable for its price tag. Remember that you will have to spend more than the original price.
You need to take into account its maintenance, its power usage, and if it can be replaced in the event of a part malfunction. Taking these into account, you will have a slight estimate of the real amount of money that you have to spend in buying that particular drone. If you are happy with the amount, then by all means buy that drone and start looking at the world in a different view!
Not sure what model to buy?
Buying a drone is really a hard choice since you will be using it for a long period of time. Your drone will be your companion in giving you breathtaking photos and videos of the surrounding areas, and thus it is important to pick the right candidate for this job.
After all, you are going to spend a lot in buying, operating, and maintaining this drone. We have listed some benefits and drawbacks in owning and operating a drone for aerial photography. With this, we hope you can see if owning such a device will add to your passion for photography and will help you develop it.
- Drones provide a wider view of the area.
- Drones can be used to take photos and videos using a different perspective.
- Drones have a lot of functions that you can use to your advantage.
- Drones are a more fun and exciting alternative than the traditional helicopter remote controlled vehicle for recreation.
- Once you get used to operating it, drones prove to be useful for a number of uses such as area surveillance, aerial photography and videography, and simply giving a taste of what it looks up in the sky.
- Operating a drone is somewhat synonymous to operating a real helicopter, without the need to ride one.
- You cannot be a proficient pilot in one night; it takes time to perfect the operations of the drone.
- Drones require a lot of money for its operation and maintenance.
- Your drones have a limited flight time, which can be offset by buying spare batteries.
- You need to fly within the bound set by the Federal Aviation Authority.
These are some of the benefits and drawbacks that a drone can give you. The list is not complete, and must only be used for reference. Still, we hope that you are able to gauge on what type of drone to buy, what product is the most suitable for your needs, and what needs to be done before choosing and operating one.
Having a drone will give you unlimited possibilities in taking your photography to the next level. Just imagine the number of landscapes you can see and take pictures of when you have a drone up in the air. Drones truly gave photography an expanded perspective that was once only available to movie producers. Through the use of drones, you capture the world at full view, and be mesmerized by its wonder.