Unquestionably, when it comes to aerial photography one of the most important elements involved is choosing the right drone to ensure the best possible results. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just a hobbyist who wants to enjoy the added pleasure of aerial photography, having a well-equipped drone can make all the difference.
There are many different models on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, any of which can be used to produce top quality aerial photographs and video footage.
So which is the best drone for aerial photography? Here is a look at some of the most popular models currently available and how they stack up:
DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI is the premiere name in drone technology, which is why their products top most lists of the best drones for aerial photography. The Mavic Air 2 is an upgrade of their original Mavic Air and is generally considered the best choice for beginners and hobbyists as it is easy to fly, offers a more than decent 34 minute flight time and like almost all of DJI’s models incorporates a high quality camera from Hasselblad.
The camera allows you to shoot quality 4K/60p video and offers a wide range of shooting features. The controller incorporates Ocusync 2.0 connectivity that allows for a range of up to 10km assuring a continual link with the DJI Fly app.
Safety features include advanced obstacle sensors that allow the drone to avoid any obstacles coming at it from the front, back and below and the ability to maintain stability in winds up to 23.6 mph. Like many of DJI’s models it is able to be folded up to a compact 7” x 3.8” x 3.3” and weighs just 1.3 pounds so it’s easy to take with you anywhere. The roughly $1,000 price tag makes it surprisingly affordable.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
This is the top of the line when it comes to premium models, making it an ideal selection for professional aerial photographers. It has a large 20MP one-inch sensor that allows for shooting raw stills and 4K video at 30fps and the aperture is adjustable from f/2.8-f/11, which means you have less need for filters. All of that means that professional photographers can get the quality shots they need with the dependability you’d expect from a DJI product.
What makes the Mavic 2 Pro stand out is that it combines this professional quality camera technology with an intuitive control that makes it surprisingly easy to fly for beginners as well as pros. It has a wide range of intelligent shooting and flight modes as well as all-sides obstacle sensors for safety.
The Mavic 2 Pro also features DJI’s foldable design for portability. It costs slightly more than the Air 2 at about $1,400 but the professional grade photography features make it well worth the investment.
DJI Mavic Mini
One of DJI’s more recent innovations, the Mavic Mini tackles one of the biggest challenges in the drone market today, meeting the registration laws. Most countries, including the U.S. and UK, require that any drone weighing more than 250kg must be registered with aviation authorities, which can be daunting to many recreational photographers.
At just 249 kg, the Mini manages to fly just under that specification, meaning you can fly it in most locations without the need for registration. It won’t fit the bill for most professional photographers as it lacks the ability to take 4K video, but for folks who are just interested in upping their selfie game or getting a unique angle for their vacation pictures, it’s a more than capable option.
The Mini features a smart, collapsible design that folds it up to the size of your hand and despite its size provides surprisingly stable 2.7K video capture. An affordable $400 price tag makes it a great choice for hobbyists.
DJI Mavic Zoom
For aerial photographers and videographers who need to work from a distance but still want to get crisp, detailed shots the DJI Mavic Zoom offers a perfect option. It has the same look as the Mavic 2 Pro, with a convenient collapsible design, but instead of the Hasselblad camera it uses a camera that can zoom two times optically and two times digitally without losing detail, giving it up to 4x usable “lossless” zoom.
That means you can capture close-up shots of people or objects while maintaining the legal 50m distance. The only drawback here is that filming with more than 2x zoom requires shooting at 1080p instead of 4K, but the cinematic effects can more than make up for the difference.
The Zoom does have a smaller sensor and a fixed f/2.8 aperture, which limits image quality but still produces professional grade photos and videos. Like the Mavic 2 Pro, the Zoom features smart-flight mode tech and all-side obstacle avoidance, as well as 31 minute battery life. The extra zoom capabilities are reflected in the $1,200 price tag but it’s still well within the budget of most serious photographers.
This is a tiny, lightweight drone but don’t let its size fool you…it’s got some pretty impressive photographic abilities that make it stand out from the pack. Most prominently, it has 180 degrees of vertical range, meaning it can take photos directly upwards, something few drones on the market today can achieve.
The Anafi also features a 2.8x zoom lens with no image quality reduction. It has several unique operational modes that make it attractive to selfie fans, including Follow Me mode that tracks your movements and automatically adjusts for more photogenic angles and SmartDronies modes such as Orbit, Parabola, Boomerang and Tornado. These can create some pretty amazing video effects.
It does have a couple of significant drawbacks, including a lack of obstacle avoidance, which makes it a little less user friendly for beginners, and the fact that some of the flight modes are only available as extra in-app purchases beyond the sticker price of the drone itself. Still, at just $700, it’s definitely a great choice for aerial photography.
These are a just a few of the many drone models you can find on the market today, any one of which could help to open up the world of aerial photography at a relatively affordable price tag.
Here at JR Resolutions we understand the importance of having the right tools for the job, which is why we rely on the Mavic 2 Pro to ensure that every job has the best possible professional results. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s a drone that will fit your needs so shop wisely and enjoy the view!