Gone are the days when RC fanatics were the only ones interested in drones. Today, drones are the talk of the town in any photography circles.
Are you one of those people who love capturing magnificent scenic photos? I know I am! Photographers like myself love to take quality shots, especially those beautifully angled aerial views.
To that end, the camera quality of a drone matters significantly, but the good news is that most drones come with 4K cameras these days.
I’ve done a lot of research and consulted many experts to bring you this list of top 10 drones for photography. So without any further ado, let’s begin.
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is hands down the finest quadcopter out there. It has a powerful 12 Megapixel camera which shoots in 4K. It records High Dynamic Range videos with 30 fps.
In my opinion, the best feature of the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is its long range. This bird can go as far as 8 kilometers away from the controller without losing any signals.
I have placed the Mavic 2 Zoom at the top of my list because it’s simply the whole package. This drone has a great battery life of 30 minutes in addition to a super fast maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour when the sport mode is enabled.
Another thing that I absolutely love about the drone is its 40 Mbps download/upload speed. You can upload your images instantly and stream your videos in HD.
This quadcopter has a latency of 120 ms, a figure much lower than most of the competition. In case you didn’t know already, lower means better.
Some other features of this marvelous quadcopter are listed below:
● It has an optical zoom instead of a digital one.
● The dimensions of this drone are 214x91x84mm when it is folded.
● The dimensions of this drone are 322x242x84mm when it isn’t folded.
● It weighs about one and a half pounds.
● It has APAS (Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems) which allows it to safely move away from obstacles in its path.
The only downside to this drone is its cost. If you can afford to spend over a thousand bucks then I would strongly suggest that you get the Mavic 2 Zoom.
If not, check out the rest of the drones on this list. I’m sure you’ll find something within your budget.
The DJI Spark is one of the most affordable drones that specializes in photography. It’s actually a mini drone that can perfectly capture the scenic beauty of any adventure.
If you’re looking to buy a drone that costs less than $500 then it might just be the right one for you!
I have placed this drone second on my list as it exceeded my expectations by a mile.
DJI Spark is a mini quadcopter that records 1080p videos and has a 12 Megapixel camera which captures nearly the same quality of photos as any expensive drone. You’d be hard pressed to find a better value in terms of camera quality.
In my opinion, the DJI Spark is best suited for people who want to share their photography on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram,
Pinterest, Facebook, etc.
This remotely piloted aircraft can run for 16 minutes when it’s fully charged. It has an ultimate speed of 51 kilometers per hour and has stable signals up to a maximum range of 2 kilometers.
I love this quadcopter due to its inventive technological features such as taking aerial shots with simple hand gestures, built-in apps used for quick editing and sharing, and the mechanical gimbal stabilization. The last one keeps the camera steady while allowing you to capture your shot in crisp details!
Some other features of this mini drone are mentioned below:
● The DJI Spark weighs about 300 grams.
● Its dimensions are 143x143x55mm.
● This mini drone records videos in standard HD quality (1080p) with 30 fps.
● It allows 720p video transmissions in real-time with the help of its cutting edge Wi-Fi technology.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
Mavic 2 Pro is more commonly known as the king of drones! This powerful quadcopter is an improvement to its predecessor (Mavic Pro) in every way.
This unmanned aerial vehicle has the best battery a drone can offer, as it can run for over 30 minutes. In addition to its great battery life, this bird can travel at a stunning maximum speed of 72 kilometers per hour in the absence of any wind pressure.
I love this drone for its magnificent camera which captures photographs in perfect quality!
Obstacle sensors are attached to all sides of this drone and it has an advanced pilot assistance system (APAS) which prevents it from crashing into any obstacles along the way.
Mavic 2 Pro has a maximum range of 3.1 kilometers which is way more than enough for someone like me. This quadcopter is very powerful as it requires three lithium polymer batteries to operate.
This remotely piloted aircraft has a compelling 20 Megapixel camera which shoots videos in 4K with 30 frames per second. Anything captured with this drone looks marvelous.
The hyperlapse technology in Mavic 2 Pro helps produce high quality aerial videos without any distortion.
Some important features of this magnificent quadcopter are listed below:
● It weighs about 900 grams.
● It comes with the mechanical gimbal stabilization.
● It has 8 gigabytes of internal storage.
● Its dimensions are 214x91x84mm (folded).
● Its dimensions are 322x242x84mm (unfolded).
The only drawback to the Mavic 2 Pro is its hefty price tag. This drone is being sold at approximately $1,800 and that is exactly what kept me from placing it on top of my list.
Parrot wasn’t really able to make their mark in the drone market until the Anafi came along. The Anafi turned out to be the big break they were looking for as it instantly became a hit in the drone industry.
The Parrot Anafi is a tiny drone that can turn its camera almost anywhere to take shots from a variety of angles. Its camera range of 180 degrees (vertically) is a matchless feature!
This small quadcopter is great for photography as it has a 21 Megapixel camera that records videos in 4K quality with a rare and stunning 60 frames per second. Believe me, those extra frames will take your recordings to a whole new level.
This little bird can travel at a great maximum speed of 55 kilometers per hour. At the same time, it can go as far as 4 kilometers away from the user without any disturbance in signals.
I personally love the Parrot Anafi because it is tiny, light, easily foldable, and flexible since it can turn its camera just about everywhere.
This majestic quadcopter is very popular among selfie fans due to its flexible design. People, including myself, love its automatic return-to-home feature which works with the assistance of GPS.
Parrot Anafi comes with a controller out of the box. It also has a 2.8X zoomable lens which zooms in without decreasing the quality of the image.
Some other features of this remotely piloted aircraft are mentioned below:
● It has 244x67x65mm dimensions when it is folded.
● It has 240x175x65mm dimensions when it isn’t folded.
● It has a respectable battery life of 25 minutes.
● It is also quite light weighing in at 300 grams or so.
● It can record videos in slow-motion with the help of hyperlapse technique.
One thing I don’t like about the Parrot Anafi is the lack of APAS, which makes it unsafe for beginners. Believe me, losing a brand new toy, especially an expensive one like this, is no fun!
I also don’t like that we have to pay extra money for in-app features after we’ve already bought the drone. Still, the Parrot Anafi makes up for its shortcomings with a reasonable price tag and a high-quality output.
DJI Phantom 4 Professional
DJI Phantom 4 Professional offers excellent features for what it costs. Let’s take a look at some of the specs promised by the developers:
● Video specs: 4K with 60 frames per second.
● Camera specs: 20 Megapixel Hasselblad camera with a 1-inch sensor.
● Charger Specs: 17.4 volts with 100 watts of power.
● Latency: Varies from 160-180 ms.
● Gimbal Stabilization.
● Infrared Sensing System.
● Dimensions: 350x350x350mm.
● Weighs about 1375 grams.
● Battery life is 25 minutes.
● Max speed is 72 kph.
Seems like the perfect drone, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t exactly all that it’s promised to be.
There are many shortcomings to this drone. I am going to save you some time and discuss the ones that matter the most.
First of all, this drone isn’t what you would call stable. It has some technical faults due to which a surprising number of customers have lost their expensive drone.
Unfortunately, the DJI customer support has failed to satisfy most users in this regard. Well, that’s just money down the drain.
Another thing that I personally didn’t like is that DJI falsely promises a battery life of 25 minutes as mine runs for 18 minutes only.
I’m not a fan of their return policy either. They replace drones with manufacturing defects, a standard industry policy. However, any damage caused by bugs is not covered. Believe me, there’s an abundance of bugs in their system.
In addition to their lackluster return policy, DJI customer support is mediocre at best.
Now you know the downsides. So let’s talk about the things I actually like about it. I know it comes with a risk but I still highly recommend it to beginners. Why? The best thing about the Phantom 4 Professional is its spec sheet, as you won’t find a drone that can compete with its offerings in the same price range.
DJI Mavic Air
DJI Mavic Air is a lovely quadcopter that looks just stunning. Some of its features are stated below:
● Weighs about 430g
● Dimensions (folded) are 168×83×49mm
● Dimensions (unfolded) are 168×184×64mm
● Video resolution is 4K with 60fps
● Camera resolution is 12MP
● Battery life is 21 minutes
● Maximum Range is 10 km
● Maximum Speed is 68 kph
Most people like myself enjoy using Mavic Air as it has a delightful feel about it. It is a stabilized quadcopter with minimal technical issues. In fact, I have yet to experience any.
People absolutely love the classic design of the Mavic air as it looks and feels premium. Its innovative design helps it to turn in any direction smoothly even when the sport mode is enabled.
The edges of the images captured from this eagle-eyed drone are in crystal clear quality which isn’t usually the case with the rest of the competition.
The drone is technically sound and when it comes to stability, it is far superior to its competitors. However, it isn’t perfect with some minor bugs that might annoy you. A commonly reported one is the Mavic Air losing signals within its stated range. As I said before, I haven’t experienced any myself.
You can fly this strong quadcopter without any worries as it is as hard as steel! People have crashed it into solid things like poles in the sport mode and it only got a few scratches or a broken wing at worst.
Whereas most drones would get recked all at once, this drone can take some heavy hits and still survive.
It requires a lot of energy to power this beast of a drone. This results in quick drainage of battery. So it runs for only about 17-20 minutes depending on the selected mode.
A major downside of this drone is its live video technology. Drones like the Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Parrot Anafi, and DJI 2 Zoom offer a far better quality of live streams. So you might want to look for something else if that’s a deal breaker.
Parrot Bebop 2
The Parrot Bebop 2 is a small drone that is great for beginners as it is one of the most stable drones that I have ever used. Its curve shape and lightweight body allow it to fly smoothly.
With minimal technical issues and a reasonable price tag, this little bird is a great deal for anyone on a small budget. That is why I recommend it to my friends who just want to share their photography on social media.
Of course, the Bebop 2 cannot compete with expensive drones when it comes to video quality among many other factors. But still, I must say it’s a great deal considering the price tag.
One thing you may not like about Bebop 2 is its limited range. This remotely piloted aircraft can only go 300 meters from the controller before it loses signals. This is a far cry from the 3 kilometers range offered by some other contenders on this list.
Unfortunately, some people have complained about the drone losing signals even within the already small range. However, the drone has a return-to-home feature which ensures that your drone travels back safely to the starting point if the signals are lost.
There are a few minor bugs in addition to the signal issues but nothing significant.
Following is a list of the main features of the Bebop 2:
● Battery size is 2,700mAh
● Maximum range is 300 meters
● It has the Parrot Digital stabilization system
● It weighs about 500g
● Camera resolution is 14MP
● Battery life is 25 minutes flying time
● The sensor installed is CMOS 14 Mpx
● Internal memory is 8 gigabytes
DJI Inspire 2
DJI Inspire 2 offers some of the highest quality features. Everything about this quadcopter is a thing of beauty. Its design, inspired by Klingons, is so effective that it can cut through strong winds like a knife through butter.
This drone is just the thing for professional photographers who settle for nothing but the best. I mean the drone has it all, just take a look at some of its features:
● Weighs about 4 Kg
● Video resolution is 5.2K with 24 fps
● Camera resolution is 20.8MP
● Battery life is 23-27 minutes
● Batter size is 4280mAh
● Max Range is 7km
● Max Speed is 94 kph
● It is capable of 1080p live streams.
These features don’t come cheap though as the Inspire 2 is one of the most expensive drones in the market today.
I wouldn’t recommend this drone to people who just want to capture impressive shots for social media. If that sounds like you, you should consider some of the more affordable options on this list.
DJI used a cutting edge technology which allows this powerful quadcopter to run with maximum efficiency. This drone travels perfectly even at fast speeds due to its innovative design.
The Inspire 2 does have a few minor technical issues but then again which drone doesn’t?
Just remember: this drone is not the best choice for a beginner. Apart from the cost, the complexity of operating it means that you’ll have to dedicate a lot of time to get the hang of it. To top it all of, the manual isn’t exactly what I’d call “user-friendly”.
If it isn’t clear already, I recommend drone to professional photographers only.
Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
Yuneec isn’t as popular as DJI, Parrot or some of the other names in the drone industry. Their usual products aren’t competitive enough to be a hit in the market and that’s simply because they cost too much.
However, that’s not the case for the Typhoon H Pro as Yuneec has finally made a drone worth mentioning. This powerful quadcopter comes at a reasonable price with some great features.
Let’s take a look at the specs of the Typhoon H Pro:
● The video format is MP4
● The sensor attached is 1/2.3″ CMOS
● Storage card ranges between 4 to 128GB
● Video Resolution is full HD 1080p
● Dimensions are 480x425x295 mm
● Battery life is 25 min
● Battery used is 4S 14,8 V 5400mAh LiPo
With so many features and functions promised, I was actually kind of expecting to be disappointed. However, after using it across many weeks, I’m happy to report that everything worked as advertised by Yuneec.
This is a top quality drone that uses the latest advancements in technology to provide a great user experience.
I think most people will agree with me when I say that Yuneec has much better customer support when compared to some other brands on this list. I’m looking at you DJI!
I also love that the quadcopter operates on a total of 6 motors. So even if one of the motors stopped working, the drone will still most likely run without any problems.
The shortcoming of the Typhoon H Pro is its complex user interface. The UI offered by Yuneec is leagues behind competitors like DJI and Parrot. In fact, you should expect to spend quite some time getting used to it.
With that being said, this is a great product if you’re willing to look past the clunky interface. You will love flying this quadcopter once you get used to it.
ZeroTech Dobby is the most affordable drone on my list. It is also the tiniest one as well. In fact, it’s so small that you can put it in your pocket without any trouble.
Let’s be clear about one thing though. This drone is made and actually marked as for fun purposes only. So it’s probably not a great choice for amateur photography, let alone something professional.
The Dobby costs around $150, and let me assure you that it’s a fantastic first-time drone. After using it for just a few hours, determining its worth was a piece of cake. Hint: It’s totally worth it!
It is quite a lot of fun to fly and the picture quality makes it even better. I can’t say the same for some competitors within the same price range.
Following are some specs of the ZeroTech Dobby:
● Its dimensions are 135mmx67mmx36.8mm
● It weighs about 199g
● It has a 13 Megapixel camera
Some interesting features of the Dobby include voice-enabled control, facial recognition, orbit video mode, motion guided control, target tracking, and an electronic image stabilization system.
If you have set your eyes on this one, here’s some solid wisdom for you. If the weather is bad, don’t take this small fellow out for a run as it won’t put up much of a fight against the roaring winds.
How to Choose Your Photography Drone
The ideal drone for one person is probably not the same for another. You need to consider your own specific requirements if you don’t want any regrets later.
So let’s talk about the four things you should consider before making your choice.
Being a photographer and an avid traveler, I can’t emphasize the importance of portability enough.
Both large and small drones have their pros just like they have their cons. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all. The ideal size depends on your own specific usage and preference.
The main advantage of a large drone is that it’s powerful enough to remain stable under wind pressure. However, what you gain in performance is counterbalanced with the loss of convenience.
The great thing about small drones is obviously the portability. However, what may not be so obvious is the price tag. Small drones are almost always more affordable than the bigger ones from the same brand.
Small drones might sound like a no-brainer at this point, but hold your horses before you jump onto Amazon. The price and portability sure are amazing, but the catch is that these little birds won’t fly for long on a windy day. It’s just not meant to be.
I personally prefer drones with enough horsepower to fly under some wind pressure yet still small enough to carry when traveling.
2. Battery Duration
You must always consider the battery life of a drone before you get one. Nothing is more disappointing than charging a quadcopter for hours only to charge again after 10 minutes of flight.
The longer the battery life, the more enjoyable your experience will be. But as with all things in life, there’s always a catch.
Generally speaking, you’ll have to pay a premium for each minute of extra flight time. Even if you do find one with a great battery for a bargain, don’t start blowing the horns of victory just yet.
You see, some companies cut corners to include a fantastic battery by sacrificing other important functions. So you have to consider what matters the most to you.
I know people who would never settle for anything under 30 minutes of battery life. As for me, anything over 20 minutes is good enough.
The maximum range of a drone is another important feature to look out for. Some drones can go as far as 7 kilometers away from the controller without losing any signals. Whereas others will start struggling within a few hundred meters only.
At the end of the day, this comes down to your own preference. Just remember: whatever they promise on the box is exaggerated a little, if not more.
4. Camera Quality
Give a cheap and a premium camera to the same photographer. Without any doubt, the difference will be night and day. The same holds true when choosing a drone for photography.
A professional’s needs are different from those of a hobbyist. For most people, a full HD option with a decent quality live stream is more than enough.
However, if you’re hunting for nothing but the best, 4K recording and full HD live streaming should be the first thing to look out for.
If you’re a hobbyist on a budget, the following list of drones is the one you’re looking for:
● Altair Tomahawk
● Parrot Bebop 2
● DJI Spark
● Holy Stone F181C
● DJI Phantom P3
For professional photographers, I highly recommend you consider some of the following options:
● DJI Mavic 2 Pro
● DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
● DJI Mavic Pro
● DJI Mavic Air
● DJI Inspire 2
● Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
Still having trouble making a choice? Reach out to me and the rest of the community using the comment section below. We love helping each other out!