Whether you are an aspiring hobbyist or a professional, drones for photography have become the new standard nowadays. There are more and more options available on the market, but the perfect drone depends on your needs and budget. The next sections discuss how to choose the right model before buying your drone for photography and some of the best models of this year.
What To Look For In A Drone For Photography
Given that you need a drone for photography, image quality is what determines if the model is worth its investment or not. For instance, consider that an iPhone 7 has a 1/3 inch CMOS sensor, while 1-inch has become more popular for aerial drones. The most powerful sensor on the market right now is the 4/3 sensor found in very expensive models. However, unless you aim to shoot mostly at night, you can achieve high-quality images with a 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor, too.
Most drones range from low-quality HD to 4K or even 8K. If you want to take photos for social media purposes, and perhaps even apply some filters, shooting in 1080p is sufficient. However, if you are a professional, 4K is a better decision because post-production editing reduces the original number of pixels.
Another aspect to consider when editing your photos or videos is whether the drone can shoot photos in a RAW/DNG format. This is what allows you to edit your work in Photoshop or Lightroom afterward.
Stability and Clarity
A drone for photography must have a few features that allow it to take clear and crisp photos. The model should be able to hover perfectly still and have an integrated gimbal; otherwise, you will end up with blurry images. It is best to choose a drone that already has a gimbal with 2 or 3 axes.
Drones For Photography
Best Drone For Photography – Autel Evo II 8K
- 8K resolution and 1-inch CMOS sensor
- 40 minutes of flight time
- Top speed of 45 MPH
- 60 FPS at 4K and 25 FPS at 8K
- Includes own controller with 720p live feed
- Numerous smart flight modes for ease of use
The Autel EVO II 8K resolution is a breakthrough on the market. It is adequately equipped for professional photographers, allowing for post-production editing due to its high-resolution modes. Although 8K has only 25 frames per second, 4K with 60 FPS can be used to capture all the details to enhance the quality of professional images.
With up to 40 minutes of flight time, the drone can be operated with complete confidence. Stability is also unmatched due to its 12 obstacle-avoidance sensors, smart flight modes, and the easy-to-use controller with its own screen. The 720p live video feed helps to control the drone with ease, while the 1-inch image sensor is capable of lossless zoom, suitable for a wide range of industries, including real estate, professional vloggers, and others.
All in all, the Evo II series is perhaps the best drone for photography for professional use right now. It includes the gold standard in terms of sensors, flight time, stability, and quality of images. Despite its high price point, it is surely a worthwhile investment for professionals.
Runner-Up – Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
- 3-axis gimbal with 1-inch CMOS sensor
- 4K videos at 60 FPS
- 30 minutes of flight time and 45 MPH
- Several smart flight modes
- Mechanical shutter
The Phantom 4 Pro V2 is the chosen runner-up, boasting a 3-axis gimbal with a 1-inch CMOS sensor. It is in the same price range but there are a few key differences in its design. Unlike EVO II, its controller does not include a screen, so you must attach your phone. It is a highly capable drone for photography ideal for businesses or professionals.
Created by the world leader in drones, DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 has a broad array of professional features and cutting-edge technologies. It can record 4K videos at 60 FPS, but it does not have 8K resolution. It is able to capture impressive RAW photos that can be easily edited in post-production, and it has up to 30 minutes of flight time at up to 45 MPH.
All in all, Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is a suitable option for any professional who needs high-quality stills. Its 20 MP 1-inch sensor is capable of capturing impressive photos, suitable for image processing needs. However, there might be better options if you are on a tight budget, if you need a smaller drone, or if you are inexperienced.
Best Value for Money – DJI Mavic Air 2
- 1/2-inch CMOS sensor
- 12 MP or 48 MP images
- 34 minutes of flight time
- 60 FPS at 4K
- HDR panorama
- Includes own controller
Mavic Air 2 is one of the best products when it comes to the price-value ratio. This drone for photography comes with its own controller with a clamp to attach your phone, although it does not extend sufficiently for a tablet. There are several functions available, such as a smooth landing or return home. It is also equipped with obstacle-avoidance sensors, but not on top.
The camera has a 1/2-inch CMOS sensor which is placed on a 3-axis gimbal for maximum stability and clarity. It can capture quality photos in different formats, including JPEG and RAW. The best highlights of the DJI Mavic Air 2 are the smartphoto modes; the HDR photos allows you to automatically capture seven exposures and combine them.
For low-light conditions, the hyperlight mode helps to take several photos and then combine them for higher-quality images. Finally, the scene recognition feature automatically detects major components in the scenery, such as grass, sunsets, blue skies, trees, and snow. This analysis helps to maximize clarity, tone, and colors. All smartphotos are available in a resolution of 12 MP.
This drone is suitable for medium budgets and ideal for professionals or hobbyists due to its numerous functions, high-quality photos, and ease of use. Given its affordability, it is impressive that it has the ability to capture 4K video at 60 frames per second, which is what recommends it for all types of photography.
Best Waterproof Drone for Photography – PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard
- 30 minutes flight time at 40 MPH
- Waterproof casing
- Can also be used as a handheld camera or AI camera
- Safe for wind speeds (up to 23 MPH)
- 1/2.8-inch CMOS sensor
- 4K video at 60 FPS
If you are looking for a waterproof drone for photography, PowerVision comes with compelling features. You can fly the drone during rain and it can also land on water. In addition to this, it can be used as a handheld camera or a camera controlled using hand gestures. It has a wide range of sensors to help with the water landing, but it does not have any rear obstacle-avoidance sensors.
PowerEgg X Wizard sports a waterproof housing which does not complicate its flight behavior. While it is one of the best for water-related photos, the image quality might be lacking compared to other alternatives in the same price range. This is because image-shooting happens through the waterproof plastic casing, so some distortion is normal. Despite this, its ability to take photos when raining or landing on water makes the drone unique.
There are different camera modes available, such as Time Lapse, Point of Interest, Follow Me, and QuickShots. They can be easily activated. A great highlight is the ability to shoot 4K video at 60 FPS, and the CMOS sensor is 1/2.8 inches. Finally, RAW stills can be captured using the DNG format.
If you need a waterproof drone for photography, the PowerEgg X Wizard comes with some of the best features you can currently find on the market. It is also suitable for mud, tall grass, or snow, and it can fly during heavy rain and wind.
Best Drone for Photography for Beginners – DJI Mini 2
- Up to 4x zoom for close-ups
- 3 axes gimbal, 4K and 12MP camera at 30 FPS
- 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor
- RAW and JPEG image formats
- 31 minutes of flight time
- 0.5 lbs weight
- Easy-to-use controller
Mini 2 is the recommended drones for beginners or travelers. It weighs the same as an apple, is ideal for lower budgets, and the quality camera can take exquisite shots. Flying the camera is easy, suitable for inexperienced pilots, while the quickshot feature boasts convenience.
The Mini 2 can capture RAW and JPEG files, while the OcySync 2.0 transmission technology is considerably more reliable than the Wi-Fi connection. Its minimalist body is ideal for traveling and faithfully resembles the practical design of the original Mini.
The manufacturer states that the drone can handle winds of up to 24 MPH despite its small footprint that can easily fit in your palm. The 3-axis gimbal on such a small gadget is also impressive, while aspiring photographers will love the ability to take RAW photos.
Despite this, the camera does not compete with higher budget models. For instance, it lacks obstacle-avoidance sensors, while the gimbal can be quite flimsy when it is positioned downward. However, coupled with a lower price point, the Mini 2 can be an excellent investment for hobbyists or aspiring photographers.
All in all, the best drone for photography depends on your needs and budget. If you are not experienced, it might be best to start with beginner-friendly options and upgrade as you build your skill and learn photo-editing. The Mini 2 is a great starting point, while professionals or businesses might want a higher-end option, such as the Evo II. All of these combine necessary features for breathtaking photos and smart modes to ease your flying experience.