- The Rise of the Camera Drone
- What exactly are camera drones?
- What can you do with camera drones?
- What should you consider when buying your new camera drone?
- Best Drone Recommendation
- Phantom 3 Standard, Mavic and Phantom 4 Pro Comparison
The Rise of the Camera Drone
Exceptional aerial photos and videos appear in magazines, television and social media on a daily basis. Stunning drone imagery probably has you in awe thinking about how you can acquire a camera drone to shoots these shots for yourself. Drone aerials breathe new life into the cityscapes we thought we knew from the ground; our childhood dreams of flight realized. Here’s all you need to know when considering your first camera drone.
SkyPixel 2016 Photo Contest: Winner Photographer: Mauro Paglia
What exactly are camera drones?
Drones, also known as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), are multi-rotor, remote controlled flying devices. ‘Camera drones’ are drones equipped with cameras. Camera drones push the limits of how we typically perceive the world around us, offering new possibilities for filming, photography, inspection, surveying, mapping and more.
What can you do with camera drones?
Camera drones enable us to access spaces and create compositions in fresh new ways. They are increasingly used in a variety of occasions: for professional aerial photography or cinematography, recording moments in different sporting events, getting cool travel snaps and capturing unique photos for events including weddings and casual gatherings.
Aerial image of Holuhraun volcano eruption
Photo from SkyPixel Photographer: Eric Cheng
Stunning city view
Photo from SkyPixel Photographer: Island
A whale, and a man in a kayak
Photo from SkyPixel Photographer: Randy Jay Braun
Wedding heart of love
Photo from SkyPixel Photographer: Johann Pidoux
Surf moments from aerial view
Photo from SkyPixel Photographer: Nomad Imagery
Group Photo: Football team
Photo from SkyPixel Photographer: Hua Miu
What should you consider when buying your new camera drone?
It is a good time to get yourself a camera drone. The best UAV companies are continuously trying to impress the market with unique and innovative camera drone models that not only have great features but are also reliable and intuitive. What’s more, prices of camera drones have come down. You can buy an entry-level camera drone for less than $400 USD. For close to $2000 USD you can purchase a drone with professional image quality and performance.
Camera drones come with a ton of features, and it is important to think about these to find the one most suitable for you:
Flight Safety & Reliability
Safety is always a key issue when buying a camera drone. Stable and worry-free flight requires an advanced flight controller, which handles commands intelligently. The more intelligent the brain, the greater the chances your shiny new camera drone won’t fall out of the sky, broken and uninvited. Try to find a camera drone with an advanced obstacle avoidance system. You should also consider the vision positioning system as this can allow you to fly stably indoors. Top drones even have features like auto return-to-home for when the drone’s battery is running low. All these capabilities will assure you a safer and happier flying experience.
Getting up in the air and buzzing around for the hell of it is one thing, but that’s the stuff of toys. Good camera drones are powerful tools that have high-definition camera capabilities for industry-leading image quality. Top drones with cameras will have HD camera features (like 1200W pixels) and can capture high-resolution photographs and video in 4K and RAW. You should also expect long exposure capabilities for stunning night shots.
Equally important is the gimbal quality. Aerial photography requires stabilization for capturing smooth footage during flight. That is why we emphasize choosing a top quality gimbal, that can reduce the shake resulting from flight and ensure clear and stable footage. Currently. Currently, on the market, there are 2-axis gimbals and 3-axis gimbals, and we strongly recommend going for no less than the latter.
Video transmission is a vital aspect of aerial photography in that it transmits what the camera captures straight to your phone in real time. If video transmission is delayed or interfered with, you might find it difficult to control your drone’s HD camera, let alone bag those precisely taken images. Our advice? Pay particular attention to the video transmission system’s stability and anti-interference capabilities.
Top camera drones are equipped with a handful of smart flight features. These make capturing stunning footage in difficult situations much easier and fun. For example, for times when you are shooting fast-moving objects, a feature like “ActiveTrack” will direct the camera drone to recognize and track a subject while keeping it in the frame. There are a variety of other intelligent features available on camera drones, so do be sure to check those out before buying your camera drone!
‘Portability’ is the new trend of the camera drone market. Most of the time, it is inconvenient and tough to carry a large, heavy camera drone around. This is particularly the case for those of you who want to shoot when traveling. By that rationale, smaller camera drones make it infinitely easier for you to shoot on the go, no matter if hiking or partying.
Camera drones are relatively expensive to repair. That is why opting for value-added services is a smart decision. For example, DJI’s value-added service, Care Refresh, offers up to two replacements for a small additional charge if your drone crashes.
Best Drone Recommendation:
Ideal for enthusiasts, beginners, and travelers alike. Bestseller, foldable, portable, 4K excellent image quality, 27-minute flight time, 7KM control range, and perfect for outdoor activities.
No.2 Phantom 3 Standard
The most affordable drone in its class. Suitable for beginners. 2.7K Video and 12MP photos, knocked down prices, easy-to-fly.
No.3 Phantom 4 Pro
Dedicated for professionals pursuing optimum image quality and industry-leading flight performance. 4K videos and 20MP Photos, 30-minute flight time, 1-inch sensor, 7KM control range.
Phantom 3 Standard, Mavic and Phantom 4 Pro Comparison
Phantom 3 Standard
Phantom 4 Pro
|USD $499||USD $999||USD $1,499|
|Flight Safety & Reliability|
|Obstacle Avoidance||No||Foward obstacle avoidance. Locates obstacles up to 98 ft (30 m) out in front.||5-directions of obstacle sensing. Locates obstacles up to 98ft (30m) out in front and rear.|
|Satellite Positioning Systems||GPS||GPS & GLONASS||GPS & GLONASS|
|Return to home||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Max Speed||36 mph||40 mph||45 mph|
|Max Flight Time||Approx. 25 minutes||Approx. 27 minutes||Approx. 30 minutes|
|Intelligent Flight||Point of Interest||Point of Interest, Gesture Model, Active track, TapFly, Terrain Follow||Draw (waypoint control), Point of Interest, Gesture Model, Active track, TapFly
|Video & Phtoto||2.7K HD Video/30fts
1200 Megapixel Raw
|4K UHD video/30fts
1200 Megapixel Raw
|4K UHD Video/60fps
2000 Megapixel Raw
|Lens||20mm, f/2.8||28mm, f/2.2||24 mm, f/2.8 – f/11|
|ISO Range||100-3200 (video)
|100 – 6400(Video)
100- 12800 (Photo)
|Shutter||Electronic Shutter||Electronic Shutter||Electronic Shutter
|Stabilization||3-Axis Gimbal Stabilization||3-Axis Gimbal Stabilization||3-Axis Gimbal Stabilization|
|Max transmission range||1km||7km||7km|
|Transmission Quality||720p @30fps||Up to 1080p @30fps||720p @30fps|
|Weight||1216 g (Battery & Propellers Included)
Folded in shoulder bag
|743 g (Battery & Propellers Included).
Folded in pocket
|1388 g (Battery & Propellers Included).
Folded in shoulder bag
|DJI Care||DJI Care is a subscription repair service for accidental damages during normal use within validity period.||Offers up to two replacement units for a small additional charge if accidental damage occurs during normal use in validity period.||Offers up to two replacement units for a small additional charge if accidental damage occurs during normal use in the validity period.|
 Battery duration is recorded in an ideal flight situation. Subject to real flying environments and conditions.
 35mm format equivalent.
 Unobstructed, free of interference, when FCC compliant.
 DJI Care service NOT included.