If you are thinking of professional aerial photography, a consumer drone is what you need (a professional drone would be something that dusted crops or fired missiles).
Starting with the $40 Rabing Mini Foldable, practically every drone has a half-decent HD camera. If professional-grade imagery is what you have in mind with a drone purchase, however, you need to lay out a good bit of money and research your options.
There are dozens of great alternatives to pick from, and they come with different feature sets for different applications. You wouldn’t want to lay out hundreds of dollars on a drone and find out later that it doesn’t work well for you. Here’s a short list of the best in the business right now, if professional photography is what you have in mind.
The DJI Phantom 4
In the consumer drone segment, DJI is the name to contend with. The Phantom 4 comes in two versions — the standard version (with no suffix to the name), and the Phantom 4 Pro.
There are a number of improvements that the Pro offers for professional photography. While both variants are able to shoot in 4K mode, the Pro comes with a 20 MP sensor, to the 12 MP on the standard version. The Pro is also able to livestream video feeds at 1080p, while the standard version only performs at 720p.
The DJI Matrice 200
If you’re really interested in looking at the best drones for photography, you should consider the new DJI Matrice 200. While the unit doesn’t come with its own camera inbuilt, it is able to take three discrete, aftermarket cameras. You have the ability to upgrade image quality whenever you want.
The most striking feature of this model is its ability to operate in any weather, rainstorms and snowstorms included. For someone really interested in high-quality photography, the ability to go out in any kind of weather can be a very tempting feature.
The Parrot Bebop 2 FPV
While DJI’s products are undoubtedly high-quality, they do come priced on the high side. If you’re looking for great photography in a drone at around $500 (street price), the Parrot Bebop 2 FPV should be on your list. Not only does it come with its own pair of FPV goggles, it can go out 19 minutes at a time, does reliable 1080p high definition video, and even does very well with aerobatics.
The Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon
At about $900, the Q500 4K is a somewhat affordable drone for professional photography. Its 12 MP camera offers Full HD images with a no-distortion lens. More importantly, it comes with stabilization technology called Steady-Grip that does a very reliable job.
If you’re not enthusiastic about doing any assembly work yourself, this unit should be on your shortlist. Not only does it come completely assembled out-of-the-box, there are spare rotors and batteries offered in the package, as well.
There is a lot of research to put in when you buy a camera drone for professional photography. It can actually make a lot of sense to buy just a drone and add on a camera later. But if you would really like a pre-built model, the models on this list should work very well.