Whether you call them drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or flying cameras, the technological advancements that allow multi-rotor aircrafts to be stable ultra-resolution photography platforms are quite amazing in each case.
In this article we will give you some advice in choosing the best drone for aerial photography.
The official term for this aircraft type is UAV. When coupled with remote controls, monitors and other equipment, they become unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The FAA refers to most of this type of aircraft class as small UAS, which you will see abbreviated as sUAS.
The ones weighing from 250 grams (8.8 ounces) up to 55 pounds are considered sUAS aircrafts and will need to be registered with the FAA. Here are a few tips on how to choose the best drone for your aerial photography adventures or assignments:
Consider the Camera Weight First
If you are constrained to using a full size DSLR or a video camera made for cinematography, then you need an aerial platform that is capable of lifting the weight of your camera into the sky.
Not all UAVs are able to lift the weight of DSLRs and other large cameras. The smaller UAVs are quadcopters that are much more limited in the payloads they can get airborne than larger hexacopters and octocopters.
DJI is a company that produces flying camera platforms for hobby, professional, commercial and industrial uses. DJI drone photography incorporates industry leading multi-axis gimbal technology to give you incredibly smooth aerial videography and photography even when flying and maneuvering at top speeds.
The DJI Phantom series of quadcopters comes with cameras that offer up to 4K resolution and mechanical shutters for smooth and undistorted ultra-high-definition footage in a flying camera platform that is ready to go right out of the box.
A step up from the Phantom series is the foldable Mavic or the professional Inspire 1 or Inspire 2 models. If you need to lift a pro camera into the sky and be able to have fine control of the aircraft to capture precision aerial footage, the Matrice 600 Pro is a sUAS hexacopter capable of lifting the Red Epic cinema camera into the sky.
Consider the Camera Type Needed
If you are a hobbyist or even a professional photographer who does work in the real estate, wedding and other industries and you are looking for the best drone for aerial photography, you may be perfectly happy with the high quality imagery that can be captured by a ready-to-fly DJI Phantom 4 Pro. It comes with an installed 4K video camera that is ready to go as soon as you take it out of the box and charge the batteries.
If you need to install a FLIR thermal imaging camera, you may want to choose a Phantom 3 series due to the ease of adapting the gimbal. If you are a GOPRO enthusiast, the DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter for GOPRO is just the ticket.
It comes with a specially configured gimbal ready to mount your existing GOPRO camera to. You do not have to upgrade the aircraft to the commercial or industrial class of UAV to be able to lift the smaller FLIR and GOPRO cameras, which literally saves you thousands of dollars while still enabling you to fly with incredible precision.
Best Drone for Aerial Photography – The UAV Facts
DJI is an industry leader in sUAS technology, which includes making some very nice 4K cameras. If you are a GOPRO enthusiast, you probably were disappointed when its Karma drone was recalled, and that may have caused a loss of confidence in its drone technology.
Yuneec is another company offering UAVs, but the market leader and customer favorite is still the DJI products. If you have a GOPRO camera you like to use and want to get it in the air, the DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter for GOPRO is one of the best drones available for aerial photography.
Flying Platform Stability
Red Epic cinema cameras can capture footage suitable for making the best motion pictures starring actors getting paid millions of dollars. However, those cameras go for around $30,000 each. When you lift a camera like that or a pro DSLR that is around $5000, you want to make sure it lands safely.
DJI UAVs, from their entry level Phantom 3 Standard all the way up to the Matrice series multi-rotor aircraft, incorporate safety technologies to prevent fly-aways and to ensure safe landings. In fact, these aircraft are so smart that they can literally take off and land themselves.
DJI drones can fly pre-programmed routes, then fly back and land at the spot where they took off even if you shut off your remote control.
Whether you are choosing a flying camera for fun or business purposes, you will need to start with the type of footage you want to capture, and determine the camera needed to get it done.
If you need a specialty camera or professional grade DSLR or cinema camera airborne, this requires a drone capable of lifting the weight along with a gimbal assembly capable of attaching the camera.
The DJI Phantom Pro has a 4K camera with a mechanical shutter that can capture extraordinary video footage, but there are other models ready to accept the camera gear you already have from GOPRO to large DSLRs. So good luck and hope this article helpsd somewhat in your search for the best drone for aerial photography