Best Photography Drones iMore 2021
Drones are not only fun to fly, but they're also a great tool. If you are into video and photography, drones can be the ticket to a perfect shot. Really, the sky is the limit. If you are looking to expand your perspective and capture some great images, we've gathered a list of some of the best photography drones available.
- Unbeatable Camera: DJI Mavic 2 Pro
- Travel Photography: Parrot Anafi
- Professional Platform: DJI Inspire 2
- Old Favorite: DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2
- Best Budget: Hubsan Zino Pro
- Still Good: DJI Mavic Pro Platinum
- Great Selfies: Yuneec Breeze
- Great for Kids: Ryze Tello
The camera on the Mavic 2 Pro is incredible. There's no other word for it, with a 1-inch, 20MP Hasselblad sensor attached to a 3-axis gimbal. You'll get gorgeous still photos backed by smart modes such as panorama, video at up to 4K60 at 100mbps bit rate, all paired with around half an hour flight time, and one of the best drones to fly whether you're experienced or just getting started.
The Anafi is a super-compact drone that's perfect for travel but still packs a mean camera. The 20MP shooter is attached to a 3-axis gimbal that, in this case, can also rotate vertically beyond the horizon, allowing for some unique opportunities for images. Video is up to 4K60, and the Anafi also boasts a 2.8x lossless zoom and HDR, backed by a flight time of up to 25 minutes.
The Inspire 2 isn't for the faint at heart, but if you're a serious professional photographer or videographer, then its absolutely worth the investment. The drone can accommodate various gimbal setups, one of which has a Super35 sensor capable of shooting 6K video and 24MP stills with 12 stops of dynamic range. The other allows interchangeable micro four-thirds lenses for both quality and flexibility. Both camera setups are extra purchases, though.
The Phantom 4 Pro V2 is back on sale, and that's brilliant for keen drone enthusiasts and aerial photographers because it's long had one of the best camera setups around. The 1-inch Exmor R 20MP sensor is fully stabilized and shoots utterly gorgeous photos and video up to 4K. It's not as portable as a Mavic, but it flies great, gets good battery life and doesn't need a phone or tablet if you go for the one with the screen (and you should).
If you want a drone that's affordable and compact, but that also shoots great photos and videos, then the Hubsan Zino Pro is a great choice. It folds up like a Mavic, has a camera capable of shooting stabilized 4K video and photos on a 3-axis gimbal, a bunch of smart features like panoramas, and an extremely attractive price point. It's also got up to 4KM of range from its wireless connection, which is more than you'll ever need.
Even though the Mavic 2 is here, the Mavic Pro Platinum is hanging around and for good reason. It's still an excellent drone with a 12MP camera that shoots gorgeous images and 4K video; it's fairly quiet, has excellent flight time, and all the smarts and ease of use that any other DJI drone has. And now it's a little older the price has come down a bit, which makes it very good value.
Sometimes you're not interested in shooting landscapes; you just want to take an awesome group photo with your friends. The Yuneec Breeze is one of the best selfie drones around with a great camera that can even shoot 4K video (albeit not nearly the quality you'll get from other drones here), and it only needs your phone to fly. It's compact, easy to fly, has good battery life, and doesn't cost a bunch.
For a kid wanting to get into drones but also take photos that aren't awful, the Ryze Tello is top of the class. Whether you get the regular version or the Iron Man edition, you get a 5MP shooter that, while unstabilized, actually shoots nice looking photos indoors or out. Video is a bit of a write-off, but you only need a phone or tablet to fly, and with DJI and Intel collaboration, it's an incredibly high-quality little drone.
A lot of good choices
Ultimately when you're buying a drone for photography, there's one manufacturer to be drawn to immediately, and that's DJI. The Chinese brand is still leagues ahead of any other drone maker, and the Mavic 2 Pro is the current king of the hill. If you're looking for camera quality, you can't beat a 1-inch Hasselblad sensor on something you can fold up and toss in any bag.
But DJI isn't the only company making good photography drones. The Parrot Anafi has a unique camera gimbal that rotates vertically through 180 degrees that allows for some very different angles, while the 20MP sensor shoots gorgeous photos and videos, even with HDR.
Drones are expensive, too, that's never been in doubt, but something like the Hubsan Zino Pro proves that you can get a drone that has all the bells and whistles, the compact folding body that everyone loves and a great camera all for less than half the price of a DJI Mavic.
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