Best Drones for Aerial Photography (Pros and Cons for Each)

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Updated April 16, 2019
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Mark Teskey
Mark Teskey

Mark learned about composition and lighting through being a landscape photographer. By applying those skills to his commercial and cinematography projects, he creates imagery that is visually stunning and emotionally impactful.

Over the past five years or so, we’ve seen a large increase in the consumption of drones by drone enthusiast and hobbyist, YouTubers, and travelers.

It’s a fantastic market to tap into — which is what many companies have done ever since realizing that the drone craze was here to stay.

However, because there are all these new drone brands popping up, with newer and better models coming out seemingly every other month, it can be hard to distinguish the pretenders from the contenders.

So, to help you find the perfect drone for you, here is our list of the best drones — specifically for aerial photography — and the pros and cons for each of them.

We’re going to start things off with one of the most renowned drones — the DJI Mavic 2 Pro

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Courtesy of DJI

For a more in-depth post that breaks down the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, click here. For this post, we’ll just break down some of the main highlights.

First, The Mavic 2 Pro has an excellent case for portability, which is crucial if you plan on traveling with your drone. In addition to this, you can also count on the Mavic 2 Pro to not draw a crowd, as it is extremely stealthy. Why is this important? Well if you’re in an urban area, you won’t be calling attention to yourself and the imagery efforts taking place.

Another great benefit is that the Mavic 2 Pro has a fantastic video transmission system, which you can tell they clearly upgraded from their previous model. Don’t you love it when a company actually improves their product in the new model? It’s fairly refreshing.

I’ve seen a few complaints about the Mavic 2 Pro, but most of them are fairly nitpicky. For example, when compared to some of the other DJI drones, the Mavic has inferior wind resistance. But, if you read our more in-depth review about the Mavic 2 Pro, you’ll see that we regularly use the Mavic for windy conditions and it works great!

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Courtesy of DJI

No surprise here, but we have another DJI drone on this list — this one being the Phantom 4 Pro.

Perhaps it’s most distinguishing characteristic from other drones on the market is the fact that it has incredible flying stability. So, you can expect sharp aerial imagery from this drone, including crisp 4k video.

The Phantom 4 Pro is more expensive than the Mavic, and it has very comprehensive camera settings. This gives the user of the drone a lot of flexibility when it comes to taking photos. This can also be a con for the more novice photographers, as they may be more interested in a drone that has more simple settings.

All-in-all, the Phantom 4 Pro is a great drone for a great price.

DJI Inspire 2

Courtesy of DJI

It’s really hard to go wrong with DJI drones – which is why that’s what we fly at Teskey Mediaworks.

The “Papa Bear” of the integrated family is the Inspire 2 – an incredible update to the already powerful Inspire 1.  This drone has redundant everything – wiring, batteries, radios, and navigation control.  This makes it a very safe option for commercial work.  It’s powerful as well – it’ll do 58mph which allows it to pace moving vehicles.

The big plus for the Inspire 2 is the Zenmuse X7 camera – which is easily the best integrated camera available on a ready-to-fly aerial platform.  It has a massive Super 35 sensor that will do 6K video (that’s an amazing 6016×3200!) in Cinema DNG format.  It has 14 stops of dynamic range – which will take in the lights and darks in virtually any conditons.   Finally – it does 24 MP stills which are easily the equal of a large body DSLR.  The X7 has an integrated lens system that allow interchangeable lenses from 16mm up to 50mm.

It’s a great rig, but it’ll cost around $8000 fully equipped.  Along with it’s sister (the Matrice 200) it has also had a few now-resolved firmware issues causing battery shutdown mid-flight.  DJI fixed this problem in 2018.

Walkera Voyager 5

Courtesy of Walkera

It should probably be mentioned right off the bat that the Walkera Voyager 5 is reserved for people who intend to make a career out of drone videography and photography. Why? Because it is currently listed at $17,999. Yeah, that’s a decent amount of money.

However, it’s still worth talking about because it is an extremely high-quality drone. With three camera options available (30x optical zoom lens, thermal infrared, low light night vision), the Voyager 5 is ready to handle any situation you throw at it.

This drone can also fly for up to 40 minutes and integrates flight safety systems like a dual compass, dual GPS system, and dual IMU. In other words, this drone is reliable and safe.

Autel EVO

Courtesy of Autel

The EVO is a compact folding unit that is truly designed to go wherever you go. Priced at $999, this is a more affordable option and is great for beginner drone users who are intent on making it a hobby.

Despite being cheaper than the other drones on this list, the EVO has a powerful camera on a 3-axis stability gimbal that records video at 4k resolution

The drone also captures incredible photos at 12 megapixels with a  wide dynamic range for details and color.

Overall, a great beginner drone.

If you’re interested in learning more about all the specs of these drones, take a look at this awesome break-down courtesy of Drone Zone, which features these drones and more.

 

Mark Teskey
Mark Teskey

Mark learned about composition and lighting through being a landscape photographer. By applying those skills to his commercial and cinematography projects, he creates imagery that is visually stunning and emotionally impactful.