How to select a drone for aerial photography

Sometimes technology opens up new avenues for photographic expression. This has been the case with aerial photography, as drones have allowed photographers to go places they’ve never been able to go before.

But this field can be overwhelming for some, considering the technology is fairly new and still evolving. So what’s the best drone for photography?

What are your options?

First, you need to know which brands and models are at the forefront of this emerging space.

DJI is one of the most popular brands. Their DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is lightweight while boasting a formidable lens. It also features Hyperlapse, a tool that allows you to take stunning time-lapse photographs.

Parrot, Ryze, and Skydio are other leading brands. Differentiating between them requires research and an assessment of your needs and preferences for drone cameras.

What features are most important?

There are lots of features to consider when choosing a drone camera.

For obvious reasons, a drone camera doesn’t have as powerful a lens as, say, a DSLR. But you’ll still want to make sure the drone you buy sports a lens that allows you to capture quality images. You’ll also want to consider weight and portability. For instance, is it easy to take your drone with you while traveling for a shoot?

Drones are of course vulnerable to danger while traversing the skies. So you’ll want to look for a drone that has tracking and collision avoidance systems to help protect it.

The other thing to consider would be “bells and whistles” — interesting features that you may not use but are good to have. Examples include time-lapse capabilities, GPS-enabled navigation abilities, and multi-user operation.

Which technologies are emerging?

Drones are getting better and better at avoiding obstacles. So when looking at your drone camera options, you’ll often find much written about omnidirectional sensors and sophisticated object tracking. It’s worth watching how collision minimization evolves in the drone camera space, especially as artificial intelligence and machine learning grow in sophistication.

Video resolution is another area where technology is quickly evolving. More and more of these cameras boast 4K resolution, allowing you to get crystal clear shots. So keep an eye on how video resolution in drone cameras improves, even as they become more lightweight and feature-rich.

At the end of the day, this entire field is advancing quickly — and it’s anyone’s guess what sort of drone technology we’ll be dealing with five years from now.

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