If you're in the market for a drone it's essential to know what purpose your drone will serve. Will it be a drone you intend to learn on? Or a drone that will be used on the set of a major Hollywood production? Drones can come in all shapes, sizes, brands, and models, and the sheer amount of UAV's to choose from can quickly become overwhelming. Depending on the intended use however, the choice can be easily narrowed. Whether you are a professional aerial photographer or just looking to explore the skies, here are some of our recommendations on which drone will best match your intended purpose.
If you are looking to shoot aerial footage worthy of the big screen look no further than the DJI Matrice 600, a drone that DJI claims is designed specifically for Hollywood level filmmaking. The Matrice 600 is built to allow filmmakers the freedom of virtually unlimited customizability. Almost any camera or accessory can be attached to the drone to give users complete control over what equipment they choose to capture the perfect shot. The M600 is also compatible with the full DJI X series of gimbals.
The Matrice 600 features an aluminum body, retractable landing gear, and folding carbon fibre arms. The drone is built with six propellors and motors to keep footage steady and smooth in the air. The six motors also give the drone added safety. If two motors fails the drone can still recover and safely land.
A key advantage of the Matrice 600, especially in the world of professional filmmaking is its ability to be fully customized to fit the operators needs. The M600 is compatible with the entire line of DJI Zenmuse cameras, gimbals, and any other outside cameras. It is also capable of carrying a payload of up to 13.2 lbs while still maintaining stability in flight. The M600 can fly for approximately 35 minutes with the Zenmuse X5 or XT camera, and up to 16 minutes with a heavier camera such as the RED EPIC.
The M600 is fully compatible with the A3 and A3 Pro flight controller which includes 3 GPS units, 3 compasses. and 3 IMUS, adding extra accuracy, reliability, and precision to the system. The M600 also comes with the Lightbridge 2 system, which can stream a long range 1080p live feed. With a dual operator option, users can additionally gain more control over their shot by having one person focus on flying while the other focus on camera control.
Paired with the Ronin-MX, the Matrice 600 becomes an unstoppable force in aerial filmmaking. The Ronin-MX gives filmmakers extremely stable, smooth footage from the air and can spin a full 360 degrees while maintaining flight for approximately 15 minutes. The Ronin-MX can also be connected to the M600's GPS and Lightbridge 2 system and be equipped with almost any camera.
Overall the Matrice 600, for $6,209.00, or $8,099.00 with the Ronin-MX, is a powerful system that is built to make shooting aerial scenes as easy as possible. With the M600 it's guaranteed that serious professional filmmakers will be completely satisfied with their end product.
The Inspire 1 RAW is a ready-to-fly professional filmmaking system that will elevate the quality of your footage. The key component that makes the Inspire 1 RAW perfect for filmmaking is the Zenmuse X5R, a Micro Four Thirds camera that was made specifically for professional aerial imaging. The camera can shoot in high definition 4K RAW video and comes with a 15mm f/1.7 lens.
The DJI Go App also features a comprehensive system that gives operators the ability to control camera setting while in flight mode, as well as features such as auto take-off and land. In manual mode users can adjust settings such as ISO , white balance, focus, shutter speed and aperture
The Inspire 1 RAW gives users up to 18 minutes of flight time to capture that perfect shot. It also has the option of dual operator control, that way one person can control the camera and completely focus on getting the right shot, while someone else concentrates on flying.
The gimbal works to automatically stabilize the camera while in flight by constantly communicating with the aircraft system to respond to any slight movement. The system also features Lightbridge technology which can send operators real-time 720p HD footage at a range of up to 2 kilometres.
The RAW content gives users unlimited freedom as to how they want to work with the footage captured and will deliver quality footage on any set. At $7,289.00, the Inspire 1 RAW is a solid choice for any serious filmmaker.
Designed with industrial usage in mind, the Matrice 100 is a drone that can be customized for a wide variety of industrial applications including search and rescue, mining, construction, and agriculture. Lightweight carbon fibre material gives the Matrice 100 extremely smooth, stable flights and reduces vibrations in the air. Equipped with dual batteries, the M100 also gives operators up to 40 minutes of flight time, plenty of time to carry out any task at hand.
The obstacle avoidance system called Guidance allows the drone to avoid any obstacles in its path, with sensors that reach all directions at a range of up to 65 feet. The Guidance system can also scan its surroundings in real-time and provide an accuracy within one centimetre.
What makes the DJI Matrice 100 perfect for carrying out inspections is that it can be fully customized and programmed to fit any task. The Matrice's expansion bays allow users to design the drone to their exact specifications as well as move any components around. The extra expansion bays allow users to add any accessories including sensors, cameras (including the DJI X3, X5, XT, and X5R,) or computing boards. The drone is also fully expandable, coming with a wide range of power and data ports. With DJI SDK, users can even develop customized programs and apps to fit their exact needs.
The DJI Matrice 100 at $4,454.00, is the drone made to be built the way you want. Fully customizable and programmable, the DJI Matrice 100 is the perfect drone for any researcher and developer looking to tackle the next major inspection in their industry.
The Phantom 4 is popularly dubbed the drone that anyone can fly. The drone features a streamlined design that focuses on being as user-friendly as possible. With a fresh design, new obstacle avoidance system, and flight modes, the Phantom 4 is the perfect choice for any drone pilot looking for an effortless flying experience.
The body of the Phantom 4 is made with high quality magnesium material that reduces vibrations in flight and moves the drones weight to its centre of gravity for added stability. The Phantom 4 also features a longer battery life than its predecessor with a flight time of up to 28 minutes, giving pilots more time to enjoy the views. The gimbal on the Phantom 4 even features a new U-Frame design to keep footage balanced and steady for extremely level footage. When it comes to the camera, the Phantom 4 can capture 4k video footage and 12 megapixel RAW photos.
Any pilot looking to fly drones as a hobby will be thankful for the Phantom 4's effective obstacle avoidance system which is made to intelligently avoid or stop in place if an object is seen in its path. The system features 2 front facing cameras, as well as two on the bottom. A downside is that the system is limited to only being able to sense objects in front of the drone so pilots should not completely depend on it.
An added bonus is that the Phantom 4 holds two brand new intelligent modes called Tap to Fly , Sports Mode and ActiveTrack. In Tap to Fly users can tap any spot on their screen and have the drone automatically fly to that specific place, and automatically capture certain shots while maintaining the same speed. In Sports Mode the Phantom 4 can reach an incredible 72 kilometres per hour at full tilt. In ActiveTrack, operators can tap on any object on their screen and actively follow the object while keeping it in the centre of the shot.
For any hobbyist the Phantom 4 which retails at $1,620.00, is the best drone out there in its price range. Its user-friendly system and new features make it a great choice for anyone looking for a dependable, powerful, and easy-to-use system.
The Yuneec Typhoon H is an extremely powerful drone that is the first drone to rise to level of the DJI dominated market. The Typhoon H is a hexacopter with six rotors, which means that the drone can continue to fly even if it loses a propeller or motor. The six rotors also mean that the drone is extremely safe and smooth in flight, especially when it comes to shooting pan shots.
The Typhoon H features a solid plastic body and carbon fibre arms which help keep the drone lightweight but still sturdy in the air. The drone is also designed to be extremely compact, with foldable arms making it easy to pack up and transport. The foldable arms give the drone an added safety feature, as the arms will collapse on compact if the drone collides with an object. The propellors are also small, flexible, and use a quick disconnect system to easily allow the user to attach and detach their props.
The Typhoon H can fly up to 35 kilometres per hour and reach a height of up to 1.6 kilometres. Users will get plenty of air time with the Typhoon H as it can fly for up to 25 minutes. The drone also features a built-in obstacle avoidance system that uses front-facing ultrasonic sensors avoid collisions in the air, even if flying in the dark.
For hobbyists looking to use their drone primarily for shooting purposes, the Typhoon H comes with a 12 megapixel, 4k camera that can turn 360 degrees. The 3-axis CGO3+ gimbal is also steady when turning, and provides extremely smooth footage.
A key difference between the Typhoon H and other drones in the market is that it comes with its own dedicated controller with a built-in 7=inch touchscreen, so users do not have to go out and buy a tablet or Smartphone to start flying their drone at additional cost. The controller can even function with two operators, as the package comes with a secondary Wizard controller that can take-off, fly, and land the drone. This way, one person can fly the drone as the other shoots.
For the price of $1,754.99, the Typhoon H is an extremely powerful and sophisticated system. It is the most compact hexacopter there is, and with six rotors, the Typhoon H gives pilots an added safety factor so hobbyists can focus on the fun.
When purchasing your first drone, a new flyer will want to buy something that isn't too pricey but also doesn't sacrifice in quality. That is why the DJI Phantom 3 Standard is the perfect choice for someone just starting out.
The Phantom 3 Standard is simple to learn on and still includes a wide array of intelligent features. With up to 25 minutes of flight time beginners will have a good amount of time to practise their flying. The Standard provides users with a 2.7K 720p real-time HD view. Even though the drone only has 2.7k video, the camera is still of high quality and perfect for someone just starting out.
For beginners, a big advantage of the Phantom 3 Standard is its built-in flight simulator in the DJI Go App, which can help users learn how to operate the drone and controls. The app is easy to use and gives new pilots a chance to practise flying there drone without the risk. For anyone at the beginning of their drone journey, the Phantom 3 Standard is a great training drone that is easy to pick up and fly. With a well-rounded system, and a fair price point at $679.00, the Phantom 3 Standard is the perfect drone for any beginner.
For any professional photographer, the DJI Inspire 1 Pro delivers a ready-to-fly system that won't disappoint when it comes to capturing the highest quality footage possible. The Inspire 1 Pro is extremely stable and smooth in the air, and features carbon fibre arms and retractable landing gear. The system is also built with a dual operator set-up, and can stay in the air for approximately 19 minutes, giving photographers plenty of time to perfect their shot.
What makes the Inspire 1 Pro the perfect companion for any serious photographer is its camera. The Pro comes equipped with the Zenmuse X5 camera, a Micro Four Thirds camera with a large sensor which can also turn a full 360 degrees. The package also includes a 15 mm 7/1.5 lens and features a 3-Axis gimbal. The drone even comes with 4k video and can capture photo stills at 16 megapixel resolution.
Via the DJI Go App operators can have full control over the camera settings while in the air. Straight from the controller, users can adjust shutter speed, ISO, white balance, focus, and exposure without having to land the drone. The Inspire 1 Pro also comes with the DJI Lightbridge system and can provide operators with a live HD feed.
The Inspire 1 Pro is DJI's self-proclaimed drone designed with professionals in mind. At $4,500, photographers will have a powerful system that is easy to pick up and fly, and a camera that won't disappoint when it comes to delivering the highest quality imagery possible.
Looking for the perfect drone to match your needs can no doubt be an overwhelming process. As drone technology continues to rapidly advance the selection of drones to choose from will only grow, but with proper research the hunt can be easily narrowed. With our recommendations we hope users will have the best flying experience possible, whether they are shooting aerials for the next Hollywood blockbuster or just beginning to test their piloting skills.