The Phantom 4 Pro is an excellent choice for aerial photographers that seek professional results. It features a 1-inch CMOS sensor and shoots 4K 60fps video, making it great for filmmaking and photography. It also features DJI’s FlightAutonomy system, providing you with five directions of obstacle sensing. This can come in handy when flying in tight spaces, which is sometimes required for filming and photography. If this feature isn’t hugely important to you, you can save some money and get a Phantom 4 Advanced, which comes with two directions of obstacle sensing. While this drone model is no longer in production, you can pick up a refurbished one!
You get up to 9 minutes of flight time, have a 640x480p camera, and video capabilities that lack audio as there is no microphone. You can do flips in the air at the touch of a button on the transmitter, and there is a button that lets you share a video on social media instantly. The LED lights located at the center of each propeller and the headlight are pretty useful for flying at night, too.
The drones we review are ready-to-fly models, so you can use them right out of the box. In most cases, you'll need to bring your own Android or iOS device to view the camera feed in real-time, but we've reviewed a few models that stream video directly to a remote control. We don't cover racing, industrial, or agricultural aircraft here—our focus is on aircraft intended for aerial imaging and videography.
The Falcore streams 720p 60fps video directly to the controller which is already impressive (other racing drones stream analog standard definition video), but what’s more important is the 27mS latency. This is what makes the Connex system different from other digital transmission technologies. On a camera drone like the Phantom 4, the video latency is over 100mS. That’s fine for doing aerial photography, but for drone racing 27mS is the standard and having any more latency than that makes it hard to fly fast.
There’s nothing particularly special about the Syma X5C, but it works and it’s really cheap. It’s a blast to fly if you’ve never flown anything before and it’s cheap enough where you don’t have to feel bad if you lose it on the roof top of your house. That’s probably why it has over 4,200 reviews on Amazon, which is a number that no other drone has come close to.
The flight time is only 22 minutes on one battery, which is a pretty good amount of time. It’s a pretty big drone, though, weighing in at 21 points, so it’s definitely not a toy. Unfortunately, a lot of people have had issues with dead batteries being sent. Some have had issues reaching DJI and have even been asked to send them a proof video. If you receive a faulty battery that is dead on arrival and will not charge, ensure you contact them straight away for a replacement.
One fun little feature of this drone is it will do 3D flips and rolls 360° in all directions with just a push of the control. No experience necessary! Also it has a pretty good range at about 100 meters or 300 feet. It’s very sturdy too making it pretty forgiving of beginner pilot errors. The instruction manual can be a little hard to follow, and it can be a pain to remove the tiny little screw to replace the battery every 10 minutes, but overall this is a pretty nice drone for the price. It’s a bit more than some drones in it’s class, but well worth it based on their customer service reputation alone.
The Altair AA108 is durably built and will not break easily. You can count on a solid flight time of around 10 minutes, a bit less when you’re running it FPV. However the 720p camera really works well and connects to your phone through WiFi. It’s easy to fly because it has 3 flight modes, 1 beginner, 2 intermediate and 3 advanced mode. It also has Altitude Hold which allows you to take your thumb off the control and the drone holds it’s own altitude, making it very stable because it’s not bouncing up and down as you try to maintain altitude!
The mini drone has a bunch of built-in quick shot functions that let the unit fly itself in preprogrammed aerial patterns, and DJI has even created a SmartCapture mode which lets you control the craft with hand gestures. Hook it up to the DJI Fly app and you can even control the drone with some cool features there, including a tap-to-fly option where you literally touch the place on the camera you want the copter to fly. The whole thing weighs only 430g — a true marvel of engineering for its size. Pick up this package on Amazon and you’ll get everything you need to start filming amazing flight-perspective vistas.
The Passport has a lot of the same features as the DJI Spark. You can turn it on, hold it up and launch it right from your hand. It will automatically recognize your face and start following you without using a controller. You can even make gestures telling it to take pictures. Camera wise, the Passport is technically better than the Spark since it does 4K and has a 13 megapixel camera, but we all know specs aren’t everything.
Our expert reviewer and tester evaluate drones on a number of factors. For starters, we examine the size and design, taking into account my many rotors the drone has, how portable it is, and if it comes with an included remote control or camera. Next, take it out to a park or wilderness area and test how easy it is to learn and fly. We pay attention to the learning curve of learning the control, and how much latency there is in video transmission (if the controller has such a feature). We also look at flight capabilities like omnidirectaonal sensing, obstacle avoidance, tracking, and automatic landing.