One of the many aspects of drones I enjoy is their ability to take stunning aerial photography, and as the industry grows more and more, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the best drone for aerial photography.
Drones are becoming so popular that everyone is getting one. One of the main reasons people are buying drones is because of their ability to show us our world from a bird’s eye view. To see and explore places that previously would have been impossible to explore. Drones with cameras that take awesome photography are increasing, however, one company still dominates the scene. If you have read my reviews, you will know how much I admire the drones by DJI. Well, their drones dominate this list.
My personal favourite drone is the Mavic pro, its small elegant design and powerful features make it a fantastic drone for aerial photography. This is not an exhaustive list, there are so many good drones for professional aerial photography that is was hard for me to choose which ones to include and which ones to leave out. If you do not like any of the drones on this list (unlikely!) check out my list of the best drones with a camera.
So the following is an updated list of the best drones for aerial photography.
Best Drones For Aerial Photography – DJI Mavic Pro
This is one of the most powerful compact drones on the market. Its foldable design makes it the perfect drone companion for travelling with. The drone comes with a 4K camera stabilised by an advanced 3 axis gimbal. The gimbal eliminates any shake or sudden movements by the Mavic to give you ultra-crisp HD video footage. With its 12 megapixel camera, you will be able to take beautiful aerial images. The controller has a range of 7km and the flying time is an industry leading 27 minutes. Some of the creative features built into this drone are ActiveTrack, finely tuned controls that allow for safe indoor flights and gesture control which lets you control the drone with your hand movements. No need for the transmitter when this mode is activated. All in all, this is a great drone for professionals and hobbyists. It is my personal favourite drone. A mini-drone that is perfect for aerial photography
- [email protected]
- 12 megapixels
- Advanced Obstacle avoidance system
- Intelligent flight modes including a new gesture control mode
- 27 minutes flight time
- OcuSync technology
- 4km Transmission range
DJI Inspire 2
This is, without a doubt, the most powerful consumer drone currently on the market. In terms of aerial photography/videography,it has no equal. It should be No.1 but the Mavic pro appeals to me more with its slick design and powerful features. The Inspire 2 looks similar to the Inspire 1 but its features are at a whole new level. It has a 2 axis camera at the front and the main camera on its underbelly is stabilised by an advanced 3 axis gimbal. Three cameras are compatible with the Inspire 2. The Zenmuse X4S, the X5S and the X7. All are professional grade cameras. If you are a professional photographer, this drone is for you.
- 3 Professional Grade Cameras
- Zenmuse X4S – [email protected] – 20 MP
- Zenmuse X5S – [email protected] – 20.8 MP
- Zenmuse X7 – [email protected] – 24 MP
- 6 Intelligent flight modes
- Obstacle avoidance technology
- 27 minutes flight time
- Lightbridge technology allows transmission range of over 4 miles
- Body designed to withstand harsh weathers
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
Although the Mavic is my top choice, technically there are far better drones for aerial photography and the Phantom 4 Pro is one of them. It’s improved body design makes it more aerodynamic and the magnesium shell has greatly reduced its weight. This makes for a far more stable drone which can resist strong gusts of wind. Its gimbal and the placement of the battery makes it more balanced with improved agility whilst also raising the accuracy of the controls. The Phantom 4 Pro boasts a fantastic 4K camera capable of recording 60FPS, with its light bridge technology it can stream HD video straight to any connected device on the controller. With its 20 megapixel camera, you will also be able to take some stunning drone photography.
- [email protected]
- 20 MP
- 4 Way Advanced Obstacle avoidance and 5 way obstacle sensing system
- Top speed of 45 mph
- 30 minutes flight time
- Dual Redundancy features
- Intelligent flight modes
- Over 4-mile range
DJI Inspire 1
The DJI Inspire 1 Pro is one of my top choices for aerial photography and videography, you can read my full review of this stunning drone here.DJI without a doubt are the industry leaders in drone manufacturing and the Inspire 1 is one of their most advanced drones but has to make do with the 4th place on this list. The inspire 1 comes with Zenmuse X3 camera which can record in [email protected] It can also take really good still images in 12 megapixels. However, if the Zenmuse X3 is not up to your specs, the Inspire 1 is also compatible with four other professional grade cameras. This is a fantastic drone for photography.
DJI Mavic 2
The DJI Mavic 2 is upgrade to the already impressive Mavic, there are actually two verisons of the Mavic 2, one is called the Mavic 2 Pro and the Other is called the Mavic 2 Zoom. They both come with a similar foldable design and with all of DJI’s innovative drone technology. Of course, the most impressive aspect of both these drones is the 4K camera that comes with an 1-inch CMOS sensor that is capable of shooting images at an incredible 20MP. With 3 axis advanced gimbal attached to the camera, you will be able take crystal clear images and videos with absolutely np distortion. There are slight differeces with the drones, the Mavic 2 Pro comes attached with a camera that has been engineered in partnership with Hasselblad and the Mavic 2 Zoom comes with a different camera that is focused more on zooming technology.
Autel X-Star Premium
The Autel X-Star is a legitimate alternative to the DJI Phantom 3, not only is the design modelled after DJI’s popular drone but it also comes with many of the advanced features. This is Autel robotics flagship drone and it does not disappoint. It made from durable plastic, comes with a 3-axis gimbal and 4K camera that has a 108° field of view. It can shoot in UHD at 40fps and takes 12 mp images. The gimbal and camera can be removed for more flight time. If you are looking for a drone with the features of the Phantom 3 series, the Autel X-star is a superb alternative. You can read my full review here
DJI Phantom 3 Pro
You can read the full review of the Phantom 3 Professional here, The Phantom 3 Pro, as its name suggests, is mainly for experienced drone pilots. It is a great drone for aerial photography as it shoots in HD 4K video. Its Lightbridge technology also lets you stream live HD feed straight to your tablet or smartphone. It has an average flight time of around 23 minutes and can be controlled from a range of 5km. Like all the phantoms in this series, it also comes with 5 autonomous flight modes. It may be a few years old, but the Phantom 3 Pro still remains one of the best drones for photography.
Yuneec Q500 4K
Yuneec’s most popular smart drone is the Typhoon 4k, whilst not as feature heavy as the Typhoon H Pro, it still holds its own in the competitive field of drone photography. You can read my full review of the Yuneec Q500 4K here. It comes with an advanced 3-axis gimbal which alongside the 4K camera produces stunning distortion-free images.The drone’s controller has a host of controls including a built-in 5.5-inch LCD HD screen. The screen gives you access to vast amounts of data including flight mode, speed, altitude, battery status, distance from home and much more.
DJI Mavic Air
The Mavic Air is the latest addition to the DJI Mavic range and although it is not as powerful as the Pro version, it still comes with some powerful features that make it one of the best drones for aerial photography. It is a foldable ultra-portable drone that can fit in your pocket and comes with a 3-axis 4k camera that can also take 12 MP images. It can record slow-motion videos in 1080p 120FPS so you can capture high-speed action in fine detail. It has several intelligent flight modes including ActiveTrack, QuickShots and Smart Capture. Smart Capture lets you control the drone and take selfies with hand gestures.With a flight time of 21 minutes and obstacle sensing system, you can fly this drone, take awesome videos and images without worrying about crashing it.
- 4k Camera
- 12 MP Still images
- Foldable Design
- Intelligent flight modes
- 21 minutes flight time
- Top speed 42 mph