Defining the best drone for any given purpose is not as simple as just telling you which drone to go buy because there are so many factors to understand.
When looking for the best drone for video, there are a few things you need to consider before you start looking. Three questions are at the top of the list.
- What is my budget?
- What am I going to use it for?
- Who are my clients/audiences?
When you have an answer to these three questions, the process of finding the best drone for you becomes much easier.
Some of the drones you will find on the list once you begin searching are the DJI Mavic Air 2S, DJI Inspire 2, Autel EVO II Pro, and the Mavic 3 Cine. Each of these drones can be used for different things and has a different price, but any of them could be the best for you.
Whether you are looking for the best drone for your vlogging travels when you need portability combined with quality, or you need the best drone for a Hollywood film, there is a drone for you.
Once the three questions above are answered, it will become easier to see which drone on the market will perform the best for your leisure or business.
In this article, we will look at each drone individually and talk about its pros and cons. Then we will determine the best drones for each sub-category of the video industry.
Each drone has things that it does well and is designed to do, but there are also disadvantages to each one which is worth noting in order to allow every pilot to make the best decision concerning their next purchase.
DJI Air 2S
Fly More Combo - Drone Quadcopter UAV with 3-Axis Gimbal Camera, 5.4K Video, 3 batteries, HardCase, 128gb SD Card, Lens Filters, Landing pad Kit with Must Have Accessories
This drone was released in April 2020 and is the upgrade of the original Mavic Air model. The drone comes in at $1,299 for the Fly More Combo, which provides extra batteries and replacement parts.
For the listed price, this drone packs a punch when it comes to video, and delivers stunning footage with a camera using a 1” CMOS sensor and up to 5.4k video.
The camera also has the capability of shooting 4k videos at 60fps, which videographers can use to create slow-motion sequences.
Other enhanced options this drone has are a 20mp camera, high dynamic range, and accurate color reproduction. All these camera settings combined offer a powerful drone that is still small enough to carry around in a small bag.
The camera settings are good, but they are not the only thing that makes this drone an excellent choice for shooting video.
This is the first drone released by DJI to feature a bypass option that allows pilots to move around objects while continuing to capture smooth video.
Another feature that makes this an impressive machine is its ability to shoot autonomously with intelligent flight modes and to process panoramas and hyperlapses in the drone itself.
Overall this drone offers a great camera on a small drone which is not outrageously priced for most consumers. If you are looking to start diving into the world of drones, this may be the one for you.
DJI Inspire 2
This drone is one that most people will recognize as one of the few DJI drones with a detachable camera. The camera is separate from the body of the drone, which allows it to be much more advanced than an installed camera.
This drone has a starting price of $3,129.00. This price only includes the body of the drone, and the camera must be purchased separately.
When all is said and done, this drone costs over $7,000, which puts it at the top for price comparison. However, there is a reason the cost is so much greater than other video drones.
As there are a variety of camera options available for this drone, we will focus on the camera that DJI currently offers in one of their package deals: the Zenmuse X7.
This camera has a Super 35 sensor and up to 6k footage. With 14 Dynamic Range stops, it offers one of the most accurate and powerful color profiles available for drone cameras.
One of the greatest benefits of this camera is that it is set up to be compatible with a variety of lenses that can be used for different purposes. DJI has a list of the compatible lenses and their individual specs on their website if you are interested in investigating further.
The camera on this drone is one of the best, but again, it is not the only thing that makes it one of the best.
With a top speed of 58mph (94 kph) and tri-directional obstacle avoidance (it is only rated at flights no faster than 34 mph or 54 kph) to help avoid collisions, this drone is meant to be used for video.
The intelligent flight modes are very similar to most DJI drones, and when it comes to their abilities, the Inspire series does not outclass other products.
However, when combined with the maximum speed and camera quality, the reasons begin to explain themselves.
Another impressive addition to this drone is the high-quality transmissions available for all ground station personnel. This is important because the DJI Inspire 2 is typically controlled by two people—one controlling the camera and one controlling the flight path.
Videographers find this useful to maximize the skill and attention of one person by eliminating the need to focus on multiple facets of flight at once.
Overall, this drone has one of the most advanced systems to capture Hollywood-quality footage and is used mostly in high-budget films and similar projects.
In most cases, this drone may not be worth the price, but if you have a big budget, it stands to compete with the market.
Autel EVO Pro II
Autel drones have been up and coming for a couple of years, and the company has surprised pilots with the increasing quality of its products.
The most recent EVO drone released In late 2021 comes in as one of the best drones for video with all of the upgrades from even the previous model released only a year earlier.
First, the camera on this drone is an impressive one with a 1” CMOS sensor and 6k video which compares with the Mavic Air 2S. The EVO II has an adjustable aperture which allows more flexibility when shooting and a slightly larger field of view.
The camera has a 10-bit color profile and 4K HDR capabilities. These are all top-of-the-line camera upgrades, but they do not make this drone one of a kind.
Other important features the EVO II Pro has that make it stand out are omni-directional obstacle avoidance, dynamic track to follow a subject, 40-minute flight time, and 39mph max wind resistance.
Although these features are not unique to this product, the combination of them for the price you pay makes it a contender on this list.
One of the biggest allures to this product over others (especially DJI) is the lack of a geofence. A geofence is a virtual obstacle that restricts flight in certain areas.
The combination of the camera quality and the other features mentioned allows this drone to be considered one of the best.
DJI Mavic 3 Cine
Premium Combo - Camera Drone with 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera, 5.1K Video, Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, 46-Min Flight, Apple ProRes 422 HQ, Max 15km Video Transmission
The Mavic series has been one of the most popular drones since the first model was released in 2016. Each time the company adds another drone to this line, it has shot to the top of the wish list for thousands of pilots.
There are numerous reasons this drone has been viewed as one of the best all-around drones. When it was first released, it was primarily due to its foldable and compact design, which allowed people to take a drone with them wherever they went.
This has, of course, changed with sub 250g drones now on the market. For that reason, the Mavic series was improved in other ways.
The Mavic 3 Cine has gotten to the point where a compact drone can compete for one of the top spots in the cinematography world.
The Mavic 3 has two options available for the consumer model: the Mavic 3 Pro and the Mavic 3 Cine.
The two are practically identical, but the Cine model comes with a built-in terabyte hard drive, which allows you to store footage directly onto the drone. However, the increase in space also brings an increase in price.
The Mavic 3 starts at $2,049 and goes up to $2,849 for the Fly More Combo. The Mavic 3 Cine only comes in one package, which comes in at $4,999.
The camera on the Mavic 3 is impressive, with a 4/3 CMOS sensor and 20mp. It can shoot up to 5.1k videos with Apple Pro Res and shoots with a massive 12-bit color profile.
With the ability to shoot 1080p/60fps slow motion videos can be shot with a higher resolution.
Pilots can also buy a wide-angle lens which adds yet another layer to the amazing camera. One of the most impressive features of the Mavic 3 Cine is that there are two cameras.
The above specs are specifically for the main camera because the secondary camera is used for a different purpose. The second camera is a telephoto lens and is set at a 7x zoom.
When entering what DJI has termed Explore mode, pilots can use the camera to reach a massive 28x hybrid zoom. These cameras together make for some of the most immersive footage possible with a system familiar to all DJI users.
Other features the Mavic 3 includes are omni-directional obstacle avoidance with bypass mode available, active track, smart return-to-home, and a 45-minute flight time.
Although these features are like the other drones on this list, the Mavic 3 Cine puts stunning visuals with impressive mechanical and technical features, which makes for an all-around professional product.
Answering the 3 questions
These are four drones that are some of the best on the market when looking to make videos. But which one is the best for you? The three questions previously mentioned are what will help determine the best machine to buy.
First, the easiest question to narrow your search results quickest is to determine your budget. If your budget is less than $2,000, the only option on this list would be the Mavic Air 2S (if you are purchasing new).
Don’t get discouraged by this, though. The video that can be captured is still impressive. The biggest thing to think about when considering your budget is how much you plan on making with your drone or how much you must spend on a hobby.
If budget is not a problem or you are willing to be flexible depending on needs, then the next questions need to be answered as well.
Next, the next two questions are similar but have a few essential differences. Answering what you are going to use it for allows you to determine if you need something more compact or if you can afford to purchase a bigger drone.
For example, if you are a small business and need to be traveling across the country or even around the world by plane often, the Inspire model may not work because of its bulk and the associated systems.
However, if you are a local cinematographer or can travel to all or most of your clients by car, the bigger option might work best.
There are always going to be nuances when considering this question, but use your best judgment and combine the answer with the other answers to these questions to come up with the best drone for you or your company.
Lastly, your audience makes a difference for two crucial reasons. The audience determines what quality you need for your footage, and the audience determines how much you have the potential to make with your footage (if that is your goal).
Videos or movies of any kind are a form of entertainment or media which means their quality is determined by what they are being used for.
For example, if you are looking for a drone that can provide quality footage for websites or real estate listings, the odds are there is no reason to buy the biggest, most expensive option on this list.
On the other hand, if you are looking to sell promotional videos to big companies for their advertisements, it may be worth looking into.
These two examples also provide good insights into the second part of this question, because a client who requires higher quality is typically willing and able to pay more for the service.
This is not always the case, but in general terms, a better-quality video will generate more revenue.
All things considered, the audience is crucial to understand prior to making a purchase.
As you narrow down your options for the best drone for videos, do not forget there are other drones outside of this list.
For those whose budget is even smaller than $1000, there is the DJI Mini 3, and if you are looking for Hollywood quality, there are drones such as the Leica Aibot, which is sold for nearly $50,000.
The four drones listed in this article are the best drones for video that are available at a consumer level. Each one has a different price and unique capabilities to offer something that allows pilots around the world to create videos for anyone who needs them.
Answering the three questions above allows each pilot to make the best decisions regarding their purchase and narrows down the drones that may not work for what they are doing.
In the end, these four make the list of the best on the market, and any one of them can be used by the everyday consumer to create professional quality videos in most circumstances.