If you’re wondering which are the best drones for Real Estate, you need to ask yourself just what kind of real estate photography or videography you are intending to use it for.
Some of these questions include, do you intend on conducting fly-throughs, which have certainly gained in popularity? Do you intend to just do aerial shots?
Most realtors will want ground shots as well as they are most interested in a one-and-done service provider. Or will you offer videography services as well as still shots?
Knowing your intended use is so important to being successful. Why? Because there’s a drone for that. However, that drone may be unable to do all that in one package.
Of course, the more services you are able to provide, the more successful you will be. Most realtors today are looking for a one-stop shop.
They have come to expect their drone pilot to be able to do all the things they need.
The days of hiring one photographer for the ground or interior portion and another for the aerial portion have fallen to the wayside. So be prepared for that.
Let’s assume you’re just starting out. As an example, let’s go back to the fly-through. This type if service requires a special drone system.
You wouldn’t want to risk your Mavic 3 on such an endeavor. The cost versus reward just isn’t there.
No, for this type of service, a Cinewhoop would be the drone of choice. It offers ducted props and is smaller and more capable of getting into those close, confined spaces.
It’s also designed to protect the environment more than an unducted system in the event of a crash.
This is also one of those types of flights that would require a high skill set that a beginner pilot would have to work up to.
That’s not to say a beginner wouldn’t be able to pull it off, but it’s about being able to do it well, which as a beginner pilot you would want to practice quite a bit before attempting.
Another aspect of real estate photography is the ground or interior portion. Will you use the drone in-hand method, or will you have a separate camera system for that?
Although the drone-in-hand method is a great way to get started, having a dedicated camera such as a DSLR or mirrorless camera will provide options that a drone just can’t.
Most drones are equipped with a wide-angle lens, and you may find having the versatility of interchangeable lenses to be best for an interior situation.
With most modern drone systems we can now change the aspect ratio, through digital zoom options and the like.
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
DJI Drones for Real Estate
There is no secret that when going with a DJI drone system, you’ve already decided to go with the best being offered in the current drone marketplace.
As with any type of photography, you’re not only investing in yourself, but you’re also investing in the equipment needed to perform the task at hand.
Deciding to use DJI products as the base for your operation is a sure-to-win bet. They offer some of the most advanced systems on the market and have a proven track record of providing some of the highest-quality equipment that you can find.
That’s not to say that every one of their systems is a good option for real estate, though.
Generally, most realty outfits will require a minimum of a 1″ sensor for their shoots and why this is only generally, is due to the fact that, yes, you can find some realtors that don’t have this requirement.
This in turn opens up the options for some of the DJI systems that normally wouldn’t have been accepted in the past. It’s going to really depend on who you’re conducting shoots for.
To be safe and know your drone of choice will not be turned away, it’s best to just have a 1″ sensor or as close to it as possible to start.
You won’t want to have to replace something you’ve already invested in. One of the things that has held true for any photographer is they tend to use their equipment till that equipment is pretty thoroughly used up.
The reason is simple – you want the most bang for your dollar from your equipment as you can manage.
You won’t being replacing that investment anytime soon on the newest and coolest just because it’s come out and has some incremental improvement to it.
No, you would wait until those improvements have gotten a few generations down the line from what you have originally invested in.
So, let’s look at some of DJI’s best options for any realty photographer.
1. DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro has many advanced features and specs. The flight modes are for drone pilots at all levels and are easy to use. It’s an excellent choice for travel drones and works best for aerial photography.
- Has a great 1-inch CMOS camera
- Can fly for long time
- It comes with 5.5 inch display remote controller
- Has several intelligent modes
- Is currently an excellent drone for real estate
- It’s older drone
- This drone is bulky to carry around
- Cannot be flown indoors
One of the very first DJI systems we’ll look at is the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. This one is the workhorse across several industries, even today still.
So even though it is getting on to being a dated system (it came out in 2018 in the V2 version), it still has its place.
You won’t find this system available any longer from DJI. They have stopped producing them, which could be a drawback if you need to have it repaired. You can find this system in a new or refurbished version still.
For now, DJI still offers repair and replacement of the Phantom 4 Pro V2. That may not be the case down the road soon.
There is also the secondhand market where you may find a great deal on a used one. Going with a used system can be great, or it can be an awful experience. Just be cautious and ask questions.
Any buyer should be more than happy to help you understand the true condition of any system you buy used, prior to throwing down the greens. You’ll want to know if it’s ever been crashed or repaired.
One of the benefits of using the Phantom 4 Pro V2 is that it can be found at a lower cost than some of the other systems we’ll be looking at.
One of the biggest benefits is that it was one of the first such systems to offer a 1″ sensor and a 20mp lens.
This is also the reason why it has dominated the market for so long. It’s not a folding drone system which is the way things have turned. It is a sizable piece of gear. You will grow tired from lugging it around.
Here there are also disadvantages and advantages that other systems won’t offer, such as better line of sight; as it is a larger system, you will be able to see it from a greater distance than other models, such as the DJI Mini 3 Pro.
One of the disadvantages is that batteries for this system is becoming harder and harder to find.
There are third-party options, but they aren’t always the best options, and you should never rely on a third-party battery if you can help it.
Also, as it is a larger drone, it won’t be able to go into tight areas and could limit your shooting options.
From a personal point of view, I have and maintain my Phantom 4 Pro V2 and will continue to do so till they come out with a Phantom 5 Pro.
Who am I kidding, they’re never going to bring out a Phantom 5, just to be clear, or we would have had it by now.
2. DJI Air 2s
Drone with 3-Axis Gimbal Camera, 5.4K Video, 1-Inch CMOS Sensor, 4 Directions of Obstacle Sensing, 31-Min Flight Time, Max 7.5-Mile Video Transmission, MasterShots, Gray
- It has a 1-inch CMOS and can film in 5.4k
- This drone comes in fly more combo with two extra batteries
- Good transmission range
- Can fly for up to 31 minutes
- Great dynamic range for photography
- 4-way anti-collision sensors
- The DJI Air 2S is two years old.
- This drone is above 250 grams
DJI refers to this one as the all-in-one. They are not wrong.
The DJI Air 2S is such an impressive flyer and comes chock full of everything DJI has to offer, from the 1″ CMOS sensor to the inclusion of DJI’s finest features, such as MasterShots and Quickshots.
It also offers an impressive Obstacle Avoidance system, with the capability of 5.4K video. They sort of shoved nearly everything we have come to love about DJI into this diminutive package.
Being just a bit larger than the DJI Mini-series system, the Air 2S is not only practical from a cost versus benefit aspect, it really is just fun to fly.
It’s able to capture those important moments and has an exceptional flight time. The DJI Air 2S is the one system that contains it all in an economical package.
It’s great not only for your commercial operations but your hobbyist ones as well.
With price-friendly options available, this one system alone can do what you need from a realty standpoint and will most likely get you the furthest bang for your dollar.
Compared to the Phantom 4 Pro, it is nearly the same as what that camera offers: a 20mp, 1″ sensor and 2.4um pixels range.
The biggest difference is the fixed aperture, which is somewhat of a small drawback. What’s not a drawback is its 31-minute flight time and that it is equipped with DJI’s latest O3 transmission system.
Even going with the complete kit that DJI offers on this system, the full Fly More package, its pricing is only $1,299.00, that’s simply unheard of for this much of what DJI offers in a single package for the cost.
The Air 2S is also on the edge of seeing its latest version being released, the DJI Air 3, which in turn will bring about a slew of great deals on this system in the very near future.
That’s because sellers will want the newest system on their shelves and will likely offer great deals to make that shelf space available.
It is also able to be paired with not only the RC-N1 controller, but also can be paired with the DJI RC controller as well as the DJI RC Pro controller. That’s a whole lot of options.
Next, we come to the DJI Mavic series. This leaves us with a whole lot to talk about.
When DJI first introduced us to the DJI Mavic, it was always intended to be a replacement for what was the flagship system at the time – the Phantom series.
It was also one of the very first times we saw a folding drone configuration by DJI.
The first Mavic was great, don’t get me wrong. It just wasn’t quite up to the high standard that we could get from the Phantom series.
It was certainly easier to set up and carry around, sure.
However, being equipped with only a 12mp camera, it lacked what we could already get, and of course, most realty companies had grown to expect a minimum of a 20mp camera.
So, the first Mavic fell a bit short. DJI, realizing the mistake, moved quickly to the Mavic 2, which really did take the place of the Phantom series in most cases.
It also proved that the folding drone systems could not only offer the same as its original flagship system. It could do it in a similar price range.
We also saw another first in the Mavic 2, and that was the introduction of the Mavic 2 Zoom.
To be fair, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom was a great success, with some needed tweaking.
As we’re focused on Realty use, a zoom function isn’t needed, and, in most cases, any realtor will not want zoomed or cropped images.
From an inspection standpoint, however, this early zoom camera was a godsend and would allow for easier use by someone working in that capacity, by keeping the aircraft further away from the subject of interest and allowing for safer operations.
Although I would recommend a Mavic 2 Pro, the fact is, getting batteries for this system is very difficult as DJI has moved on from it, as have most third-party suppliers.
This brings us to today and the newest in the DJI Mavic lineup. The Mavic 3’s, of which we have several options.
3. DJI Mavic 3 Classic
Drone with 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera for Professionals, 5.1K HD Video, 46-Min Flight Time, Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, 15km Transmission Range.
- Cheaper than the Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Pro
- Can fly for a long time
- It has omnidirectional sensors
- Excellent transmission range
- This version comes with DJI RC with a screen
- It only has one camera as compared to Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Pro
- It can get quite pricey.
The Mavic 3 Classic is an excellent option for real estate. If your only intended use is for realty photos and videos, it has you covered.
It has an exceptional flight time of 46 minutes, and a full omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system.
What it lacks is a full 1″ sensor, only offering a 4/3 CMOS sensor. But it is of the highest quality in the form of a Hasselblad camera.
Hasselblad has been a leader in photography for several decades and for good reason.
I’m a bit dated, I know. Back in my Portrait days, having a Hasselblad camera meant you had truly achieved the top of the camera food chain.
That is still very true today. They still make some of the best cameras to be had.
I am also aware of the statement from above that a 1″ sensor is needed for most realtors. This is where we start to see that no longer being true.
I have yet to have any issues with the fact that the Mavic lacks a full 1″ sensor from any of my clients.
Why that is, it’s hard to say. All I know is that as of yet, no one has complained or required a reshoot due to that small limitation.
It is, however, why the Air 2S and the Phantom 4 Pro are above their respective Mavic 3 brethren on this list.
Unlike the other Mavic 3s, the classic only offers a single sensor. This would limit it in some ways compared to the other Mavic 3s that can be had.
Once again, though, realtors are not the biggest fans of zoomed images or ones that are cropped. They tend to be partial to full images that are untouched.
Being the lowest price option out of the three Mavic 3s available. You really need to look closely at your own current needs and any that may come up in the future.
After all, your equipment is an investment, and you always want that investment to grow, in this case, be able to perform not only what you need it to today, but what you need it to tomorrow as well.
4. DJI Mavic 3
Nearly everything about the DJI Mavic 3 is top-of-the-line. Most importantly, the battery life is incredible, which will save you from buying many extra batteries for backup.
- It has two fantastic camera, including Hasselblad
- The Hasselblad camera has an 4/3 inch CMOS for great photography and filming
- It comes with an omnidirectional sensing system.
- The drone can fly more than 45 minutes
- Has advanced intelligent modes
- The drone is pricey
- It’s the oldest drone from the Mavic 3 line.
The Mavic 3! Imaging above everything. This was the first of the Mavic 3 line, and it offers an additional camera in the form of a Tele Lens Camera with up to 28x zoom and 162mm lens, with a fixed aperture of f/4.4.
On top of the 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera, the same as found on the Classic variation, here we see that the addition of the secondary camera and that addition does not affect flight time with the flight time listed still being 46 minutes, which is also the same as that of the Classic.
The added Tele camera adds to this aircraft’s value and makes it more versatile than the Classic version. It is also the first time we see these two capabilities combined into a singular system.
Although it won’t be all that handy for your Realty projects, it will allow you to grow into other areas beyond realty.
When I first started out, I received some great advice, and that was: find your niche!
Shooting solely realty would be your niche, however you don’t want to limit your options to just any one area. As your skills and experiences grow, you will want to expand the services that you provide.
It is good advice though for when your just getting started. Find an area to focus on and learn how to do it to the best of your abilities. It doesn’t hold true though as time goes by.
Now you find the Mavic 3 to be hard to purchase, unless you go through a third-party seller. As it has been replaced with that of the Mavic 3 Pro.
As to its cost, it is very negligible to that of the Pro version and quite frankly would be a bad purchase at its current pricing compared to what you will find in the Mavic 3 Pro variation.
5. DJI Mavic 3 Pro (top pick)
- Hasselblad Main Camera 4/3 inch CMOS 24mm equivalent
- Medium Tele Camera 1/1.3 inch CMOS 70mm equivalent
- Tele Camera 166mm equivalent up to 28x hybrid zoom
- 43 minutes flight time, DJI O3+
- DJI RC Pro
- It’s a top consumer drone you can get for real estate
- The drone comes with three cameras, including a great Hasselblad with 4/3 inch CMOS
- Can fly for a long time
- It has omnidirectional sensing system
- Has advanced intelligent functions
- This version comes with DJI RC Pro.
- It’s very expensive to start with
- This drone can be intimidating to fly with, considering its price.
- Quite heavy at nearly one kilogram.
Now we come to the very latest in the Mavic 3 lineup.
With that, we probably have the most versatile system that DJI has to offer as it incorporates not just the Hasselblad camera system and the Tele camera system; it also offers a third camera.
It is a unique system that is the only one you will find on the market offering such a tri-camera system.
It has the 4/3 CMOS camera found in the Classic and the Mavic 3 and adds to its versatility by offering a 70mm Medium format Tele 12mp camera.
This makes this one the most favored of all the current Mavic 3s, and nothing, but good things can be said about it.
Overall, this system will grow as you do and remove the need for a system replacement anytime soon.
We do see one major change in this system over that of the other two versions, though; it’s found in its weight and its flight time.
The Mavic 3 Pro weighs in at 958 grams, making it 63 grams heavier than its counterparts the Mavic 3 and the Classic.
This leads it to only offering a 43-minute flight time per battery. That is a rather negligible trade-off and shouldn’t dissuade you from this system.
This is the very latest of the Mavic 3s, so it should be supported the longest and shouldn’t be dropped anytime soon by DJI, unlike some of the other systems we’ve covered.
This is also the highest-priced option we will discuss with pricing ranging anywhere from $2200 to $3200.
So quite the investment, but it is an investment that should pay for itself down the road and still be able to keep you going.
This is the creme de la creme of the drone systems available by DJI, and it comes with everything DJI offers. It offers amazing versatility that makes this one your absolute best option to go with.
It won’t let you down and will carry that investment of yours the furthest.
6. DJI Avata – Best FPV drone for Real Estate
- Best Ready-to-fly FPV drone for real-estate indoor filming
- It is simple to set up
- Is a cinewhoop and have duct guards, protecting the drone propellers and motors
- Can capture fantastic cinematic videos with the Rocksteady and Horizonsteady functions
- Is not good for photography
- Requires training in simulators to fly in manual mode
The DJI Avata is considered to be a Cinewhoop and is more of a specialty drone system used for certain applications.
As we discussed at the top of this article, this is the type of system that is being used for those amazing flythroughs or single-shot videos.
These types of shots and videos have gained a real place within the world of real estate.
It is a wonderful way to give a potential buyer the sense that they are there by offering an eye-catching and informative way to market a property.
However, it will not be able to perform the entirety of a real estate shoot. Where it excels in one area, it is lacking in others. You would need one of the other systems above for that.
What it doesn’t do isn’t an issue. It’s what it can do that puts it onto this list and makes it completely unique in what it can offer to a Realty photographer/Videographer.
Although it does have a rather sub-par camera compared to the other systems we’ve covered, only having a 1/1.7-inch sensor, it does offer an amazingly wide field of view at 155 degrees. It is able to record up to 4K 60fps.
With the addition of the HorizonSteady or RockSteady you can get some fantastic footage from this aircraft.
If that isn’t good enough, though, the DJI Avata can handle carrying an Action camera system, such as that of a Gropro or DJIs action camera series.
One of this aircraft’s best features, however is in the battery, providing an unheard-of flight time of 18 minutes. That, when compared to other similar cinewhoop systems, is simply unheard of.
The DJI Avata is offered in several different configurations, and this will mean that you will want to put some real thought into which package is the one for you.
Pricing starts at $629.00 for just the drone itself and ranges to $1,600.00 for the Pro-view combo, with several options in between.
7. DJI Mini 3 Pro – Honorable Mention
It’s incredible how a small drone can have powerful features, especially for aerial photography. The compact and lightweight qualities of the DJI Mini 3 Pro make it sturdy enough to withstand strong winds.
- Very good camera for real estate, both for photography and filming
- The drone can stay in the air for long time and is compatible with two batteries
- The DJI Mini 3 Pro is under 250 grams, which may benefit from relaxed drone laws
- Is easy to fly and set up
- Is relatively quiet as compared to other drones
- Good transmission range
- Does not have side and upward anti-collision sensors.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is an exceptionally great flyer and really is affordable overall compared to everything else we have discussed.
It’s also the only one in this list that offers a 48mp camera system. That’s the great thing about it as it will produce a high-resolution image.
One of the largest detractors though is its limited sensor size, being only a 1/1.3″ sensor. Paired with a 48mp, it is still fully capable of producing great images and video.
It’s no secret that even at only 20mp, a larger sensor will take a more data-filled image and, therefore produce a higher quality image.
So, when using this system, you will want to be sure that any assets acquired will be acceptable to your client. A starter system like the Mini 3 Pro has really made its mark.
As one of the very lowest-cost systems that DJI offers, it’s opened the door to so many new and seasoned pilots alike.
It does offer tri-directional obstacle avoidance and a 34-minute flight time, as well as some very helpful Creative modes like those found in the other systems above, such as MasterShots, and Quickshots.
Beyond that, it has an additional battery option that can get your flight time up to 47 minutes. Pricing can range from $700 to $1200, depending on the type of package you go with.
It does offer a unique ability that none of the other systems above offer at all. That is the ability for True Vertical Shooting.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro gimbal’s offers a wide rotation range that not only supports low-angle shooting but can also rotate for true vertical shooting.
This is a social media-friendly feature for such sites as Tik Tok or Instagram, as it allows the gimbal to rotate 90° to switch between landscape and portrait orientations.
As of yet, the popularity of this feature is questionable, but we are seeing it as a great marketing strategy for gaining potential clients as more and more Realtors are posting their listings on these social media platforms to gain a larger reach than the more traditional methods of marketing a property and may just be that extra service that you can offer over a competing pilot to get the job.
What else to know about DJI Drones for Real Estate
As I pointed out, there has become an industry standard of a 1″ sensor and a minimum of a 20mp camera required for most realty projects.
This leads to the need to clarify just where that came from. It’s from the pilot networks that you may or may not decide to work with. Such networks as Dronebase, Droneup, Droners.IO, and other such groups.
This standard does not come from your local realtor. In most cases, your client just wants great photos or videos.
We’ve seen across the industry smaller-sized sensors like those found on the Mavic systems, and the Mini systems producing acceptable end products.
Even such networks as mentioned above seem to accept the data captured from the Mavic systems.
Or it’s 4/3 camera. That simple fact is whoever you perform services for is only looking for great shots that can market the property.
To be blunt, no realtor out there, unless they themselves are into photography, or are checking the Meta data, would know the difference.
Their end goal is only to have great marketing material, and it doesn’t matter to them what camera is used to acquire it.
Unlike some other industries, like that of mapping or inspection, where the end goal is different, will that standard be held to.
You can find some links below to some of our other articles covering drones and real estate.
These will help you in understanding this part of the industry a little better and, with luck, will allow you to make the most informed opinion that you can have when pursuing work in this area.
Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!