If you plan on getting in on the pro photographers drone craze for, it is paramount that you check specs keenly before purchasing. Below are examples of machines specially made for aerial photography:
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition
The AR.Drone is the ultimate price saver. It gives the best return on investment for its price range, which has greatly reduced in recent months.
The frame is carbon fiber and nylon and is powered by brushless motors ensuring you never have to stress about the quadcopter’s infrastructure. It also incorporates two hulls, one with no rotor guards made for outdoor use. The Parrot’s processing power is adequate to include automatic flight procedures which considerably cut down the learning curve. The automatic controls, however, come with behavior adaptations such as automatic landing when the battery is at 2% and automatic hover when Wi-Fi signal is weak or lost. There is no override so be keen shooting over a lake. A downside is that to fly you require your own iPhone or Android smartphone with the AR.Freeflight app installed.
Flight controls are not very basic but advanced techniques like flipping get easier after a little practice. It is easy to capture great, unique angles because of the quick fix hindrances on speed and altitude. The battery has a 15-minute flight time and a 75-minute recharge time and thus unsuitable for long jobs e.g. Sports events, but best for single shot jobs. The onboard Parrot camera is a strong 720p with 93 degree field of view and a flash drive is required to record direct footage. Parrot also makes a recording device with a GPS receiver and 4GB of storage. The bottom line is the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite is best for a budget conscious professional doing short, odd jobs.
The DJI Phantom 3 Professional – The Dependable
The DJI Phantom 3 Professional experience is like taking pictures with your iPhone. Its features: 60Mbps video recording with auto-follow, 4K, 25 fps, orbit and three axis gimbal 94 degree field of view gives it the one of the best performances. You manage to get 60 fps at 1080p and 30 fps at 3840×2160 (16:9) resolution. The 720p footage can be live streamed to Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram sans audio, providing pros with direct lines of communication with customers.
For control of the Phantom 3 Pro you no longer need separate controls for taking photos and changing aperture or rotating the gimbal as before. It also has added features like flip-up clamp which makes it easier to add power from your mobile device to the Phantom. The Phantom has unmatched stability maintaining full focus even in 25 mph winds. It is able to hover closer to ground level than any other device and can be used indoors without need for a GPS signal. Its automatic features that need adaptation include auto-land at 10% battery life, return-to-controller flight at low battery, and geo-fencing which limits the drone to a 30m altitude if beginner mode is on. The battery life is said to be 23 minutes long.
The bottom line is provided you possess the equipment to keep up, the DJI Phantom 3 Professional gets it done.
The 3DR Solo
With its sleek, black frame, the 3DR Solo has one of the sleekest designs on the drone market. This is however not its only attribute. Although controls are very slightly less intuitive as compared to the DJI Phantom 3, it brings out the additional features the market that more than make up for it. It has instant iPad mini compatibility thus big screenings for shots. It inspire a lower learning curve due to its controls which are reminiscent to those of video games. It is also possible to get GPS, auto-safety flight and compass features right out of the box.
Its ultimate feature is its attention to timely detail in modes e.g. the Watch Me where it hovers while automatically facing you and the Selfie where shooting is on a trajectory facing you thus enabling a modern photographer with default options to increase efficiency in a major way. And taking all this power, it gets up to 25 minutes of flight time from its 5200mAh battery.
Two built-in computers, one a 1 GHz Linux monster, reduce fly-aways and enable the lowest control-to-action response times for any photo drone currently available on the market. Like GoPro you have an LCD display in the middle of your controller to ease use in controls. The original factory frame has a HDMI cable and a connector for GoPro. The latency is just 120 MS for a live shot, although the display is HDMI.
The bottom line is the 3DR Solo is best used by photographers who want modern shots or with a metropolitan, chic or hipster clientele.
By matching the specs needed for the feature sets available, it is easier to make the best purchase. Note that it is remember to stay FAA compliant as you learn the exciting new angles and possibilities of drone photography.