Many years ago, attaching a camera to a drone would have been a ludicrous idea to simply put, would not have been possible. However, dramatic advancements in technology has now meant that small yet powerful cameras are now built-in to most drones that are available on the market today. Although you can still find quadrotors without a camera, it is rare and most do include a high quality option for both pictures and video. Because of the addition of cameras to drones, the industry is now huge and growing ever more popular every single year.
In 2014, the well-known drone manufacturer, DJI, introduced HD to their drones and the game was changed forever. The quadrotor was also equipped with a three-way gimbal which keeps the camera steady during rough weather conditions as well as the vibrations of the drone itself. As a result, drones are now being used worldwide for a number of tasks including film production and crowd control.
If you are still picturing a photograph from a drone to be from a ‘fisheye’ point of view then think again. DJI’s Phantom 3 is one of the most popular choices of drones for photographers because of its high quality camera and 94 degree field of view (non-fisheye). The new Phantom 3 also includes features that can be found on some of Sony’s most popular camera products and the pro version even allows the user to shoot 4k video at up to 60fps. This is the same as can be found on Phantom 3’s sister product, Inspire 1; the Inspire 1 offers more extras and is therefore more expensive. With the Inspire 1, you will also be benefitting from the increased control with which you can fly and therefore take pictures as well as a 360 degree gimbal. The Phantom 3 gimbal can only be turned 90 degrees to 30 degrees which means that the drone itself has to be moved in the direction that you want to shoot. A 360 degree gimbal removes this necessity and can even be controlled independently of the drone by a second remote control.
The 3D Robotic Solo (3DR) is thought to be the two aforementioned products’ biggest rival in the camera department as it allows the user to shoot in HD and stream to a chosen mobile phone or tablet. The 3DR also includes a detailed app where you can access the drone’s inflight telemetry as well as adjust the settings to your personal preference. The 3DR does differ slightly in that it uses a GoPro camera rather than an own-brand device; this means that you will get a slightly more natural fisheye look which can be altered in editing but is something that should be noted if you are unsure of which one to buy. Despite this, the 3DR offers an array of options on the app via a segment called ‘smart shots’ that allows you to get the perfect shot that you require. This is a unique function and maybe the reason why they are starting to compete with the big boys in the industry.
So those are two of the best camera options when it comes to drones but there are many other options in-between so why not have a search and see what ones stand out for you?