First, you need to understand that not all drones are ready to dive into the air out-of-the-box. Those that are all called RTF (Ready-To-Fly) and we’ll be focusing exclusively on them. You also have DIY (Do-It-Yourself) drones, BNF (Bind- ‘N-Fly) drones and ARF (Almost-Ready-to-Fly). As we said, we’ll be focusing on RTF drones, so we won’t get into details about the others.
Obviously, the first thing you need to look for are drones with cameras. Most built-in drone cameras don’t have sensors as large as APS-C or Full-frame on DSLRs, but that doesn’t mean they’re not good. DJI Phantom 3 Professional is one of the most popular drones for photography. It has a 12MP 1/2.3 CMOS sensor capable of shooting 4K video. More importantly, this camera can record images in RAW format. You will want a camera capable of RAW because this will give you a lot more control over editing your images in post-production. Another camera feature to look for is bracketing, which will allow the camera to capture 3 to 5 consecutive shots, each at different exposure levels.
There are other options, too. You can go for a drone without a built-in camera that has built-in camera-ready mount, so you can choose what camera to mount on your drone. If you’d really like to go professional, you may want to consider DJI Inspire 2. In this case, you’ll be able to choose between several DJI’s cameras that are compatible with the Inspire 2 and sold separately. There is Zenmuse X4S, X5S and X7. These have a 1-inch, Micro Four-Thirds and a Super 35mm sensor, respectively.
You might also want to consider a drone that comes with GoPro-compatible Gimbal, in case you’d want to use a GoPro camera. Interesting options here include GoPro’s own GoPro Karma, DJI Phantom 2 for GoPro and the 3DR SOLO Quadcopter.
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