If you want to be the best video producer at home, you need to step up your equipment game, and you should have been doing it yesterday. Fortunately, thanks to the amazing advances in modern technology, almost anyone can create amazing video, especially if you have one of the best drones on the market. Unlike in Star Wars, these are the drones that you’re looking for – and you don’t need to look any further.
DJI MAVIC PRO – King of Drones
When it comes to being compact, lightweight, aerodynamic, portable… Who are we kidding… If you want to pick up a drone that is amazing and can travel the world with you, then you need to go with the DJI Mavic Pro.
When most people think of drones, the thought of a big, bulky piece of plastic with four roaring propellors comes to mind as it terrorizes everyone in its path. However, the Mavic Pro, just like the GoPro Karma and Yuneec Breeze, are breaking the mold this year and producing smaller & more portable drones that are lightweight and travel friendly. Instead of lugging around a giant case, consumers now have the ability to travel with the Mavic Pro that folds up into the size of a tissue box. There are many reasons why the DJI Mavic Pro is one of the best drones, if not the best drone, on the market. It gives you a ton of bang for your buck with all of the smart features of DJI’s other bulkier models in a much more compact package.
Design & Build
The 743g Mavic PRO isn’t large at all when folded up – 3.27″ tall x 7.8″ long x 3.27″ wide – and it is absolutely aesthetically pleasing to look at. For those who are new to the drone space, the Mavic Pro is a significant upgrade in portability because with the previous DJI models, consumers were forced to travel with a special protective hard pack that was specifically designed for the model that they owned.
What gives the Mavic Pro the ability to be so small? Well, thanks to a new folding design, the “arms” and “legs” of this drone collapse and tuck into the its main body. What’s impressive about the Mavic Pro is that the drone feels amazingly solid and and reliable. When you hold this thing, you feel like you’re holding one of the best drones out there. It’s not flimsy by any means and not once did it feel like this newest version of DJI quadcopter’s sacrificed quality in order to make it compact and travel friendly. Be forewarned though – Grandma isn’t going to have an easy time putting this legs into place when you want it to take flight as it takes some muscle to put these things into place. However, the vast majority of people will be able to handle it. It only takes about one minute to set up, which is absolutely imperative for those buyers out there that are looking for one of the best drones available without sacrificing portability or usability.
Like we said before, the Mavic Pro is solid – but what’s most impressive is that DJI didn’t cut any of the features out of the Mavic Pro when compared to their bigger models. The Mavic Pro has both front and bottom mounted sensors along with built in obstacle avoidance so to ensure that you won’t be crashing this thing into your neighbor’s house. The Mavic Pro also comes with subject tracking, allowing the drone to follow the object it’s filming while traveling and keeping up with said object. A couple of other awesome automated features on the Mavic Pro are the autopilot return landings (your drone literally comes back to you and lands) as well as its built in geofencing to keep it out of restricted air spaces so that you stay out of trouble.
The only thing that the Mavic Pro lags a little bit behind in is top speed when compared to DJI’s flagship Phantom 4 . The Mavic’s top speed of 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers per hour) is slightly slower than the Phantom 4 , which tops out at 45 miles per hour (72 kilometers per hour). However, despite being much smaller than the Phantom 4, the Mavic Pro is a tough little cookie. This thing can fly steady in environments that winds up to 24 miles per hour with a range of a little more than 4 miles away with 27 minutes of flight time on a single charge. If you want to extend that flight time, you just need to pick up a hot-swappable 3,830 mAh Mavic Pro Intelligent Flight Battery.
Unlike the newly released GoPro Karma, the Mavic Pro comes with a hard-mounted camera, meaning that the camera is fixed to the device and cannot be disconnected for handheld adventures. However, since the Karma doesn’t come with the HERO5 Black or HERO4 Black, you will be out another $300-$400 picking up this bad boy just to give your Karma the ability to film.
With that being said, the camera produces top notch footage with its ability to record 4K video at 30 frames per second, or if your eyes can handle it, you can bump down to full 1080p HD and record at 96 frames per second. The fact that you’re able to “bump down” to 1080p is another reason why this takes the top spot of the best drones available. The 1080p footage also has the ability to stream live through social media broadcasting, but doing so will bump your frame rate down to 30 frames per second. If you want to snap pictures, you can do so with 12MP stills through two-second long exposures.
We found that the Mavic’s 28mm lens camera provides a field of vision that is solid and balanced at the same time. Not once did we feel like the frame was too wide or distanced too far away from what we were trying to shoot, which usually produces low quality & distorted images from our experience with other drones. The Mavic Pro has a very solid balance to it and it delivers a fantastic user experience which is very parallel with the controls of a smartphone while delivering a fantastic a]ability to control the image by adjusting the exposure settings. You can make a variety of adjustments with just a screen tap, which is something that we found extremely convenient in cutting down our learning curve.
The Mavic Pro is not only compact – it comes packed with all of the awesome features that the best drones in the consumer world should come with. One of the main features of the Mavic Pro is its tracking sensors that allows the quadcopter to fly around with minimal risk to pilot error – a key feature and a big reason why it tops our list of the best drones. Beginners that have the fear of crashing into objects that might make them fearful don’t have to worry with the avoidance features on the Mavic Pro. We literally tried to fly this thing into a wall and it stopped about 50 feet away from its intended target of doom.
As mentioned before, the ActiveTrack feature on this drone is just absolutely pleasant and makes you feel like the device has a brain within its rugged, compact housing. The tracking feature has three different settings as well: Profile (to follow along with you), Trace (to follow you from the back or lead you from the front), and Spotlight (the Drone will set you as a focal point and no matter where you fly it, the camera will stay focused on you as it travels through the sky). The spotlight feature is great for those panning away shots that look extremely cool as the drone flies away, making it feel like the person watching is attached to the drone.
Controller & VR Goggles
When it comes to controls, DJI has introduced a simple and easy control that is more inviting and less bulkier than the controllers of previous models. Just like the body of the drone, this controller is compact and the best part about its design is that it feels great in your hands while being extremely portable. If you’re an iPhone user and want to have all of the flight information at your fingertips, then all you need to do is download the DJI app and “snap” your phone into place between the rubber bumpers of the controller. From here, your phone turns into a mini cockpit and allows you to take control of the gimbal controlled onboard camera via your touchscreen and displays all of the necessary flight information.
It’s extremely easy to hook your phone up to the controller with the adapter and the experience from doing so is why the Mavic is at the top of the list when it comes to the best drones on the market.
Not only has DJI made an amazing state-of-the-art drone, but they are introducing a set of virtual reality goggles that display an 85 degree view from the drone in crisp 1080p clarity. The crisp clarity of these goggles are nothing short of unbelievable and all of the things that you think would go wrong with delivering such high quality video to a set of portable VR goggles doesn’t happen. This headset will be popular amongst Mavic Pro users as the experience from them is an immersive escape from reality. You literally feel like a bird soaring through the air when you put these bad boys on. We can’t wait to see how this technology develops as drone racing gains popularity in the years to come.
Those who are more of a beginner when it comes to drone flight should look to the DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo available at Amazon. This package comes with a protective carrying case, extra batteries, along with the impressive drone. This package will give you the perfect bang for your buck and come as a complete “drone in a box” kit that the most beginner users will be able to follow.
DJI PHANTOM 4
If you’re not in the mood for the latest and greatest pocket rocket on the market and size isn’t a determining factor, then you should look no further than the DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter. The simple ease of use that you would see in the Mavic Pro is derived from the Phantom lines, and the overall experience with that you will receive from this absolute beast is what puts the Phantom 4 above the rest. Now, we say beast not because of it’s size, but because of its features and reputation of being the overall king in the consumer drone market.
This very polished quadcopter outshines the rest of its competition, making it one of the best drones you can buy. For those who have experience flying and filming with the best drones available, you will have no problem taking this thing out of the box and going for a rip. DJI makes the learning curve a much more pleasant experience when compared to other drone companies, making it truly one of the easiest and best drones that anyone can fly.
Obstacle Avoidance Makes Flying Easier For Newbies
The Phantom 4 is the first consumer drone that came on to the market this year equipped with an advanced obstacle avoidance system, known by DJI as OSS. The pair of sensors in front will track obstacles as you fly and serve as the warning system for the drone while assisting you by helping the drone slither its way around obstacles within 2.5 feet of the device. Also, if you have to reach into your pocket for an emergency or happen to be chased by fans around you wanting to fly this bad boy, the drone has the ability to simply stop and hover until you want it to stop.
Although the drone has this amazing technology, don’t start trying to test its limits unless you want to spend your afternoon climbing a tree to pull this thing out. From our test flight, the drone would stop for trees that had plenty of leaves and were easily visible. However, it doesn’t always notice dead branches and we don’t recommend you testing its limits this fall. It’s not expected to do so and you’re not on in the forest on planet Tatooine, so don’t fly it around like you’re chasing Ewoks.
The sport mode is a blast to use on this quadcopter and all it takes is the flip of a switch. Once you’re engaged, you can strap yourself in for excitement as the top speed of this thing is 45 miles per hour. What’s more impressive is that the Phantom 4 can ascend up to 20 feet per second, and descend down at a rate of 13 feet per second. These impressive altitude changes allow the user to get the shot that they want and at the same time it makes you feel like you’re filming from a racing drone. All in all, this thing is not only fast, but its quick and agile too (fair warning – the OSS doesn’t work in sport mode).
Phantom 4 Features
Outside of the OSS, the Phantom 4 still provides a ton of features that are guaranteed to leave you tickled pink. You can fly this quadcopter for up to 28 minutes per battery charge, which DJI boasts as a 25% increase over their Phantom 3 Professional model. It also allows up to 3.1 miles of range from the user, making the experience of literally flying around your entire neighborhood possible from your back porch. Just like the Mavic Pro, the Phantom 4 is equipped with the ActiveTrack technology where the Phantom 4 will recognize the object you’re tracking and follow them naturally.
The camera on the Phantom 4 is nothing short of top notch as well. The Phantom 4 will produce sharp, clean 4k video at 30 frames per second as well as Full HD 1080p at 120 frames per second for those who like to take slow motion video. An aspherical lens allows a view of 94 degrees for the user and reduces distortion by up to 36% when compared to the Phantom 3. The camera also has the ability to shoot 12MP images with a total of 10 color profiles to give you the right look that you want for your images. The photos are also have Adobe DNG RAW support so that make post production editing through Lightroom and Photoshop simple and easy.
The image stabilization gimbal on the Phantom 4 is amazing, which is another reason why we marked this as one of the best drones out there today. There is no more unwanted vibration or movement as this device allows the camera to stay balanced throughout the entire process of flying. Anyone will have the ability to produce smooth and fluid footage while using the Phantom 4. Just like the Mavic, the Phantom 4’s controller works with your phone or tablet via download of the DJI app, giving you a bird’s eye view in realtime with all of the necessary diagnostics during your flight. Not only does the app allow you to see everything, it allows you to track objects and avoid obstacles with the tap of the finger in real time as you are flying.
The Phantom’s easy to use interface, OSS features, and ease of use interface make it a no brainer for anyone who is looking to buy one of the best drones out there. This model is a dramatic leap over the previous Phantom 3 because of the many autonomous features that come packed into this tight package that will leave you tickled pink. The implementation of the new features combined with the DJI app make flying such a pleasant experience that will produce the best in class footage and help take your video capabilities to the next level.
Best Drones On A Budget
The best drones on the market are expensive because they are amazing pieces of equipment. However, you don’t have to break the piggy bank if you’re looking for a solid drone that provides an amazing flying experience. Users that are looking for a rich experience that are on a smaller budget should look to theDJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter , and especially the DJI Phantom 3 Standard Bundle Pack which packs goodies like an extra SDHC memory card, backpack, quadcopter blades, and extra battery.
This drone provides an experience that is similar and budget friendly as it comes equipped with automatic flight assistant and the same interface from the DJI mobile app. The flight time about 23-25 minutes compared to the 26-28 minutes of the Mavic Pro and Phantom 4, and films 2.7K at 30 frames per second. The advanced version will allow you a range of 5 kilometers (roughly 3 miles) while the Phantom 3 Standard has a range of 1000m (roughly .6 miles).
The DJI Phantom 3 is also available as one of the best drones for those who have to have 4k at discounted price when compared to the Phantom 4. Despite giving up some battery life and features that are standard in the Phantom 4, you will get an image quality that is smooth and crisp as this model uses the 3-Axis stabilization gimbal to balance the camera. Also, the dent to your wallet will also be much lighter than the Phantom 4’s premium price.
Although you may not know which model to pick out of the best drones, one thing is for certain: If you want to step up your video production and make your brand appear bigger and better with crisp footage, you need to pick up a drone. The best in the business are echoing that the future of content marketing is video. Each one of these birds on our list of best drones will provide a rich experience and are absolutely amazing devices. You can’t go wrong with the DJI line and especially, the GoPro Karma when its released. Don’t wait too long to pick one of these up because you will be behind the curve trying to produce shots like in the video below.