The best drones for photography in 2021: For pros and semi-pros

Technology: A range of specialized drones to meet a variety of shooting use cases.

Photography and cinema are the engines of the drone industry, both in the professional market and in the consumer market. The line between the two is blurring more and more, with semi-pro drones and those priced below $ 4,000 offering very high quality and advanced flight features that just a few years ago, were reserved for high-end equipment.

It can be difficult to navigate among the many drones designed for corporate photography and video. Sure, DJI, which has long been the market leader, makes some really fantastic devices, but before you jump into buying the first Mavic you’ll find, take a moment to appreciate the variety of drones out there and understand the strengths. and the weaknesses of the various offers.

To help you out, we reached out to video and photography professionals to hear what they had to say. Here are our top picks of drones for photography and video making, along with some tips for choosing the most suitable drone.

Mavic 3

The DJI Mavic Air 3 is a robust and powerful quadcopter, perfectly suited for action scenes. The new version builds on the solid heritage that has made the Mavic range so successful.

Compared to its predecessor Mavic 2, the new version enjoys better imaging performance thanks to its Hasselblad 4/3 CMOS camera and light 24mm lens. It can record videos at up to 5.1K / 50 fps or 4K / 120 fps and supports Apple ProRes 422 HQ encoding, providing better picture quality and flexibility during post processing.

It’s also a pretty amazing flying machine. In fact, the flying experience has been greatly improved, starting with an impressive flight time of 46 minutes. The Mavic 3 features omnidirectional obstacle detection and supports the enhanced version APAS 5.0 and Advanced RTH, allowing creators to enjoy safe flight with peace of mind.

Although it is not a professional device (for example, the camera system is fixed and the four rotors are not comparable to the stability of the six rotors of a professional device), this drone represents the top range in the field of semi-pro drones, for a surprisingly affordable price.

Inspire 2 by DJI

If one drone has changed the filmmaking industry, it’s the DJI Inspire 1. The latest addition to the Inspire line, the Inspire 2, was designed with filmmaking in mind and builds on the heritage of the Inspire 1.

Among the noteworthy features, the Inspire 2 uses a dedicated FPV camera to give the operator a personal flow, leaving him free to use the cinema camera independently. The Inspire 2 thus becomes a self-contained steadycam that can keep pace with two people walking down a corridor as well as gain an aerial view of a speedboat fleeing in Florida waters.

The base model of the Inspire 2 has a 1-inch, 20MP sensor on the Zenmuse X4S gimbal camera. It is a very powerful drone, within the reach of film students and solo filmmakers, for less than 4,000 euros. A Pro version increases the specs (and the price, up to 10,000 euros) with an M4 / 3 sensor that takes 20.8 MP photos and Apple ProRes videos up to 5.2K. A Cinema Premium version further improves the camera payload with the Zenmuse X7, which has an S35 image sensor offering CinemaDNG 6K RAW. This set costs just under 20,000 euros and is used on some of the biggest film sets in the world.

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