Most of us in the hobby are looking for a drone that is large enough to support a decently long flight time, hold a camera or other data capture device, and be able to control some (or all) of its flight autonomously using pre-programmed coordinates or real-time data. We want to race around or solo the skies and there are a few things to consider before making your purchase.
Because of concerns for possible bodily injury and property damage, anyone who operates a drone needs insurance coverage. However, most commercial and personal insurance carriers exclude drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) from their policies, making coverage hard to find.
Most standard homeowners insurance policies exclude liability coverage for aircraft, but will include coverage for “model or hobby aircraft,” like your personal drone. Commercial or business use of your drone is not normally covered under a homeowners policy. Most insurance company policy wordings would cover a drone in the same way that they would cover your personal property or contents. Depending on your specific insurer, you may not have to pay any additional amount to make sure your drone is covered! See “What You Need to Know About Drones and Your Insurance“, by MILA ARAUJO for a very good article on the subject.
The following drones are very good picks to select from this year to get a solid model that’s stable in flight with an excellent integrated camera. These drones are focused on aircraft intended for aerial imaging and videography.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
The Mavic 2 Pro from DJI is a drone that balances power, portability, and professional-quality visuals with the inclusion of a 20MP Hasselblad L1D-20c gimbal camera. The camera delivers a 1″ CMOS sensor with an adjustable f/2.8 to f/11 aperture, support for a 10-bit Dlog-M color profile, and 4K 10-bit HDR video capture. Reviews.
DJI Inspire 2
DJI’s magnesium-aluminum-clad Inspire 2 Quadcopter is a powerful cinematic and photographic tool. Combining the Inspire 2 with the separately available X4S and X5S gimbal cameras yields cinema-grade images, which can be recorded in high bit rates using H.264 and H.265 formats, or, in the case of the X5R, various flavors of Apple ProRes and CinemaDNG raw using the required licenses available from DJI. Reviews.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2
The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 features an OcuSync HD transmission system, which supports automatic dual-frequency band switching and connects to DJI Goggles RE wirelessly. The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is equipped with a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor capable of shooting 4K/60fps video and Burst Mode stills at 14 fps. Plus, its FlightAutonomy system includes dual rear vision sensors and infrared sensing systems for a total of 5 directions of obstacle sensing and 4 directions of obstacle avoidance. Reviews.
Autel Robotics EVO
The Evolution of flight has arrived. EVO is a compact folding unit designed to go wherever your adventure takes you. Equipped on the front EVO offers a powerful camera on a 3-axis stabilize gimbal that records video at 4k resolution up to 60 frames per second and a recording speed up to 100mbps in an H.264 or H.265 codec. Using real-glass optics EVO captures stunning photos at 12 megapixels with a wide dynamic range for more details and color. Integrated advanced computer vision systems provide forward obstacle avoidance, rear obstacle detection and bottom sensors for more accurate landings and stable indoor flights. EVO boasts flight times up to 30 minutes with a range of 4.3 miles (7KM). Additionally, EVO offers failsafe features letting you know when the battery is low and it’s time to return to home. Reviews.
ANAFI i is the flying 4K HDR camera that you can take with you everywhere on the go. It unfolds in less than 3 seconds and is made from a lightweight carbon frame. This ultra-compact drone has a 25-minute flight time and takes exceptional quality photos of 21MP. Thanks to its USB-C charging system, you can charge your Parrot drone anytime, anywhere. ANAFI Extended comes complete with a foldable controller, Parrot skycontroller 3, 2 additional batteries and a dedicated shoulder bag. Its unique 180 Degree vertical tilt gimbal is ideal for low-angle shots, this unprecedented feature has never been seen in a leisure drone before. ANAFI is the smallest and quietest consumer drone on the market. With ANAFI, make your ordinary extraordinary and share it with family and friends. Reviews.
DJI Mavic Air
A marvel of engineering and design, the Mavic Air was built to go wherever adventure takes you. Inheriting the best of the Mavic series, this ultraportable and foldable drone features high-end flight performance and functionality for limitless exploration. 3-Axis Gimbal CameraThe Mavic Air is the most portable DJI drone to house a 3-axis mechanical gimbal, with its angular vibration range reduced to 0.005 degrees. Set in a triangular formation, gimbal dampeners help create even steadier shots. 32 MP Sphere PanoramasIn addition to Horizontal, Vertical, and 180 degrees panoramas, the Mavic Air stitches 25 photos together in just eight seconds to create crystal-clear 32 MP Sphere panoramas. View them from an immersive perspective with DJI Goggles. 4K 100 Mbps VideoThe Mavic Air shoots video at an incredible 4K 30 fps, recording at 100 Mbps to capture every second with UHD quality. Slow-Motion VideoWith support for recording 1080p 120 fps slow-motion video, the Mavic Air captures all your epic high-speed adventures. HDR PhotosNew HDR algorithms help you obtain the right exposure settings intelligently, according to lighting conditions. Overexposed or dark areas are processed for more natural transitions between highlights and shadows, while DSP acceleration allows for more efficient shooting. 12 MP StillsThe Mavic Air’s onboard camera integrates a 1/2.3″ 12-megapixel CMOS sensor and an f/2.8 lens with a 35-mm equivalent focal length of 24 mm to shoot high-quality photos and video. Reviews.
Spark is a mini drone that features all of DJI’s signature technologies, allowing you to seize the moment whenever you feel inspired. With intelligent flight control options, a mechanical gimbal, and a camera with incredible image quality, Spark empowers you to push your creative boundaries. Reviews.
Yuneec Typhoon H Pro
Typhoon H is the most advanced aerial photography and videography platform available in such a compact size. Driven by customer demand for a design that goes beyond the limitations of a traditional quadcopter, Typhoon H delivers capabilities previously only found in high-end professional offerings, but at a consumer price. Reviews.
An impressive little drone for kids and adults that’s a blast to fly and helps users learn about drones with coding education. Get yourself a Tello to find out just how awesome flying can be. Reviews