Last updated: September 5, 2020

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The dream of flying is probably as old as humankind itself. Classical mythology has explored the desire of Icarus and his father to fly away. Even Leonardo da Vinci, one of history’s most famed artists and inventors, spent weeks devising flying gadgets. However, it was not until the 18th century that we finally managed to take to the air successfully.

Since the invention of the hot air balloon, the technology to fly has evolved at a dizzying rate. It is this very evolution that allows us to enjoy a bird’s-eye view while keeping our feet on the ground. Do you know what professional drones are? These gadgets have revolutionized the way we take aerial photos.

Key Facts

  • Flying time is one of the most important aspects to consider before choosing the right professional drone for you. There is nothing riskier than running out of battery in mid-air. Fortunately, many models now integrate an automatic return-home system to bring them back to you when the battery is close to running out.
  • The camera, on the other hand, will determine the type of photography you can take with your professional drone. While some models offer somewhat lower qualities, you should opt for 4K or more. Remember that certain drones do not include a camera, in which case you will have to find a compatible one on the market.
  • The gimbal is another key criterion to evaluate. This fundamental element is responsible for the stability of the camera. It will also condition the type of movements it can make on its own axis. The best models offer 360-degree vertical and 180-degree horizontal rotation.

Our Selection: The Best Professional Drones on the U.S. Market

With the latest advances in technology, the barrier between professional and amateur devices is becoming increasingly slim. You can purchase your own drone with just about any budget. However, making the right investment is necessary if you are looking for top-quality results. In the following section, you will discover our selection of the best professional drones currently on the market.

Best Professional Drone to Travel With

Holy Stone’s HS720 is a fantastic drone that offers high-quality performance with a great built-in camera, but its most attractive feature is its size. Weighing a mere one pound, it is incredibly easy to take with you. The whole set, complete with spare propellers and the controller, all fits in a compact carrying bag. This drone has a flying time of 26 minutes and can record videos in up to 2K, with a convenient follow-me feature.

Best Professional Drone Overall

Now, if the budget is no concern to you and that you want the very best drone possible, the DJI Phantom 4 PRO is probably unmatched on the market right now. The onboard camera integrates a 20MP CMOS sensor capable of recording 4K video at 60fps – nothing short of incredible. The drone also comes with so many fantastic features that it would need an article of its own. The absolute best for photography or video professionals.

Best Professional Drone: Amazon’s Choice

The Potensic T25 won’t match the Phantom 4 PRO in many departments, but it’s not Amazon’s Choice for no reason. With hundreds of positive reviews and high ratings, this model is also the most affordable of our selection. It packs a Wi-Fi HD camera, and a second battery is included in the set. You can create a route on the controller, and the drone will follow it automatically. This product offers great value for money.

Most Versatile Professional Drone

Last but not least, the DJI Mavic Mini is a great all-round professional drone. It is incredibly lightweight but still provides a flying time of around 30 minutes. The integrated 12MP camera allows you to shoot 2.7K video, and you can play with its QuickShot modes to take top-quality photos. Whether you want to travel with it for leisure purposes or carry out professional projects, the Mavic Mini is an excellent option.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Professional Drones

In the early days of cinema, producers had to use light aircraft or helicopters for aerial shots. With the advent of professional drones, it is now much easier and more convenient to do this. That being said, you have to be familiar with these technical devices in order to make the most of them. In the section below, we have answered the most frequently asked questions regarding professional drones.

Drones-profesionales

Most drones include at least one controller with which you can pilot the device.
(Source: Pradana/ Unsplash.com)

How do you pilot a professional drone?

Each drone has its own characteristics, which is why the way you pilot them may vary from one model to the next. However, virtually all drones out there will share some similarities. Start by assembling your device, making sure that nothing is missing and that every part is in its right place. Check that the battery is fully charged.

Before your drone takes off, it is essential that you adjust the controller.

Most models include at least one controller with which you can pilot them. In fact, some of them feature a display that allows you to view the images being captured by your camera. If the model you purchase doesn’t offer this functionality, you will have to connect a cell phone or tablet to the remote control.

The joysticks present on the controller are generally easy to handle. With them, you can make the drone go up or down, forward or backward, and even rotate on the axis itself. Depending on the model you have opted for, you will also be able to orient the camera. The movements you can make with the camera are determined by the frame on which it is installed.

How many people are needed to pilot a professional drone?

Once again, this will ultimately depend on the product you buy. Some drones are very simple for one person to pilot, while more complex models require two people. Finally, you can also find some drones that give you the option of piloting it by yourself or with someone else’s help.

As you can imagine, a controller is needed per person piloting the device. If you are two operating it, one of you is dedicated exclusively to flying the drone. The other person guides the movements of the camera on its axis. In addition, the camera operator can manipulate parameters such as aperture, focus, or even the zoom.

The movements and parameter adjustments of the camera are determined by its own technical specifications, as well as the mount on which it is placed. Generally speaking, you can expect more professional drones to be more complicated to get the hang of. We strongly advise studying the device’s instruction manual before flying it.

Drones-profesionales

The movements and parameter adjustments of the camera are determined by its own technical specifications, as well as the mount on which it is placed.
(Source: Skye Studios/ Unsplash.com)

Do all professional drones include a camera?

No, this isn’t necessarily the case. It really depends on your personal preferences. Some people like to purchase a device that comes equipped with a standard camera. That means that they won’t have to worry about finding one that is compatible with the drone’s mount.

As we briefly mentioned earlier, you should have 4K quality if you want professional results. In fact, this is why others prefer a drone that doesn’t include a camera. It allows them to use their own professional camera and even have different models depending on the project they’re working on. In that case, always check the compatibility with the mount.

Sometimes, drones that don’t include a camera only work with action cameras like GoPro. However, you might want to attach a larger camera with better quality. If this is the case, you will have to make sure that the mount can withstand more weight. – the safety of your camera is essential.

Advantages Disadvantages
Camera drone You don’t need to buy anything else to get your drone in the air and start recording.

You won’t have to worry about compatibility issues.

Some models won’t allow you to adjust the camera parameters.
Drone without camera You can use your own camera.

Depending on the work you want to do, you can change cameras.

You will have to buy or rent a separate camera.

Not all drones are compatible with every camera.

What is the automatic return-home system?

Some professional drones are equipped with a GPS system with which you can, for instance, design a route that your device will then follow. One of the most interesting features that the GPS offers, however, is the automatic return-home system. It provides additional security, and you can fly with greater peace of mind.

The drone will basically memorize the coordinates of the point where it took off. This standard feature means that many professional drones will return to the starting point and land safely at the touch of a button. Some devices will do this automatically if they lose signal with the controller, or when the battery level is too low.

Drones-profesionales

Sometimes, drones that don’t include a camera only work with action cameras like GoPro.
(Source: Kroeker/ Unsplash.com)

What is required to pilot a professional drone?

The United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) is the body responsible for regulating everything regarding the flight of drones in the country. While it authorizes flying drones, this does come with a series of regulations with which you need to comply. For recreational purposes, your devices must weigh below 55 pounds unless certified by a community-based organization (CBO).

You need to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA to fly a drone for commercial purposes.

In order to pass this diploma, you have to be at least 16 years old and undergo Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) security screening. In addition, you have to pass an Aeronautical Knowledge Test (Part 107 test) at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.

Of course, you probably know that many people like to fly their drones without complying with these various regulations. However, they expose themselves to very severe fines and legal action – especially in the event of an accident. We strongly advise that you regularly pay attention to changes in laws since drones are fairly recent devices.

What is the First-Person View?

The First-Person View (FPV) is a system that allows you to visualize what your drone’s camera by way of glasses – much like virtual reality. However, it is more recreational than professional. In fact, it is not recommended that the person wearing the glasses pilots the drone at the same time for safety reasons. You wouldn’t be able to see clearly the drone’s surroundings and you could hit something.

The FPV system does have more use, for example, in flying competitions. Some pilots prefer having the first-person vision. It is also interesting visually, offering the viewer a very immersive experience while someone else pilots the drone.

What are other uses for professional drones?

You can use your professional drone in very different situations. Its features will naturally change depending on the purpose for which it is designed. For example, you can find drones for industrial inspections. Models equipped with thermal cameras, on the other hand, are useful in agricultural activities or for rescue operations.

The most widespread use of professional drones remains to capture images, either photos or videos. This has become incredibly common, with drones used in cinema, advertising, or travel videos. The fact that they are now more affordable than ever means that many people turn to them in their work.

Buyer’s Guide

Professional drones have made aerial photography accessible to virtually anyone. However, each drone comes with its own particular characteristics. This is why it is essential that you evaluate specific criteria in order to choose the model that best fits your personal needs. We will delve into these aspects in the following section:

Size & Weight

First of all, the size and weight of the drone will affect its transport and storage. You will prefer a compact, lightweight model if you need to take it along with you all the time. Keep in mind that this will also influence the type of camera that you can attach to it. Some professional film cameras can be large and heavy, for which you will need specific drones.

Drones-profesionales

There are many ways in which you can use your professional drone.
(Source: Casey: R5zkwqHVyYo/ Unsplash.com)

Camera

One of the very first things you have to do is decide whether you want a drone that integrates a camera or a model without one. For the former, make sure that the features of the camera, such as its image quality and zoom capacity, meet your needs. If you opt for the latter, check the capacity of the drone’s support and its compatibility with different cameras.

Gimbal

The gimbal is the element that stabilizes the camera. Its purpose is to reduce the vibrations of the propellers as much as possible, while preventing sudden movements from affecting the image quality. In addition, it will condition the overall maneuverability of your camera. The ideal gimbal will allow it to rotate on its axis as freely as possible, so that you can take a wide variety of shots.

Flight Time

A drone’s flight time generally ranges between 20 and 30 minutes, although this will naturally vary from one model to the next. Depending on how you plan on using your device, this aspect will be more or less relevant to you. In any case, we recommend that you always keep a spare battery on hand in case you haven’t finished your work when the first one runs out.

Number of Pilots

The complex operation of specific drones requires two pilots. The first person is responsible for handling the drone while the other controls the camera. Don’t overlook this aspect, especially if you always work on your own. You can find models that give you the possibility to operate them individually or with another person. In that case, you will need a second controller.

Summary

It has been a little over a century now that we first took off in a light aircraft. Since the Wright brothers in the United States, and Alberto Santos Dumont in Brazil, the technology has evolved dramatically. In fact, we have now reached a point where we no longer need a pilot inside the aircraft itself.

Professional drones have made aerial photography much easier and more comfortable. There is now a wide range of products available to us on the American market. In addition to controlling the device itself, some allow you to change the camera parameters, such as the focus or the zoom. In the end, the final decision is yours; you will always find the right model for your needs.

We hope that you found our guide on professional drones helpful and informative. If so, feel free to leave us a comment in the section below. You can also share this article on your social media!

(Source of featured image: Rhea: 1Bx9yJn53iQ/ Unsplash.com)

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