Are con­sumer drones use­ful for photography?

Digital Photo (UK) - - PHOTO Q+A -

QI know there are pro­fes­sional drones out there that can hold a DSLR, but these seem to cost thou­sands and thou­sands of pounds. Are the more af­ford­able models that are avail­able any good for shoot­ing stills, or are they a waste of money? Michael Her­ring

Matt says Of­fer­ing shoot­ing per­spec­tives that would have pre­vi­ously re­quired a he­li­copter to reach, cam­era drones have been used to cre­ate some of the most im­pres­sive im­ages of the last few years.

While pro­fes­sional drone rigs ca­pa­ble of sup­port­ing full-size DSLR set­ups are pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive for many pho­tog­ra­phers, you’ll be sur­prised at the kinds of shots that are still pos­si­ble with models avail­able un­der the £1500 mark. Many of these smaller de­vices come com­plete with a light­weight cam­era bun­dled into their price, and are ready to fly with min­i­mal prac­tice straight out of the box, mak­ing them well suited to those new to drone pi­lot­ing.

Be­low are three of the most pop­u­lar con­sumer drones fit­ted with cam­eras cur­rently avail­able on the mar­ket. All of these models of­fer the op­tion to shoot RAWS as well as JPEGS. While the files pro­duced by them might not of­fer the same dy­namic range as those cre­ated by larger sen­sor cam­eras, they still pro­vide ex­cel­lent de­tail cap­ture and plenty of scope for pro­cess­ing.

If your bud­get will stretch to one, it’s worth opt­ing for a model with a sta­bilised cam­era gim­ble. These gim­bles can dra­mat­i­cally re­duce the im­pact of cam­era shake dur­ing flight for sharper shots, and make it eas­ier to achieve de­sired com­po­si­tions through an­gle con­trol that’s in­de­pen­dent of the drone it­self.

Cost­ing less than most pro­fes­sional lenses, drones can be a great in­vest­ment for any pho­tog­ra­pher search­ing for a unique per­spec­tive on a scene.

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