Are consumer drones useful for photography?
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.