Drone technology is an industry that is growing very fast! A few years ago most people wouldn’t even know what a recreational drone is, now they are coming out with drones equipped with 4K cameras. It might sound lame but this is something to be really excited about! The drones are still in the infant stages for civilian use though and the development is advancing every day.
So which drone is right for me? The first thing to ask yourself is do you want a drone that already comes with the camera attached and what quality camera is best for me. Some drones operate without a First Person View (FPV) monitor, which can live stream the footage from the drone camera to your tablet, smartphone or FPV goggles, while others require one to fly.
FPV drones that are equipped with cameras can come as a video operation only, or the ability to shoot both still photographs and video. Some are so advanced that you can shoot both at the same time! Sounds pretty intense right? Beginner drones mostly have a fixed camera that shoots video but you really have no idea what you’re getting until the drone lands and you download the footage. Having a camera on your drone is not necessary but pretty important, we are going to dive into some of the advantages and disadvantages of drone cameras.
The top advantage is that you can see where you are flying through the drone’s camera, versus having to look up in the sky the entire time. This can not only kill your neck after a good five minutes but if you fly in sunny places like Florida, then the sun will also burn your eyes. A camera can greatly improve your flight experience based on this factor alone.
Another advantage of being able to use the FPV perspective is that the operator can change the settings on the camera to reach some desired effects while in the air. Instead of bringing your drone down to change the settings, for example if you got a drone without camera already attached but mounted your GoPro to make it your own GoPro drone. This can get pretty annoying, especially since your battery life is limited and you don’t want to waste any time.
As drone technology improves, so will the features on them and the camera capabilities. Even now there are cameras that can read infrared, moisture content, and all kinds of spectrum’s. What that means is we will be able to do more work with the drones than the traditional aerial systems, at a much lower cost. Meaning the savings can be passed onto the clients, which is a huge advantage of having drones with cameras!
Some drones, like the DJI Inspire 1 or Phantom 3, come equipped with a 4K camera. The drone video quality is also amazing shooting at 1080p! The price of the drone is so reasonable for such a high quality camera, the drone photography that you can get is truly amazing and so crisp and clear.
A downfall to drone cameras is that there usually mounted on the drone, giving it a limited to fixed focal lengths. Which means you can’t zoom in and out on a subject. At least for now anyways until they come up with something better. Thats not to say that the cameras don’t take good photographs because they do. You just need to understand they do have their limitations. I’ve seen some amazing photographs taken from 120-200 feet in the air. Even before adding a few touches in Adobe Lightroom.
Taking photos and videos with drones can be tricky and requires a little practice, like anything does to be perfect at it. The weather can be a disadvantage, clouds can add unwanted shadows over your desired shot or wind can slightly move the drone from your spot. A little rain can definitely put a damper on your day flying. So look at the weather ahead of time so that you don’t get your drone stuck in the storm.
What’s in the Future?
The cameras today will soon be a thing of the past. As newer models with better capabilities are created to match up with the specific needs of the drone platforms they are fitted to. So whether you are out for the enjoyment of flying and capturing some unique shots from you drone, or commercial person seeking to improve on what is there now, know that things will get better and the cost will come down.
In the meantime, learn what you can do with what you have and explore the possibilities. Push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of. As you do, share with others what you find. You are the Picasso, and your drone with its camera is your paint brush. Let’s see what you can create, fly safe and have fun.