Disclaimer: We don’t get any kickbacks, free drones, free test gadgets etc from the below manufacturers. We wish we did, but we don’t.
In today’s day and age, Drones (quadcopters) are cool, they are the new tech toys on the block that everyone wants to have, even if for no apparent reason.
Having said that, the use of drones has become far more popular than anyone had anticipated. From delivery drones, to drone cinematography, usage in science and now even drone racing, has pushed the development of these gadgets up a steep curve in a short span of time.
For the sake of not being all over the place, we will talk generally about drones being used to get that once elusive breath-taking shot, or to film something unimaginable, up close. Yes, we will talk about drone photography and cinematography.
The good news is that all this recent buzz and development push on drones has caused the market to be far more competitive which means better quality at better and lower prices. The bad news though, in a weird way, is that quality still costs money.
Starting off, no matter where you look, websites, magazines, podcasts, a name that is now synonymous with drones and becoming more and more like guacamole is to Mexican food, is DJI (Dà-Jiāng Innovations Science and Technology Co., Ltd).
Their dominance of the drone market or rather anyone’s ‘Top 10 best drones’ list is phenomenal. It seems the company is ahead of the curve and innovating continuously. Their catalog offers models at diverse prices catering to semi-pros/adventurers/travelers (The DJI Mavic Pro starting at USD $999.00), the photographers dream drone (The DJI Phantom 4 Pro starting at USD $ 1,499.00) and the full professional (The DJI Inspire 2 starting at a cool USD $ 2,999.00).
Each model has their own pros and cons, like the Mavic being foldable and small enough to fit into a backpack, to the Phantom 4 with its obstacle-avoidance system that DJI calls OSS. Nevertheless, something the Inspire 2 has over probably most of the market, including its own siblings, is the dual operator function for its 2 cameras. That’s right – Dual Operator! You can now have a dedicated pilot look out the front mounted camera focusing on flying, while the professional photographer/videographer can operate the bottom mounted 360 degree camera system focusing fully on getting the jaw dropping shot. It seems doubtful that once this mode of flying is experienced, anyone can go back to the single flyer mode.
So where does that leave the other manufacturers?
Yuneec drones feature in some lists, but are so far not as popular, potentially because of their looks, or because their basic models are competing in the price range of the DJI Phantom 3, which does everything better. While their best model, the Typhoon, falls in the same price range as the Phantom Pro 4, which so far seems to be a losing battle.
Another brand called Parrot, seems to be doing well, however recently they announced missing their targets and have had to downsize their drone division by over a third. Not the news one wants to hear before dishing out near USD $ 1,000.
This is not the be all end all by any stretch of imagination. DJI could potentially continue to lead the market, but we all know how easy it is in the tech development race to be caught snoozing and overtaken. One thing is for sure, the market is going to throw up some very funky, cool, Star Trek, Star Wars-ish stuff for consumers, albeit those that have deep pockets.
Already have a drone? Wondering what the laws in Germany are? Stay tuned for our next article.