One of the many aspects of drones I enjoy is their ability to take stunning aerial photography, and as the industry grows more and more, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the best drone for aerial photography.

Drones are becoming so popular that everyone is getting one. One of the main reasons people are buying drones is because of their ability to show us our world from a bird’s eye view. To see and explore places that previously would have been impossible to explore. Drones with cameras that take awesome photography are increasing, however, one company still dominates the scene. If you have read my reviews, you will know how much I admire the drones by DJI. Well, their drones dominate this list.

My personal favourite drone is the DJI Air 2S, its small elegant design and powerful features make it a fantastic drone for aerial photography. This is not an exhaustive list, there are so many good drones for professional aerial photography that it was hard for me to choose which ones to include and which ones to leave out. If you do not like any of the drones on this list (unlikely!) check out my list of the best drones with a camera. I also update this list as often as I can because the drone industry moves fast and there is always a new high-end drone release every few months. The list below reflects some of the best drones for photography for the year 2021.

Something else to note is that with many of these drones, you can use them for other commercial reasons and not just for professional photography. One area where drones are being utilised is photogrammetry, photogrammetry is the science of obtaining data about things like an area of land or object through the use of images. It’s a method that is used by many industries like construction, agriculture, mining, and environmental monitoring to gather data for analysis, planning, and decision making.

If you do use any drone for commercial reasons, remember to register the drone with the FAA ( if you live in the USA) or the CAA (if you reside in the UK). For UK drone pilots, check out this article on UK drone laws and for US drone pilots, this article on US drone laws may be helpful.

14 Best Drones For Aerial Photography

#1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro

The Mavic 2 Pro is an exceptional drone for aerial photography, it’s a foldable drone that weighs less than 1kg, so if you are a travel photographer, this drone will be suitable for you as it is easy to carry around. DJI’s Mavic drones are some of the best-looking drones on the market and the Mavic 2 Pro is no different. Of course, the main feature is its amazing camera that has been engineered in partnership with Hasselblad. The camera sports a 1-inch CMOS sensor that can capture images in 20MP and comes with 10-bit HDR video support. You can capture different types of Panorama photography and record amazing hyperlapse videos.

Key Features

  • 4/30fps camera
  • 1” CMOS sensor
  • 20MP still images (RAW+JPEG)
  • 3-axis mechanical gimbal
  • HDR support
  • 10-bit HDR colour
  • 31 minutes of flight time
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • Obstacle avoidance technology

#2. Autel Evo 2 Pro

This is the other version of the Evo 2 drone, the Pro is similar in structure and design, however, it is slightly heavier, this is mainly because it comes with a bigger camera. The camera comes with a big 1” sensor that can capture 20MP images in both JPEG and DNG RAW. It comes with an adjustable aperture and has an ISO range for photos of 100-12800. The drone can record video footage in 6k at 30fps in both MOV/MP4 format at a speed of 120Mbps. Other features include dynamic tracking, Omni-directional obstacle avoidance system and support HDR videos/photos.

Key Features

  • 6k/30fps, 4k/60fps, 2.7k/120fps camera
  • 1-inch CMOS sensor
  • 20MP still images
  • 10-bit colour
  • 3-axis gimbal
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • 40 minutes of flight time
  • HDR support
  • 3*lossless zoom
  • 360° obstacle avoidance system

#3. Autel Evo 2

The Evo 2 is the worlds first 8k camera drone, its larger than the original Evo but still very compact in its folded form. It is heavier than most foldable drones but that is to be expected considering the number of features it comes with. The camera can record video footage in 8k at 25fps and capture images in 48MP thanks to its state of the art next-gen sensor from Sony. The drone also comes with Omni-directional obstacle avoidance system, several intelligent flight modes and an industry-leading flight time of 40 minutes.

 

Key Features

  • 8k/25fps, 6k/30fps, 4k/60fps camera
  • 120Mbps
  • 1/2″ CMOS sensor from Sony
  • 48MP Still images
  • 4*lossless zoom
  • 3-axis gimbal system
  • Full HDR support
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • 40 minutes of flight time
  • 9km transmission range

#4. DJI Inspire 2 

This is, without a doubt, the most powerful consumer drone currently on the market. In terms of aerial photography/videography, it has no equal. It should be No.1 but the Mavic pro appeals to me more with its slick design and powerful features. The Inspire 2 looks similar to the Inspire 1 but its features are at a whole new level. It has a 2 axis camera at the front and the main camera on its underbelly is stabilised by an advanced 3 axis gimbal. Three cameras are compatible with the Inspire 2. The Zenmuse X4S, the X5S and the X7. All are professional-grade cameras. If you are a professional photographer, this drone is for you.

Key Features

  • 3 Professional Grade Cameras
  • Zenmuse X4S – 4K@60FPS – 20 MP
  • Zenmuse X5S – 5.2K@30FPS – 20.8 MP
  • Zenmuse X7 – 6K@30FPS – 24 MP
  • 6 Intelligent flight modes
  • Obstacle avoidance technology
  • 27 minutes flight time
  • Lightbridge technology allows transmission range of over 4 miles
  • Body designed to withstand harsh weathers

#5. DJI Phantom 4 Pro 

Although the Mavic is my top choice, technically there are far better drones for aerial photography and the Phantom 4 Pro is one of them. It’s improved body design makes it more aerodynamic and the magnesium shell has greatly reduced its weight. This makes for a far more stable drone which can resist strong gusts of wind. Its gimbal and the placement of the battery makes it more balanced with improved agility whilst also raising the accuracy of the controls. The Phantom 4 Pro boasts a fantastic 4K camera capable of recording 60FPS, with its light bridge technology it can stream HD video straight to any connected device on the controller. With its 20 megapixel camera, you will also be able to take some stunning drone photography. 

Key Features

  • 4K@60FPS
  • 20 MP
  • 4 Way Advanced Obstacle avoidance and 5 way obstacle sensing system
  • Top speed of 45 mph
  • 30 minutes flight time
  • Dual Redundancy features
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • Over 4-mile range

#6. DJI Air 2S

The DJI Air 2S is a powerful drone for creating high-quality photographs and video recordings, whether you’re an amateur photographer or a certified drone pro. This is an update to the incredible Air 2 drone, and it comes with a slew of new technology. The DJI Air 2S is a foldable drone that weighs less than 600g and, like all lightweight drones, is easy to transport. The new 1-inch CMOS camera, which can capture images in 20MP and record video footage in 5k at 30fps and 4k at 60fps at a speed of 150 megabytes, is one of the best improvements to this drone, particularly for photographers. A 4-way obstacle avoidance system protects the drone from crashing into things, an added level of protection is its Airsense system that receives ADS-B signals from aeroplanes and helicopters and displayed on the app. Other features include the new DJI iteration of its OcuSync transmitting system, which offers a 12km range of controls, triple GNSS modules, 31 minutes of flight time, and a flight mode called Mastershots, allowing you to record high-quality videos even if you are an inexperienced drone pilot.

Key Features

  • 1-inch 20MP CMOS sensor
  • 5.4k@30fps, 4k@60fps, 1080p@120fps
  • 10-bit D-Log colour profile
  • 150Mbps
  • 4-way obstacle avoidance technology
  • Autonomous flight modes
  • 3-axis mechanical gimbal & electronic image stabilisation
  • 31 minutes of flight time
  • OcuSync 3.0 transmission technology
  • 12km range

#7. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

The Mavic 2 Zoom is similar to the Pro version, however, it comes with an inferior camera and hence the reason it is slightly cheaper. However, it is still a very good camera that can record in 4k at 30fps and capture 12MP still images. It also has a super-resolution feature that will allow you to take amazing landscape photography in 48MP. One of the best features of this camera are its 4*optical zoom which will allow you to get up and close to your subject matter without moving the drone and with little loss in quality. Apart from the camera, the drone comes with pretty much the same features as the Mavic 2 Pro.

Key Features

  • 4k/30fps camera
  • 1/2.3 inch sensor
  • 12MP still images
  • 48MP super-resolution images (landscape photography)
  • 3-axis mechanical gimbal
  • Obstacle avoidance technology
  • Captures video in MOV/MP4
  • 31 minutes of flight time
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology

#8. DJI Mavic Pro 

This is one of the most powerful compact drones on the market. Its foldable design makes it the perfect drone companion for travelling with. The drone comes with a 4K camera stabilised by an advanced 3 axis gimbal. The gimbal eliminates any shake or sudden movements by the Mavic to give you ultra-crisp HD video footage. With its 12 megapixel camera, you will be able to take beautiful aerial images. The controller has a range of 7km and the flying time is 27 minutes. Some of the creative features built into this drone are ActiveTrack, finely tuned controls that allow for safe indoor flights and gesture control which lets you control the drone with your hand movements. No need for the transmitter when this mode is activated. All in all, this is a great drone for professionals and hobbyists. It is my personal favourite drone. A mini-drone that is perfect for aerial photography

Key Features

  • 4K@30FPS
  • 12 megapixels
  • Advanced Obstacle avoidance system
  • Intelligent flight modes including a new gesture control mode
  • 27 minutes of flight time
  • OcuSync technology 
  • 4km Transmission range

#9. DJI Inspire 1 

The DJI Inspire 1 Pro is one of my top choices for aerial photography and videography, you can read my full review of this stunning drone here.DJI without a doubt are the industry leaders in drone manufacturing and the Inspire 1 is one of their most advanced drones but has to make do with the 4th place on this list. The inspire 1 comes with Zenmuse X3 camera which can record in 4k@25FPS. It can also take really good still images in 12 megapixels. However, if the Zenmuse X3 is not up to your specs, the Inspire 1 is also compatible with four other professional-grade cameras. This is a fantastic drone for photography.

 

Key Features

  • 4K@25FPS (X3 Camera)
  • 5 Compatible cameras
  • 12 MP
  • Top speed of 49 mph
  • 18 minutes flight time
  • Retractable legs
  • Over 3-mile transmission range

#10. Autel Evo

The original Evo was supposed to be a challenger to DJI’s Mavic Pro and although it never reached the heights of the Mavic in terms of popularity, it is a fantastic drone that comes with many good features. It’s a compact drone with a foldable design which makes it a good drone to travel with. The camera can record video footage in 4k at 60fps and capture 12MP still images. It is stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal for image and video stabilisation and comes with a 3-way obstacle avoidance system.

Key Features

  • 4k/2.7k 60fps & 1089p 120fps
  • 1/2.3” CMOS sensor
  • 12MP still images
  • HDR support
  • 3-axis gimbal
  • 30 minutes of flight time
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • Dual GPS module
  • Obstacle avoidance system

#11. DJI Mavic Air 2

One of the smallest and lightest drones that can be used for professional photography, the Mavic Air 2 comes with most of DJI’s innovative features and costs less than $800. This is a well-engineered drone, it looks fantastic and weighs just over 500g. The Mavic Air 2 comes with a 4k camera that can record video footage in 4k at 30fps and capture image sin both JPEG+RAW. It comes with HDR support and can shoot 3 types of panorama photography. It has one of the longest flight times for any consumer drones at 34 minutes and with comes with DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology which will allow you to record video footage from 10km.

Key Features

  • 4k/60fps camera
  • 1/2″ sensor
  • 48MP still images
  • JEPG+RAW
  • 3-axis gimbal
  • 3-way obstacle avoidance technology
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • 34 minutes of flight time
  • Enhanced HDR support
  • Can stream live video footage in 1080p at 30fps

#12. DJI Mini 2

The cheapest drone on this list and also the smallest and lightest, the DJI Mini 2 is the successor to the hugely popular Mavic Mini and it comes with some amazing upgrades. This is the perfect drone for people who are looking to get into drone photography and are on a tight budget. It costs less than $500 and comes with a 4k camera that is stabilised by a 3-axis motorised gimbal. Having an advanced gimbal system for image and video stabilisation is pretty impressive for a mini drone. Despite being such a small drone, it can be flown in mildly windy conditions and can reach a top speed of 57 km/h. The live video feed is streamed in 720p resolution and has a video transmission range of 10km.

Key Features

  • 4k/30fps
  • 1/2.3 inch sensor
  • 12MP still images
  • RAW+JPEG
  • 2* Zoom (4k) 4* Zoom (1080p)
  • 5 Quickshots for short cinematic videos
  • 31 minutes of flight time
  • OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology

#13. DJI Mavic Air

The Mavic Air is the latest addition to the DJI Mavic range and although it is not as powerful as the Pro version, it still comes with some powerful features that make it one of the best drones for aerial photography. It is a foldable ultra-portable drone that can fit in your pocket and comes with a 3-axis 4k camera that can also take 12 MP images. It can record slow-motion videos in 1080p 120FPS so you can capture high-speed action in fine detail. It has several intelligent flight modes including ActiveTrack, QuickShots and Smart Capture. Smart Capture lets you control the drone and take selfies with hand gestures.With a flight time of 21 minutes and obstacle sensing system, you can fly this drone, take awesome videos and images without worrying about crashing it.

 

Key Features

  • 4k Camera
  • 12 MP Still images
  • Foldable Design
  • Lightweight
  • Intelligent flight modes
  • 21 minutes flight time
  • Top speed 42 mph

#14. Hubsan Zino 2 Pro

Hubsan is famous for its cheap drones but has recently ventured into the high-end drone market and the Hubsan Zino Pro 2 is their most powerful drone. It’s the lowest-priced drone on the list and it has a lot of innovative features that makes it worth considering. It has a foldable structure and is suitable to travel with and for a little extra, you get a cool drone carry case with it. The drone has an advanced Ambarella image processing chip to capture smooth 4k images and amazing aerial photography. It comes with a number of smart flight modes, an improved app that is regularly updated, and a new type of transmission technology called SYNCLEAS that gives it a transmission range of 9km. This is the drone for you if you want a good cheaper alternative to the more expensive drones on this list.

 

Key Features

  • 1/2.3-inch Sony CMOS sensor
  • 4k@30fps, 2.7k@60fps, 1080p@120fps
  • Advanced image chip from Ambarella
  • HDR support for videos
  • 100Mbps
  • 3-axis gimbal
  • 35 minutes of flight time
  • 9km range
  • Autonomous flight modes
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