For people aspiring to be more than hobbyists or enthusiasts when it comes to their drones and who want to move on to something more advanced, the next step is always upgrading from your first one to a more professional type. The basic or entry-level drones are not bad, but usually they lack some of the better features which is compensation for its lower price range. Professional drones, are in simplest terms, more expensive but have far greater capabilities than those of the mid- or low-range ones.
Chances are, if you’re looking to upgrade, you might be a budding videographer or aerial photographer looking for better image and video quality output; or you could also be a serious hobbyist looking for a greater challenge when it comes to controlling or maneuvering your craft. The great thing about today’s drone market is, that there is something for everyone—you only need to consider what to look for in your investment on a professional drone
Must-haves for different needs
Serious needs call for more serious hardware, which is why there’s a niche market for it. There are several things to consider though before you pull out your wallet and start burning through money (because you WILL burn money if you’re buying a professional drone).
- Battery life—Lower-end drones tend to have a flight time of around 7-10 minutes’ max before the battery runs low and you have to either a) replace it with a spare or b) if you have no spare, or if the battery is non-removable (in very rare cases) then you charge it for a minimum of 90 minutes before you can use it again. If you’re trying to be a serious user, the constant changing/charging of batteries can be cumbersome and tiresome. Buying a higher-end drone usually ensures that it has better battery capacity along with it. These usually range from 18-25 minutes, depending on the price range. They also offer faster charging times to get rid of the pesky waiting time. Just to be sure though, invest in spares, as well as a power bank so you can make the most out of every use.
- Camera—The camera is consistently one of the main selling points of higher-end drones. This is because professional drones are great for both aerial photography and videography. It’s actually cheaper than the alternative of needing to be in an actual aircraft; the built-in AI inside professional drones will help you get that perfect snap or capture those precious moments. What will surprise you (but really shouldn’t) is that even though almost all consumer drones have built-in cameras, not all of them are up to par with the better cameras found in higher-end models. For any good investment, you can get up to 4K video resolutions, whereas the simplest models can only offer you up to 720p HD resolutions. What’s more, almost all, if not all, of the available professional drones have their cameras mounted on gimbals which can control the angles of the shots you will be taking. It’s also great for leveling out the camera so you produce videos that will not make you motion sick if you watch it. There’s also the option to buy a professional drone without an installed camera or even a removable one. This widens the amount of improvements you can make on the photo and video shooting alone. If you’re looking to be a serious aerial photographer/videographer, it’s good to invest in these types of drones which can be continually upgraded as better cameras are released.
- Overall drone construction—This is not to say that every drone below the higher-end models is flimsy and easily breakable. In fact, most of them are pretty well-made when it comes to the body construction, and spare parts are always readily available for those who need them. But if you’re paying more, then that usually means that you’re going to get better, and the same goes for the overall quality of the aircraft itself.
- Durability—Usually, because these professional drones are bigger in size, they are well equipped to handle the occasional bumps and bruises, as well as the once-in-a-while major crash. They also have higher landing gears in order to protect the camera in case the unit does crash, since the camera is usually found at the bottom of every drone. If you’re paying more, then in turn you can be sure that the overall quality and feel of the product reflect this.
- Additional exclusive features—Of course, the greatest advantages you will get when you purchase any professional drone are the features that it has that the lower-end models don’t. It varies with each professional drone, but the most common example is the added GLONASS capability, whereas mid-ranges sometimes only carry GPS and lower-ranges don’t have either. This is useful for keeping track of the drone, even when it’s a mere speck on the horizon.
Better controllers, longer transmission ranges, and more intuitive controls overall—these are just some of the perks that come with professional drones. Each flight is better because of the peace of mind that you’re afforded with extra security features, like constant surveillance with integration between your smartphone and the controller.
Getting a professional drone also affords you the chance for a more challenging experience as an intermediate drone flyer. Most professional drones have different settings you can play around with in order to find one that most suits your needs, and in some cases most of the control is passed to you— great if you think you’re up for it and you’d love a greater challenge.
Features aside, remember that owning a professional drone is not all pros. With these models being pricier, it’s worth considering if you’re investing in it for all the right reasons, as with every purchase. It’s also worth noting that there are many high-end drones on the market out there and there’s something to be said about being informed beforehand on what you need so you can be sure that you made the right choice when you finally own one.
Best Professional Drones
[compareProducts display=”horizontal” ids=24,22,17]