Best drones for photography
By Martin Pratt
Almost all drones come with a camera, but which ones take the best pictures and capture the best video?
Drones can be equipped with some of the best action cameras around. The best record in 4K and are attached to gimbals, which keep the camera straight even while the drone is moving.
But our testing of DSLR cameras and action cameras has shown that making a camera capable of filming in 4K doesn’t necessarily mean the image will be stellar. Sharp maybe, but any camera can produce images and video with washed out, dull colours - even a 4K one.
If you see a drone primarily as a tool for capturing stunning landscape shots from a previously impossible perspective or as a way to create some thrilling home movies (or even theatrical ones), then you need a drone that takes crystal clear, vibrant footage that won’t blur, regardless of wind speed.
Here are the three drones that we think take the best pictures and the clearest video.
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Best drones for photography
The 4K camera mounted to this drone captured some of the most impressive footage of any of the models we tested. It achieved five stars in almost every category for photo and video, with the only drawback being a loss of detail in low-light conditions, which is most likely due to the relatively narrow f/2.2 aperture. The drone comes with a three-axis gimbal which compensates for pitch, roll and yaw to keep the camera stable even while the drone is moving.
This drone has a 12Mp camera and shoots video in 4K resolution. The camera takes great photos with sharp details and vibrant colours and even does a good job in low light. The video camera is similarly impressive and benefits from the three-axis gimbal mounting which ensure that there’s less camera shake when you’re moving the drone around.
This is one of the best drones we’ve tested thanks largely to its camera. The 4K video was crystal clear and the images, although not as good as the video, were still impressive. We experienced very little judder and blurring in the images, too, which is due to the three-axis gimbal ensuring that the camera remains still and stable while the drone is moving.
How we test for the best camera drones
The camera makes up a significant part of a drone’s cost. That’s why our testing focuses as much on the camera as the drone itself.
We test the camera in outdoor and indoor conditions to see how well the camera copes in daylight and low-light conditions. By taking the drone outside we can check whether the camera can take stable footage even while wind is buffeting it.
If a camera can’t compensate for the movement of the drone, then shots will be blurry and distorted.
We determine how good the camera is at shooting video and taking still images, so no matter how you intend to use your drone and camera you can find a model that suits you best.