2016 has seen drone technology advance at an incredible rate. Features that were once only seen in professional, industry standard drones are now becoming available in drones costing under £500. This is really exciting for filmmakers shooting on a budget, and opens up a whole range of new possibilities when shooting your videos. However, with so many new impressive drones released in 2016, how do you decide which drone is right for you? Hopefully this list of the top 5 drones released in 2016 will help you.
GoPro Karma - £719.99
For years, people have been searching for the best ways to attach their GoPro cameras to drones. Although people managed to find ways of attaching their GoPros to drones, they never offered the full potential of what an official GoPro drone could produce. We now no longer need to make do with our makeshift drones, as the much anticipated drone by GoPro, the Karma, has finally been released and boosts some impressive features.
The Karma allows you to attach either your Hero 4, Hero 5 Session or Hero 5 Black GoPro camera to a stabilising gimbal at the front of the drone to capture crisp, smooth arial footage. The drone comes with a game-style controller with a touch screen display and relatively simple controls, which allows inexperienced pilots to easily learn to fly the drone. The folding design and carrying case also makes the drone portable, although it doesn’t compare to the portability of the DJI Mavic Pro.
- The Karma has a respectable top speed of 35 Mph
- It has a maximum flight distance of 3000 metres
- The folding design and carrying case makes it a portable drone
- It comes with the Karma Grip, a hand held mount which allows you to attach the drone’s stabilising gimbal to capture smooth, hand held footage
- With a battery life of just 20 minutes, you’re going to need to invest in spare batteries if you want a decent amount of flying time to capture your footage
- The GoPro camera itself is not included in the price tag, so you’re going to need to have your own GoPro in order to use the drone
DJI Mavic Pro - £999.00
DJI is one of the most popular brands in the Drone industry, with its hugely successful Phantom series. However, one of the biggest draw backs with the Phantom drones is their large size. Portability is becoming one of the most sort after features of drones, with more people wanting to bring their drones out with them in their backpacks along with their other camera gear. They don’t want to be walking around with a separate bag just for their drone equipment. The main selling point of the DJI Mavic is that it can fit in your pocket, whilst still retaining the quality.
The Mavic has a folding design where each propeller folds into the body of the drone. This means that the Mavic can be held in one hand and can even fit into your pocket. Despite the compact size, the drone still offers some attractive features, including a 4K camera at 30fps, a precision hover mode which keeps the drone hovering completely still, even indoors, and the ability to track moving objects or people. This drone is ideal for people who want a high quality drone to use on the go.
- Compact folding design – making it one of the smallest drones available
- 4K Ultra HD camera that shoots at 30fps
- “Return to home” feature means you won’t lose your drone in the air
- The “Gesture Mode” allows you to take selfies with just a simple arm movement
- The 27-minute flight time is impressive for its size
- The video quality is not at the same standard as the DJI Phantom 4
- The £999.00 price tag is slightly off-putting
DJI Phantom 4 – £1129.00
The Phantom series of drones have proven to be extremely popular, due to their high-quality performance and build quality as well as their relatively low price tag. They are used mostly by beginner and upcoming filmmakers; however, the Phantom 4 has features that will attract some professionals.
The main features of the DJI Phantom 4 are its’ integrated 3-axis gimbal, the ability to shoot video in up to 4K at 30fps, the TapFly feature, which lets you fly with tap of the finger, the drone’s ability to avoid obstacles automatically and to track moving subjects automatically. Pretty impressive, right?
- The range of features the drone offers is very appealing and makes it a great all round camera drone
- The ability to fly the drone on a smart phone or tablet means that you can view what the drone’s camera is filming through the screen
- The gimbal produces incredibly smooth footage and allows you to film at a range of different angles
- If you want to carry around the drone, remote and spare batteries, you’re going to bringing a big bag around with you due to its’ large size
- The hefty price tag means only keen drone users are going to be able to splash out on a Phantom 4
Hover Camera – $599.00
The Hover Camera by Zero Zero Robotics is not yet widely available, however after videos of the drone appeared on social media, people can’t wait to get their hands on one. The folding drone’s main feature is that it can hover and follow people, without anyone needing to control it. This makes it ideal for filming yourself when you have no one else to film you. It films in 4K and is safe to use indoors, thanks to the housing around the propellers. It does not come with a controller, but instead you must download an app on your phone which allows you to control it.
- 4K footage
- Extremely light weight – just 238 grams
- Safe to use indoors
- The ability to follow an object or person without anyone controlling the drone is very impressive and not seen on many drones
- Not yet widely available
- The video quality does not compare with the DJI drones
- Not ideal for serious video makers.
Dobbie Mini Selfie Drone - $399.00
ZEROTECH DOBBY Mini Selfie Pocket Drone is the cheapest drone on this list and is best suited for beginner filmmakers or vloggers, as the video quality and stabilisation isn’t amazing. However, this drone is perfect for vloggers, as it is small, quick and easy to use and can take off from the palm of your hand. It films in 4K and isn’t much bigger than a mobile phone! This drone is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get aerial shots.
- The Dobbie is a very cheap 4K drone
- Its’ compact size is definitely a welcome feature
- This is one of the best drones on the market for amateur vlogging
- Has features such as face tracking to help keep the camera on the focus of the video
- As the camera is built inside the body of the drone, it is quite unstable and the footage is wobbly in windy conditions
- The Dobbie has an extremely short flight time of just 9 minutes.
- This drone’s camera quality is definitely not suitable for professional video productions, however it can be improved greatly in post-production
So those are some of the best drones released in 2016. They all have unique and exciting features which can make it hard to choose which one is right for you. The best way to decide which drone to purchase is to watch reviews online and to visit camera shops and speak to the staff there. Make sure you read our other article about tips and tricks when filming with drones.
Drone Tips and Tricks
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