When DJI’s Phantom multicopter arrived in 2013, it revolutionised the industry. Easy to fly, it made aerial photography and filming accessible to everyone.
But while the Phantom might have launched a mere three years ago, the company has been pushing the boundaries of aerial imaging since 2006. Through the Phantom range and beyond, it continues to innovate and surprise. Whether you’re a professional film maker or hobbyist, it provides solutions to capture everything from stunning landscapes to world-class sporting events.
Not a pro? Never flown a drone before? No worries. DJI’s drones come in flavours suitable for all. Backpacking around the world and want to come home with more than a set of standard-issue selfies? There’s a drone for that too. DJI’s unrivalled aerial imaging expertise means it has something to suit just about any need.
Mix and match the categories below to find the drone of your dreams.
Best for: adventurers
You can tell incredible stories with a drone, but with airlines charging for every ounce of checked luggage and tourist buses stuffed to the gunwhales with backpacker detritus (thanks for bringing your guitar, Dimitri!), being able to stow your stuff in the smallest possible space is important.
You don’t want to compromise on quality, though, and the £1,099 DJI Mavic Pro offers an ideal blend of videographic excellence and portability. Unfolded and operational, it offers 27 minutes of flight time at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, while its three-axis gimbal camera mount allows it to shoot steady 4K footage. Fold it up and it becomes a neat 20cm long by 8.3cm wide brick that weighs just 743 grams. It uses ActiveTrack technology to follow people and objects you select, making flying simple and allowing you to concentrate on crafting the perfect story – however far you’ve had to travel to get it.
Also consider… The Phantom 4 (£1099) may not fold up, but its robust and lightweight magnesium skeleton, obstacle avoidance technology, powerful 4K camera and top speed of 44mph means it’s ready for any adventure.
Best for: all-rounders
The Phantom 4 Pro, at £1589, has a balance of talents that’ll suit anyone eager to take their drone imaging to the next level – whether you’re into extreme sports, the great outdoors, or if you simply fancy hurling a drone into the sky to have it swoop majestically about in a manner unthinkable a few short years ago.
In terms of tech, the Phantom 4 Pro steps up from the Phantom 4 in several key ways: it’s a drone that senses and understands all of its surroundings, and reacts to them in an intelligent manner. While the Phantom 4 includes sensors in its front to ensure it doesn’t clash with obstacles, the Phantom 4 Pro’s FlightAutonomy system puts them on every side. Combined with ActiveTrack technology, that means it can follow its subject autonomously, even while it’s flying backwards or sideways.
Its camera has a whopping 1in, 20MP sensor with a wide dynamic range and all-new mechanical shutter to provide punchy, distortion-free footage: a boon if you’re capturing 4K vistas at 60fps. There’s a dedicated controller available for the Phantom 4 Pro, too (£1819 bundled, £635 separately), which has a five-hour battery life and an ultra-bright 5.5in touchscreen built in.
A double-tap on the controller is all it takes to send it skyward and set it hovering. When you’re done – which could be up to 30 minutes after the Phantom 4 Pro takes off – Smart Return Home summons it back safely with a touch. It’s simple, but only because it’s so powerful.
Silky footage minus the drone: meet Osmo Mobile
DJI doesn’t just do drones. Its applied its knowledge of buttery-smooth aerial imaging to your smartphone with the £270 Osmo Mobile. This handheld controller and three-axis gimbal turns your device into a smart motion camera, cancelling out every jerk and jolt you make while you’re recording. At the same time, it communicates with the DJI GO app on your phone, allowing you to capture slick action shots and time-lapses, and to live-stream stabilised video to Facebook Live or YouTube. You need to see it to believe it – take a look here.
Best for: newcomers
If you’re making your first foray into drone-tography, the Phantom 3 Series is a very smart option. The Phantom 3 Standard (£509) is robust and simple, with speedy set-up, straightforward controls and up to 25 minutes of flying time.
Auto-hover keeps it in place when you’ve taken your fingers off the control sticks, and Automatic Flight Assistant constantly records its position using the Phantom 3’s built-in GPS, allowing you to call it back from wherever you’ve flown it with a single command. That’s especially handy when it’s just notified you its battery is running low…
Also consider… Want to upgrade your video? The clue’s in the name with the Phantom 3 4K (£699), which offers improved range (1.2km) alongside higher-resolution footage. Also, its visual positioning system – ultrasonic sensors scanning beneath the Phantom 3 for patterns – means that it can hover indoors, and identify its position in GPS-free areas.
Best for: professionals
So. You’ve used a couple of drones, you like how they work, and your video editing skills are so good you’ve started spelling skills with a "z". What you need is the DJI Inspire 2. It has the largest imaging sensor of all DJI’s drones, capturing 5.2K video at its finest resolution from the Zenmuse X5S Micro 4/3 camera attached to its three-axis gimbal.
It’s also quick. Its mechanically folding carbon fibre body shoots from 0-50 miles per hour in just over five seconds, and keeps accelerating to a maximum of 58 miles per hour. All in all, it’s possibly the best way to spend £3,059 we can think of. Just make sure your project’s ambition matches the Inspire 2’s.
And that’s just a portion of the complete DJI range. To find out more about DJI’s drones and cutting-edge imaging gear, click here >>