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Best drones for photography in 2022 – CBS News

Drones

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As the news media has known for years, drones are great tools for capturing photos and video from dizzying heights. But if you think drone photography is only for pros, you’re wrong. According to Droneblog, today’s entry-level camera drones cost an average of $300 to $500 — not super cheap, but not super prohibitive, either. A mid-level model may run you anywhere from $500 to $1,000. A budget drone can be had for $100 or less, though don’t expect the range, features or quality of more expensive options.

Below is a look at the best, top-rated camera drones we found on Amazon for professionals, hobbyists and even families. 


Top products in this article

4.7-star-drone for pros: DJI Mini 3 Pro foldable camera drone (4K), $759

Budget drone for kids and beginners: Holy Stone foldable drone (1080p), $100


Drones fly through the air to capture recordings or photos of everything from scenery to your pets. Many drones now boast 4K video, GPS functionality and other helpful tech tools. 

While shopping for drones, it’s important to note that the Federal Aviation Administration requires you to register drones weighing more than 0.55 pounds (or 250 grams). And did you know all recreational drone users, even weekend hobbyists and beginners, are required to take and pass the the Recreational UAS Safety Test, or TRUST, before flying their craft?   

To learn more about drone requirements, check out this handy tool on the FAA site; it asks you questions, and then shows you what rules or guidelines apply to you. Also be sure to visit the FAA’s main drone page for info. 

The bottom line: Don’t take to the air without first getting up to speed on your responsibilities — and FAA requirements and regulations. 


Best drones for photography

Here’s a look at top-rated camera drones we found on Amazon. Each boasts an average user rating on the site of at least 4 stars (out of 5). The curated options suit a variety of budgets and needs.

DJI Mini SE camera drone

Amazon


This lightweight mini drone features a three-axis motorized gimbal. (A gimbal is a gizmo that helps stabilize a camera, and, in turn, your picture.) The DJI Mini SE shoots 12-megapixel photos and 2.7K HD video. On a full charge, the drone will fly for 30 minutes. Overall, this is camera drone for beginners, and, as such, it offers preset QuickShot modes to help newbies get the right shot.

This drone weighs less than 0.55 pounds, and does not require registration with the FAA.

DJI Mini SE camera drone (2.7K), $299


DJI Mini 3 Pro 4K foldable camera drone

Amazon


The DJI Mini 3 Pro is another top-rated lightweight drone. It’s a step up from the DJI Mini SE in camera quality and features. Plus, it’s foldable (something that makes it easy to tote around — when it’s not flying around, of course). 

This drone can shoot in up to 4K video, and capture 48-megapixel photos. It features a gimbal with 90-degree rotation, directional obstacle sensing and 34 minutes of flight time per charge. The DJI Mini 3 Pro also offers time-lapse photography and Active Track, a feature that, when set, will literally have the drone following you around. 

This drone weighs less than 0.55 pounds; it does not have to be registered with the FAA.

DJI Mini 3 Pro foldable camera drone (4K), $759


Autel Robotics Evo Nano+ drone

Autel


The Autel Robotics Evo Nano+ drone captures 4K video and 50-megapixel photos. The Evo Nano+ offers 28 minutes of flight time per charge, and a three-axis gimbal. Use its tracking feature to have the drone follow you, your car — or even your dog. Download the Autel Sky app on your compatible phone or device to edit videos, or download images. 

This drone weighs less than 0.55 pounds; FAA registration is not required.

Autel Robotics Evo Nano+ drone (4K), $899


Ruko F11 GIM2 drone with 4K camera 

Amazon


This compact camera drone from Ruko shoots 4K video with the help of a two-axis gimbal. Use its GPS functions to have the drone follow you around, or ensure that it returns back to you after its flight. The drone delivers 28 minutes of total flight time on a full charge; it comes with two batteries. 

The Ruko F11 iis listed on Amazon for $460, but if you click the coupon button, you’ll save $60 at checkout. 

Note: This drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds; you will need to register it with the FAA before you take it to the skies.  

Ruko F11 GIM2 drone (4K), $400 after coupon (reduced from $460) 


Holy Stone drone with 4K anti-shake camera

Amazon


The Holy Stone 4K drone is an option that’s friendlier to your wallet. It boasts a 90-degree adjustable camera, electronic image stabilization and GPS technology. The drone comes with two batteries; each offers up to 23 minutes of flight time.

Holy Stone drone with 4K anti shake camera, $300


DJI Mavic 3 camera drone

Amazon


The DJI Mavic 3 is a top-flight camera drone with a pro-grade Hasselblad camera. And how’s this for wow factor: It can shoot 4K video from as far away as 9.3 miles.

The DJI Mavic 3 can fly for up to 46 minutes on a full charge. When the battery gets low, a GPS-enabled feature automatically sends the drone back to its home base.

This drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds, and must be registered with the FAA before flight.

DJI Mavic 3 camera drone, $2,049 (reduced from $2,199) 


DJI Air 2S drone quadcopter with 4K camera

Amazon


The DJI Air 2S is a drone with 5.4K-video capabilities, a three-axis gimbal and obstacle sensors. It delivers up to 31 minutes of flight time per charge, and can be controlled from as far away as 7.5 miles.

Because of its weight, this drone must be registered with the FAA before flight.

DJI Air 2S drone quadcopter with 4K camera, $999


Holy Stone foldable drone camera for families and kids

Amazon


With a price of just $100, the Holy Stone foldable drone is a great starter drone for kids and families. It’s capable of capturing up to 1080p video, and boasts a 90-degree adjustable lens. It has a gesture control feature that literally allows you to control it through gestures and hand movements. It offers 20 minutes of flight time per charge; the drone comes with two batteries.

This drone weighs less 0.55 pounds; it does not need to be registered with the FAA.

Holy Stone foldable drone (1080p), $100


Related content from CBS Essentials

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/essentials/best-drones-for-photography/

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