Top 6 Professional Drone Reviews of 2020

Your work may require you to take videos and photos from an elevated perspective. If you’re on the field, you want a model that won’t fail you.

After scouring verified user reviews and test flight reports, we found that DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the best professional drone for capturing aerial visuals. 

Read on to find out how it fares among the rest and why it stands out. Plus, get to know your other options in case you’re wondering what else is there.

1. DJI Mavic 2 Pro

DJI Mavic 2 Pro  - A Professional Drone

Best Overall

Combining creative and technical functions, the Mavic 2 Pro is the flagship offering of DJI. It features a Hasselblad camera that delivers 20-megapixel photos and 4K videos that can elevate the output you produce for your clients or your portfolio. Improving on the original Mavic Pro, it also sports a 1-inch CMOS sensor for better ISO and performance in low-light environments.

Its ability to sense obstacles from multiple directions lets you focus on framing your footage and shots instead of keeping your drone steady. Shooting modes like Point of Interest and Waypoint, as well as the Active Track flight mode, are much-welcome upgrades for easier flying and capturing.

With 31-minute battery life, this model can let you do more with one take-off and landing session. It is compatible with DJI Goggles as well. A standalone unit can cost you around $1,500, and a bundle, including DJI Goggles, can cost upward of $2,000.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro is Suitable For:

While designed to be professional-grade, this quad can accommodate all pilot skill levels.

Pros:

  • It produces 20-megapixel photos and 4K videos for elevated output.
  • It performs well in low-light environments.
  • It offers multiple flights and shooting modes for more customization.
  • It works with DJI Goggles for immersive shooting.

Cons:

  • It may be restrictive to use in urban environments.

2. DJI Phantom 4 RTK

DJI Phantom 4 RTK

Best Overall Runner-Up

Designed for surveyors in mind, the DJI Phantom 4 RTK provides you with accurate positioning at the centimeter level. Real-time aerial mapping gets a boost with the Phantom platform, which includes a 1-inch, 20-megapixel CMOS sensor to capture uncompromising image data. Its mechanical shutter works together with its high-resolution capability for accurate imaging at low altitudes. 

The RTK component allows for real-time correction of location data while the TimeSync system ensures the RTK module, camera, and remote controller are aligned. Make your mapping missions smarter with planning modes like the Photogrammetry (2D and 3D), Waypoint Flight, Terrain Awareness, and Block Segmentation.

This one features the five-direction sensing of obstacles for seamless, uninterrupted use. Its maximum flight time is 30 minutes. And its price starts at around $2,000.

DJI Phantom 4 RTK is Suitable For:

Primarily designed for surveyors, photographers and videographers can also take it out for capturing cinematic images with its mechanical shutter and large sensor.

Pros:

  • It offers accurate positioning at the centimeter level for precise mapping.
  • It features a large sensor and a mechanical shutter to produce high-quality images.
  • It makes for smarter missions with its systems and features.

Cons:

  • The video feed range may be limited.
  • Warranty is excluded from your purchase and may be availed through paying an additional amount.

3. DJI Inspire 2

DJI Inspire 2

Best Value

Taking cinematography to new heights is the DJI Inspire 2. Topping its array of features is the CineCore 2.1 image processing system, which allows video recording in various formats: 

  • 6K @4.44Gbps CinemaDNG
  • 5.2K @2.08Gbps Apple ProRes*2
  • H.265/H.264 @100Mbps.

Filmmakers can create complex shots with the two cameras this drone can carry.

Anyone can also take cinematic stills. Whoever pilots this one can run it continuously for a maximum of 27 minutes, thanks to its dual battery system. It can handle low temperatures as well as it’s equipped with dual IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) and barometers. And with the Sense and Avoid function, it can minimize the risk of collision.

If you’re in production, you can invest in this dependable gear, which can set you back around $2,000.

DJI Inspire 2 is Suitable For:

Filmmakers and cinematographers can capture aerial shots according to their vision with this drone that can deliver videos in various formats.

Pros:

  • Its image processing system can capture videos in various formats.
  • It can also take cinematic stills.
  • It can run in low-temperature environments.
  • It has a Sense and Avoid function, which minimizes the risk of collision.

Cons:

  • Its price may be too pricey for some people.

4. Freefly Alta 8

Freefly Alta 8

Best Value Runner-Up

When it comes to versatility in the air, the Freefly Alta 8 provides filmmakers and cinematographers with options, including placing up to a 20-pound payload on the top or bottom tray. Set up the quick-release, portable gimbal system in a jiffy. Then, launch the drone in five minutes with the SYNAPSE Flight Controller. Make sure to use a camera for drone footage.

Construction-wise, the carbon fiber propellers and swan-neck carbon booms complement the agility of this model. Its plastic enclosure makes it weather-resistant and applicable to different climates. Stability in high altitudes is maintained through the accelerometers, barometer, and an advanced GPS.

With its film industry-leading features, this product also requires an investment by the thousands. For those who need financing, you can check for eligibility via Affirm.

Freefly Alta 8 is Suitable For:

Professionals in the filmmaking industry can invest in this expensive yet value-adding version.

Pros:

  • It can carry up to a 20-pound payload.
  • You can set up a camera on the bottom or top tray.
  • It is weather-resistant.

Cons:

  • It commands a really high price.

5. Ryze Tello

Ryze Tello

Best Budget

The Ryze Tello is an 80-gram drone that deploys a DJI-powered controller and an Intel processor stable, high-quality video transmission. While in flight, it can send 720p footage from 100 meters away

It also delivers clear 5MP resolution images, enhanced by the Electronic Image Stabilization function. With 13 minutes of maximum flight time, it may capture enough data without a battery swap.

Low battery levels will prompt the drone to notify you. When you lose signal, it is capable of landing safely on the nearest ground. But what puts this on the best professional drones list is its programmability. By programming in Scratch, you can design and upload modes and flight characteristics to be used in teaching kids.

For an educational and aerial photography tool, you only need to spend $100. 

Ryze Tello is Suitable For:

Educators and enthusiasts alike can use this professional-grade drone for their everyday or special needs.

Pros:

  • It is lightweight and stable. 
  • It is effective in capturing high-quality footage and images.
  • It is programmable.
  • It costs less than most professional-grade models.

Cons:

  • Its performance can be inconsistent.
  • Its app may not be compatible with some OS versions.
  • It can be prone to overheating.

6. Parrot Bebop 2

Parrot Bebop 2

Best Budget Runner-Up

An indoor or outdoor companion, the Parrot Bebop 2, is multipurpose. Use it to fly, film, or take photos of the world below. It can capture 1080p full HD. Its shots remain clear and sharp even in low light. This performance can be credited to its 14-megapixel lens, which can deliver RAW or DNG output.

Weighing 500 grams, this lightweight drone with a camera records 25 minutes of independent flight time. It is portable and intuitive. The Follow Me feature ensures tracking through state-of-the-art visual recognition. This, however, is available as an in-app purchase on the Freeflight Pro app.

You can get this camera drone for $550.

Parrot Bebop 2 is Suitable For:

Casual, everyday users can rely on a professional drone with this one.

Pros:

  • It is compact and lightweight.
  • It can shoot videos in 1080p full HD.
  • Its shots remain clear in low light.
  • It has a maximum flight time of 25 minutes.

Cons:

  • You need to buy the Follow Me feature on the app.

What is the Best Professional Drone?

The top professional drones have several things in common. For example, they exhibit excellent image and footage capture, control and stability, and different shooting and flight modes. Their built-in cameras set them apart. After all, what’s the use of an expensive aerial photography tool if it provides you with a bad-quality output?

As it is, DJI is one of the best professional drone manufacturers on the market today. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is our top pick because it blends reasonable pricing, reliable features and functions, and immersive shooting. Following in second and third place are the DJI Phantom 4 RTK and the DJI Inspire 2.

While they are from the same company, they have different roles to fulfill. If you’re a surveyor, you may want to stick with the Phantom 4 RTK for precise aerial mapping. If you’re a filmmaker or cinematographer, the Inspire 2 may pique your interest the most. Still, the Mavic 2 Pro offers the most encompassing features among the three. On top of everything, it allows you to take a 4K video.

How Much Does a Professional Drone Cost? 

The price depends on the purpose and application. But the amount you have and are willing to spend also matters. This is why our list consists of models at different price points. Prosumer versions for photography or videography can cost between $500 and $3,000. You can also find options under $500, although in a limited fashion. 

Conclusion

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is a versatile option, catering to professionals who need to impress clients, improve their piloting skills, or immerse themselves in adrenaline-pumping experiences. This dependable choice also further cements DJI’s reputation as an industry leader. 

Meanwhile, from the lower-end, a toy drone with camera is proving to be useful to a different set of professionals, such as educators, with Ryze Tello paving the way.

The models listed in this article are not only your options, but they can be your best bet among those targeted at professionals. 

Sometimes, you need to separate the wheat from the chaff. We hope our reviews have helped you narrow things down. As always, knowing the key features, as well as the pros and cons, can point you in the right direction.

For more information on drones, accessories, and kits, visit droneswatch.com daily.

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