Heads Up!

This article is several years old now, and much has happened since then, so please keep that in mind while reading it.

All this started out with light hitting glass plates and exposing a silver layer. Then we moved on to paper, and eventually the digital era kicked in.
Since then, advances within photography seems to never end. More and more technology is introduced, every time a new version, or Mark of a camera is released.
And if you haven't already, you should head over to Tue's great post about The Future of Photography and read a lot more about that.

Up in the air

But now, it seems that air space becomes more and more crowded with photographer's newest toy: Drones.
Yes ... you know those pesky, noisy little flying things you seem to get for free every time you buy gasoline.

But is this really something to consider?
By all means yes.

Remember how fantastic you felt when you got your first tri-pod and you went out to shoot long-exposure photography?
That feeling of freedom to let the camera just sit there, absorbing all the available light ... maybe for minutes. And all that was supposed to be still and thus sharp was infact still and sharp.

Now, imagine that same feeling again. But now your camera is not fixed anymore. Now you have almost 100% freedom of placement and angle. Even way high up in the air. Suddenly you are no longe required a helicopter license (and a helicopter) to capture stunning photos from angles you were never able to reach before.

And some may argue, that even the very expensive drones, like the DJI Inspire 2 with the Zenmuse X7 camera mounted "only" provide 24mp stills.
But is that really not enough? What about the alternative ... NOT having a drone! I recommend you go back our december 14th article, The best Camera you have, and read through that ... and then come back.

Am I getting a drone?

The short answer is Yes! I am getting a drone.
The longer answer would be: I already have one, but it does not have a camera mounted, so I'm just using it as a "learner drone".

I got my DJI Phantom 2 for free. The camera was removed but otherwise it works great. So now I have a drone I can learn to fly. Plus I got it for free, so I might not be too picky about me flying into a tree or take a rough landing.
And then the next time I have saved enough money up – which I might have bought a new lens for – I'm going to buy a drone.
This time a modern drone, with a lot of automatic settings and possibilities. A drone, that is even more easy to fly than my learner drone – which I fly pretty good by now by the way.
And of course a drone with a camera ... 'cause that's the whole point. I want my camera in the air. I want to take those fantastic areal shots. And I want to shoot video as well. I want the whole package.

At the moment, I have my eyes on the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. The reason why this drone is in my scope is the camera. Nothing else. Just the camera. The drone it self is a bit clunky, and not very portable. If you are going for portable The Mavic is your choice. Sure there are other advantages of the Phantom 4 Pro, such as 7 obstacle avoid sensors, but to me, the camera is king.

The Phantom 4 Pro has a 1 inch CMOS sensor, which can shoot 20mp still images. It can also do 4K video at 60 FPS@100Mbps – which I'd loooooove to try out.

So YES ... I'll be one of those drone guys carrying a big styrofoam case around with me, tossing my camera up in the air ... and I really can't wait for that to happen!


What about you ... what is your take on drones?
Let me know in the comments below

Niels Steinmeier

Niels is on Twitter as