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How to Choose the Right Camera Drone For Your Needs (And Where to Buy It)

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This article is broken up into two sections, recreational pilots and professional pilots, because they typically have different needs when it comes to camera drone models.

However, I want you to know that they aren’t mutually exclusive. Some recreational drones can be used adequately by professional pilots, and any professional-grade drone can be used by a recreational pilot. It depends on your budget, the features you care about most, and what you’re going to use the drone for.

My goal with this part is to help you decide which type of drone suits you best, and then give you the information I think is most important to consider when choosing each type.

Recreational pilots

Here are most recreational pilots’ goals:

Here is how I suggest choosing the right drone for these needs:

1. Price

Recreational drones typically range from $15 up to $500. Typically, the less you pay, the smaller the drone is. The more you pay, the bigger it is and the more features it comes with.

Small drones are either called nano, micro, or mini drones. Nano and micro drones are the same thing. They are extremely small and can fit snugly in the palm of your hand. Mini drones are usually about the size of your palm or a bit larger.

These drones are for sale for $10-$50, for the most part. Once you get into the $50-$200 range, the drones increase in size substantially. They also come with more powerful cameras, and you’ll start to see drones with more advanced features, like FPV capability and altitude hold.

$200-$400 will get you a nice, long lasting drone with some advanced features and a solid camera. $400 to around $500 and slightly more can get you a very nice drone with a camera that could be used for professional imagery if you’re so inclined.

2. Specs

Here are the main specs I usually shoot for in a recreational drone:

3. Features

Here are the main features I usually shoot for in a recreational drone:

Professional pilots

Here are most commercial pilots’ goals:

Here is how I suggest choosing the right drone for these needs:

1. Price

First off, you will want to pay $500 or more for your drone rig. I would say an average professional drone costs around $800 to $1000. This is so you’re getting a high enough quality camera, enough advanced features, and enough reliability and durability to get you a positive return on your investment.

Remember, you’re making money with your drone, and a pilot can only be as good as the drone itself.

Most professional pilots would be well off for at least a year or two buying a bundle costing $1200 to $1500. This will get you a quality drone, spare batteries/propellers, and a host of other accessories you may need on the job. Bundles usually come with carrying cases as well, which I view to be essential for professional work.

If your work is very serious, as in you need a top quality rig and camera, expect to pay $2000 all the way up to $10,000. I doubt many of you are in this boat right now, but I wanted to make sure to mention it.

Remember, you can always start on the lower end and work your way up as your business and your needs evolve.

2. Specs

Here are the main specs I usually go for in a professional-grade drone:

3. Features

Here are the main features I usually shoot for in a professional drone:

Where to Buy Drones

There are two ways you can buy a drone: Online and in-store.

I heavily, heavily suggest buying drone models, parts, and accessories online. This goes against my usual tendencies. I like to see things in person and touch them before I buy.

But after many years buying RC aircraft and drones, I can tell you with certainty that buying online is the way to go. There are way more options available, you can find the best rigs and parts very quickly, and in-store availability is severely limited compared to online.

And with online retailers making ordering, deliveries, and returns a lot more painless than before, it makes going through the online buying process worth it.

I buy my drones and parts almost exclusively from Amazon. In my experience, they have the widest selection online, the most customer reviews to help you make a decision, and returns are a piece of cake. They’re also one of the most trusted online retailers out there, for any product.

Amazon is my top choice, but you can also check out these retailers as well:

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