Ultimate Drone Buying Guide for Total Beginners 2020
Holy crap there’s, a lot of drones out there. What do all these settings mean? Am i just throwing my money into a mystery box and hoping i get something i don’t use once and then put in the closet? What’s, the best beginner drone and what drone works for me behold, my stuff.
Obviously i have a problem that’s very visible, so trying to give you the best comparison. I can two really big bottom lines. You need to understand going into this. The first one is that there really is no beginner drunk anything under like 300 is gonna, be a toy, be something you fly in your backyard once looks.
Super cool has a bunch of bells and whistles on the box. It’s, not going to give you professional quality photos or video. It will fly under. I don’t know we’re talking hundreds of feet and it’s, not going to sit very steady in the wind because they’re made with really plasticy parts.
So as far as serious drones go there’s, two really popular types of drones that you see there are normal photo and video focused drones where their priority is just flying, steady and straight, and then there’s, fpv drones, which means First person view you fly those with goggles: it’s like a thousand bucks to build your own.
You have to know how to solder parts it’s, a lot more complicated, but they do flips and spins and they can fly. You know up a mountain at 100 miles an hour whatever we aren’t talking about those. Today we are talking about drones.
You fly with an app on your phone connected to a remote, they take photos and video that saves to a memory card, and that is their one focus, photo and video that’s. What i have on the table and they increase in price and quality mavic mini over here 400 new mavic air 2 800 new mavic 2.
Pro 1500 came out two years ago and then colin call in the drone. This is an inspire 2 with an x5s camera. The whole thing was like 8 000 used, because i have all of these. I want to paint a really fast picture for you to give you an idea of the kind of quality you can get for each of these price points.
The other thing you need to remember is that i have a background in video production and camera operating, so i’m, also using a variety of angles and framing and lighting conditions to get good shots, and that plays in really big into what you’re, looking at so later on, i’ll.
Also give you a side by side in a couple of different locations with each of these drones, so you can see what the difference is. The inspire is in here just for fun. Honestly, it’s for like filming movies, but i threw it in here to give you an idea of what a really expensive camera looks like don’t.
Let it take a dump on all the other drones, though, because they’re, still very good just because they’re, not as good as this drone, and i just got an evo 2 pro 6k, not the 8k version. I don’t care about the 8k version, but don’t get too excited because 6k sounds a lot cooler than it actually is, and i think the mavic 2 pro is still a little bit better.
The evo 2 is new, though so i’m still working out all the kinks. I will say that it’s, a great picture and they do compete, though. With that being said, if you’re new to drones, the mavic 2 pro is the top dog right now.
This is the best drone you can get on the market for the price it folds. It’s just easy to deal with, and it really has a nice picture for like fifteen hundred dollars. The inspire is just such a big deal to go, fly anywhere, so yeah i wind up flying the mavic 2 pro way.
More often, all these drones sitting in front of me fly with almost the exact same functions. These are all dji drones, that’s because dji is market dominant, but in general, when you aren’t moving them, they hold still.
They just float in the air the same amount of time to get used to flying this guy with his ups and downs is the same amount of time to fly this guy, no matter which one you start with it’s, going to take that Little hump to figure out how it moves left right up down.
You know, change your settings to make it move softer, but it’s not like once you get really really good with a mavic mini. You move up to an error, and then you earn the right to use the mavic 2 pro pick, which one gets the job done for you.
The second bottom line is that you really have to look at what people are making before you listen to what they’re talking about. I see facebook groups and forums all day long, giving terrible terrible advice.
A polarizer filter, isn’t, going to help you see at nighttime, you don’t, have night vision, all of a sudden because of of color levels in the air. I see comments like this get tons of upvotes all the time and people like it and say thanks for the the help, and it makes no sense at all so just be careful of the bad advice you’ll, also notice.
I have nothing up here, except for dji drones. It’s, just really easy to find them used. Facebook marketplace or craigslist most people have them, and dji is very very far ahead of the competition. There are drones that are coming out now with bold new features, but they match the quality of what dji had like four years ago, and we haven’t really seen a solid competitor, come out anywhere that isn’t to say something.
Like a unique typhoon and a parrot and naffy or an autel evo aren’t quality drones, they’re. Fine, it’s. Just i am not using them. I will address where they sit in the range of quality, though, if you’re using them or you’re looking at one of those by the way, all of these drones over 300 are really intelligent if it disconnects from the controller It’ll, just fly home to where it recorded your location at takeoff, so the phone dies.
You can just fly it with the remote and if the remote dies it’ll just take note to where it took off from and it’ll come back to you or if it doesn ‘ T know where you are. It’ll, just land, slowly, the more expensive drones, meaning not the mavic mini – have sensors that stop them from hitting walls or trees.
With that being said, it is a very good time to get into drones because you can get a lot of bang for your buck and almost all the brands pretty much give you about the same range of dollar value. An 800 drone is gonna fly and behave like an 800 drone.
So there isn’t one brand that sticks out like an apple where you’re, paying twice as much for the same hardware, that’s in another brand, but just more convenient. First of all, let’s. Get a teeny peek at each of these really fast side by side, because if you only get a tiny peek at what each of these drones is producing and none of them give you a bad gut reaction, then buying is going to be a heck of a Lot easier for you! Whenever a new drone comes out, you always see everybody obsessed over the specs, and you see all the specs shove down your throat in a commercial and it’s really exciting to get into all the hype in the hobby and needing new ones.
But you need to decide if it’s actually worth it to you, and if you’re going to make use of it, is it different paying twice as much for a mavic air 2 when you could get a mavic mini and All you’re doing is filming your kids on the weekend and having a good time that’s, the most important thing it’s a hobby for you don’t.
Let people tell you that you have to be an absolute expert at something in order to enjoy a hobby if a mavic mini is doing the job, for you then just learn how to use the mavic mini to the fullest. You don’t have to have the crazy newest thing.
So taking a look at each of them first is the mavic mini. Is the simplest, smallest footage? It shoots in 2.7, k maximum it’s made to do a really simple job, but it does do a great job at getting simple shots.
There isn’t enough data in this footage to really color grade in the editor, so that isn’t a thing. Now we’re approaching prosumer territory with the mavic air 2, and you can see the importance of having 4k when you’re up in the air.
Those details are important and with a larger sensor, you get more accurate, deeper colors. The same improvement happens with the mavic 2 pro it’s also shooting in 4k, but the bigger sensor gives it richer details more accurate colors and a variety of colors too.
So deep gray, brown, deep red brown, deep, yellow brown instead of just kind of like a matte brown, which is what you tend to get with smaller sensors and the inspire shoots in 5.2 k. The sensor is four thirds of an inch so a little bit bigger than one inch.
The mavic mini is really frustrating because you’ll film, something where it has a lot of shadow and a lot of brights in the same scene. And it looks like balls. But then, if you turn around and you find a nice spot where it evens things out, suddenly it looks really nice.
So this is what i consider a good job for 2.7k on this drone at sunset. It’s straight from the camera, with no color grading. It almost looks like the mavic air 2, but you can see there’s. A much much softer more satisfying change between the highlights and the shadows, so the bright peaks of waves and the shadows underneath them look really nice here.
In this case, i don’t think the mavic 2 pro should really count, because i tried to get it up in time, but the sun was already halfway down. So i wind up with this footage that’s just way too dark back to that shot with the harsh lighting and the mavic mini.
You would have a lot less difficult time with the mavic air 2, because it’ll handle the extreme changes in lighting a little bit better. This is something called dynamic range: how much bright and dark it can see at the same time and handle it well, and the mavic air 2 has just enough to deal with the shot like this.
So it’s, pretty clear. The mavic mini’s. Weakness is going to be lighting extremes so that’s, like sunrise sunset, when you have long harsh shadows since it released, the firmware has been updated. So you now have manual controls, while you’re filming.
If you want to shoot in manual, you can set the shutter to what you think it should be based off of your preview and it’ll stay there. Instead of auto adjusting every five seconds that doesn’t mean it’s, going to beat a mavic air 2 now, but it will do a much better job.
That way, you just have to make sure you’re using it in one of the only ways it wants to comply. If you’re wondering shooting in 4k does matter because 4k scaled down for your phone or for youtube still looks a lot better than shoogin, 1080p or 2.
7k and then scaling it down. You can still tell the difference when you do get even lighting, though i have been really really impressed with the stuff it can do, because i was expecting honestly that poor quality all the time, but you still seem to have these nice shiny moments with the mavic Mini so this is a drone for you.
If you just want a good experience with something that’s discreet and easy to use, you can just like put it in your pocket and walk around it. Doesn’t, bring a ton of attention to you. Are you about to go? Make a bunch of money with the mavic mini um that’s gonna be a no! I wouldn’t, go around town, saying hey! I’m, the drone guy in town and i’m using a mavic mini sure.
You could get your uncle to pay a hundred bucks to film his barn or something like that, but really it’s, not that kind of drone. Also, it only shoots jpeg and i really like being able to shoot raw, which is every drone above the mavic mini, will shoot raw format, but once again it’s either hit or miss, and i wind up looking at photos later and going wow That, for whatever reason, came out really nice, so yeah, it has its moments, even though they’re just jpegs and some people don’t want to do all that photo editing in adobe lightroom with more software.
So maybe jpegs are fine for you. I take the jpegs into lightroom and edit them a tiny bit anyways just for fun. What it comes down to is you have to be a big kid and make a decision. Are you doing this for fun? You’re, going to have a great time with the mavic mini.
You have plenty to learn. Are you doing this for money? You want the maximum quality or you’re rich, and you just want a way. Cooler drone considering there is barely a learning curve. You need to be looking in a bigger weight class.
The mavic 2 zoom, the first mavic pro the first mavic air and the mavic air 2 – are what i consider the entry points for pro work. As you learn, you will see the improvements fast because of better hardware, a bigger image, better dynamic range, so notice that i lump all these drones right here together that’s, because all of these are using almost the exact same equipment, a 1 over 2.
3 inch sensor, the differences in price is just preferences and bells and whistles, but really when it comes down to it, they are pretty much almost all the same thing. You only improve in quality when you increase the sensor size over to a mavic 2 pro and the phantom 4 pro, which use larger sensors full 1 inch sensors and that puts them in a different weight class.
So the mavic air 2 is the first time that this hardware has increased for this level of drone because it’s using a one-half inch sensor. It’s, a tiny increase, but it also has newer software. So it’s, a noticeable improvement and if you just got into drones now the mavic air 2 is hands down the best deal and quality.
You’ll get for the money 800 and it’s. Like 80 percent of the quality of the mavic 2 pro, which is twice as expensive, it can shoot 4k at 60 frames a second and it can do 1080p at 240 frames. A second i don’t care, because i never need to use slow motion.
I don’t need either of those, and you need a video editor to be able to slow this down and look at it like that. The industry standard for editors is adobe premiere pro and that’s. What i’ve, been using so like a lot of people, you might be stuck between the mini and the air too.
You will be able to fly really freaking far with the mavic air too. Most of these drones will probably go like five miles before the battery starts to die. You wouldn’t make it that far because they would have to fly home.
You wouldn’t have enough battery, but yes, it is able to do that and maintain a signal if there’s, nothing in the way the mavic air 2 has a really good connection. I’ve yet to actually have any signal issues or drop video feed for what i’m doing from my phone and again, if you do lose a little bit of video feed it’s, not a big deal, because Your phone drone will just, and if it’s, not a really big deal because worst case scenario, your drone flies home to where it recorded you at takeoff.
Most of the time, though, your video comes back in like two seconds with the mini it’s, not using the same hardware, and i don’t have as good of a connection. I had some hiccups flying as far as this big tower started.
To get difficult to keep the strong signal. The video feed would be jittery, it would lag so that takes some points off. But if you’re, not flying over a thousand feet, it doesn’t really matter. Strangely enough, they do almost the exact same in low light, which is really impressive of the mavic mini.
But what is talked about less and way more important. The mavic air ii has way better dynamic range, and that is bright spots and dark spots being visible at the same time. So if this were a sunset, the mavic air 2 would easily win.
You will feel cooler online when old men in facebook groups try to fight with you and you have the cool new drone. You can shoot in flatter profiles if you want to color grade in the editor later, so it maintains more detail and even more dynamic range, but the mavic air 2 has a really nice default color anyway.
So you don ‘ T really need to do this. You have this super cool digital zoom function on the mavic air 2. Now as of like a week ago, and i will always shoot in 1.3 zoom that’s. How the mavic 2 pro lets you film, and that’s, why it looks so much more cinematic to other fisheye drones.
This video isn’t about photography, but you can shoot raw photos with the air too. So all of this stuff qualifies you for being able to charge for work with your drone filming stock footage that just doesn’t really sell, but making a town real would work well here, and i have other videos for explaining that stuff with all Those things listed, how much better is a mavic 2 pro.
There really is just nothing that can be how simple and perfect it is being able to get this stuff. [, Music, ], [, Music ], something about a one inch sensor just gives you a much more realistic, looking image and it’s less, like a cell phone.
You also have much better dynamic range because it’s that much bigger of a sensor, but you do need to know how to use this thing and in the right conditions. Conditions are a big deal in the cinematography section of the course.
You always hear me complain about making sure you don’t just pick a day. You try and get a day with a lot of visibility. This kind of drone will show a dramatic difference in the environment during a sunset or when it’s morning time.
It also gives you an option to shoot in 10-bit d-log, which is something you would use if you know how to edit and color footage that’s, a lot of work and it takes um some knowing what to look for so for a beginner.
You would probably just shoot a normal profile, but most of my footage is using normal profile to show that off and it still looks really really good. I don’t know anybody that’s, disappointed by this drone.
Even a couple of years later it’s, the only one that gets confused for inspire 2 footage when it’s used the right way. You have a really big ceiling with the mavic 2 pro. That means it’s. Going to take a really long time before you learn so much about cinematography editing, lighting things like that that your drone is the thing that’s holding you back.
I remember back in the day with the mavic pro 1 that i would shoot something like a sunset and i would look at the footage later and go. Oh, it was really nice conditions, but the mavic pro 1 camera just can’t handle that much light.
I barely ever get the issue with the mavic 2 pro. Typically, i’ll film, something and then i’ll. Be surprised by how good it looks later, looking at the footage for a beginner, it’s great, even if you were filming just with default normal settings and then, when you’re good enough to learn how to shoot, flatter and color Grade your footage, you will get phenomenal stuff with this, and the footage is very flexible, so color grading will take it a long way, but that’s for later.
From my perspective being able to use the features as marketing points and if you win one extra job just because of the difference in quality, you’re, pretty much already there towards paying off the difference, and that makes it an obvious choice.
I have a course for all this stuff. I’ll link it in the description. Otherwise i don’t know what else to tell you um get a few shots in mind before you get your drone, though, because a lot of people buy one fly it straight in the air and then don’t.
Have anything in mind, so their footage looks bad and then they give up. You have to have a plan before you take off once you look at your footage afterwards and you get that good feeling that everything came out better than expected.
It gets very, very addictive.