Drones are one of the hottest product categories in photography and video recording at the moment. As consumer products, drones are still a new gadget category that is going through an extensive technology development phase. Two major technologies require development: image quality and ease of steering. Are any of the most popular drone brands ready for the big time? Here is a review.
Le Monde picked up four popular consumer drones that are available in the US, Europe and in other regions: 3DR Solo with GoPro camera, DJI Phantom 3 Standard, Parrot Bepop and Xiro Xplorer Vision.
Le Monde tested the drones for steering, reliability and safety, quality of images, stability of images, automatic flying capabilities, flying indoors, ease of use and price. After tallying up the scores for the tests, the winner drone was DJI. Based on technical features and usability, here are the best drones:
1. DJI Phantom 3 Standard, score 79 (price in Euros 820)
2. 3DR Solo with GoPro camera, 75 (price 2200)
3. Xiro Xplorer Vision, 74 (price 1000)
4. Parrot Bepop, 63 (price 460)
What is the best drone for shooting travel video?
It is not necessarily the same one that won the test because other factors come into play. When we travel, we have to make choices what we can take with us. It doesn’t matter if we fly, travel by train, by car, by motorcycle or by bicycle, the space for clothes, supplies and electronics is always limited.
The size and the shape of the drone is a key factor for determining if it can be taken along for a trip. DJI Phantom, for instance, is relatively large and shaped in a way that makes it very difficult to pack it in a backpack or in any kind of bag. The dimensions of the DJI Phantom are 18 x 13 x 8 inches / 46 x 33 x 20 cm.
Parrot Bepop, on the other hand, is relatively small and it has a low profile which makes it easy to carry along in a bag. Additionally, the drone is designed to be disassembled for transportation. Its dimensions are 28 x 32 x 3.6 cm without the hull and 33 x 38 x 3.6 cm with the hull.
Parrot Bepop can be complemented with an app titled Flight Plan that runs on smartphones and tablets. The application lets you create a route that drone must fly and camera angles that it must use to take still images and shoot video.
View sample videos for each drone and plenty of useful details (in French) at Le Monde.