The drone technology has seen a sonic boost in the market in the recent years. With the advancement of technology, especially in the aerial and reconnaissance field, a vast variety of professional drones have popped up on the market radar.
Gone are the days when the concept and usage of drones were limited to the military. Cheap alternatives have surfaced for the use by the common pupil as well. And it is not that a professional drone only does what it is shown in the movies; drop missiles at a designated spot from 30,000 feet above in the sky and take high resolution 3D images of sites all around the globe remotely. Nowadays, professional drones are more than just a sophisticated tool. It wraps around a variety of usages such as aerial photography and filming, 3D mapping, photogrammetry and also various sensor technologies as well.
Before we divulge and take a look at some of the best professional drones under $1000, it is important that our requirements and specifications match that of the drone’s capabilities as well. Users must be varying of the different kinds of drones available in the market. Some of these are –:
- Multi rotor drones, which include multiple rotors. These include quad copters etc.
- RTF drones are pre-assembled drones
- Large drones are basically the size of a small plane and have a massive maneuvering range
- Delivery drones are heavy duty drones optimal for delivering packages.
The market for professional drones is huge and continues to grow dominantly. You might have heard about the best Holy Stone x400C in 2018. It is by far one of the best drones available in the market at budget price. A lot of alternatives are available and the user need to take into consideration not just the budget, but the camera quality, flight time, hi-tech specs etc. Coming up with the best choice can seem like a daunting task, but it is worth the patience.
1. DJI Mavic Air
The DJI Mavic Air is a compact, fast and reliable quad copter which is really good for travelling purpose. But don’t be fooled by its compact size. The DJI Mavic Air packs a punch with a 100 Mbps data rate for video recording, which is pretty impressive given its 1/2.3-inch sensor. It also has 3-directional environment sensing which gives you additional vision for the drone. Its foldable design is a sure eye catcher.
The DJI Mavic Air is available for $799, with a controller added variant for $810. You can also get a DJI Mavic Air combo for $999 which contains additional batteries and other features as well.
- Max flight time of 21 minutes
- 4K UHD camera with 32MP sphere panoramas
- HDR photos
- 100 Mbps data rate
- Range of 2.5 miles
- 8 Gigs of internal storage space
- 3D environment sensing, ActiveTrack, QuickShots, Slow-motion capture
2. Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon
The Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon can arguably be considered to have the best 4K camera available in any of the drones in the market. A price tag of only about $600 just adds cherry to the top.
The CGO3 camera is a masterpiece. A timeless classic this one, the Typhoon has always lived up to its name and expectations, and a lot of drone manufacturers like DJI have failed to beat the camera of this classic. If your requirement is having a crisp, near flawless picture and video recording, the Yuneec Q500 Typhoon is your best buddy.
- 4K UHD @ 30 FPS , 1080p/120 FPS
- 12MP pictures
- No-Distortion lens
- SteadyGrip feature
- Comes with a 16GB micro SD memory card
- Max flight time of 25 minutes
3. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
Autel Robotics is an old, but a trustworthy company with a high brand value. The Autel Robotics X-Star Premium is a one of the best and most reliable professional drones available in the market under $1000. (It used to cost about $1050 a while back, but the current online price has dropped to about $600). Being old does not mean it fails to deliver the sophistication and hi-tech specs of a modern drone. Coming with a 4K resolution camera, dual GPS tracking, safety convenient and an autonomous piloting system, the X-Star Premium succeeds in maintaining its image.
- 4K Ultra HD video camera with quick-release 3-axis gimbal stabilizer
- Dual GPS/GLONASS outdoor navigation
- SecureFlyTM magnetic interference protection
- Starpoint Positioning System
- HD Live View up to 1.2 miles
- Autonomous flight mode
- Max flight time of 25 minutes
4. Walkera F210 3D Racer Drone
Racer drones are another breed of drones available in the market. These are some of the most powerful and fast professional drones out there. The Walkera F210 3D is one such beast. Although this drone cannot capture images or videos, its 5.8G Google-4 3D glasses and 700TVL Night Vision Camera provides for some insane experiences when it comes to FPV.
Given its racer breed, this beast is extremely light weight as well, weighing only about 370g excluding the batteries. The 2D flight time is about 8-9 minutes while the 3D flight time is about 5 minutes. The F210 is a classic when it comes to racer drone, and has proven to be one of the all-time favorites of people in the drone racing domain. Priced at about $600, this is one of the best drones to look out for.
- The latest F3 flight system
- 700TVL Night Vision with 5.8G video transmission camera
- 8G Google-4 3D glasses
- 2D flight time of 8-9 minutes
- 3D flight time of 5 minutes (approx.)
- Lightweight (about 380 g)
- 40 supportable channels for HD images transmission
5. Uvify Draco HD
Another powerful drone in the racing category is the Uvify Draco HD. Packing a lot of heat, this drone is most suited for professional drone racers. The modular carbon fiber chassis comes with replaceable arms, so you can easily repair and replace damaged body parts and quickly jump back into action. Whether it comes to some high speed drone racing, aerial photography or free styling your way into the 3D space, the Uvify Draco delivers with style and power.
The Uvify Draco HD comes priced at about $799, with various combos and variants available online priced accordingly.
- Modular carbon fiber chassis
- Replaceable arms for easy repairs and refitting
- Smart Battery Technology, which keeps track of critical information like voltage, battery life and working temperature etc.
- 720p Digital HD Camera
- Max angular velocity of 1000deg/sec
- Untethered maximum pitch angle
- 9 minutes of hovering time
- 2 minutes of full throttle time
6. GDU O2
The GDU O2 brings some of the most modern specifications available in the market. With its extremely stylish and compact design, it is travelling-friendly. The GDU O2 attaches to its remote and the propellers slide in to make this drone even more compact, and arguably making it one of the most portable drone machines out there.
But don’t be fooled by its compact design. The O2 comes packing with some of the best features. Whether its aerial photography or geography mapping, the GDU O2 never fails to disappoint you. Priced at about $732, the O2 comes in another variant O2 Plus as well.
- 3-axis Gimbal with a pitch range of -90 degrees to 0 degrees
- 1/3 inch sensor
- 13MP CMOS camera
- Max photo resolution of 4208 x 3120
- Video resolution : 4K: 3840×2160@ 30fps; 1080P: 1920*1080 @30fps;720P: 1280*720 @30fps;
- 16GB internal memory
- Image transmission distance of 0.6 miles
- Smart Shot – Trace and Circle Modes, Gesture Recognition for Photo and Video Shooting, Rocket Mode, Dronie Mode, Circle Mode, Burst Shooting, Time-Lapse, Slow-Motion, Smart Video Mode, Return to Home, Smart Selfie Mode, Digital Zooming Capture
- Max flight time of 20 minutes (without propeller guard)
- Max flight time of 15 minutes (with propeller guard)
7. DJI Phantom 3 Professional
DJI has always been known for creating some of the best professional drones available to the public, and the Phantom 3 Professional is no exception. With the sole focus on aerial videography, the Phantom 3 Pro provides for some top notch camera specs to match your requirements and needs. The 3-axis 4K UHD camera provides for some crisp and high definition images. The new Lightbridge technology enables you to live stream 720p videos directly from the drone itself. The Phantom 3 Pro also comes with a safety convenient for beginner pilots and Vision Positioning technology which provides indoor flight aid as well.
This drone proves its mantle of being one of the best professional drones for aerial videography and photography with its hi-tech features. All the tried and tested features you expect from a DJI drone, you can expect it from the Phantom 3 Professional. The Phantom 3 Professional is priced at $900.
- UHD 4K video streaming @ 30fps
- Max flight time of 23 minutes
- GPS + GLONASS Dual Positioning Module
- DJI Lightbridge Video Downlink
- Vision Positioning for indoor flight aid
- Powerful Android/iOS app
The Bottom Line
There are a wide range of professional drones available in the market, and choosing the best one out of that seems like a daunting task at first. You must be wary of your specific requirements and needs so that you can choose the right drone amongst many available for yourself.