Choosing a drone for your travel photography and vlogging needs is a complex process. Depending on what your main priority is, a variety of features need to be considered. Overall, it comes down to budget. In this case, the adage “you get what you pay for” reigns as truth.
Hello! My name is Lavelle and I am a professional drone pilot, an author, a podcast host, and a world traveler. Over the past ten years, I have visited more than 50 countries and traveled across the U.S. extensively in my sprinter van, capturing amazing photos and videos in every little nook and cranny that I could find.
In this article, I will go over some of the best drones to use for travel photography and vlogging. I will also cover some of the must-haves when considering the right drone for your needs.
- Key Takeaways
- What Makes The Best Drones for Travel Photographers and Vloggers
- The 6 Best Drones for Travel Photography and Vlogging
- Final Thoughts
- Look for camera quality that is at least high definition (1080p) as you consider the best drone.
- Understand the features that enhance photography versus video quality such as video resolution.
- Choose a drone that offers you the best quality for your investment level.
- Know exactly what you want to prioritize in your craft such as if you want to specialize in aerial photography, detailed images, or wide-angle shots.
It depends on the size and use of your drone. Drones weighing more than 250 grams must be registered with the FAA. If you intend to use your drone for commercial purposes, then you need to obtain the FAA Part 107 license.
How Much Should a Good Drone for Travel Photography and Vlogging Cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $3000 or more for a good drone. It depends on the quality you want to produce and on the features you want to have on your drone.
What’s the Most Important Thing to Consider in a Drone for Travel Photography and Vlogging?
The most important thing to look for on a drone depends on your priorities. However, I suggest that you start with camera quality, video quality, and transmission range as your main considerations
What Makes The Best Drones for Travel Photographers and Vloggers
Travel photography and vlogging have taken center stage in the last several years. Drones add so much value to producing those mind-blowing images and captivating videos. Drones also allow you to capture stunning photos and videos without having to take an expensive helicopter ride.
So what should you look for in these drones? I’m so glad that you asked that question!
The most important thing you should look for in a drone that is to be used for travel photography and vlogging is the camera quality! You need a drone that gives you the clearest image from the farthest distance.
For that, you want high-resolution RAW files. For closeup travel photos, you may want to use a lower resolution and for long distances, you may want to increase the resolution so that when the photo is zoomed in on, it is not distorted or over-pixelated. You can also benefit from a live feed capability.
You want to capture viewers and readers immediately with crisp, clear videos that convey your story clearly. Video resolution will either immediately draw a viewer or turn them away. It is critically important that your video quality be at least high definition (4K) or higher.
FPV and Transmission Range
Finally, the last two important features to look for are FPV (first-person view) and transmission range. You want to be able to capture the perfect image from a long distance away while seeing exactly what the camera sees.
The 6 Best Drones for Travel Photography and Vlogging
Travel photography and vlogging are specialized services, and the best drones for these purposes vary a little depending on the usage. This list combines the best of both worlds – photography, and vlogging.
1. Potensic ATOM SE (Best Overall)
- Battery Life: 62-minutes of flying time (on 2 batteries)
- Camera Resolution: 4K Camera
- Video Resolution: 4K Video
- Video Transmission Range: 2.4 miles
When it comes to staying in the air, this Potensic ATOM SE is at the top of the class. With a two-battery combination, this drone can stay airborne for 62 minutes. This allows you plenty of time to produce high-quality video and capture quality images.
This drone is well-designed and features the revolutionary Smooth Shooting Technology which produces exceptional stability in the air. It is highly rated among consumers and produces quality images.
The 4K camera and 4K video give you the quality that you need to highlight your content in the best way possible. This drone is also very affordable and is a great entryway into adding a drone to your travel photography and vlogging efforts.
The only drawback of this model is possibly the lightweight size of the drone which becomes noticeable in heavy wind conditions.
My Verdict: This is the best flying time that you’re going to get from any drone on this list. You also get quality features and this drone meets the basic needs of any travel photographer and vlogger. The drone also offers both JPEG and RAW files.
2. DJI Mavic Air 2 (Best for YouTube Videos)
- Battery Life: 32 minutes
- Camera: 48 MP resolution
- Video: 4K resolution
- Video Transmission Range: 6.2 miles
As many of you know from my previous articles, I am a DJI fan! I love the DJI brand and find it to be the most dependable overall brand on the market. So it may be surprising to find the DJI Mavic Air 2 at the number 2 spot on my list.
Being as objective as possible, I have to place DJI in this position primarily because of price comparison. As far as quality goes, it is my first choice. This drone is by far the best option for creating amazing YouTube videos.
The 32-minutes of flying time is at the top of the range for drones in this category and the 48 MP camera is the best resolution quality among these drones. It also has an excellent 4K video production.
One of the most important features of this drone is the Quad Bayer image sensor. It captures excellent videos that are clear and crisp and have perfect saturation points. The HDR function is incredible and this drone takes some impressive panoramic shots.
The one drawback is the price, as it is quite a bit more expensive than the #1 Potensic drone on my list.
My Verdict: If you want to make a great impression with your YouTube videos, then this is the drone for you. The video quality is outstanding and the other inherent features of this drone make it a no-brainer choice for travel photographers and vloggers of all levels.
3. DJI Mavic Air 3 (Best for All-Around Videos)
- Battery Life: 46 minutes
- Camera: 20 MP resolution
- Video: 5.1K resolution
- Video Transmission Range: 9.3 miles
DJI continues to impress with another great drone. The DJI Mavic Air 3 is the best all-around choice for creating exceptional videos.
The slim, folding design of this drone makes it perfect for traveling and takes up very little space in a camera bag. It is also lightweight (approximately 2 lbs) but it is very durable and stable in the air.
There’s much more to this nearly-perfect drone. The Vision Detection Auto Focus system helps to produce exceptional video footage as it uses the vision sensors of the drone. The drone is very responsive, moves quickly, and maneuvers easily to capture quick, clear photos from different angles.
The Mavic 3 offers an impressive 5.1K, 50p video resolution, and a 200 Mbps bit rate. This quality alone propels it to the top of the list for video quality. Compared to 4K video, it’s head and shoulders above the field of 4k video producers.
Price is the biggest hurdle to cross with this drone. Otherwise, it would easily be the #1 overall choice.
My Verdict: As far as video quality goes, it is top-notch. The image quality is nearly as impressive. Add in the other DJI features and this drone is certainly one to consider as your top choice.
4. DJI Mavic Mini 2 (Best for Amatuer Vlogging)
- Battery Life: 31 minutes of flying time
- Video: 4k resolution
- Camera: 12 MP resolution
- Video Transmission Range: 6.2 miles
Seems like I can’t get away from the DJI brand. It’s just really difficult for another brand to break into my list, given the exceptional overall quality of this brand. When it comes to vlogging on a budget, the DJI Mavic Mini 2 is hands down the best choice!
The Mavic Mini 2 offers a respectable 1080p/60 frames per second video production and can deliver 4k videos at a 30-frames-per-second rate. The 3-axis gimbal makes it very stable in the air. The 31 minutes of flying time and the 6.2-mile flying distance also make it an attractive option for vlogging purposes.
This drone also has a built-in OcuSync 2.0 wifi system that allows the drone to switch between two different frequencies which extend the transmission distance out to the 6+ mile range.
The camera features a nice 4x digital zoom capability which is nice when shooting video from a long distance away. Several other useful features include Quickshots, a 4K hyper-lapse, and the Boomerang function.
However, it is a mini drone and that always gives me a little cause for concern, especially in high wind conditions which show up in many travel locations.
My Verdict: If you’re just getting started in vlogging and want to work with a budget without sacrificing quality, this is your best choice.
5. DJI Mavic 2 Pro (Best for Professional Vlogging)
- Battery Life: 31 minutes
- Video: 4K resolution
- Camera: 20 MP resolution
- Video Transmission Range: 6 miles
Ready to take your vlogging up to a professional level? The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the workhorse of this list. While it is not the newest edition in the DJI family, it is by far the best option for creating professional-level vlogs.
With its slightly larger body design, it offers a very stable model and is still very portable. Since portability tops the list for your vlogging efforts, this feature is crucial for vloggers.
The Mavic 2 Pro is a great choice for YouTube content creators. With its 4k camera and 20-megapixel resolution and the 3-axis gimbal, this drone is poised for taking great shots.
This drone is rated as one of the best options for vlogging, in part because of the Hasselblad camera that sports a 1-inch CMOS sensor and produces very high-quality video, and has an adjustable aperture setting.
Perhaps the most significant feature of the Mavic 2 Pro is the new omnidirectional obstacle sensor, which depends on 10 different sensors to help protect your aircraft from crashes. The battery life of this drone is also impressive. With 31 minutes of flying time on one battery charge, you can stay in the air for a lengthy period and capture amazing images and video before recharging.
But as is the case with many DJI drones, the cost is the biggest detractor here.
My Verdict: The Mavic 2 Pro is a great choice for professional vlogging. The drone has many exceptional qualities and is larger than the Mavic Mini 2, offering more stability in the air.
6. DJI Inspire 2 (Best for Professional Photography)
- Battery Life: 27 minutes
- Video: 5.2K resolution
- Camera: 20.8 MP resolution
- Video Transmission Range: 4.3 miles
Well, here we are at the end of my list for today. And what a drone to end the list with! The DJI Inspire 2 is easily the best choice for professional travel photography. It is also easily the most expensive drone on my list. However, if quality is your biggest priority, look no further than the Inspire 2.
I have tested many drones during my career and I can unequivocally state that the DJI Inspire 2 is the highest professional-level quality drone on the market for photography and videography needs.
A close look at this amazing drone unveils many exceptional qualities. Strength and durability as their hallmark qualities. The advanced visual tracking algorithms allow it to focus on objects like no other drone.
If professional-level quality is what you want, the Zenmuse X5S Micro 4/3 sensor camera is the best camera to add to the DJI Inspire 2. This camera offers a 20.8 MP sensor and has remarkable color sensibility. It also features an amazing 5.2k/30 frames per second video production.
The drawbacks here are price, weight, and not having an onboard camera. But even though it doesn’t come with an onboard camera (which is why, along with price, drops it to the bottom of my list), it does have excellent camera options from the DJI Zenmuse line.
My Verdict: This high-end drone has many incredible features to choose from when producing images and videos. It has a superior design and offers an excellent battery life of nearly 30 minutes. It is also a very fast drone with a top speed of 58 mph.
You want the world to see and feel what you see and feel, right? This is typically the feeling that most travel photographers and vloggers have. One way to enhance that feeling is to add a great drone to your toolbag.
Your photos and videos will take on a whole other level of perspective when you incorporate a nice drone into your routine. I hope this guide has helped you find the perfect model. Look for features that will help you do what you do best, start small, and work your way up as you can.
What are your thoughts on drones for travel photography and vlogging? Share your experiences here and ask any questions that you might have. I will respond to you as soon as I can.
Until next time, stay safe and enjoy creating amazing content!