Pro-quality airborne photography and video has never been easier or more affordable.
Unmanned drones have been getting a lot of press lately, most of it negative. DJI, however, makes photography-friendly drones that carry digital cameras operated from the ground that give photographers and videographers the opportunity to get airborne perspectives on the world without the need to hire a personal helicopter. DJI showed off its two latest models this week at the CES electronics trade show.
Designed for cinematographers, architecture photographers and surveyers, these remote-controlled devices have already made it possible to shoot dramatic footage on a relatively low budget. DJI announced that it is working on an update of its S1000 Octocopter, a pro-level drone capable of carrying pro cameras such as a Canon 5D Mark III. That model should be ready in a few months and is expected to cost thousands of dollars, but may be very appealing to professional photographers and videographers.
A more prosumer-oriented version, The Phantom Vision 2 Drone, which was just introduced, was also on display. It has its own built-in 14MP still and full HD video camera, weighs a total of a bit over two pounds, and has 9 propellers. Its flights can last as long as 25 minutes and can be controlled via a module operated from the ground. It will cost approximately $1,200.
The following music video's arial footage was shot with a camera mounted to a DJI Octocopter.