Investing in a new drone is tough when there are so many choices on the market. It is tempting to look at expensive brands, but you can still find hidden gems in the world of drones. New drone technology and better manufacturing processes have brought prices down.
As a beginner, you want a drone to take all the best things you have heard about drones and put them into a single unit. You want a beginner drone to help you improve your flying skills and to take fantastic footage at the same time.
Let us start with comparing some models, and then we can find the best beginner drone for you:
The SP700comes on a solid frame with improvements made to its power, range, and flight times. Snaptain's SP700 is a professional level drone made for beginners to learn and advance all on one platform without having to upgrade.
There is a trade-off between having a drone that you can fold away and one that has a larger battery. The large 1,800mAh battery increases the weight to 3.1 pounds, but your range also increases to over 1,800 feet, and you get a top speed of over 20 mph.
The 2K FHD camera takes amazing video and pictures, with a 110-degree Field of View. The camera is static, but with such a wide FOV and the various tracking modes like Follow-Me, you are not going to lose a shot.
The SP700comes with four brushless motors with a new design to reduce the noise and to improve the dissipation of heat. Nervous beginners can also use a Smart Fence to restrict their flying range and to avoid flying off into the unknown.
Ryze - Tello
Inexpensive and simple, the Ryze Tello comes with small propeller guards, giving beginners that tend to crash a lot more lives. This small drone has a small battery that gives you a flight time of around 13 minutes and a range of a little over 300 feet.
A short flight range is fine for when you are learning, but as you progress, you will find it restrictive. This drone kit does not come with a controller, though you can use a game controller with your smartphone to fly it.
A lower resolution camera is fine for a beginner, but it will not be long before you want more and end up upgrading. The Tello sends all its images straight to your phone - there is no onboard recording. There are few smart controls on the Tello, but even though the camera is immobile is does have basic stabilization.
The Tello has no GPS, so all directing, camera angles, and returning of the drone are up to the pilot. This is a good little drone to practice on or for kids to play with, but not much more. The camera gimbal is the drone's best feature, and you can take impressive steady video with it in flight.
The Mini 2 is a compact drone, it folds up, and you get plenty of features. It is also more expensive and complex than what most beginners will want to play around with.
The Mini 2 utilizes OcuSync 2.0, which is DJI's version of a 2.4 and 5G transmission that switches bands in flight depending on how far away it is from the controller. OcuSync is a system more useful to experienced pilots that use VR headsets to fly their drones.
There are some great developments in camera technology in the Mini 2. DJI's Mini 2 folds down to the size of a small shoe - the blades also fold down. You could put this in a coat pocket, but because of the cost involved in breaking it, you will want to carry it packed in foam.
The camera is 4k and mounted on a 3-axis steerable gimbal to keep your subject in the shot. You also get a list of flight modes that fly the Mini 2 for you. This is a great drone, but far beyond what a beginner should even consider learning on.
Compact and stable high-quality video, two of the most important features to look for in a camera drone. The Snaptain SP510 is affordable and a great choice for new pilots looking to upgrade while staying within their budget.
The SP510takes you out of the beginner's category and offers better resolution and handling than their starter model. This drone comes with all the latest in tracking features, including Follow-Me, Waypoint, and GPS Auto-Home modes.
With the kit, you get a generous 1500mAh rechargeable battery that will keep you up in the air for over 15 minutes. If you start to run out of power, the on-board computer will begin its home program and return to base. When you are ready to go home, you can fold the SP510 down to something you can put in a coat pocket.
This drone also has Headless Mode. Headless Mode keeps the drone flying in the direction you ask it to, from your point of view, even if it is flying backward. You can also adjust the camera by up to 90 degrees, so you can capture your subject in the center of your frame.
Parrot - Anafi FPV
The Anafi is a nice little drone with many features and a 3-axis camera gimbal. FPV refers to the drone linking to the Parrot VR goggle so that you can fly with a First-person Point of View. These VR goggles cost over $800, a cost that most beginners can do without.
FPV drones are fun for racing enthusiasts, but VR goggles do not work for everyone, and they can induce motion sickness. This is a foldaway drone. Though, with the travel bag, the Anafi takes up the same amount of space as a fixed-arm drone.
The top speed of 34 mph is a statistic more for the racing enthusiast than someone that is learning and wants to take some steady aerial shots. There is an Ultra High-Resolution camera on a 2-axis gimbal. An electronic 3-axis gimbal does most of the stabilization - it also controls the frame angle.
To make the most of this drone, you need to be keen enough to get the VR goggles, which doubles its price point. There are some functions that you will love, but this drone is better for racing than for chasing some scenery footage.
A nervous beginner may want to consider the Snaptain SP510. The various safety flight modes look after you and help you to control camera angles and focus. Both the SP510 and its controller fold down into a tight package that you would not mind carrying with you for the off-chance that you might use it.
This drone has a respectable range for a beginner unit, far enough to take some altitude shots, but not so far that it will fly out of sight. The return to home function is also perfect for beginners struggling with the drone's orientation.
The camera is amazing for an entry-level drone, giving you access to steady shots and a degree of camera angles without having to turn the drone. And if you want to use the drone for racing, it comes FPV 5G ready, so you can fly it with a VR headset in high-definition.
A beginner that has some experience flying drones will want to step up to the Snaptain SP700. This is a competitive model that shoots 2K footage with a wide field of view for easier editing. The SP700 also gives you a better range and longer flying time than the SP510 - giving you time to line up your subject.
The SP700 is not foldable like the SP510, but you do get more stable videos in strong winds. You can use the GPS hover mode to film crane shots or give it specific paths to follow. GPS on a drone is one of the most important features for beginners that often struggle to get their drones home.
If you are looking to save a little money, you will walk away happy after choosing the SP510. But if you are a keen amateur videographer, you are better off taking the small step to the SP700. The SP700 has every flying mode you need, making it incredible value for money.