This article is part of a series of tutorials we are developing for professional drone pilots
What requirements do you need to satisfy in order to successfully start a real estate drone business? You will need to work quickly and deliver a high quality product. You will be shooting into the sun often and in close proximity to trees or other obstructions. Real estate is a volume industry, speed is king. Yet with the number of drone sales continually climbing, having a drone that can produce high quality images and video can set you apart from the new pilots coming into the market.
We considered a number of drones, and reconsider them with each upgrade. We like profits in our drone business and so should you. For this reason we are always looking for the best bang for your buck. This eliminates many of the higher end specialized drones such as the DJI Matrice Series. In this article we are evaluating the DJI Spark, DJI Phantom 3SE, DJI Phantom 4 Pro, DJI Inspire 2, Autel X-Star, and the DJI Mavic Pro.
There are a number of other drones we didn't consider. DJI is the king in this space, they have been a generation ahead of other manufacturers for awhile. We did not consider GoPro because of their known issues and lesser camera quality. There are other DJI drones that didn't make sense either, the Phantom 3 Standard is sub par compared to the lower end more modern drones. Really the drone is just a tool and editing skills can often make up for some of the hardware deficiencies, so don't take offense if we didn't list your drone.
Read on for more analysis
|Phantom 4 Pro|
If cost was no factor we would absolutely go for the Inspire or better. The higher end of a drone you get the less portable they become it seems. While the spark is very small, many don't realize that the Mavic has a smaller footprint once it's collapsed. However, real estate photography isn't the same as hiking to the top of a mountain for a drone photo of the valley below. Portability is important but it's not the most critical for taking aerial photos of houses.
Most drones seem to average around a 12MP camera. While this is quite good compared to the cameras of a few years ago, the Phantom 4 Pro and Inpsire both have cameras of 20MP or better. They both do better in low light as well. When it come to video we feel the spark eliminates itself as it is barely HD. The other drones all have 4k capability. The Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire are both able to do 4k at 60FPS. 60FPS is great if you need to slow video down later in post production, which happens quite often. The inspire grants the ability to have independent camera control. You can have one person controlling the camera for video and one person controlling the drone. That is an awesome feature, but overkill as the low margins in real estate video make it hard to justify 2 people on site for a shoot.
Flight time is more critical than most realize. Changing batteries takes time. Bringing extra batteries is an expense and extra stuff to carry. The Phantom 4 Pro has a flight time of 30 minutes beating out all the other drones. Though the only drone we would consider poor in this category is the spark with a flight time of 16 minutes.
With everything factored in it's really not a very difficult decision. The Phantom 4 Pro may be a little more expensive than a Mavic or some of the others, but it more than makes up for it in features. Do yourself a favor, buy one today and start making higher quality work then the other drone guy.
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