2018 was a great year for drones. Either recreational or for serious professional work, drone use was at an all-time high. While it did lead to more drone incidents and law violations, overall the reception was great. With 2018 in the rearview mirror, it is time we look ahead. What can we look forward to this upcoming year?
DJI and the Drone World
Last year, we saw amazing drones released by companies such as DJI. The Mavic 2 series increased the bar for newer drones to measure up to. The new Mavic models showcased amazing camera technology and flight capabilities. This year, what will DJI come up with next?
Other companies, such as Parrot and Yuneec released drones that can compete with the DJI supremacy. While at some points these companies were under hot water because of sales issues, 2019 might turn things around. These companies offer competitive specs at cheaper prices, which is a good thing for those on a budget. For those who cannot afford the high-end drones like the Mavic 2, cheaper alternatives are available at the market. Of course, you have to sacrifice one thing for another. With a cheaper price, you may see a less powerful battery, lower flight times, and not to mention camera capabilities.
Price, Battery Life, and Camera Quality
The most prominent factors in most of today’s drones are either the price, battery life or the camera. For most casual and professional drone owners, it boils down to two things: recreation and affordability. Those who simply want to fly a drone while seeing what their drone sees prefer longer flight times. These recreational users would rather fly their drones 30 minutes at a time at 720p, over flying 10 minutes at 4k resolution. These recreational users also often want a cheaper drone that can fly longer. Many drones that offer 30-minute flight times often go beyond the $1000 mark. Most casual drone owners do not (or cannot) want to pay that much. Going through sales and bargains often gives the best bang-for-your-buck deal.
For those leaning more on cinematography and photography, a better camera trumps everything else. Those wanting to make that one snapshot count require a capable camera that can take on as much detail as possible. The Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom for instance has two separate, distinct cameras each with their own upsides. The Pro has the amazingly powerful Hasselblad camera, while the Zoom offers just that, unrivaled zoom potential. While casual enthusiasts can purchase these beasts, they belong more to serious photographers and cameramen. With a price tag closing in on $1500 – not to mention the accessories – it can be a very steep price to pay for someone simply looking to fly a drone.
For those simply starting out, or those interested but do not know where to start, user-friendly features is a must. Having a drone that takes care of the landing and hovering can ease the learning curve. It can also be a bridge to introduce kids and young adults into the mix. Having a simpler controller may also help the learning process. A complex controller may intimidate some, and can even spin the heads of those willing to learn. A lot of cheaper drones out there often do not even come with a controller. One can simply use an app in their smartphones to make the drone move.
In 2019 we should expect far more powerful drones to come out on the market. All eyes are on DJI and what their next project will be about. More powerful drones however equate to more expensive price tags. For those on a budget, looking out to the smaller companies may do the trick.