Drones have got a bad rap because operators illegally fly them in restricted areas or use them for unethical purposes like invasion of privacy. But the reality is that most drone pilots are focused on the art, business and scientific aspects of these amazing tools.
One of my hobbies is photography, so it was an easy decision to purchase a drone to expand my photographic capabilities. Like any new tool the learning curve has been substantial, but as I have become more experienced as a pilot I have discovered the new imaging possibilities that drones expose.
The other thing that I discovered was that people have a range of emotions about drones, they are either really excited about their capabilities, fearful of their invasive potential or bothered by their intrusive nature. Every time I pilot my drone while out exploring and creating images people either stop and ask questions or continue on with an annoyed expression.
From a technology perspective drones are really expanding business and technical capabilities across so many industries. From package delivery to agriculture and mining imaging, drones are being used for a large number of business and scientific tasks that were either expensive or impossible before their development.
So, should you buy a drone? If I think back about other technological developments, there have always been early adopters, explorers and developers. Drone technology in no different, as prices drop and capabilities improve, more people are buying drones because they are becoming easier to pilot and have advanced hardware and software capabilities that provide high image quality, automated piloting options and improved performance.
Consumer drones, designed for video and photography use, range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. The difference in price reflects a range of imaging, performance and operational capabilities. Today you can buy a very capable drone for about $500.00. By that I mean a drone that can take high quality video and still images, is easy to fly and has the performance (range, speed and battery life) to get the images.
The most popular models of imaging drones are made by companies like DJI, Parrot and Yuneec. Many photographers prefer the DJI products because the company has taken much of the software and hardware capabilities from their professional platforms and migrated them to their lower cost consumer drones.
An entry level drone is a great choice for exploring the capabilities, introducing kids to this new technology and learning to properly operate and pilot these flying camera platforms. Drones will become more important tools for a wide range of industries and scientific studies, so now is the time to begin exploring what is possible and introducing the next generation to the technology potential.