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Drone vs. DSLR

Drone vs. DSLR

We’ve always loved the debate of a drone camera vs. a DSLR full frame mirrorless camera. This is at times a hotly contested debate as Drone Photography continues to grow.

Using a drone for photography and videography is a great way to get high quality images and video recordings when shooting aerial photography. From beginners to professionals looking for a high-end drone, we will explore some great options made by class leader DJI drones. DJI drones get you the best drone and their lineup caters to all types of users. When flying drones for photography, the camera is placed on a gimbal for easy rotation. So you can maneuver the camera as well as the drone from the remote, or if it is tethered to your smartphone via the app as found in the appstore on an iPhone. Keep in mind that bluetooth is included with DJI drones like the DJI Mini, the DJI Mini 3 Pro the DJI Mavic, the DJI Mavic Air, the Mavic 2 Pro, and the Mavic 3. These are just several examples of the great drones from DJI and we will explore our recommendations for all you drone pilots out there. One other item that we love about drone flying and capturing photography with a drone, is that you can use the drone to make you the center of the footage. So you are basically taking selfies of photos and videos from the air. Drones can be a great alternative to a Go Pro camera as well if utilized as such.

Using a full frame mirrorless DSLR camera is definitely the way to go with still photography. While drones today have amazing camera systems, the mid-tier to high-end DSLR cameras will offer a plethora of additional features and capabilities that you wouldn’t be able to get on a drone camera. While controlling camera presets and settings on a drone can be done and is done, accomplishing this on a DSLR will give you more control over things like shutter speed, ISO, and the ability to record in RAW image quality allowing for more flexibility in post processing of your RAW files. In addition, a good DSLR cameras will offer amazing autofocus technology (which takes alot of the guess work out of a shot) and is great for beginners as well. Having a stellar DSLR camera from a leading manufacturer like Nikon, Sony or Canon will help ensure that every pixel shines through your exposed image with vibrancy, sharpness and clarity.

Favorite Drones

The first of our favorite drones that we would like to introduce you too is the DJI Mini 2 SE Foldable Drone Video Quadcopter. Here are some of the features and specs that we love about this very capable drone:

  • DJI Mini 2’s equipped 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor allow for the camera to capture 12MP photos and up to 2.7K videos.

  • The DJI Mini 2 SE provides approximately 31 minutes of max flight time and up to 10 km or 6.2 miles of HD video transmission. This transmission can be at up to 60 fps or 2.7k resolution at up to 30 fps.

  • The Lithium-Ion flight battery is rated at 2250 mAh, weighing 2.9 oz. Maximum charging power is 8.8 V. Plenty of charging power via USB-C charging hub. We do recommend having a power bank for those long shooting session in the event you are concerned about being near an outlet for charging.

  • The DJI Mini 2 SE comes at a super price point.

  • The DJI Mini 2 SE is equipped with a dual MicroSD card/MicroSDHC slot with a maximum of 128 GB of memory storage capacity.

  • Offers a tremendous 83 degree field of view with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and minimum focusing distance of 3.3’.

  • 4× Zoom enables you to transition between shots of differing distances. That means you can take clear, vivid great video and shots from any distance you feel comfortable at.

  • Safety is extremely important for drone pilots to ensure that they have a smooth flight experience and can be assured that their drone will safely return to them. Therefore, Return to Home is one of the most important safety features on this mini drone. Smart RTH, Low Battery RTH, and Failsafe RTH allow you to rest easy during operation. The Return to Home feature is a failsafe built into the DJI drone that gets the drone back safely to a preset home point in the following instances:

    • When it loses signal connection to the remote controller

    • The battery life is getting too low and the drone calculates the battery time needed to return to the Drone Pilot.

    • The user can choose to enable the Return to Home (RTH). Once the DJI Mini 2 SE detects the preset home point, it will descend automatically and land there.

    • With built in obstacle avoidance, the user should feel that much more at ease with operating these fantastic DJI drones.

  • Use the awesome DJI FLY app as a companion to controlling the drone.

  • Because of it’s low weight (less than 250 grams), this drone can be classified as a recreational drone. Therefore drone pilots do not need to become licensed through the FAA to use this amazing drone.

  • The DJI Mini 2 SE Fly More Combo pack comes with the following accessories: 3 x Intelligent Flight Battery, Two-Way Charging Hub, RC-N1 Remote Controller, RC-N1 RC USB-C Cable, RC-N1 RC Lightning Cable, RC-N1 RC Micro-USB Cable, Shoulder Bag, 3 x Pair of Propellers
    18 x Spare Screw, screwdriver, Propeller Holder, Gimbal Protector, USB-C Data Cable and a DJI USA Authorized Dealer Warranty.


Another of our favorite drones which is perfect for aerial photography is the DJI Air 2S Drone Quadcopter with 5.4K Video. This is a nice drone with high-end specs that any drone pilot will love.

  • 1-inch CMOS Sensor with the ability to take 20 megapixel photos, so you get that image quality you want.

  • DJI Air 2S is capable of shooting at 5.4k/30fps and 4k/60fps video recordings. The 60 FPS matches the highest FPS for streaming services and TV at this time. However, 120 FPS is right around the corner and many high-end TV’s can upscale the content.

  • Due to it’s ability to record in HDR or High Dynamic Range nd high resolution, even dimly lit or harsher lighting conditions should be a breeze to shoot in.

  • Besides for being able to shoot images in the jpeg format, this drone has the ability to shoot in RAW uncompressed files. Then you can use the DJI Fly App for any post processing or editing to your RAW file.

  • With smart features like MasterShots and FocusTrack, the DJI Air 2S can turn any drone flying adventure into jaw dropping footage.

  • Mastershots allows for selecting your subject, and then the drone will film while performing ten different maneuvers in sequence. This keeps your subject center-frame and generates a short cinematic video afterward.

  • Focus track has features which make honing in and following your subject easy even for beginners. They include Spotlight 2.0 so the camera stays centered on a subject or object as you fly in a spiral or take close-up shots. ActiveTrack 4.0 allows the drone to follow your subject smoothly while avoiding obstacles automatically. Point of Interest 3.0 which lets you take a perfect circle shot while keeping your subject or object centered.

  • A large 3500 mAh battery provides the long lasting power needed for this drone. We do still however recommend having spare batteries and/or a power bank for those long flying and recording sessions.

  • Remember to download the DJI Fly App to get the most out of your new drone.

    DJI Air 2S Drone

Favorite Cameras

Now that we have discussed drones let take a look at a couple of great DSLR cameras we love that have professional specs designed to be used by anyone.

First off is the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 30.4 MP Full Frame CMOS DSLR Camera (Body). This is what is known as an interchangeable lens camera as this is a body only model. This means that you can attach any of the wonderful Canon lenses to this camera or a lens from a different manufacturer with the correct mounting adapter. This is due to each camera manufacturer having their own patented mounting system. Additional features of this camera that we love are:

  • New 30.4 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting in nearly any light, including harsh lighting conditions such as dimly lit environments.

  • 4K Motion JPEG video recording (DCI cinema-type 4096 x 2160) at 30p or 24p. Can record in HD up to 120 FPS.

  • Unbelievable Dual Pixel CMOS AF (Auto Focus) for a responsive and smooth experience during video or Live View shooting

  • The included touchscreen LCD monitor covers all areas of the auto focus points in your shot.

  • High-end, exceptional performance from the DIGIC 6+ Image Processor for improved speed and excellent image quality.

  • The metering sensor can help detect flickering lights which then allows the camera to use it’s enhanced scene recognition and face detection capabilities.

  • With built-in Wi-Fi and NFC you can easily connect the camera to the internet and utilize Canon’s camera app to upload images and videos to your social media site of choice.


Another of our favorite DSLR cameras is the Nikon Z9 Full Frame FX Flagship Mirrorless Camera 45.7MP 8K Video (Body). This camera is a body only which means that it is an interchangeable lens camera. We love these because it opens up a world of possibilities as to what type or different types of lenses you want. Are you satisfied with an everyday prime lens or do you need a telephoto lens, etc.? We with the Nikon Z9 you can attach any of the amazing lenses from Nikon even their NiKKor high-end S-line of lenses. What else do we love about this camera?

  • With some of the world’s best AF scene detection and 8K video resolution, you will be hard pressed to find a camera with these capabilities at this price point.

  • Can record 4K still images in 120 FPS for a buttery smooth frame refresh rate!!

  • First Nikon camera with 4-axis vertical and horizontal tilting monitor, so the EVF makes photography sessions that much easier as you can concentrate on the the shot clearly through the Electronic View Finder.

  • Enhanced Auto Focus for people, pets and wildlife. This also includes enhanced eye recognition and tracking of those subjects.

  • This camera offers 3D tracking as well. It is available with deep learning subject detection. Hone in and lock onto fast-moving subjects and track them moving toward you, away from you and in any direction.

  • With Expeed 7 new processing engine from Nikon, you can expect performance which is up to 10x faster than previous generations.

  • Offering memory card storage of the advanced CFexpress card are two slots for multiple memory cards. With these you should be able to get the fastest read/write speeds. (Check make, model and rating on the memory card prior to purchase to ensure compatibility).

  • Want to shoot in 8K UHD or Ultra High Definition video resolution? Well the Nikon Z9 let’s you do that. You can capture images and video recordings in 8K up to 30 FPS.

  • Can also shoot in 4K oversampled from 8K so you get a high quality image and video reproduction.

  • Some of the 2022 firmware updates which Nikon released to improve this already impressive camera include: a 12-bit RAW 8K/60p in-camera, 12-bit RAW Video Formats: N-RAW (Nikon’s original RAW video format), ProRes RAW HQ, Stunning 45.7-megapixel image quality, Stacked CMOS sensor. Additional updates have come out so prior to usage of the camera once you have purchased it, you should perform a firmware update.

  • Both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are included for seamless connectivity to Nikon’s app and peripheral devices. This also allows for you to upload your content to a social media website of your choosing.

    Nikon Z9


Who’s the Winner?

This is an interesting one as there really is no winner per se. It all depends on what type of photography you are trying to do and what type of features and specs you need.

If you are looking at aerial photography than obviously a drone is the way to go. However, even with the advancements in specs on the camera system of a drone, a full frame DSLR camera will give you more options, better specs and features which can truly be appreciated in still photography.

So, if you are looking at a career as portrait photographer or the versatility of handheld shooting of footage, than you will want a DSLR camera. With either choice, you should still be able to get high quality images, however these would favor the DSLR camera.

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