Drone tech review: which drones are best for your drone business?

Written by
Ray Gillinder
October 18, 2022

Finding the perfect drone for your needs

Not all drones are created equal! There’s a reason why capture missions for construction companies might favour a specific model, whilst real estate captures would be better suited to a different drone.

While the range of drone options available can be overwhelming, we’ve put together a series of mini-reviews of the best drones on the market to help. This way, you can make a confident and informed purchasing decision when you’re selecting the right types of drones you need for your drone business.

The best drones for your drone business

The Mavic 2 & Mavic 3 Pro

Mavic 2
Mavic 3 Pro

We’ve put the Mavic 2 (discontinued) and the Mavic 3 Pro in the same subcategory because many of the features and benefits are similar. Of course, the Mavic 3 Pro can do everything the 2 does but dials it up a level! (Also worth noting, the DJI website says the Mavic 2 is no longer in production and they suggest you go with the Mavic 3. We're kept it here though for posterity).

Both of these drone models offer truly incredible photography and videography capabilities with up to 5100/50 frames per second capture rate! Add to that slow motion, HD resolution and industry leading max video bitrate and you’ve got a real winner. One of the additional and key aspects of the videography system is the dual camera which brings both an autofocus prime lens and tele lens to the table, allowing for intelligent shooting modes and a zoom capability that’s truly amazing. 

So, what’s the difference between the Mavic 2 and the Mavic 3 Pro? While the videography capabilities of the Mavic 3 are better, so is its sensor, flight time and transmission distance. Nonetheless, both models are truly top of their class if you’re after a drone that prioritises good quality, reliable photography and videography. 

Its ideal use cases

Any capture mission requiring high definition photos and videos would do well with the Mavic models. These include:

  • Property or real estate photography
  • Roof or solar panel inspections
  • Bridge and other larger asset or infrastructure inspections
  • Aerial photos or videography for marketing, advertising and films

Check them out on the DJI website: Mavic 2 (discontinued) and Mavic 3 Pro

The DJI Air 2S

DJI Air 2S

DJI is a well known producer of high quality drones and their reputation in the industry is deserved. The DJI Air 2S brings an extraordinary number of features to the table.

From its 5400 frame-per-second video capability to its digital zoom and from its 1-inch complementary metal oxide semiconductor (or CMOS) sensor to its MasterShots mode, there’s a ton to love! But it’s not ALL about the video. 

Where the Air 2S really makes its mark is in its manoeuvrability and flight capabilities. Think four-directional obstacle sensing, intelligent flight system with up to 31 minutes in flight time, long-range transmission and Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast feature. 

Its ideal use cases

This drone is ideal for capture missions that require both high quality photos or videos, and that can be easily flown over, in, around and through obstacles. For example:

  • Missions that require visually inspecting of larger or hard to reach assets such as buildings, roofs and bridges
  • Monitoring of larger items or significant stock amounts
  • Aerial photography needed for film and/or marketing use cases 

Check out the DJI Air 2S on DJI's website here.

The DJI Phantom 4 RTK 

DJI Phantom 4 RTK

The DJI Phantom 4 RTK drone is a truly revolutionary piece of machinery, especially for highly accurate yet low altitude mapping. Compact, agile and with pinpoint accuracy, the Phantom 4 RTK is a really effective way to gather invaluable data.

On a photographic level, the mechanical shutter, 20 megapixel CMOS sensor and meticulously calibrated lenses all add up to one super practical, reliable little drone. 

The precise imaging system built specifically for surveyors works in tandem with its TimeSync function and positioning system to allow for accurate image data with improved efficiency. That’s why anyone engaged in accurate mapping or surveying activities often favour the Phantom 4.

Its ideal use cases

The Phantom 4 RTK drone is widely used for use cases that require truly accurate reporting of data without the need for high altitude flights. These include:

  • Construction site progress reporting
  • Volumetric reporting of stock levels for mining companies
  • Inspections for surveying companies 

Check out the DJI Phantom 4 RTK on DJI's website here.

DJI Matrice 300 RTK

DJI Matrice 300 RTK

Last on the list but definitely not least, the DJI Matrice 300 RTK is reliable, safe and efficient. When you think Matrice 300, think dual: Dual flight control system sensors, dual smart batteries, dual transmission links and dual control signal links.

One of the safest and hardiest drones and with a real-world flight time of 30-40 minutes with sensor attached, 6 sensing directions, and emergency landing capability thanks to its triple propeller, the Matrice 300 is unique in its class. 

As far as cameras go, nothing outranks the P1 and L1 range of sensor in terms of value for money, with superb quality photography and videography features are complemented by a Sart Oblique Capture, Global Mechanical Shutter (with a shutter speed of 1/2000 seconds) and–uniquely–a TimeSynch synchronisation feature that works down to the microsecond. And in the case of the L1 when used and processed correctly, it’s truly a value for money lidar system.

The M300 RTK is particularly useful for applications requiring payloads due to its downward (dual) and upward (single) gimbal mount. The dual operator functionality also allows for multiple controllers during extensive operations and flights. 

But that’s not where it ends either: Enhanced propulsion systems enable better flight performance, advanced intelligence and live mission recording ensure versatile use, and automatic AI spot check ensures consistent framing and video capture. 

Its ideal use cases

The DJI Matrice 300 RTK is ideal for use cases where safety and efficiency are true priorities. Examples include:

  • Volumetric reporting for mining companies 
  • Construction progress reporting
  • Emergency services requiring access to remote or hard to reach areas
  • Post-incident modelling
  • Live streaming of events for crowd control

Check out the DJI Matrice 300 RTK on DJI's website here.

Found the right drone? Now find the right aerial intelligence platform!

Finding the right drone/s to match the capture needs of your clients is the first step. Next you need the right platform for visualising your drone-captured data and sharing it easily with your clients. And for that, there’s us!

Ray Gillinder
Ray is an Operations Manager at Birdi, and also our Head Drone Pilot and resident expert on all things drone-related. When Ray isn't supporting the runnings of Birdi, he's out flying drones and capturing data at any number of sites.

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