How to pick a drone

So, I have a confession to make. I passed my FAA Part 107 license exam and have occasionally bragged about this, but I don’t actually have a drone yet. That’s right, I’m a pilot without a drone to fly. The truth is I am waiting to get my 10% educational discount that DJI provides. If it takes long enough I might hold out a little longer and see if I can get a Black Friday deal too. We’ll see how patient I can be. What? You didn’t know that DJI provides 10% discounts to people affiliated with schools and universities? Head here to get more details.

I thought that it was worth writing a little bit about what I have been looking for in a drone since I’m about 95% certain of what I want to get. First, I wanted a true drone. I’ve played around with toy grade models and they are fun in their own right but I wanted something with a full suite of GPS, autonomous flight capability, and sensors. I also wanted something that was powerful enough to tolerate some wind and do some higher speed movement, but at the same time was relatively easy to fly since I was still new to this.

I am not necessarily concerned with drone size, although I do want something that I can pack relatively easy for a day trip with the family or to go with my wife’s photography equipment if we are heading to a wedding. I also set a target price range around $1,000. Anything too low and I was entering the toy realm and, well, this isn’t a profession for me so I didn’t want to dip too deeply into the bank for a new hobby. I didn’t want to be traumatized too much if I crashed the drone right after takeoff.

But, I did want something that had the potential to take high quality photos. Whether I am supporting my wife’s wedding photography or capturing interesting landscape photos for fun, I wanted something that would shoot RAW photos and 4k video. Of course, if I could get something with decent flight times that would be great as well.

It didn’t take long for me to find out that the DJI Mavic Air 2 really hits that sweet spot that I was looking for. It can shoot professional quality photo and video, is easy to fly, and has the power and technology to get around well without hitting anything (hopefully.) Also, at that price point I can pick up a couple extra batteries, propellers, and other useful stuff as part of the Fly More combo. Reviews of the product also seem really solid. If I was just looking to play around, I’d probably go with the DJI Mini 2 and if I was doing this for my primary income I’d pony up more money, but this seemed to be the perfect combination of professional and consumer features. So, once I actually get it, I’ll post some first impressions…

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