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Top Drones For Real Estate Photography

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An image of a drone flying, used for the hero photo on the top drones for real estate photography blog

Top 4 Drones For Real Estate Photography In 2022

You need to consider drones when you’re looking to improve your real estate aerial photography game in 2022. After all, you want to ensure that you get those incredible, dramatic images that you know help you close more deals.

With more and more buyers searching for homes online, making your listings stand out with drone photography is essential.

Why You Should Use Drones For Real Estate Photography In 2022

If you’re not yet convinced that real estate drone photography is a must in 2022, keep in mind the following facts:

  • Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the inclusion of a virtual tour, virtual staging, and drone photography in MLS listings are more important than ever before.
  • The vast majority of home buyers who start searching the Internet for homes expect to find high-quality photos.
  • Most home sellers prefer to work with a real estate agent who uses aerial photos.
  • Drone photos have become a standard on MLS listings.

Ultimately, drone photography offers a unique view of the property and its surroundings. It’s easy to show the nearby parks, schools, beaches, wooded areas, or other places of interest. Drones also offer needed capability when shooting commercial real estate since these buildings are often hard to capture with just a DSLR. Aerial photography is a great way to improve the look and feel of your real estate photos. Read on to gain insight into the top drones for real estate photography.

Top 4 Drones For Real Estate Photography

Now that you understand the importance of drones for real estate photography in 2022, it’s time to pick the right one.

The reality is that drones have come a long way. You can find a wide range of drones to help you get that hero aerial shot. To help you narrow your search, we selected a few of the best drones.

DJI Mavic Mini 3 Pro Product Image

DJI Mavic Mini 3 Pro

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is the best drone for beginners. This is the best option if you have never used a drone before or still don’t have much experience. DJI is the best in the business in making elegant, easy-to-use drones with features you generally see in pro cinematography drones. 

Although DJI drones aren’t cheap, they pack massive value into an end-user-designed product. Despite its size, it has a ton of features that we love to see in a drone, such as 4K video at 60fps, 10-bit footage, 120 frames per second in 1080P, vertical shooting, 48-megapixel photos, tri-directional sensors, intelligent flight modes that basically fly the drone for you and of course it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. We’ve flown this drone in very windy conditions, but the advanced sensors and software can compensate for the flight path and camera gimbal to ensure the horizon is straight. 

This drone’s video mode offers D-Cinelike, which is excellent for post-editing color grading options and getting those cinematic shots. One thing you need to be aware of when filming video with this drone is that it has a fixed aperture of [F1.7]. Now the F1.7 is fantastic. It’s great for low light and super sharp for being such a wide aperture, but because it’s a fixed aperture, that means you cannot adjust your exposure using the aperture, so you can only rely on the shutter speed and ISO. That’s tricky because we always want to stick to the 180-degree shutter rule. So, if we’re filming at 24 frames per second, we want our shutter speed to be 1/50th of a second, but because we can’t adjust our aperture, we need to use ND filters to block some of that excess light. We use Polar Pro ND filters to solve this problem. 

One of the biggest selling points of this drone is you can shoot vertically. The gimbal flips sideways, and you can capture true vertical videos and images and use all the intelligent flight modes in that orientation, so that’s amazing for people posting on social media, whether you’re doing Instagram reels, TikToks, or YouTube shorts.

What about photography? We’re impressed with the photos from this drone. It does shoot 48-megapixel photos. We don’t see a huge difference in 48mp versus 12mp, so shooting 12mp is better for data storage. The DJI Mini 3 Pro is an affordable drone with very capable photography, videography, and in-flight features on a small airframe.

DJI Mini 3 Pro Pros

  • Sub 250g – Multiple benefits here
  • Vertical Shooting, which comes in handy for individuals looking for social media images
  • Tri-directional obstacle avoidance for safer flights
  • New plus batteries
  • 4k 60fps video
  • 10 Bit Video Color for the best post videos

DJI Mini 3 Pro Cons

  • Considered a Pro model, but it doesn’t come with a 1″ camera sensor
  • Not a true 48MP image
  • No top-facing obstacle avoidance sensors (trees are easy to hit when you are ascending)
  • 1.2GB of internal storage

DJI Mini 3 Pro Specifications

  • Aircraft – 10.7 meters per second wind resistance. Flight distance is 28 Kilometers with the intelligent flight battery measured while flying at 43.2 Kilometers per hour. Ascending and Descending speeds at 6 meters per second.
  • Camera – 1/1.3 inch 48MP CMOS sensor. F1.7 fixed aperture. 82.1º FOV. 100-6400 ISO range. 2-1/8000 second electronic shutter range. JPEG/DNG photo formats. MP4/MOV (H.264/H.265) video formats
  • Storage – 1.2gb of internal storage
  • Features – Forward, backward, and downward-facing sensors for increased safety
  • Battery Life – 34 minutes max flight time with standard battery (or 47 mins with Intelligent Flight Battery Plus)

Common Questions About The DJI Mavic Mini 3 Pro

Yes, the DJI Mini 3 Pro has a “Follow Me” feature. Other models in which you can find this feature include the Mavic 3 and Air 2. The Mini 3 Pro’s Focus Track intelligent flight mode can automatically track a moving subject, such as yourself or others you want to capture astonishing photos or videos of.
Yes, the DJI Mini 3 Pro has a “Follow Me” feature. Other models in which you can find this feature include the Mavic 3 and Air 2. The Mini 3 Pro’s Focus Track intelligent flight mode can automatically track a moving subject, such as yourself or others you want to capture astonishing photos or videos of.
The quick answer is yes. Granted, there are regulations that you need to keep in mind when flying past civil twilight. Overall, with the drone’s wide ISO range, you can get great footage at night from such a compact drone. The more impressive aspect is that the noise is manageable at higher iso ranges.
After spending years in Ohio, We understand that weather can be unpredictable. You can leave your house in sunny weather and then show up to your listing, and it’s raining. Unfortunately, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is not designed to fly in the rain. If you happen to get caught in the rain when flying, return the drone back to “home,” turn it off and let it dry before using it again.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 product image

DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0

The Phantom drone series really started it all for DJI. The design of these drones is what most people think of when they hear the word, drone. Fortunately, DJI has continued to make significant improvements to the flagship UAV that started it all. The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 packs a serious punch under the $2,000 mark. The camera sensor is the most notable upgrade between the Phantom 4 and the Pro version. It has a 1/2.3″ crop sensor, while the Pro has a full 1″ sensor. This 1″ sensor can shoot in 20mp CMOS and has a mechanical shutter which eliminates the problem of a rolling shutter that you get with electronic shutters. The lens is wide angle and has an optimized f/2.8 F-Stop. This allows images and videos to retain maximum detail and color when shooting in less-than-ideal light. These features make the Phantom a great choice for real estate drone photography.

The video capabilities of the DJI Phantom 4 Pro v2.0 are no joke. Shooting at 100Mbs in 4k/60fps with D-Log color profiles makes getting those cinematic shots a breeze. D-Log in post-processing allows serious flexibility in color grading with a high-dynamic range.

Flight performance has also seen notable improvements. The drone has three flight modes (Cinema, Normal, and Sport) with a top speed of 45mph. This makes performing multi-step flights much more convenient. Fly sport to the shooting location, then switch to cinema mode to capture smooth video. The intelligent battery gives you 30 minutes of flight time with built-in safety features that prevent overcharging and draining. The drone will also notify you if you are getting close to the battery capacity needed to return to the flight takeoff point. A welcomed sense of security when flying over water. The remote control is also highly optimized. 

With a 5.5″ screen and the DJI Go 4 app already installed, there’s no need for a separate mobile device. The screen is bright in direct sunlight and has exceptionally good color. Although the DJI Phantom series doesn’t have the style lines that the Mavic 3 and Inspire have, it is an excellent value with a camera and flight features that rival the big dogs.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 Pros

  • Phantom 4 Pro v2.0 is one of the quietest drones with a camera on the market compared to other full-size professional drones.
  • Large camera sensor for amazing photos
  • Very respectable transmission range
  • Higher quality video (settings and resolution) than most consumer drones
  • Enhanced obstacle avoidance sensors for safer flights
  • Easy to fly for both beginners & professional drone users

DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 Cons

  • Some find its price very high, considering not many changes have been made from the original Phantom 4 Pro
  • The Phantom 4 has a bulkier design than other models
  • The battery life is not the greatest for professional use ( 30 minutes can fly by before you know it)

Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 Specifications

  • Aircraft – Ascent and Decent speeds at 6 meters per second. The wind resistance is 12 meters per second. The max altitude above sea level is 6000 meters. Without wind, the flight range will be approximately 6 miles (9.65 km).
  • Camera – Featuring a Mechanical Shutter. Sensor: 1 inch CMOS 20 megapixels. Lens FOV: 84° 8.8 mm / 24 mm. Aperture: f/2.8 – f/11. Electronic Shutter Speed: 8 – 1/8000s. Mechanical Shutter Speed: 8 – 1/2000s. 4K at 60 frames per second.
  • Internal storage at 8 GB with expandable storage by microSD card
  • Five directions of obstacle sensing technology comprised of stereo vision and infrared sensors.
  • Battery life – 31 Minutes of drone flight time
  • Weight – takeoff weight is 1375 grams (48.5 ounces), including batteries and propellers.

Common Questions About The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0

The Phantom 4 Pro V2 range is rather impressive when flying at the ideal speed of 12 miles per hour in relatively calm conditions. You will get a flight time of around 30 minutes. With that said, you will be able to fly approximately 6 miles.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 is a fantastic drone built for the free-minded and creative type. This drone is built with multiple features ensuring that you get the most out of your flights, such as obstacle avoidance, long-distance transmission, and an intelligent battery for extended flight times.
This drone can handle both high winds and rain. They have been used to capture sailboat races, so you can imagine some of the conditions they would have to deal with. According to the specs, this drone is not waterproof, but it can function in heavy winds with some rainfall.
The Phantom 4 Pro can be flown at night. Regulations to keep in mind when flying is to ensure that you have the appropriate lights on your drone that can be seen from up to 3 miles away. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V20 comes with those lights, allowing both Part 107 and recreational pilots to fly past Civil Twilight (with the proper clearance).

Dji Mavic Air 2S

The DJI Air 2s is really a hybrid between the Mavic 3 and the Mini 3 Pro. This drone gives you the convenience of a foldable design while still delivering world-class photography and videography. The camera has a 1″ sensor with 20mp, which is now the standard for DJI drones. These sensors give great color and retain image quality even in low light conditions. Photos can be captured in RAW with a dynamic range of up to 12.6 stops. This extra visual data makes real estate photo editing a lot more flexible. Match this with the intelligent HDR technology, and you can capture high-depth images with unrivaled color. 

The camera shoots video in 5.4k/30fps and 4k/60fps D-Log, making slow motion shoots super smooth with vast post-processing capabilities. DJI sensors can capture one billion colors, making sure to catch the hues you are looking for. This drone has the flagship DJI features like hyper-lapse, wide angle, 180-degree shots, and the classic sphere pano.

Regarding video, the DJI Air 2S has features like spotlight, active track, and point of interest which makes capturing moving subjects more cinematic and easier on the pilot. Solo shooting is also much easier with these features. The DJI Mavic Air 2S has four directional sensors and advanced pilot assistance systems like object avoidance. These features allow the pilot to fly the drone behind a moving subject, letting it avoid obstacles by itself, like trees, light poles, and buildings. This feature takes stress off the pilot and allows more cinematic video to occur. The DJI Air 2S uses DJI’s most advanced transmission technology, Ocusync 3.0. This means four antennas transferring 1080p transmission with up to 12km of range. 

Worried about other aircraft flying in your area? Rest assured with DJI’s ADS-B feature. This feature alerts you when there are other aircraft in the area that are transmitting their location via the Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast. The flight time is 31 minutes, similar to the Phantom 4 Pro. This drone is an excellent choice when looking for more professional features while not paying the professional price.

DJI Air 2S Pros

  • Best-in-class 5.4K Ultra HD video
  • ActiveTrack automated flight mode is greatly improved with the added sensors
  • Huge 1″ CMOS 20 MP sensor – allowing users to capture DSLR light images
  • 4x digital zoom while maintaining 4k resolution
  • The ability to capture both Raw and JPEG images at the same time
  • Excellent 1080p live stream video quality with more extended range and low latency (when using the OcuSync 3.0)
  • Advanced GLONASS + GPS + GALILEO navigation and mapping
  • Obstacle avoidance with 4-directional sensing (APAS 4.0)
  • FocusTrack, Waypoint, and automated flight modes for ease of capturing great photos and videos
  • MasterShots with 20+ templates to create cinematic videos ready to share to streamline post-production
  • Compact, folding design for travel purposes
  • 8GB of internal storage (in case you forget to pop in your micro SD card)

DJI Air 2S Cons

  • Less battery life than the previous model (DJI Mavic Air 2)
  • Difficult to export Pano mode images
  • The range isn’t great in urban areas with buildings
  • ActiveTrack STILL has issues staying focused on the subject and picking safe flight paths
  • MasterShots only available in 1080p max

Air 2S Specifications

  • Aircraft – ascent and descent speed is limited to 6 Meters per second. Maximum wind resistance of 10.5 meters per second. The AIR 2S can go as high as 5000m above sea level. The AIR 2S has a maximum range of 18.5km, about the same as the Mavic 2 Pro (18km)
  • Camera – 20MP, 1″-type CMOS sensor for DSLR-like photos – with a focal length equivalent to a 22mm lens with 88º FOV and fixed F2.8 aperture capturing both RAW and JPEG
  • Video – 5.4K/30p, 4K/60p, and 1080p/120p video with 10-bit D-Log and HDR video capture
  • Image Transmission – OcuSync 3.0 (O3) image transmission (12 km range)
  • Sensors – Four-way obstacle avoidance
  • Internal storage at 8 GB with expandable storage by microSD card
  • ‘MasterShots’ cinematic capture mode
  • Battery Life – 31-minute flight time
  • Weight – 595g

Common Questions About The Air 2S

In our opinion, the DJI Air 2 S is totally worth the money. This drone is amazingly well-rounded. Advanced cameras and features ensure phenomenal drone footage while maintaining a long safe flight.
This drone is great for any experience level. DJI has gone to great lengths to ensure its drones are highly user-friendly. Even though this drone is an excellent choice for a beginner, you still get advanced flight features and camera quality which can be valuable to even experienced pilots.
Considering a full battery will have a flight life of around 30 minutes, you can make a one-way trip of 15 minutes before returning home. One recommendation is not to push your battery to the limit and allow yourself extra “juice.”
The Phantom 4 Pro can be flown at night. Regulations to keep in mind when flying is to ensure that you have the appropriate lights on your drone that can be seen from up to 3 miles away. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V20 comes with those lights, allowing both Part 107 and recreational pilots to fly past Civil Twilight (with the proper clearance).

Dji Mavic 3

The DJI Mavic 3 is currently the best drone for real estate photography still compact enough to fold up. Although this drone is on the higher end regarding price, it is an absolute workhorse for a real estate photographer. This drone has a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera with 5.1k Apple ProRes. This is a 20MP camera with 12.8 stops dynamic range. It has an adjustable aperture of f/2.8-f/11 with a 24mm equivalent focal length. 

Simply put, this drone takes unbelievably good photos that make real estate listing photos look outstanding with deep, high-dynamic range. Having such a big senor also allows low light images like twilight photos to retain great detail and enhances post-processing for hero listing shots.

In video mode, you can record in 10-bit D-Log, so if your up for color grading in post, this is the drone for real estate video. Did I mention the DJI Mavic 3 has a second camera? Yup, break out the Tele Camera with 28x hybrid zoom at 162mm, f.4.4. This bonus camera is a true time saver allowing zoom photos to be taken instead of post cropping. It also allows shooting far away so as not to disturb the subject. This is great for adventure photographers filming climbers or wildlife. This tele camera brings the heat with manual mode and RAW image capabilities. 

Although the cameras are a significant upgrade for the Mavic 3, the in-flight systems are also packed with capability. Omnidirectional obstacle sensing means this drone has serious object avoidance. This allows the drone to automatically avoid collision while still taking in-flight commands from the remote. A prime example would be following a mountain bike through the trees. You focus on keeping the subject in the frame, and the drone does the rest, avoiding trees and helping you get the shot. 

Advanced return to home allows safer and more automated flights, avoiding trees and buildings as it returns to the launch point. Ocusync 3+ RC transmission gives better range and video streaming. Flight time at 46 minutes means more time flying and less time changing batteries. These features, plus others, make the DJI Mavic 3 a worthwhile investment for pilots looking to take their photography and videography to the next level while maintaining portability.

DJI Mavic 3 Pros

  • Powerful dual cameras
  • Pro-level image quality
  • Advanced safety features
  • 4/3 camera with Hasselblad color (it doesn’t get much better than that!)
  • Lens offers 7x optical and 28x digital zoom
  • 5.1K at 50 frames per second and 4K at 120 frames per second video
  • 20MP Raw or JPG stills – giving you more flexibility in post-production and coloring
  • All-around obstacle avoidance
  • Long flight times compared to previous models

DJI Mavic 3 Cons

  • Expensive but packed full of value
  • The battery life falls shy of 46-minutes
  • The base model offers only 8GB of storage (just make sure you keep a backup SD card in your bag)
  • Automatic APAS navigation is not as good as Skydio
  • Telephoto camera is underwhelming

Mavic 3 Specifications

  • Aircraft – Ascent and decent speeds at 8 meters per second and 6 meters per second. The wind resistance is 12 meters per second. The max altitude above sea level is 6000 meters. Max temperature is 40 degrees Celcius. The max range is 8 Kilometers., offering radio frequencies at both 2.4 and 5.8 GHz
  • Camera – Featuring a 20 megapixel sensor, 4/3 CMOS. The drone video resolution is 5.2K. ISO light sensitivity is 100-6400. Standard focal length is 24mm. Digital zoom up to 3 times. Shutter speed range is 8-1/8000 seconds. Camera FOV is comparable to the standard 24mm Lens at 84 degrees.
  • Internal storage at 8 GB with expandable storage by microSD card
  • Further Features – Night mode, omnidirectional dual vision system, infrared sensor, motorized 3-axis stabilization, RC-N1 remote controller
  • Battery life – 46 Minutes of flight time
  • Weight – 895 Grams

Common Questions About The Mavic 3

The Mavic 3 is well worth it! The best value comes when you get this drone with the fly more combo. This package includes additional Intelligent Flight Batteries, spare props, ND filters for when you’re out flying in bright sunshine, and the convertible carrying bag provides an easy storage solution compared to the default package.
While this drone is larger than the mini (the ideal foldable drone for indoor flight), the Mavic 3 will still perform well indoors. Just keep in mind that you will have little GPS signal indoors. Yet, with the weak GPS signal, you can still leverage the safety sensors on the drone to maintain a safe flight in a large enough area.
Honestly, any of the DJI consumer drones are great for beginners. Looking at the Mavic 3, this is one DJI’s top drones. You can fly this drone safely with state-of-the-art omnidirectional object avoidance and flight automation.
The Mavic 3 can be run in slight rain. Note that this drone is not waterproof; the less water it sees, the better. But out of the lineup, the build on the Mavic 3 will allow you to finish capturing your photos if it happens to rain while you are in flight.

Conclusion

Make sure to do your own research and find which real estate drone best fits your needs. Always remember that you must obtain your drone pilot license from the federal aviation administration to take real estate photos commercially. The drone pilot must have this license on them during operation. 

Need a drone-licensed real estate photographer? Check out our drone services here. We hope you found valuable insight into the best drones on the market to better your real estate drone photography.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a couple of factors to keep in mind when buying a drone for real estate photography. The first thing is understanding what your budget is. The second thing is, what will you focus on when you fly your drone – Photography, Video, or both? Once you have those two questions answered, you can more easily start pinpointing which drone would suit you. (I want to mention why I didn’t bring up experience level. As long as you stick with the DJI drone lineup, you can comfortably fly any of their consumer drones.)
The applications that we recommend for editing your drone footage are Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. With those two tools, you can make your images pop. If you are uncomfortable with those editors, you can keep it simple and utilize a more basic editor to enhance your shadows, highlights, and color.
In our opinion, when a real estate agent is capturing their own drone footage (assuming they have their part 107 drone license) we would recommend the Mavic Mini Pro 3. This drone is hands down the most bang for your buck when it comes to features and final image output. It also stores away easily due to its compact size.
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