Years ago, consumer drones were little more than toys—high-tech offshoots of radio-controlled model airplanes. Today these robots are cameras with superpowers. Whether you’re an aspiring filmmaker looking to add a helicopter-style establishing shot to your short film, a daredevil hoping to document your next adventure from a bird’s-eye view, or just someone who wants to see what your backyard looks like from five stories up, there’s a flying machine out there waiting to do your bidding.
DJI Phantom 3 Standard
A drone is only as good as its camera, and the Phantom 3’s is a pro-grade, 2.7K-resolution shooter. It packs more image detail than most high-def cams, and its three-axis motorized gimbal fights rotor shake while delivering cinematic tracking shots. [$799 ]
Easy to fly, surprisingly durable (despite a frame that’s partially Styrofoam), and stable enough to operate indoors, this phone- or tablet-controlled bot is the perfect training drone for testing your skills before you splurge on something bigger. [$500]
By tracking your phone, the Solo becomes your personal aerial cameraman, automatically following and aiming its camera at you. And it’s optimized for GoPros, so you can change settings remotely and even power the action cam so it doesn’t die midflight. [$1,000]