Earlier this month we watched on as the European Drone Summit brought us a huge amount of innovation and a selection of products that we’re excited to write about. The biggest and possibly most noteworthy of the summit comes from DJI – surprisingly – with the launch of the Phantom 4 RTK in Frankfurt. Of course, those of us in the know knew that the new Phantom was coming and it makes sense for the release to fall in line with the event. With their own Airworks event following the summit – it’s no surprise that hype has been created to increase publicity for their own event – but with a new drone announcement is exciting nevertheless.

What’s comes with the Phantom 4 RTK

DJI has once again shown that commercial drone applications can be brought to the market in smaller packages and at lower price points than what we first thought – and for less than the competitors. The RTK is expected to retail for €5,700 and will come included with the drone itself, remote controller, two intelligent flight batteries, one remote controller intelligent battery, charger hubs for both battery types, power adapter, power cable, four propeller pairs and accessories. So you’re definitely getting a fair bit in the box for your money.

Centimeter level positioning system

One of the most impressive features of the RTK module is the real-time, centimeter-level positioning data for unrivalled accuracy within images. There’s also a GNSS module, perfect for maintaining flight stability in poorer signalled regions – whether that’s dense cities, heavy wooded areas or congested or tricky geometries. Combine both the RTK receiver and the GNSS module and you’ve got a winning package for optimised flight, safety and accuracy for complex surveying, mapping and inspection workflows. You can also fit the Phantom 4 RTK to any workflow with the ability of connection to the positioning system to the D-RTK Mobile Station, NTRIP with the use of a 4G dongle or WiFi hotspot.

Gather accurate data with timesync

Taking full advantage of the 4 RTK’s phenomenal positioning system, the TimeSync system was created so you’re continually aligning the flight controller, camera and RTX module. Timesync makes sure that each and every photo taken uses the most accurate metadata and will actually fix the positioning data to the center of the CMOS. That means that you’ll be getting optimised results from photogrammetry while allowing the image to use centimeter-level positioning data.

Purpose-built flight planning application

A brand new GS RTK app allows you as the pilot to intelligent control the all new Phantom 4 RTK with two sparkly new planning modes. Choose between photogrammetry and waypoint flight alongside the expected, traditional flight modes offered by DJI. Planning modes allow you to select a drone’s flight path with the adjustment of the overlap rate, altitude, speed, camera parameters and more – meaning an automated mapping or inspection workflow – we’ll take that all day long. The GS RTK app has been completely built from the ground up with its pilots in mind and comes with a range of features specific to mapping and inspection workflow. With an implemented direct loading of KML area files for ‘in-office’ flight planning and a new shutter priority mode – meaning that your exposure is consistent across all areas of shooting. There’s even a super strong wind alarm to warn you of any particularly adverse conditions.


It’s no secret that the growth in the drone market is on the up – and up in a serious fashion. The number of consumer drones sold in 2018 is scraping the 13 million mark and with an expected increase upto 29 million by 2021. That, if you’re unsure, is some serious growth and if this keeps up – we can only imagine the scale of consumer drone sales by say 2040. That got us thinking – what does the future of aerial photography look like? With a whole host of new drones created every single day – it’s hard to imagine a world where they’re as common as mobile phones or netbooks. So we had a sit down, did a bit of a brainstorm and came up with four ideas that reflect what we think the future of aerial photography will bring.

1. Tighter restrictions

I don’t really want to start this post off on a downer, but with more drones and more people flying, it’s likely that we’re going to see some tighter restrictions in the coming years. Whether that’s more no fly zones, harsher penalties for areas of restriction or more rules when flying – we’re expecting a few more legal bits and pieces. As the technology becomes more sophisticated we’re also expecting that some drones may become electronically limited – similar to some cars on the market – to prevent unnecessary danger when flying. That could be less range, a lower top speed or autonomy to prevent drone related accidents and incidents.

2. Decreased price

Bit of a cheerier point and one we’re really looking forward to – with the increased popularity, we’re expecting a huge decrease in price for professional drones. With more people buying, an increase in the level of technology and a better availability of parts – dips in our favorite (and future favorite) models are expected and welcomed. This is all assuming that DJI don’t continue their reign and increase their domination in the market sector and abuse the monopoly that they’d likely create. Fingers crossed huh.

3. Smarter autonomous modes

Autonomy and AI are ever increasing and with autonomous flight modes making an appearance in some of the higher end drones as of current, we’re excited to see what the future will bring and what can be done. With ‘follow me’ modes and waypoint finders already present, it’s only a matter of time before drones will be able to take well framed, gorgeous shots by themselves. You might not even have to set it off, it could just know the sunset time and head out to capture it – it’s a scary one – but it’s equally as exciting.

4. Higher quality

It goes without saying that the longer products are around, the higher the quality usually becomes. That’s both build quality of the product itself and the image quality from the attached camera. Although we may be crashing less in the future, it’ll be a nice peace of mind to know that your drone is stronger and more durable than it may have been in the past. Image quality is of course key for aerial photography and we’re expecting higher and higher resolution and better and better quality as time goes on. But as with everything – it’s only time that will tell.


Drone’s are seemingly everywhere at the minute, all over the news, congesting the skies, getting caught in our hedges and powerlines seemingly everyday… Okay not quite, but you get the idea – there’s a drone obsession at the minute flooding the globe and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down – quite the opposite if anything. Drone fever is snowballing and well, we want to make sure that if you’re looking to get in on the action that you go for a product that you’ll not only love – but will be perfect for your purposes. Whether you want to become competitive in the field, pick it up as a hobby or invest in your business or workplace – we’re here to help by giving you a quick look guide to photography drones.

1. DJI Mavic Pro Platinum

This little quadcopter is one of the most important little drones available on the market with a whole host of fantastic features to brag about for the reasonable $1000 price tag:

  • A fantastic motorised gimbal system

  • A 4K camera with a fixed aperture of f/2.2 –Meaning a great quality picture, even in low light.

  • A 12MP resolution camera for impressive stills.

  • It’s foldable and portable, something that’s often rare in high quality drone photography.

  • It has a super long range of upto 7 km in perfect conditions, that’s absolutely plenty for anybody.

  • An expected 30 minutes of flight time.

  • Great GPS and return home features.

  • Front sensors for detecting obstacles and for stopping in time.

For the price, we really can’t think of any disadvantages.

2. Xiaomi MI 4K Drone

The Xiaomi 4K drone comes in at the cheapest of the drone’s I’m talking about today and with a price tag of around $500 – it’s hard to make a bad case for it. With amazing photo and video results – you’ll be treated to:

  • An amazing motorised gimbal system

  • The ability to shoot 4K photos (12.4 mp) and video with the option of slow-motion in lower resolution with higher FPS

  • A respectable range of 3km/

  • An expected battery life of 27 minutes

  • A great GPS system with return home function when the battery begins to run low

There are however a few drawbacks with the drone – as you’d expect from the lower price – but don’t get discouraged by the Xiaomi:

  • It’s not quite as portable

  • It is louder

  • It doesn’t have the front facing sensors to stop before impact

3. DJI Phantom 4 Professional

The DJI Phantom 4 professional is probably the world’s worst kept secret in aerial photography and for good reason too. The $1500 package comes with all kinds of goodies to keep you well and truly pleased with your purchase:

  • The 4K camera that we’re used to now has been improved with the addition of a 1-inch sensor meaing low light photography will be less noisy compared to previous iterations

  • The 20mp sensor is sure to deliver amazing quality photo and video.

  • The drone is fully capable to shoot in 4K in 60fps and Full HD in 120FPS

  • You’ll also get a mechanical shutter (just like your DSLR), which means you’ll be getting a smooth video image and no rolling shutter effect

  • There’s sensors in 5 directions, 2 front, 2 side and a bottom sensor for landing – meaning it’s super secure to fly

  • Expect a 30 minute flight time and a 7km range, it’s the best drone for the money

There’s only really one disadvantage in it’s portability which – as a bit if a bulkier drone – can be difficult to cart around places – making travel a bit of an issue with the device.


Casey Neistat is a vlogger on the platform of YouTube amassing an astonishing 10 million+ subscribers at the time of writing. Now you don’t get to that level of YouTube and internet stardom without learning and picking up a thing or two about cameras, photography and videography as a whole. Casey, like us, is a huge a drone enthusiast and often works with the companies that we know and love in his videos. Whether that’s chatting to the owner and founder of GoPro or flying around attached to a drone while snowboarding – the guy’s always at the cutting edge. So what did he think when he was given the DJI Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, Spark and Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian? Well, there’s a well made video to go with the review – because of course there is – but if you’re not in the mood for a 10 minute watch – let us give you the TLDW:

You can watch the video here


What’s the verdict

Well the verdict is pretty simple and it’s one that we were expecting. Each of the drones have their strengths and weaknesses and are best suited to different purposes.

DJI Mavic Air vs DJI Spark

The first contest in the battle for the best DJI is the Air vs the Spark. The Mavic air comes in at a price point of $799 and will let you shoot in 4k at 30fps – pretty good and an industry standard as of current. The Spark however lags a little, but not a lot, and will capture full HD 1080 x 1920 images at the same 30 fps. The drones are roughly the same size with picture quality separating the tech. So that’s a better, smoother picture from the Mavic Air but with $400 more – is it really worth it? We honestly think so.

DJI Mavic Air vs DJI Mavic Pro

The Mavic Pro comes in at a slightly pricer $999 compared to the Air’s $799. With both drones shooting in 4k at 30fps – it can be difficult to see where your extra pennies are actually going. The Mavic Air’s footage is actually better in 4k with the heavily improved HDR. There’s also a selection of new modes such as panoramic shots and slow motion (1080 at 120pfs). With a small design, the Air is easy to carry around and perfect for travel. In a nutshell, it’s hard to want much more. The Air wins every time.

DJI Mavic Air vs DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian

The Air vs the Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian is probably the most important and interesting comparison of the video with the Phantom 4 coming in at $1499 – almost twice that of the Air. This is noticeable instantly when it comes to the quality of the image with the Phantom 4 having a much superior quality compared to lower spec model. There’s a smoother video, better colour and a greater dynamic range. The Phantom 4 does come with it’s issues though – the major of which is the bulkiness – meaning that the drone is a nightmare to cart around with you. If travel and location scouting is up there with your list of priorities – it might be the Mavic Air that proves the best choice for you.