It’s difficult to decide which DJI drone bargain is the finest. As the market leader, they offer a wide variety of drones. They have started experimenting with price, so a savvy customer would look at their previously discontinued – but maybe now more alluring – options when creating a shortlist. But have no worries; we are here to assist. We’ll outline precisely what you’ll receive for your money in our list of the top DJI drones, including which accessible older model can be a fantastic price.
It should be no surprise that DJI drones top our list of the best models available(opens in new tab). DJI has at least one product in every category, from a little high-flying entertainment to the ultimate selfie-drone, from a photographer’s favorite to commercial and educational quadcopters. Even the spraying of crops may be done by drone! Only in 2021, with the introduction of the racing DJI FPV, the folding DJI Air 2S, the Mini SE (depending on where you live), and the Mavic 3, was the range expanded with three and a half outstanding drones.
It’s also crucial to be aware of the most recent registration requirements for drones(opens in new tab), which in many locations include additional paperwork for drones weighing more than 250g.
Here are the top 12 DJI drones for various price ranges and skill levels. We would propose that mobility is a key consideration after weight (due to regulation), so choose whether or not you want a foldable airframe. Therefore, the decision must be based on photographic capabilities, which is why we have supplied as many camera specifications as possible. Larger sensors are ideal for dawn and dusk aerial landscape photography, while the maximum frame rate may be more of a problem in certain circumstances.
Last but not least, keep in mind that drone cameras must be able to handle a lot of light. As a result, plan to spend money on a pack of ND filters. DJI includes them in a number of their ‘Fly More’ kits, and they are well worth adding to your shopping list because no drone will provide the level of exposure control you require without them.
Top DJI drones for 2022
1.DJI Mini 3 Pro
We must reconsider the Air 2S’s top spot on this list with the Mini 3 Pro’s 2022 release. Almost every practice area can provide the same or superior specification. The camera may be turned to portrait mode, and – most importantly – the drone weighs 249g even though the sensor isn’t as large. The camera isn’t too awful, with a sensor about 0.8 inches across the diagonal and dual native ISO. It shoots outstanding low-light video, at least at frame rates up to 30 fps.
A gadget that can be used almost everywhere and without a license in FAA area, record 48MP stills or 4K At 60fps, shoot in D-Log, and have a complete range of DJI’s intelligent flying capabilities, including obstacle avoidance that doesn’t need to stop, is a blessing for creatives.
We love the new DJI RC, which debuted with this drone. It is a lightweight controller with a built-in 5.5″ display that is just 5g heavier than the normal remote.
2. DJI Mini 2
The Mini 2 is a redesign of the DJI Mavic Mini (opens in new tab) (see below); it uses a well-engineered, ultra-light airframe (the weight is indisputable) and fixes the issues drone geeks raised. The individuals who often operated the more costly drones were mentioned. These were primarily the radio range, crosswind responsiveness, and various camera functions.
With automated frequency hopping, the amazing OcuSync controller from the Mavic Air 2 and beyond is practically the same in the Mini 2. This drone can withstand Force 5 thanks to stronger motors and enhanced software (not too bad for such a light craft). Photographers have been rewarded with Raw, Exposure Bracketing (albeit only for three stops), and DJI’s amazing automatic panoramic functionality. Meanwhile, video fans can now enjoy 4K under 250g with digital zoom on top (useful to have, not essential to use).
The drone also has a light that can change color depending on its hue because it’s amusing to do so using the remote. Before the release of the Mini 3 Pro, we had hypothesized that it would become more popular, but it is now obvious that further capabilities will cost more (if not a higher weight). Still, a very smart choice is the Mini 2.
3. DJI Mavic 3
The regular Mavic 3 can be packed into a kit bag and transported while still being larger than certain telephoto lenses makes it such an ingenious gadget. The system has a large sensor (4/3rds) camera that outperforms the older Pro version and a 12-megapixel zoom camera for closer views. It sits more proudly from the ground, helping to protect the lenses of the dual-camera gimbal. It is not immediately apparent that it is larger than the older Mavic 2, but it is (albeit of less exceptional quality).
The drone has also advanced in terms of flight duration, with the ability to hover for an astounding 40 minutes (or move forward for 46) and collision avoidance vision sensors that employ up to 200m of “sight” to determine the optimal path back to the drone’s home base. Unfortunately, not all the software was ready in time for the launch; DJI had made a lot of promises about the ability to follow objects while avoiding, for example, trees (like a Skydio). We are inclined to believe DJI here since this has already improved with one significant upgrade. Still, we won’t know for sure until later in winter 2022, and postponing fundamental functionality wasn’t a good precedent to follow.
This essentially amounts to a large, portable drone for still photography and D-log video (the Cine version will be covered individually in this list).
4. DJI Air 2S
The Air 2S, which will debut in 2021, dethroned the Mavic 2 Pro from the top slot on our list by providing virtually identical or superior specifications in every area (The Mavic 3 is too pricey to reclaim it). There is no adjustable aperture, and the Hasselblad name is not exploited. Still, in the context of aerial photography, these are very weak justifications to hold the ‘Pro’ superior to the Air 2S. The drone does have readily swappable lens filters, and DJI’s Fly More bundle even includes matching ND filters, which fully fixes it.
The Air 2S, on the other hand, has the greatest collision and tracking system of any comparable drone, thanks to the most recent hardware and software advancements. At last, you can trust a drone to follow you through some trees while maintaining a high-end camera on you. With D-Log M and HDR video at up to 5.4K 30fps and a wide variety of options for filmmakers (4K 60fps and 1080p at 120fps, among others), the recording is likewise of remarkable quality. This is again greater quality than many more expensive models in DJI’s lineup.
5. DJI Mavic 3 Cine
When the Mavic 3 was first mentioned (above), we pointed out that its size made it a unique tool for a 4/3-sensor camera. The Cine version, which uses the same camera but rebuilds the internals to make room for a 1TB SSD and the throughput to handle ProRes 422 HQ footage, also values compactness highly. Though we did find it unusual that DJI didn’t even provide the option of doing without the Pro remote, it is one less item to set up. You’re probably aware of this format (and its cost) if you require it.
Both Mavic 3s now have improved live views because of the new video transmission technology, O3+. The 1080P stream now streams at 60 frames per second rather than 30 frames per second, which makes the on-screen composition much more fluid and organic. The drone shares the same quicker, stronger, and more versatile airframe (and the same late firmware features). Although if you don’t require ProRes, it’s a lot to spend for bragging rights, we view this as biting at the heels of the Inspire 2(opens in a new tab) as much as it delivers an essential upgrade for Mavic 2 filmmakers.
6. DJI FPV
A Luddite would immediately reevaluate their life objectives upon seeing this magnificent and fascinating technology. It has a peak speed of 140 kph. It can achieve the first 100 of that in a dazzling 2 seconds, so DJI has abandoned its typical artistic objectives in favor of creating this fast, stunt-capable drone that can more than hold its own in the world of FPV racing (for reference, a Formula 1 car takes about 2.6 seconds to accelerate the same amount).
This drone has also been outfitted with a considerably more competent camera system than often seen on such drones, showing that they do not forget about their photography clients (and possibly recognizing that an average racer costs slightly less). The norm is to attach a GoPro to the top and retrieve the video later. However, in this case, a single-axis gimbal—still one more than most FPV racers—has been combined with software to create a system that can record high-quality 4K video at 60 frames per second, suggesting that this drone may be useful for people other than FPV racers.
7. DJI Mini SE
The Mavic Mini internals has been transferred to the Mini 2 airframe and given a new name, the “Mini SE,” and this very affordable model is now available to purchase globally.
It was always an excellent value to purchase the Mavic Mini, which had a real camera with a gimbal, altitude control, GPS, a remote controller, and subject-tracking QuickShots for less than the cost of two Inspire 2 batteries. The camera may have smaller lenses, but it can stay in the air for a reasonable amount of time and, without seeming cheap, can function as its charger using just a USB port.
Although the dynamic range may be improved, the 2.7K video is comparable to an above-average phone. The fact that manual exposure is a possibility also makes it at least intriguing for those looking to experiment with high-quality drones while keeping costs in check. In essence, this is just as simple to use as a flying phone camera, which is effective if there is little wind and you stay close to the ground.
8. DJI Mavic 2 Pro
The Hasselblad processing algorithms were included in the Mavic 2 Pro’s finest camera available on any tiny drone, taking advantage of DJI’s 2017 purchase of renowned camera company Hasselblad.
Cinematographers will value the support for 10-bit Dlog-M and HDR video (allowing post-processing). At the same time, photographers will be equally excited by the high ISO shooting and rich quality provided by the large image sensor, despite finally being overshadowed by the recent launch of the Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine.
While many professionals would not mind transporting bulkier gear, fitting this into a spare lens bay in a camera backpack gives professional multitasking photographers a whole new level. With DJI’s Occusync technology, the Mavic 2s can be used with the company’s gorgeous (but ultimately unpopular) FPV Goggles, making it a genuinely excellent drone for learning how to fly.
9. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
The folding body of the Mavic 2 Zoom is identical to that of the Mavic 2 Pro. However, the camera has a different design. The lower resolution sensor bottoms out at 4000 x 3000 stills but is still fully capable of 4K video. Sure, experts would point out that it lacks some delicacy and less potential for color grading with conventional 8-bit rather than ten if that’s your thing. Still, in return, it’s not just less expensive but also comes with a 2x optical zoom lens (no loss of resolution). That’s fantastic since it integrates seamlessly with DJI’s software to provide the dolly zoom “horror movie” effect and a clever panoramic stitching method, neither of which have been replicated with the Mavic 3. As a pilot, it’s not a good idea to constantly change the zoom since it will confuse you. However, you should always watch the drone and not the screen.
Except for the horror effects, the Mavic 3 and Air and Air 2S drones have digital zooms, so this is more of an “if you find it at a reasonable price” alternative than a good one.
10. DJI Mavic Air 2
The Air 2S, which is, well, better, is the Mavic Air 2’s predecessor. However, the Air 2 was also fantastic. It replaced Air 1, one of DJI’s most problematic drones (and one to avoid), and Air 2 is available at several pricing points. In contrast to the Air 1, the Air 2 is worthwhile to purchase if you can locate it for a reasonable price, albeit there isn’t much of a photographic advantage over the smaller, lighter Mini 3 Pro (also 48 megapixels 4K@60fps), so keep that in mind when comparing costs. Although it doesn’t have nearly as sophisticated tracking functions (it lacks the upward-facing collision sensors, so it can’t look as far ahead) as the Air 2S, this drone debuted the basic airframe of the Air 2S.
Additionally, you get a superb controller that can charge your phone while you are flying, which is helpful if you have additional stops planned for your excursion (this is found with the Air 2S and Mini 3, too, of course). Overall, this drone is deserving of serious consideration if sensor size and collision avoidance are less important to you than any savings you can make; the extra weight will help stability against the Mini 3, but in that case, you’d need to be in a tight spot not to have the extra money for the Air 2S.
11. DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
Although the Phantom’s bulky body is less portable than the Mavic’s, it is sturdy, and the system includes a large, pro-feel controller. Also available for this size of craft are backpacks. Even without “Hasselblad” emblazoned on it, the camera that this added weight brings exceeds the Mavic 2 Pro in most respects. The mechanical shutter and large buffer are the key improvements (it can manage a 14fps burst at 20 megapixels). Photographers may lament the 8-bit restriction, but the Phantom’s ability to record 4K video at 60 frames per second allows for faultless slow motion. Now that the propellers have low-noise winglets and collision sensors, the AI can plan swooping flights. While you may choose a 5.5″ built-in 1000-nit screen, you’re better off with a monitor cover and an iPad Mini. The bulky pro-sized controller offers space for an iPad as a display.
12. DJI Inspire 2
This is a premium DSLR if the Air 2S is a “creative compact.” However, unlike an SLR, the complete camera assembly is also detachable, allowing you to choose between the X45S 4K camera unit and one of the Zenmuse X5S or X7 interchangeable lens cameras. This means that you have the option of covering the X5S’s magnificent sensor with a Micro Four Thirds(opens in new tab) zoom lens, which you can operate remotely. Olympus makes a terrific one, by the way.
The huge aircraft has additional backup systems and is powered by two pricey batteries. Additionally, it can record CinemaDNG or Apple ProRes video into SSD-based memory cards while simultaneously backing it up to a MicroSD card(opens in a new tab). All of this is made possible by the camera’s 360-degree unhindered rotation, which allows for dual-operator flights or fly-bys with automatic object tracking. The primary camera, which may be aimed in any direction, or an up-facing FPV camera are both available to the pilot. The Phantom 4 Pro 2 is more affordable and has longer flight times, so the only real concern is that the Inspire 2’s airframe hasn’t been updated in a while. However, if you can see the value in an adjustable lens and have the money to spare, the Inspire 2 is still hard to beat. Simply schedule your battery time.
13. DJI Ryze Tello
This little drone, albeit not officially from DJI’s lineup (it goes by the Ryze brand), can maintain location using downward sight sensors rather than GPS, much like its larger siblings. It can also execute “8D” Stunts (flips in several directions), which a Mavic Mini cannot. The 720p video is stabilized by remarkable software stabilization since the camera is built-in; the signal is recorded on your phone rather than on an SD card, and there are several social media-friendly EZ Shots (similar to QuickShots on DJI’s more expensive drones). But this isn’t a drone for photographers; it’s a toy, and that’s where it shines. Scratch, a visual programming language, and a comprehensive SDK will also make learning more enjoyable. Check out the similarly stylish Marvel Iron Man version of this drone, which seems to have left Tony Stark’s laboratory.
The Tello EDU is the same aircraft—complete with a cool, partly transparent shell—but it is offered a more advanced SDK (software development kit), allowing users to do more with the 14-core CPU, swarm flying being the most prominent example. Be your wing commander by controlling up to four airplanes simultaneously in Swift Playgrounds! Additionally, mission pads in the box that the drones may fly over and interact with using an optical flow sensor.
14. DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced
The Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced (ME2A) drone is designed for companies that need a flying thermal camera. This drone is excellent for locating broken power line components, checking buildings for energy efficiency (warmth leaks), and assisting emergency services in search operations. The 16x zoom (32x digital) on the DJI Pilot software is perfect for getting a close-up view of the areas the thermal camera has detected. It also allows switching between visible and infrared images or viewing them side by side. The gadget may be further customized with add-ons like lighting, a loudspeaker, and an RTK module. The high price is partially justified by the device’s 30fps thermal camera, which is particularly useful on a drone, although many have a lower frame rate. Real-Time Kinetics, or RTK, is a centimeter-level GPS that is helpful for any kind of mapping, inspection, or surveying where you need to go near. It may also be helpful in any situation where you must repeat the same shot. Therefore it can even be desired from a cinematographic standpoint.
15. DJI Matrice M210 V2
These less attractive but more useful Inspire 2 drones serve as a more adaptable platform for customers to add DJI’s line of Zenmuse cameras (including some that the Inspire 2 can’t handle) and other first-party accessories like searchlights, as well as third-party payloads created by developers. (Programmers have even modified the Matrice to find automobiles that are being parked illegally.) This is a sturdy platform in the sky in every way. Additionally, it has sensors everywhere.
If you require the technology in this place, we assume you are aware of it. The Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced, shown below, may currently be a suitable (and more portable) substitute. Still, due to its weather protection and flexibility, it will always be able to perform more tasks.
Although the latest Matrice M30, which resembles a chubby Mavic 3 with twin batteries, is undoubtedly a more portable option for getting a thermal camera, it seems that DJI prefers to sell directly to consumers rather than via traditional channels.
How drones are tested
Our drone tests are carried out in the field, allowing us to assess the quadcopter for its flight performance, ease of use, and image quality. All our drone reviews are overseen by Adam Juniper(opens in new tab), one of the UK’s leading drone experts, and who has written several books on flying drones, including The Drone Pilot’s Handbook.