A Quick Overview
Best Overall - Editor’s Choice - DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise
Every drone enthusiast knows DJI and the quality of drones they produce. So, it’s little wonder some of their top products are always featured on a list of the most expensive drones in the world. The DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise takes the position of the best expensive drone in the market because of its versatility. This drone is the kind that can do well in multiple industries, including entertainment.
This drone has two 48MP cameras, with one of the cameras being a thermal camera and a standard camera. The camera on this drone makes visibility in smoky, low-light conditions and even foliage environments possible. Another cool thing about the Mavic 2 Enterprise is that any footage taken is captured by both cameras simultaneously and viewed simultaneously. In addition, you get to enjoy a 32x digital zoom.
Other impressive features of this drone include a whopping 240-way point automatic flight mode, a loudspeaker, a spotlight attachment for dark areas, and a 10km video transmission in HD. With these advanced features, you know without a doubt that this drone is worth every penny.
Best for Professional Photography - DJI Inspire 2
Drones for photography are arguably the most popular application for drones. And as far as high-end drones for photography go, the DJI Inspire 2 is the best for what it was designed for and undoubtedly one of the most expensive DJI drones around.
The Inspire 2 drone carries the amazing Zenmuse X5S (and some other Zenmuse X series cameras), which can record video footage in the film industry-standard codecs like the CinemaDNG RAW and Apple ProRes, making the drone endearing to movie makers. In addition, this camera boasts a 20fps continuous burst in picture mode and recording 5.2K resolution videos at 30fps and 4K videos at 60fps.
The Inspire 2 features an advanced tracking flight mode called the Spotlight mode, which helps the drone stay on a subject no matter the drone’s maneuver or the subject is going through, thanks to the 360 degrees gimbal attached to the drone. Other automated flight modes featured on this drone include the waypoint and point of interest.
With a maximum speed of 94kph, an impressive descent speed of 9mps, and a flight time of 27 minutes from a single charge, you get to take those fantastic shots as many times as you want. Another impressive feature of this drone is that you can broadcast the video being captured during filmmaking.
Best Flight Time - DJI Mavic 3
The DJI Mavic 3 and the Mavic 3 cine are the latest in the DJI Mavic series, and it is safe to say they accomplished an impressive feat with the flight time. Rotary drones are known for their small flight time but the Mavic 3 can get you 46 minutes from a single charge as well as a 15km video transmission range. Added to this is the fact that this drone is the first drone that can transmit an FHD video at 60fps.
The camera on this drone is the 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera which delivers an excellent dynamic range, removes noise in low-light scenes, and helps you take 5.1K footage at 50fps and 4K resolution videos at 120fps. Also, the Mavic 3 camera supports H.264, H.265 video encoding. The camera features combined with the long flight time make this drone one of the best for professional photography and hobby.
Like all top drones, the Mavic 3 has a series of automated flight modes, including advanced tracking and Vision Detection Auto Focus (VDAF). In addition, this drone also has omnidirectional obstacle sensing for safer piloting. The Mavic 3 comes with 8GB SSD storage, although the CINE counterpart has 1TB SSD storage.
Best Underwater Drone - Qysea Fifish V6s
Marine drones have attracted higher prices than aerial vehicles, although aquatic drones are now easily affordable and within the mid-price range. The Qysea Fifish V6s stand out among other underwater drones both in cost and quality.
The V6s takes underwater drone experience to a whole new level by combining the ability to execute professional photography with the necessary features for fish hunting, exploration among others. This drone features a 4K camera that shoots UHD resolution videos at 240fps with a 120 degrees field of view. The camera can also process DNG images in RAW codecs.
Another admirable feature of this marine drone is its ability to hold a particular depth with the posture lock feature. Also, the V6s work underwater for up to six hours while it has a max speed of 2mps. Furthermore, the attached cable to this drone can get it to depths of 100 meters. Also, the attached robotic arm that has a 100N clamping force makes sea exploration more enjoyable.
The V6s work with a VR Goggle that is motion-sensitive, all you need to do is move your head. Finally, the V6s features a 4000-lumen headlight and a state-of-the-art image stabilization tech.
Best FPV Drone - DJI FPV Combo
First-person viewing when piloting a drone takes the drone piloting experience to a new level, and although a lot of drones offer FPV viewing, no drone does it better than the DJI FPV combo drone. The features packed in this drone make FPV drone piloting very entertaining and informative.
The lag between real-time viewing and FPV viewing is an itch in FPV drones that refuses to go away, but this drone makes the best of the situation by transmitting clean videos while providing one of the lowest latency. Added to the low latency feature is the fact that you can broadcast your view to other VR Goggles.
The camera on this drone can output 4K images at 60fps and FHD videos at 120fps. With the 150 degrees FOV on this drone, you get one of the best real-life viewings. In addition, exploring the environment is more interesting with the 10KM transmission range offered by this drone.
With a max speed of 140Km per hour, this drone can give you speeds that can rival racing drones, although it is not strictly a racing drone. The safety protocols on the DJI FPV combo, which includes an emergency brake and hover and an obstacle detection tech, put your mind at ease while operating the drone. Although this drone is not the most expensive DJI drone available, it is super easy to pilot. The drone has different piloting modes for different expertise levels and the option of a motion controller.
The advanced equipment on drones that makes the most expensive drones better than the average ones are the major reason for their high prices.
How To Choose the Best Most Expensive drones
It is safe to assume that a drone that carries a “most expensive drone” tag will not be an ordinary drone. Drones carrying this tag were primarily created for serious professionals who don’t mind the cost of acquisition and sometimes subsequent upgrades. These drones have gone past basic flight modes and require a seasoned professional to pilot most of the time. Some drone manufacturers even offer drone lessons for their most advanced drones.
Dedicated drones are usually the most expensive drones. These kinds of drones have equipment that aids in achieving a particular set of tasks. These kinds of drones include the ones used by the military, drones used for professional photography, agriculture, mapping, and sometimes security. One thing of note is that the equipment on these kinds of drones is top-notch, and they are mostly out of reach for the average consumer, either through price or regulations.
Although this article focuses more on the widely used video drones, the most expensive video drones in the world do employ quality instruments to help better their performance in whatever capabilities they are used.
In general, some key things to consider before a drone purchase includes the drone type, the size, and Weight, max flying time and speed, range of transmission, FPV availability, remote control e.t.c. However, when it comes to the most expensive drones in the world, it’s mainly about the efficiency of the equipment they are packing. This is because the efficiency of these pieces of equipment dictates the quality of the drones. Some of the qualities to consider includes:
- Camera Quality
Any expensive user drone worth its salt must have at least one camera that can capture in 4K resolutions at a minimum frame rate of 30fps. Some drones offer more than one camera, providing additional functions, like taking thermal images.
Drones sold based on their cameras for professional photography usually have cameras that can process videos and images in industry-standard formats or codecs. In addition, the cameras on these drones can offer higher resolution images at better frame rates.
- Transmission Range
Although drone transmission range differs for different reasons, paying a high cost for drone acquisition should guarantee at least 5 KM of transmission range. In reality, you may never need to exhaust the transmission range limit, but it’d be better to be on the safe side. However, the trick with the transmission range lies in the transmission speed and the quality of the video.
There is no point in having an impressive transmission range with poor transfer speeds and poor video quality. However, the expensive top drones boast large transmission ranges, good transfer speeds, and good video quality (HD).
Video transmission in underwater drones is slightly different because you have a tethering cable that dictates how far the drone can go. However, data can be transmitted via cable or over wireless connections.
- Hovering Abilities
The ability of a drone to hold a particular altitude (depth holding for marine drones) is priceless. As far as video drones are concerned, the ability of a drone to hover and take pictures or videos gives any drone an edge. While many drones claim to hold a particular altitude, some drones execute this feature better than others.
Thanks to a combination of equipment such as an altimeter, a gyroscope(1), GPS, rotors, and some other advanced tech, expensive drones can hold an altitude while they simultaneously perform different functions.
- Automated Flight Modes
Automated flight modes are available on drones to make piloting them way more effortless. However, the truth is that any modern drone has at least one automatic flight mode. What separates ordinary drones from the more expensive ones is that the expensive drones have more automated flight mode options and are better able to accomplish the flight modes.
An excellent example of an advanced auto flight mode is the 240 points way-point mode on the DJI enterprise or the advanced tracking for professional photography that the DJI Inspire 2 offers.
- Obstacle Detection
Drone manufacturers can protect their clients and products through the obstacle detecting sensors installed on the drones. This feature is a compulsory one for any drone under the “most expensive drones” umbrella because there is currently a no better way to ensure safe flights.
While some drones offer obstacle sensing in one (usually front), two (up and front), or three directions, others have omnidirectional obstacle sensing tech. Some drones even offer emergency brakes during flights. On the other hand, marine drones have always been equipped with sensors to help detect obstacles due to their terrain.
- First Person View
The experience of getting a first-person view of what the drone camera is capturing is immense. FPV is creative technology allowing people to get a closer and more detailed look at environments. Apart from the thrilling experience, FPV goes a long way in giving a better perspective of what the drone is seeing. For example, drone racing has its whole industry hinged on FPV.
While FPV is not compulsory for all drones, most manufacturers offer added value to the drone. Although there is an issue with video transmission latency and video quality, the FPV experience easily upsets any disadvantage to adopting it.
Although DJI manufactures expensive drones, some of them are reserved for commercial uses alone. But as far as user drones are concerned, the most expensive DJI drone is the drone with the best equipment on board.
If you are not drone racing, then FPV goggles are mostly optional. However, I should also tell you that FPV brings the image closer to you, and being immersed in the images can be the difference in the details you are after.
To round up my review of the most expensive drones in 2022, it is imperative to note that what a user wants in a drone majorly decides how much will be incurred. For example, a drone for pro photography will likely not carry the exact cost as a racing drone because they will prioritize different equipment to help them better in their fields.
Personally, the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise will be my go-to drone for nothing other than its versatility. The ability to use this drone in different situations makes it stand out from the rest. A close second will be the DJI Inspire 2 because it is a flying cinema camera. Other drones on this list also hold their own and are some of the best drones in the market today.
Do you agree with my list? Are there other expensive drones you would like to add to this list? Feel free to add your observations in the comments.
- Christopher M. (2020 August). Everything you ever wanted to know about gyroscopes. Retrieved from https://interestingengineering.com/what-gyroscopes-are-how-they-work-and-their-importance