Drone Buying Guide | Australian Geographic

Buying Guide - Drones

A complete buying guide for the latest drones for all different uses.
Drones are becoming increasingly popular in both commercial and recreational activities. You can capture incredible aerial footage, take high quality photos and practice incredible aerobatic tricks in the sky. The options are endless, it’s all about choosing the right drone for your needs.
What is a drone?

A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), basically a flying robot! Drones are controlled using a remote-control device which can either be app based via your smart phone, or using a dedicated remote control.

Drones commonly connect using wifi or bluetooth, enabling a stronger signal for further flights. The distance each drone will fly varies greatly by model ranging from only a few meters to as far as 7kms. There are so many options, so our expert team created this buying guide to make it simple.

What would I use a drone for?

Drones are most commonly used for seeing a birds-eye perspective of the world, creating video content and photography, as well as general recreational use, mapping, attempting aerobatic tricks and some are suitable for racing. With today’s technology the quality of drone images can be as crisp as 4K video and 20MP photographs, and even the most amateur of drone owners can now create awe-inspiring cinematography! Speeds can reach above 100kms and flight time can range from 9min up to 40min. Today’s drones are truly amazing.

Which drone is right for me?
Toy drones

Toy drones are designed to be a light and compact design. They are suitable for indoor flight due to their light weight and small size, and they may not perform as well in outdoor winds. Toy drones usually have shorter flight times, use standard batteries, are lower cost and are suitable for younger ages. If you are looking at a drone for children, make sure you select one with blade guards. Toy drones are a great way to introduce a young enthusiast into the drone hobby.

Educational drones

With the exciting developments in STEM education, drones are a becoming an increasingly popular classroom resource to teach programmable technology. They are also beginning to feature on educational curriculums around the country.

Students learn the application of programming to make drones perform tasks, avoid obstacles or follow a path. Educational drones have options to attach accessories, use simple programming with the use of an app, and are typically a small sized drone enabling students to use in a classroom environment.

Aerial photography drones

Depending on what you want to shoot, there are plenty of megapixel, video resolution, flight time and special features to help you maximise your experience. Due to these additional features, the larger size, weight and functionality, aerial photography drones can be more expensive than toy drones.

Your aerial drone is your flying camera, enabling you to capture memories from holidays, hikes and adventures as you go. These drones include rechargeable batteries making it much easier to top up and keep flying. Aerial photography is a growing hobby and one you can easily share by posting your amazing photos on social media.

Professional drones

Professional photographers and cinematographers are able to obtain high-end photography drones to shoot stunning aerial scenes.

A professional drone will deliver vibrant, high quality results and are recommended for use in professional industries. Some professional-grade drones require 2-person control in order to capture the images. Drones such as DJI Inspire 2 products the highest-quality 4K high definition videos.

Do I need any accessories?

Hobby, educational, photography and professional drones may have a selection of accessories available. Accessories include bags and cases, blade protectors, additional batteries for extended flight time and warranties. Once you have made a decided on a drone, review your accessory options to enhance or extend the use of your drone.

Are there any restrictions for drone flight?

There are a few Australian regulations in place to make drone flying a fun and safe hobby. As a drone owner, you will need to familiarise yourself with these regulations. In Australia, regulation is governed by CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority). CASA has an app and easily accessible website with detailed information on rights and regulations.

Many high-tech drones require registration and firmware updates, familiarise yourself with any ongoing commitments to get the most out of your drone experience.