Comparing DJI Drones: Which One Is The Best?
In this article we compare a few of the most popular DJI drones on the market so that you can find out which is best for you. We look at a few different factors like footage quality, flight time and price.
Moreover, we’ve even included a few videos for each one so that you can judge for yourself!
Not so long ago, filmmakers had to spend thousands hiring out a helicopter to get those beautiful, unique shots from the air. Not to mention the effort, paperwork and logistics. But now, thanks to DJI, aerial cinematography has never been easier or cheaper.
We’ve specifically compared just DJI models here because they really are (currently) the best drones on the market. We’re all for competition and it’ll be interesting to see if other brands can challenge DJI because right now, they are miles ahead. Or above?
Across the board, their drones are also incredibly easy to fly. And that’s where we’ll start – with the beginners.
Firstly, if we’re going to compare DJI drones, we need to look at the ‘basic’ entry level models. The DJI Spark is a frontrunner here. This little gadget will cost £499 brand new (fly more combo) from Amazon (as of November 2019).
However, second-hand bargains can be found on eBay for just £250. It’s cheap, cheerful and a fantastic drone for beginners.
Sometimes, the hand-gesture controls and size can all feel a little gimmicky but we highly recommend this for anyone who’s looking to learn how to fly for the first time.
- Sensor: 12MP
- Lens: 35mm equiv. F/2.6
- Resolutions: Full HD 1920×1080 30p
- Bit Rate: 24mbps
- Codecs: MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
When you compare it to other drones, the camera isn’t fantastic. There are much better options on the market. However, the Spark does still produce a great image if you’re looking to produce quick content for social media. For instance, a quick 30 second top-down shot on Instagram. No problem.
- Weight: 300g
- 143×143×55 mm (LxWxH)
Finally, another one of the Spark’s main advantages is how small it is. This thing fits in the palm of your hand, as well as your equipment bag. Therefore, it’s perfect for travel and run-and-gun shooting.
- Max Speed: 13.8 m/s (in sport mode with no wind). Zippy.
16 minutes (that’s with no wind at a consistent 12.4 mph). The battery life isn’t great and there are a few things that will all impact on that time in the air.
For example, factors such as wind speed, whether you’re recording video, and your flight speed are something you need to bear in mind.
When comparing DJI’s drones, you may notice how similar some of their models are. Seen by many as the successor to the DJI Spark, the Mavic Mini can be purchased from DJI for £459 (fly more combo (as of November 2019)).
The Mini takes the pros of the Mavic series and somehow, almost magically, manages to fit them into something not far off the size of the Spark. Technology, man.
- Sensor: 12MP
- Lens: 24mm equiv. F/2.8
- Resolutions: 2.7K: 2720×1530 25/30 p
- Full HD: 1920×1080 25/30/50/60 p
- Bit Rate: 40mbps
- Codecs: MP4 (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC）
A better camera than the Spark with much better video recording options, but still no 4K. Considering its size, though, it’s really impressive. You won’t have any issues in capturing brilliant footage. In summary, it’s another great beginner drone.
- Weight: 249g
- Folded: 140×82×57 mm (L×W×H)
- Unfolded: 160×202×55 mm (L×W×H)
- Unfolded (with propellers): 245×290×55 mm (L×W×H)
Most importantly, if you’ve paid any attention to DJI’s marketing on this one, you will know all about the coveted 249g. This is the main selling point for the Mini.
Why? In their own words, because it places it ‘in the lowest and safest weight class of drones, which in many countries may exempt it from certain regulations’. For a comprehensive understanding of the rules and regulations regarding drones in the UK, you can check our article here.
- Max Speed: 13 m/s (in sport mode with no wind). All the speed you need.
Lastly and by no means least, it has 30 minutes (that’s with no wind at a consistent 8.6 mph). For such a small gadget, this is an incredible claim by DJI. It must be kept in mind that, as always, the wind speed, whether you’re recording video and your flight speed will all impact on this.
As you do your research and compare different drones, you will undoubtedly notice the differences in quality and capabilities of different models. Subsequently, the better the drone pilot you are, the more capable the drone that you should be looking to purchase.
This is where the Mavic 2 Pro comes in. It’s an impressive step up from the previous two models we’ve looked at so far. As a result, the price is also naturally a step up at £1,349 from the DJI store (as of November 2019). But it’s completely worth it.
- Sensor: 20MP
- Lens: 28mm equiv. F/2.8 -F/11
- Resolutions: 4K: 3840×2160 24/25/30p
- 2.7K: 2688×1512 24/25/30/48/50/60p
- Full HD: 1920×1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p
- Bit Rate: 100mbps
- Codecs: MP4 / MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265)
You see what we mean? This camera is a real step up in quality. Full 4K, 100mbps, variable aperture. In addition to this it’s also got D-log M (10 bit) with a big, beautiful sensor. All developed by Hasselblad.
It enables you to do a lot more with the footage in post-production. If you’re serious about capturing beautiful, cinematic imagery, you can’t look past the Mavic 2 Pro.
- Weight: 907g
- Folded: 214×91×84 mm (L×W×H)
- Unfolded: 322×242×84 mm (L×W×H)
Finally, it’s larger than the Mini or the Spark but the trade-off in size for quality is more than fair. This thing is exceptional and still fits in your rucksack, able to go just about anywhere you want.
Therefore, we think this really hits the sweet point in terms of quality of footage and transportability. In short, if we really had to pick just one, this is probably our favourite!
- Max Speed: 20 m/s (in sport mode with no wind). This thing really moves.
With 31 minutes (that’s with no wind at a consistent speed of 15.5 mph). Even with the effects of wind speed, filming and your own flight speed, the Mavic 2 gives you more than enough time in the air. Bravo, DJI.
A special mention for the Mavic 2 Zoom here. It’s practically identical to the Mavic 2 Pro except for the camera. It’s earned the ‘zoom’ tag from the fact it has a lens that shoots from 24mm – 48mm. On first release, this seemed like a gimmick to some but it’s actually a really useful tool to have in your bag.
As a result of the zoom, you’re able to punch in on a subject from further away and have it moving in the foreground which gives you the ability to add real depth and create some beautiful, dynamic shots. So, it’s well worth a look!
Last listed on DJI’s store at £1,589, the Phantom 4 Pro was, for many years, DJI’s flagship consumer drone. With the introduction of the Mavic 2 series it’s now been phased out (to the point where the website prompts you to look at the Mavic 2 Pro instead) so, you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want to purchase.
However, it’s still a brilliant option, capable of assisting filmmakers at the very top of their game.
- Sensor: 20MP
- Lens: 24mm equiv. F/2.8 -F/11
- Resolutions: 4K: 4096×2160(4096×2160 24/25/30/48/50p)
- 2.7K: 2720×1530(2720×1530 24/25/30/48/50/60p)
- FULL HD: 1920×1080(1920×1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p)
- 720P: 1280×720(1280×720 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p)
- Bit Rate: 100mbps
- Codecs: MP4 / MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265)
Firstly, much like the Mavic 2 series, this camera is exceptional. Indeed, the Mavic 2 Pro actually uses the sensor from the Phantom 4 series. It’ll cater for all your aerial video needs and more.
- Weight: 1388 g
- 490×490×300 mm (L×W×H)
When comparing it to other drones (like the Mavic 2 Pro), this is perhaps where the Phantom 4 now falls short. This thing won’t fit in your rucksack. It doesn’t fold away. It’s quite large and a little heavier.
So if you’re on the move a lot, you need to weigh up whether this is the right drone for you.
However, if you’re prepared to carry another bag and haul this thing to location, it will reward you with stunning work that you can always rely on. If you’re looking to travel light, the Mavic 2 Pro may be the one.
Max Speed: 20.1 m/s (in sport mode with no wind). Despite its size, the Phantom 4 can get around fast and easy.
Around 30 minutes, according to DJI. This is more than sufficient time in the air. As always, remember to factor in wind speed, your flight speed and whether you’re recording footage.
Last but certainly not least, here we are at the top end of the drone spectrum. This one is for the big dogs. If you’re really going all-out when it comes to aerial footage.
If you’re really serious about getting the best, most cinematic stuff. This is the drone for you. And doesn’t the price tag show it? The Inspire 2 will set you back £3,059. And that’s before you’ve purchased any of the cameras for it. Yikes!
This is where the Inspire 2 really sets itself apart. Rather than one fitted camera like the other drones compared here, you have a few different options in purchasing one (or several!) of the Zenmuse cameras, specially developed by DJI. At £2,699, the Zenmuse X7 is incredibly expensive, but also incredibly powerful.
In addition to this it supports a range of different lens options from 16mm to 50mm. Alternatively, the Zenmuse X5s comes in at £1,969 and is fitted with a default lense developed by DJI that’s super wide at 15mm.
Interestingly, it’s a micro four-thirds setup that may enable you to fit some lenses that you already own, depending on your setup!
Above all the other impressive specs of the Inspire 2, it’s these cameras that really set it apart. They go above and beyond anything else DJI has to offer, guaranteeing you exceptional, breathtaking results.
- Weight: 3440g (that’s including propellers and two batteries, WITHOUT gimbal and camera)
- 427×425×317 mm (L×W×H)
Finally, this thing is not small (something to bear in mind). It’s the largest of the drones we’re comparing here and you’ll need a dedicated bag to transport it to your locations.
That being said, if you’re buying the Inspire 2 it’s because you’re going to be using it with real purpose, shooting high-end productions. In that world, this is the norm and you really won’t mind having to transport it. The results will always speak for themselves.
Max Speed: 25.9 m/s (in sport mode with no wind). With much more power and weight, once the Inspire 2 gets going it really moves. A real range in speed gives you a lot of options whilst filming.
27-23 minutes. The flight time will vary on this not just because the usual factors, but because of the differences in the camera weights and sizes. A Zenmuse X4s gets you 27 minutes whilst a Zenmuse X7 will only do 23 minutes.
Wrapping Up – Comparing Drones
So, there you have it. In short, when comparing drones, you quickly realise just how much variety there is on offer just from DJI alone.
Whichever way you look at it – whether it’s the quality of the build along with the technology and software on board, the image their cameras produce or the affordable, consumer-friendly price tag, DJI wins.
However of course, DJI isn’t the only drone manufacturer out there. They have a way to go yet, but why not check out one of our other articles to have a look at some of the competition? There’s also a few DJI drones that weren’t mentioned here!