Aerial photography has developed rapidly over the past 3 years. If you have followed this trend and bought a camera drone, you are about to have a lot of fun. But after spending some time with the drone, you’ll find that they don’t look like the amazing photos you’ve seen on Instagram. Don’t be surprised, as many of these photos were probably taken with the help of additional props. All photographers need additional accessories to make their life easier and to take their photography and video footage even further. Rest assured, you can do that too. Below are the most useful drone accessories that I have had the chance to use and test. These accessories can help you improve your overall drone experience, improve video quality, flight adventure and safety.
1) Propellers and additional propeller guards: Propellers (also called fans or blades) are the most fragile part of a drone. You should always have extra propellers with you when you go out to pilot your drone. If you do crash, your drone’s propellers are the first parts to tear. I have enough experience with drones and have had over 20 different drones. But even I crashed early when I first received my DJI Phantom 2. Accessory guards are yet another story. They aren’t necessary, but they are useful if you are flying indoors or hovering in limited spaces. In the past six months, I have only used propeller guards once or twice, but the majority of people use them on a daily basis. If you frequently crash your drone and break your propellers a lot, you should definitely get yourself some propeller guards.
2) Additional battery: Drone technology has come a long way in recent years. The latest DJI Phantom 4 Pro offers 30 minutes of flight time according to their website. For the majority of non-commercial drone pilots, this will never be enough. Considering the time spent flying and landing, you will have 20 minutes to record footage. So be sure to buy extra battery or even more to get reliable backup at all times. If you own the Phantom 4 Pro, you might want to upgrade to the fast battery charger instead of the one that came with the package. It will charge the P4 Pro battery in 40 minutes instead of 65 minutes with the regular charger.
3) Additional battery charger: The extra battery power allows for much more flight time, but they also need to be charged. Once you have 2 or more batteries and each battery requires 60 minutes to charge, the standby time can quickly reach hours with additional batteries inactive. So it is better to buy an extra battery charger or better yet, you might want to get the multi charger, which allows you to charge your batteries simultaneously.
4) Vehicle battery charger: When you are on a road trip and the only power source you have may be the car battery, that is why it is important to have a car battery charger for your drone. So if you have 1, 2, or maybe 3 electric batteries, even when you are traveling, you are most likely to be using all of your energy at some point, so what you definitely need is the ability to charge your batteries when you are away from an outlet.
5) Tablet or iPad: Controlling a drone while manipulating it with the smartphone’s online video feed is uncomfortable to say the least. The screen is too small to get a distinct view of what’s going on up there. So, you’d better buy a trusted tablet PC that has a screen large enough to provide a reliable video clip stream. Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tablet or other equivalent tablets with sufficient processor speed are usually great possibilities depending on your financial budget.
6) ND filter: To manage the amount of light entering your camera lens and handle tiny shakes, while increasing motion blur, getting an ND filter is a smart choice. ND filters are really a must have, in my opinion they make the video on the Phantom series drones more cinematic and are they great as they don’t increase the gimbal weight of your drone significantly. The P4 Pro’s new gimbal is extremely light and fragile, I would also expect to include any weight on the front of this camera’s lens.
seven) GPS tracking device: When you fly your drone in remote areas like mountains or on the sea, it will be very difficult to find your drone if you ever crash it. A drone GPS tracker attached to the legs of your drone can come in handy when you go on a mission to save your drone. Thanks to the GPS tracking application of your smartphone, you will be able to locate your drone on the maps of your smartphone, with an accuracy of up to 2 meters.
8) Storage space: Additional electric batteries will be inconvenient when you run out of space to store the footage you are recording. The default 16 gigabyte micro SD card that comes with DJI Phantom 4 pro can only store approximately 50 minutes of video footage. Consider buying a 64 GB micro SD card if you don’t want to transfer the video clips to your PC after every 2 flights.
9) Backpack or travel case: If you plan to take your drone with you on your travels, camping, biking or road trip, you will find that the default packaging that comes with the drones will not last very long and will not be comfortable to carry, c to say the least. For a more comfortable and safer solution, get a backpack or travel case specifically designed for drones; you will find loads of options available. In my opinion, hard shell backpacks are the most functional and stable backpacks for their value for money.
Photography and videography tools have always depended on accessories, just like drones. You should consider spending on props if you’re trying to shoot amazing drone videos.