With the development of drones, there have been significant evolutions and changes in the photography and videography sector. The drone has changed the way pictures are taken and videos are shot. With impressive cameras, most of the expensive and time-consuming processes needed to capture shots in the past have been eradicated by drones.
Only a few drones have optical zoom; they are DJI Inspire with Zenmuse X5R, DJI Inspire 1 Pro Black Edition, DJI Mavic 2 Zoom, and DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise. Drones that can zoom in are Yuneec Typhoon H Plus, DJI Matrice 200 series, Parrot Anafi, and DJI Inspire 2.
The zoom feature is an important feature of a drone camera, especially one used for photography and videography. As a professional photographer or videographer, you should look out for the drone’s camera features.
Can Drone Cameras Zoom?
If you are an avid photographer or videographer, you know that sometimes it is safe to capture a shot from a distance rather than getting closer. If you want to use a drone to capture images and videos, you want one with a camera that can zoom.
Yes, drone cameras zoom; however, not all drone cameras have zoom. The megapixel and quality of your drone camera determine how close your drone will zoom. For example, the DJI Matrice 600 has a 6x digital and 30x optical zoom, so it can zoom into objects 30 times.
There is only a small number of drones with cameras that can zoom. If you want your drone to have a zoom camera, you can purchase a camera separately for the drone. There are two types of zoom options for drone cameras: digital zoom option and optical zoom option.
Digital Zoom Option
The digital zoom option is inbuilt into the drone camera’s application or software. The camera enlarges with a digital zoom option and brings the photo frame closer, cutting the edges to fit the photo into the frame. The digital zoom option works by cropping into the center of the image and enlarges it.
When using the digital zoom option, your photo and video frames are enlarged, but the quality and resolution are decreased. This zoom option works similarly to photo editing software, like Adobe Photoshop and Canva. You crop the image, and it becomes bigger, but the quality is low.
Although you would capture objects at a far distance, you will not have good quality. Every drone with a camera has the digital zoom option, which is not zooming in actuality, by enlarging the photo frames and reducing the quality of your videos and images.
Optical Zoom Option
On the other hand, the optical zoom option allows the drone camera to zoom in and out without reducing the quality of the images and videos. Digital zoom works in the camera’s software, while optical zoom works with the camera lens, which is hardware, not software.
Optical zoom is the normal method of zooming where the optics of the camera lens are used to bring the object closer to the image sensor without affecting the resolution and quality. To get the utmost experience as a drone photographer, you should use the optical zoom option. Different lenses are used to achieve different optical zoom ranges; the type of drone you have determines the quality of the lens.
Comparing both zoom options, it is correct to say optical zoom is better and more preferable than digital zoom. You can zoom in well with optical zoom, and you still capture images and videos with great quality and resolution, which is impossible to achieve with digital zoom.
The major difference between optical and digital zoom is that optical zoom actually zooms into the object to capture. In contrast, digital zoom crops the image; it stretches it out to fit the original size.
Drones With Zoom Camera
You should know that not all drone cameras have a zoom option. Not all drones have a camera, so you should know the ones with a camera and zoom camera if you want to purchase a drone.
AP10 Pro GPS Drone
AEE Company manufactures the AP10 drone; this is one of the top photography drones in the drone world. It features a 16-megapixel camera that can capture images at 1080p and record HD quality videos. This drone also has some pilot-friendly features, like Flight Failsafe and GPS-mode autopilot.
The drone features prop guards that protect it in case of a collision or an accidental crash. It comes with a 5300 mAh battery that delivers a flight time of 25 minutes. The radio controller features a Wi-Fi range extender that gives the option for longer distance flight control. You can control the drone with your mobile phone by attaching it to the transmitter and use the AEE application to view the live feed while you fly.
Parrot Anafi Drone
Another drone with a zoom camera that slows you to record in 4K HDR is the Parrot Anafi Drone. It features a 21-megapixel camera that can capture ten images in one second. These features make the Parrot Anafi a top name among photography drones. It has a total flight time of 25 minutes and can reach a top speed of 55 km/h in sport mode.
The battery can be recharged with a USB-C cable in 1.5 hours. It also has a return to home mode that programs the drone to automatically return to the starting point when the battery level becomes low. With the FreeFlight 6 application, you can use your smartphone to control the drone. You can also use a virtual reality headset.
Which DJI Drones Have Zoom?
Only a few companies produce drones with the zoom-in option; DJI is one of the companies. While many drones have only the digital zoom option, we will look at DJI drones with optical zoom and digital zoom.
DJI Matrice 600 Pro
The DJI Matrice 600 Pro is an upgrade to the Matrice 600; it has improved flight performance and better loading capacity. It features the Zenmuse Z30, the most powerful aerial zoom camera available, with 6x digital and 30x optical zoom. This drone has a total magnification of 180x. It has a 4500 mAh battery, a top speed of 40 mph, and a hovering time of 38 minutes.
DJI Inspire 2
The first drone for filmmaking with an integrated HD video transmission system, a 4K camera, a 360-degree rotating gimbal, and the simplicity of application control is the DJI Inspire 1; the Inspire 2 is better upgraded and modified than 1. Everything good in the DJI Inspire 1 is improved and better in Inspire 2.
It features a Zenmuse X5S gimbal camera that can record video in 6K. The camera features 8 standard M4/3 lenses with a focal length of 9 mm to 45 mm, allowing for flexible creativity. The top speed of this drone is 58 mph.
DJI Inspire 1
The DJI Inspire 1 features a Zenmuse X5 gimbal camera that allows you to record videos in 4K. The maximum flight time of this drone is 18 minutes, and it has a top speed of 22 m/s. It also features a 12-megapixel camera that allows videos to be recorded in 720p HD quality.
You can connect your smartphone to the drone, either Android or iOS. It is compatible with iOS devices with OS of 8.0 and above, as well as 4.12 and later. All you need to do is download the DJI Go application.
Not all drones can zoom in; some are equipped with a digital zoom option, some optical zoom option, and others both options. It is advised to go for drones with both features if your drone is used for photography purposes. Zoom options allow for the safety of your drone because you may not be able to fly close every time, and you also get a more close-up shot.