Which auto-follow drone is best?
Capturing magnificent scenes with a high-flying drone is a common method used by videographers to create content. The drones are steered with a flight stick or controller and go wherever the pilot directs them.
But sometimes, you want the drone to capture you in action. If there is nobody else to control the drone, you’re going to have a problem. That is where an auto-follow drone comes in, and as the name implies, it will automatically follow you as you run, bike or ski. One of the best auto-follow drones is the DJI Air 2S Quadcopter Drone.
What to know before you buy an auto-follow drone
Know the difference between auto-follow and tracking
The two terms might sound the same, and some companies use them interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference. An auto-follow drone doesn’t need a camera and can follow a signal. On the other hand, a tracking drone can memorize a face or object and track it. It will stay a certain distance away and continuously keep the object in the frame.
The size of the drone matters
Not all drones are built the same, and generally larger ones will have bigger batteries and more features. But that’s not to say that smaller, more affordable drones aren’t up to the task. Consider what kind of footage you want to capture and where you’ll be flying, and determine which size drone will be best for your needs.
Preferred method of control
You can operate drones through different control mechanisms. While professional drones use remote controllers and a screen, others operate easily with a mobile phone or a tablet. Consider which controlling method will be the easiest for you, as you can always upgrade to a headset when you get more comfortable.
What to look for in a quality auto-follow drone
Gimballed camera for stability
Under normal circumstances, you operate the drone through remote control. The pilot can steady the drone and capture any footage. But when it follows you, it is doing so automatically. Some stability is built into the flight, but a good-quality drone will have a gimballed camera. This prevents the camera from excessive shaking and will smoothly track the subject.
Obstacle sensing to prevent crashing
You don’t have any control over an auto-follow drone when it is in flight. To prevent the gadget from crashing into trees or buildings, a good-quality drone includes obstacle-sensing technology. This allows it to fly around or over anything that could block its flight path. It also allows the drone to keep track of you without breaking the line of sight.
Great camera for the best footage
If you use an auto-follow drone to capture images while running or going horse riding, you’ll want the footage to be as good as possible. A good-quality drone will capture 4K footage at 60 frames per second and take still photos with at least a 20-megapixel camera. Just bear in mind that you’ll need a suitable data storage device and enough battery power to fly some distance while recording.
How much you can expect to spend on an auto-follow drone
The average cost of an auto-follow drone will largely depend on the capabilities and functions of the device. An entry-level drone that can follow you retails for $150-$200, while professional drones can retail for $800-$1,500.
Auto-follow drone FAQ
How long is the flight time of a drone?
A. That will depend on the drone’s capabilities and the weather condition. On a sky, windless day, a typical drone can fly for around 35 minutes. Having to contend with wind can reduce the flying time to approximately 25 to 35 minutes.
What happens when the drone loses sight of you?
A. Most drones have a return-to-home function where they will fly back to their base station if they lose connectivity to the controller. Some drones go through several processes to re-establish a connection by themselves, like retracing their steps.
What’s the best auto-follow drone to buy?
Top auto-follow drone
What you need to know: For professional-quality footage, this drone will follow you wherever you go.
What you’ll love: This drone has an amazing 1-inch image sensor, making it capable of capturing footage at 5.4K at 30 frames per second or 4K at 60 frames per second. For auto-following, it features DJI’s Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 4.0, and Point of Interest 3.0. It can track an object from as high as 1,600 feet and avoids collisions through environment sensing.
What you should consider: While it is one of the best drones available, the steep price tag could place it out of reach for most.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top auto-follow drone for the money
What you need to know: This affordable drone features a follow-me mode where it will hover automatically and record your movements.
What you’ll love: Capable of recording footage in 2K resolution, this drone has a 120-degree field of vision. It can follow you by GPS tracking, or you can let it fly a custom route. The drone has a control range of 980 feet and comes with two 1,000 mAh batteries.
What you should consider: Some users have indicated that the included batteries only provide for about 10 minutes of flying time.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This drone is perfect for shooting 4K content, as it comes with a shock absorption holder to minimize vibrations.
What you’ll love: Capturing footage at a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160, this drone has an adjustable lens that you can rotate 90 degrees. It has three auto-follow options to circle a specific point, fly on a pre-set course or follow your movements while recording. It comes with two batteries that provide 25 minutes of flying time each.
What you should consider: It doesn’t come with an SD card to save footage on, so you’ll have to provide your own.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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