The aerial videos captured with the help of a 4k camera drone are stunning to say the least. Cinematographers are becoming quite familiar with the 4k cameras mounted on drones and use them for recording some fabulous aerial videos. In this article, we are going to delve into the 4k camera technology and what benefits can professional videographers achieve by using 4k camera drones.
Also, we intend to review the top 10 4k video recording drones available on the market. These magnificent devices are capturing some scintillating Ultra High Definition videos that will blow your minds away.
All of the 4k video recording drones that we are going to discuss subsequently are loaded with state of the art features such as pinpoint stabilization and autonomous modes of flight to let professional videographers capture marvelous aerial footage. A large number of modern day 4k video recording drones are also equipped with collision detection and obstacle avoidance technologies.
The very first of the 4k video recording drones hit the shelves in 2016 but the year 2017 has already witnessed a huge increase in the production of these superstar machines.
4k Drone Video Recording Technology
A video camera drone loaded with a 4k Ultra High Definition (UHD) resolution is a display that accommodate around 8 million active pixels. The lower limit in terms of the resolution for this resolution is at least 3840 x 2160 pixels. So, if you are in possession of a 4k video recording drone, you should be able to capture videos with almost four times of the detail as you would get with the High Definition 1080p video. In High Definition, we get a display with 2 million pixels and hence the the UHD display is four times superior than the HD display.
The 4k video recording cameras are able to capture a wide array of digital video content ranging from 3840 x 2160 to 4096 x 3112 pixels.
Having said that, most of the drone manufacturers such as DJI, Yuneec, GoPro, Hubsan and Walkera utilize the 3840 x 2160 pixels resolution as the more common mode of video recording. This also tends to be the most preferred mode of video recording for UHD televisions and monitors.
The 3840 x 2160 pixels resolution tends to double the horizontal and vertical array of pixels in comparison to the High Definition resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (modern day standard form of HD). But there are also 4k video recording drones that are able to shoot videos at a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels resolution.
A top of the line CineCore 2.0 image processing system is fitted in the DJI Inspire 2 that has the ability to record videos at a whopping 5.2k in CinemaDNG, Apple ProRes and other video formats. It lets you create cinema-grade video footage and also comes with a ground based gimbal that allows you to capture both aerial and ground based video footages.
Why 4k Video Recording Cameras?
The photographers who view their work on the more common High Definition display are not able to view the fine details that are such an important part of their images when they view them at 2160p. You can view so much more details and finesse on a 4k display and we all know that higher the resolution, the finer the quality of the captured images and videos.
Enhanced Resolution and Faster Frame Rates
4K Ultra High Definition in addition to enhancing the resolution by four times, also provides faster frame rates, astounding contrast dynamics and expanded array of colors. According the research conducted by EBU and BBC, the viewers tend to be more receptive to higher frame rates up to 100 Hz since the images turn out to be more realistics and refined.
A video captured with a 4K video recording camera drone should ideally be watched on a 4K display in order to get the complete resolution, detail, nuance, subtlety and sharpness. More often than not, people view the 4K video captured with a drone on a typical HD or even lesser display which takes away the beauty and attractiveness of the whole endeavor.
Yes, it might be convenient for you to view the 4k video recorded with your drone on a typical HD display, but remember that you will not be able to solve the whole of enigma that 4K image quality is.
A 4K display that is equipped with Ultra High Definition JPEG playback will be able to display four times the information that is shown on a typical HD display. It will be as if you never viewed those photographs ever.
Moreover, the high pixel density of a 4K display also makes it more easier for you to view an image in more detail without having to notice the grid like structure of a digital image. This implies that you can view a much larger display without any disturbance from the same seating position as the ordinary HD display.
Here is some phenomenal 4K video recording captured with a drone. The first video was captured with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro at 4K Ultra High Definition resolution. The video was shot in idyllic New Zealand.
Video Recording with 4K UHD Camera
With the future in our sight, a video captured with a 4K UHD camera will ensure that you’ve got a safe and secure master copy of your video footage for a number of years to come.
Even if you plan on finalizing the video at HD resolution, a master file with a 4K UHD resolution gives you more leverage to manipulate with the frames, zoom and other features without risking to denigrate the video quality. You will be able to give more attention to detail and achieve high quality contrast dynamics and extended array of colors with output to DVD or Blu-ray.
There are a number of videographers who prefer to capture videos at 4K UHD resolution while using the Super 35 film format to compensate for any loss of quality which may take place in subsequent image processing.
4K Video Recording Drones
We bring to you the top 4K UHD video recording drones. In addition to state of the art cameras, these devices boast a number of phenomenal features such as accurate stabilization functionality, autonomous modes of flight and collision detection mechanisms. Some of the modes of flight include waypoint navigation, points of interest, follow me, watch me, orbit and tracking modes. When it comes to fail-safe flying, these devices are the best in the business.
Here are some the best 4K video camera drones. We will also be bringing to you some of the videos captured by each of them.
- DJI Mavic Pro
- DJI Phantom 4 Pro
- DJI Inspire 1
- DJI Inspire 2
- Yuneec Typhoon H
- Yuneec Q400 4K
- Yuneec Breeze
- Walkera Voyager 4
- Walkera Vitus
- Autel X-Star Premium 4K
DJI Inspire 1
The DJI Inspire is indubitably the best drone to have hit the shelves so far. It is a beast of a machine loaded with tons of exciting features. This device lets you capture aerial video footage at 4K Ultra High Definition resolution and at a frame rate of 30 frames per second in addition to photographs that can be taken at 12 Megapixels. It sports a lens that comprises 9 separate elements including an aspherical element that permits unparalleled clarity. Moreover, with the Adobe DNG RAW support, the users get the leverage to do anything they wish with their images.
The lens boasts a rectilinear, curved design that virtually takes distortion such as barrel fisheye effect out of the equation. Furthermore, the 20 mm focal length lets you capture images at a relatively wider angle without being restricted by the dreaded fisheye-effect. The propeller arms get out of sight meticulously letting the pilot get an omnidirectional view of the world to capture top quality images with immense ease. Here are the Ultra High Definition video recording modes supported by the mighty DJI Inspire 1:
DJI Inspire 1 Video Camera Resolution
- Ultra High Definition: 4096 x 2160 and 3840 x 2160 (24 fps/35 fps/30 fps) with an optimum video bit rate of 60 Mbps
The professional variant of this machine is equipped with the Zenmuse X5R camera which is the world’s very first Micro Four Thirds camera that has the capability to shoot video footage at 4K UHD in the lossless RAW format. In addition, you can capture videos up to a frame rate of 30 frames per second alongside an average bitrate of 1.7 Gbps.
The camera is able to capture images at an amazing 16 Megapixels owing to the triple-axis stabilization gimbal that ensures that the camera does not lose its steady state during flight. These are the 4K UHD video resolutions available in DJI Inspire 1:
- 4096 x 2160 (24 fps/25 fps) and 3840 x 2160 (25 fps/30 fps) with a maximum bit rate of 2.4 Gbps and an average bitrate of 1.7 Gbps)
The DJI Inspire 1 is also compatible with a number of other DJI Zenmuse gimbals including the Flir Thermal Gimbal. Here is a prolific 4K UHD video shot with the DJI Inspire 1 in Maldives. Hope you will enjoy it.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro
With the help of the marvelous DJI Phantom 4 Pro, you can capture fabulous 4K Ultra High Definition video footages and take images at 20 megapixels. Equipped with tons of stunning autonomous modes of flight, the drone takes the onus of flying on itself and leaving the pilot to concentrate on capturing some phenomenal videos and photographs. Moreover, it offers exceptional steadiness in flight which lets you capture sharp images of the top most quality. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is also loaded with the collision detection feature that lets it recognize any obstacle hindering its path of flight and avoid it seamlessly either by flying around or over it or by hovering just in front of the obstacle. Vision sensors and obstacle sensors are employed in order to get this technology to work properly.
Simultaneously flying a drone and capturing videos and images can be quite of an hassle. You could get distracted while flying the device and not focus on the required angles and shots for your images. This is exactly why you should own a device that features autonomous flight functionalities.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro features the following smart functionalities that make life remarkably easy for cinematographers:
- Active Track (Profile, spotlight, circle)
- Draw Waypoints
- Terrain Follow Mode
- Tripod Mode
- Gesture Mode
- S-Mode (Sport)
- P-Mode (Position)
- A-Mode (Attitude)
- Beginner Mode
- Course Lock
- Home Lock
- Collision Detection
All these modes of flight work in tandem with the collision detection and vision positioning features which means that while you are busy focusing on the correct angles and shots for your images and videos, your drone will not bump into any obstacle in its way.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro features the following 4K UHD video recording resolutions:
DJI Phantom 4 Pro 4K Video Recording Resolution
C4K: 4096 x 2160 (24 fps/25 fps/30 fps) at 100 Mbps
4K: 3840 x 2160 (24 fps/25 fps/30 fps) at 100 Mbps
C4K: 4096 x 2160 (24 fps/25 fps/30 fps/48 fps/50 fps/60 fps) at 100 Mbps
4K: 3840 x 2160 (24 fps/25 fps/30 fps/48 fps/50 fps/60 fps) at 100 Mbps
The drone features an optimum video bit rate of 60 Mbps and supports JPEG and DNG (RAW) photo formats. Video footages can be saved in MP4/MOV (MPEG – 4 AVC/H.264) formats. We bring to you the stunningly scenic views of Sedona, Arizona captured by the DJI Phantom 4 Pro 4K video recording drone.
DJI Mavic Pro
This is a compact sized drone that can be folded up and easily transported from one place to another with the minimum possible fuss. You can also stuff into your pockets while the marvelous 4K UHD camera lets you capture spectacular aerial videos. In addition, the device is equipped with collision detection, steady flight features and smart modes of flight. All these features make the DJI Mavic Pro as one of the smallest drones and yet the most advanced ones that can be easily accommodated in your backpacks or even your wallets.
The DJI Mavic Pro features the following modes of flight that render capturing 4K aerial videos and images with this prolific drone nothing but a piece of cake:
- Active Track (Trace, Profile, Spotlight)
- Trace: Follow behind, in front or encircle an object
- Profile: the drone flies alongside a person or object
- Spotlight: the drone is trained to follow a certain object as you fly
- Gesture mode
- Tap Fly Mode
- Terrain Follow Mode
The following video recording modes are supported by the DJI Mavic Pro:
DJI Mavic Pro Video Camera Resolution
4K UHD: 4096 x 2160 (24 fps)
4K UHD-1: 3840 x 2160 (24 fps/25 fps/30 fps)
2.7K: 2704 x 1520 (24 fps/25 fps/30 fps)
Full HD: 1920 x 1080 (24 fps/25 fps/30 fps/48 fps/50 fps/60 fps/96 fps)
HD: 1280 x 720 (24 fps/25 fps/30 fps/48 fps/50 fps/60 fps/120 fps)
Let’s show you a stunning video captured with the DJI Mavic Pro drone.
DJI Inspire 2
This is another drone that has been designed for professional cinematographers that comes with a ground based gimbal that can be used to capture both aerial as well as ground based shots. The phenomenal integrated image processing system in this device captures video footages at 5.2K resolution in CinemaDNG Raw, Apple ProRes and other formats. The drone features some incredibly intelligent modes of flight such as the Spotlight Pro that lets videographers create scintillating dramatic shots single-handedly.
The enhanced video transmission mechanism allows the use of dual signal frequency and dual channel video streaming from an integrated FPV camera and the primary camera at the same time; thereby making the collaboration between the pilot and the camera controller all the more flawless.
Additional Features in DJI Inspire 2
With an optimum speed of 50 mph (94 kph), the DJI Inspire 2 goes from 0 to 50 mph (80 kph) in just 5 seconds. Moreover, it boasts an optimum descent speed of 9 m/s which is unparalleled when it comes to drones of this size, shape and category. The dual battery system provides an extended flight duration of a whopping 27 minutes (with an X4S). Furthermore, it features a self-heating functionality that lets it fly even in frigid temperatures.
Autonomous flight features have been enhanced in this beast which include the provision of collision detection in a couple of directions and ample sensor redundancy.
DJI Inspire 2 Video Camera Resolutions
- 2K (5280 x 2972, 16:9) 30fps 12bit, 4.2Gbps
- 4K (4096 x 2160, 17:9) 60fps 10bit, 4Gbps
- 2K (5280 x 2972, 2.4:1) 30fps (422 HQ)
- 4K (4096 x 2160, 16:9) 30fps (4444 HQ, no alpha)
Here is a sensational video captured with the help of the DJI Inspire 2 at 5.2K resolution. It is mind blowing!
Yuneec Typhoon H
Touted as the best multirotor to have been produced by Yuneec till date, the Yuneec Typhoon H boasts a compact size and is probably one of the more advanced and technologically refined machines out there available in the market. The machine is loaded with six rotors, an omnidirectional gimbal camera and landing paraphernalia that can be folded. The advanced obstacle avoidance system makes this device extremely easy and safe to fly around. The triple-axis anti-vibration CGO3+ gimbal camera is able to record 4K Ultra High Definition video footages and take 12.4 megapixel photographs. It can also be rotated through an unrestricted 360 degrees range.
The CGO3+ gimbal camera boasts a top quality glass, 115 degrees field of view, wide angle lens and lets the pilot configure camera options manually mid flight. Here are the specifications for the 4K UHD video camera:
- UHD: 4K at 30fps
- Full HD: 1080p at (24fps/25fps/30fps/48fps/50fps/60fps/120fps)
The hexacopter offers a flight duration of 25 minutes while the ST-16 Ground Station is powered by the Android operating system and features a 7-inch touchscreen display for the real time video streaming transmitted from the integrated FPV camera at HD 720p resolution. The drone also comes equipped with a wide array of autonomous modes of flight.
The following autonomous modes of flight make life exceptionally easy for the dronie as he has to concentrate on capturing videos and images without having to worry about flying the darn machine:
- Orbit Me: the machine flies in circles around the pilot, while the camera continues to focus on the pilot
- Point of Interest: the pilot designates an object and the drone encircles it all on its own
- Journey: The drone flies in the upward and outward direction, as distant as 150 feet, and captures the perfect selfie of its pilot
- Curve Cable Cam: The pilot envisions an invisible path for the Typhoon H to follow. The device flies within the pre-programmed coordinates while its camera is manoeuvred automatically
- Follow Me/Watch Me: In this mode of flight, the drone moves along with the pilot. The Watch Me mode lets the drone point the camera directly at you while you carry on your everyday tasks
Yuneec Typhoon Q500
The Yuneec Typhoon Q500 is a must have device for professional cinematographers that comes loaded with an Android touchscreen controller. This means that the setting up of this machine got quicker than ever before and you will not have to synchronize your handheld mobile device to enjoy the remarkable 4K videos. The Typhoon Q500 4K video recording drone is also capable of capturing 1080p video at 120 frames per second in slow motion while the pilot is able to manually configure camera settings; thereby getting complete freedom of creativity. The handheld Steady Grip lets you capture top quality ground based videos and images as well.
The CGO3 camera is a top quality camera that features an onboard triple axis gimbal that allows you to capture seamless shots in unparalleled 4K videos and photographs with 12 megapixels. The distortion-free 115 degrees lens provides for exceptionally realistic shots while the digital video downlink allows users to view the videos and images captured by the onboard camera on a display integrated in the flight controller or directly on their handheld mobile devices using the CGO app which is available for free.
Yuneec Typhoon Q500 Video Camera Resolution
- 4K @ 24/25 FPS
- 7K @ 30 FPS
- 5K @ 30 FPS –
- Full HD: 1080p @ 24/25/30/48/50/60/120 FPS
- HD: 720p @ 24/25/30/48/50/60/120 FPS
Weighing less than one pound and measuring less than 10 inches in diameter, this compact sized selfie drone can be stuffed in virtually any backpack with the minimum possible fuss. It is a great device to have in one’s armory and boasts an inbuilt, rotatable camera that has the ability to capture some mind-boggling selfies along with aerial photographs and videos. You can use your smartphone or tablet to control this device while simultaneously viewing the video footage being transmitted by the onboard camera in real time. The Yuneec Breeze boasts a number of independent modes of flight that make life easier for the dronies.
Video Camera Resolution
The drone comes loaded with a 4K Ultra High Definition camera that is pivotable and can be adjusted vertically; thereby ensuring top quality video footage. You can also capture supreme quality selfies and still shots at 13 megapixels. The electronic image stabilization features and the impeccable photo chipset allows users to capture sharp and brilliant images.
- Video resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels
- Photo resolution: 4160 x 3120 pixels (13 MP)
Smart Flight Modes
- Pilot Mode: A pilot manoeuvres the device manually using his virtual control sticks and handling it in the same way as one would handle a typical drone
- Selfie Mode: A user simply has to determine the height and distance for the selfie by virtue of the slider given in the app
- Orbit Mode: You just have to assign a certain object or even yourself, for that matter, and the drone will orbit you around. You may pause the flight as and when required.
- Journey Mode: The Breeze moves away from the pilot and then comes back following the same path while continuously capturing the pilot
- Follow Me Mode: You can tell the drone the exact distance and height from which to follow you and let it track every bit of you.
Walkera Voyager 4
Equipped with the most advanced dual navigation technologies: GPS and GLONASS, the Walkera Voyager is the company’s flagship professional drone that is able to detect your location and aptly receive signals by connecting to a maximum number of satellites.
Voyager 4 Gimbal and Camera
The Walkera Voyager comes equipped with a triple axis brushless gimbal that ensures that the captured images and videos are as stable as they can get. The innovative shock-absorption gimbal technology mitigates any vibrations and unnecessary movements during flight that lets the camera capture super-steady videos even after magnifying the focal length. Moreover, the outstanding 18x optical zoom lens is a treat for the professional photographers.
Walkera Voyager 4 Video Camera
Here are some of the Voyager 4 Video Camera features. You can get to know more about these features by visiting the manufacturer’s website:
- Name: Voyager 4k 18x UHD Camera
- Zoom Ratio: 18x
- Focal Length: 6.7 to 134.5 mm
- Output Bitrate: 32 Kbps to 16 Mbps
- Compression Standard: H.264/H.265
- Horizontal View: 59.8 to 3.00 wide angle
- Close Shot Distance: 10 mm to 1500 mm
- Total Pixels: 3840 x 2160
- ISO Range: 100 to 3200 (video) and 100 to 1600 (image)
Video Camera Resolution for Walkera Voyager 4
- 30 frames per second (3840 x 2160 pixels)
- 60 frames per second (1920 x 1080 pixels)
- 120 frames per second (1280 x 720 pixels)
Smart Flight Modes
The Walkera Voyager 4 comes equipped with the following smart flight modes that render flying this machine and capturing aerial videos and images with it, all the more easier and fun:
- Altitude Hold Mode
- Circle Flight Mode
- Single Key Return to Home
- Single Key Takeoff And Landing
- Destination Planning Waypoint
- Fly Around Object
This is yet another mini drone by Walkera that comes with a top quality 4K UHD camera and dual mode GPS. It boasts a spectacular design that lets you fold its propeller arms, blades and landing paraphernalia; thereby allowing for easy portability. With less than one pounds, it is one of the lightest and smallest drones in its category to have hit the shelves so far.
A drone of such small stature is loaded with the obstacle avoidance technology which comes as quite a bit of surprise. It is also equipped with Time of Flight (TOF) technology while the highly accurate sensors positioned on three sides ensure that the drone is able to avoid obstacles and hence collisions from the front, left and right sides.
4K Ultra High Definition Camera
The users can capture videos at 4K resolution at 30 frames per second while 1080p video footage can be recorded at 60 frames per second. At the same time, you can also take aerial still shots at 12 megapixels. The 85 degrees ultra low distortion wide angle lens ensures that the images and videos retain their inherent sharpness, brightness, dynamic contrast and color depth.
Moreover, the small sized triple axis gimbal ensures that the images and videos captured are as smooth and fluid as possible while the flight remains vibration-free.
Autel X-Star Premium
The Autel X-Star Premium drone is an extremely user-friendly sUAS while its 4K UHD camera alongside the triple axis gimbal lets the users capture highly imaginative, sharp and bright videos and images at 12 MP. You can also use the HD Live View feature up to a distance of 1.2 miles. It comes in ready to fly packaging while it can be handled with or without the free Starlink app designed for smartphones. It comes equipped with a dual navigation system comprising GPS and GLONASS while the Starpoint Positioning System ensures that flying it is as safe as it can get. It provides a very steady flight experience indoors and even at low heights.
When confronted by any kind of magnetic interference, any other drone would being to behave in a frantic manner or even result in a flyaway. The X-Star on the other hand is fitted with the SecureFly technology that assists it in coming back to its base station in case of any untoward situation.
Flying this fabulous device is not at all difficult: you can start the motors, let the device takeoff or land, hover or even return to its home station using the single key option. The flight controller is loaded with an integrated display that portrays important flight related data while the Starlink video app shows the entire real time video streaming transmitted directly from the onboard camera.
The Autel X-Star Premium is equipped with a myriad autonomous modes of flight such as follow me, orbit, waypoints that lets you configure camera settings and take images mid flight.
Video Camera Resolutions
- Still Photography Modes: 12 megapixels Single shot, Bursts, AEB, Bracketed frames, Time-lapse
- Video Recording Modes: 4K Ultra HD plus QHD, FHD, HD, and Superview settings
- Maximum Frame Rates: 4K (30 frames per second), 2.7K (60 frames per second), 1080p (120 frames per second), 720p (240 frames per second)
- Max Field of View: 108 degrees
In case of any questions, share with us in the comments sections below.