Last Updated on February 15, 2023 by Faiza Murtaza
Drones are all the rage these days. They are used around the world, by people of every age and background.
They offer some people a simple form of recreation, as they are fun to fly. But for photographers, videographers, and journalists, drones are a tool that helps them get their job done.
Whether used for personal or commercial use, most drones are flown in order to take photos and videos. Never before in history have we been able to get cameras into the places that drones can get to.
And mini drones might be even easier to get into tough-to-access spots, given their low profile and lightweight. But what exactly constitutes a mini drone, and why should you consider getting one over a standard size drone? Keep reading to find out now.
First and Foremost; Drone Regulations
Yes, there are lots of rules about flying drones. In fact, drones are considered aircraft. That means they are regulated by the FAA or Federal Aviation Administration.
The government takes drone use very seriously. As a result, you have to register any drone that weighs more than 8.8 ounces. It only costs a few dollars to do this, but your drone needs an FAA ID number before it can even take to the skies. Your ID number will need to be displayed on the exterior of each drone that you fly.
Once registered, you can start flying, but you need to know the rules of operating an aircraft. This includes not flying higher than 400 feet in the air. Your drone always has to be in sight, so you can’t fly around mountains or buildings.
Never fly in restricted airspace. This usually constitutes federal land, buildings, airports, and military sites. You also can’t fly over stadiums, concerts, sporting events, or the like. And don’t try flying over disasters such as fires, either.
There are also plenty of restricted places, as well. Washington DC, as an entire city, has banned the use of drones. National Parks also prohibit the use of drones. Many other locations can decide if they’d like to allow drone use and may display signs prohibiting their use. As a drone user, always respect the wishes of the property owners or stewards.
What Are Mini Drones?
There are two main categories of drones; standard drones, and mini drones. The regulations above apply to all drones, as they are all considered aircraft. However, you only have to register drones with the FAA that are heavier than 8.8 ounces.
Drones smaller than this are considered mini drones. You can use a mini flying drone in many different ways. There are mini drones for kids, that act as remote control helicopters. There aren’t any cameras attached to it, and it’s all about learning to fly them.
You can often find mini toy drones for under $50. These make for great gifts for children and teenagers. If they are interested in drone use, it’s best to start them off with something cheaper until they get the hang of it, then moving on to a more expensive model.
You can also choose a mini drone with camera attachments so that you can still take photos and videos in the sky.
Pros and Cons of Mini Drones
There are many reasons to buy a mini drone over a larger one. But there are also a few drawbacks.
For starters, mini drones are generally cheaper. This makes them perfect for the brand new drone user or the child who loves RC cars but wants a new challenge.
And they can also withstand falls a bit better. Because they are so light, falls from heights don’t often cause much damage, if any at all. Again, this makes them perfect for brand new drone users who have no experience flying and landing these machines. Heavier drones will experience higher levels of consequence when they fall out of the sky from great heights.
And lighter drones will be easier to maneuver. Their reaction time will be quicker, making them more fun to pilot when photography isn’t the main goal.
Because they are so small and light, mini drones are much easier to transport and travel with. They are easy enough to carry in any backpack, so you never have to leave them behind.
However, mini drones generally have smaller batteries, meaning they aren’t going to last that long in the air. You can expect between five and 8 minutes for cheaper mini drones and upwards of 30 minutes for more expensive mini drones on a single charge.
Most mini drones also don’t come with cameras attached to them, making them pretty limited in their use case. However, there are some high-quality models available for those looking for a small package and image-taking capabilities.
Best Mini Drones
Yes, there are some high-quality mini drones available for those that want to capture some amazing photos and videos. One of the most popular models is the DJI Mini 2.
It’s capable of taking photos at 12 MP and 4K video at 30 frames per second. And it’s equipped with gimbal technology to stabilize the camera, even in rough and windy conditions, so you’re footage is smooth. If you need a backup plan however, you can check this article with the top free stock footage sites.
It’s got a battery that can power the drone for up to 31 minutes of flight time. And it can go as fast as 35 mph. It can also fly in, and resist, winds up to 23 mph.
These little guys are strong and dependable, even though they are ultralight at 249 grams. Because of this, the DJI Mini 2 is perfect for those that like to use drones in hard-to-reach locations. Hikers, backpackers, cyclists, and travelers love the portability and lightweight of this drone. They fold down and pack nicely into the corner of any pack or purse.
And it also comes loaded with tons of features that make operating this drone a breeze. The return to home (RTH) feature will bring your drone back to you at the press of the button, which is especially helpful when flying far distances.
You can also use automatic takeoff, which is often the most complicated part of operating cheaper drones. And you can use the precision hovering feature, keeping your drone at the same height and freeing you to focus and capturing images rather than flying.
Many people wonder if the DJI Mini 2 is worth the extra money when compared to the DJI Mini SE. They are similar drones, but you can save a few hundred bucks by going with the SE model. Compare the two drones at https://www.drdrone.ca/blogs/drone-news-drone-help-blog/dji-mini-se-vs-dji-mini-2 to see which is perfect for you.
What You Need for Your Drones?
Looking to pick up a drone, either for yourself or a child? There are a few other things you’re going to want to make it more enjoyable to fly.
Definitely pick up some spare battery packs. Since smaller drones can’t fly as long, you’ll want to be able to swap batteries right away to keep flying. Otherwise, you might have to spend an hour or two charging a battery in between flights. Buy a battery bag as well, to ensure the safety of your gear in the rare event of a battery fire.
You’ll also want a convenient way to charge up your batteries. You can get a battery hub, which can charge between two and four batteries all at once.
Or, if you have the DJI Mini, you can pick up the DJI Mini charging base, which holds up your DJI Mini inside a bell jar while charging it, along with your spare batteries. It looks beautiful and futuristic, making it the perfect way to show off your drone at home when you aren’t using it.
And since broken propellers are the most common issue with drones, it’s best to pick up a spare set right from the beginning.
If you plan to take your drone to other places, invest in a proper drone case. These will keep them safe in transit, and give you a place to store your accessories while you’re at it.
Depending on the drone you get, you might receive a remote control. But more often than not, you’ll fly your drone using a downloaded app on your smartphone. If you’d prefer not to use your phone when operating your drone, you can purchase a separate controller to pilot your drone with, saving your phone’s battery for more important tasks.
You’ll also want to get a cleaning kit for your drone. They get dirty fast, especially when flying in inclement weather and dusty areas. They come with lens cleaning accessories, such as microfiber cloths to keep your glass clean and scratch-free.
Don’t Diss the Mini Before You Try It
Mini drones, just like their big brothers, are incredibly fun to fly. While most people see mini drones as cheaper, kid-sized versions of drones, that’s not always the case.
There are some high-quality mini drones that pack a serious punch for photographers and videographers. Give a mini a try and you might find yourself never going back to a larger version.
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