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Best Drone for Action Sports: Top Options to Capture the Action from Every Angle

best drone for action sports

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Are you fond of capturing your life on videos provided that you can recollect? 

And there is not anything greater than capturing the incredible moments of mountain biking on rough terrain, boating across challenging waters, or skiing difficult slopes. Have you been leveraging diverse action cameras to do so for quite a long time? Yet, the recording might not be helpful all the time. Understandably, the possibility is it is super shaky.

That is why you need a drone. The right one should work to capture those fantastic moments on video. Better yet, it offers remarkable cinematic angles, views, effects, aside from the seamless footage that is far from shaky.

What more can you genuinely look for other than which is the best drone for action sports? Here, we have curated a complete, updated list of the most excellent selections. The key factors to consider before you buy are also inclusive.

One thing to note, in the guide, we also refer to the term ‘drone’ as UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), crewless aircraft, flying robots, or flying machines.

Action sports drones: A glance at the history

Mountain biker with helmet camera rides a bright gravel road and is followed by a white drone

Before cutting-edge sensor recognition innovation was broadly accessible in UAVs, models for action sports made use of GPS gadgets adjusted with the flying robot. Accordingly, if you had wondered which units to buy in 2017, we would have suggested purchasing a model such as the AirDog ADII. This one got pilots to put on a water-resistant ‘AirLeash’ GPS tracker that resembled a sizable watch.

Other UAVs had adjustable flight path attributes, where the robot would operate on a pre-defined flight path. When it comes to the AirDog II, this product unit indeed did both. It was ready to work in a way that was the prearranged flight path’s hybrid. At the same time, the drone still followed the pilot and made them stay framed in the shot.

Since the famous brand, DJI introduced the Phantom 4 and it became ever-popular, you have had more choices. This robot came with a sensor with the ability to identify obstructions. Better yet, the system was sufficiently smart to slow down flying to try not to collide with the obstacle.

The trademark ActiveTrack capability was likewise first included in this model, which makes it simple to capture a true-to-life shot during the flight. This is on the grounds that when enabled, this function follows a selected subject all through the shot, no matter what activity you are partaking in – say riding a vehicle, walking on a trail, and going for an ocean swim.

What is more? The Phantom 4 aside, you have more options these days. Let’s check them out in the curated list right below.

Your best drone for action sports

1. DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter –  by DJI

best drone for action sports DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter
DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter

By any chance, have you seen a few of the advertisements? Then, you will realize that the brand made this robot explicitly for adventures. It does not matter whether you are running, biking, or engaging in other activities. You cannot go wrong with the model.

To be more specific, the camera is fit for capturing 4K at 100 Mbits p/s footage and staggering HDR photographs. At the same time, it brings several fantastic attributes and highlights to the table. These include slow-motion recordings, quick shots, sphere panoramas, to name a few.

Plus, you will appreciate that the 3-axis gimbal allows the recordings to be as seamless as could be expected.

Speaking of this DJI Mavic Air’s playtime, you can expect your UAV to stay in the air for around 21 minutes. Notwithstanding, remember, it may differ relying upon the wind and weather conditions.

Further, the signature ActiveTrack element will get the robot to follow you regardless of where you go. Along with the further developed flight safety and obstruction recognition functionalities, the product unit is legit reliable.

What’s more, the controller and the aircraft alike are collapsible and simple to bring to any place. And thanks to the light weight, the drone will not be the slightest bit an inconvenience to you.

2. DJI Phantom 4 PRO V2.0 Quadcopter – by DJI

DJI Phantom 4 PRO V2.0 Quadcopter
DJI Phantom 4 PRO V2.0 Quadcopter

This best drone for action sports is equipped for taking genuinely outstanding, pro-looking, and excellent photos and videos. Its camera can shoot 4K at 100 Mbits p/s  and 60 fps. Best yet, with the 3-axis gimbal, your photographs and footage will be as seamless as possible.

Above all, the Phantom 4 is trustworthy. It manages to follow boats, vehicles, and people. The model comes with absolutely smart flight attributes and highlights. For example, tap to fly, gesture function, draw mode, automatic RTH (aka return to home) (and simultaneously keeping away from objects), and a couple of the most excellent obstacle avoidance sensors.

Last but not least, the product unit boasts the incorporation of all you require to start flying your robot at once. These are additional propellers, a memory card, additional batteries, and the sky is the limit from there.

3. DJI Mavic 2 Pro – by DJI

DJI Mavic 2 Pro
DJI Mavic 2 Pro

It is another extraordinary flying machine equipped for shooting impressive 4K videos in high-definition resolution at 100 Mbits p/s. Moreover, it comes with several quite brilliant attributes.

More specifically, the model’s 20-megapixel camera boasts the inclusion of a large sensor and great lenses that offer top-notch images with exceptionally low noise and true-to-life color representation even when the surrounding light is low.

But that is not all. The robot works to target one person and track them and stay away from obstacles and objects at the same time. You may also like that the model can scan the surroundings in different directions.

Generally speaking, in case you are searching for a crewless aircraft vehicle with the ability to provide superior quality videos and photographs with accurate and crisp colors, your best bet is this DJI.

4. Parrot Anafi – FPV Drone Set –  by Parrot

Parrot Anafi
Parrot Anafi

The best drone for action sports from the big name Parrot comes with a top-notch 21-megapixel 4K camera fit for taking HDR footage. Additionally, the camera’s 3x zoom enables a dolly zoom generated. With it, you also have slow-motion, hyper-lapse films.

What is more? The Parrot Anafi’s camera is installed on a 3-axis  gimbal equipped for 180-degree turning. Thanks to that gimbal, your recordings not just stay stable and seamless but get shot with ease from new and one-of-a-kind angles.

The quality of FPV goggles is hardly doubtful as well. They will let you start out right away by means of the 1080p FHD video transmission rich in quality.

As a plus point, the model has low weight, being exceptionally advantageous to take to just about anyplace. Additionally, it features an active tracking function. Please note that this capability is accessible for buy after a little while. 

On the one hand, the drone does not have object detecting and avoiding functionalities, which implies it is more suitable for use in open areas. Still, on the other hand, the unit comes with several perfect and smart flight attributes and highlights. These include customizable geofence and automatic RTH. It is even possible for you to make the robot generate a loud signaling sound in case you end up losing it.

See more about Parrot Anafi here.

A comparison table

DJI Mavic Air QuadcopterDJI Phantom 4 PRO V2.0 QuadcopterDJI Mavic 2 ProParrot Anafi - FPV Drone Set
Weight430 g1375 g907 g320 g
Camera30 fps, 4K60 fps, 4K30 fps, 4K30 fps, 4K
Battery lifeAs long as 21 minutesAs long as half an hourAs long as 31 minutesAs long as 26 minutes
Flight speedfrom 17.9 to 42.5 mphfrom 31 to 45 mph44.74 mph34.18 mph
Maximum transmission distance2.48 miles4.3 miles4.97 miles2.48 miles
Tracking featureYesYesYesYes
Obstacle avoidanceYesYesYesNo
Link to AmazonCheck Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

Key factors to consider before you buy the best drone for action sports

1. Long flight time

When boating on a waterway or riding down a rough terrain trail, you never ever want to stress over whether your UAV’s battery is low or depleted. In case that occurs, it likely falls and suffers damage or even goes away without returning.

The good news is, the playtime of most of the first-rate flying robots available these days is around twenty minutes to half an hour. It is not advisable to depend on a UAV whose battery life is not as long.

And please bear in mind that the playtime on each flying machine is often not an average number. Instead, it addresses the max time your drone manages to fly, which tends to have been estimated in ideal conditions. For instance, in the case of strong winds, the flight time can reduce. That is why you are better off being cautious in this regard, particularly thinking about how swiftly time passes by as you are immersed in an enjoyable activity.

2. Decent camera

The drone’s camera is among the most significant factors in case you plan to buy a model working to take moving, fast-paced footage.

Whatever sort of action sports you get involved in, you need the recording to be crisp and pretty true to life. We suggest you consider the models that your budget allows and come with 4K functionality of recording at 30 or 60 fps, 100 Mbits p/s. That will give the desirable.

How about other attributes and extras? Having the option to take slow-motion videos, dolly zoom, hyper lapses, and whatnot are a very good thing. That is because these can boost your experience of recording videos.

3. A quality gimbal

Do you expect your film to be stable and seamless aside from being great and accurate? Then, opt for the best drone for action sports that comes with a 3-axis gimbal.

In case you have tied an old GoPro’s on the helmet when mountain cycling, you will have an idea of what we imply. It is a big letdown t wind up with shaky video footage.

Meanwhile, with a 3-axis gimbal, you will appreciate its support in every one of the three motion planes (the pitch, row, as well as yaw). It also gives the most satisfactory degree of camera stabilization.

4. Safety attributes

The high possibility is you will take your UAV to various locations with numerous obstacles. That is why it is recommendable to get a flying robot equipped for being as autonomous as it can.

Search for the number of sensors it comes with. A general rule of thumb is, the more, the more peace of mind you will have. Also, consider whether it can keep away from objects and whatnot all alone. Would it be able to make specific 3D maps of the surroundings? Is GPS included? Plus, in case you do not get a signal with it, would it be able to go back to you?

5. Transmission distance

It is always favorable for the transmission distance to be long. Particularly in case you are recording other people. A majority of the super good quality UAVs can be under control in a few miles away from you. Yet, please be cautious so that you will not crash your flying robot or lose it.

Also, remember, the UAV specification related to the max transmission distance will differ. That is because the max range is generally estimated in obstacle-free and interference-free areas.

What is more to note? Where you are and if you are running the drone on an SRRC, MIC, CE, or FCC will impact the transmission distance. More often than not, it is in open fields and on FCC that the most fantastic transmission distance is attainable.

6. First Person View

The FPV is short for First Person View (or FPV). Thanks to this brilliant attribute, the experience will be as if you were in the best drone for action sports and really operating it in the air.

Given all the VR (aka virtual reality)’s popularity in the previous years, it is not a big surprise that the UAV industry brings this feature into the models.

FPV functionalities are most fantastic for those desiring to legit experience that vivid sensation of flying a UAV.

One thing to note, by buying an FPV ready UAV, you may need to purchase additional accessories such as goggles. The thing is, even if you do not plan to leverage the FPV soon, having more options is always more than welcome, instead of purchasing another flying robot next off.

7. Resistance to high wind

Different flying machines are constructed in different ways. When considering a choice, do not overlook its ability to resist high wind.

Think about where you will fly your robot. Is it windy there? If yes, how strong is the wind you are going to experience?

Please keep in mind that strong winds can influence your UAV’s playtime, performance, as well as stability. The worst case is, they knock the machine from the sky.

8. The drone’s speed

Think about how speedy your robot should be to suit what you intend to do. A few action sports have to do with faster movements at significant distances. That is why your flying machine is better off moving as quickly.

9. Tracking functionality

With the best drone for action sports, there is a must-have attribute. That is the tracking functionality.

You may appreciate that a few quality models are capable of locking on and following a target. And most of the time, the robot can keep up with its operation height and trajectory. At the same time, it works to scan the surroundings for any obstacle and staying away from them.

10. Option to control your drone without the remote

Their controller aside, you have the choice to fly some UAVs with a smart gadget.

The option to operate your robot without the controller is significant for a few reasons. As you know, this device is typically sizable. In case you are biking, you might want to mount it onto your bicycle’s frame. Still, in case you are snowboarding, etc., you will most likely be unable to take the controller with you. Then, what other options are there?

Fortunately, a few UAVs are controllable with a cell phone. Also, a cell phone is way more convenient to carry with you. With that being said, one drawback is, the transmission range will get seriously affected.

For your information, controlling your robot with a cell phone reduces the height to around fifty meters and the distance to about 100 meters.

All in all

With some significant factors to consider before you purchase, it is time to close this guide. 

The best drone for action sports will undoubtedly become even more popular in such a fast-growing niche. Whatever activities are engaging in – say hiking and mountaineering biking, these product units are made to keep up in pretty much any situation to record impressive videos. 

Which model do you prefer? Let us know in the comment section below. And as always, enjoy your flying!

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