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I know my way around a DSLR camera. I have been employed as a concert photographer, which means shooting in some of the worst conditions imaginable: in the dark with flashing lights, trying to capture fast action. I secretly envied the panoramic photos I’ve seen friends and other professionals take using a quadcopter, and long wanted to try my hand at capturing breathtaking aerial footage.
The DJI Air 2S quadcopter seemed like an excellent way to do that. Not only could the camera lock onto a subject with its FocusTrack feature, but it could also give me a variety of angles to create dynamic reels by using MasterShots. This was a dream drone.
What is a DJI Air 2S quadcopter?
A quadcopter is an unmanned helicopter that has four rotors and a high-end camera with an impressive sensor. Using a remote with a screen, the pilot can fly the craft through uncontrolled airspace according to the guidelines set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration. From high above, the DJI Air 2S is capable of taking stunning footage and photographs of the world as few have ever seen.
How a DJI Air 2S quadcopter works
The four spinning blades on a quadcopter function similarly to the four tires on a car, with each providing thrust that allows you to precisely control the craft’s direction while having maximum stability. With the DJI Air 2S quadcopter, this control comes from a handheld remote that is similar to a unit you might use with an RC car. The main difference with this remote is that it’s built to accept your smartphone.
Besides controlling the flight of the DJI Air 2S quadcopter, the smartphone allows you to see what the craft’s camera sees while it’s flying. With the help of a special stabilizing tool called a gimbal, the camera can capture smooth, fluid footage from a bird’s-eye view. You can also use the remote to signal your drone to snap stunning photos.
If you engage the FocusTrack and Obstacle Sensing features, the camera will lock on a target while avoiding collisions so you can automatically track a subject without fear of losing it, missing a shot or colliding with an obstacle, such as a tree. The MasterShots feature, on the other hand, moves the quadcopter to different positions while remaining focused on a target, so you can get dynamic footage from a variety of angles, effortlessly creating a professional-looking reel that your followers will love.
What you need to know before purchasing a DJI Air 2S quadcopter
Technology has made it seem like everything we do — even a task we’ve never even attempted — should be effortless. But this is not always the case in reality. While setting up the DJI Air 2S quadcopter is fairly straightforward and easy, piloting it for the first time can be extremely difficult and frustrating. There are many features that might not make sense to a first-time flier, and it’s important to engage those features so you don’t damage your new quadcopter.
Additionally, there is a lot of legal stuff you need to be aware of before turning on your drone for the first time. My recommendation is to read, study, watch videos and practice in a safe area before you give this amazing craft a test run in a real-world situation — you don’t want it running out of power and automatically landing in the ocean or some other inconvenient location.
Where to buy a DJI Air 2S quadcopter
The DJI Air 2S quadcopter is sold by Amazon for $999, with payment plans of $55.86 per month (or less) available through Affirm.
Other products worth considering
If you’d like a high-end quadcopter, this model has a three-axis motorized gimbal to keep the 20MP camera steady while flying. The optional remote controller has a built-in screen, and the craft has a maximum flight speed of 45 miles per hour.
Sold by Amazon
This impressive option offers 22 minutes of flight time and features a 4K camera that transmits live video. GPS-assisted flight means the drone can hover stably and automatically return when the battery is low or loses the signal.
Sold by Amazon
If you are looking for a budget model, this affordable mini drone can take 5MP photos and 720p HD videos. It is small enough to be flown indoors.
Sold by Amazon
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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.