Best Folding Drones for Aerial Photography 2018

Folding Drones for Aerial Photography from DJI, Walkera, GDU, Autel, C-Fly and Halo

If you are looking to get into Aerial Photography and want a truly compact portable folding drone to take anywhere with you then read on. Before you make any purchase  we suggest you wait until after January 23rd when DJI make their new folding drone(s) announcement. It could be an updated version of the remarkable DJI Mavic Pro the DJI Mavic Pro 2 or a completely new DJI Mavic Air.

DJI Mavic Air

It seems by the rumours circulating the internet that the new model will indeed be called the DJI Mavic Air. What can we expect the DJI Mavic Air to be like, smaller than the Mavic Pro, faster, more streamline design?

Mavic Pro Folding Drone
Perth at sunset from the DJI Mavic

Since the release and the unbridled success of the DJI Mavic Pro Foldable Drone the whole drone industry has been focused on producing folding drones. You can now buy a cheap foldable drone for under $20! In this blog post we will look at the wannabe DJI Mavic Pros that have been released and some of the new folding drones due to hit the market in 2018 and compare them to the outstanding DJI Mavic Pro.

Will the DJI Mavic Air be announced on 23rd of January?

From the teaser video the New DJI Mavic Air looks as if it could be a water resistant drone that can fly in extreme weather  conditions, It looks super sleek in design and capable of taken really sharp images close up.

Check Out Latest Prices on the DJI Mavic Pro and all Folding Drones CLICK THIS LINK

PLEASE NOTE: As soon as DJI announce their new folding drone (DJI Mavic Air or DJI Mavic Pro 2) on the 23rd of January 2018 then we will update this post.

I have a DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo and a couple of extra batteries. I fly this foldable drone at very opportunity and take it with me everywhere I go. I flown and owned many other DJI models from the original DJI Phantoms right through to the amazing DJI Inspire 2. For me the Mavic is best drone I have ever had the privilege to fly, it’s lightweight, unobtrusive, truly portable I get quality Aerial Photography images from it.

DJI Mavic Pro Folding Drone
Fly More Combo

I’m currently in Australia on a long vacation and the pleasure I have got from the DJI Mavic Pro Folding Drone is amazing. I love Top-Down (Birds-eye View) Aerial Photography especially the unique patterns, land and seascapes created by tidal movements.

Folding Drone for aerial photography
Top-Down 11 Mile Beach one of my favourite images

The folding DJI Mavic Pro has never ever let me down and I am more than delighted with the Aerial Photography I’ve been lucky enough to capture from it. I’m no professional photographer and use the DJI Mavic Pro to capture special moments. I will often get up really early to capture the sunrise or get Aerial Photographs of a high tide.

Folding Drone
Selfie from The DJI Mavic

DJI Mavic Air

DJI have announced that on the 23rd of January 2018 they will release details of a new model. It is predicted that this will be the DJI Mavic Air or a newer version of the DJI Mavic Pro the DJI Mavic Pro 2 as the event is being titled ‘Adventure Unfolds’. I get excited every time DJI make an announcement and their new folding drone, hopefully it will be the DJI Mavic Air is sure to be well received. If it is the DJI Mavic Pro 2 then this new folding drone is likely to have an improved camera of similar quality to the DJI Phantom 4 Pro.

Whatever DJI intend to release you can be 100% sure it will be packed with all the latest drone technology and if I was a drone producer looking to get into the extremely lucrative market of portable Folding Aerial Photography Drones I would be duly concerned.

Folding DJI Mavic
Sunrise DJI Mavic

Let’s start with a couple of foldable drones that have already been released the folding Walkera Vitus and the cheap Obtain folding drone from C-FLY. We won’t waste time talking about the Folding GoPro Karma Drone as GoPro have recently announced they will be closing down their drone division and the Karma Drone initiative is being discontinued. We will however make this comment, if the well-funded GoPro will all their experience in Aerial Photography cameras cannot compete with DJI in this space how can relatively unknowns like GDU and Halo who are known for their hover boards expect to compete with DJI?

Check Out Latest Prices on the Mavic Pro and all Folding Drones CLICK THIS LINK

Best Folding Drone 2018
Harbour view from above DJI Mavic Pro

Folding Drones you should avoid

Walkera Vitus and Walkera Starlight Folding Drones

Folding drone from Walkera
Walkera Vitus Starlight Folding Drone

As we write this folding drone blog post the Walkera Vitus Drone has been pretty much a disaster. A couple of very well know drone reviewers have tested this folding drone and have struggled to get decent footage from it. Alishanmao a respected drone reviewer slated it and even SeBy DocKy a technical wizard has struggled to get decent footage from this folding drone. Many of these drone companies have rushed their folding drones to market in order to cash in on the popularity of the DJI Mavic Pro. and Walkera have been guilty of using this strategy.

The lesson to be learnt from this is, if you are looking to part with your hard earned money then do your homework. There are some great drone reviewers out there who get these folding Aerial Photography Drones way before the general public. Listen to what they say then you can make an informed purchasing choice. Walkera will soon release the folding Vitus Starlight Drone a version of the Vitus aimed at taking low light, night Aerial Photography. A word of warning, filming at night is banned in many countries so check your local drone code. Wait for this folding drone to be adequately tested by industry experts before you even consider purchasing it.

Check Out Latest Prices on the Mavic Pro and all Folding Drones CLICK THIS LINK

C-Fly Foldable Obtain Drone a cheap Mavic Clone

Folding Drone from C-Fly the Obtain Mavic Cone
C-Fly Obtain Cheap Mavic Clone

The C-Fly Obtain folding drone is another so called aerial photography drone that I would suggest you avoid. The Obtain is just a cheap copy of the DJI Mavic Pro. The video footage that you can capture from it is a very poor 1080P at 25 frames per second, the still aerial photography is an even poorer 3.7 mega pixels. I can see owners of this C-Fly Obtain folding drone having loads of issues. If you are thinking about buying a low-price brushless GPS drone then consider the Hubsan X4 H501S it’s not foldable but it’s a great starting point for those who wish to get into Aerial Photography on a budget.

Check Out Latest Prices on the Mavic Pro and all Folding Drones CLICK THIS LINK

New Aerial Photography Folding Drones worth considering

GDU O2 Folding Drone

GDU O2 Folding Drone
Portable GDU O2 Drone

The GDU O2 folding drone differs from the DJI Mavic Pro as it has sliding as opposed to folding arms. It will retail at just over $700 that is considerable cheaper than the Mavic Pro. As we are not sure on the model and price points on the DJI Mavic Air or DJI Mavic Pro 2 but if DJI announce the new model is a DJI Mavic Air we expect the price point to sit somewhere between the DJI Spark and the Mavic Pro. The GDU O2 was announced back in September 2017 and pre-orders were being taken for November delivery. GDU however struggled to get decent footage from the O2 and needed to find a new parts supplier. At CES 2018 GDU announced that the GDU O2 foldable drone would be shipping to sellers late January 2018 and will go on sale in February 2018.

Before you rush out and pre-order the GDU O2 folding drone you may wish to consider this. When DJI release a new model then prices of existing models are usually discounted. If the lower priced DJI Mavic Air or a newer version of the Mavic Pro is announced then prices of the DJI Mavic Pro folding drone are like to fall. There will be many existing DJI Mavic Pro owners looking to get the latest DJI products and they may be sellers of their Mavic Drone so a plethora of decent second hand Mavics will hit the market and this will present an opportunity to grab one of these outstanding drones for about the same price as the GDU O2.

If you look at the specification of the standard GDU O2 (GDU have already indicated they will release a GDU O2 Plus) and compare it with the Mavic Pro it doesn’t come close. The GDU O2 has a 1km video transmission system, a reported shorter 20 minutes flight time and more importantly it is as yet untried and untested by the general public. Will spare parts be readily available, will GDU offer a great repair service and how good will they be at fixing any issues that are sure to arise? The GDU O2 goes on our wait list and comes with our caveat emptor (buyer beware warning). If you are desperate to get into Aerial Photography and Videography then wait until after the 23th of January 2018 and make the choice of selecting a DJI Mavic Air or a DJI Mavic Pro 2 or grab yourself a real DJI Mavic Pro bargain buy.

Check Out Latest Prices on the Mavic Pro and all Folding Drones CLICK THIS LINK

Autel EVO Folding Drone

Autel EVO Folding Drone
Autel EVO Folding Drone

This new drone from Autel Robotics looks on paper as if it could be a real challenger to the DJI Mavic Pro. It is very similar in looks to the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum Aerial Photography Drone. It will come with 3 axis Gimbal that will shoot 4K video at 60 fps, it will be a fast flyer at 44 miles per hour and will boast a similar 7 kilometre operating distance to the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum.

Autel have built a great following with their version of the DJI Phantom the X-Star and have a fan base of those who for whatever reason don’t wish to purchase DJI products. Autel have however stopped selling the X-Star, they have nothing for sale at the moment on their website and have gone through a period of restructuring with staff being made redundant. I’m unsure of their financial structure but for me the EVO folding drone is Autels last chance if they get it wrong then they will struggle. I admit I’m a DJI fan-boy and I love my DJI Mavic Pro but I hope that one day we will see a challenger to DJI’s dominance it is good for the industry and all drone flyers. Will Autel Robotics provide this challenge I’m not sure they have not yet released price points for the EVO folding drone or any indication of the release date. The EVO Foldable Drone therefore goes on our wait list. I think a lot depends on the DJI release on the 23th January 2018 as their new folding aerial photography drone will have a severe impact on the market.

Update 17-1-2018

From a Facebook DJI Owners page

“Yeah, I think Autel is a day late and a dollar short with this Evo. I already have a P4P and a Mavic. If I need the quality, I bring the Phantom. If I’m just out with my DSLRs shooting random landscapes and wildlife, I bring the DJI Mavic Pro for any quick “just in case” shots I might want. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for me to buy an Evo with a 1/2.3″ sensor camera on it.”

I found this post on a DJI Facebook page that was talking about the EVO Folding Drone from Autel being a Mavic Killer. However pretty the EVO looks and however much the industry wants a really competitor to DJI’s dominance of the market place this EVO is not going to be a Mavic killer that’s a fact. Innovation with new models is what’s needed not these copycat clones we are seeing being announced. By the time they get to market they are already out-dated with yesterday’s technology and DJI have a new advanced model ready to be released.

Check Out Latest Prices on the Mavic Pro and all Folding Drones CLICK THIS LINK

Is the Halo Foldable Drone all bullshit?

Halo Folding Drone
Halo Folding Drone

Another soon to be released is the Foldable Halo Drone. Halo has been prominent in the hover board space and this is their first foray into the drone space. I saw some notification on the halo site that this Halo Folding Drone was being tagged as the Best Drone of 2018! With the Drone Camera, which resembles a Hawkeye FireFly 8S this folding Halo Drone will set you back over a $1000. There are over 227 reviews posted on the Halo site but a very little footage on YouTube from end users! There are a couple of videos up from drone reviewers who have been sent free Halo drones and one of these reviewer is calling it his favourite drone of 2018. All this bullshit makes me wonder if Halo is a company I would want to do business with. Like the GDU O2 Folding Drone and the EVO from Autel I suggest you wait until decent feedback is received for the general public on this Folding Halo Drone. For me the styling and design of the folding Halo Drone is far too similar to that of the ill fated GoPro Karma, Halo have no history in the drone space and their boasts irritate me. If the folding Halo drone delivers on it’s promises then I will be the first one to hold my hand up and applaud their innovation, until then the jury is out on this Halo folding drone.

Check Out Latest Prices on the Mavic Pro and all Folding Drones CLICK THIS LINK

Hesper Folding Drone

Hesper Folding Drone
Smoke and Mirrors the Hesper Drone?

Back in April 2017 Zerotech the company behind the Dobby selfie drone announced they were making a DJI Mavic Pro clone called the Hesper. At the CES 2018 show in Las Vegas a company called High Great were showing the Hesper Drone with a 13MP Sony IMX 214 camera capable of recording 1080P video. This latest iteration of the Hesper foldable drone has the Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset embedded and boasts a 18 minute flight time and can be flown using an App (Not recommended) or by using a remote control. Details regarding prices and delivery dates are still sketchy. Don’t rush out and order this folding drone at the moment it’s all smoke and mirrors.

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