Snowboarding is a lot of fun… especially if you’re in a premier location with plenty of high-speed jumps to show off your tricks on. But, what good is that if you cannot show it to your friends later on? Let me rephrase that – if you finally land that awesome quad cork 1800 and there was no one to see it… did you even land it at all?
With the help of your own personal aerial photography drone, this sort of thing would never happen to you. That’s because your drone would be there when the time is right and capture each and every one of your awesome tricks. Of course, after the recording is saved, you can go ahead and share it on all forms of social media for your friends and followers to admire…
TABLE: Drones for snowboarding
|5. Autel R. XSP||4K||2000m||25min||See price now|
|4. GeniusIdea Follow||4K||100m||20min||See price now|
|3. AirDog ADII||GoPro||150m||15min||See price now|
|2. GoPro Karma||GoPro||3000m||20min||See price now|
|1. DJI Mavic Pro||4K||7000m||27min||See price now|
5. Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
The first drone on our list of Best drones for snowboarding has every right to be considered as a premium model. With a relatively affordable price tag to its name (I said relatively since it’s not exactly cheap, but offers great value for money in the premium tier) and excellent specifications, X-Star Premium really is a brilliant drone. Plus, it is very easy to use and has easy-to-navigate smart flight modes at your disposal.
So, surely, there are lots of you who will opt for this one! For those who are not yet convinced, here’s exactly what Autel Robotics X-Star Premium is all about:
Let’s start off with the battery. Considering X-Star Premium is a bulky drone, it is not that surprising to see a 4S LiPo battery inside. More precisely, we are talking about a 4900mAh 4-cell battery that can endure up to 25 minutes of active flying. Moving on to the camera, X-Star Premium boasts with a 4K-ready sensor with its dedicated 3-axis gimbal stabilization system.
So, as far as image quality and smoothness are concerned, Autel Robotics made sure X-Star Premium is nothing short of brilliant. Not much different is its operating range either. You are looking at around 2000 meters which are more than enough for any sort of snowboarding videos. As a matter of fact, this birdie is quite the explorer too with such a huge range.
Finally, we are coming to the features. Luckily, Autel Robotics X-Star Premium doesn’t fail to deliver. In addition to dual navigation systems (GPS and GLONASS), this drone also comes with several smart flight modes including Orbit. Needless to say, this will provide you with an easy recording experience.
4. GeniusIdea Follow
One step from the last spot we have a very interesting drone that sells for just a fraction of X-Star Premium’s price tag. However, don’t let that fool you into thinking GeniusIdea Follow is a flop or a scam. Not by a long shot! It’s actually an incredibly well-built drone with a few twists that will inspire some of you… even to the point of purchasing it.
Starting off with the battery yet again, this is where you’ll see the first twist in the tale of this drone. You see, instead of the traditional LiPo batteries which are used by the vast majority of modern-day drones, GeniusIdea Follow actually uses standard Lithium cells that can be purchased for as low as $3.
However, I’d still warmly recommend you get a pack of rechargeable ones. It will significantly cut your costs in the long run. As far as the runtime is concerned, GeniusIdea Follow can hold on for up to 20 minutes (List of drones with best battery life is here). Range, on the other hand, shows that this is in no way an exploration drone. It can only reach 100 to 150 meters without connectivity issues.
I’ve saved the best for last guys, don’t worry! Build quality of GeniusIdea Follow– it’s unusual to say the least. That’s because it uses a rather unconventional material, not just for its body but for its propellers too. We are talking about an extremely durable rubber-ish material that can bend, turn and twist without suffering permanent damage.
How cool is that? This, of course, gives it incredible overall durability which is something you don’t see very often. Lastly, this birdie sports a 4K camera as well. There’s no hardware image stabilization, but considering the price (and size) of this little fella, I didn’t even expect it.
3. AirDog ADII
Even though, technically, AirDog ADII has not come out yet, I still decided it’s worth featuring in this list. In my defense, we are talking about an exceptional drone here…plus it is already shipping out to early bird backers from Kickstarter.
For those of you wondering what’s so special about AirDog ADII, here’s the whole deal:
AirDog ADII is a unique quadcopter with an innovative controlling solution. Instead of having a conventional transmitter, this birdie sports a waterproof device that goes onto your wrist, kind of like a smartwatch. It goes by the name AirLeash and delivers intuitive and responsive 1-tap controls, giving you all smart flight options in an easy-to-reach manner.
Obviously, this is going to serve you great during your snowboarding session, allowing you to focus on the action instead of having to check your drone’s whereabouts every few seconds. And as far as its smart flight modes are concerned, they seem to work magnificently. That’s due to an abundance of comprehensive sensors that work together in order to deliver optimal performance.
But, the features aren’t the only great thing about AirDog ADII. Despite lacking a camera, it justifies it with a dedicated 3-axis gimbal supporting the newest GoPro Hero 5 Black. This gimbal actually looks a lot like the one that comes with GoPro Karma, but I’m not able to confirm that until I get my hands on this beauty.
Last but not least, AirDog ADII has roughly 150 meters of range, delivering the exact same number as GeniusIdea Follow. However, due to its camera/gimbal combination and much bigger body-size (and weight), its airtime is a bit shorter, coming in at 15 minutes. Still, when it comes to recording aerial snowboarding videos… or any other types of outdoor activities for that matter, I reckon there won’t be any better models than AirDog ADII.
2. GoPro Karma
This hasn’t been confirmed yet so don’t hold my word sacred. In terms of actual performance, it is safe to say that GoPro Karma cannot battle with the drone it is so often compared with.
Of course, I am talking about none other than DJI Mavic Pro which can be found below, on the 1st spot. However, despite this, I still think GoPro Karma is a brilliant snowboarding package. Notice how I said package and not drone…
That’s because of Karma Grip, a simple yet very interesting accessory that comes with Karma drone. It effectively allows you to switch your aerial photography gear to the body-mounted or handheld gadgets. This will result in a better array of filming opportunities, including POV shots which always look outright awesome. Unfortunately, the basic package of GoPro Karma won’t get you a dedicated action camera too. You will have to purchase it separately…
If you ask me, the best option is to go straight for the best one and that’s GoPro Hero 5 Black drone. The provided gimbal offers full support for this camera and, needless to say, the camera itself provides with incredible image and video quality. So, it’s a pure win-win situation here.
Lastly, GoPro Karma has decent specifications, although they are nowhere near those of DJI Mavic Pro. The operating range is somewhere around 3000 meters, although some users are complaining they’re getting a lot less than that. And finally, airtime goes around 16-18 minutes; even 20 if you are not using gimbal or camera… but where’s the fun in that…
1. DJI Mavic Pro
Finally, we have reached the final drone on our list. As you can see from the title above, the first spot of this list goes to DJI Mavic Pro. I’m sure many of you are well familiar with this little fella, but for those of you who aren’t, I’ve prepared a short introduction. DJI Mavic Pro deserves it, there is no doubt about that!
First of all, it is important to mention that this drone does extremely well as far as the size/performance ratio goes. It is foldable as well which just brings the whole size/performance thing to a whole different level.
What’s even more important is the fact that you can easily pack this pocket size birdie into virtually any type of backpack. It will fit snuggly in and you won’t have to worry about carrying a bulky hard-shell case with you on your journeys. Now that we have dealt with the “size” part of DJI Mavic Pro, it is time to take a closer look at its performance.
Specifications first – this foldable drone has some serious power underneath its hood, allowing it to reach speeds of up to 40mph (cca 65km/h) in Sports Mode. Furthermore, it also has a powerful battery that can keep it flying for up to 27 minutes. Wow, right?! But wait till you hear about this birdie’s range.
Believe it or not, you will get anywhere from 5000 to 7000 meters with this beauty. But, best of all, DJI Mavic Pro is equipped with everything DJI’s arsenal of smart features offers. ActiveTrack, TapFly, GPS, and plenty of other smart flight modes (including ones related to drone’s safety) will make sure you have enough autonomy to keep you concentrated on your next trick.
What should you look for in a drone for snowboarding?
Obviously, the first thing you need to make sure your potential new drone has is a solid camera. By solid, I mean that it needs to have at least 1080p recording capability. 4K is always a plus, but you’ll come to the realization that such drones are often much more expensive.
The second thing of crucial importance for every good drone for recording outdoor activities are autonomous flight modes. With that said, you must make sure to purchase a GPS powered drone. That’s because GPS brings a whole heap of supporting features that will give you autopilot options and allow you to fully concentrate on landing that awesome trick.
Last but not least, you should also investigate in image stabilization of your drone’s camera. In most cases, there will only be software image stabilization which does a solid job. However, no matter how good the software is, it will not be able to completely get rid of shakiness and that annoying jello effect. To annihilate that, your best bet is to go with a hardware image stabilization system (AKA gimbal) which will not only give you the best smoothness possible but also provide you with mid-flight controls over your camera.
4K vs 1080p
The main difference between these 2 resolutions is obviously their respective pixel count. This reflects on the general image sharpness and file size, making 4K look absolutely gorgeous in comparison to 1080p. However, the majority of displays is still using “old” 1080p so keep in mind that you need to have a corresponding 4K display to see your 4K footage in full light.
Otherwise, you will be limited to watching your 4K footage in 1080p or whatever might be your display’s default resolution.
Hardware vs software image stabilization
We have already touched this topic above, but let’s do it once again to make sure you understand it. You see, there are 2 main types of image stabilization – hardware and software powered types. The main difference (besides their basis) is in the fact that hardware stabilization is far superior to its software counterpart.
But, in addition to its superiority, gimbals (how hardware image stabilizations are often referred to as) also allow their users to control camera movement with their integrated brushless motors. That’s why premium models have dedicated channels for gimbal controls, allowing them to further adjust the angle of that perfect aerial shot.
How to set up your drone to record snowboarding?
If you are finally on your well-deserved time off work and you can finally dedicate some time to your snowboarding passion… chances are high you’ll want a drone to accompany you. If that’s really the case and you end up buying one of these below-listed birdies, then here’s all you need to allow them capturing your awesome tricks.
Simply turn on the GPS on your drone (some of them come with it enabled by default and some can’t even turn it off) and familiarize yourself with the menus. Navigate to smart/autonomous/autopilot flight modes where you will most likely see several options (in most cases).
For the best results, I recommend orbit around the object and either select yourself or your snowboard. Then, all you need to do is start off with your routine and your drone will follow you. Oh, and don’t forget to press that record button before you head out.
With all those fine models taken into consideration, it is safe to say there are more than plenty of great snowboarding drones to choose from. In other words, it’s not that difficult to find a proper drone to shoot snowboarding videos with. All you need is a good camera, hardware image stabilization and autonomous flight modes such as Orbiting.
That’s why we chose those 5 awesome models to explain further. Each of them is brilliant in their own right and is definitely a viable solution to your snowboarding photography needs.
Thank you for reading and I hope you make a great decision.
Until next time… Happy snowboarding!