The best indoor drone for real estate agents
Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about the best indoor drone for real estate agents that uses FPV. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.
I would like a high-end, FPV mini drone to fly indoors and tight spaces, specifically to fly through homes for real estate purposes. I’ll be making videos for the realtors, so I’m not looking for a live feed.
This will either be completely helpful or completely unhelpful, but I’m not actually going to recommend a high-end, FPV mini drone to fly indoors capable of taking the real estate videos. Why? Nothing on the market is capable of meeting all three of your criteria — an FPV drone, small enough to fit through doorways, and capable of shooting high-quality video — to a high enough quality that I would recommend.
There are many excellent FPV drones out there, but they’re generally optimized for racing. They can whip around at high speeds or fly in dizzying patterns. But they generally don’t shoot the high-quality video that you’ll need for real estate videos.
The best indoor drone for real estate agents that uses FPV: The iFlight Protek35 3.5 (even though I don’t recommend it)
If you are set on a drone that meets all three criteria, then I’d recommend the iFlight Protek35 3.5. It’s suitable for beginners and pros alike, and it’s small enough to fit through doorways for fly-throughs.
It can carry pretty much any action camera you have, whether it’s the DJI Osmo Action, a GoPro 9 or whatever other action camera you want. The GoPro 9 would be incredible give its 5K resolution and HyperSmooth 3.0 software, which uses advanced video stabilization to smooth out your video.
The iFlight Protek35 3.5 is designed to integrate with the DJI HD FPV system, which launched in 2019 as a “digital ecosystem” of sorts, made up of which FPV goggles, an FPV Air Unit Transmission Module, an FPV remote controller and an FPV camera.
But that has a number of issues. Your GoPro won’t integrate with the drone, so you can’t easily control the camera in flight. The GoPro is heavy, dramatically reducing your battery life.
And once you account for the cost of not just the drone, but the action camera and DJI HD FPV System, you’re looking at a hefty price tag. Thus, this is probably not actually what you want.
My top recommendation for your actual needs: DJI FPV drone and a DJI Pocket 2
If you’re absolutely set on having an FPV drone — but you also need high-quality video — then the obvious choice is the new DJI FPV drone. Unlike many FPV drones on the market, DJI FPV drone is perfect because it’s a bit of a hybrid of a photography drone and a racing drone.
It’s ideal for real estate photography given its larger, higher-quality lens than most FPV drones, providing high contrast and sharp image quality. The camera shoots at 4K/60fps 120 Mbps — far higher than most FPV drones — with the option to film in 4x slow motion in 1080p and 120 fps. Plus, a built-in stabilization system called RockSteady keeps your footage smooth.
However, while it’s small enough to fit through a doorframe, it could cut it close. It’s just over a foot in width. And while a doorframe is generally more than 2 feet, that could be risky.
That’s why you might want to augment your drone photography with the DJI Pocket 2, a handheld gimbal camera that takes the silky smooth look you see in drones and puts it on a camera that you hold. The Pocket 2 entails a 4K camera, a larger 1/1.7″ image sensor, and a 20mm f/1.8 lens, designed to provide a bright, cinematic look. Photographs can be captured in 16MP or 64MP images , and videos can be recorded at a maximum video resolution of 4K/60fps at 100Mbps, with the option for HDR with even brighter images.
If you’re fine without traditional FPV: DJI Mini 2
But do you need FPV specifically? FPV is short for first person view, meaning that the drone is operated by looking directly through the camera’s video feed for spatial awareness, rather than looking at the drone as it flies in the sky. It enables a style of flight common in the flashy world of drone racing, where pilots execute wild, lightening-fast flights between narrow alleys, through windows and whipping around race tracks.
But is that the look you need for real estate photography? I’d actually venture a guess that it may not be. If you need to fly through doorways, you could fly via line of sight with a traditional drone. If that’s what you need, I recommend the DJI Mini 2, which is well suited for indoor flying.
The average exterior standard door width is 36 inches, and an average interior standard door width is between 28 and 32 inches. The Mini 2 is just 11.3 inches wide when unfolded, including the propellers. That provides more than enough clearance to fly through doorways.
For indoor flight, I do recommend you use propeller guards, no mater your skill level. They’re lightweight and protect you and everything around you from getting hit by propellers (and you don’t want to ding up the home’s freshly painted walls). by preventing the propellers from hitting any objects.
Using propellers will impact your light time, bringing the drone’s average flight down from 31 minutes to about 20 minutes. While inconvenient, that should still be plenty of flight time. That’s what spare batteries are for anyway.
The best indoor drone for real estate if you’re on a budget: DJI Mavic Mini
If $449 for the DJI Mini 2 is too steep, here’s an even lower-priced option: the $399 Mavic Mini. This is basically the old model of the aforementioned Mini 2. It’s a similar body, so the size is small enough to fit through doorways, but you sacrifice some internal specs — most notably camera quality.
Here are some of the biggest differences between the two:
|DJI Mavic Mini||DJI Mini|
|Maximum flight time||30 minutes||31 minutes|
|Video transmission||4km HD||10km HD|
|Camera||2.7K Camera||4K Camera|
|Max Wind Speed Resistance||28.8 kph||29-38 kph|
|Max Video Bitrate||40 Mbps||100 Mbps|
|Photo Format||JPEG||JPEG / DNG (RAW)|
|Video Transmission System||Enhanced Wi-Fi||OcuSync 2.0|
|Max Live Video Bitrate||4 Mbps||8 Mbps|
The biggest improvements you’ll notice on the DJI Mini 2 versus DJI Mavic 2 include a much-improved camera, as well as the OcuSync 2.0. That means the drone doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi, and instead ha a more stable and reliable connection between the remote controller and the drone — which can be useful when flying beyond your line of sight, such as when photography large estate properties or around a building.
The drone is also more sturdy in rough conditions with the ability to withstand winds up to 24mph (up from just 18 mph previously), which can be useful for doing outdoor aerial photography of the home as well.
The bottom line
The best indoor drone for real estate agents might not necessarily involve FPV. Ask yourself why you need FPV. If you’re set on it, then the iFlight Protek35 3.5 or DJI FPV could work. But if not, consider the DJI Mini 2, which provides high-quality video and is well-suited for indoor flying.
Leave a Reply