The 2017 Dronestagram International Drone Photography Contest has come and gone with thousands of entries of spectacular shots from around the world. Props to Dronestagram and its sponsors (National Geographic, Lowepro and others) for the ability to judge winners. There are too many amazing shots for me to ever settle on a winner.
What’s great about these contests is it offers insights into the gear these photographers use. And if NPD numbers weren’t enough of a clue, DJI thoroughly dominates the consumer drone market. Four categories were judged – Nature, People, Urban and Creativity – and each of the three winners per category was snapped with a DJI drone.
Does that mean you have to buy the latest DJI offers? No. In fact, the winning photographers show it’s the person framing the shot and not drone that gives the best results. Below are the drones used by category.
Like the original Phantom 4, you have to look to Amazon to grab one. Perfect starter drone and evidently built like a tank. I know, because ours has smacked into trees, battled a thunderstorm and done a front flip while landing. The last one was our dad. Priced at just over $700, it’s still the workhorse of the DJI family.
End of the Line by Martin Sanchez is my favorite of the bunch. I love the perspective shift in the framing. You lose yourself in figuring out what’s up and what’s down in the shot. No Google-fu needed for this shot. It’s the DJI Mavic Pro. If you polled drone owners on what they want in a drone, it’s the Mavic Pro with the Phantom 4 Pro’s camera sensor. Mavic 2 anyone?
Dawn on Mercury Tower is simply gorgeous. Shot on a Phantom 4, I’m at a loss how the judges didn’t give away two first prizes in the Urban category.
Peace by lucydron took a little more hunting than the camera profile. Check out his Instagram, and you can see the same shot tagged with the Phantom 4. Hell of a shot and the location in Madrid is actually a massive cemetery. Haunting yet beautiful.
The creativity category was added for the first time in 2017 to showcase and reward the talented Dronestagram community.
Now here’s a way to announce you’re having a baby. Next Level by macareuxprod combines a Phantom 4 Pro, the parents, their love of video games and a baby stroller. Congrats kid, you have awesome parents.
Talent over Gear
It’s easy to get caught up on when the next drone is releasing. Will it have this camera sensor? What bitrate? The questions are endless. Yet, Dronestagram’s 2017 International Drone Photography contest shows you don’t need a custom drone with a souped up DSLR or mirrorless camera to get amazing shots. No, older generations in the right hands can turn in award winning photographs. The latest Phantom 4 Pro’s 20MP level of detail shines.
What the contest does tell us is DJI thoroughly dominates the drone market. It’s not even close. Whether that’s good for the industry is debatable. Rumors have been floating that Sony or another major camera manufacturer may jump in, but damn, they better do it right. We need the competition to keep pushing niche forward, but for now, it’s DJI’s world.
All images are from the photographers mentioned above. Give them a follow on Instagram. Liven up your feed a bit.