Finding the Best Follow Me Drone for Capturing Your Adventures

As an outdoor enthusiast, you want footage from your epic mountain bike rides or backcountry hikes to come out awesome so you can get all those sweet Instagram likes. But who has a buddy with professional videography skills always willing to tag along on every adventure?

Let me introduce you to your new best friend: follow me drones!

Consumer drones that can lock on and autonomously follow you open up amazing possibilities for capturing immersive point-of-view footage of exploits that otherwise would be impossible to film.

And as follow me drone technology has matured with better stability, collision avoidance and computer vision tracking in recent years, they have soared in popularity with everyone from pro athletes and adventurers to casual hobbyists. Drone analyst Skylogic Research predicts the global follow me drone market reaching $2.6 billion by 2024.

But from cheap toy drones to sophisticated models costing thousands, there’s a huge range to consider.

In this guide, I’ll break down the key factors when shopping across best-in-class follow me drones tailor fitted for your needs and budget. Let’s dive in!

Top Follow Me Drone Reviews

Based on user reviews and expert testing across tons of options, these follow cams consistently rise to the top across a range of budgets and use cases.

Best Overall: DJI Mavic 3

Priced at a premium $2,199, the DJI Mavic 3 leaves absolutely nothing lacking to capture your adventures in stunning detail.

With majestic sweeping vistas or rapidly changing angles following your every move, the Mavic 3’s footage comes out incredibly smooth and stable thanks to its 3-axis stabilized camera gimbal.

It achieves mesmerizing 4K video and crystal clear 20 megapixel photos through its large 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad sensor. And color science tuning delivers accurate vivid colors in footage across an impressive dynamic range.

You can comfortably fly fast or film longer knowing the Mavic 3 has your back with omnidirectional obstacle sensors combined with computer vision algorithms to intelligently route around objects. This enables tracking subjects confidently even navigating dense trees whisking through canyons.

DJI nails the user experience allowing you to manage flights through intuitive controls or automated modes via the companion app. Tracking subjects is as simple as tapping the person on your phone‘s touchscreen viewfinder. Its advanced tech handles the rest smoothly directing the Mavic 3 tailing behind.

With a stellar 46 minutes flight time on a single charge, you can capture hour long contiguous bike rides without swapping batteries. That would require packing at least 6-8 batteries on drones averaging only 15-25 mins airtime!

All said for what you get, from stunning video quality to intelligent automated flight modes in a rugged yet portable package, the DJI Mavic 3 satisfies demanding pros and discerning hobbyists alike.

DJI Mavic 3 Key Specs:

  • 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera: 20MP, 5.1K Video
  • 3-Axis Stabilized Gimbal
  • Obstacle Avoidance: Omnidirectional Sensors
  • Flight Time: 46 mins
  • Transmission Range: 15kms (9.3 miles)
  • Dimensions: 7.1 x 3.8 x 3.3in (folded)
  • Weight: 899g (1.98lbs)

Mavic 3 Pros

  • Class-leading video and image quality
  • Very stable smooth footage
  • Intelligent tracking modes
  • Long flight time up to 46 mins

Mavic 3 Cons

  • Very expensive for most buyers
  • Large and heavy compared to folding models

Best Under $500: Potensic T25

DJI models may dominate higher priced follow me drones, but the budget category holds some solid options too. Case in point is the Potensic T25 costing under $200.

For less than the price of a game console, the easy to use Potensic T25 packs great automated flight modes to let you focus on the action while its 2K camera captures the footage trailing behind.

Setting up shots becomes a cinch by using the Custom Flight Path mode in their app to designate a flight route. Then while cruising, biking or dancing through nature, the drone dynamically adjusts its location keeping you framed within its 110° field of view.

The Follow Me mode is great for directly tailing behind, and Altitude Hold function keeps the T25 locked at consistent heights which is useful for offering angles not changing dramatically. It also has electronic image stabilization helping smooth out video.

With an overall weight around a pound, this drone feels solid and durable for its size but yet nimble enough for decent 15 mph speeds. Its 4000mAH battery drives 10-15 minutes flight times.

For casual hobbyists not needing the expense or complexity of pro drones, the Potensic T25 gets high marks as an easy to fly drone with nice features that outperforms its low price.

Potensic T25 Key Specs:

  • Camera: 2K, 110° FOV
  • Electronic Image Stabilization
  • Flight Time: 10-15 mins
  • Transmission Range: 1000ft
  • Dimensions: 14 x 9.1 x 5.3 in
  • Weight: 1lb (399g)

T25 Pros

  • Very affordable price
  • Quality footage and photography from 2K Camera
  • Intuitive app control

T25 Cons

  • Short 10-15min flight times
  • No advanced object avoidance

Most Portable: Parrot Anafi

If your adventures regularly take you scaling mountains or backpack camping in remote wilderness, every ounce and inch matters in your gear. And that’s where the Parrot Anafi shines.

Weighing a mere 1.1 lbs folded down, the Anafi tucks easily into bags without adding noticeable bulk or weight to your payload.

But don’t let its size fool you. The Anafi punches way above its weight class capturing stabilized 4K HDR video and 21MP photos through its wide aperture camera. Footage quality stands right up there with drones double its price.

The 3-axis stabilized camera smoothly adjusts to keep you in frame when zigzagging around obstacles or with rapid changing elevations.

With a maximum speed of 34 mph in Sport mode, even fast paced activities like downhill mountain biking are no match for the Anafi’s nimble movements tracking action.

It achieves 25 minutes of flight time on a single charge, beating out many larger drones. And the intelligent Li-Po battery optimizes charging cycles maximizing its lifespan.

For hiking, camping, biking and other explorers needing professional camera drone capabilities without the bulky size, the Anafi perfectly fills that niche.

When portability is a priority for getting prosumer aerial filming power anywhere adventures may lead, the Parrot Anafi is specially fit for purpose.

Parrot Anafi Key Specs:

  • Camera: 21MP, 4K stabilized HDR video
  • Flight Time: 25 mins
  • Speed: 34 mph (sport mode)
  • Transmission Range: 2.5 miles
  • Dimensions: 9.6 x 2.6 x 2.5in (folded)
  • Weight: 1.1 lbs

Anafi Pros

  • Extreme portability
  • Impressive camera and footage capabilities despite small size
  • Good flight time of 25 mins

Anafi Cons

  • Manual camera settings lack capabilities of some competitor drones
  • Tracking can get confused by highly complex topology

Follow Me Drone Comparison Chart

ModelPriceCameraFlight TimeObstacle AvoidanceWeight
DJI Mavic 3$2,19920MP, 5.1K video46 minsYes1.98lbs
Potenstic T25$1962K, 110° FOV10-15 minsNo1lb
Parrot Anafi$69921MP, 4K HDR25 minsNo1.1lbs

Key Factors Choosing a Follow Me Drone

All top models today will get the aerial shots you’re after. But based on your budget and priorities around portability, flight time, camera capabilities, and more, certain follow me drones make more sense.

Flight Time

Flight duration varies widely from as little as 10 minutes for toy drones and cheaper models up to 30 minutes for advanced designsoptimized for enduring longer air time.

The last thing you want is your drone falling out of the sky 5 minutes into an epic bike ride or hike! Plus more flying time allows capturing events in their entirety without interruptions.

Average Flight Duration by Drone Class:

  • Toy Drones: 8-12 minutes
  • Consumer Drones: 15-25 minutes
  • High End Drones: 25-46 minutes

For hobbyists not wanting the burden of swapping multiple backup batteries, prioritize longer flight time.

Camera Quality

Drones targeting casual users often cheap out on cameras and image processing components. Footage appears dull lackluster lacking vivid color or sharpness.

Alternatively high-end drones like the DJI Mavic 3 ship with advanced cameras boasting leading processors and optics optimized for stunning photography and videography.

While overkill for some buyers, understand differences in camera quality relative to your creative goals. Vivid detail packed footage showcasing gorgeous environments in their entirety have huge appeal!

Typical Camera Attribute Ranges Among Follow Me Drones:

  • Resolution: 720p to 5.1K
  • Video Bitrates: 50Mbps to 200Mbps
  • Photos: 12MP to 48MP
  • Apertures: f/2.4 to f/2.8
  • FOV: 85° to 110° Wide Angle

Obstacle Avoidance

Entry level drones lack sensors and computer vision capabilities to detect objects in their path. Without obstacle avoidance, you risk crashes and drone damage over hazardous terrain.

Higher priced follow me drones integrate cutting edge spatial awareness technology to intelligently route around people, trees, buildings and more mid-flight. This prevents collisions while smoothly tracking subjects.

If filming events with unpredictable environments, obstacle avoidance brings essential insurance against wrecking your drone!

Flying a Follow Me Drone

Using an automated follow drone gives you freedom to do activities without worrying about positioning a camera capturing the shot.

Most models provide intuitive smartphone apps allowing tapping a subject on screen which the drone then tracks autonomously. Advanced computer vision and machine learning algorithms handle the complexity behind the scenes!

Here‘s a quick run through getting started with a typical app-controlled follow me drone:

1. Charge Batteries

Bring enough fully juiced backup batteries to last your entire filming session. Low power mid-flight causes drones to drop!

2. Mount Props

Attach the propeller blades onto motor mounts, ensuring proper front vs rear facing props are used.

3. Calibrate Sensors

Apps walk you through any sensor calibrations to optimize spatial awareness and stabilization.

4. Initiate Take-Off

Find a clear, flat space free of obstructions to takeoff safely straight up before flying out.

5. Frame Your Shots

Scan your surroundings on the viewfinder identifying subjects and areas to capture interesting perspectives.

6. Set Tracking Target

Tap a subject in the viewfinder and follow mode keeps them persistently centered and framed within footage as you move!

Pretty cool right? Just make sure local laws permitting drone use are followed, keep the drone in eye line avoiding signal loss, and most importantly…enjoy the epic footage!

Parting Thoughts

Investing in your first serious follow me drone opens up a whole new world of possibilities to artistically showcase your life adventures from awesome aerial angles.

I hope mapping out the leaders tailored to budgets and performance factors helps you narrow down the perfect option custom fitted for your videography goals.

Whichever model you decide on, fly safe and have fun capturing cinematic memories! Check out these related drone recommendations as well:

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