The past few years have seen an explosion in the popularity of drones, and they're being used for everything from video production to aerial panoramas. It's an exciting time to dive into this technology.

Drones can be expensive, but there are good values to be had, even under $1500. In fact, some of the models in this round-up have been used for prize-winning photography as well as for major feature films.

Before buying a drone, think about how you intend to use it. Some are better for video, while others may be better for pictures. Some still photographers prefer to shoot with 4K video and 'frame grab.' As with any tool it's about picking what's right for you.

One thing to remember is that specifications are designed to catch your eye. But remember, as with any camera, it’s not all about a single specification; it's about combining the features and specifications that matter most to you and meet your needs.

In addition to core specs, many drones have features such as 'follow-me' or subject tracking modes that can be used to make operation easier, or even automate shots. For instance, if you want to shoot video but have a difficult time orbiting, spiraling, or doing a fly-by pan while keeping your subject in frame, these features can be an immense help (if they work properly). Also, consider how easy a drone is to fly. The guidance system and stability of the drone will help determine this.

It's a crowded market and there are a lot of drones available for under $1500, but we'll take a look at some of the most common models you're likely to run into:

Finally, we'll try to help answer the question "Which drone should I buy?"