Best Drone Cameras – Even if you have no good reason to justify buying one, you have to admit that drones are cool. And if you’ve ever thought about dropping money on a high altitude, but you’ve managed to wait this long, good news: the tech has come a long way in a very short time. There are models on the market now that put last year’s copters to shame in terms of video quality and stabilization. As we all know that there are advantages and drawbacks in every cause, so here is the bad news, i.e. you get what you pay for and if you want an aerial video platform that can capture stunning footage, you need to be prepared to spend some serious cash. Because drones are such a pricey proposition, it pays to do your research before buying one. We’ve tested many of the ready-to-fly models on the market to determine what’s important to look for, and the best models available.
Best Drone Cameras 2017
- DJI Mavic Pro – Best Portable Drone (Casey Neistat’s Favorite)
The DJI Mavic Pro is a small yet powerful drone that turns the sky into your creative canvas easily and without worry, helping you make every moment an aerial moment. Its compact size hides a high degree of complexity that makes it one of DJI’s most sophisticated flying cameras ever. 24 high-performance computing cores, an all-new transmission system with a 4.3mi (7km) range, 5 vision sensors, and a 4K camera stabilized by a 3-axis mechanical gimbals, are at your command with just a push of your thumb or a tap of your finger.
Inside the Mavic’s pocket-sized remote controller is DJI’s brand new OcuSync transmission technology, with a range of 4.3mi (7km) and Full HD 1080p video streaming.
An unprotected drone could hit obstacles during long distance flight or when descending from an inadequate height in Return to Home mode. The Mavic uses Flight Autonomy technology to sense obstacles up to 49ft (15m) away. It can then bypass these obstacles or brake to hover, preventing accidents even when flying beyond visual range.
It also has something known as vision positioning technology that works in parallel with GPS and GLONASS making sure that the positioning remains precise whether you are indoor or outdoor. Thanks to the advanced sensors and technology, you can easily control the DJI Mavic with your phone with the help of Wi-Fi, this is really good, especially when you’re feeling lazy indoors and want to play with the drone.
This DJI Mavic is having some special features also like Active Track and Tap Fly; these features are there to make sure that your video shooting goes perfectly well along with the brilliant 4K capable camera allowing you to shoot high-quality images with great ease. Also it has one more main feature which is to see all those objects which comes in its way and it easily avoids that object as this combined with sensor redundancy gives you unmatched flight safety along with reliability.
- This is one of the most affordable PROFESSIONAL DRONE (Under $1000)
- OcuSync Transmission System
- 4k Video Recording
- Easily controllable Indoor and Outdoor
- Ultra Portability (Easily fits inside a Pocket)
- About 23 Minutes of Battery Life
- Unstable in Strong Winds
- Must required a Smartphone to Control
- Records in both (Portrait and Landscape Modes)
- GoPro Karma – Another Legendary Drone from GoPro
The basic drone GoPro Karma packaging doesn’t include a camera, although the drone set and GoPro Hero 5 cameras will be put on sale. It will be possible to equip the drone with the older camera – GoPro Hero 4 Black and Silver. The camera is meant to be attached to a 3-axis gimbals which can be removed and used as manual stabilizer. The weight of Karma is 1006 grams and the dimensions when unfolded are 303 x 411 x 117 mm. GoPro Karma can be folded for easy transportation, then the dimensions are 365 x 224 x 90 mm. The maximum speed of the copter is 56 km/h and the range is 1 km. When fully charged, it can last for up to 20 minutes. The transmitter has an integrated 5 palcový display with HD resolution and 4-hour operating time. Besides the drone, transmitter and manual grip, there is also a transport briefcase in the package. Considering their expertise in the “active” industry, GoPro has decided to jump into the drone industry as well and released the GoPro Karma. Apart from the built-in camera, the GoPro Karma actually supports a number of different GoPro cameras including the Hero 4, Hero 5 Black, and Hero Session. The drone ships with a GoPro Karma grip in order to have the best possible; and smoothest video recordings. As we have discussed, in the DJI Mavic Pro, the GoPro Karma is extremely portable thanks to the fact that the wings can fold into the drone itself, making it easier to carry around. The Karma is extremely easy to operate for both seasoned flyers as well as newcomers, thanks to the easy to understand control schemes, and an intuitive UI.
- It comes with a Handheld Stabilizer
- Built-in Display on the Controller
- The software is not that advance (No “Follow Me” Mode)
- Missing Obstacles Avoidance Feature
- Battery Life Sucks (GoPro claimed it to be 27 minutes but it hardly last for 18-20 minutes)
- Missing Downward Positioning Sensor
- DJI Phantom 4 – Best Professional Drone in this List
The Phantom 4 Pro is an upgrade from last year’s Phantom 4. You can now fly a full 31 miles per hour while obstacle avoidance is engaged. Previously, if you wanted to go that fast, you had to put the drone into Sport Mode, which comes out to be crash avoidance. It has rear sensors now, too, so you have obstacle avoidance even when you’re backing up. A new return-to-home feature retraces the path it originally took (more or less), so there’s even less chance of it crashing if you lose you connection with the remote (plus, obstacle avoidance will be engaged). It’s debuting infrared sensors, too, and even more angles—basically, you now have to try pretty hard to actually crash the thing. All of this, plus the flight time has been bumped to a generous 30 minutes.
There was a broad hope that DJI would really make a splash with their design and give us a new design to allow for better mobility and transport, but the new DJI p4 holds on to the same basic design as earlier versions. The underside of the DJI p4 however is another story, as the Camera is mounted on 3–axis gimbals, which anchors the camera on both sides and uses two motors to control pitch.
This is the system that is used to track objects in 3-dimensional space. The Phantom 4, according to official DJI released information uses this stereo vision camera system to successfully detect and avoid obstacles, as well as track and follow subjects chosen by the operator.
- DJI Phantom 4 is the Most Professional Drone in this List
- Follow me and Return to Home Functions
- Obstacle Avoidance
- Slow Motion Video Recording
- Expensive Accessories
- Huge, Big and Bulky Design (Not an ultra portable design like the Mavic Pro)
- DJI Inspire 1 – Professional yet Expensive
Larger and, frankly, more menacing-looking than the company’s chunky little Phantom 3 drones, the Inspire 1 was made for professionals, but is as ready to fly and easy to pilot as the Phantom models. Considering the Phantom 3 Professional and Inspire 1 have the same camera specs and features — both capture video at resolutions up to 4K (4,096×2,160 pixels) at 30fps and 1,080p at 60fps and 12-megapixel stills — it’s fair to ask where the extra money is going.
The gimbal can also rotate the camera 360 degrees and tilt it 125 degrees, so instead of having to move the quadcopter around to get the shot you want, you can just move the camera. The gimbal itself is more substantial and designed for a higher level of stability and longevity than the Phantom’s, which can be said for the rest of the quadcopter, too.
The controller and DJI Go mobile app (formerly called Pilot) are important, too, of course. The Inspire 1 and its controller have DJI’s Lightbridge technology for better video transmission between the sky and ground at distances up to 1.2 miles away (2 kilometres). Lightbridge allows for a continuous connection back and forth between the two and increases flight range over the wireless range extender used for the Phantom 2 and the entry-level Phantom 3 Standard. This does mean you’ll need your iOS or Android device’s charging cable to use it, but the performance improvement is well worth it.
As for the camera settings, video recording options include full HD (1,920×1,080-pixel) and HD (1,280×720-pixel) resolutions at 24, 25, 30, 48, 50 or 60 frames per second and you can choose between MOV or MP4 formats. Thanks to the Lightbridge technology, you can even use it to live-stream video straight to YouTube and uses your mobile device’s mic for capturing audio.
- Awesome Built Quality
- 4k video recording
- Removable Camera
- Advanced Functions like “Follow me” and “Intelligent Flight”
- Very Expensive
- Battery Life Sucks (Additional Batteries are too Damn Expensive)
- Android App is not that great
- In order to get
- DJI Phantom 3 (Professional) – One of the Best Aerial Videography Quadcopter
With excellent battery life, an aesthetic style, and high-definition video recording features, the DJI Phantom 3 Professional has got its name as the “Flagship” of consumer drones. DJI Company is now making it simpler than in the past to capture stunning aerial video without needing to be an extremely experienced pilot. Regarding gimbals and stabilization, DJI has truly set the standard high for rival drone brands to try out and outclass. With regards to gimbal system, there’s no superior company on the market. With DJI’s well-known Gimbal technology, your video camera will be kept in spot correctly throughout the flight duration. It guarantees no “Rolling shutter” within your video. In a nutshell, it makes perhaps the hardest aerial recordings a piece of cake.
In spite of its hefty price level, the DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone is simple to handle. Newer pilots may be scared even to test one out. However, the reality is that the features in this model make it very hard to crash. Technologies such as return home and automatic takeoff make it extremely simple for perhaps the most inexperienced users to use. The Professional edition that is the model with the “golden stripes” features a 4K camera as well as shoots at 30 frame rate. The lens within the drone is somewhat bigger in comparison to its counterpart and comes with a 94-degree view angle. For anybody who is new to all of this camera terminology, it simply means less distortion and clearer images.
The DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Drone is a simple to fly and highly capable miniature UAV, packed with sophisticated technology and features. It is available in three different types: The Professional (4K High-definition video), Advanced (2.7K High-definition video), as well as Standard (2.7K High-definition video footage but less advanced functions).
- Extremely Easy to Control and stable in the Air.
- 4k Video Recording
- Live View Feed
- Automated Flight mode and Return-to-Home Functions
- Very Expensive
- Battery Life is not that great
- Yuneec Q500 4K – Smooth & Stable Flight but missing Waypoint Navigation
The flight and image capture experience is very similar to what you get from a DJI Phantom series drone. The biggest and most important difference for me is the included ST10+ transmitter from Yuneec. The ST10+ transmitter has a built-in Android device with a 5.5″ touch screen right on the front of the controller. The added value of this seamless user experience should cause the price to be at least a couple hundred bucks higher than similar drones in the category. However, the Q500 series match up closely with the competition – and in many cases, Yuneec’s drones are less expensive.
The camera that comes with it shoots 4K/30fps, or 1080p/120fps for nice slow motion. It also snaps 12 megapixel photos. One feature that I was super excited about is that the camera is a “no distortion” camera. That means that you won’t get any of the fisheye look that you would get in a GoPro, and that also means that you won’t have to take the time in post to correct it. Unlike other brands, the Typhoon 4K also comes with a 3-axis gimbal attached to the camera standard. This camera is connected to a 3-axis gimbal, which works like a charm.
While most other drones force the user to either use a tablet or their phone as a monitor, the Yuneec Typhoon 4K comes standard with a Personal Ground Station with built-in touchscreen. This controller with a build in screen is very nice. It outputs the footage in 720p, allows the user to change video resolution, white balance, and exposure. The controller also has an easy button for taking pictures. The screen on the controller is an Android run touchscreen.
- 4k Video Recording
- Easy to control
- Strong and Durable built quality
- Charging Time is way more as compared to others
- A Giant Controller
- Blurry Videos from the Edges
- Doesn’t support WayPoint Navigation
- Video Quality doesn’t match the price
- 3D Robotics Solo – The Best Drone for the Money
3DR hit the jackpot creating the Solo smart quadcopter. Advanced features and technology combine to construct one of the world’s smartest drones. Specifically, it operates using two, 1 GHz computers, one on the controller and one on the drone itself. The 3DR Solo is also the first of its generation to offer live HD video streaming capabilities that come directly from your GoPro camera to your Android or IOS mobile device instantly by using the 3DR Link powerful Wi-Fi signal. In addition, the computer technology provides the cleanest and most amazing aerial photos and cinematic videos you can imagine.
The 3DR Solo is just a bit different than these previously basic quadcopters, and so you probably have questions as to how exactly it sets itself apart. Below, we’re going to review the features of the 3DR Solo smart drone, one by one, so you can see exactly what it has to offer. The new technology and features the 3DR Solo includes, as opposed to what more basic quadcopters include, will become clear after you finish reading this 3DR Solo review.
Unbelievable and highly desirable flight duration of 25 minutes will give you adequate time to have fun, get your shots, travel distances, and still have time left over. The amount of time can is sometimes a bit less depending on flight conditions. Still, after only 1.5 hours to fully charge your copter, which is a short recharge rate, 25 minutes in the air with the additional weight of the camera is phenomenal.
The 3DR Solo is an absolutely fantastic quadcopter, if you don’t mind paying for it. With the advanced engineering, computerized brains, and safety features, the possibilities are endless, especially, if you’re passionate about aerial footage and obtaining that once in a lifetime shot that no hand-held camera can accomplish. Don’t forget, the live HD streaming that the app software allows is a top-of-the-line function and something you won’t find elsewhere.
- Awesome Design
- Gimbal Supported
- iOS and Android App Support
- Budget Friendly
- Battery Life isn’t that good
- GPS is little slow (Sometimes it doesn’t show the correct position)
- Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 – A Toy RC Drone, Yet Awesome
This, as the name suggests, is the AR Drone’s second iteration. At a glance the first and second version appear to be the same. However, the AR Drone 2.0, released last year, includes a 720p HD camera, more flight sensors, and Wi-Fi N connectivity. This hull is a thick brace for the dimensions of the drone that protects the propellers. It weighs down the quadcopter a little bit, but that’s not much of a sacrifice considering the cash it saves you on repairs. The padding and foam for the body are an excellent safety measure, especially for beginners prone to crashes and bumps.
The AR Drone’s camera is, at best, decent. Its integrated HD cam is good enough to shoot clear photos. In terms of video output, the lens could capture standard 720p clips at 30 fps. It’s nothing cutting-edge, but it gets the job done. At the very least, the camera is better than what mini drones have. Given the price of this quadcopter, this is a great offer.
AR Drone 2.0 is a fleeting experience and one that will have you crashing it right from the start if you don’t exercise extreme caution. However, after a few flights your brain will adapt and while you won’t be piloting it like a pro, the whole process becomes to a large degree intuitive. Turn it around 180 degrees (i.e. flying back at you) and things become a bit more challenging, forcing your brain to flip the control’s, unless you turn on “absolute control”.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is far from the best; drone reviews from other websites even say it’s quite a problematic machine. Factoring in our own Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Review, we can say that – to some extent – we agree with the consensus. While this presents the fresh idea of Smartphone – only controls, there are still a lot of issues for the manufacturer to iron out. Until these issues get resolved, you might want to look for another drone with camera to play with.
- Extremely easy to fly and play
- Funny Camera Functions
- Smartphone Supported Apps
- Battery Life Sucks
- You can’t use it without a Smartphone
- Cheerson Hobby CX-20 Professional – Cheap in Price, Good in Performance
This is an unbiased and detailed Cheerson CX-20 review. The Cheerson CX20 quadcopter for sale is often a full-sized quadcopter that is in direct contest with similar full-sized models, such as the Bebop Parrot, Phantom 2 Vision Plus, Phantom 2, Blade 350 QX quadcopter, 3D Robotics IRIS+, and more. Naturally, some assembly is required for this drone. It comes boxed, and construction is relatively easy if you’ve built a drone before. If you haven’t the Chinese manual could cause you some problems, but there are plenty of resources out there for this drone if you’ve run into some problems, so assembly isn’t generally an issue.
Naturally, a transmitter is included with the drone, and it’s a large, comfortable, and weighty affair which is quite simple; no LCD screen or mount options. Just two switches, a pair of trims, two aux adjusters, and an antenna round out the feature set of this transmitter, which is as simple as it is high-quality. The look and feel of the transmitter is quite nice, and you can manoeuvre easily with smooth and high-quality throttle and aileron sticks, reinforcing the professional feel of the drone.
The IOC (Intelligent Orientation Control) system helps you maintain better control of the drone even if you go into a spin. The CX-20 will interpret your input through this Intelligent Orientation Control system to always propel itself in the direction you push the controls, so you don’t have to worry about getting locked into a “circle of death” where you’re over correcting and re-adjusting the drone in the wrong direction, potentially leading to a crash.
Given its reliability, stability, good flight time and easily swappable battery, and positive flight characteristics, this drone is the perfect purchase for aerial video enthusiasts. The altitude maintenance and “hold position” switches make getting a specific shot a bit easier, and the failsafe measures mean that, even if you get distracted trying to find a perfect shot, your drone will still attempt a safe landing when it runs out of power or gets out of signal range.
- Positioning System, Path Finder, and Return to Home Features
- Mounted camera can be change, you can even install GoPro
- Very low price as compared to others
- Short battery life, just like any other drone
- It takes a lot of time to fully charge the battery
- It is hard to find spare parts in the market for this drone
- 3D Robotics Iris+ – Another Cheap Drone with Changeable Camera
3DRobotics’ Iris+ made a big splash last year as a powerful drone capable of autonomous flight. Cool, right? All while promising a lengthy flight time, flexible payload capacity and integrated LEDs for “trouble-free directional awareness.” If you’re serious filmmaker who is curious about the aerial possibilities of a drone, the Iris+ offers enough power and features to give your movies a great new perspective.
When compared to other drones like the Parrot Bebop, the 3DR IRIS+ quadcopter goes above and beyond what the Bebop can accomplish. Instead of only getting 11 minutes of flight time like you’ll find with the Parrot Bebop, you get a total of 16 minutes if you purchase the 3DR IRIS+. It may not seem like a lot of additional flight time to someone that’s never owned an aerial drone, but inexperienced drone enthusiasts quickly learn that it’s very time consuming to have to recharge the battery ‘Over and Over’ again throughout the day.
The Iris+ is rated for a flight time of about 16-22 minutes—it just depends on factors like payload (up to 8 pounds), wind conditions and more. That may not seem like a lot, but it should be just enough to get your a nice shot at sunset. Some of the Iris+’s other features include automatic mission planning and flight protection, which allows the Iris+ to land automatically. So you can essentially set a path using the follow me feature, and let the drone do its thing. It gives you the time and the freedom to compose your other shots down on the ground.
There are a total of 4 different flight modes you can select from: Altitude Hold, Stable Mode, Autonomous Mode, and Loiter Mode. These 4 flight modes give you the ability to control the 3DR IRIS+ manually with 100% freedom in directional movement, and also to fly it with a pre-programmed, hands-free flight plan. The Loiter mode allows you to keep the 3DR IRIS+ in a locked, stationary position so you can get the best shots.
- Comes with Awesome features and very user friendly
- Stable Positioning
- Gimbal Supported
- Changeable Camera (You can even install GoPro)
- Flight time is not more than 16 minutes
- Poor Build Quality
So, there you have it. An article with brief reviews of every single top drone you can find in the market at the very moment. Yes, we did exclude some of the drones, but the purpose of this list is not to include very drone out in the market, the purpose of this list is to make sure that all the good drones are listed, and people who are having troubles finding the best drones can find them easier than they will in the market. Believe it or not, market place can perhaps be one of the most confusing places when it comes to buying drones, and other similar things. Here is to hoping that the list has actually helped you decide the best drone for yourself.