Remember the good old days when photography was all about taking pictures and getting their films printed?
It has since evolved to so much more. Gone are the days when a digital camera or a DSLR was considered novel technology.
Now, a better picture-taking tool has flooded the market, that is, a drone.
One of the many things that skyrocketed in 2017 was the sales of drones with camera. While there was a time when only professional photographers had the device, recently we saw vloggers and bloggers using it too.
Soon, the masses followed.
There are quite a few things you need to be mindful of when selecting a camera drone. I realize that for first-time buyers, this can get a little overwhelming. Therefore, I have compiled a list of the ten best drones in the market. You can choose among them. You won’t be disappointed by the performance of any of them.
Top 10 Best Drones with Camera 2018
Before I delve into the best drones with a camera, it is important to understand various factors like what a drone is, why you need it and what factors to consider when choosing the best drone with a camera, to know all these I highly request you to read the buyers guide first.
|Drone Name||Camera||Flight Time||Operating Range|
|DJI Phantom 4|
|12MP, 4K @ 30FPS||28 Min||4.2 Miles|
|GoPro Karma with HERO5|
(Best for the Bucks)
|12MP, 4K @ 30FPS||20 Min||1.8 Miles|
|DJI Mavic Pro||12MP, 4K @ 30FPS||27 Min||4.2 Miles|
|Syma X5C-1 Explorers||2MP, 720p HD||7 Mins||57 Meters|
|3D Robotics IRIS+ Multicopter||4K with Gimbal||17 Min||500 Meters|
|Ehang Ghostdrone 2.0 VR||12MP, 4K @ 30FPS||25 min||400 Meters|
|Yuneec Typhoon||12MP, 4K @ 30FPS||22 Min||500 Meters|
|Odyssey Toys||2MP, 720p HD||8 Min||90 Meters|
|Parrot Bebop 2 FPV||14MP, 4K @ 30FPS||20 Min||457 Meters|
|Altair AA108||2MP, 720p HD||8 Min||22 Meters|
1. DJI Phantom 4 – Best (No Joke) Professional Camera Drone
If you have ever flown a drone before, you would agree that getting it in air the first time always seems like a tricky business.
However, compared to other similar products, the Phantom 4 is quite polished in both its performance and design.
So, what is special about this one?
This lets you enjoy a completely different experience, especially if you use the first-person goggle.
While this is a great feature for professional users who want to reduce the travel time of the drone, when it comes to beginners, this feature might not be the best thing.
If you have an iOS or Android phone, you can download an app which will let you manipulate the settings of the drone. Many have appreciated the convenience and flexibility delivered with the help of these features.
The manual itself is comprehensive and plays an integral part in ensuring that the drone can be effectively flown by a novice.
- The drone features an aesthetically pleasing style.
- The product is easy to use.
- The inclusion of various modes provides the drone with the flexibility needed to serve different customers.
- The obstacle sensing feature protects the drone from serious damage.
- The price of the drone makes it a high-end product.
- It may not be the best thing to travel with due to its fragility.
2. GoPro Karma with HERO5 – Best Outdoor Drone with Camera
Yet another trend we saw in 2017 was the sudden surge in the usage of GoPro. I found the quality of the GoPro to be satisfactory. This GoPro Karma drone is a great example of the company’s commitment to delivering quality.
My favorite aspect of this drone is the fact that it can be folded. As a result, you can carry this drone virtually anywhere. Not only can it be folded, but it also has a light weight. When you add these two convenient features together, you achieve excellent portability.
As far as ease of operation is concerned, first-time flyers will find the drone quite easy to maneuver. This has to do not only with the mechanics of the operating system but also with the comprehensive manual included with the drone.
The battery takes at least an hour to fully charge, after which it can be used for 20 minutes.
For those of you who are GoPro converts like me, you will find this drone to be an excellent addition to your collection.
- It is highly portable owing to its foldable feature and light weight.
- The videos and pictures captured through the drone are high quality.
- The Karma controller is marked by simplicity.
- It does not have a built-in camera, though one can be attached.
- It cannot avoid obstacles on its own.
3. DJI Mavic Pro – Best 4K Drone Camera for YouTubers
The manufacturers of the DJI Mavic Pro have already left their mark in the market with their Phantom range. The Mavic Pro also offers some similar benefits and functions. Hence, you can rest assured that you will be satisfied with the range of the drone along with the flight time.
This means you can easily carry the drone in a small case. Also, you don’t have to worry about the product taking too much space in your luggage when traveling.
The drone is equipped with a battery which offers a whopping 27 minutes of flight time.
Compared to other products within a similar price range, this feature is distinct and has been appreciated by the masses. Plus, you can easily use your iOS or Android phone as well as a tablet to operate the drone.
When it comes to the camera, the Mavic Pro does not disappoint. The 12 MP camera succeeds in capturing the beauty of the moment.
- The 4K footage captured is exemplary.
- The portability offered is highly appreciated.
- The flight time is satisfactory.
- When used in low lighting conditions, the picture quality is subpar.
4. Syma X5C-1 Explorers – Best Drone Camera for Kids
Not everyone wishes to spend a huge chunk of their budget on a drone. For those of you who don’t consider themselves to be professionals or are looking for a drone toy for their children, Syma might be just the product you were looking for.
The affordable price range is the first thing that attracted me to this product. Since a drone tends to be a premium product, it was a breath of fresh air to witness a quality drone that did not demand a huge investment. Yes, you can’t compare its features to high-end products, but this does not mean that they are not satisfactory.
As the product is made for beginners, you can’t expect its picture quality to parallel a premium camera drone. The images you take might be blurry, but the drone will provide you with the tools you need to practice your flying skills before you can move to more expensive options.
Yet another beneficial feature of the product is the low price and easy replaceability of the batteries included. The drone is lightweight and has a built-in six-axis gyroscope. This allows for a stable and accurate flying experience.
- Each part is replaceable and available for a cheap price in the market.
- It is budget friendly.
- For a toy drone, the camera quality is impressive.
- The flight time is very short.
- It takes too long to charge.
5. 3D Robotics IRIS+ Multicopter – Professional Drone Camera Flight Time
3D Robotics has broken all boundaries for delivering an optimum experience through its IRIS+ Multicopter. Whether it be a respectable flight time or its operational features, in all respects, this drone has been successful in offering quality to users.
Let’s begin with the remote controller. The fact that it comes with a telemetry feature on the screen allows it to showcase instantaneous data which comes in handy when flying the drone.
The arms of the drone are equipped with LEDs that will allow you to easily navigate the product when it is in air.
By not including a camera, it has ensured that users are not limited by the quality offered by the company and can choose a camera they think best meets their needs.
When you consider the entire package, you are bound to admit that it is quite holistic. Not only does 3D Robotics deliver a drone, but the package also includes a spare battery, propellers and a memory stick with 4 GB space.
Each of these additions is highly convenient to have. There are no such things as too many batteries, and your propellers will experience damage.
- The flight time is satisfactory.
- The battery life is optimal.
- The drone is quite stable when flying.
- The price of the drone is low.
- The remote control might be difficult for beginners to understand.
- It is not stylish.
6. Ehang Ghostdrone 2.0 VR – Best Camera Drone for Beginners
However, since drones are quite expensive, these damages are not welcomed. Since beginners make mistake, Ehang Ghostdrone provides you with a comparatively low-priced product which serves professional purposes as well.
Ehang takes up the challenge of providing an immersive experience to its users to a whole new level.
When it comes to the picture quality, the product is great in this regard. Whether it be the 4K video shooting capability or the inclusion of a 12 MP camera, the drone delivers impressive shots through its camera which features a 93-degree angle.
The manufacturers of the product claim that it is resistant to weather. This has been ensured by the addition of self-tightened propellers and brushless motors, which together deliver stability.
This stability translates to resistance against extreme weathers, which aids in delivering a superior performance.
The same can be said for the quality of the images. However, when you consider the low price and other beneficial features, this flaw is easy to look over.
- It is ideal for beginners and users who are trying out the technology for fun.
- The drone can’t crash owing to automated features embedded in it.
- The flight time is long.
- Camera quality cannot be compared to that of high-end products.
7. Yuneec Typhoon – 360-Degree Rotational Camera Drone
Its uniqueness also comes from its design. Whether or not you’ll like it is entirely your discretion. To me, it looks like a giant spider.
I am not sure whether the company was going for this look, but it does seem that it was, considering the alignment of the sensors and rotors.
This means you don’t need to move the entire drone just to capture all that surrounds you. The rotation of the camera will provide you with what you need instead. It also comes with landing gear which guarantees that the act of landing the drone is as smooth and risk-free as possible.
There are two flying modes offered in this product which include angle and smart flying. You can find these modes in most other competing products as well.
Now comes the point where I discuss why I was cynical about adding this drone to the list. There have been a few complaints about the controller.
If you think you can live with these flaws, this drone might not be a bad choice after all.
- The rotating camera lets you take unique shots.
- The camera quality is excellent.
- It is stable, even against the strong wind.
- It is not durable.
- It takes two hours to charge.
8. Odyssey Toys Pocket Drone – The smallest Camera Done
Odyssey Toys took the desire of customers to have a small and portable drone to heart and managed to create one of the smallest drones I have seen. This toy drone is as small as an average smartphone. It seems like it was tailor-made for children.
Some of you might think that the small size is a flaw. When you consider the instability that its small size and light weight inherently bring to the table, it can be viewed as a flaw, but you shouldn’t forget that this is a toy drone that is made for entertainment purposes and not for professional use.
In this aspect, the small size is actually an advantage since it makes the product safe to use indoors.
Since the drone does not have a camera stabilizer built into the product, the quality of the pictures is compromised.
However, this does not mean that they are unusable. The 720p camera does shoot quite impressive pictures. However, every now and then, you can expect a few blurry pictures.
- It is one of the smallest designs out there in the toy drone category.
- The price of the product is reasonable.
- It can be flown both indoors and outdoors.
- You won’t have to control features like altitude or takeoff.
- The camera cannot be tilted, so you are limited to capturing only what is in front of the drone.
- The 7-minute flight time is very short.
- Blurry videos and photos are a given owing to the lack of a camera stabilizer.
9. Parrot Bebop 2 FPV – Another Camera Drone for Pros
Bebop 2 takes its customers on an adventure with the inclusion of its Parrot Cockpitglasses. While in most drones, you can only look back at the footage to see a new perspective, with this product, you can do so in real time. How?
Well, the Cockpitglasses can be dubbed as the first point-of-view headset. Once you have connected the drone to an application, which is to be installed on your phone, you can put your phone in the Cockpitglasses and experience a new point of view.
This is ideal for professionals who wish to expand their adventure without having to physically cover the distance.
The anti-stall system is added to the product to make sure that the drone remains stable regardless of how high you take the drone or at what speed it operates.
Just like most other products in this list, Parrot Bebop also manages to deliver portability and quality images. The former is ensured by the light weight of the product, which is 500 grams to be exact.
While most cameras offer up to 720p, this product takes it further up a notch and delivers a camera of 4K resolution. Just think about the type of videos you can capture with it.
Additionally, the battery life of the drone is quite high. In fact, it is one of the highest on this list with a life of 25 minutes.
This means that you can enjoy your outing without having to worry about changing the batteries of the drone anytime soon.
- It is a great drone for beginners.
- It is easy to fly.
- Replacement parts are readily available.
- The storage is not expandable.
- A controller is not included in the package and needs to be bought separately.
10. Altair AA108 – Best Drone Camera for Everything
The camera included is high quality, but the 720p camera is not the only good thing about it. It also comes with a 120-degree angle. This allows you to take magnificent pictures.
When it comes to operation, this camera drone succeeds in being easy to fly. This is achieved by an array of features.
For instance, the one-button takeoff and landing greatly reduce the effort it takes to get the drone off the ground or to get it back.
Similarly, the headless mode and the altitude feature combined provide stability to the product that further aids in taking quality photographs.
Moreover, for those of you who don’t want to operate the drone once it is on the air, you can do so by using the custom route mode.
This mode lets you create a custom flight route through your mobile screen. While you enjoy your outdoor experience, your drone can fly over you and record your journey.
- The quality of the image is exemplary.
- The operation is easy.
- The construction of the product is durable.
- The range offered is up to 100 meters, which is quite high.
- Its small size and light weight make it quite portable.
- Considering its price, the lack of a GPS is disappointing.
- The battery life is short.
Things You Must Know Before Buying Drones with Camera
I get it, drones are quite popular these days, so having an urge to buy and use one has got to be unbearable. However, before you get your hands on the device, here are a few things about it and its usage that you should be aware of.
What Is a Drone with a Camera?
In layman terms, a camera drone can be viewed as a device that flies. It is equipped with a camera that can be used to both take pictures and shoot videos.
While there was a time when taking photos and pictures were limited to the skills of a photographer, now you can shoot from a diverse range of angles without any problem. A drone flies above you and delivers a professional shoot.
Radio waves control the drone camera. In order to fly, the device uses either fixed wings or rotors to operate. While some people view quadcopters as synonymous with camera drone, in reality, there is a difference between the two.
You can view a drone as an umbrella term that encompasses a quadcopter. A drone merely refers to an unmanned aerial vehicle.
It may or may not be controlled by a remote. Sometimes, it can be monitored through onboard computers. A quadcopter is a certain type of drone.
It operates with the help of four routers, each of which is equipped with a propeller and a rotor.
When it comes to camera drones, they can also be divided into two types. One kind is the one which comes with a camera, and the other type contains a space where you can fit your own camera.
Uses of a Camera Drone
Camera drones are all the rage right now. However, as a consumer, is this reason good enough for me or you to invest in the technology?
Maybe. Maybe not. It all boils down to whether you find the different uses of the drone appealing. Some of these uses are as follows:
Be a Filmmaker
It doesn’t matter if you are professional or an amateur in the field; filmmaking is a great experience for everyone.
With the help of a drone, you can enhance this experience and the quality of your film. Think about it. A few overhead clips are bound to give your film a unique perspective.
Even if you are a novice, such touches will surely make your video seem professional even if it is not.
“Drones Are About to Change How Directors Make Movies–Wired
I feel like camera drones add fun to our lives. You get to view your life in a completely new perspective.
You can go around having fun and have a drone record your outing. No one has to be behind the camera.
Not to mention what a different perspective it provides you with. If you are a vlogger, you can use a drone camera to capture cool shots to add to your videos.
Be an Efficient Farmer
A camera drone is not merely a fun device for the tech-savvy and filmmakers. Instead, it can be used by farmers as well.
If any of you have ever grown crops, even on a small scale, you would know that crops tend to require constant supervision to ensure that everything is going as per schedule.
The conventional way to do so is by manually spending a lot of time in the field, making sure everything is running smoothly.
However, in today’s advanced world, you don’t need to do so. Camera drones have made life quite easy. All you need to do is fly the device over your crops and voila! You can effectively look over your crops without getting dirty.
“Drone technology is facilitating data-driven decision-making in agriculture; it can help farmers better analyse issues which affect productivity and sustainability, says Ruralco chief executive Travis Dillon.
Why Should You Buy a Camera Drone?
I have established the various uses of a camera drone. However, for all those of you who are still not completely sold on the idea, here are a few reasons why camera drones might be a great addition to your life.
Know What You Are Buying
Before you purchase a drone, you must be aware of the various terminologies you are bound to come across.
Back when I had no idea how to differentiate between different drones, I used to think that a ready-to-fly or RTF drone is something you could start using from the moment you take it out of the box.
I learned that in the world of drones, the terms are not to be taken literally. RTF drones require you to install propellers before you can use it. Also, they don’t come charged, so you need to charge the battery as well. Not really ready to fly, is it?
Similarly, a BNF drone, which stands for bind-and-fly, comes without controllers. Therefore, even though it is fully assembled, you will still have to either buy a controller or install the needed software on your smartphone first.
The last type of drone you would come across is ARF. This refers to almost-ready-to-fly.
Basically, what you are getting is a drone kit, and you will have to assemble the device yourself and even purchase the components that are missing. Such components generally include transmitters, controllers, and batteries.
Know the Law – And Keep Your Drone Legal
Using a camera drone is not as simple as going to a shop, buying one and then using it.
Before you can start using the product, you need to make sure you are aware of the law regarding drone usage.
Therefore, the first thing you should do after buying a drone is to see what your local law deems legal regarding the device.
For example, in the USA, flying drones is only legal if they are within 400 feet above the ground.
Moreover, they can’t be within three miles of air traffic or airport. Depending from one state to another, some places even forbid the use of the device in a residential area since it comes under trespassing.
However, you are free to use it in public areas like the park.
What the rules are in your country can be significantly different from the FAA guidelines in the USA. Make sure you are well-versed on them before you begin flying your drone.
Register Your Drone
If only using a drone was as easy as getting one and being able to fly it from the get-go. Alas, there are a few procedures you need to follow before you can legally fly your drone.
In order to register for a drone, there are a few requirements you must meet. One of them is that your drone must be between the weight of 0.55 and 55 pounds. Additionally, you have to be 13 years of age or more to ensure you are registered.
Once you have done so, you will be given an identification number. You must put this number up on your drone if you wish to stay out of trouble. After every three years, you will be required to renew your registration.
Be Prepared for a Hard Time
You might have heard that drones are easy to fly. At least this is what is marketed by the manufacturers of the technology.
I am not saying that this is a complete and outright lie, but easy functionality is not always the case.
Thus, if you are buying a drone with the mindset that you will have no problem flying it from the moment you get your hands on it, in most cases, you will be in for a rude awakening.
Overall, the flight controller will govern whether a given drone is easy to fly or not. It all comes down to it as well as the design of the product. While some are quite agile, others have impressive stability.
Buyers Guide – How to Buy The Best Drones with Camera
There are various decisions you need to make and an array of factors you must consider when you purchase a camera drone. Here are a few things you need to look for:
All of the ten products mentioned in this list have a handful of merits. To say that any of them are not worth purchasing would be a disservice. However, even among them, some are better than the others.
As far as I am concerned, I believe that the DJI Phantom 4. Whether it be durability, quality, or affordability, this product has been successful in delivering it all.
Remember, this is my opinion and your choice can be starkly different from mine. For instance, if you are looking for a toy drone to begin with, you will not be drawn to this product. This is why I have included drones which serve different segments and audiences, ranging from children to professionals.
At the end of the day, which drone you find best and equip yourself with is up to you. Just make sure you make a wise and informed decision. Don’t just buy the first product you see. Instead, analyze your needs and select accordingly.
The perfect drone for you exists. You just need to search for it.