If you haven’t heard of Lumenier, you haven’t been in the racing drone space for long. Lumenier makes some of the best FPV components. Some components are high quality custom branded parts, and others are designed and manufactured from scratch. The QAV-R is one of the best products Lumenier makes. It’s a 5 inch professional grade racing and freestyle drone frame, pared with some of the best electronics you can get on a drone in this category.
Jim Fisher is our lead analyst for cameras, drones, and digital imaging. He studied at RPI and worked on the retail side of the industry at B&H before landing at PCMag. He has a thing for old lenses, boneyards, and waterfowl. When he’s not out with his camera, Jim enjoys watching bad and good television, playing video games (poorly), and reading. You can find him on Instagram @jamespfisher
The X5C is nothing special. It’s a simple quadcopter that almost looks like a DJI Phantom at first glance, but you won’t be taking amazing aerial videos with it, or racing through the forest. It has gyros and accelerometers to keep it stable and an auto flip feature like most drones out there. It also comes with a small camera for recording video with quality similar to a an old webcam.
The quality of photography is primarily be determined by the resolution of your camera. Good cameras have a 4K video resolution. These are mainly used by professional photographers. You do not have to obtain this specific resolution in order to take decent videos. If this drone is going to an amateur or will only record recreational videos, you can find some lower resolution cameras that are suitable but still take brilliant pictures.
It is a foldable quadcopter combining ease of flight with a range of full-fledged features and a high-quality camera. It can take 4K videos and high-quality stills. Though it has a remote control, you can also fly it using a connected smartphone. There are also several automated tracking modes for getting excellent shots and it has a decent range of 4 km.
Although this isn’t really a camera drone, it comes with an action camera mount, so you can attach your GoPro or Yi cam to get some aerial shots. Honestly, with a little bit of practice, maybe a better camera mount and some good editing software, you could probably produce some amazing shots using something like the Hero 6 with its built in image stabilization.
This FPV drone focuses more on the actual drone than it does the camera aspects, however, considering you get more features and capabilities. You can use a FPV real time HD live transmission with your mobile device using the FPV WiFi feature, have Headless mode, a low voltage alarm, 360-degree flips, and gravity induction that allows you to fly at all angles and in every direction.
While it does not have a whole lot of features, Orientation mode is pretty useful. It ensures that your drone stays within connection range and won’t fly off on you. The LED lights are great for night flying, especially when the battery is low and you need to ground it quickly. It can do the basic flip approximately 1 meter off the ground to ensure it doesn’t collide.
If you’ve heard of the Mavic Pro, you should already know that this is an amazing little drone. The design is great. The Mavic Air was made to be functional, but also look the part. With lines that resemble a high end sports car, there’s no other drone out there with a design this good, but looks aren’t what make this drone so great. At the end of the day, people want drones that are small, and the Mavic Air is beyond small; it’s tiny. It’s smaller than the Spark. Pictures don’t do justice. Some would even go as far as saying the Mavic Air is pocketable.
The Mavic 2 Zoom has a few features that make it different from the Mavic 2 Pro. The first difference is the smaller 12 megapixel 1/2.3" CMOS sensor. This sensor is the same size as the Mavic Air, and delivers similar image quality. The most important feature is true optical zoom. With optical zoom there's no loss in image quality because you’re zooming using the optics of the lens instead of pixels on an image sensor. You also get a 2x zoom in 4K instead of 1.4x on the Mavic 2 Pro and Parrot Anafi.
On the hunt for something truly special in the world of cheap drones with camera? This easy to use and portable quadcopter is the perfect starter drone for any beginner. It includes everything a beginner needs to get started flying drones. The remote controls have notes printed which makes it incredibly easy to learn what all of the different functions do. It also comes with headless mode which optimizes proper functionality even when you can't see your drone. It even includes a one key return home function which means the press of 1 button brings the drone back to you. It also includes a powerful air pressure hold function that allows you to release the throttle and enables the drone to hover while maintaining its height. Its compact design packs easily into the compact craft box that comes with the drone. This makes it easy to carry and transport from place to place.
The Hubsan X4 H107C has super stable flight capabilities, gives you approximately 10 minutes of flight time, includes gyro sensitivity that can be adjusted based on your personal preference, and a 0.3MP camera that can record video and take picture paired with a Micro SDHC card. The only feature that seems to exist, and is worth mentioning, is that it can do a 4-way flip, which could be fun and something interesting to add to a video.
The Mavic Air 2 (9/10 WIRED Recommends) is the drone that most people should buy. It's portable and lightweight, but it still manages to pack in a brilliant half-inch sensor for high quality images and video. Tons of automated features mean you can just fly and get the images you want, or shoot video and let the drone avoid obstacles and track your subject. You'll even get 60 frames-per-second 4K video—something that still isn't available in the more expensive Mavic 2 Pro—and Spotlight, a powerful automated flight mode pulled from DJI's pro-grade Inspire drone.
The DJI Phantom series drones are some of the most capable and recognizable drones on the market. The Phantom 1 was a revolutionary aircraft that put DJI and prosumer drones on the map. The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 has collectively built on the series success and continues to be used for photography, filmmaking, inspections, and various other applications.
If you look at drones like the Falcore from Connex and the Vortex 150 from ImmersionRC, although both can be great beginner drones, they aren’t really in a low enough price range for a lot of people who are just getting started. Yes, you’re getting what you pay for, but sometimes you don’t have that much to spend and you still want something reasonable. That’s where the Vision 250 comes in.
It is a bare-bones quadcopter that relies entirely on the skills of the pilot handling the remote. Controls are easy to use. It comes in a minimalistic design with a plastic frame and electronics placed in a small cavity at the center. It has a small battery-powered at 500 mAh. The camera is small and is connected by wires. It also has a micro-USB card for storing videos and images. The rotors are small at 5.25 cm diameter and made of plastic with a small screw locking it in place. You also get a spare set of rotors along with a small screwdriver. Buttons on the quadcopter can take photos, start and stop videos, flip and change the flight mode, etc.
Overall, professional drones with cameras are of high quality. These drones have some of the best cameras that money can buy onboard and ensure perfect stability for aerial photography and videography purposes through the gimbal and gyro axis. Some of these drones may even feature autopilot and GPS features that make professional drone photography better than ever.
If you’ve ever seen the live video feed on a racing drone, you’ll know that the video quality looks worse than a 20 year old tv broadcast. It’s really sad that professional pilots have to fly using such old technology, however Connex has been working on a solution to this problem for a few years now and the Falcore HD racing drone is the result of all their hard work.
The Inspire 1 is an old drone. In fact, It’s almost 3 years old now and yet there’s still no other drone that has all of the same functionality in a ready-to-fly package. You could say that the Inspire 2 replaces the Inspire 1, but with a starting price of $3,000 that can easily go up to $10,000 if you want the best camera option, not all film makers can afford it. That’s the main reason why the Inspire 1 is still relevant, but there’s more. The inspire 2 can’t hold the Zenmuse Z30 or the Zenmuse XT cameras for long zoom and thermal imaging.
It comes in a tiny and lightweight design and boasts of an excellent camera that is mechanically stabilized. Other features that it has are USB charging, gesture control, and obstacle detection. The DJI Spark is an intelligent subject-tracking drone that helps you take selfies with a mere hand gesture. Apart from obstacle detection, it also features a dual-band GPS and a system for visual positioning, which enables it to hover above the ground up to 98 feet, either indoors or outdoors.
If the Mavic 2 Pro didn’t exist, I would say this is obviously the best drone of all time. It’s not as compact as the Mavic Air, but the extra features more than make up for it. It’s a true workhorse, which is probably why DJI created an enterprise drone based on the Mavic 2 Zoom. There’s really nothing I can find to complain about with the Mavic 2 Zoom other than the fact that the Mavic 2 Pro has better video quality. But if that extra bump in quality isn’t worth the extra $250, go with the Mavic 2 Zoom.
It’s faster, too, with top speeds as high as 70 miles per hour across 20 minutes of battery life. Best of all, this is one of the most durable drones for sale out there thanks to a 4 mm carbon fiber frame, synthetic polymer bumpers, anti-vibration sponges, and rubber grommets to protect the power cables and antenna. So if you’re worried about crashing you brand new racing drone for sale, the Wizard will definitely put those fears to rest.
If you didn’t know, the Mavic is not a specific drone, but a series of drones. There’s the original Mavic Pro, the Mavic Air, and now the two new Mavic 2 models. The drone I’m referring to here is specifically the Mavic 2 Zoom. The Mavic 2 Zoom as a few cool features, but before talking about that, let’s look at the features that both the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro have.
You should choose a drone that automatically returns when the battery is low, allowing you to avoid losing or crashing the device. This feature is called RTH for "return to home." Flight time can be as short as five minutes. It depends on the model. Most people will want at least 10 minutes of flight time. You can find models with a flight time as high as 35 minutes.