The Mavic Pro 2 also has some serious appeal for pilots who make a living from aerial video and imaging. Its camera sports a 1-inch class sensor for higher quality photos, and it can record 4K footage with a wide or standard angle of view. It's a lot smaller than the Inspire too, appealing for independent creatives working without the support of a full film crew.
The mini drone has a bunch of built-in quick shot functions that let the unit fly itself in preprogrammed aerial patterns, and DJI has even created a SmartCapture mode which lets you control the craft with hand gestures. Hook it up to the DJI Fly app and you can even control the drone with some cool features there, including a tap-to-fly option where you literally touch the place on the camera you want the copter to fly. The whole thing weighs only 430g — a true marvel of engineering for its size. Pick up this package on Amazon and you’ll get everything you need to start filming amazing flight-perspective vistas.
The transmission range is 4.3 miles for 30 minutes and it offers a true 4K stabilized and smooth footage. Buttons are simple to access and users can command the drone to return home, including automatic take-off and landing, capturing photos, videos, etc. It can autonomously follow objects, thereby creating a box shape around the object. Cinematic shots are easy, where you just select the point that is to be shot and the drone flies a perfect circle around it. Automatic flight routes can also be set for surveying.
To launch the drone and set up your shots, you just use your smartphone, or your Apple Watch. There are a few ways that the R1 can follow you. These flight modes are called Cinematic Skills (Follow, Lead, Orbit, Side, Tripod). Using follow will make the R1 follow you from behind. Lead will make the drone predict your direction and stay in front of you. Side stays to the side for panning shots. Tripod keeps the drone in one spot while looking at you like an automated tripod in the sky.
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.
Just like all of the drones from ImmersionRC, the Vortex 180 is an extremely well-built ready-to-fly racing drone with all of the features that beginners and pros need. The first thing you’ll notice from the older Vortex quadcopters is the cleaner design. All of the electronics are sandwiched between the carbon fiber on the top and the printed circuit board on the bottom. The only thing that sticks out is the camera which is protected by a hard plastic case.
The Fisheye Camera is hands down the best feature, especially being a camera drone. It’s a 14MG device that is able to take photos in high resolution, as well as videos in 30 fps. The lens can provide an 180-degree angle without the picture becoming distorted in any way, which is pretty neat. You will need a smart device of some sort, such as your tablet or phone, to use as a controller through the application, however.
The FPV camera is nothing special, but it’s nice that it’s included. It’s a 600TVN camera with a 120 degree field-of-view. The video transmitter is 5.8ghz 25mW with 40 channels, so it will work with any FPV goggles or video receiver you have. I would’ve liked to have seen a 150mW video transmitter for better penetration through walls, but the 25mW is still enough to have a lot of fun with.
Video transmission is a vital aspect of aerial photography in that it transmits what the camera captures straight to your phone in real time. If video transmission is delayed or interfered with, you might find it difficult to control your drone’s HD camera, let alone store those carefully captured images. Advanced transmission systems support dual frequencies of both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz for greater interference resistance, and have a long transmitting distance.
To be sure, you don’t want to lose any of the fruits of your drone’s flight recordings, so it might be a good idea to have microSD cards with you for plenty of storage. You can choose an app-controlled drone if you’re interested in having access to advanced in-flight features and aren’t concerned with the shorter range that goes along with using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Regardless of which drone you select, you’ll want to consider getting a drone case to protect it against moisture, dust and impact damage.
The biggest competitor for the Bebop 2 is the DJI Spark. Although you can’t use hand gestures to control the Bebop 2 and there’s no obstacle avoidance, you do get features like follow me and visual subject tracking. For $599, it also comes with the controller, two batteries, and goggles that work with most smartphones. If you really want to shoot good videos, the Spark might be a better option because of the 2 axis gimbal, but the digital stabilization of the Bebop 2 is almost just as good.
The flight time is pretty short at about 5 minutes although some have reported getting as much as 10 minutes. Once your drone battery dies, it has an audible low battery indicator that will let you know before it drops out of the sky. Like all toy drones, you should purchase an optional pack of batteries so you can enjoy longer flying sessions. The batteries take about 30 minutes each to charge up.
It shoots 1080p video and stabilizes it using a mechanical gimbal. This makes the Spark much better at shooting video than drones that only rely on digital stabilization. You can get exactly the kind of shot you’re looking for by connecting the Spark to your phone via Wi-Fi and using the virtual joysticks, but there’s an easier way of shooting that can make even a beginner look like a pro.
DJI models currently dominate our top picks, and there's a good reason for that. The company is simply a few steps ahead of its competition right now, and has a product catalog with models at various price points, which take up a good number of the slots in our top ten. It made a huge splash with its iconic Phantom series, and now makes the best small drones we've tested in the form of the Mavic series.
The Bobop has a 14 megapixel camera with a 180 degree field-of-view fisheye lens, but since the camera lens has such a wide field-of-view and a really fast processor, it can take the full 14 megapixel image, fix the image distortion (eliminating the fisheye effect), stabilize the image, then send the live video back to your phone. What all that means is that you’ll be getting a digitally stabilized 720p video feed straight to your phone. At the same time, It also records digitally stabilized 1080p video to the 8GB of onboard memory.
The Typhoon H is the biggest competitor to the Phantom 4 we’ve seen so far. It’s a 6 rotor retractable landing gear beast of a drone, with a 360 degree gimbal (similar to the Inspire 1). What makes it similar to the Phantom 4? Well both drones get over 20 minutes of flight time, have obstacle avoidance, decent video quality and are in the same price range.
The next 2 versions of the Hubsan X4 have cameras. They’re slightly bigger and heavier than the cheaper version of the X4, but the flight time is about the same. The H107C is the version with a standard definition camera and the 61170-02 is the one with a 720p camera. The Hubsan X4 with the standard camera is ok, but the 720p camera takes much better video. The only problem with the HD version is that it’s more expensive and the flight time is slightly less.
All Phantom 3 Series drones are currently available as refurbished models, which all come with full product warranties. The Phantom 3 Standard offers a stabilized 3-axis gimbal and up to 2.7K video shooting. It also features Lightbridge digital streaming, which allows live viewing at up to of 720p. The refurbished version is available for just $399, which is a great, affordable drone for hobbyists.
There are many different kinds of drones available today. The typical cost for a toy drone ranges from about $20 to $250. Camera Drones start at around $300 and go up from there. The DJI Mavic Pro (the best drone we’ve tested) retails for just under $1,000. Professional drone users will spend tens of thousands of dollars to get the best image quality and flight time.
The Falcore has a lot of cool technology inside of it, but this drone isn’t heavy on pro racing features. There is an OSD, but you can’t adjust any settings on the flight controller from the OSD like you can on the Vortex 180 and it runs Cleanflight which isn’t as good as Bataflight. Another thing that you might not think about is range. The video transmitter and receiver have a range of 1000 feet to 3000 feet depending on the environment you’re in. Although this is fine for most park flights, there are races that might require a more reliable signal at those farther distances, and with a traditional analog FPV setup it’s easy to get more range with better antennas.
All Mambos have a special mount on them that you can use to add on additional accessories. The newest accessory is the FPV camera. When combined with the included FPV goggles, the Mambo FPV allows you to fly the drone in a completely new way from other toy drones. You get to see what the drone sees and fly around as if you were inside the cockpit of the drone.