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

Every adventure needs a Spark of creativity! Spark is a mini drone that is great for taking quick selfies. With Gesture mode, you can use simple hand gestures to get Spark to follow you, take photos, and record videos. Spark can be operated without a controller, but if you prefer more traditional operation, you can fly with a remote controller or use your smartphone.
If you like the design of the Inspire 2, but just can’t afford it, you might also consider buying the Inspire 1. It’s obviously nowhere near as good as the Inspire 2 if you compare the features, but the video quality you can get from the older X5 camera is still in a lot of cases better than the Phantom 4 Pro. DJI also makes hi-zoom and thermal imaging cameras that work with the Inspire 1, in case you need something for agriculture or search-and-rescue use.

One fun little feature of this drone is it will do 3D flips and rolls 360° in all directions with just a push of the control. No experience necessary! Also it has a pretty good range at about 100 meters or 300 feet. It’s very sturdy too making it pretty forgiving of beginner pilot errors. The instruction manual can be a little hard to follow, and it can be a pain to remove the tiny little screw to replace the battery every 10 minutes, but overall this is a pretty nice drone for the price. It’s a bit more than some drones in it’s class, but well worth it based on their customer service reputation alone.

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.
My first issue is the lack of documentation for the Standard model. I am able to locate documentation for the Advanced and Professional models but nothing for the Standard model. If it exists it's a well kept secret. I did read the users manual for the Advanced model but it has flight modes which are not present in the Standard model. Due to the lack of documentation I couldn't diagnosis a problem I appeared to be having with my aircraft. On a hunch I ended up exchanging it ... full review
Drone and gimbal technology has spread across a diverse range of businesses and professional enterprise. Creative agencies, construction firms, and the public safety sectors are just an example of some industries that have embraced drone and gimbal technology. To help support enterprises of every type, DJI offers the Corporate Purchase Program, providing cost-effective solutions for organizations. This program is currently available in the USA, Canada, Mainland China and the EU (excluding the UK). Click here to apply.
Removable cameras: In some models, users can remove the cameras and fly the drone without the camera attached, excellent if this is a gift for a beginner who still needs to learn to fly. This helps to reduce the weight of the drone, thus enabling longer flights. More importantly, this feature enables camera upgrades when there are advances in the technology. Perhaps your gift to mom or dad next year will be just such an upgrade.
The Mavic 2 Zoom introduces brand new zooming capabilities. The 24mm – 48mm zoom lens offers 2x optical zoom and 2x digital zoom, giving photographers and filmmakers more flexibility when it comes to framing their shots. It also offers an upgraded QuickShot mode with the fun and creative Dronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket, Boomerang, and Asteroid and Dolly Zoom flight modes.
It is a convenient and portable camera drone that comes with a case. The aluminum case comes with enough storage space to keep all drone accessories together. The blades are foldable and easy to store. It has different control modes, such as headless and altitude. It has just a single key for take-off and landing, making it easy and functional. The camera is a 4K HD one with 120 adjustable FoV. The 5G Wi-Fi camera offers clear and HD image transmission that can be easily saved on to the SD card or on your smartphone. These can be auto-generated and shared with friends or social media immediately. The recording mode is HD 2048 x 1152 pixels and the maximum transmission distance is 200 to 300 meters.
This is truly a fantastic headset for gaming. I'm really happy with the audio and mic quality and the build is very comfortable for long sessions. Beyond a mute button for the mic, there is no control panel for the device to control the volume and other settings; all that has to be done through your pc/console. Things to note for PS4 specifically are the lack of surround sound functionality when using this headset with the system and also the headset by default uses microphone monitoring. This feature provides real time feedback of your own voice and other sounds in the mics radius to let the user gauge their own voice volume, this is a helpful way to counter your inability to hear your natural voice due to noise cancelation. If this is a feature you don't like than know that the PS4 can't turn it off for this specific ... full review
It’s priced very reasonably at $489.99 on Amazon, which is probably the cheapest place to get it based on what we’ve seen. There is no built-in camera on this drone but if you have a GoPro from the Hero line, being 3, 3+, or 4, then you’re good to go. One of the coolest features is the Smart Shots, which is a computer-assisted feature to help you get more out of your photos taken in flight. Not to mention the live HD video streaming, as well. 3DR and GoPro worked together to make the first GoPro gimbal, which is definitely more bang for your buck.
The Vendetta is a drone that’s going to be hard to break, but if it does, no problem! It’s one of the only drones that doesn’t require a soldering iron when you need to replace components after crashing. This is a big deal for racing drones, because you’re always crashing and repairing parts at racing events, or even just at the park. Because of its modular design, you can also upgrade to bigger motors, add a high-voltage battery, and instantly have a faster machine.

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.


Portability is the new trend of the camera drone market. Most of the time, it is inconvenient and tough to carry a large, heavy camera drone around. This is particularly the case for those of you who want to shoot when traveling. By that rationale, mini drones make it infinitely easier for you to shoot on the go, no matter if hiking or attending a family barbecue.


We have selected drones for sale in this section of our review based on direct information and critique from real users, details that we have personally received, and other sources of relevant, real information. We have only taken the biggest manufacturers into consideration where supreme quality is concerned to ensure that there are no junk drones.

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.
The Mavic Air is not a foldable Spark. This is a drone with all of the features that make it worthy of the Mavic name. Aside from the main camera, there are two front facing cameras, two rear facing cameras, and two downward facing cameras. All of these cameras are used for obstacle avoidance and advanced vision positioning. Just like the Mavic Pro, you also get dual IMUs, GPS and GLONASS for more accuracy. With all of this data to process, the Mavic Air has many different onboard chips that are designed for specific tasks like video encoding, machine learning, flight control, battery management and more.
Camera drones are petite machines that allow you to survey the surroundings from a height and can take magnificent aerial pictures and videos. If you are a beginner, get one under $50 to learn the basics and later you can move on to something more expensive in the range of $500 to $1500. Professional drones are used by filmmakers and cost a lot but offer excellent video quality, specs, and speeds. However, users need to know about the drone tech. Check out the features like battery life, cost of batteries, brushless motors for quieter operation, camera specifications (whether attached or built-in), Headless mode, integrated GPS, Follow-Me mode, integrated gimbal for keeping it steady in high winds, obstacle avoiding features, range, and so on. Remember that all drone users must register their aircraft if it is over 250gm and must follow the rules and regulations that apply. Happy shooting! Fly safely and responsibly.
My wife bought this for me for my birthday last week. She'd noticed me looking at drones in the store, and I'd told her about the mini-drones I'd seen some of the local high school students playing with, but she also knew I was concerned about getting something that would break on first impact - having never flown one before, I knew it was inevitable I'd end up crashing it a few times.
This drone is so fun to use. I am an amateur with drones so it has been fun learning to fly it. The drone is very lightweight and is a nice size. I love that you can view what you are recording on your cell phone, this makes it so much easier if you are recording for a specific type of video. At first I was a bit confused on how to get the drone started but after some practice it got easier. The drone was easy to pair with my Samsung Galaxy 6 phone. The drone is easy to lift off and I have been able to learn to land after a few tries. I did bang it a couple of times and so far it has not broken. I tried the tracing route feature and it is really cool. The batteries don't last a really long time ... full review
At just a tap away, QuickShots like Dronie and Rocket help you take impressive videos with cinematic effects. TapFly allows you to maneuver Spark when you tap on different locations on your smartphone screen. You can buy the Spark Controller Combo today for $399, which contains a remote controller, an extra Intelligent Flight Battery, three extra propellers, and more. For more value, get the Fly More Combo for $549, which contains a remote controller, two extra Intelligent Flight Batteries, four extra propellers, and more. For even greater savings, users can also purchase a refurbished Spark or a refurbished Spark Fly More Combo, which both come with certified quality and a full warranty.
You might not be able to spend so much on a drone like the Mavic Air 2, but its great collision-avoidance tech is why we made it our top pick. For a more affordable option, the Mavic Mini (8/10, WIRED Recommends) from DJI is also a great choice (and our previous favorite). It flies nearly as well as its larger siblings, though wind gusts that wouldn't faze the Mavic 2 Pro will ground the Mini. There's also no 4K video and no front and rear collision-avoidance sensors like you'll find in more expensive drones.
This simple but powerful drone kit is designed for teens and first-time DIY drone builders. Its instructions will teach you the basic principles of drone building, so even if this doesn’t end up being your favorite drone for sale ever, it will help you learn to build and fly other drones in the future! It sacrifices a bit of customizability, but more than makes up for it with its ease-of-use and incredibly low price of only $33 USD.
Almost every piece of electronics has been modified from the Vortex 250 Pro and big improvements have been made—starting with the flight controller. It’s an all new design called Synergy, with duel F3 processors for faster 8KHz update rates. Because of this, it also comes with Bataflight firmware pre installed instead of Cleanflight. If you didn’t understand any of that, just know that this drone will fly super locked-in.
There isn’t much that the Inspire 2 CAN’T do. It comes standard with all of the features of the Phantom 4 Professional, but with a design optimized for performance and industry leading video features. It’s almost twice as big and twice as fast as the Phantom 4 (reaching speeds of almost 60MPH), and with it’s transforming design, the propellers will hardly ever appear in your videos. Additionally, the Inspire 2 comes with a dedicated FPV (first-person-view) camera so you can see where your flying at all times. With all of these features, you no longer have to blindly fly backward or sideways to get the shots you want.
FPV, or ‘First Person View’, drones give you the best possible experience imaginable, giving you a front seat to the action. FPV works by having a camera mounted on the drone, broadcasting a live video stream to the drone’s transmitter, FPV goggles, or a smart device. You’re able to fly more precisely and gain better shots with an eye in the sky than you normally would from your view from just the ground.
Looking for Hollywood-style shots without complex equipment and high operating costs? Well, then the Skydio 2 is a drone that you should seriously consider. With an advanced 45-megapixel obstacle avoidance camera system, it’s designed to take the heavy workload off the pilot. Intelligent flight modes allow it to zip through even the most complex terrain without losing sight of the subject.
The Phantom 4 is an impressive photography drone that features a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, 4K 30fps video, and 12MP stills. If you don’t require 4K video, there are also options to shoot in 2K, Full HD, or 720p. The 12MP sensor on the Phantom 4 camera has an ISO range of 100-1600, and the camera also supports auto exposure bracketing, EV bias, and HDR imaging.
The EVO from Autel Robotics is clearly copying the DJI Mavic series, but surprisingly this is more than just a subpar clone. Clearly the styling a little different from the Mavic 2 or Mavic Air. Just like the last drone Autel Robotics made (the X-Star Premium) the design of this thing looks very strange in my opinion. It comes in this bright orange color which is great for visibility, but some might argue it looks like a cheesy toy. Other than the color, the general design is pretty good. It folds into a small shape and has a full 3 axis gimbal just like the Mavic.
i love this drone. its perfect. if things go wrong parts are easy to replace. but its hard to brake alot of thing on it unless your flying somewhere in a city or near obstacles like power lines and close together trees but if your good you can with ease. controlling this drone is so easy and on quick mode its so fun and whips around quick. cameras grate but i just have fun flying it bring it up high nd zooming it back it stope super quick and will take off with flick of throttle. the colors are so dope. its way to stable i can let it float in the air and set the controller down and just step back and not panic about losing it.all aroung grate. 5 stars if your not sure what to start off with or you want a grate drone just ... full review
The EVO is an interesting drone. It doesn’t have all the features that the Mavic 2 and even the Mavic Air have, but the features that it does have are very useful. I think the price is a bit high for something that isn’t name brand, but I’m guessing that controller design is where a lot of the extra cost is going. If you need a drone that can fold up and do 4K 60FPS video, then the EVO might be the only drone for you. If you want to shoot the best looking videos possible and a more capable drone, I would still go with a Mavic 2 Zoom or Mavic 2 Pro.
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.
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.
Good camera drones are powerful tools that have high-definition camera settings for industry-leading image quality. Sensor size, ISO range, shutter speed, photography modes, and more decide which bracket the camera drone will fit. Professional level camera drones will have 1 inch sensors and are able to capture at least 12 megapixels photographs and video in 4K or even 5.2K and RAW formats.
The flight time and speed on the Mavic 2 is unmatched by anything but the Phantom 4 Pro. It’s super fast in sport mode, and surprisingly faster than the old Mavic Pro even in the normal flight mode with obstacle avoidance enabled. With all that speed combined with a 30 minute flight time, you can go super far distances without worrying about if you’ll make it back to home base. The video feed is also improved over the old mavic. With Ocusync 2.0 you get a full 1080p video feed with little to no interference even in urban environments.
Every adventure needs a Spark of creativity! Spark is a mini drone that is great for taking quick selfies. With Gesture mode, you can use simple hand gestures to get Spark to follow you, take photos, and record videos. Spark can be operated without a controller, but if you prefer more traditional operation, you can fly with a remote controller or use your smartphone.
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