With a camera that tilts a full 180 degrees, a Hitchcock-style "dolly mode," and built-in zoom, the Parrot Anafi can shoot some footage no other drone on this page can manage. The downside is, the footage isn't as sharp and clear as what you'll get from DJI's machines. Out of the box, the Anafi is very sluggish to fly, but head into settings and bump up the speed and it will fly just as well as more expensive options. Flight time is a solid 25 minutes, and it's hands down the quietest drone I've ever flown.

Featuring a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor, the Skydio 2 records stunning 4K HDR footage at 60 fps and captures 12-megapixel stills. With autonomous speeds up to 36 mph, it captures dynamic cinematic shots with ease. Fly from the app, hand-held Beacon remote, or with a controller for even more precision. Its portable design makes it a compelling option for travel bloggers, documentary compilers, and commercial drone pilots in any industry.
The Anafi is a great drone for the price, but the biggest complaint I have by far is the lack of any sensors for obstacle avoidance. The only obstacle that this drone will stop you from hitting is the ground, that is, as long as you don’t hit a tree first. All of the other drones in this price range have some kind of obstacle avoidance, so why they couldn’t even add some IR sensors is beyond me.
If a drone doesn’t come with a gimbal and that’s the one you want the most, do some basic research to see whether or not you can purchase a separate gimbal and mount it. Aerial photography is much more difficult without a gimbal. It will ruin your chances of coming out with decent footage, so always opt for a drone with a gimbal or one you can purchase one for separately.
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 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.

Drones have many uses, but most people use them as flying cameras. You can capture amazing videos and photos thanks to the advances in camera quality and the invention of brushless camera gimbals. Drones are also used for many industrial applications such as: search and rescue missions, fire fighting, police operations, wildlife monitoring, crop surveying, crop dusting, structure inspections, 3D map generation, professional video production, controllable lighting, signal repeating, and communication.

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.


Value-added services are crucial factors when deciding which drone manufacturer to go with. Besides the standard warrantee, buying your camera drone from a company that offers in-depth tutorials, personal training, workshops, and so on is a smart decision. What’s more, there is also accidental insurance coverage. For novice pilots, these services are always a big plus.
Thanks to the speed of the processor that handles machine learning, DJI was able to add more smart features to the Mavic Air than any other drone available today. One of these new features is called Smart Capture. It’s like Gesture Control for the DJI Spark, but much better. You can takeoff from the ground using just your palm, use palm control from up to 20 feet away, control distance with two palms, take pictures, videos, group shots and more.
A key part of our evaluation is testing out various flight modes, and putting the battery life to the test to see if it lives up to expected flight time and range. More advanced drones may have pilot assistance systems and the ability to perform advanced flight maneuvers, which is something we also test. If the drone includes a camera built-in we use it and evaluate the camera resolution, focus, tracking, frame rate, and other key features. Finally, we take a look at the price of the drone and compare its features to a competitor in the same range to make our final judgement. All of the drones we test are purchased by Lifewire; none are provided by the manufacturer.
The Hubsan H501S packs a lot of features into a much smaller frame than other quadcopters with similar features. To start, it has a 6-axis flight control system,built in GPS and altimeter which keeps this unit very stable in flight. This allows it to have features such as follow-me, return-to-home, and hold-position. It also does quite well in windy conditions. It has four brushless motors complete with gold blades. There’s a spare set in the box too. The fixed 1080P HD camera transmits standard 5.8G wireless video from a distance of about 300 meters. There is an SD slot to record video directly under the camera. The lipo battery is large at 7.4V 2700mAh and has a charging time of approximately 150 minutes. You should have a flight time of about 19 minutes.
If you’re looking for the best cheap quadcopter, the DBPOWER MJX X400W FPV Drone may be exactly what you’re looking for. This quadcopter allows for real-time transmission to your smartphone. It is armed with a WiFi HD camera that allows you to view the world as your drone does. You can even take photos and videos straight from your phone and share them to your favorite social network in real time. It also comes with a headless drone mode for beginners and kids that allows you to more easily control your drown. When it is in headless mode it has a one key return feature that allows the drone to return automatically. They can also perform 360° flips in all directions making it a perfect drone for any show-off. It comes with two speeds and is easily switchable between the two. This is a great feature not available in many inexpensive drones.
The most expensive version of the Hubsan X4 is the H107D. It’s mainly for FPV, which allows you to see everything that the drone can see in real time. The design is slightly different from any of the other models and it has a black antenna on the bottom. Although FPV is really cool, this is probably my least favorite version of the Hubsan X4, mainly because the flight time isn’t as good as the other models and the FPV range is only a couple hundred feet. It’s also about 2 times more expensive than the Hubsan with the HD camera.
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.

The best camera drones in 2020 are equipped with a handful of smart flight features. These make capturing stunning footage in difficult situations much easier and fun. For example, for times when you are shooting fast-moving objects, a feature like ActiveTrack will direct the camera drone to recognize and track a subject while keeping it in the frame. There are a variety of other intelligent features available on camera drones, so do be sure to check those out before buying yours.


It is light at just about 4.6 ounces and fits well in the hand. It is powered by 4 AA batteries. The quadcopter is fun to fly, as it is small and lightweight and can be easily maneuvered. It can also perform stunts like 360-degree turns, backflips, somersaults, etc. The camera is at the bottom and weighs just 0.2 ounces, coming with a 4GB micro-SD card and a small lens. Videos can be shot at 640 x 480 pixels at 30 fps and still photos at 1280 x 960 pixels, with decent looking colors.
If you’re looking for the perfect drone to take your creativity to the next level, or if you work in videography, look no further than the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0. The advanced camera features, including 20 megapixels, 4K video, and an accurate mechanical shutter put it on par with many traditional cameras. It delivers stunning video and images that any photographer would be proud of.
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.
That said, price is a key consideration for most people, and luckily there are a lot of excellent budget options out there now for those that don't want to spend as much on their new toy as on a used car. Beyond that, there's camera integration and quality, as well as how compatible each drone is with the best drone accessories. We selected the best options across a wide range of budgets and use cases, to spare you some shopping headaches and get you flying ASAP.
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.
Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (typically configured as quadcopters). To keep drones stable, they have on-board flight controllers capable of measuring movement, and giving feedback to the motor controllers (ESCs). Controlling the speed of each motor is what allows drones to fly in virtually any direction. For example, to move up, all the rotors spin faster creating more lift, but to move right, the left rotors spin faster and the right rotors spin slower causing the drone to tilt to the right. Once the drone is tilted to the right, some of the downward thrust is directed to the left. When a drone is hovering at an angle, it will drift in the direction that tilts in. To rotate a drone, half of the rotors spin faster and the other half spin slower. This only works because half of the rotors are spinning clockwise and the other half are spinning counterclockwise to create a torque force.

This camera has a 1 inch 20 megapixel sensor (four times larger than the sensor on the Mavic 2 Zoom). This gives the Mavic 2 Pro much better low light performance than the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic Air while capturing higher resolution photos. To complement the larger sensor, the Mavic 2 Pro also has a larger lens with adjustable aperture controls. Changing the aperture also allows you to get shots with the background slightly blurred out. It also helps with controlling the exposure better when you want to have a fixed shutter speed.
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.
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.

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.


The drones we review are ready-to-fly models, so you can use them right out of the box. In most cases, you'll need to bring your own Android or iOS device to view the camera feed in real-time, but we've reviewed a few models that stream video directly to a remote control. We don't cover racing, industrial, or agricultural aircraft here—our focus is on aircraft intended for aerial imaging and videography.
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 Altair AA108 is durably built and will not break easily. You can count on a solid flight time of around 10 minutes, a bit less when you’re running it FPV. However the 720p camera really works well and connects to your phone through WiFi. It’s easy to fly because it has 3 flight modes, 1 beginner, 2 intermediate and 3 advanced mode. It also has Altitude Hold which allows you to take your thumb off the control and the drone holds it’s own altitude, making it very stable because it’s not bouncing up and down as you try to maintain altitude!
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.
×