But perhaps the biggest change to the field is the fact that drones have made aerial photography and videography accessible to everyone. Some of the high-end drones on this list may get a little pricey, but these are all consumer-grade products perfect for anyone with an interest in the field. We’ve hand-picked the top 24 best drones with cameras for all needs and all experience levels.
Drone technology has rapidly developed in recent years, opening up exciting possibilities for budding pilots, filmmakers, and industry professionals. This article presents a roundup of some of the most popular remote-controlled drones for sale on the market. Whether you’re looking for a small portable drone for everyday use or an advanced filmmaking drone, check out the drone recommendations below.
The Mavic Air is an excellent camera drone for those on the go, offering a foldable design and a powerful 4K camera. Built to accompany you on any adventure, the Mavic Air is smaller than the Mavic Pro and offers many of the same great features. This camera drone can capture crystal-clear 32MP Sphere Panoramas by stitching 25 images together. The sky can’t be captured due to the limited gimbal tilt range, but a zenith stitching algorithm completes the full 360° shot.
It is the perfect camera drone for anyone, with all the core features and available at a reasonable price. The camera range and controller are excellent and it is compact enough to throw in a bag and travel. That is the major selling point of the Mini. The main features are a 30-minute flight time, an HD video transmission of 4 km, 3-axis gimbal with a 2.7K camera and physical controllers working with Android and iOS phones.
My favorite feature of the Anafi is the 180 degree 2 axis gimbal. Unlike most drone cameras, with this special gimbal, the Anafi can look up to 90 degrees up or down. This means if you’re flying under some trees and you want to take some shots of the leaves and the sky in the background, you can actually do it. There is one downside to the Gimbal on the Anafi though, and it’s a big one. Just like the DJI Spark, it’s only a 2 axis gimbal, meaning that the third axis is still digitally stabilized. For slow shots, you won’t notice this small detail, but if you’re flying in windy conditions or you do a lot of panning shots, you might see some jittery panning motion.
It comes in an amazing design and can even be controlled with voice commands. The camera has an HD resolution of 720 pixels. It comes pre-assembled and so just needs charging for setting up. The 720p HD camera can take pictures at a 120-degree wide-angle. It also has an FPV aspect, which means that it has a Wi-Fi real-time transmission for connecting to the phone.
You get up to 9 minutes of flight time, have a 640x480p camera, and video capabilities that lack audio as there is no microphone. You can do flips in the air at the touch of a button on the transmitter, and there is a button that lets you share a video on social media instantly. The LED lights located at the center of each propeller and the headlight are pretty useful for flying at night, too.
DJI's Phantom drones feel like monoliths from another era, and they may well be—the company hasn't released a significant update to the Phantom line in nearly four years. Still, if you're a video or drone professional, the Phantom 4 Pro V2 (8/10 WIRED Recommends) is the drone to get. It's like flying a rock, and I mean that in the best way possible. The Phantom 4 Pro is stable and responsive; shoots incredible, cinema-quality footage; and is practically smart enough to fly without you. It may not generate much buzz these days, but the Phantom remains an excellent choice that won't let you down.
It weighs less than 250 grams and so is very light and stays in the air longer compared to other types of quadcopters. As it is under 250 grams, you can fly it in the US or Canada without registration. The drone offers support for 12 MP aerial photographs with 2.7K quad HD videos. The 3-axis gimbal offers good camera stability and ultra-smooth footage. There are many shooting modes, such as Dronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket and so on. QuickShot offers an easy way of executing preset motions for recording.
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.
The camera is a 120-degree wide-angle HD camera, whereby you can view clear aerial images in real-time transmission. The camera has a resolution of 1080 pixels with a 90-degree adjustable lens to take different types of photographs. Commercial users can plot a precise course with the assistance of GPS for filming videos. The GPS helps record the flight trajectory, so it is possible to find the location that has been filmed. All modes like Follow-Me, Orbit flight, and Draw-the-dots are available. Other useful features are the auto-return home, in case of lost signals, low voltage and so on. Users can select 3-speed modes, with low speed for beginners, medium for adults and high speed for skilled professionals. All basic functions are easy to perform.
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 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.
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.
In any case, if you’re looking for an almost-ready-to-fly racing drone in 2017, the new Vortex 150 and Vortex 180 are probably the best way to go. The Vortex doesn’t have all of the beginner features, or the amazing HD video transmission system like the Connex Falcore, but it was made to be more of a pro race drone with better flight characteristics and a durable design.
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.
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.
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.
Out of all the ready-to-fly racing drones out there, the Falcore is one of the only sets that comes with almost everything you need to get flying. Connex designed their own drone, battery, and controller from the ground up to give new drone users a streamlined flying experience. The only thing you will need to buy for the Falcore is some good FPV goggles or a monitor that has an HDMI input. You could even use DJI Goggles!
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.
This thing is a highly sophisticated and advanced piece of aeronautics technology. It is not a toy. The firmware and remote controller requires updating before operation. That consists of downloading the zip file from the Dji website, loading them onto the micro SD card, and inserting it into the micro SD slot on the gimbal. After that it's pretty automatic. First flight: DO NOT FLY INDOORS for the first flight. Attitude mode means it relies solely on the VPS sensors and does not have GPS guidance. In which case the bird can get a little squirrelly and takes practice and experience with the controls to know how to maneuver without GPS. To stop the motor when landing, either initiate the Return to Home function (in which case the drone will land itself) or put the sticks both down and inward for an instantaneous canceling of the motors, or put the ... full review
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.
The RTF kit is nice and all of the components are nearly perfect for this frame, but the best part about the QAV-R is the QAV-r frame by itself. In simple words it’s a light weight tank. You can’t break this drone. Technically, I’ve broken this frame, but only after many months of flying and some of the hardest crashes at speeds over 50MPH. And when you do break something, the parts usually don’t cost more than $15 to replace.
The Altair 818 Plus has a lot of the features that made the AA108 our top choice, but it also adds a little something extra – it can get 15 minutes of flight time off of a single battery charge. That’s almost unheard of in low-end “toy” drones like this one and it means that the 818 has the longevity to be used for actual photo shoots and videography sessions. It also has a much longer range of 150 meters, which makes it perfect for finding those hard-to-reach perfect shots.
But what really sets the AA108 apart is its wide range of extra features that make it prefect for users at any skill level. Beginners can take advantage of its headless and altitude hold modes to help with the steep learning curve that comes with flying your first quadcopter. Advanced users can set it at the higher speed setting to see what the aircraft can really do, taking advantage of the high-quality HD camera features and custom pathing to get great footage and pull off amazing stunts.