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.
On-screen-displays have become pretty standard for ready-to-fly racing drones, but this time the OSD and video transmitter has been integrated into the Synergy flight controller to simplify the design and reduce weight. If you know about FPV, having an integrated video TX might scare you. After all, video transmitters do tend to burn out. Thankfully ImmersionRC has a great feature built into the video transmitter that eliminates this issue.
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.
If you look on the top, you’ll see a few little connectors. These connections allow you to mount either a ball shooter or a little grabbing arm. There’s one other thing you can do with this connector though, and It’s super cool if you’re buying this drone for your kids. It’s a Lego mount! There are a few Lego mounting points on the Mambo, so you can turn it into whatever kind of Lego ship you can think of! The only limitation is how many Legos it can carry.
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.
All of this would be useless without good motor speed controllers, but thankfully all four 32-bit ESCs support ONESHOT 42. One great thing about ImmersionRC ESCs is the fact that you never have to worry about soldering the motor wires on backwards thanks to the rotorSENSE feature. With rotorSENSE, if one motor is spinning in the wrong direction, you just spin the motor by hand in the direction you want it to go and the ESC will then spin the motors in that direction.
The Falcore streams 720p 60fps video directly to the controller which is already impressive (other racing drones stream analog standard definition video), but what’s more important is the 27mS latency. This is what makes the Connex system different from other digital transmission technologies. On a camera drone like the Phantom 4, the video latency is over 100mS. That’s fine for doing aerial photography, but for drone racing 27mS is the standard and having any more latency than that makes it hard to fly fast.
At that point, the advanced obstacle avoidance systems and SmartCapture features are just icing on the cake. But these high-tech features also make the drone extremely accessible to newer pilots who may not know how best to handle their first photography drone. So if you want the power of a Mavic 2 with a less frightening price and intimidating feature set, the Mavic Air is an excellent choice.
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.
You might think that its small size means it doesn’t have a lot of features, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Mavic Pro shoots 4K video at 30FPS and 12-megapixel photos with DNG support. Now, I’m sure you know specs aren’t everything when it comes to cameras; that’s why we’ve tested the Mavic Pro and compared it to all of the other top camera drones out there.
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.
Drones are fun. For many, that's reason enough to get one. Others find the lure of owning the latest technology irresistible. But when you factor in the photography and video possibilities, there are many other potential benefits to owning one. First, a drone camera can enhance the way you do business. If you're a realtor, a photography drone offers you a noteworthy way to showcase your properties with an overhead view. If you farm, you might use a drone to help you monitor your property and operations, and to get useful data on your crops. If you're a photographer, a small drone with camera could give you the edge you need to beat out your competition for wedding or event photography jobs. Beyond business considerations, a mini drone with camera can help your posts stand out on social media.
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.
If you or your kids want to learn programming for the first time, Tello is great for that too. You can learn to program visually using blocks, or the more traditional way using real languages like Apple’s Swift and Python. This means you can start from ground zero with no experience and learn to code, or utilize the Power of Python and thousands of existing libraries to do almost any task you can think of!
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 last feature only available on the Mavic 2 Pro is HDR video. Unlike the Parrot Anafi, this HDR shooting mode is for capturing true HDR content and outputting to a HDR enabled TV or monitor. This means you won’t see the HDR effect unless you have an HDR TV that supports HLG color. You do have the right TV for viewing the footage, this is a really cool shooting mode for creating true HDR content.
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.
Camera quality is hard to rate, but we think we’ve come up with a good number based on the look of the image each drone is able to produce, the sensor size, the shooting resolutions, and whether or not the drone has additional features like changeable lenses or ND filters. This is a very important rating to look at. With all of the factors we take into consideration in this category, you can be sure that the drone with the best rating will indeed have the best camera onboard.
Camera drones enable us to access spaces and create compositions in fresh new ways compared to a traditional handheld camera. They are increasingly used in a variety of occasions: for professional aerial photography or cinematography, recording moments in different sporting events, getting cool travel snaps, and capturing unique photos for special events like weddings.
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.
The JJRC H26WM is a great drone for beginners or those who want a casual drone to zip around with. The camera is pretty decent but nothing too fancy, so don’t expect the world from it. The maximum amount of flight time you can get is approximately 7 minutes, so having an extra battery is a good idea. The camera allows for 2MP in FPV which swings around in all directions.
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.
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.
What it does have is everything you need to start flying (seriously). When you buy the Vision 250, there’s nothing else you need to buy. You don’t need to worry about battery chargers, controllers, goggles, receivers or anything at all. It comes with everything you need including FPV goggles and a controller for just $350. That’s less money than a set of pro FPV goggles!
Designed to be both powerful and lightweight, the Inspire 1 is an all-in-one professional filmmaking platform. The Inspire 1 V2.0 drone features a unique propulsion system, aerodynamic design, and a modular system. This professional drone also features a 12MP camera, with a 94-degree wide-angle FOV, giving users an exceptional wide view. With onboard Lightbridge technology, Inspire 1 V2.0 also provides users with a 720p HD live view. For other incredible filmmaking drones, the Inspire 1 Pro and Inspire 2 RAW combine advanced aerial technology with incredible M4/3 imaging capabilities. All inspire 1 series drones are only available as refurbished units, offering users professional camera drones at discounted prices.
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.
There are a few downsides to this drone, the main one being the price. At $1,999 USD, not everyone will be able to afford it. It also uses a 2 axis gimbal, so panning motion is not very smooth. Since it doesn’t have a controller, that also means you can’t fly the drone farther than wifi range will allow. The biggest issue with this drone in my opinion is the size It’s not much larger than the Mavic 2 when unfolded, but that’s the problem, it doesn’t fold up at all. This means if you want to fit it into a camera bag or small backpack, you’re just out of luck.
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.
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
This drone is small and cute but pretty durable and very safe for young kids. It’s more suited for indoor use because wind can be a problem due to its small size and the ducted fan design. Some complain that it doesn’t have a hover feature, but neither do other drones in it’s price point. For the price, its a great choice if you want to have some fun with a drone that’s not going to break the bank.
The Mambo FPV is a cool drone. It comes with everything you need (other than a smartphone) to start doing FPV. Although Parrot advertises the Mambo as an FPV racing drone, it’s not a real FPV racing drone like the ones in our FPV Racing section. It’s more of a cool FPV toy made for beginners and kids. In any case, I’m sure it will be a lot of fun around the holidays!
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 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 Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 also comes with an option to purchase the remote controller with an in-built screen. The ultra-bright 5.5-inch screen is easily visible in direct sunlight. The DJI Go 4 app is in-built into the screen, so you don't need a smartphone to operate the aircraft. The remote control has up to five hours of battery life, which gives you a comprehensive camera drone suitable for advanced aerial photography
There’s nothing particularly special about the Syma X5C, but it works and it’s really cheap. It’s a blast to fly if you’ve never flown anything before and it’s cheap enough where you don’t have to feel bad if you lose it on the roof top of your house. That’s probably why it has over 4,200 reviews on Amazon, which is a number that no other drone has come close to.
This is a nice sturdy and attractive quadcopter for the price with a lot of features only found in the more expensive drones. It’s good for beginners and intermediate pilots, but not recommended for those wanting to take professional video and photography. It doesn’t have any of the features that make a good video drone, like stabilized video, low video compression, or just having control over the camera settings.
If you’ve seen the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Pro, you know they shoot 4K video at 30FPS. The EVO Goes one step further shooting 4K video at 60FPS. This is a great feature if you like capturing sports and action shots and slowing down the action. If it seems strange that a small company could come out with a drone that has a faster camera than DJI, that’s because it is. Personally, I think that DJI limited the framerate on the Mavic 2 so it didn’t fully cannibalize the Phantom 4 Pro, but nobody knows for sure.
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!
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.
Our expert reviewer and tester evaluate drones on a number of factors. For starters, we examine the size and design, taking into account my many rotors the drone has, how portable it is, and if it comes with an included remote control or camera. Next, take it out to a park or wilderness area and test how easy it is to learn and fly. We pay attention to the learning curve of learning the control, and how much latency there is in video transmission (if the controller has such a feature). We also look at flight capabilities like omnidirectaonal sensing, obstacle avoidance, tracking, and automatic landing.