DRONES WITH CAMERAS
These are the drones that most people are familiar with. Camera drones are usually ready-to-fly quadcopters that have stabilized cameras for shooting video and stills. Drones with cameras have a massive amount of uses in different industries, such as video production, search and rescue, agriculture and more.
Most people don’t buy camera drones for a one specific reason. People tend to use their drone for many different reasons. Some of the more popular reasons include exploring the world from new perspectives, experiencing what it’s like to fly, and capturing memories in a completely new way is a perfectly good reason for wanting a camera drone.
LIST OF CAMERA DRONES
Below you will find a list of the most popular camera drones for sale right now, with the best drones being at the top. Please note that pricing may change at any time, so click on the price to see current pricing and availability.
TOP CAMERA DRONES
#1 DJI PHANTOM 4 PRO
Right now, there are a ton of camera drones for sale, but the DJI Phantom 4 PRO is by far the most innovative. It can fly super fast. It’s very reliable. The HD live video streaming works better than any other drone out there. It’s super easy to set up and use. The list of things that you can do just goes on and on.
The main feature of the Phantom 4 is the added 3D cameras and new computer hardware for mapping out environments in three dimensional space. This is what allows it to avoid obstacles and maneuver around them. However, features like obstacle avoidance aren’t the only thing that puts the Phantom 4 above all the other drones out there.
From a design standpoint, the Phantom 4 is made extremely well. It’s not the kind of drone where it just looks cool. Every part has been designed to be functional, but still elegant.
Recently, DJI has expanded their customer support team and now they even have DJI Care, which is like a damage protection plan for drones. With DJI Care, you can send your Phantom 3, Phantom 4, or even Inspire 2 to DJI and they will fix it for free even if the crash was your fault. If you want to know more about DJI care, check out the DJI Care article.
One of the best drones for sale right now is the Phantom 4. Here are some of the features that make the Phantom 4 my favorite video drone.
- 4K Video with 20 Megapixel Photos using a 1-inch sensor
- HD Video Streaming to your Mobile Device (over 4 mile range in good conditions)
- Powerful Mobile App (just like the DJI Inspire)
- Longer Battery Life (over 22-30 minutes)
- Advanced 3D Vision Positioning for More Stable Flight
- Front, Side, and Rear Facing Obstacle Avoidance
- Active Visual Subject Tracking Technology
- Quick Release Propellers
- Free In-app Flight Simulator for Learning to Fly
Right now, the DJI Phantom 4 PRO is priced at $1,499 which is pretty amazing considering that you’re getting the most technologically advanced drone on the market.
#2 DJI PHANTOM 3 SERIES
If you’re looking for the easiest drone to fly with the most flight time, features and great video quality, the Phantom 3 is the only option that I would recommend to just about anyone.
There are a few other drones that have similar functionality to the Phantom 3, but nothing else is going to give you a great all around experience with all of the most popular features for the same price.
Right now, the Phantom 4 is what I fly the most (when I’m not flying the inspire 1), but the Phantom 3 was my favorite camera drone before the Phantom 4 came out and it’s still better than any other option in it’s price range.
I used to tell people to buy a smaller drone so that they could learn how to fly before investing in a Phantom, but now with better flight characteristics and the built-in flight simulator, there really isn’t a reason to do that anymore.
One thing that isn’t immediately apparent is how large the DJI user community really is. Compared to other drones, the amount of YouTube videos, websites and people in general talking about the Phantom 3 is huge.
Any questions that you might have, there will always be someone out there who knows the answer. You can also find after-market accessories for sale like carrying cases, lens filters, GPS trackers and more.
When I flew the Phantom 3 for the first time, all I could think was “this thing flies like a mini Inspire 1!”. It’s much more stable than the Phantom 2 and the video quality is exactly the same as the inspire 1, however there are some big differences between them. If you aren’t sure which one to buy, read this article comparing the two.
FOUR PHANTOM 3 MODELS TO CHOOSE FROM
The Phantom 3 comes in four different models. At the top of the food chain, DJI’s Phantom 3 Professional comes standard with follow-me, GPS waypoints, point-of-interest, optical-flow and ultrasonic sensors (for height and position hold when no GPS signal is available), 4K video recording, 20 minute flight times and more.
The Phantom 3 Advanced will do everything that the Phantom 3 Professional can do, but at 2.7K instead of 4K. At $499, the Phantom 3 Standard is the cheapest Phantom 3 you can buy. It has a cheaper controller design (taken from the older Phantom 2), no optical-flow or ultrasonic sensors, but it still has follow-me, GPS waypoints and shoots 2.7k video.
With the Phantom 3 Standard, you’re basically getting something comparable to a 3DR Solo with a GoPro Hero 4 Silver and gimbal for half the price. The last model which came out a few months ago is the Phantom 3 4K. It has the ability to shoot 4K. but at the same price as the Phantom 3 advanced.
For more detailed info about the model differences, head over to the comparison article where I talk about the strengths and drawbacks of all four Phantoms.
#3 DJI INSPIRE 1 WITH 4K RAW VIDEO
Let me just start off by saying, if you ever get a chance to see this drone in person, you’re going to want one for yourself. With a design that looks like it came from a sci-fi movie, the inspire 1 is the most professional ready-to-fly drone you can buy.
The DJI Inspire 1 is probably one of the most advanced quadcopters I’ve ever seen. There isn’t much that the Inspire 1 CAN’T do. it comes standard with all of the features of the Phantom 3 Professional, but with a much bigger, cooler and higher quality design.
It’s almost twice as big and twice as fast as the Phantom 3 and with it’s transforming design, the propellers will almost never be seen in your videos. Additionally, the Inspire 1 comes with a 4K camera on a 360 degree panning gimbal, which means that you can control the motion of the camera completely independently of the Inspire 1.
This makes it great for dual pilot operation, but also for getting locked in shots in almost any wind conditions.
For Professional video use, the Inspire 1 comes in two other variants with superior image quality to even the most expensive aerial platforms in its size. If you need a high quality camera for shooting pro quality video The Inspire 1 Pro is a version of the Inspire 1 that features a micro-four-thirds 4K camera with 13 stops of dynamic range, interchangeable lenses and a sensor that’s 8 times larger than the standard Inspire 1 camera.
If you’re looking for an even higher end solution, DJI now offers the Inspire 1 Raw, featuring a 500GB SSD and 4K Raw video recording for working in professional post-production environments. The great thing about all of the inspire 1 models is that the camera is detachable, so even when your not in the air you can use cameras like the X5R with DJI’s Osmo to get professional ground shots as well.
I can’t cover everything about the Inspire 1 in this article, but one thing that I will talk about is that this is not something that you would buy your 10 year old son as a gift. The Inspire 1 costs $1,999 and is mainly for people who want an amazing tool for aerial photography, videography, search and rescue, 3D mapping, or any other professional application.
That being said, the Inspire 1 is actually one of the easiest drones to use and fly out there. So whether you have a real use for this drone, or you just want something that will impress all of your friends, the Inspire 1 is definitely something worth looking into.
If you want to learn more about the Inspire 1, you can find a ton of info about it in this article: “What Makes The DJI Inspire So Compelling?“.
#4 YUNEEC TYPHOON H
Compared to DJI, Yuneec is a relatively unknown company, however that hasn’t stopped them from competing. 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. This is a drone that has a lot of interesting features and flies extremely well.
We had the chance to use it for a few weeks and were genuinely impressed. By having 6 rotors, the Typhoon H flies very smooth, it should stay flying even if one motor fails, and it handles wind like a dream.
It comes with an all-in-one android controller, which means you don’t need a smartphone to use it, but the user interface is nowhere near as simple as the Phantom 4 or any DJI product for that matter.
That’s one of the main reasons why we prefer DJI’s drones over what Yuneec offers. Also, you will need to upgrade to the Typhoon H Pro “with Realsense” to get full obstacle avoidance functionality. Unfortunately, this will bring the cost up by over $400, making it much more expensive than the Phantom 4.
Over all, I think this is a good drone to consider if you want a little bit of everything. It has some features from the Inspire 1, some features from the Phantom 4 and styling that makes it look a bit more professional than most drones out there “if that’s something you care about”.
For a more detailed explanation of the differences between the Phantom 4 and the Typhoon H, check out our full article comparing the two. On that page we cover things like control range, video features, flight features, general usability and more.
#5 YUNEEC Q500 4K
The q500 4K is an older model from Yuneec and as the name implies, it shoots 4K video just like the Phantom 4 and Typhoon H. Although the Yuneec looks like a pool vacuum cleaner (in my opinion), it has lots of great features for the price.
For example, it comes with two batteries and a hand mount that allows you to take the camera (and gimbal) off the quadcopter to use it as a mini handheld stabilized camera system.
At around $800, it’s definitely a good price for what you’re getting, especially compared to the Solo, though it’s not as cheap as the Phantom 3 standard. Because the Q500 4K isn’t super popular compared to the other models, you won’t find a lot of information and videos about it yet, nor will there be any third-party accessories available, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering it as an option.
The most interesting feature of the Q500 4K is that it has an Android device built into the controller, so there’s no need to use your tablet or smartphone, although the quality of the screen on the controller is definitely subpar compared to an iPad. If you do plan on buying the Q500, make sure that you get the new silver and black 4K version, because the original Q500 had a 1080p camera and it wasn’t all that great.
#6 3DR SOLO
The 3D Robotics Solo is extremely functional, yet easy to use. It has many features similar to the Phantom 3 but instead of using a built-in camera, it uses the GoPro Hero 4. This means that you have the ability to take the camera off and use it for whatever you want.
The biggest difference between the Solo and almost any other ready-to-fly camera drone is that it’s modular/upgradable but still easy to use. It has a gimbal bay and an accessory bay, meaning that third-party companies can easily make new gimbals along with other accessories (No accessories or gimbals are currently available though).
You can get the Solo for only $999, however this price does not include the GoPro or 3 axis gimbal. If you want to get the Solo with the 3DR gimbal and a GoPro Hero 4 Black Edition, The total cost will be around $1900.
Basically, there are other cheaper options out there like the Phantom 3 and the Yuneec q500 4K that can produce videos with the same great quality, but if you can afford it and you like the options that the Solo has to offer, it’s not a bad choice.
#7 PARROT BEBOP
The Parrot Bebop is one of the more technologically advanced drones for sale right now. It’s the AR Drone’s smaller, smarter, faster and more expensive little brother.
Just like the AR Drone, you can control the Bebop with your iPhone or Android device. But with the Bebop, there’s an optional SkyController which will allow you to have real joystick controls, extended range, HDMI output and a few other cool things.
The Bebop has a lot of improvements over the AR Drone 2.0, but the most interesting feature is the video system. It has a 14 megapixel camera with a 180 degree field-of-view fisheye lens.
Since the camera lens has such a wide field-of-view and a really fast processor, the Bebop is able to 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 standard definition video feed straight to your phone. At the same time, It also records digitally stabilized 1080p video to the 8GB of onboard memory.
The Parrot Bebop is a really cool drone, but there’s a few issues that I have with it. The first is that the video stream seems to have a lot of lag, making it unusable for really fast and precise FPV (first-person-view) flying.
The second problem is the price. The price for the Bebop is $499 USD. It’s not a bad price, but you have to use your smartphone to fly it, which means that you won’t have precise controls unless you buy the optional $400 SkyController (making it $899 USD total).
A lot of people are also having reliability problems with the Bebop. Take this review from The Verge for example.
Overall, I think that the Bebop will be very popular “as a cool tech gadget” for the Christmas season, but I can’t see it being used for professional video in the same way that people use the Phantom 2 and Phantom 3. On the other hand, it’s a pretty good price (not including the SkyController), so I guess it wouldn’t be a bad gift idea.
Review shared by myfirstdrone.com