Best Drones With a Camera

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
DJI Mavic Pro
Test Winner: DJI Mavic Pro
Amazon Link
Photography has come a long way in the last ten years and a new way to capture beautiful aerial and scenic photography is by using a drone camera. First used by the U.S military in 1917 and then slowly branching out to filming and journalism, archeological surveys, wildlife monitoring, and even airstrikes, these pieces of equipment are not only used for capturing beautiful photography. You may have once thought that a drone would be out of your price range, but there are a surprising number of affordable options available. However, once you get to know more about these amazing pieces of technology and what can be incorporated into them, you may feel cheated without all the bells and whistles, and those obviously come with a price. Overall drones are sweeping the nation as a great piece of equipment for photographers and for aerial enthusiasts alike.

Standout Picks

DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo Collapsible Quadcopter Drone
You will quickly begin to realize who the dominant manufacturer is when it comes to drones, DJI. They have several highly-impressive models but what separates their Mavic Pro is its combination of amazing video quality, smart technology, and ultra-portable design.
Amazon Link
$1,349.00
Parrot Bebop 2 FPV - Up to 25 Minutes of Flight time
In terms of battery, performance, and camera, the Parrot Bebop 2 is above-average and will easily satisfy the customer, especially with its low price tag. The only downside to this drone is it's core structural integrity.
Amazon Link
DJI Spark, Fly More Combo, Alpine White
DJI is well known in the drone world, and they bring us another excellent drone. This camera drone has similar features to the Mavic Pro but comes at a price that will fit a new drone flyer's budget. With features like intelligent flight mode, gesture mode, and active track, this is a drone to check out!
Amazon Link
$799.00
DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone
While DJI made clear advancements from their Phantom 3 to the Phantom 4, the former does not have to remain obsolete. It holds its own with impressive video quality and the confidence in knowing that at a press of a button, it will return safely to you.
Amazon Link
$999.00
DJI Phantom 4 Starter Bundle
Yeah, the DJI craze has not let up yet. Now, one thing to note is their Phantom 4 Drone is not without its slight flaws but all things considered, users will appreciate its high-end technology and impressive 28-minute maximum flight time.
Amazon Link
Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon Quadcopter Drone RTF with CGO3 Camera
In terms of pure performance and video quality no, the Q500+ Typhoon probably can’t compete with the higher-end models from DJI. But, do not believe that it is inferior just because DJI did not manufacture it.
Amazon Link
$484.99
Yuneec Typhoon H Pro Bundle - Ultra High Definition 4K
The thing about the Typhoon Pro is if you find an area that is not a no-fly zone, you can enjoy the luxuries that it provides. However, due to its programming, it will not fly in no-fly zones and can become very limited in certain cities and counties.
Amazon Link
Holy Stone HS700D FPV Drone with 2K HD Camera
Founded in 2014, Holy Stone is still fairly new to the world of drones, but do not let that fool you. This company is putting out quality, affordable, and reliable products. The HS700 has been referred to as, "The Long Waited One" and it was definitely worth the wait.
Amazon Link
$259.99
Holy Stone HS200 FPV RC Drone with HD WiFi Camera
Simplicity is the best way to describe this drone. But does "simple" automatically indicate that something is bad? I suppose it depends on your preferences, but many customers may come to appreciate the simple yet effective nature of the Forcel U49C Drone.
Amazon Link
Syma X5C 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Explorers Quad Copter w/ Camera
Here it is. The cheapest option in our top ten. It is important to realize how basic this drone with a camera is and know ahead-of-time what you are getting into here because if not, you will be highly disappointed. However, this is such a great model for anyone looking to get their feet wet with this type of technology.
Amazon Link
$54.99

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Use

For some people, the be all end all of these types of drones will be the design of the integrated camera system. When it comes down to it, there are a few factors that will decide how competent a camera is. Firstly, is the resolution that it can output. Standard high-definition is classified as 720p (which is 1280 x 720), one step above that is 1080p (which is full HD and 1920 x 1080) and then there is 4K (which is ultra HD and 3840 x 2160). What does this mean for you? The higher the number, the more pixels there are and the better the resolution will be.

Next is the framerate. Typically, you will see framerates such as 30 per second and 60 per second (and perhaps even greater framerates). This is defined as the frequency in which frames are displayed in any type of video. As such, the higher the number, the more fluid the image which results in enhanced quality. Lastly, you may want a camera that shoots a raw video format. As opposed to the highly-popular JPEF format, raw does not compress any information and the result is untouched images that produce much higher quality.

Ease of Use

Once the drone takes off and is in the air, the fun will truly begin. But, several design features need to be in order to get the most out of the experience. For starters, a very important feature to be aware of is the maximum distance that the camera drone can fly and still remain functional, before losing its reception. Top-of-the-line drones will allow you to control them for multiple miles, while others, only North or South of 1,000 meters. While in the air, though, how about certain technology such as an obstacle avoidance system, GPS functionality, or automatic flight assistance?

Let’s start with the obstacle avoidance system, which is exactly what you think it is. The drone is programmed to detect objects in its sight and avoid them. If the drone is two miles away from you, it may see an obstacle that you do not. To preserve the life and durability of your drone, this is an important feature. Whether it be a bird or a plane, it’s definitely not something that you want to collide with. Then, there is GPS technology. Developed in 1973 by the U.S military, this type of GPS finds your location by collecting signals from orbiting satellites and providing you with an exact position within a few meters. For drones with a camera, this is used to provide a safer and more accurate flight, as it locks onto satellites in the sky for navigation. Also, automatic flight assistance is very convenient. Having the option of an automatic return home feature is convenient, so the drone knows exactly where to go when it comes back to you.

Battery Life

If you have never done research on drones with cameras, you may be surprised when you start to analyze the maximum flight times of the best drones. You may be surprised to learn that the amount is much lower than you would expect. After all, is 28 minutes of maximum flight time honestly amazing? It may not seem like it but this is actually as good as it gets for this technology. So, do not shake your head when you see flight times between twenty and thirty minutes because that is where the top models land, for now.

Past this number, you can also analyze the battery itself; which will usually be measured in mAh (milliamp hour). This is used to describe the energy charge of a battery and how long it will last before needing to be recharged. Clearly, the higher the better, and anything below 1,000 is not going to last for too long.

Durability

Along with all of the technology that is included in a drone, including obstacle avoidance systems that detect oncoming objects and avoid them, crashes and collisions are nearly inevitable. As such, you may want to invest in a model that is capable of withstanding an accident without needing replacement parts. It is advisable to assess the overall build and research to see if any users have experienced durability issues. Of course, this is the many reasons why spending extra money on a top-end model is worth it as you may get workmanship that consists of magnesium-alloy and carbon fiber.

But, lightness and portability can also be important in the drone world. Drones are meant to be portable and those that do not fold up or pack down in any way can be a hassle to transport. The same concept applies to lightness. It is important to keep in mind that the lighter the drone, the flimsier the device will perform in the wind. Cheaper models may wobble around and be unstable in furious winds and you never know what Mother Nature has up her sleeve on a given afternoon.

Top Ten Drones with a Camera

1. DJI Mavic Pro

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$1,349.00
DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo Collapsible Quadcopter Drone
Amazon Link

You will quickly begin to realize who the dominant manufacturer is when it comes to drones, DJI. They have several highly-impressive models but what separates their Mavic Pro is its combination of amazing video quality, smart technology, and ultra-portable design.

Read more

Video Quality
The Mavic Pro is capable of shooting 4K video at 30 frames per second and because of the integrated high-precision 3-axis mechanical camera stabilization system, you are provided with clear and stable images and videos.

Flying Capabilities
In the air, you can control this drone within 4.3 miles. When it is in the air, obstacle avoidance technology and sensor redundancy manage to increase the safety and reliability of the drone. In addition, this is equipped with GPS and GLONASS functionality.

Integrated Battery
Besides being able to fly up to 40 miles per hour with this battery, you can expect around 27 minutes of flight time. When compared to the competition, this is one of the higher times you will find.

The Construction
For such an impressive drone, it is amazing how portable it truly is. It folds down to around the size of a water bottle, which is fantastic. However, the small rubber bands that hold the gimbal in place are a bit fragile.

Live View
Thanks to the video transmission technology, you can receive a live HD video feed straight from the camera for up to 4.3 miles away.

Overall
Among the highly-impressive drones that DJI has manufactured, the Mavic Pro stands above them all. Why? No drone combines a camera of this magnitude, with as much high-tech integrated and exceptional portability.

Amazon Link
$1,349.00

2. Parrot Bebop 2

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Parrot Bebop 2 FPV - Up to 25 Minutes of Flight time
Amazon Link

In terms of battery, performance, and camera, the Parrot Bebop 2 is above-average and will easily satisfy the customer, especially with its low price tag. The only downside to this drone is it's core structural integrity.

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Video Quality
To improve the overall clarity of your captured footage (even in low lighting conditions), this is equipped with a fish-eye lens and can shoot 1080p video capturing.

Flying Capabilities
In case a collision occurs, Parrot has programmed its drone to automatically shut down. Generously added, there is a powerful rear flash LED light for greater visibility and powerful motors that allow for great altitudes of flight.

Integrated Battery
The Bebop 2 is able to achieve a maximum flight time of 25 minutes thanks to its 2700 mAh battery.

The Construction
For as lightweight and compact as it is, durability has been a concern for the Bebop 2. Try to avoid collisions at all costs as the smallest of dings tend to destabilize a motor.

Live View
All you need to do is download the FreeFlight3 piloting app from either Google Play or the Apple App Store to receive live playback from your device.

Overall
For what the Bebop 2 is, it is actually an impressive machine. Sure, it may not be built to withstand many bumps and bruises but at this price point, it's a steal.

Amazon Link

3. DJI Spark

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$799.00
DJI Spark, Fly More Combo, Alpine White
Amazon Link

DJI is well known in the drone world, and they bring us another excellent drone. This camera drone has similar features to the Mavic Pro but comes at a price that will fit a new drone flyer's budget. With features like intelligent flight mode, gesture mode, and active track, this is a drone to check out!

Read more

Video Quality
The DJI Spark brings a 2 axis stabilized gimbal camera to ensure you can reach all angles while filming, and that your video is stable for good quality. Spark's camera has an f/2.6 wide-angle lens with a 25 mm equivalent focal length.

Flying Capabilities
The DJI Spark has a couple of cool flying features such as gesture mode which allows you to fly the drone with your hands, it also has an active track which the drone follows you while you are doing an activity or need to film hands-free. It is quite simple to fly and stays stable in the air when you are not touching the controls to ensure your drone does not crash.

Integrated Battery
The DJI Spark battery will give you about 15 minutes of straight flying time and takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to fully charge. It is recommended to purchase an additional battery to lengthen your fly time.

The Construction
The DJI Spark is built to be durable and can take some hits if you have an impact. For a smaller drone, when holding it, it feels durable and you can tell it was built to last.

Live View
After it is installed on your smartphone or tablet, you can receive real-time footage of what your drone sees. You can also live stream to youtube.

Overall
The DJI Spark overall is a great and durable drone if you are looking for a drone that is affordable and built to last. It is also great for individuals that enjoy sports or activities where you want to film yourself with the active track. This is a great drone and definitely one to check out.

Amazon Link
$799.00

4. DJI Phantom 3

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$999.00
DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone
Amazon Link

While DJI made clear advancements from their Phantom 3 to the Phantom 4, the former does not have to remain obsolete. It holds its own with impressive video quality and the confidence in knowing that at a press of a button, it will return safely to you.

Read more

Video Quality
This is the first camera on this list that is not capable of shooting 4K video. Instead, it maxes out at 2.7K (which is still beyond full high-definition) with a frame-rate of 30 frames per second. Also, the 3-axis gimbal provides stability to the video footage.

Flying Capabilities
This features all the toys in terms of technology, which includes Point of Interest, Follow Me, Waypoint modes and Automatic Flight Assistant. The latter is convenient as this allows the drone to return to you on the fly. Plus, it does have a GPS-assisted flight.

Integrated Battery
Similarly, to the other drones that DJI has designed, the Phantom 3 has a very impressive flight time of up to 25 minutes thanks to the intelligent battery.

The Construction
Looking through various feedback and reviews, durability does not seem to be an issue and the overall build quality of the Phantom 3 is up-to-par with their other work.

Live View
As with the Phantom 4, which did not improve on this lacking feature, you can view the live video feed from your drone in conjunction with the free DJI Go application. But, due to the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi range, it does have a tendency to lag at times.

Overall
This is quality at its finest but even the hardcore enthusiasts must agree that there are a few caveats. A limited live video feed and the lack of being able to upgrade the camera if you desire to hold this back a tad.

Amazon Link
$999.00

5. DJI Phantom 4

Where to buy
Amazon Link
DJI Phantom 4 Starter Bundle
Amazon Link

Yeah, the DJI craze has not let up yet. Now, one thing to note is their Phantom 4 Drone is not without its slight flaws but all things considered, users will appreciate its high-end technology and impressive 28-minute maximum flight time.

Read more

Video Quality
The Phantom 4’s camera is capable of not only shooting 4K video at 30 frames per second but also at 120 frames per second when shooting at 1080p. Also, images can be shot in a 12-megapixel, raw format.

Flying Capabilities
With a maximum control range of 3.1 miles, you have a long-range to play with. In addition, Phantom 4 will detect obstacles in its path and avoid them and can return home.

Integrated Battery
With the battery fully charged and at full capacity, you could feasibly get around 28 minutes of maximum flight time.

The Construction
To improve the balance and precision, the core design of the Phantom 4 lifts the center of the gravity closer to its heart. Also, it features a magnesium skeleton that manages to keep its stiffness while reducing the overall weight of the drone.

Live View
If you want to see a live view of what your drone is seeing, you will need to utilize your smartphone or tablet with the appropriate software to do so.

Overall
Perhaps the only “issue” is the Phantom’s 4 difficulty with transport. While not impossible, it does not collapse and needs a lot of room when you are traveling with it. However, the amazing build quality teamed up with the advanced camera make this worth the money.

Amazon Link

6. Yuneec Q500+ Typhoon

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$484.99
Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon Quadcopter Drone RTF with CGO3 Camera
Amazon Link

In terms of pure performance and video quality no, the Q500+ Typhoon probably can’t compete with the higher-end models from DJI. But, do not believe that it is inferior just because DJI did not manufacture it.

Read more

Video Quality
Thanks to the re-designed lens which lowers the amount of distortion present in the image, the quality is enhanced. Despite it not having 4K functionality, it can shoot 1080p (which is still full-HD) at 60 frames per second.

Flying Capabilities
Due to the fact that the Q500+ features three different flight modes (Smart Mode, Angle Mode, and Home Mode), there is some diversity in how you can use it. All three of these modes utilize GPS for improved flight. But, if it ascends beyond 400 feet it will not fly any longer.

Integrated Battery
There are two batteries included with the drone (5200 mAh) and they both provide up to 25 minutes of flight time.

The Construction
As a whole, this quadcopter feels very light but well-engineered. In fact, it holds up pretty well to wind gusts.

Live View
On the Personal Ground Station, which sports a 5.5-inch touchscreen, you can view the live footage being captured by the camera. Although, users have claimed it can lag sometimes.

Overall
For someone who is looking to spend a little extra money but maybe not as much as some of the higher-end drones, the Q500+ is an ideal choice. It lands in the middle for practically everything but does have a terrific battery.

Amazon Link
$484.99

7. Yuneec Typhoon Pro

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Yuneec Typhoon H Pro Bundle - Ultra High Definition 4K
Amazon Link

The thing about the Typhoon Pro is if you find an area that is not a no-fly zone, you can enjoy the luxuries that it provides. However, due to its programming, it will not fly in no-fly zones and can become very limited in certain cities and counties.

Read more

Video Quality
Thanks to the 3-axis gimbal the camera is stabilized during the footage. In terms of the resolution, it can shoot 4K ultra-high-definition content.

Flying Capabilities
Technology such as Intel RealSense to navigate around obstacles, GPS for more accurate navigation, auto takeoff and land, and automatic return to home provide several advantages.

Integrated Battery
Likewise, to the other drones on this list, expect up to 25 minutes of flight time in one sitting.

The Construction
The futuristic design is enhanced due to the propellers’ ability to fold up for transport. However, the camera spindle is very fragile and upon impact, the wires tend to rip out.

Live View
One of the biggest advantages of this drone is Yuneec integrated a 7-inch Android touchscreen on its controller that provides real-time footage of what the camera is seeing.

Overall
While it seems like a smart feature to have, this comes down to its no-fly zones. Because of this, the areas in which you can fly are limited. But, because of the overall design of the drone, it is definitely worth the money.

Amazon Link

8. Holy Stone HS700 Ophelia

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$259.99
Holy Stone HS700D FPV Drone with 2K HD Camera
Amazon Link

Founded in 2014, Holy Stone is still fairly new to the world of drones, but do not let that fool you. This company is putting out quality, affordable, and reliable products. The HS700 has been referred to as, "The Long Waited One" and it was definitely worth the wait.

Read more

Video Quality
This device features a 5g 1080P Full High Definition camera, along with a 120-degree field of view, making it easy for you to capture beautiful shots. You can even switch out the stock camera and replace it with a GoPro Hero 2,3, or 4.

Flying Capabilities
You can control your HS700 for up to 3,280 feet. One of the most admired features of this drone is the Follow Me mode. The drone will hover and follow wherever you and the remote control may go. You can also create a flight path ahead of time and the drone will follow it. The HS700 can travel at 25km per hour and up to 60km per hour downwind.

Integrated Battery
Doubling the battery capabilities of their last done, this Holy Stone HS700 has a twenty minute flight time. Of course, this depends on how many photos and videos you are capturing. Another great feature of this drone is the Auto Return. If the drone goes out of range or has a dangerously low battery, it will return to you at an altitude of 100 feet.

The Construction
The build quality of this drone is quite amazing. Weighing in at .81 pounds, 370grams, this device still manages to hold up to the wind and capture amazing photos and videos. The brushless motor

Live View
Integrated wireless HD image transmission technology allows the slave controller to receive video information from the master controller. For up to 100 meters apart, the image quality will not suffer. The live video range for this drone is 1,300 feet.

Overall
Sporting a brushless motor and a lightweight, yet sturdy, body the HS700 is quite impressive. The brushless motor provides you with a powerful, yet quiet flight. Holy Stone may be new to this game, but they are quickly gaining popularity and improving their products with every new release.

Amazon Link
$259.99

9. Forcel U49C

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Holy Stone HS200 FPV RC Drone with HD WiFi Camera
Amazon Link

Simplicity is the best way to describe this drone. But does "simple" automatically indicate that something is bad? I suppose it depends on your preferences, but many customers may come to appreciate the simple yet effective nature of the Forcel U49C Drone.

Read more

Video Quality
While the camera resolution is limited, although still high-definition at 720p, the rubber damping assists in reducing the overall vibration of the camera for smoother footage.

Flying Capabilities
This is incredibly easy to fly and suitable for novices as it features three different speed modes and key control. Also, you can launch and land the drone with one simple button.

Integrated Battery
The battery is rated to fly for up to 15 minutes but because Forcel provides an additional battery, this time is essentially doubled.

The Construction
Unfortunately, do not expect to put this drone in the air on windy days as it simply will not hold up. Due to its insane lightness near the tail, it has no stability in the wind.

Live View
This is one of the biggest design features you sacrifice when looking into basic drones. The U49C Drone does not possess this capability.

Overall
Is this a limited drone? Of course, it is, and is it for hardcore gurus? No, but this is still a stellar starter model that is ideal for those just getting into the technology.

Amazon Link

10. Syma X5C

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$54.99
Syma X5C 4 Channel 2.4GHz RC Explorers Quad Copter w/ Camera
Amazon Link

Here it is. The cheapest option in our top ten. It is important to realize how basic this drone with a camera is and know ahead-of-time what you are getting into here because if not, you will be highly disappointed. However, this is such a great model for anyone looking to get their feet wet with this type of technology.

Read more

Video Quality
The Syma X5C is equipped with an HD camera but let’s be honest, the video quality here is nothing to write home about. However, it will still suffice depending on your fuss about the quality.

Flying Capabilities
While the distance you can control this drone too is very limited, only 30 meters, it does feature a 6-axis stabilization system which makes it easier to stabilize when it is hovering around in the sky.

Integrated Battery
Once again, yes, this is limited when it comes to the battery. With only a 500 mAh battery, it can only withstand around seven minutes of flight time on a single charge.

The Construction
Despite being limited in other respects, the construction is admirable for this drone. It is wind-resistant and can survive the results of an inevitable crash that awaits it.

Live View
As you probably guessed, this feature is not available for this model. Instead, you will have to wait to see the footage after the recording has completed.

Overall
Some may question the appearance of this drone on this list. Look, it clearly can’t compete with DJI’s top models but due to the price, that is not what it is trying to do. Its attempt to be a solid drone for novices and users who are not concerned with advanced features and the video quality is admirable.

Amazon Link
$54.99

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