Drones are super cool, and no one can doubt this statement for a while. The intriguing possibilities they offer to expand the horizons of adventure and beauty is quite overwhelming.
Today we are going to reveal the best drone cameras you can buy in 2017.
Yes, even for people who do not have enough valid reasons to invest in drones would want to buy. Right? …
While the drones are super cool they also happen to be quite expensive. Most of them are for enthusiasts or people who are into experimenting with videography mainly. Almost all the good, high-end drones come equipped with amazing cameras.
However, this guide will equip you with both high and low end best purchasing options. So that everyone can savor the beauty and exciting features of this beautiful creation of mankind.
Best Drone Cameras 2017
Before starting there are some things that you should know about. The drone market is divided into 2 main domains. There are the high level, enthusiast grade drones like the DJI Phantom 4, and the DJI T600 Inspire 1, and then there are cheaper options.
Now as for the cheaper options, they cost way lower than what you’d expect to pay for a DJI Phantom 4, or other drones of similar class. These low-end drones are considered toy drones. This guide covers both types of drones in order to address the needs of seasoned professionals as well as hobbyists.
So, you will be seeing some really high-end stuff from the likes of DJI, and GoPro as well as some entry-level toy drones that are targeted towards people who just want to have some fun.
|Drone Name||Camera Type||Resolution||Megapixels|
|DJI Mavic Pro|
|Integrated with Gimbal||Upto 4k||12 MP|
|Compatible with Black 4,5 and Session 5||Depends on the Mounted Camera||Camera Dependant|
|DJI Phantom 4||Integrated with Gimbal||Upto 4k||12 MP|
|DJI Inspire 1||Integrated with Gimbal||Upto 4k||12 MP|
|DJI Phantom 3||Integrated with Gimbal||Upto 4k||12 MP|
|Yuneec Q500 4K||Integrated with Gimbal||Upto 4k||12.4 MP|
|3D Robotics Solo||Solo Gimbal with Mountable Camera||Upto 4k||Camera Dependant|
|Parrot AR.Drone 2.0||Integrated with Gimbal||720p||14 MP|
|Cheerson Hobby CX-20 Professional||Changeable with GoPro or any other||Depends on the Mounted Camera||Camera Dependant|
|3d Robotics Iris+||Compatible with Black 4,5 and Session 5||Depends on the Mounted Camera||Camera Dependant|
Before we begin, you should know that these drones are also commonly known as Quadcopters due to their appearance and rotors on all 4 ends.
There are majorly 2 different types of drones/quadcopters. One type comes without any pre-installed camera or a camera mount that you can use to put a camera on. The others are the ones that are equipped with really high-end cameras that can shoot videos at 4K.
Now if you just want to have a drone that you can fly around, and show off, the simple cheaper options will do the trick. However, if you are a film student or an aspiring filmmaker looking for a high-end camera, you should be prepared to spend a lot of money because quality comes with a certain price.
1. DJI Mavic Pro – Best Portable Drone (Casey Neistat’s Favourite)
Now in case you don’t know, Casey Neistat himself endorsed this drone on several occasions. He went on saying that this is quite possibly the best drone he has had a chance to use, and that’s something.
Before we begin, you should know that Dà-Jiāng Innovations Science and Technology Co. (commonly known as DJI) is a Chinese company that specializes in creating some of the best drones we have seen in the market. They are really famous for their Phantom lineup, something we will be seeing on our list today. In addition to that, they have some other lineups like Inspire series. Needless to say, the company has made sure that it has the complete range of drones suitable for all sorts of consumers.
During our entire testing process, we found out that DJI Mavic Pro is, in fact, one of the best drones we have used so far. We will now rest our case with the insightful discussion ahead.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the DJI Mavic Pro. Apart from the impressive pros, we are going to take a look at some of the things that hold this otherwise amazing drone back.
The DJI Mavic Pro is super compact. It sounds crazy but the drone can actually be folded to the size of a small bottle of water. So you can take it pretty much anywhere you want. Other than that, Mavic Pro comes with something very special that is known as OcuSync transmission system. The transmission system gives the drone a transmission range of up to 4.3 miles (7km). While the controller can fly the drone at an impressive speed of 40mph (64km/h).
The DJI Mavic Pro comes with special features such as ActiveTrack and TapFly. These features are there to make sure that your video shooting goes perfectly well. The 4K capable camera allows you to shoot high-quality images with great ease.
The drone’s camera is capable of looking at objects coming its way and easily avoid them. This combined with sensor redundancy gives you unmatched flight safety along with reliability.
It also has something known as vision positioning technology that works in parallel with GPS and GLONASS. This makes sure that the drone positioning remains precise whether you are indoor or outdoor.
Thanks to the advanced sensors and tech, you can easily control the DJI Mavic with your phone with the help of WiFi. This feature really comes in handy especially when you’re feeling lazy indoors and want to play with your drone.
2. GoPro Karma – Another Legendary Drone from GoPro
GoPro is basically this really good company that has created active cameras for ages. Their small cameras are powerful enough to record videos at true 4K. Their cameras can be taken anywhere and mounted to pretty much anything.
Needless to say, GoPro has singlehandedly dominated the active camera market. The company has surpassed the competition in camera market by leaps and bounds. For a long time, nothing has managed to come even close to the amazing cameras by GoPro.
It’s important to know that this review is completely based on the earlier opinions of the prototype version. With that said, we don’t doubt the capabilities and prowess of the GoPro Karma at all. In our personal opinion, if there’s any drone to challenge DJI Mavic Pro, it’s the Karma by GoPro.
Just like the DJI Mavic Pro, the GoPro Karma is extremely portable. The wings can be folded into the drone itself, making it easier to carry around. The Karma is extremely easy to operate for both seasoned flyers as well as newcomers. Thanks to the easy to understand control schemes and an intuitive UI. The drone comes with an app named GoPro Passenger. This app lets your friends view your drone fly, and even control the GoPro as they wish to.
Apart from the built-in camera, the GoPro Karma actually supports a number of different GoPro cameras. The options include the Hero 4, Hero 5 Black, and Hero Session. The drone ships with a GoPro Karma grip in order to have the best possible, and smoothest video recordings.
3. DJI Phantom 4 – Best Professional Drone in this List
First and foremost, the only reason it is not in our Top position because of it’s huge, and of a bulky design which makes it less portable as compared to Mavic or Karma. Other than that, this is the most polished and professional Camera Drone out there.
For those who don’t know, the DJI Phantom 4 is perhaps the most popular drone that is currently available to buy in the market. In case you are wondering how good this is, Casey Neistat has been using this drone, and as a matter of fact, he has a total of 7 Phantom 4s with him.
With that said, that should be the one reason to buy this drone. However, for those who are looking for more than just a personal preference, don’t worry, we have got you covered. We managed to get our hands on the DJI Phantom 4, and our testing process revealed that this is, in fact, one of the best drones that are available in the market. In case you are wondering what made it so good, check out our complete review below.
The DJI Phantom 4 comes with the ability to takeoff as well as the ability to come back home on its own. The credit goes to its brilliant GPS technology. The Phantom 4 is extremely easy to operate and comes with an app that lets you control and monitor all the brilliant camera operations with great ease and convenience. The camera on the Phantom 4 is extremely well made, and can easily let the user capture videos in 4K at 30 fps. In addition to that, the camera also supports the maximum resolution of 12 megapixels in photos.
The camera has an impressive f/2.8 lens that offers a rather wider field of view for people who want extremely crisp, well detailed, and clear pictures. It also comes with a technology known as Gimbal stabilization technology. This technology is good enough to offer users a great hover function, along with the ability to capture brilliant footage even when the drone is in the air and moving around.
Users can use the included DJI director software that has a built-in video editor in order to edit their video as they please. The editor lets you add text, music, and a couple of other options as well.
So, there you have it. Is the DJI Phantom 4 a good option for those who are looking to spend top of the line money?
Yes, as a matter of fact, it is one of the best drones we have used in a long, long time. It lives up to the amazing legacy that has been created by DJI, and that’s something to say. In case you are wondering if we have any complaints with the drone? Well, there is one downside to the DJI Phantom, but that’s totally subjective. Still, for those who would insist to know, the negative point is mentioned below.
4. DJI Inspire 1 – Professional yet Expensive
The next drone on our list is another one from DJI, and this one is called the DJI T600 Inspire 1. This drone actually comes with the option to be controlled with 2 controllers, and there’s also one that only has 1 control with it. It’s all up to you.
Now in case you didn’t know, this drone also comes with a 4K video camera, and it actually is really good for video recording. The camera is perfect for people who are experimenting with videography, and love to record high-quality videos that are brimming with details, colors, and sharpness. Now, as compared to the DJI Phantom 4, this one has a different design, and it’s actually more aggressive than the Phantom 4 as well. This one is among the top of the line drones out in the market. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the advantages that made the DJI T600 Inspire 1 one of our favorite drones.
There DJI T600 Inspire 1 is actually a quite impressive drone we have seen in a long time. It is surely an expensive one, and can get even more expensive if you are willing to get the one with 2 controllers, but other than that, there’s no denying that the drone is simply amazing. Believe it or not, it can actually take on the Phantom 4. If you’re wondering whether or not we encounter some downsides with the T600 Inspire 1, you should know that we have, although they are not deal breakers, they are still there.
The T600 Inspire 1 comes with a ready to fly system, which means that everything you need to fly this beautiful drone is already added in the box. All you need to complete your experience is a mobile phone or a screen and you will get a live HD view of the beautiful capturing. The arms on the DJI T600 Inspire one are made out of really strong fiber. These arms remain completely out of sight, which means that all of your video recordings will go smoothly without the arms interfering your amazing video footages. The camera on the DJI T600 Inspire 1 is capable of shooting videos at 4K and has the ability to take crystal clear, sharp, and meticulously detailed photos at 12 megapixels. This makes the Inspire 1 one of the best drones for photographers as well as videographers.
Users can easily remove the gimbal and the camera system from the T600 Inspire 1. This allows the user to easily upgrade the drone in future, or simply have the whole drone carried safely from one place to another.
The drone can easily be connected to your mobile phone in order to provide you a real-time live feed from the drone’s camera onto your phone in 720p. This is a great feature for those who want to be fully aware of how the recording is going on. While the professionals will obviously love the drone as it is, newcomers will be glad to know that the drone is extremely easy to setup, and even easier to fly once you have the proper hold of it.
5. DJI Phantom 3 (PROFESSIONAL) – One of the Best Aerial Videography Quadcopter
There is no denying that the DJi’s Phantom series of drones have become sort of a benchmark for the top of the line consumer drones. Although they are made with consumers in mind, they are equally alluring for the most professionals out there.
In case you don’t know, the popular YouTuber/filmmaker Casey Niestat has been using the DJI Phantom 4 as his primary drone for shooting a lot of quality footage ever since the drone first came out. With that said, today, we are not looking at the Phantom 4, instead, we will be looking at its younger brother that is known as the DJI Phantom 3 Professional. Now when you compare this to its older brother, not much has changed in terms of the looks, however, the Phantom 3 Professional has a bit of a flashier design thanks to the golden accents. However, in case you are wondering about the accents ruining the simplicity of the drone, don’t. They actually complement the drone nicely and are certainly a welcomed addition.
We had the DJI Phantom 3 Professional in our hands for quite some time, and while we were a bit skeptical, we found out some really good things, as well as some minor issues about the drone. First, let’s take a look at all the good things about this drone. Below you will have all the amazing features that make DJI Phantom 3 Professional such an amazing camera drone to buy.
The DJI Phantom 3 Professional is extremely easy to setup and is a delight to fly even for the beginners as well as the professionals. The camera on the Phantom 3 Professional is one of the best 4K cameras we have seen; it produces crisp, clear videos that are brimming with details. It is also equipped with vision positioning system that allows the indoor flights to be super smooth and without any issues. The drone comes with a feature known as the Lightbridge digital streaming. This feature allows the user to live stream 720p videos on the internet, while the full-size video is being recorded and stored internally.
Last but not the least, the Phantom 3 Professional comes with an iOS and Android-compatible application that lets you control the camera, as well as have a live view of everything that is being recorded by the camera on your phone.
Sadly, much like the other drones, we have seen on the list, this one is also plagued with some familiar issues. What are those issues, you ask? Well, let’s check them out below.
6. Yuneec Q500 4K – Smooth and Stable Flight but missing Waypoint Navigation
With that said, one can assume that this was made as a direct competition to other drones on our list, especially the ones from DJI, and it actually can be considered a worthy competitor.
The drone comes in a stylish carrying case that is oddly large. For those who aren’t too fond of the white, sober looks of the DJI Phantom series drones, you should be glad to know that this one comes donned in black, something Batman would have loved. Still, not a lot of love has been lost as this is one of the prettiest drones we have had the chance to use. Sadly, we can’t really let the looks decide just how good the drone is. That’s why we decided to put the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon through the paces in order to see just how good it really is.
Just like before, we will be focusing on the good things before we take a look at the things that are not so appealing. So, without further wasting any more time, let’s take a look at the good things about the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon.
The drone comes in a stylish carrying case that is oddly large. For those who aren’t too fond of the white, sober looks of the DJI Phantom series drones, you should be glad to know that this one comes donned in black, something Batman would have loved. Still, not a lot of love has been lost as this is one of the prettiest drones we have had the chance to use.
Sadly, we can’t really let the looks decide just how good the drone is. That’s why we decided to put the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon through the paces in order to see just how good it really is. Just like before, we will be focusing on the good things before we take a look at the things that are not so appealing. So, without further wasting any more time, let’s take a look at the good things about the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon.
Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon is capable of offering a smooth, and completely stable 4K video recording that is all nice, sharp, colorful, and brimming with details; the 12 megapixels camera does a great job at capturing amazing stills, and the distortion-free lens proves to be more than just a gimmick. The camera can be used separately and attached to a handgrip included that can be used to take the same beautiful footage and photos on the ground as well. Unlike some other drone controllers, the controller on the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon is actually based on an all-in-one concept; the controller features a screen that provides you with a first person view of the drone using the camera, along with the ability to access camera controls straight from the screen.
The drone ships with a large carrying case, and has 2 spare batteries that you can use; do keep in mind that you can buy the same drone without the 2 added batteries for a cheaper price. Apart from being controlled through the built-in remote, the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon can also be controlled through the super compact Wizard remote control. The drone is competitively priced and is cheaper than most of the direct competition with or without the battery bundle.
From the looks, it may seem that the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon is actually better than the competition, especially with the competitive price, but it doesn’t exist without its flaws. In case you are wondering, there are some obvious flaws to the drone, and we are going to see which ones there are.
7. 3D Robotics Solo – The Best drone for the Money
You may be wondering why have we drifted apart from the famous companies like GoPro and DJI and now are focusing more on the underdogs. Well that’s because they aren’t getting a lot of attention, and we are about to change that.
The next Drone/Quadcopter on our list is 3D Robotics Solo, and while the name happens to be quite uninteresting, the drone certainly isn’t. In case you are wondering, just like the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon, this drone is also heavily focused on the price to performance ratio, which means that the buyers will be getting the fair worth of every dollar they will be spending on it.
Now before we begin reviewing this drone, you should know that the consumer drone market is currently divided into 2 parts. One part is dominated by the drones that come with their own cameras installed, and the 2nd part is in which drones are using the top of the line GoPro cameras.
In case you are wondering which category does the 3D Robotics Solo belongs to, it’s the second one as it does let you attach a GoPro. However, as per the Amazon listing, you would have to buy the camera separately. This is something quite understandable because the drone costs almost 3 times less than the DJI Phantom 4, and still manages to be one of the best drones in the market.
However, if you want everything right at the spot, you can spend some extra (still less expensive than the competition) and get the Gimbal bundle. The bundle includes pretty much everything you would need, along with a carrying case that you can use to house your drone in.
That was something about the camera features and the pricing of this drone. Let’s now take a look at the performance. We will now share how the 3D Robotics Solo managed to hold out in our testing process.
The drone offers one of the best industrial designs we have seen and comes with complete Gimbal support. This means that it gets the superior stabilization as well as support that most of our beloved drones are known for. The 3D Robotics Solo has a “Return to Home” safety feature which allows the drone to return to the position it took off from, thanks to the GPS system.
Although the drone ships with a remote control with a powerful 1 GHz processor inside, you can control the drone using a mobile app that is available on both iOS and Android. The ability to attach any camera is a definitely amazing option. The drone is extremely easy to learn and master which makes both hardcore, and newcomers feel right at home.
8. Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 – A Toy RC Drone, Yet Awesome!
The next drone on our list is something entirely different from the rest. It’s not as big as your Go To drones that you can buy in the market. As a matter of fact, it is perhaps one of the smallest drones we have seen with the rotors attached.
That’s not all. Where other drones follow a very aggressively placed design language, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 actually has a way different design language. Instead of going all out, the design is quite held back and resembles a flying saucer. Whether or not that adds or removes anything from the overall aerodynamics, we are not too sure about that. With that said, for those who are wondering about how much the drone costs, you’d be glad to know that it is quite low priced. That is completely understandable considering how this drone isn’t really built for professional photographers or filmmakers. Still, that doesn’t mean this drone isn’t good enough.
Now before we begin to take an in-depth look at the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0, we would like to address some confusions. Unlike the other drones in our list that are actual, consumer grade, professional drones, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 is actually a toy drone. While you still get a camera option, it’s not 4K capable, and certainly not made for professional photography. However, you should also keep it in mind that despite the fact that it is more of a toy drone than a full-sized drone, it’s still really, really good. The drone will provide you countless hours of fun provided. Another thing you need to keep in mind is that this drone doesn’t come with physical controls. In order to physically control the drone, you would require a Nvidia Shield. However, you can still fly the drone using the app with your own smartphone.
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 is a nice middle ground between toy and enthusiast device. It’s not a remote controlled helicopter for hobbyists and it’s not a quadricopter camera mount for professionals, but it’s much more than just a toy helicopter.
– Will Greenwald, PCMag
Moving on from this initial evaluation, let’s take a deeper look and talk about the pros and the cons of the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0.
Incredibly simplistic controls make this drone a treat to fly. You can perform some cool stunts with your drone. Despite not having a high-end camera, the 2 built-in cameras provide plenty of functions that are fun to explore and try out. While you need a Nvidia Shield in order to use the physical controls, the drone is quite easy to use through your smart phone applications.
All the footage taken through the 2 built-in cameras get stored directly on the phone, something that is really cool. The drone is available in a multitude of different colors.
9. Cheerson Hobby CX-20 Professional – Cheap in Price, Good in Performance
You may have noticed that as the list is coming towards its end, we are also beginning to explore drones that are actually way cheaper than some of the professional drones that we have reviewed in the start.
Bear in mind that we already stated that there will be a sudden shift. In case you missed that point, now you know that we are heading to the cheap drones yet best in their class.
Without wasting any more time, let us introduce the latest product in line that is known as the Cheerson Hobby CX-20 Professional. Now as you can tell by the name, this drone is more inclined towards the hobbyists. However, you should be glad to know that despite the drone is not shipped with a camera, there is a mount ready for a Go Pro. This will essentially equip you to start shooting footage at 4K, and taking brilliantly detailed pictures.
Now before we start digging deeper into the details, you should know that the Cheerson Hobby CX-20 Professional shares a close resemblance to the DJI Phantom series drones. As much as they seem alike you can easily differentiate the two, thanks to the red accents on this one. Although the affordable price tag may lead you to believe that it’s a toy drone but that’s not entirely true. The drone happens to be quite powerful and comes with a lot of advanced features including vision positioning system. Unlike the AR.Drone 2.0, it actually has a dedicated remote controller that you can use for easy control.
With that out of the way, let’s not waste any more time, and take a look at just how good the Cheerson Hobby CX-20 Professional is. We will now start weighing in on the pros as well as the cons.
The drone comes with advanced features like vision positioning system, Pathfinder, and auto-return home. The camera mount allows the user to add a Go Pro camera and shoot beautiful 4K footage, and clear stills.
It’s competitively priced without sacrificing on the build quality. Attractive white design with red accents on the body. Easy to learn, and fun to fly with full physical controls.
10. 3d Robotics Iris+ – Another Cheap Drone with Replaceable Camera
We are finally on the last product that will be going on the list, and just like the recent entries, this again is a drone made specifically for the hobbyists.
Meet the 3D Robotics Iris+, and while the name certainly sounds interesting, we were a bit skeptical about the drone being a mediocre, cheap drone. However, to be fairly honest, the drone completely defined out expectations. The 3D Robotics Iris+ is one of the best drones we have used in the entire list, and for a lot of better. For starters, the drone has a lot of features that are found in high-end drones like the DJI Phantom 4, and other similar drones that are still slightly more expensive.
So, what’s so special about the 3D Robotics Iris+? Well, to be honest, there is a bunch of them. Starting off, it actually looks better than some of the other drones in our list. Although it doesn’t come with a built-in camera, you can find a mount that you can use to put a Go Pro on your own choice, and shoot beautiful footage in 4K, and take stunning photos. Also, despite the fact that this drone is marketed as a toy, it’s really not. The 3D Robotics Iris+ is a large, intimidating drone with a footprint that is as big as the flagship drones we have managed to test.
Some of the good things about the 3D Robotics Iris+ is that each of the arms has LEDs installed on them in order to give you a better understanding of its directions. The 3D Robotics Iris+ comes in a bundle that includes several different accessories like a 4GB memory stick, replacement propellers, and a spare battery as well. Anyway, without further ado, let’s take a detailed look at the pros and the cons of the much loved and adored 3D Robotics Iris+.
The stability of the drone is quite impressive when it comes to flying. Also, there is no steep learning curve for operating the drone like some of the most common, high-end drones.
The drone becomes a lot capable as soon as you start adding the accessories that are sold separately. You can add pretty much any camera as long as it is compatible with the mounting system. The drone is also equipped with the highly useful and equally popular Gimbal tilt on control. It has a very useful return-to-launch function that perfectly works as advertised. It comes with somewhat impressive battery life. The remote control provides you with real-life on-screen telemetry data as you fly.
Probably one of the most intimidating roundups considering how the market is literally flooded with drones. Coming from both the elitist, enthusiast class drones as well as the hobbyist drones. There’s no denying that the market is quite saturated with extremely diverse and overwhelming amount of options. It is perhaps the hardest thing to be able to buy a drone that fits all of your requirements.With that out of the way, you should know that the time is still early for the drones to be fully functional. For instance, there are some rules that are being enforced on the use of drones. However, those are purely for the purpose of national safety.
With that out of the way, you should know that the time is still early for the drones to be fully functional. Also, drone usage is regulated by some relevant laws which you should be aware of. These are purely for the purpose of public and national safety and should be respected.
In addition to that, the most common issue right now with pretty much every single drone out in the market is the battery life.
You see, despite having huge, heavy duty batteries, the drones fail to give a decent battery timing. This is certainly an issue for people who want to have extended flight times. The drones industry is still in its early development stages. Companies are focusing on things like reducing the overall size of the drones to increase portability. They have some success in that department. For instance, the Go Pro Karma, as well as the DJI Mavic Pro are some of the most compact enthusiast level drones we have seen.
Perhaps the next evolution we may see would be the extended batteries. The best drone can last up to 30 minutes. Maybe in future, we might have a drone that can utilize 2 batteries at the same time which should theoretically increase the battery time by double. Or the struggling companies may come up with a more innovative solution for that.there is absolutely no denying that the future of drones is certainly bright, and these drones have given a lot of benefits to aspiring photographers as well people who want to shoot some brilliant footage thanks to the ability to attach a GoPro camera; now combine that with the Gimbal system and you have got yourself a killer video making rig that can be really good for your personal projects.
There is absolutely no denying that the future of drones is certainly bright. They have proved to be quite useful for the aspiring photographers as well people who want to shoot some brilliant footage. Thanks to the ability to attach a GoPro camera combined with the Gimbal system and you have got yourself a killer video making rig that can be quite savvy for your personal as well as professional projects.
Finally, testing the diverse range of drones was not a simple task. It took a lot of keen efforts and hard work while testing each with their own setup and learning curves. We have tried our best to assess the situation by making sure we cover every single aspect of a drone and equip you with the right set of knowledge to make a thoughtful and worthy purchase.