Drones are super cool, and there are no two ways to look at the statement, and 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? …
You should also keep in mind that while the drones are super cool, they also happen to be quite expensive, and are often made for enthusiasts, or people who are into experimenting with videography mainly because almost all the good, high-end drones come equipped with amazing cameras.
Best Drone Cameras 2017
There are some things you should know about, the drone market is divided into 2 parts; 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 similar competitive products, however, at the same time, these products are considered toy drones. Keeping that in mind, you should know that we went ahead and covered both types because we didn’t want to be prejudiced towards a certain type of drone than the other.
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 type of drones/quadcopters, there is the type that comes without any camera preinstalled or a camera mount that you can use to put a camera there, and then there 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, you can get the simple one that won’t cost you much. However, if you are a film student or an aspiring filmmaker, and you are looking for something with a high-end camera, you should be prepared to spend a lot of money because drones that come equipped with high-end cameras are really expensive.
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 occasion and went on saying that this is quite possibly the best drone he has had the chance to use, and that is saying 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, and in addition to that, they have some other lineups like Inspire. Needless to say, the company has made sure that it has 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, and we are going to tell you why is the case.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the DJI Mavic Pro, and apart from the pros, we are even going to take a look at some of the things that hold this otherwise amazing drone back.
The DJI Mavic Pro is super compact, and in case you are wondering how that’s possible, that’s because the drone can be folded, and the size becomes as similar as a small bottle of water, that’s why it’s the top choice, and can be carried 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) of allowing the controller to 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 along with the brilliant 4K capable camera allowing you to shoot high-quality images with great ease.
Other feature that lets the drone’s camera see objects coming its way and easily avoids 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 making sure that the 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 is really good, especially when you’re feeling lazy indoors and want to play with the drone.
2. GoPro Karma – Another Legendary Drone from GoPro
GoPro is basically this really good company that has created active cameras for ages, these small cameras are powerful enough to record videos at true 4K, they can be taken anywhere, and mounted to pretty much anything.
Needless to say, GoPro has singlehandedly dominated the active camera market, and while there have been a lot of competitors, nothing has managed to come close to the amazing cameras by GoPro.
With all the good things aside, you should know that the 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 thanks to the fact that the wings can fold 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 including 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, big and 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 one reason to buy the drone, however, for those who are looking for more than just personal preference, don’t worry, we have 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, all of this thanks to the 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 few 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 are willing 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 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; 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. With that said, that doesn’t make it a bad drone as it is one of the best ones 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 is absolutely no denying that the DJI T600 Inspire 1 is actually one of the best drones 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 that comes 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, though 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, and you won’t be seeing the arms interfere the videos at all. 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 very 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 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 straight from the drone’s camera onto your phone; the video is viewed on your phone in 720p, and 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 the 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. However, we are going to 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. Sadly, much like the other drones, we have seen on the list, this one is also plagued with the familiar issues that we are so used to see. What are those issues, you ask? Well, let’s check them out below, but first, let’s take a look at the pros.
The DJI Phantom 3 Professional is very, very 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.
6. Yuneec Q500 4K – Smooth and Stable Flight but missing Waypoint Navigation
We are taking a step away from DJI, and looking at some other options, the next offering we have at our hands is the Yuneeq Q500 4K, and the proper name for this beautiful drone is Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon.
With that said, one can assume that this was made as a direct competition to other drones on our list, and especially the ones from DJI, and it actually can be considered a competition. 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, so that’s why we decided to put the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon through the paces in order to see just how good it is. Just like before, we will be keeping our focus 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.
From the looks, it may seem that the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon is actually better than the competition, especially with the competitive price, but 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. So, there you have the complete rundown on the Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon, whether or not you are going to buy it, is up to you. However, we did notice that even with all the handsome features, it’s still cheaper than most of the competition, and that is certainly a good thing.
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.
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 very, very 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 more out of the drone for 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 the part 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 that separately. Something that is 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 extra (still less expensive than the competition) and get the Gimbal bundle that will give you pretty much everything you need, along with a carrying case that you can use to house your drone in.
With that said, enough chatter about the camera features, and the pricing, let’s see 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 means that it gets the superior stabilization as well as support 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 an 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 and will make 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, making it 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 very, very held back, and resembles a flying saucer instead. 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 very, very competitively priced, and 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 taking 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, and while you are still getting a camera, 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, and will provide you countless hours of fun provided you charge it after the battery ends. Another thing you need to keep in mind is this drone doesn’t come with physical controls, and in order to physically control the drone, you 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
With that out of the way, let’s stop wasting time, 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 even perform stunts on your drone. Despite not having a high-end camera, the 2 built-in cameras provide plenty of fun 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 highly easy to use even through the 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 drones that we have reviewed in the start.
Bear in mind that we already stated that there will be a sudden shift, so in case you didn’t read the article properly, now you know what we are talking about.
Without wasting any more time, we are going to announce our 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 not being shipped with a camera, there is a mount ready for a Go Pro that you can attach and 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, and you shouldn’t be worried considering how you can still differentiate between the drones thanks to the red accents on this one. Although this particular drone is very competitively price, and one may think that it’s a toy drone, that’s not entirely true. The drone happens to be quite powerful and comes with a lot of advanced features including vision positioning system, and unlike the AR.Drone 2.0, it actually has a dedicated remote controller that you can use to properly control the drone.
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, weighing in on the pros as well as the cons.
Comes with advanced features like vision positioning system, pathfinder, as well as auto-return home. The camera mount allows the user to add a Go Pro camera and shoot beautiful 4K footage, and clear stills.
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 Changeable Camera
We are finally on the last product that will be going on the list, and just like the previous entries, this again is a drone made specifically for the hobbyist.
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, but 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 there are actually a lot of reasons for that. 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, a lot of things, it actually looks better than some of the other drones in our list, and 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 thanks to the camera mount you get. With that said, despite the fact that this drone is marketed as a toy, it’s 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 have LEDs installed on them in order to give you a better understanding directionally, the 3D Robotics Iris+ comes in a bundle that includes several different accessories like a 4GB memory stick, replacement propellers, and spare battery as well. Anyway, without further ado, let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of the much loved and adored 3D Robotics Iris+.
The drone is very, very stable when it comes to flying. There is no steep learning curve 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. Has a very useful return-to-launch function that works as advertised. 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 very, very saturated, and 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 very, very 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.
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, and that is certainly in issue for people who want to have extended flight times. Still, considering how the drones are still developing in the market, and companies are focusing on more and on reducing the overall size, and seems like they will be succeeding 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 extend batteries, and considering how the best drone can last up to 30 minutes, having a drone that can utilize 2 batteries at the same time should theoretically and practically increase the battery time by double. Still, standing at this point, 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.
With that said, our last words would be that testing so many drones, each with their own setup and learning curve was certainly not an easy thing, however, we tried our best to assess the situation by making sure we cover every single aspect of a drone, and tell you what’s wrong with, and what’s not.