It’s obvious some camera drones are made for everyday users, while others are designed for professional-grade videography. But things like battery life and camera quality aren’t the only things to consider when choosing one — there’s a lot more you have to look into. This buyer’s guide will help you make a more informed decision by clarifying some of these aspects.
We all know that camera drones are the most cost-effective way of capturing aerial footage with precision and control. Drones nowadays pack high-resolution and stable cameras up to 8K (over 33 million pixels), letting regular users create cinematic videos for personal and professional projects. The availability of various control schemes is also a great addition, allowing you to capture footage from unique perspectives.
Though it requires some expertise to capture studio-grade footage using a camera drone, flying one generally has a shallow learning curve. Once you get used to a camera drone’s basic controls, you can use it to navigate different aerial locations and capture footage.
If you’re looking for a drone with a camera, you’ll want to ensure it can show details in the scenery while in the air. So, make sure the drone you pick supports high-resolution photos (12 MP, at least) and smooth videos (up to 60FPS). If you’re a professional, you’ll love the added camera features like enhanced HDR and cinematic optimization.
Since drones are pretty lightweight compared to other aerial objects, they need to be stable enough to get usable camera footage. You can read through some customer reviews on a drone’s product page to find out what previous customers have to say about a drone’s aerial stability.
Since you’ll want your drone to be as long-lasting as possible, make sure it’s high-quality before making a purchase. A good way to do this is to look for drones with additional propeller guards. These are structures that help prevent a drone’s fans from colliding with other objects. Security features, like object avoidance, can also contribute to a higher life expectancy for your drone with a camera.
We all know the height and direction of drones are adjustable. But if you’re a real camera-drone enthusiast, you’ll want additional controls, like remote-based capturing and camera position customization. Before you decide on a camera drone, see if it has all the controls you’ll need.
Since a single drone battery powers its four motors, security sensors, signal transmission, camera stabilization, and footage data transfer, it can run out of power within minutes. More entry-level drones offer a flight time of around 10-20 minutes. Professional-grade drones, like the ones from the DJI series, offer up to 30 minutes of flight time. Be sure to consider how long a drone can fly before making a purchase.
Navigating various aerial locations with your drone is great. But make sure your drone remains within your sightline when flying it to avoid collisions with aerial objects like birds.
Most countries restrict their residents to flying any aerial object under 400 feet. This law is to ensure your drone doesn’t interfere with aircraft.
As you might expect, flying a drone over people can be dangerous — aerial interference, internal malfunctions, or power outages can cause your drone to go down. Flying it over people is also illegal since it violates aviation laws in various countries, like the U.S. and the U.K.
The dual-battery setup of this option is another significant addition, allowing a 46-minute flight time under a normal power load. The drone also offers an auto-return feature, meaning it returns back home when the signals get weak. We named this product as the best overall on this list because of its amazing picture quality and GPS-assisted features.
This drone by Holy Stone is a great option for both enthusiasts and professionals. It comes equipped with a 4K camera and lets you watch stunning aerial details from your smartphone. The 5Ghz signal transmission also ensures the footage is transferred to your phone efficiently.
Other than that, this option also remains pretty stable during flights, making it easy to fly for beginners. It also packs some security precautions like rubber-based rollers and extra fan blades.
This high-resolution camera drone from Tizzytoy includes a wonderful 6K camera, and it provides the same resolution output along with 6K photo capture. The camera is also adjustable up to 90 degrees, letting you capture anything in front or below. There is also 120-degree, wide-angle range allowing for even greater versatility.
This quadcopter’s native mobile app also supports voice control, allowing for almost effortless flights using voice commands. Though this entry-level drone lacks a studio-class camera (it supports only 1080p resolution) and top-grade flight time (limited to 10 minutes), it’s great for people who are just getting started.
This drone by Sanrock is a decent choice for individuals who are new to drone-based aerial photography. Features like gesture-control, a one-key start button, and some switch-based speed adjustments also make it a great option for first-timers.
Some additional features like headless mode and altitude hold make the drone follow the pilot using its camera sensor, it can also lock itself at a certain height. The choice of two different colors is also a significant bonus.
This option from Attop offers kid-friendly features, like voice-control, headless mode, and altitude hold, so this small drone is perfect for kids looking for an RC quadcopter. The special thing about this product is its compact size that’s designed to fit in kids’ palms. Other than that, the smaller size also makes it suitable for indoor flights
This option also offers several additional features. Take headless mode for example, it commands the drone to follow the user — and it still ensures security with an automatic return-home feature and low-battery and out-of-sight alerts. The three speed modes also help with altering the drone’s speed quickly — without having to spend time manually adjusting the throttle.
Last but not the least, this drone with a camera by Deerc offers a 2K first-person video transmission. Though the camera quality is far from being studio-class or cinematic, it’s still good enough to help you visualize the drone’s surroundings.
A: Flying a drone requires registration and certification with the relevant aviation authority in your country. While the U.K. requires residents to get a flier ID from the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority, U.S. residents also need a certificate from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
A: A good camera drone can cost anywhere between $100 and $1000. If you’re a full-time photographer or drone enthusiast, feel free to invest in a professional-grade drone to ensure it’s stable and packs a decent high-resolution camera — and don’t forget a long-lasting battery!
A: You can fly drones in public parks but make sure to follow the general quadcopter flight practices and safety precautions. For instance, avoid flying your drone near or over people in the park. Also, never fly a drone near a sports site to prevent collisions and possible injuries.