What is the best drone with a camera attached? Which is the best camera drone for me? Nowadays, this question is becoming more widespread as technology with these little things continues to grow. We’ve all seen those drones flying around here and there, as well as some of the awesome aerial footage on our Facebook feeds and around the net — now it’s your turn to get creative and fly that remote control drone yet film what you have in front of you to capture breathtaking angles of whatever you fancy. Although we ultimately found the DJI Phantom 3 to be one of the best out there, we took the time to review, compare and contrast the top 10 best drones with camera in the market today to give you some options dependent on a few needs of yours.
Picking your best drone with a camera
- Your overall budget – How much money do you have to spend as you read this? Do you plan on saving up once you’ve decided? Camera drones aren’t cheap. While we’re at it, there’s quite a gap when it comes to the best models and the overall range we’ve been able to find. Although we were able to include some budget-friendly models for you in our list of 10, we do recommend investing a good chunk of money if you want a drone with a camera that’s good quality and actually worth the money.
- Video quality – The standard nowadays is definitely 1080p, so we do not recommend grabbing a drone with a camera that films in less quality than that. However, keep in mind that if you do want to go the extra mile, there are some out there that even film in 4K video resolution that are well worth the extra few bucks.
- Fly time – These things still don’t offer too high of fly times (the average around ~20 minutes), so keep in mind how often you’ll have to charge these things while you’re out and about.
- Extra features – Here’s where the advanced camera drones increase their prices. Some popular features in the high-quality models (which we list) include built-in GPS, app-friendly, additional remote controls, different types of modes, ability to take photos (keep in mind the megapixel count as well), HDMI ports and more. Which features stand out to you as musts, and which can you live without?
The top 10 best drones with cameras
DJI Phantom 3
When it comes to the heavy-hitters in the world of drones, the DJI brand name is beginning to take the reins for the best of the best. The Phantom 3 in particular is the right drone option for ease of use and functionality — it isn’t the highest model in their list of drones (we highlight a different one later on), but we felt this was best to list first since it offers a decent price-tag considering the supreme quality it offers. You can fly for up to 25 minutes with their ‘intelligent battery’, and depending on which version you grab of this (they have professional, advanced, and 4K available), you’re getting at least 2.7K video quality (30fps). The drone is also fitted with a GPS system which ensures that you will not lose the location of your drone (obviously a big must for those who are go-getters and don’t plan on filming just their backyard). Combined with their new ‘GLONASS’ technology (a minimum of 36 satellites are found all around the world), you’ll feel pretty confident knowing where the thing is. With the use of the DJI Go App, it is easy to track the location of the unit using a live map, and you can record the takeoff points as well. It is easy to control for takeoff and landing since it responds quickly to commands and it can handle complex aspects for stable and safe flight — really advanced stuff here. If you wanted an immediate answer for the best camera drone, check out the DJI Phantom 3 without a doubt.
Up next, we have another one of the higher-quality models of drones with a camera to take a look at. This one made it into PCMag’s best camera drones article and it is a lightweight but at the same time robust model with over 14 megapixels of pictures and full HD 1080p video filming. The unit ensures optimal stability and it does not compromise maneuverability with its sleek design. The drone can analyze data automatically from its 3 axis sensors with its built-in magnetomer, gyroscope and accelerometer. The unit has one ultrasound sensor with 8 meters reach, along with one pressure sensor and a vertical camera that measures the speed (not a must but a plus). The Bebop is equipped with a 14 megapixel fisheye camera that can record and take pictures in a 180 degree field view while keeping the best image view. The full digital image stabilization technology makes it easy for the user to take up the aerial footage without movement interference. The Parrot Bebop is among the best drones with cameras for sure. You’re also getting some different color choices if you’re into that.
Up next, we have a super budget-friendly model here to take a break from some of the higher-end models in the market today. The Syma X5C is the best camera drone at a super cheap price-point and it has many features that still make it worthwhile, including a ‘Gyro stabilization system’ (makes the drone stable and at the same time flexible while flying). It is wind resistant and can fly both outdoors and indoors. The unit has an HD camera with right and left hand throttle mode and it can be changed using a transmitter. This drone is considered to be one of the best drones with cameras by many because of its high quality HD camera and 2 GB memory card compatibility. It can perform flips by just pressing a button and it also offers 360 degree aversion. The Syma X5C can fly for about 7 minutes and it takes 100 minutes to fully charge.
Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K
If you were concerned with maximum quality (it films in 4K) and an amazing build, the Typhoon by Yuneec is among the best drones with cameras that you can find in the market right now. Stated to be the biggest rival to DJI drones, it comes with a built-in touchscreen and has an integrated 3-axis design for its precision gimbal camera. It offers 4K/30fps for its ultra high-definition video and also supports 1080p/120fps slow motion video (just for kicks). You can control the video resolution, light exposure and white balance if you’re into a custom image and it provides 12 megapixel photos without any distortion in the lens. A few other highlights of this beast is a ‘handheld SteadyGrip feature’ to capture video footage and the drone makes it easy to capture professional footage manually through the use of the Watch Me Mode. The user can easily set up the position of the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 to get the best footage since it’s easy to control, not to mention the video quality and custom options are top-notch. Grab this if you’re serious.
Protocol Dronium One RC
The Protocol Dronium One RC can capture exciting aerial shots and it comes with the ability to take both video and photos. It features multi-directional controls to enable aerial acrobatics and the remote included offers some precise and simple control of the drone. Some other features of this one include motion sensitive sensors to ensure auto stabilization for precise flying (stores up to 5,000 photos and 40 minutes of video), a 2 GB microSD card, and the ability to move it pretty freely with 360 degree flips. With the remote, it is possible to control the flying up, backward, forward and from side to side. It has 3 speeds to ensure custom operation). This is definitely another budget-friendly camera drone, but it’s a bit higher in quality than the previous cheap model listed, so take a look at the Protocol Dronium One RC if you wanted to save some money yet still get some flying action incorporated into your days.
DJI Phantom 4
As we had stated previously, we wanted to save the biggest, baddest of them all for around the middle of our list since the price is pretty high. However, if you wanted the absolute best drone with a camera and your budget allows, the Phantom 4 DJI is a standout. It’s designed with a magnesium skeleton, which reduces the weight while maintaining a sturdy frame to reduce vibration and a new core design lifts the center of gravity closer to the heart of the drone to ensure better balance (it all makes everything more agile and impressively precise). You can capture video quality in 4K (30 fps), 12 MP photos (4000 x 3000), it has GPS technology for auto takeoff and return home, as well as a 3/2.8 lens to ensure a broad field of view of what’s in front of the unit. With this drone, you can also switch the flight modes so that you can meet your needs, whether you want simplicity or intelligent navigation. The drone can fly up to 28 minutes and the “Precision Hovering” technology helps keep the drone safe. The DJI Phantom 4 is a quadcopter so you’re getting four of those awesome rotors to ensure maximum flight. As a plus, you can use their included software to edit, add music and text, and more. This thing is monstrous.
Chroma Flight-Ready CGO3
With the Chroma Flight-Ready CGO3 as another one of the higher-end camera drone models in the market today, you will be able to capture smooth and steady aerial video using its stunning 4K definition. There is no distortion for the camera lens and it eliminates the fisheye effect some may not really be keen on. It is pretty easy to use and offers a 30 minute flight time with a smart mode for the beginners (the experienced pilots can go for the AP mode). The safe mode has their ‘SAFE Plus Technology’ and it gives the chance to use different programmed flight modes to offer a smooth and steady capture of images regardless of where the nose is pointed. It’s also cool because you don’t need a smart device to use it — it comes with a nifty remote with a 5.5″ LCD screen, switches, buttons and sliders to help with operation. What stands out in this one are the modes of the Chroma Flight-Ready CGO3 — they make sure that you take only the best picture even if you have never tried flying drones before. This one is highly recommended for beginners who also want to invest in a drone camera that will be advanced as they learn how to use it.
Here we’re shifting back into the super budget-friendly price-point. The Akaso X5C is considered to be the best drone with a camera if you want to spend only a few bucks, and it has 6 built-in axes to offer some decent stability. It implements different flight movements that are easier to control with some wind resistance while you’re at it. This drone is lightweight and durable considering the super low price, and it has a propeller that is guarded by a plastic frame so that it can protect against collisions. It comes with a removable hull and a blade guard, and it can be flown either outdoors or indoors. The drone offers high-speed flight and everything is controlled by the push of a button. The controls can be used to switch to high performance mode. When it has become stable, you may use it to do some tricks if you’re in the mood, too. Don’t expect too much out of the Akaso X5C, but it’s a fun little gadget if it catches your eye.
3D Robotics SOLO
The 3D Robotics SOLO helps to capture cinematic aerial video with a GoPro (our pick for the best action camera) to generate ultra high-resolution of 2D and 3D geo referenced maps. When it comes to overall technology with a camera drone, this is probably the most advanced right now. The solo drone scan is the first and only drone that delivers crisp HD from the GoPro straight to a mobile device with in-flight controls for the camera. The modular design lets the user replace the motors and change the camera gimbals faster by using only a screwdriver and it makes it easy to repair and maintain. The nifty return to home button is used to rewind the flight and avoid obstacles to bring the drone back to its starting point. The controller is also a standout of this one (video game-style) that really aids in the overall control of the drone. You also get a HDMI port while you’re at it. Check out the 3D Robotics SOLO if you wanted a drone camera that’s somewhere along the middle yet still provides some extremely high quality features and video quality, not to mention how ‘smart’ (powered by built-in twin 1 Ghz computers) it is.
Ehang Ghost Drone 2.0
To top off our list, we have the Ehang Ghost Drone and it’s a super easy camera drone to fly around using the iOS\Android camera app when it is connected to a Wi-Fi network. The small G-Box requires the user to operate the Ghost option. The drone can fly up to 30 minutes using a single charge and it can fly over a half mile. You have a lot of different modes here (waypoint, companion, avatar, flight planning, etc.) and you can film up to 4K at 24fps video resolution. The modes are found using a single tap on a screen conveniently located in the app on your smart device. The drone has self-tightening propellers that are mounted to offer high-efficiency while the brushless motors increase the stability and weather-resistance as well. With an overall solid build and whopping 4K video footage, the Ehang Ghost Drone 2.0 is listed last, but is still one of the better camera drones out there you may find compatible with what you were looking for.