The camera drones of today are highly different from the military style quadcopters of the past (you may have even seen some in movies). Right now, a drone carrying a camera or a drone with a built-in camera can be an excellent tool for both hobbyists and professionals.
As you can imagine, a drone with a camera is mostly used for aerial photography. It will take landmarks of various places instead of having to rely on a real camera being used by a cameraman. The drone can be used easily and you don’t need too much exercise for it; even a beginner can do it.
Most models are extremely light and easy to control and some even come with a special case designed for safe transportation. So, regardless of the fact that you’re a travel blogger who wants to offer his readers the most amazing adventures from all over the world or you are a wedding planner, these drones are a great choice.
Buying Guide: Important Features to Consider
When it comes to purchasing the right camera drone, you have to consider the various features of each product. Below we made a short list with the most common things you will have to pay attention to.
You have to realize that taking pictures and videos will rely heavily on the type of camera that will be included. Some drones are equipped with their very own HD camera, but there are also some that will allow you to place your camera of choice. You can even choose a drone (or a quad) that supports a GoPro camera.
When you have more control over the type of camera, this can be considered an advantage since you will know the quality of the images and videos that you will get beforehand. There will be a lesser chance to be disappointed with the result this way.
When it comes to using camera drones, you know that you are not merely focused on the images that you can take. You also need to make sure that you will be taking videos that matter. How do you think your video will fare if people who view your videos can barely see what you are trying to show?
So, besides camera specs and its possibility to create amazingly crisp footage, you also have to consider the gimbal and mount. Usually a 3-axis or a 6-axis gimbal is all you need to get a smooth flight without too many shakes. Another factor to consider is the possibility to control the camera angle from the ground.
Size and Weight
Do you honestly think that the size and the weight of the drone don’t matter? This is not true at all! The size is important because sometimes, the bigger the drone is, the more it will consume energy out of the battery.
Of course, larger drones have larger batteries in order to allow for an improved flight time, but if you also attach a bigger camera this might not be the case anymore. Just make sure you calculate these variables correctly before making the purchase.
On the other hand, certain models are easy to bring around because they are small and almost weightless. However, if the drone is too lightweight, a simple breeze might make it harder for you to control it.
You have to keep in mind that each drone model comes with different specifications when it comes to controls. To make sure your future drone is easy to control, take a look at reviews left by owners and analyze the product description thoroughly.
Some will have an image of the remote control that you will use to move your drone around. This will give you a better idea on the type of controller.
You have to know now that not all drones can be powered by double A or triple A batteries. Some come with rechargeable batteries that you can easily recharge whenever you need to. People say that drones are powered by non-rechargeable batteries may last longer but this can only be a good option if you do not use your drone too often.
Aside from the batteries of the drone itself, you also have to consider the battery that you will be placing on the remote control. If the remote does not have enough power to control the drone then your drone will not move.
Do you need a drone that will allow you to fly for more than 3 miles at a time? Some drones are able to do that, especially if you are using models that are made for professional use.
If you have no plans of letting your drone fly long distances then you always have the option to just fly it in places that are nearby. If this is the case then perhaps flight range is not one of your main concerns.
There is a big chance that you are considering a drone that has a failsafe option. This means that the drone needs to have a strong GPS signal so it will be able to return home when it does not receive any contact from you.
There are various reasons why you may lose contact with your drone such as the following:
- Low battery on the remote control
- Losing contact with the drone as it has gone too far
- Weather conditions
As long as you have set up the home location, then letting your drone go back to your own home can be a nice feature that will surely benefit you. One tip to remember is to set up the drone to its maximum altitude when flying home. This will lessen chances of bumping into various obstructions before it gets to the base.
Other Things To Think About
Now that you already know the most important features, there are several other factors you need to think about in order to choose a better drone. For instance, have you ever thought about where you will be flying the drone?
Most of the time, it would be flying from your current location but it will not be able to ascend properly if there are a lot of trees or power lines above your home. Make sure that you will set up the drone on a clear area before you let it fly.
The limitations of the drone that you will choose will play a huge factor on the things that you can and cannot do. That’s why is important to get to know how accurate your drone is and how fast it can fly. Get to know how long it will take before it will remain out of batteries as well. This way, you can already work fast to take images and videos of the things you wish to see.
The drone regulations may not be officially set up just yet but at least knowing some details will give you an idea about what you are searching for. For instance, even if you know that your drone can fly up to 400 feet, you are not allowed to do this as you may interfere with other aircraft.
You are also not allowed to let your drone fly near the airport as this can be problematic not only for you, but also for those who are flying the planes. If in case you truly need to do this, get permission first so that your drone will not be confiscated.
Bestsellers You Ought Go To Check
DJI Spreading Wings S1000
Size: 18.1 x 12 x 20.1 inches
Battery: 15,000mAh LiPo
Flight time: 15 minutes
Controller type: A2 flight controller
Special features: Power distribution system, multi-gimbal support, retractable landing gear, multiple controller compatibility, spark proof plug, removable upper center board
Best use: Interchangeable camera photography
The DJI Spreading Wings S1000 is designed to carry a camera that is DSLR-sized, meaning they are completely interchangeable based on your preference. They can hold up to 24 pounds during flight, which gives you a wide variety of options for aerial photography in terms of camera choice and additional gear.
This is perfect for those looking to add professional photography and filming paired with the experience of flying a drone for the best possible shots and dynamic aerial capability.
This drone can take batteries from 10,000mAh up to 20,000mAh, and get up to 15 minutes of flight time on a 15,000mAh battery alone. You have a choice when it comes to the flight controllers, being an A2 or WooKong-M, with a simple installation process for easier flying.
The redesigned power distribution feature offered by DJI allows better flying and more options when in the air. You will be able to gain maximum control over the drone and do not have to worry about malfunctions with the landing gear, thanks to this specific gear area being fully retractable.
It’s also fully compatible with any of the gimbals from the Zenmuse Z15 series because of the dampened gimbal mounting bracket, which allows for a lower mounting position. The visibility cannot be blocked or obstructed this way because it can be both raised and lowered based on preference.
DJI Mavic Pro
Size: 10.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches
Battery: 3830mAh LiPo
Flight time: 27 minutes
Controller type: 2.4-2.483 GHz and compatible smart device
Special features: OcySync transmission technology, FlightAutonomy technology, Precision Hover, ActiveTrack, Gesture Mode, Tripod Mode, Return to Home mode, TapFly, Sports Mode
Best use: Photography and recreational purposes
The DJI Mavic Pro is designed to be one of the best drones for aerial photography on the market. With 4K Ultra HD video at 30 fps and a 12-megapixel camera that uses Adobe DNG RAW, it’s one of the best drones you could get. The 3-axis gimbal system aids in stabilizing the onboard camera to ensure that clear stills and videos are taken, even if there are windy weather conditions or the drone is flying at a high-speed motion.
Further, the drone is capable of 720p HD long range as well as full 1080p HD short range video streaming from a range of up to 7 kilometers away, but only when there is no obstruction or interference taking place through any channel or whatever the case may be.
Because of its compact size, the drone can reach a maximum flight time of approximately 27 minutes and reach a maximum distance of up to 13 kilometers. The high-efficiency motors are powerful enough to do all of this on their own.
There are multiple beneficial features that ensure collisions will not be a problem during flight. FlightAutonomy, for example, ensures that the drone will be able to automatically detect any obstacles within its path up to 15 meters away. This allows the drone and the user to reduce accidents and crashes by safely being able to brake, hover, or bypass whatever may be in the flight path.
Yuneec Typhoon H
Size: 21.2 x 17 x 12.5 inches
Camera: CG03+ 4K
Battery: 5400mAh LiPo
Flight time: 25 minutes
Controller type: Android-based ST16
Special features: Sonar Collision Prevention, Orbit Me, Point of Interest, Journey mode, Curve Cable Cam, Return Home, Smart Safety
Best use: Recording adventures outdoors
The Yuneec Typhoon H is a drone that’s best for adventurous activities outdoors. The features and overall design are tailored to outdoor adventures being captured on camera, such as backpacking and hiking, with the features being more forward than the design itself.
For example, Orbit Me is programmed to ensure that the drone is flying in a circular path above and around you while keeping the camera on you the entire time. Point of Interest is another great example in this case. It allows the drone to orbit and keep the camera pointed in the area of your choice to maximize full coverage of whatever the case may be. Journey mode is perfect for getting the best selfies, which sends the drone as far as 150 feet into the sky for incredible aerial pictures.
The Android-based ST16 controller features a touchscreen 7” in size to display live footage in 720p HD resolution. It also allows you to enable the various features and modes that go into the flight, including Journey mode, for example.
It features 4K Ultra High Definition video and 12-megapixel still images, with a gimbal that rotates 360-degrees. You can also change the camera settings whenever you wish to do so, even if you are currently in flight, thanks to the 98-degree glass field of view with the wide-angled lens.
Yuneec Q500 Drone
Size: 22.2 x 16.5 x 9.4 inches
Camera: CGO3 4K
Battery: 5400mAh LiPo
Flight time: 25 minutes
Controller type: Personal Ground Station with touchscreen
Special features: SteadyGrip, Modularity, Watch Me, Follow Me, Return to Home
Best use: Aerial photography purposes
The Yuneec Q500 Drone is perfect for those who want an edge to aerial photography. It’s designed with features that pair with the camera to ensure that the quality of photos and videos are maximized to their best.
For example, when you enable Watch Me, the 4K camera will never point away from you for the entire time it is enabled or the drone in the air, where you can hold the controller to focus the frame properly. Either way, this feature is definitely beneficial to photos and videos and will work no matter which way the drone is positioned or maneuvered.
This happens because of the 3-axis gimbal, which can be controlled to tilt at any angle or direction and even take pictures aiming upwards at the sky. Overall, the CGO3 4K camera can capture regular and slow motion video in 1080p at 120 fps, as well as 12-megapixel stills.
The 5400mAh LiPo battery allows for up to 25 minutes of flight time, with the possibility of extra batteries being carried and used to extend the life. It comes with a practical transport case that is made of lightweight aluminum and a core of high-density foam for protection.
Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
Size: 19.5 x 19.5 x 8.5 inches
Camera: 4K FOV HD
Battery: 4900mAh LiPo
Flight time: 25 minutes
Controller type: LCD screen transmitter
Special features: Follow mode, Waypoint mode, GoHome mode, Beginner Flight mode, SecureFly, Starpoint Positioning System, GLONASS
Best use: Recreational and aerial photography purposes
The Autel Robotics X-Star Premium packs a serious punch when it comes to aerial photography and being an all-around fun drone to fly. It comes with a 64GB card to ensure that you can store and save all the videos and photos that you want. The 3-axis gimbal allows for crystal clear Ultra HD videos and 12-megapixel still photographs. You can also take photos with HD Live View, which has a range of up to 1.2 miles.
The GLONASS feature brings your regular GPS capability to a new level, which is aided by satellite navigation and the Starpoint Positioning System to stay both stable and safe even at a low altitude or when flying indoors.
SecureFly ensures that you never lose your drone, whether it be because it simply flew off on its own or because of a system malfunction. However, this won’t happen with this drone, thanks to the technology of SecureFly, which is pretty advanced.
The transmitter, or controller, has one-touch buttons that allow you to control the drone with ease. For example, if you want to activate the GoHome feature, you simply push a button and your drone will come straight back to you.
Parrot Bebop 2
Size: 3.5 x 12.9 x 12.9 inches
Camera: 1080p HD
Battery: 2700mAh LiPo
Flight time: 25 minutes
Controller type: Parrot Skycontroller 2
Special features: Follow Me mode, Parrot Cockpitglasses
Best use: Recreational and FPV flight purposes
The Parrot Bebop 2 uses an immersive FPV headset – the Parrot Cockpit glasses, to give you a virtual reality experience when flying the drone. This allows you to become fully submerged within the full 1080p HD camera and flight that it offers.
Interestingly enough, the goggles themselves accommodate all types of users, even those who have to wear regular glasses for vision problems. They fit snug over top of them.
The drone can fly inside and outside without fail, thanks to the minimal weight, being 500 grams, and allows for up to 25 minutes of flight time. The 3-axis stabilization system helps to ensure that the footage is not compromised in any way, whether be it from weather or whatever the case may be, and will keep the drone stable.
The Parrot Skycontroller, the transmitter, can be used at a range of up to 1.2 miles away. However, you can also use your smartphone to pilot the drone using the FreeFlight Pro application. All of the footage, photos, and routes are saved onto the app itself so you can share them on your social media accounts and pages, through emails, etc.
Not Sure What Model To Buy?
If you’re still not ready to decide, perhaps getting to know a bit more about the Pros and Cons of having a camera drone.
- Drones can be used for warning – There are places that are hard to reach by humans and the use of drones will allow people to know what to expect before getting there.
- They can also provide hours of fun – For a lot of hobbyists, flying drones can be fun because this is the closest experience to actually flying.
- Drones will allow people to take great images.
- Video and photo professionals have a great new tool to extend their creativity
- Camera drones can be used by ill-intentioned people – There are some people who make use of drones in order to gather information about the area that they would like to terrorize.
- Drones can invade other people’s privacy – that’s why the organizations in charge started working on regulations regarding this aspect. For now, you can’t fly your camera drone in populated areas as it could be construed as spying.
As you can see, knowing the most important features when it comes to camera drones is important in the decision-making process. Sure, reviews and owners’ opinion matter, but at the end of the day, you will be the one flying that drone. So make sure to find the drone that fits your needs first.