There are a lot of reasons that casual consumers would want to invest in a drone: with stunts, racing, and professional experience just topping the list. But the one feature that can transform a drone from a simple toy into a more advanced hobbyist obsession is the inclusion of a camera. With a camera, your possibilities expand greatly to include tasks like surveying and aerial photography.
That said, the camera quality of a drone can vary greatly, and it can be easy to get suckered if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But you don’t need to worry about that. We’ve picked 10 of the best camera drones available in 2020, and we’ll even walk you through what you should pay attention to when shopping for a camera drone.
- 10 Best Drones with Cameras
- 1. Holy Stone GPS FPV RC Drone HS100 with Camera
- 2. DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter
- 3. Cheerwing Syma WiFi FPV Drone with Camera
- 4. SNAPTAIN S5C WiFi FPV Drone with 720P HD Camera
- 5. Potensic T25 GPS Drone, FPV RC Drone with Camera
- 6. Force1 U45W Blue Jay Drones with Camera
- 7. DBPOWER X400W FPV RC Quadcopter Drone with WiFi Camera
- 8. EACHINE E58 WiFi FPV Quadcopter with Camera
- 9. Parrot PF728000 Anafi wit 4k UHD camera
- 10. Tello Quadcopter
- Drone With Cameras Buyer’s Guide
10 Best Drones with Cameras
1. Holy Stone GPS FPV RC Drone HS100 with Camera
Holy Stone is one of the most prolific consumer drone manufacturers on the planet, and while their drones are pretty much universally high quality, we have a particular fondness for the HS100. For just $150, you can get a camera drone capable of shooting upscaled 2K video and an adjustable 120 degree viewing angle.That should be more than enough to capture even trickier shots in high definition.
But if you want to get creative with it, Holy Stone has included some features that can help even inexperienced drone pilots capture photos like a pro. The inclusion of full GPS capabilities means that you can make the drone follow you for great selfies or action footage, and you can count on it to return home when the battery starts to get too low. And an additional altitude hold mode facilitates far more stable video capture.
2. DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter
In terms of video quality, the DJI Phantom 3 Pro really steps things up from the HS100. It allows you to record video at 4K resolution at up to 30 frames per second and view your footage live streaming of 720p video, so you don't have to go in blind as to what your video will look like when you extract the SD card from this camera drone.
The controller for this camera drone is smartly designed, giving you all of the essential controls you'll need right at your fingertips, but the DJI Phantom 3 Pro really exceeds when you start to utilize the app. Your phone can comfortably fit in the controller's cradle, and the app will give you access to a unique beginner's mode that can ease you into the process of flying a drone. It's one of the best tools for beginners in the drone market.
3. Cheerwing Syma WiFi FPV Drone with Camera
Do you need a good camera drone, but you're also working within the confines of a tight budget? The Cheerwing Syma offers one of the best compromises around. This new and updated version trades in the typical radio transmission in favor of a Wi-Fi connection - and in doing so, this camera drone offers some of the best stability and controls around.
That said, this definitely isn't the camera drone you should be using if you're serious about aerial photography. The resolution here isn't great, but it's impressive for the micro budget price, and it's one of the best choice for beginners and children looking to learn the fundamentals of flying a drone. Further improving its value as a beginner friendly drone are a headless function and the ability to perform one button stunt rolls.
4. SNAPTAIN S5C WiFi FPV Drone with 720P HD Camera
If you want a camera drone that's higher quality than the Cheerwing Syma but can't afford to spend over a hundred bucks, the Snaptain S5C is going to be one of your best options. It dramatically increases the resolution to a full 720p - and while that's still not going to satisfy serious videographers, it's perfectly suited to less professional needs and is a best fit for casual consumers.
The features with this camera drone are better than average, and there's an emphasis on making sure that beginning drone pilots have all the tools that they need at their disposal. That includes simple functions like one touch takeoffs and landings but also more advanced options like gravity controls: an inclusion that lets yo control your drone with simple tilts of your connected smartphone.
5. Potensic T25 GPS Drone, FPV RC Drone with Camera
If you're willing to spend just over a hundred bucks, you can seriously upgrade your resolution for a camera drone. The Potensic T25 is one of the best camera drones for beginners, but it also offers a maximum resolution of 1080p, so it can continue to be of value even after you learn the ins and outs of piloting a drone.
The stabilization system is easily some of the best we've seen. The nine axis gyroscope provides a good sense of balance and is further simplified by the range of intelligent flight modes. These include a headless mode, one key takeoffs and landings, and altitude hold for capturing the perfect videos or stills with clarity. And it looks sleek too thanks to a design that evokes the slim, white house style of Apple products.
6. Force1 U45W Blue Jay Drones with Camera
If you have a kid with an interest in aerial photography, you may want to turn your attention the the U45W Blue Jay. It comes packed with a 720p camera and a sleek black and blue design that makes this drone stand out from most of the competition. And while it may sport an intimidating experience, it's incredibly friendly to beginners.
The Blue Jay is incredibly easy to control, and it comes with a price point that will be appealing to more budget conscious shoppers. And since it uses a Wi-Fi connection, you can count on it to provide a higher level of stability, at least when in range of a network. In addition to offering a decent video resolution, beginners can easily perform stunts within just a few minutes of taking this drone for its first flight.
7. DBPOWER X400W FPV RC Quadcopter Drone with WiFi Camera
The DBPOWER X400 may bear the price of a budget quadcopter, but it has the heart of a much more advanced camera drone. It performs well even against wind resistance and comes pre-constructed so you can get it up and running in practically no time at all. Most of the tricks and features can be performed with a single button press, so you'll feel like a pro right from the start.
The video footage here is far from the best we've ever seen, but at this price point, drones are generally more focused on teaching you how to fly rather than shooting professional level footage. But where this drone really shines is through the quality of the downlink. You can essentially fly the X400W just using your camera without concern about lag.
8. EACHINE E58 WiFi FPV Quadcopter with Camera
Looking for a camera drone that's more about having fun than catching the most high resolution video you can? Look to the EACHINE E58. This pocket quadcopter can fold into itself and fit comfortably into your pocket, allowing you to bring it with you just about anywhere. And the sense of style is good f4kenough to match far more expensive drones.
And if you want to get this up and running quickly, you're in luck. Features like headless mode and one key return are pretty common among entry level drones, but the E58 also includes trimming to provide you with a quick and easy way to stabilize your quadcopter if things go wrong.
9. Parrot PF728000 Anafi wit 4k UHD camera
Parrot was one of the first companies to break into the consumer drone market, and they're still one of the best - just as long as you have the money to pay for them. The PF728000 is the only drone on our list to support 4K video, but Parrot has packed in support for high dynamic resolution as well. That makes this drone a stellar investment for professional or aspiring photographers.
And if you're looking to boost the frame rate, you can always downgrade the camera footage to 2.7K or even 1080p resolution. You can get some serious performance out of this drone too. Breaking from the standard, it offers a full 25 minutes of flight time on one charge.
10. Tello Quadcopter
This Tello quadcopter is a great way to learn how to fly, but it's also a great way to share your experience with friends. The compatible app makes the process of sharing your videos on social media platforms stupidly easy, and it offers a ton of control options. You can use your phone, the packaged controller, or a VR headset to take to the skies and show off your moves.
And those moves will be easier to perform with this model too. Performing tricks is as easy as flicking your finger on the control stick, and you can launch the Tello by simply throwing it into the air. It finds a nice middle ground before toy drones and more professional models while stripping out the learning curve.
Drone With Cameras Buyer’s Guide
If this is your first time shopping for camera drones, you’re in luck. We’ve already put together an exhaustive guide to consumer drones. But if you don’t want to take the time to read it, we’ll provide you with the essentials here. Once you’re done, you should have a good understanding of what specs and features to pay attention to and how to prioritize features based on your own unique needs.
You won’t find a drone that supports 4K video without paying a few hundred bucks. Apart from rarities like the Parrot PF728000, the options are pretty standardized. Drones that cost around $100 or more will typically offer a 1080p resolution, while anything under that is likely to sport a 720p resolution or worse. The latter is just fine for kids and beginners who are trying to experience the feeling of flight, but if you want to shoot video semi-professionally, you’ll be better investing in a 1080p model right from the start.
If you’re buying a drone hoping to get half an hour of usage on a single charge, think again. Most drones offer an average battery life that’s much closer to 10 minutes than 30 minutes. Finding a model with a decent battery life should be a priority if you want to use your drone for any serious work, but you may be better off investing in a model that comes with a backup battery or just purchasing a spare if you want to maximize your time in the air.
The distance your drone can go isn’t as important as it might seem at first. Many of these drones are designed with the needs of beginners in mind, and that means that you don’t want to let it get out of your line of sight. That said, there are a few models that are built for longer distance travel. But you’ll want to exercise caution when using a model like the Parrot PF728000. These are expensive pieces of equipment, and letting one get out of your line of sight can be a recipe for disaster.
Drones can come with an extensive range of features, but many of them are standardized across a wide variety of different models. If you’re first starting off or more interested in aerial photography than piloting, you’ll want to pay attention to the common features listed below.
- Headless mode aligns the positioning of a quadcopter with the ground so you don’t have to worry about it spinning out of control.
- Follow Me mode can go by different names, but the fundamentals are the same: by connecting to your phone over Bluetooth, your quadcopter will loyally follow your GPS location.
- Altitude Hold mode is one of the most useful features for camera drones. Your quadcopter will maintain its position, providing a more stable platform for shooting video.
- Return Home mode is great for quadcopters with a longer control range and for users with a wandering imagination. When it senses a low battery, it will automatically return to a designated set of GPS coordinates so it can be retrieved and recharged.
- Stunt modes can vary from model to model, but on these types of drones, they’re usually highly simplified. Performing rolls and turns is usually as simple as just pressing a button or pulling down or up on one of the control sticks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Drone to Buy with a Camera?
The best of the best is the Parrot PF728000. In a rare move, this drone features a 4K video resolution. It also sports an above average battery life and an optical zoom that can close in on a scale of up to 2.8x. It may be expensive compared to other drones, but it also easily beats even the best drones in terms of its video and flight capabilities.
Which is the Best Drone to Buy?
That really depends on what you want to use the drone for. If you’re just looking to learn the ropes or help your kid experiment with drones, you can get a model for $100 or less. But if you have even mild aspirations towards doing photography on a larger scale, the best drones are going to offer a 2.7K or 4K video resolution along with additional features like an optical zoom. Optical zoom is one of the best options for more serious photographers.
What is the Best Drone for a Beginner?
We absolutely love the Potensic T25. This drone comes with a decent battery life and a whole host of different intelligent features. Kids can learn the ropes easily, but you can also set automated routes through the phone app and make use of training wheel features that can help get you in the groove.
How Much Does a Good Camera Drone Cost?
If you’re looking for good camera drones, we think getting one with a camera resolution of 1080p is a necessity. Fortunately, they don’t cost too much. You can get camera drones with support for FHD for between 100 and 150 dollars.
No matter what your budget, your experience level, or your preferences, we think you’ll find a drone on our list that will accommodate your needs, but we want to hear from you! If you’ve tried any of the drones on our list, please share your opinion using the form below. And we hope that you’ll stick around and check out our other guides to consumer electronics.