Drone cameras are no longer novelty items as they once were; they’re affordable and here to stay. These are the best drone cameras for gorgeous aerial shots.
Do you want to take gorgeous overhead shots of your travel destinations? Do you want to be able to see what lies ahead of you before you get there?
These are all things that can be achieved with the best drone cameras. Once considered novelty items only affordable by the rich and privileged, drone cameras have finally broken into the mainstream.
In this article, we’ll give you a detailed overview of some of the best drone cameras on the market across various price points.
Best Premium Drone Camera
Up until recently, drone cameras were seen as extremely cumbersome and large devices. Carrying them drew a lot of attention and they weighed a ton. However, DJI Mavic 2 essentially popularized highly portable and foldable drone cameras. DJI Mavic 2 can easily be folded down to a compact size of 214×91×84 mm and it weighs only 5 pounds. As such, it can easily be carried anywhere without taking up too much space.
This drone camera can fly at a top speed of 72 km/h and has a massive 8 km range. As such, it can soar across wide and distant terrains and capture Ultra HD 4K videos at an impressive 30fps. One of the biggest issues here is the limited battery life of only 31 minutes. However, considering this drone camera can record Ultra HD videos while flying at an incredible speed, that is pretty understandable.
One of DJI Mavic’s best features is Hyperlapse, which can automatically create a timelapse of all the visuals captured while flying. Furthermore, it is also equipped with a dolly zoom feature, which can create a kind of vertigo effect. Another interesting feature is the Task Library which saves the drone camera’s flight path so you can capture the exact same footage at different times.
All things considered, DJI Mavic 2 is one of the most advanced drone cameras on the market, equipped with the best features and video recording capacities. However, those advanced features naturally also come at an advanced price point.
Best Budget Drone Camera
DJI Spark is one of the best affordable drone cameras on the market. It packs quite a lot of features at a really low price point. The first thing about this drone camera that really impressed me is that it only weighs 5.3 ounces and has folded dimensions of 143×143×55 mm. As such, it is so small and lightweight that you can practically slip it into your pockets.
In terms of performance, this drone camera can fly at a top speed of 50 km/h and has a decent range of 2 km. The range is certainly not as advanced as the aforementioned DJI Mavic 2, however, that makes perfect sense. DJI Mavic 2 was a lot faster and had better battery life, which meant you could fly it out for a greater distance and still fly it back before the battery dies. However, DJI Spark has considerably lower speed and has a battery life of only 16 minutes, so it has a lower range by necessity.
Having said that, you can still use this drone camera to record stunning Full HD 1080p videos at 30fps. It has a modest but decent 12MP camera lens. Furthermore, it is also equipped with some great features. DJI Spark’s best feature is Active Track, with which it can identify distant objects and then follow them around. Another useful feature is the Gesture Control with which you can “teach” it certain hand gestures that act as commands. As such, you can take a selfie from a distance by just communicating the correct gesture.
All things considered, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a drone camera half as good at such a reasonable price range.
Best Professional Drone Camera
DJI Phantom 4 is one of the best drone cameras on the market used by professionals. It is just as powerful and well-equipped as the aforementioned DJI Mavic 2, if not better. However, the only reason it comes lower down on this list is its bulky and heavy frame. This drone camera weighs 9 pounds, cannot be folded, and has dimensions of 350×350 mm, making it one of the bulkiest drone cameras on this list. That’s why it is mostly only used by professionals.
This drone camera can fly at a max speed of 72 km/h and has a pretty great range of 7 km. The battery isn’t as great as the Mavic 2, but, at 25 minutes, it’s still relatively okay by drone camera standards. The feature I personally loved most was that it can record stunning Ultra HD 4K videos at a whopping 60fps. That is a pretty impressive feat as even the most advanced cameras can often only manage 30fps when recording videos in 4K.
This is also one of the most intelligent drone cameras on the market. It is integrated with technologies that allow it to track the terrain and avoid obstacles even if you miss them. As such, you can be assured that it won’t easily break or crash because of human error. It also includes “Follow Me” and “Return to Home” features that can instruct the camera to either return to its defined storage location or to seamlessly follow you wherever you go.
Parrot ANAFI is an incredibly light and foldable drone camera with a powerful 21 MP lens that can record 4K Ultra HD videos at 30fps. It weighs only 10 ounces and can be folded down to 244×67×6 5mm, which is small enough to stuff into a small bag. This drone can fly at a maximum speed of 55 km/h and has a maximum range of 4 km, which is large enough to explore unseen territories. The battery life isn’t as great as the DJI Mavic, but it’s still alright at 25 minutes.
My favorite feature here is the Geofence. This feature allows you to set up a physical perimeter for the drone camera beyond which it cannot fly. This prevents your drone camera from going too far away. However, besides that one feature, Parrot ANAFI is a bit lacking in features compared to the other drone cameras on this list. Sure, it can record stunning videos and you can set up a geofence, but that’s about it. However, considering how affordable this drone camera is, I’m not too bothered by its basic bare-bones nature.
Holy Stone HS100 is a mid-range drone camera that weighs 24 ounces and has dimensions of 500x500x175 mm. It is certainly not as lightweight as some of the other mini-drone cameras on this list, but it’s still compact enough to be portable. It can record Full HD 1080p videos at 30fps.
My biggest issue with this drone camera is that it can only fly for about 12 to 15 minutes and that too for a maximum distance of 500 meters from the controller. This drastically limits the camera’s range.
Perhaps the best feature in this drone camera is the GPS Location and Auto Return. This allows you to set up precise GPS locations for it to fly to you can set it up to return to its original location when the battery is about to die. Another useful feature is “Follow Me”, which makes the drone follow your footsteps so it never gets lost.
All things considered, this is a decent drone camera if you don’t need it for terrain tracking or longterm use. However, its biggest selling point is the extremely low price which makes it affordable for most people.
Altair #AA108 is an extremely cheap and basic drone camera available at less than $150. It has a decent camera that can capture 720p videos with a 120-degree wide angle lens. It has a 1-button takeoff feature that allows it to easily fly aided by the four branched wing propellers.
This drone camera cannot be used to fly for long distances as it has a range of only 100 meters from the controller. When in flight mode, this drone camera can last for about 10 minutes, after which it needs to be charged. The battery life here is terrible, especially considering it only record 720p. Furthermore, once the battery is dead, it takes several hours to charge it again. This means that you can only ever use this drone camera for about 10 minutes at a time.
This drone camera has some decent emergency functions as well. For example, when the battery is about to die, it automatically starts landing, though it cannot trace its way back to its original location. It also has a low battery alarm that lets you know when it is about to die.
All things considered, this is a decent drone camera for kids and beginners. However, it is pretty worthless in terms of any actual real-world utility.
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