Drones with cameras are the type of drones that most people are familiar with. They are ready-to-fly quadcopters that have stabilized cameras for shooting video and stills. Drones with cameras are used in different industries, including video production, search and rescue, agriculture and more. Some of the most popular drone uses include exploring the world from new perspectives, experiencing what it’s like to fly, and capturing memories in a whole new way. All of these are perfectly good reasons for wanting a camera drone.
What parameters should you compare when buying a drone with a camera?
Entry Level mini-quads start at just $13, but you won’t get a camera unless you pay around $60. Increase your budget and you should expect to get live video (first-person view) on your smartphone via a free app, or even a color screen on the remote control.
Cameras are the main reason for choosing this type of drone, but even if a drone has a camera, it may not offer FPV (a real-time video stream) which you need in order to fly it without line-of-sight. At the cheaper end of the price scale, you’ll be lucky to get even VGA video, so it’s worth opting for at least 720p (1280×720) if you want a drone for aerial video. Bear in mind that you can't trust specs alone.
One 720p camera may shoot detailed footage while another looks grainy, like security camera footage from the 1980s, but keep in mind that you’ll only get great quality footage if you buy a drone with a gimbal. Gimbals are gyro-stabilized mounts for the camera that keeps the camera steady while the drone tilts or moves around. They don’t come cheap, though. Also bear in mind that some cameras record video directly to a microSD card (or USB drive), but others record from the remote control, or even directly to a smartphone.
Flight time and charging time:
You can expect between 5 and 15 minutes of flight time between charges, which themselves take around an hour. It’s a shame more companies don’t supply multiple batteries, as you need one or two spares. You will also need to purchase a couple of sets of rechargeable AA batteries as most controllers take four of them, and those with live video screens will burn through a set of alkaline batteries in under an hour.
Range and where to fly:
Even if some manufacturers claim a range of over 100m, it’s best to assume you’ll never get more than about 50m. By law in the UK, you must keep the ‘unmanned aircraft’ in your line of sight at all times, for example, and it is not feasible to fly a quadcopter in your home. The rooms are too small, and the rotors can be dangerous to people and pets.
A backyard is also too limited on space, and it’s too easy to lose control and end up crashing your drone into a neighbor’s property. The best place we recommend is a field, park or other open space where there are no trees for the drone to get caught in, and no people or dogs to hit. Don’t forget that safest flight is in relatively windless conditions.
Propellers and rotors break fairly regularly, along with other bits and pieces. All the drones come with a full set of spare rotors, but as one pair rotates counter-clockwise and the other pair clockwise, you’ve only got two spares for each pair of spindles. It’s worth choosing a drone for which spare and replacement parts are easy to obtain.
Privacy and the law – Dronecode
We suggest considering what you plan to do with any images you capture as you may breach privacy laws. Always choose a big open space away from roads, people, buildings, and animals. Don’t post any aerial video which would allow anyone to be identified on YouTube or social networks unless you have their permission.
Best drones with a camera:
The improved Hubsan H107D is one of the most exciting new drones. This camera drone takes a solid foundation, upgrades all the components, and integrates an FPV system into the radio controller that allows you to fly your drone without even seeing it using exclusively the onboard camera that is relaying the video feed in real time.
You can use it as a video game, piloting the Hubsan H107D drone around the house, through obstacles or outside, or in places you've never gone before. For starters, the radio controller has all the essential parts (6 axis-control, a full-fledged video menu allowing you to configure everything on the drone, recording options, and a live video display) however, it doesn't have the smooth rubbery grip that you can expect with some of the more expensive drones.
The main goal of launching this drone with a camera was to have the lightest possible drone to increase maneuverability and battery life, so the propellers are soft plastic. While this makes for a safer propeller, it also means you'll need spares on hand, since the parts are less sturdy.
The Hubsan X4 H107C Drone – the Best Beginner Drone:Hubsan X4 H107C provides you a sporty flight experience and the opportunity to record great-looking video. This drone model weighs just under 50 grams, which is still a bit heavier than equally-sized competitors (more on that later), and fits in the palm of your hand. As an addition to the whole system, we recommend you get a micro SD card for your digital videos and four AAA batteries for the transmitter. H107C's rotors are quite delicate, and we recommend being very careful with them.
It is a good thing to have the extra rotors out of the box, but you don't want to have to use them right off the bat. To protect your drone, you'll want to mount the included blade protector. This will help safeguard the drone in the event you accidentally bump into anything. You'll need to look to find it, but it's in the box. It's attached to the bottom of the packaging.
The camera records at 720p (that's a 1280×720 resolution) and provides crisp and lively footage. Because of the good flying behavior, you can get stable video. Just make sure to shoot under good conditions. Wind can be a major factor in getting stable, steady footage. When you film at night, you'll see ghosting when e.g. making fast turns; again, this isn't anything you wouldn't expect and doesn't detract from the overall solid impression.
The disadvantage of this model is the problem with the camera: sometimes, it will refuse to record, and you may wonder if it's broken.
It does not matter whether you want to perform acrobatics outside or get some cool aerial shots of your house, this is a perfect way to start off your new quad hobby.
Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Power Edition:Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Power Edition includes a valuable set of accessories. Here's what comes with this model:
- 3 sets of rotor blades: red, orange, blue
- A tool to replace them
- 2 lipo 1500 mAh batteries
- Battery charger
- Protectors for indoor and outdoor usage
- Instruction manual
The main feature of “Power Edition” is the battery: while the regular version comes with one 1000 mAh pack, this one has 2 high-density lithium-polymer batteries, each packing 1500 mAh. You get three times the battery life of the regular stock model, jumping from 12 to 36 minutes.
The bad side is that the Parrot is that you need to interrupt your session and exchange batteries once the first one is dead. Also, you'll want to plan your RC session well ahead of time: charging a battery takes a couple of hours. This quadcopter is black with colored rotors adding a single touch of color. The design makes them stand out and add vibrancy to the the quad's ninja-style exterior.
DJI Phantom 3:
DJI Phantom 3 comes with a powerful package. Because of the advanced electronics and endurance, you could easily go professional in photography with this one.
This is what comes with this drone model, besides the quad system:
- 1 4480 mAh lipo battery
- Charger + wall socket adapter
- 4 propellers + 4 extras
- Accessories: rubber dampers, landing cushion, spanner, screws)
- Video range extender
- iPhone clamp
- USB cable
The great thing is about the DJI Phantom 3 is that it is powered by a long lasting 4800 mAh lithium-polymer battery so it can remain in the air for up to 25 minutes in a single session. The new highly efficient motors in the DJI Phantom 3 produce longer flight times than previous generations.
The Ei-Hi S911C Quadcopter UFO Huge:
The company Ei-Hi made a great new drone, the Ei-Hi S911C Quadcopter UFO Huge. This drone is a replacement for the Hubsan H107D. The company listened to feedback and then mapped out what would be the ideal drone for anyone wanting to get a true taste of flying without any of the hassles usually associated with quadcopters. What are the improvements of this new model?
This new drone model got the increased the size and modified shape to get strong wind resistance. If you ever have used any small drone, you must know that flying in windy conditions is near impossible with many other beginner drones. The beauty of the S911Cis that it's designed to perform well even when there's a slight breeze blowing outside.
Better drop resistance:
Better drop resistance is the second improvement of the Ei-Hi quadcopter is that they increased it's drop resistance. In other words: this drone model is built to take a beating and keep on going.
Increased Flying Distance:
The Ei-Hi company also increased flying distance of the Ei-Hi S911C with the new 2.4ghz 6.5 channel RC radio. If you are a beginner, you are probably not going to be pushing the limits. However, when you get the hang of flying around, you'll appreciate the 300-foot range that it offers. To put that in perspective, that means about one football field of range all around you.
Flight, performance, and fun
The Ei-Hi S911C drone is fun and relatively easy at the same time. You will enjoy the real drone flight and learn how to maneuver it around your area quickly. Surprisingly, one of the most fun parts of flying this drone is learning how to fly it. After you get used to this incredible flying machine, you'll be flying forward, left, right, and backward. As soon as you get really good, you'll be able to start taking some cool aerial photography with the built-in camera and maybe even going through obstacle courses.
We hope this buying guide will help you to choose the best drone with a camera. We wish you still days and a lot of flying adventures!