Best Drone Cameras

If you love photography and videography and have never flown a drone with a camera I have to ask you: “What are you waiting for?!” It’s an exhilarating experience. I don’t think any of us as kids didn’t like RC toys. Now you can have an RC that can capture beautiful photographs and cinematic video. It’s a great excuse for buying one. When you’re partner asks what is this toy that you bought you can simply say well: “its not a toy it’s a tool for aerial photography”. Never mind the excuses, when your partner gets to try it they’ll be happy you bought it. Flying is way easier than it used to be. Once these drones are in the air they can hold their position without any input from the pilot thanks to GPS and other sensors. The learning curve for maneuvering these uav/drones is fast.

Jump straight to each segment

Best of the Best

Best Value

Best on a Budget

Being able to capture the world from the air is a photographer’s dream. What was once only possible in expensive planes and helicopters, is now widely available to beginner, enthusiast, and professional photographers and videographers. Drone footage is now widely used in everything from wedding videos and real estate advertising to low budget films and top Hollywood productions. Many still photographers love using drones too. There have a been a few times where I couldn’t get to a spot to shoot a landscape shot so I just put my drone up and captured it from the sky. In this report, I focus on drones that are specifically built for photography and all have good quality cameras so you can use the photos for print or the videos for professional projects or to build your aerial demo/show reel. You’ll notice that most of the drones are manufactured by DJI and that is because for aerial photography DJI drones are vastly superior to the competition at present. All the drones on the list have advanced GPS capabilities and auto return to home functionality.

Please make sure to follow all the safety protocols and obey the laws for operating your drone in whatever area you are in. Have fun!

BEST OF THE BEST



BEST OF THE BEST

Sensor

Lens

Video

#1 WINNER

DJI Inspire 2

Zenmuse X4S Camera: 20 Megapixel 1” CMOS 

Zenmuse X5S Camera: 20.8 Megapixel 4/3” CMOS


Zenmuse X4S Camera: 8.8 mm, {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.8-f/11


Zenmuse X5S Camera: Interchangeable

Zenmuse X4S Camera: 4K up to 60fps, 1080p to 120fps

Zenmuse X5S Camera: 5.2 K up to 30 fps, 4K up to 60fps 

#2 WINNER

DJI Phantom 4 Professional

20 Megapixel 1” CMOS

 8.8 mm, {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.8-f/11

4K up to 60fps, 1080p Full HD up to 120fps

#3 WINNER

DJI Phantom 4

12.4 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

 20 mm {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.8 at ∞

4K UHD at up to 30 fps, 1080p Full HD up to 120fps


#1 WINNER
DJI Inspire 2

Sensor:
Zenmuse X4S Camera: 20 Megapixel 1” CMOS
Zenmuse X5S Camera: 20.8 Megapixel 4/3” CMOS

Lens:
Zenmuse X4S Camera: 8.8 mm, {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.8-f/11
Zenmuse X5S Camera: Interchangeable

Video:
Zenmuse X4S Camera: 4K up to 60fps, 1080p Full HD up to 120fps
Zenmuse X5S Camera: 5.2 K up to 30 fps, 4K up to 60fps

Pros: Very sturdy build quality. Up to 5.2 K video. Retractable landing gear. 360 Degree rotation.

Cons: Very Expensive. Special license needed to fly in many places. Heavy.

The Inspire 2 is the entry level to the professional grade category for DJI drones. It has replaced the Inspire 1 drone and added many improvements in many areas including: flight time, speed, camera payload, and obstacle avoidance. This is definitely not a beginners or enthusiasts drone. It offers dual operator controls and professional video compression options. The X4S Camera is a marvel on its own- offering a previously unheard of 20 Megapixels in such a small package. It’s almost the exact same camera that can be found on the DJI Phantom 4 Professional. It has a 1 inch sensor which is also very large for the size of the camera. The X5S camera is much more expensive and offers a micro 4 thirds sensor, interchangeable lenses and no compression/RAW-like Pro-res/CinemaDNG video. I love this drone and would own it in a heartbeat if my focus was aerial photography and cinematography.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LOWEST PRICE I FOUND ONLINE TODAY

 

#2 WINNER
DJI Phantom 4 Professional

Sensor: 20 Megapixel 1” CMOS

Lens: 8.8 mm, {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.8-f/11

Video: 4K up to 60fps, 1080p Full HD up to 120fps

Pros: Fast and maneuverable. 360 degree obstacle avoidance. 4K Video. Mechanical shutter.

Cons: Pricey. Side obstacle sensors have limited functionality.

The Phantom 4 Professional is really one of the best drones on the market. Its listed as an enthusiast and consumer grade UAV but I think it can do much more than that. It has virtually the same camera specs that can be found on the Inspire 2 X4S camera- and short of not being able to record uncompressed video- it’s basically a professional system. With the right know how you can get incredible professional video and photos from this drone.  Its light, fast, maneuverable and easy to use compared to the Inspire 2.  The automated flight modes, subject recognition and tracking (autopilot) and reliability make this UAV a pleasure to own. The phantom 4 Professional Plus comes with its own screen on the remote so you don’t need to worry about a phone and tablet.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LOWEST PRICE I FOUND ONLINE TODAY

 


#3 WINNER
DJI Phantom 4

Sensor:  12.4 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

Lens: 20 mm {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.8 at ∞

Video: 4K UHD at up to 30 fps, 1080p Full HD up to 120fps

Pros: Subject recognition. Front obstacle avoidance sensors.

Cons: No rear obstacle avoidance. Needs to be used with Smartphone or tablet. Smaller sensor.

Up until the release of the Phantom 4 Pro this drone held the place for top enthusiast/prosumer drone on the market. It has a respectable 4K camera and almost all the flight modes and subject tracking that the Phantom 4 Pro has. Since the release of the Phantom 4 Pro this drone has become very affordable. It has a very good flight time of around 28 minutes. The sensor is significantly smaller than the Phantom 4 Pro but for the price this drone captures stunning video and photos. I own one and love it!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LOWEST PRICE I FOUND ONLINE TODAY

 

 

BEST VALUE



BEST VALUE

Sensor

Lens

Video

#1 WINNER

Yuneec Typhoon H

12.4 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS


14 mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 at ∞


4K UHD at up to 30 fps, 1080p Full HD up to 120fps


#2 WINNER

DJI Mavic Professional

12.4 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

28mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 at ∞ 

4K UHD up to 30fps. 1080p video up to 96 fps.

Portrait mode.

#3 WINNER

GoPro Karma with Hero 5 Black

12 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

14 mm, 21mm, 28mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 at ∞

4K UHD at up to 30 fps, 1080p Full HD up to 120fps

 

#1 WINNER
Yuneec Typhoon H

Sensor:  12.4 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

Lens: 14 mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 at ∞

Video: 4K UHD at up to 30 fps, 1080p Full HD up to 120fps

Pros: 6-Rotor design.  Remote control with display. Obstacle avoidance. Retractable landing gear.

Cons:  Limited flight time (19 minutes).  Very large drone. Controller is bulky.

The Typhoon offers some features normally only found in Professional drones like the DJI Inspire. Those features include: retractable landing gear, and a 360 rotating camera. The drone is much larger than the Phantom and it is heavier. Its carbon fibre arms are retractable which makes transporting it much easier. The RealSense obstacle avoidance technology is very good but only works at low speeds. Battery life isn’t the best as this drone will need to land after about 19 minutes of flight.  The main advantage of this setup apart from the ability for videographers to spin the camera all the way around is the 6 rotor design. The drone is very stable and only needs 5 rotors to stay in the air so if you lose a motor the drone will stay in the air. Great UAV!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LOWEST PRICE I FOUND ONLINE TODAY

 


#2 WINNER
DJI Mavic Professional

Sensor:  12.4 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

Lens: 28mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 at ∞

Video: 4K UHD up to 30fps. 1080p video up to 96 fps. Portrait mode.

Pros: Foldable small design, great for travel. Portrait and landscape modes. Good operating range.

Cons: Not as steady in strong wind as Phantom series.

The Mavic Pro is a revolutionary drone! It gives pilots the freedom to travel and easily take their drones with. The Mavic includes many of the amazing features of DJI’s prosumer drones like the Phantom 4 including many of the automated follow and tracking modes. The camera also swivels to give you the ability to capture portrait video and photos for selfies. On windy days this drone is a bit less stable than the Phantom series. The drone’s camera is very similar to the DJI Phantom 4 camera but has a narrower field of view (79 degrees versus 94 degrees). Being able to have a drone with me all the time is what I love about this drone!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LOWEST PRICE I FOUND ONLINE TODAY

 

 

#3 WINNER
GoPro Karma with Hero 5 Black

Sensor:  12 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

Lens: 14 mm, 21mm, 28mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 at ∞

Video: 4K UHD at up to 30 fps, 1080p Full HD up to 120fps

Pros: Works with your existing Hero5. Portable.

Cons: Not as portable when folded as the DJI Mavic Pro. Requires separate GoPro hero Camera.

If you already have a GoPro Hero 6 Black, Hero 5 Black, Hero 4 Black/Silver or are a GoPro fan this is a great system for you. Being able to separate the camera and use it in other ways is very nice. The Karma with the Hero 5 is slightly more expensive than the Mavic Pro but worth it if you want to use the camera for other things as well.  The Karma is not as portable and light as the Mavic but still very portable in comparison to the Phantom series. The Karma lacks the follow me and autonomous modes of the Mavic. The camera quality is very similar to the Mavic and Phantom 4. I only recommend this drone if you want a separate GoPro camera for other things like helmet mounted POV.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LOWEST PRICE I FOUND ONLINE TODAY

 


BEST ON A BUDGET



BEST ON A BUDGET

Sensor

Lens

Video

#1 WINNER

DJI Phantom 3 Professional

12.4 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS 

20 mm {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.8 at ∞

4K UHD at up to 30 fps, 1080p Full HD up to 60fps

#2 WINNER

DJI Phantom 3 Standard

12 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

20 mm {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.8 at ∞

2.7K at up to 30 fps, 1080p Full HD up to 30fps

#3 WINNER

DJI Spark

 12 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS


25 mm {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.6, 2 metres to ∞


1080p Full HD up to 30fps


 

#1 WINNER
DJI Phantom 3 Professional

Sensor: 12.4 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

Lens: 20 mm {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.8 at ∞

Video: 4K UHD at up to 30 fps, 1080p Full HD up to 60fps

Pros: Native Raw Capture. Leica optics. Pro Mode.

Cons: Flight time limited to 23 minutes. Slower than Phantom 4.

The Phantom 3 Professional was once the flagship of the DJI consumer/prosumer series. Its now become an excellent drone for the price since being replaced by the Phantom 4. Its camera is almost identical to the Phantom 4 Camera and the results are nearly indistinguishable in most scenarios. The Phantom 4 camera is slightly better at resolving details in shadows. The Phantom 3 Professional doesn’t have the capability to capture 120 fps HD footage.  The Phantom 3 Pro doesn’t have the front obstacle avoidance system found in the Phantom 4, as well as some of the tracking modes. For most purposes, this drone is all that you need to capture stunning video and photos, and saves you a tonne of cash too.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LOWEST PRICE I FOUND ONLINE TODAY


#2 WINNER
DJI Phantom 3 Standard

Sensor:  12 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

Lens: 20 mm {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.8 at ∞

Video: 2.7K at up to 30 fps, 1080p Full HD up to 30fps

Pros: Amazing UAV for the price. Good quality 2.7K resolution.

Cons: No 4K Video.  No vision positioning sensors.

This is a great drone for beginners. It gives you many features of more expensive drones and decent camera quality. It doesn’t have DJI’s Lightbridge downlink and it has a much lower operating range. For the most part its range is still very good at 500-1000 metres. Since this drone lacks downward vision sensors you cannot hover it automatically indoors. Not being able to capture 4K is only an issue for certain users. This is a great drone which includes a lot of the intelligent flight modes that make flying a DJI drone fun!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LOWEST PRICE I FOUND ONLINE TODAY


#3 WINNER
DJI Spark

Sensor: 12 Megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS

Lens: 25 mm {24 mm (35mm equivalent)} f/2.6, 2 metres to ∞

Video: 1080p Full HD up to 30fps

Pros: Very small and portable. Automated flight modes.

Cons: Only 12 minutes of flight time. Limited range and speed when operated with smartphone.

This is a drone made for everyone. Its tiny size means you can slip it in your jacket pocket. It’s a very cool device for selfies and can be operated without a remote at all using gestures. If you want to fly it without the gesture modes; more like a normal prosumer drone, you’ll need to buy an additional remote control. The drone is basically a less professional smaller mini version of the Mavic Pro. It’s a fun drone to use and comes in at a great price. I wouldn’t recommend this for professional video and photo. The DJI Spark is a tonne of fun!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LOWEST PRICE I FOUND ONLINE TODAY


FINAL THOUGHTS

Being able to photograph and see the world from a bird’s-eye view is absolutely thrilling. It really adds a huge element to your photographs and video reel if you want to compete with other photographers and filmmakers.  They are super fun to fly and have made aerial photography and cinematography something that everyone can try. It’s absolutely thrilling and the “cherry on top” if you already love photography. I hope you can get out there and experience it! When piloting a drone make sure that you follow all the rules and laws for the area you wish to fly in, and keep safety as a number one priority. Have fun!