When you see captivating aerial photos in magazines and videos on television or in various social media channels, you might be wondering how they are done. What device did they use to have such beautiful images? This imagery is called drone images and taken using a camera drone.
Drone aerials are genuinely breathtaking, and they give a new life into a subject like cityscapes. It gives us a unique perspective to scenery that we thought we already knew from the ground. With drones, our dreams of flying came true. The next thing you know, you are considering buying your first drone with a camera. But before you click the “add to cart” button, we’ll cover everything you need to know before purchasing a drone, including which mini drones are the best, and which have the best camera capabilities.
Camera Drones Defined
As the name implied, a camera drone is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) that are equipped with a camera. A drone is a multi-rotor device flown using a remote control. Ever since these devices were introduced in the market, it has changed our perception of the world surrounding us. It also offers new possibilities for mapping, surveying, inspection, photography and filming and many more applications.
Camera drones give us access in tight spaces, and we can create unique compositions. You can use them in professional photography, weddings, sporting events, and travels. Drones are practically used everywhere and anywhere.
We can do many things when we have a camera drone. It revolutionized aerial photography and gave us a bird’s-eye view in the form of videos and photos. Drones have also made possible what traditional cameras cannot do like whirling in a 360 degrees motion and tilting quickly.
The most significant change that drone has brought in the world of photography is it has made aerial photography more accessible to everybody. There are many camera drones in the market today, and their price range covers the whole spectrum.
Why Buy a Camera Drone?
To give yourself an advantage and wow your audience with great pictures that are taken from above, you need a camera drone. It also opens up a lot of opportunities to capture beautiful shots from anywhere, and there are no limits when composing video and pictures with this technology. You can practically shoot from a vantage point of over a hundred meters above.
One of the reasons why you should buy a camera drone is that it can capture pictures that you have never dreamt like seeing the world from above. When you look at your viewfinder, you can see beautiful images taken from the sky.
Another reason is that flying a camera drone is easy even for beginners. Some drones are stable enough that many beginner pilots can take advantage of and fly them successfully. Camera drones have GPS steering, a capable software that is combined with sensors to virtually fly the drone themselves using sensor data from the environment and GPS, the air vehicle is easy to operate and safe.
If you are into real estate and you need to take beautiful photos for a client in a new light, using a camera drone can let you show valuable assets in the best possible way. Using drones to take footages of a property can increase your chance of selling it. This is applicable if you want to highlight a large estate or the seafront.
A camera drone is also a unique tool to showcase brand new ideas and innovations. It can let you create a foundation for unique storytelling and videography. It is also perfect or student projects and professional filmmaking with an aerial platform.
Buying a drone can be an exciting endeavor because it has the cool factor. However, you need to have a method of shopping, or else it will become a shopping madness. Knowing what to look for when buying a drone is the most important thing.
Choosing the Best Camera Drone
If you are looking to buy a drone for photography, you should take into consideration the specifications of a camera drone have to offer. Understanding the specs on what made a drone for photography is the first step in knowing which drone will be good for you.
Camera and Video Resolution
Since you are buying the drone for photography, knowing the camera specs is very important. To start with, you need to know the terms frequently used when talking about camera resolution. The frame rate is about the total number of frames that are placed in sequence in producing a moving image. You need to watch out for a drone camera with a higher frame rate because you will get more pictures with it.
Usually, a standard camera drone will have an FPS of 24, 48 and 120 being the highest. The resolution, on the other hand, has some options. The more common choices for aerial photography drones comes in 4K UHD, 4K, 1080p HD, 1080p, 720p HD to name a few. Megapixels influence how a photo will turn out. It is consist of 1 million pixels like a mosaic that create the photograph.
The amount of these megapixels in a camera drone gives you an idea of how your image will be like. Lower-end camera drones have 2 MP while the others can have as high as 100 Megapixel. The rule of thumb is the higher the megapixel count a camera has; the better are the pictures.
A good camera drone has a lot of powerful tools and on top of that is its high-definition capabilities to have an industry-standard quality of images. You need to check the ISO range, sensor size, photography modes, shutter speed and a whole lot more of technical specifications that the makers of camera drone can fit. Some professional level cameras also have 1-inch sensors that are capable of capturing 12-megapixel images and footages in 4K and RAW.
It is also essential to check the gimbal quality. This is because, in aerial photography, stability is vital in capturing smooth footages while in the air. This is also the reason why great emphasis is given in choosing a drone with a top-quality gimbal. This can reduce shaking when the drone is in flight. The choices for drones in the currently are 2-axis gimbals and 3-axis gimbals. It makes sense to choose the latter, of course.
Flight Safety and Reliability
Safety is on top of our concern, and this is also true for camera drones. It should be stable and has advanced flight controller that can handle the commands intelligently to have a worry-free flight. That means the ‘brain’ should be superior with software that can avoid obstacles. Some drones also have returned to home functions when the battery is running low. It will not do you any good if you have an excellent camera that will fall off from the sky because of your unstable drone.
Another vital feature in drone photography is its video transmission capability. Your drone should be able to transmit the pictures and footages taken in real time straight to a mobile device. A delayed transmission interference will not allow you to have better control of your drone’s camera and store your vivid images. You need to look for drones that can support a dual 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz so that you have longer transmitting distance and higher resistance to interference.
The best drones with cameras should have many smart flight elements to capture stunning images in challenging scenarios. This quality is what drone cameras stand out because of the convenience it gives and the fun it adds to aerial photography. A good example will be an ‘Active Track’ feature that will let you take at a moving subject. It can direct the camera to track the object and keep it in the frame. There are many other intelligent features found in camera drones, make sure to check them out.
Nowadays, being able to take aerial clear and vivid photos is not the only feature that you should look for camera drones. The new trend is portability because it is inconvenient to carry a bulky and heavy camera drones around especially when traveling. A smaller and lighter aerial camera is easier when on the go.
Camera drones are sensitive and can be damaged easily. Repairs can also be costly. Look for a drone that has value-added services to offer aside from the standard warranty. Some companies do provide in-depth tutorials, workshops, and personal training. Some go the extra mile and offer insurance coverage. These all make the camera drone experience extra special.
Best Camera Drone Recommendations
This is the cutest camera drone there is as it is barely larger than your standard SD card. The design is simple. At the front of the drone is a 720P, 2MP camera that is capable of recording footages and taking images. On the right side are the power switch and the charging port while opposite this location is the slot for a micro SD card. There is no indication on the SD card memory though, and it is not included in the package, so it’s a game of trial and error here.
The EACHINE E10C Mini Drone with 2.0MP HD Camera is a compact and mini remote-controlled drone that you can slip in your pocket or bag when you are traveling and on the go. It is also ideal for a novice in drone photography and can be a perfect gift for kids. It nanometer shell looks rugged, and it has LED lights as a marker. These LED lights indicate the direction the drone is facing. It can be used not only to determine the orientation but also to keep track of your drone during night-time flying. The lights also indicate when you are using the camera functions.
What you have is a standard remote control with joysticks for flight control and control button plus a photo and video button on its bumpers. The bottom of the remote control has the battery compartment for your AA batteries.
In operating the drone, you have to pair the joystick with it first, by moving the joystick left and right, up and down and you have to do this every time you use the drone. When it is paired both left, and right joysticks has a specific function in the controls – left for rotation and throttle and right for forward and backward motion.
It is capable of performing tricks too like flips and change the sped of the drone. You can control the drone and set it in flight without crashing. However, it takes a few adjustments. Hovering is not its best capability.
- Better camera photos and videos than ordinary camera drones
- Very compact and portable
- Easy to fly and use
- Capable of flips and speed control
- Pairing is not permanent; you have to do it every time
- It takes practice to operate it properly
One of the best quality of this drone is it is nearly indestructible. This is because it is made with high-quality ABS materials that are flexible and light. As a beginner, this feature is quite comforting because you need not worry about crashing it. The built-in LED lights not only make it look cool but make it easy to use.
What makes this drone stand above the rest is its features. The high definition camera, for instance, is a delight for all photography enthusiasts. It has an HD WiFi Camera with a wide angle of 120 degrees and delivers 720P videos.
This drone has a built-in 2.4 GHz WiFi capability so you can connect the drone with your phone. You can connect and have a first-person view that can help you reduce interference when flying. It has the in-demand headless more, where there is no need for the player to put the drone in the correct orientation, it can fly off from any direction.
Another user-friendly feature is the One Hot Key where there is only one button to use for takeoff and landing. The altitude hold function is also useful because you can keep the drone in one height. The trajectory flying contributes to the ease of use because you can trace a path in our phone for the drone to follow. If stability is what you are looking for, the 6-axis gyro system provides them to take images and videos well.
Concerning performance, Beebeerun WiFi FPV RC Quadcopter it can run up to a maximum of 10 minutes if you are not using its unique functions; otherwise, it can run a good 7-8 minutes. The charging time is approximately 30 minutes, but you can have another battery because it has its battery charger.
- The design is its strongest point
- LED lights make it easy to see it in the air
- Longer flying time
- High-quality videos and photos
- Longer charging time
- Short flight time
There are many features to love in this camera drone, let us count them. Its App Control and Gravity Induction Mode enables the drone to fly without using the remote control while the gravity control allows it to operate in any direction the way you move your phone. It is also equipped with WiFi camera lets you watch live streaming videos from the flight directly to the phone. It also supports the VR Headset.
It has an Altitude Hold Mode that makes the drone hover at a default height. This makes controlling it more manageable and stabilizes the camera in taking aerial photos and videos. Another great feature is the One-Button take-off and landing, no need to push other buttons to control with one touch it can hover at a certain altitude and land gently on the ground.
With the custom flight route, you can draw the flight plan on the screen and watch the drone fly in this direction. When the drone exceeds its flight range, you will automatically receive an alarm. It also has an emergency stop button in case of an emergency, and the motors of the drone will stop working automatically.
The difference of its headless mode is that it is only activated when the fuselage direction cannot be recognized to continue its flights. This drone is also very portable with about the size of your palm and is lightweight. It can transmit at a WiFi distance of about 10 meters, and the transmitter can work up to 15 meters. The light time is shorter at 6 minutes.
Its photo and video capability is not its greatest strength because the camera is only at 0.3 MP and the FPV WiFi Transmission is only at a resolution of 640 X 480P at 30 Mbps.
You can control this affordable mini-drone using downloadable apps in iOS and Android. With the apps, it makes drone flying easy and customizable. You can draw a pattern on your phone, and the drone will fly accordingly. It is not only equipped with a Wi-Fi camera, but it is also compatible with a VR headset.
- Sophisticated navigation system
- It has stabilization technology that works like an autopilot
- Very compact and portable
- Three different speed modes
- No return home feature
- Short transmitter distance and flight time
This is an affordable mini-drone with a camera that has foldable wings and is equipped with an HD 0.3 MP camera. It can record photos and videos at 720P. It has a real-time image and video transmission capability using Wi-Fi which means that you can download its iOS and Android compatible apps to get the FPV or First Person View experience. Using your mobile phone, you can view and save real-time videos as if you are sitting on the drone in flight.
It is easy to shoot high-quality images and footages with the Altitude Hold Function feature. This means that when you release the joystick, the camera drone can stay hovering at its current height creating stability when taking pictures and videos.
In terms of design, this mini-drone is small and about the size of your palm. This size gives a better and safer flight experience while being portable and foldable, allows you to carry and store it without requiring much space in your bag. Being small did not sacrifice the features you need in camera drone like the LED lights that not only add gorgeousness to the drone but also help you in flying it at night.
Its flying ability is also superb with the High-Speed Rotation and the 3D Flip. The mini-drone can perform tricks like flying at a high-speed and doing cool flips that make flying this beauty a wonderful experience. Another cool capability is it can roll in different directions like left and right, forward and backward. The 6-axis Gyro is more resistant to displacements and reduces acceleration when not needed which is helpful during landing.
This camera drone is perfect for beginners due to its One-Key Return Home function. With just a press of a button, it can fly back to the direction of the transmitter. Another one key feature is its landing and take-off that makes the drone settle at a default altitude upon taking off. It also makes landing easy. The three-speed modes can help a beginner fly the drone in increments as they learn.
- One Key takeoff and landing
- Altitude Hold Function
- Very compact and portable
- Transmits images and videos in real time
- The material is not flexible and breakable
- Minimal features for the price
The camera drone is a compact and pocketable drone that can fit inside its controller. It also comes with a smartphone holder that is adjustable and convenient for the user. An added convenience is the fact this drone is foldable and portable, makes transportation easy.
Being the first drone that you can transport inside its transmitter, has put this drone at the forefront of innovative drones that many other tried to emulate. It is called the Sky Beetle because of its color and size. The company, Tenergy made this drone unique with its design and advanced features. The drone is just about the size of the palm but is capable of reaching a flying time of about 10 minutes.
In spite of its size, it can travel up to 30 meters or 100 feet. Its size, distance and flight time is perfect for indoor flying. The size, however, can be a challenge to a new flyer when maneuvering in tight spaces.
This Sky Beetle Mini camera drone has great flying features with the 6-Axis gyroscope too. The Headless Mode is the first feature that beginners are looking for, and this drone has it. This is important because you don’t need to worry about the orientation of the drone. The multifunctional transmitter is also a useful feature because it allows you not just to fly the drone but to store it too. Perfect when you are on the go.
The FPV mode, allows you to download integrated apps on your smartphone to see and save videos real time. This first-person experience allows better control when taking photos and videos. The Altitude Hold mode, which allows the drone to hold the current altitude and hover in the air. Another feature that is also a favorite for drone enthusiast is the One Key Takeoffs that allows auto landings and takeoff with a single button.
Camera Specs is not as high as the video resolution is at 640 X 480 on a 30 FPS and the photo is also the same with a 0.3MP.
- Can fly up to 10 minutes
- It is easy to use
- The docking transmitter also serves as a storage
- Three-speed modes can accommodate different expertise level
- Limited control range
- Without GPS
If there is one thing to describe this drone, it is both budget and user-friendly. That being said, there is nothing extraordinary about this drone because it is pretty basic. It works in a headless mode and has an Altitude Hold function. There is also one taking off and landing button which means that it is perfect for new users.
This camera drone has an App control and Gravity Induction mode where you can use your phone to control the drone. The Gravity Induction mode lets you move it forward and backward, left and right along the way your phone moves. It also has a Custom Flight Route and a Headless mode where you can draw your own flight plan on your phone screen, and the drone will fly on the given route. The Headless mode lets you operate your drone in any direction regardless of its orientation.
It has an FPV camera and can support a VR headphone. With the downloaded app, you can enjoy a pilot seat and enjoy real-time live videos that are fed directly to your phone. The One Key take-off and landing allows the quadcopter to descend and hover at a fixed altitude with just a touch of one button. It also has an Altitude Hold mode. This supports the stability of the drone when taking photos and videos in the air.
Another feature is the Low Battery alarm. When the drone is low on battery, the transmitter will emit a sound to remind you to fly back your drone, or it can get lost when it crashes. Aside from that the out-of-range alarm which alerts you when the drone is out its flight range. It has around 15 minutes of flying time and 35 minutes of charging. The three gears on the controller allow you to change your speed from low, medium to high.
- One key take-off and landing
- Altitude Hold mode
- You can customize your flight route
- Headless navigation
- It can be a little heavy, but it flies perfectly
- Longer charging time
While this drone my looks like a toy, it is actually a high-quality quadcopter and can be a good investment. You can use this as a camera drone to capture aerial photos in a crowded event or a wedding. A traveling blogger also needs one to capture unique and captivating shots that can be an advantage.
Regarding design, it has four rotating blades that are flexible and foldable. This makes the drone easier to use and store. The overall look it projects is eye-catching, and the green accents make it look cool. It is also durable because it is made from high-quality ABS plastic.
It is user-friendly and perfect for beginners. This camera drone has built-in 6-axis flight control. A system that offers increased stability. It also has an Altitude Hold mode, 3D flips, and One Take-off and Landing key making it easy to fly even the kids can operate this drone.
This drone is not heavy and quite comfortable to use. It weighs about 165 grams, and the size is comfortable enough to carry around. It as a 3D video recording capability at 1280 X 710p, which is higher among its peers that were reviewed here. It also shots at a wide angle of 120 degrees.
The controller and the quadcopter are equipped with 3,7V 900mAh battery and 4 AA batteries for the controller. Charging time for the drone’s battery is about 120 minutes to give about 10-12 playing time. The transmitter can operate up to a range of 300 meters. It can transmit images and videos to your mobile phone real time by downloading an app. You can also control the drone using your smartphone by downloading the application control with is quite easy to do.
- Three different drone speeds, suitable for amateur flyers
- Longer flying time at 10-12 minutes
- High definition photos and videos
- Lightweight and portable
- Long charging time at 120 minutes
- The controller is a bit robust
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best camera drone for beginners?
For a beginner, there are a few drones that stand out on our list. When you look at the review, you will notice that the best drone for beginners is the one that is loaded with helpful features. The Headless mode for one can make the drone fly from any orientation, The One Key Take-off and Landing can help a new flyer to fly and land the drone easily. You should also note that droned with FPV are easy to fly because you can simulate the experience of operating the drones firsthand.
How do you fly a camera drone?
The camera drones operate in the same manner as any drone, and it is effortless now depending only on the kind of drone you have. Camera drones have sensors and flying aids which make it easy to use and are stable when in the air. You need this stability to take good pictures and videos. A drone that can be controlled by your smartphone is the best because you can have an FPV while flying the drone and it will let you see live video feed and flight data.
For remote controllers, the drone has four rotors, and their controls are spread in two joysticks. Some of them have custom mappings while others are made with yaw and throttle on the left and the forward and backward movement on the right joystick.
Is there a difference between a camera drone and a toy drone?
Yes, there is. The main difference between the two is that a camera drone is capable of taking high-quality images and recording videos that you can put out on the internet, The toy drones have no gimbals for stabilization and swift image processors that can capture high-resolution videos.
Usually, camera drones have longer flight time, good quality video, crystal clear image quality, better range, and other great features. Camera drones are also more expensive than toy drones.
Is it a necessary feature for drones to have cameras?
Not all drones are created equal not all of them have cameras. When you say camera drones, you expect it to have one which most toy drones don’t have. When the toy drone has a camera, don’t expect it to be of good quality as camera drones. Remember that you don’t expect toy drones to have high-quality images and videos.
Shopping Tips When Buying a Camera Drone
Before going on a drone shopping expedition, there are a few things that you should know first aside from the specs you need. Buying drones are much more accessible nowadays because they are available online but it also made it a lot harder. Your options are limitless, not to mention the endless variation and the information and feedback that goes with it.
Remember, you are not just buying a camera drone, you have to choose the right one. Here are a few tips on how to go about your drone shopping. The tips can be summed up in two key takeaways: how you will use the drone and what are the features you need to look for.
- Before buying a camera drone, you need to know first how you will find it. This is because every drone has its features that are made for specific applications. If you want drone for hobby flying, then you don’t need to look for high-definition camera specs.
- Similarly, if you need a camera drone, you have to go for the one that has an HD camera with mounting specs on the controller.
- If you want to have extended flying hours, you need to look for a balance between the battery life and motor quality. You should also consider a drone that lets you swap batteries with shorter cooling time and extra batteries.
- Budget is also a significant concern. The pricing for the drone is vast, and it can range from a few dollars to hundreds if not thousands. If you establish a budget at first hand, it can whittle down the options.
- Look for a ready-to-fly option if you are an amateur flyer because this one is complete and comes with everything you need to fly. The only assembly you need is attaching the propellers and putting the batteries.
Other Features to Consider
- Your options for advanced control like the different communications protocols that can be either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. What you should also check is if you can connect it to your mobile phone or tablet.
- Return to Home Function where drones can have a built-in GPS to know where to return in case it encountered a problem. With a GPS navigation, it can track down the drone or its program routes.
- Drones should have the capability to stream videos real-time in a first-person view or stream directly to a mobile device.
- Make sure to check the payload size, propeller speed and the battery life as all these components can impact that flight time, its flight radius, and many more.
- For FPV drones, check if you can use VR headsets. Although you can look at the screen directly adding a headset into the mix will give you a unique immersive experience that can help you produce quality footages.
- Instead of looking solely at the price of a camera drone, you should look into the multiple aspects of a drone that makes it a camera drone and start reviewing the specs.
Getting the best small drone with the camera for aerial photography is an exciting and enriching experience that we recommend to everybody who is not only drone and photography enthusiasts but to an amateur too. We all have our own reasons and so are the best mini-drone with the camera as they vary according to our needs.
When buying a camera drone, it is essential that you know the features to look for and how it will help you get the best footages and the most vivid images. If you want it for commercial purposes like producing high-quality videos, you will need one with the best camera and longer flying time. If you are a casual flyer who needs to use drone images for social media posting, you can choose one with lesser quality, but it has to be durable and sturdy. A beginner should select the one that is easy to fly and operate. Happy mini-drone shopping!