Drones aren’t just fun to fly. They can let you capture breathtaking footage, some in high-resolution 4K video. They’re also more affordable than ever, as quality beginner models now cost less than $60. Good camera drones start at a few hundred dollars.
Drones are super cool gadgets in 2018, and there are no two ways to look at the statement, and today we are reveal the best drone cameras you can buy in 2018.
Some time people who do not have enough valid reasons to invest in drones would want to buy. Right? …
You should also keep in mind that while the drones are super cool, they also happen to be quite expensive, and are often made for enthusiasts, or people who are into experimenting with videography mainly because almost all the good, high-end drones come equipped with amazing cameras.
We’ve tested dozens of drones, evaluating them based on design, ease of use, camera quality, durability and flight time, to bring you our list of top picks.
How to choose the best drone for you
Simple answer: choose a budget, then find a drone to match.
The quality of the materials, the range and power of the drone, and the specifications of the accessories – primarily the camera – are the main factors that affect a drone’s price.
Slightly less simple answer: you should also be realistic about what you want to achieve and how good a pilot you are. Some of the more ‘pro’ drones are quite demanding to fly and have broadcast quality cameras. If what you want is to have something more like a remote control helicopter that can also take the odd photo, we recommend you go for something cheaper.
So if you already own one of the ubiquitous action cams, that could be one way of keeping your costs down. Finally, if you have no desire to shoot video and stills from the air but still want to get droning, try joining a race club and dart through an obstacle course of disused buildings and woodland. Racing drones are also equipped with a camera but it’s so the pilot can see where he’s going. You’ll still crash anyway, though.
Drone safety tips
To celebrate World Drone Day, which is totally not a made-up thing, and happened on May 6 this year, Currys has come up with this rather epic guide to safe drone flying.
- Don’t fly near airports or airfields
- Remember to stay below 400ft (120m)
- Observe your drone at all times – stay 150ft (50m) away from people and property
- Never fly near aircraft
- Enjoy responsibly
Best Drone Cameras 2018
There are some things you should know about, the drone market is divided into 2 parts; there are the high level, enthusiast grade drones like the DJI Phantom 4, and the DJI T600 Inspire 1, and then there are cheaper options. DJI announced the Phantom 4 Advanced ($1,349), which features a 1-inch 20MP sensor that can shoot video at 4K/60 fps and take 14MP still images. It’s the same camera as found in the premium Phantom 4 Pro ($1,499), but the Advanced model lacks rear vision sensors, and its remote does not support the 5.8GHz band found in the Pro model.
Now if you just want to have a drone that you can fly around, and show off, you can get the simple one that won’t cost you much. However, if you are a film student or an aspiring filmmaker, and you are looking for something with a high-end camera, you should be prepared to spend a lot of money because drones that come equipped with high-end cameras are really expensive.
1. DJI Mavic Pro
- Stunning Black shell and remote controller
- New propeller and installation kits feature a smoother, even more reliable locking mechanism
- The new motor’s performance has also been improved, providing a greater sense of control
- Ready-to-fly aerial system
- 4K camera and 3-axis stabilization gimbal (Zen muse X5)
2. GoPro Karma – Drone from GoPro
- Ultra portable drone
- Stunning 4K video and 12MP photos. In Single, Burst, and Time Lapse modes.
- Game-style controller with ultra bright touch display
- Total camera control
- Automatic takeoff, landing and return home
- Take your friends for a ride
- Replacement parts help keep you flying
3. DJI Phantom 4 – Best Professional Drone
- Camera Resolution: 12MP Adobe DNG RAW
- Video Resolution: 4K at 30 FPS / 1080p at 120FPS
- Max Flight Time: 28 minutes
- Max Speed: 45 mph (20 m/s) in Sport mode
- Notable Attributes: Battery Life, Obstacle Avoidance, Flight Modes
4. DJI Inspire 1 – Professional yet Expensive
- Camera Resolution: 30MP in DNG RAW mode
- Video Resolution: 5.2K at 30 FPS / 4K at 60 FPS
- Max Flight Time: 27 minutes
- Max Speed: 67 mph
- Notable Attributes: Dual-Operator Mode, Two Cameras, Obstacle Avoidance
5. DJI Phantom 3 (PROFESSIONAL)
- Camera Resolution: 12MP
- Video Resolution: 4K at 30 FPS
- Max Flight Time: 23 minutes
- Max Speed: 36 mph (18 m/s) in ATTI mode, no wind
- Notable Attributes: Older Model = Lower Cost (But Still Quality Aircraft)
6. Yuneec Q500 4K
- Camera Resolution: 12.4MP
- Video Resolution: 4K at 30 FPS
- Max Flight Time: 25 minutes
- Max Speed: 43.5mph (70km/h) in Follow Me mode
- Notable Attributes: Hexacopter = better redundancy, Obstacle Avoidance, 360-degree camera
7. 3D Robotics Solo
- Real-time, first-person view of your flight
- Compatible with GoPro HERO3, HERO3+ and HERO4 action cameras
- Control both drone and camera with 1 remote controller
- Save footage directly to your phone
- Automated camera control for cinematic shots
- Simulate flights before you fly
- Up to 20 minutes of flight time per charge
8. Parrot AR.Drone 2.0
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Elite Edition allows you to see the world from above and to share your photos and videos on social networks instantly. It manoeuvres intuitively with a smartphone or tablet and offers exceptional sensations right from take-off.
- iOS and Android app control
- 720p HD video camera
- 36 minute flight time battery life
- Manufacturer: Parrot
- Review Price: £320.00
9. Cheerson Hobby CX-20 Professional
The company Cheerson was initially known as a company that produces low end quadcopters for the mass people. Their quadcopters were always at a very good price along with limited features. Here is a detailed and un-biased review of the Cheerson CX-20. The Cheerson CX-20 is a full size quadcopter that’s in direct competition with other full size models, like the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+, DJI Phantom 2, Parrot Bebop, 3DR IRIS+, Blade 350 QX, and others. It’s priced at right around $360, which makes it a lot cheaper than most of the other full-size options. Even the Parrot Bebop, which is very basic with its feature set, is priced higher at $500! So you’re definitely getting a good deal here, in terms of features, product quality, and price.
10. 3d Robotics Iris+
Features of 3DR Iris plus drone
- 16-22 minutes flight time*
- Payload capacity 400 g (.8 lbs)
- Integrated LEDs on all arms for trouble-free directional awareness
- Remote controller with on-screen telemetry for instant data as you fly
- Ready to Fly – Inside the IRIS+ box is everything you need to fly. Simply attach the props, charge the battery, and you’re ready to fly manually with the included remote controller autonomously with a Mac, PC or Android device.
What You Need to Know Before You Buy and Fly
Drones aren’t that complicated, but there are a few key features you should consider when you are shopping. There are also some key rules you need to follow when you take to the air.
FAA has rules you have to follow. The most important two: Never fly around or above people, and always keep your drone in sight. The FAA has a full list of safety guidelines for model aircraft that you should check before you take off. There are also restrictions on where you can fly: For example, within 5 miles of an airport is off limits. Mapbox provides a great interactive map of no-fly areas, and local RC (Remote Control) aircraft clubs may list fields that they use.
However, non-commercial drones no longer have to be registered with the FAA. Previously, any drone that weighed between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds would have to be registered for $5, and you would have to carry your license with you while flying the drone.
Most drones use a remote control with two joysticks — a bit like an Xbox or PlayStation controller. One stick controls what’s called the attitude of the quadcopter, including roll (tilting left and right) and pitch (tilting up and down). The other stick controls throttle and the rotation of the quadcopter. A good remote control should fit well in the hand, with sticks resting comfortably under your thumbs and providing a smooth, responsive feel that allows you to guide the quadcopter by touch.
Some models skip the remote control, or offer it as an extra-cost feature, and instead use a smartphone connected via Wi-Fi and a flying app. These apps often provide a live video view from the quadcopter camera. However, apps don’t allow the precision of real controllers: It is easier for your thumbs to slip, possibly causing a crash.
Construction and Repair
Despite what the ads tell you, drones crash all the time. A good drone will take an unplanned descent and ground interface (aka: a crash) in stride, without damaging the frame. It will also include shields to protect the rotors and electronics from harm.
Regardless, things still get broken sometimes, particularly racing drones. A good model will offer a ready supply of cheap parts like rotors and struts to replace the broken ones, and will make it easy to swap these parts out when required. The same is true of batteries.
Very few drones offer more than 10 to 20 minutes of battery life, so an easily swapped battery can give you more flying time without hassle. This tends to be a feature of more expensive models, with a spare battery typically costing more than $100. Cheap drones (under about $400) usually have built-in batteries that can’t be swapped out.
Want to show off your aerial exploits? A camera, either built-in or add-on, can capture those dramatic vistas for posterity. Most budget models use the equivalent of a cheap webcam, capturing low-resolution video (usually 640 x 480-pixel resolution) to an internal memory card for later viewing.
More sophisticated models offer high-definition video capture or the ability to connect an HD action camera such as a GoPro. Some drones also offer first-person view (FPV), sending a pilot’s-eye view from the drone itself to a phone or tablet. Some models offer video goggles for the ultimate pilot-seat flying experience.