Photography has reached new heights with the invention of drones. Ideal for both the amateur and professional photographer, or if you just wish to add an element of excitement to capturing images.
Most drones appear to do the same job, but with many varying features and many a selfie drone to choose from it can be difficult to decide which drone best suits your needs.
Here are the best drones with cameras for 2017.
Things to consider when buying a Drone with a Camera
Best Drones with Camera Reviews 2017
Best overall: DJI Phantom 4 Pro
DJL Phantom 4 Pro is lot like the iPhone. It’s one of the most popular drones on the market. Basically it has everything you could possibly want in a drone, fast speed, lots of high-end features and abilities. Great thing about it is that it’s a highly autonomous drone and very user-friendly, so it’s very hard for even a beginner to crash it or lose it. The drone is able to fly and provide HD video feed from up to 4.3 miles away. Its camera is far superior and if looking for a reason to purchase this drone, the image capturing system would be the reason.
Features and specs
The pro is a better and improved version of the original 4. A noteworthy addition to the specs for the pro is that it now has a 5-direction obstacle avoidance system. Hence it has sensors on the front and the back, left, right and underneath the drone. The sensors continually scan the area so that objects can be avoided. Therefore ensuring an almost 100% assurance of an accident-free flight. The camera shoots 4K video up to 60 megapixels. The new camera on this device is better and more customisable than ever before. There is a deluxe version available. The Phantom 4 Pro Plus. It is the same drone but with a controller that has a touchscreen display. The controller comes at an additional price, but it means that your smartphone no loner has to be connected via a cable, and the flights won’t be interrupted by incoming texts or calls.
Quality and Design
The P4 Pro has retained the same shape and quality design as the P4, and differs only on the position of the location of the new sensors. It continues to be as strong and reliable as its predecessor. The new enhancements are the main features that distinguish the P4 Pro drone.
Battery and Recharge life
A nearly empty battery will take approximately 1.5 hours to charge to a full 100%.
Optimal conditions will allow for a flight time of 30 minutes. The P4 Pro is as agile and fast as it previously was.
Runner up: Yuneec Q500 4K
If you haven’t heard of Yuneec before then don’t let their lack of popularity deceive you. With more than 15 years of experience the company is well rounded and produces stellar and advanced pieces of technology despite being in the shadow of DJI. Yuneec has set themselves apart from DJI as they have released the first 4K drones suitable for use by amateurs. The Yuneec Typhoon Q500.
Features and specs
The drone weighs under 4 pounds and is 16.5 inches long standing 8 inches tall. The weight includes the battery and payload which is attached. Stylish and easy to use, the Q500 comes with two sets of rotors,plug-ins and adaptors as well as a pre-loaded 16GB card with tutorial videos. This drone is easy to use that even amateurs are able to produce professional imagery and videos. The Q500 is at the forefront as it has a fully controllable 3-axis gimbal camera that is able to shoot either straight-ahead, pivot up to 90 degrees and it is able to capture overhead footage as well. Autonomous highly desired features are included. The “follow me” mode and “watch me” mode to be precise. These modes allow utmost ease for the user should you require it.
Quality and Durability
The Q500 is exceptionally sturdy and it is one of the first noticeable features. At a higher price for the drone, you definitely are receiving exceptional quality for your moneys worth.
Battery and Recharge life
The battery is a single 5400mAh lithium-polymer and affords 25 minutes of regular flight time. For more extensive use, using for example the “Follow me” or “Watch me” modes, the battery can be expected to last approximately 20 minutes.
Flight performance is perhaps the Q500’s best attribute. The smart modes allow for a seamless flying experience. In addition the easy-to-use dual joysticks make free flying a dream for novices. Hence there is no need for previous experience when flying the Q500.
The Q500 camera is exceptional . It is mounted directly under the body of the drone. It is capable of a 115 degree view and is a 1080p full HD camera. In addition it offers 4K high definition at 30 frames per second. The controller allows for advanced settings, hence allowing novices to rely on automatic settings.
Best Entry-level Camera drone: DJI Phantom 3 Standard
The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is one of the cheaper options supplied by DJI.It shoots HD video and is ideal for those looking to purchase their first drone. It is very easy to use and captures amazing footage.
The Phantom 3’s clean lines and white plastic case give the appearance of simplicity and stylishness. It is light, it weighs 2 pounds and 11 ounces and is easily transportable. There are four protruding struts, each with its own propeller. The motor is housed inside the white plastic frame. The landing gear attaches easily to the bottom of the drone’s body while the camera and gimbal are stationed between the two landing arms. The drone is predominately white, but there are various colourful stickers available to use so that the drone can be personalised and easily recognisable in the sky.
Battery, weight controller
The battery used for the drone is a 4800 mAh Li-ion polymer battery for the quadcopter and a Li-ion polymer battery for the remote control. The battery takes quite long to charge, approximately 50 minutes, and offers 21 minutes of flight time.
The Phantom 3 Standard is very easy to fly and can be flown in two ways. Either using a manual controller or the App. The DJI Go app will allow autopilot and the drone to takeoff and land on its own. There is not much delay and the drone is highly responsive. There is a maximum horizontal speed of 35 miles per hour and vertically, 11 miles per hour. There is no real auto pilot feature as Waypoint mode still requires the quadcopter to be manually flown to each Waypoint.
Photo and video
The camera captures 12 megapixel still images and there are three video modes. HD ( 1280 x 720 pixels at approximately 24-60 frames per second), 2.7K (2701 x 1520 pixels at approximately 24 or 30 fps), and FHD (1920 x 1080 pixels at 24 or 30 fps.) The 2.7 K captures a similar resolution to the GoPro camera, but there is no real 2.7k video standard. The 2.7K video can be imported to iMovie and converted to a 1080 video easily. The video is of excellent quality and far surpassed some of its more expensive competitors. In addition video can be live-streamed from the drone to YouTube.
Most User-friendly camera Drone: Blade Chroma 4K Quadcopter
The Blade Chroma 4K is a small and travel- friendly drone. Essentially a re-designed version of the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K, the Blade is far smaller despite having many of the same design features as the Typhoon. It flies easily indoors and can hover within several feet off the ground. Parts are readily available and despite lacking some features, this travel-friendly drone is worth it.
Design and features
A small and flimsy looking body house the 6300mAh battery. The batteries weight supplying most of the weight to the light 2.9 pound drone. Predominantly white in colour, but various skin colours are available for the drone to ensure easy visibility and uniqueness. Unlike other drones that require setup when purchased, the Chroma is already fully assembled. All that it requires is to be charged before it is used. Included in the price with the Chroma is the battery, propellers and controllers as well as a battery charger and sunshield to easily see the controller’s screen. The 5.5. inch touchscreen display makes using the controller a breeze. Unfortunately there is a slight time delay in viewing from the camera to the screen display. The controller has buttons for starting and stopping the drone and there are three flight modes. Namely: angle, smart and home. Use smart mode as a beginner. In this mode you can use two of the drones main attractions: “follow me” and “tracking modes.”
The drone is easy to fly and has follow me capabilities. Flying with the touch screen controller is a breeze. There are no other autonomous features apart from the follow me and tracking modes offered. The drone is easily flown indoors and it has good stability. This is due to the fact that the drone has visual positioning systems made up of cameras and ultrasonic sensors and can hover even though there is no GPS lock.
Video quality is not bad but the imagery is best viewed at small sizes. Hence on a phone or tablet.
Easiest to fly camera drone: GoPro-Karma Quadcopter with HERO 5
A revolutionary drone with features only available on the most exclusive drones. The GoPro-Karma is revolutionary as it is one of a kind, well more than one actually. Most high- end drones are able to fly, have a gimbal to keep the camera steady and it has a camera. The GoPro-Karma is exceptional as traditionally all of these features are used in one drone, but in this drone they are able to be broken down and be used individually.
There are four key features. Firstly, the detachable gimbal. Traditionally the gimbal is not able to be removed or detached, but it is able to be detached from the GoPro-Karma Quadcopter. There are endless possibilities with this piece of equipment, as it can be attached to the drone or it can be used as a handheld stabiliser. This allows for greater freedom and endless possibilities. Passenger mode allows footage to be shared with a live view. Meaning, a friend is able to watch the live stream of the Karma from their very own device. Ideal for having someone else tracking your drone and its movements. The autonomous flying modes, there are three to be exact. Orbit mode allows the drone to orbit an object while the Cable Cam flies in a straight line. Reveal is as good as an automatic selfie and it is able to fold into a compact backpack.
This drone offers something special as you are able to choose the kind of camera quality you desire. The GoPro Karma is compatible with the HERO5 black, the HERO Session and the HERO4 line.
The controller is easy to use and has a game like feel to it. The controller does not require the use of a smartphone or tablet as it has a built in 5 inch screen . As with other drones, the battery can be switched whenever you like. The flight time is approximately 20 minutes and the control lasts approximately 4 hours. The package includes a case that is able to house several batteries. This is important as you can charge other batteries when you are flying the drone.
Best budget- ZeroTech-DOBBY Pocket Drone
A small and compact drone advertised as a “selfie drone” . It houses a 13 megapixel camera and 1080p video recording at 30fps. Compact enough to fit in a pocket, it is portable and user friendly. There are four arms that fold out and click into place. On the end are plastic rotors. The arms can be difficult to open and close, but with some practice they become second nature.
Dubbed the “selfie drone” by Dobby, it is no surprise that many of the features focus on photography. The 13 megapixel f/2.2 CMOS lens captures shots up to 4208 x 3120 pixels in resolution. You will need Zerotech’s Do application in place of a remote control. Available for both Android and iOs. Here the app is used by being connected to the drone. The video capture capability is one of the best features of the drone. It has electronic image stabilization for smoother image in windy conditions. It is possible to run the 1080p video at 30fps. The drone is able to track you as you move around. The Dobby is especially good at tracking shots. It supports face tracking, but is better suited for close-quoters filming. While the Dobby is flying you are able to view a real time preview , and the drone can be controlled by on-screen settings. Launching and landing a drone on the palm of the hand is possible due the the fact that the GPS is able to track the location of the palm.
Best Wifi-controlled quadcopter—Parrot AR Drone
The award for the best Wi-fi controlled quadcopter is awarded to the Parrot AR Drone. The wifi capabilities mean that the drone can be flown from a smartphone or tablet. This drone is very versatile and has outstanding value for money . Although not as good as the DJI Phantom 3 or DJI Phantom 2, this drone captures good quality imagery and easy to use. Good durability and ideal for younger flyers still learning to fly and control a drone.
This quadcopter is available in three styles, namely; snow,jungle and sand. The drone does not have exceptional battery life, but batteries can easily and cheaply be upgraded. The quadcopter is available in two different hulls; an indoor and an outdoor version. Hence the indoor hull to be attached and the drone flown indoors. The plastic foam on the drone is exceptionally light-weight and durable. Therefore, when crashing copious amounts of times as a beginner, you can rest assured that minimal damage will be inflicted on the quadcopter. It is durable but not indestructible.
The high quality HD 720p camera offers superb aerial footage at a reasonable price. In order to fly an application must be downloaded as the quadcopter is based around the FPV (First Person Flying) system. The AR FreeFlight App is available in the Google Play or Apple store. Using the application once downloaded on a smartphone or tablet is very simple as the drone can now be flown straight from the devices screen. The live video stream that is captured is done so without lagging, hence you are able to see real time.
The 1000mAh battery offers a flight time of approximately 8-10 minutes. But if the battery is upgraded to the 2500mAh batteries then flight time can be expected between 12 – 15 minutes. The range that he drone is able to fly is dependant on the strength of the Wi-fi signal between the smartphone device and the drone. Hence dependant on which Wi-fi supplier you are using and the number of people surrounding you and the strength of the Wi-fi.
Most Powerful Camera Drone in its price range—Yuneec Typhoon H
With an extensive list of features, the Yuneec Typhoon H drone is Phantom 4’s biggest competitor. This drone has six rotors and is cheaper than the Phantom 4. It has all the same specs as the Phantom 4 and an additional few features.
There are so many features in this drone, but the most notable are the ones which set it apart from the rest. Typical drones have four rotors, the Typhoon H has six. It actually only needs five rotors to fly, so should something happen during flight to one of the rotors, you would still be able to continue flying with five rotors. The camera has a 3-axis gimbal that can swivel 360 degrees. The landing gear is easily stowed away with the flip of a switch so that it does not get in the way of any of the shots. It would be very difficult to collide with an object when flying this drone as it uses sonar so objects are easily detectable even in low light. Another feature offered is the autonomous flight modes. It has its own controller The ST16 ground station. With this controller there is no need to own a smartphone or tablet. The controller has a built in touchscreen for easy usage.
Battery and Range
The drone has a 4s 14.8v, 5400mAh, 79.9 LiPo battery. This gives the drone a flying time of 25 minutes. The drone can fly a mile before it loses connection.
The camera- the CG03+ – is a super up version of the CG03 found in the Typhoon Q500 4K.
The Yuneec Breeze 4K Drone is the futures version of a personal drone. Yuneec promotes the drone on Twitter with the hashtag #myflyingcamera. While we are not quite there in terms of every person being followed by a personal camera drone, Yuneec Breeze 4K drone certainly makes that an option. Simple and easy to use with good quality photos and video, it folds down into a small portable easy to carry package. Its a breeze to use.
A futuristic design with a white plastic body and rotors. The drone weighs 13.4 ounces, most of which is the 1150mAh battery which is locked in place in the back of the body. It is a compact drone which easily folds up into a smaller package. The GPS antenna is housed by a mound on top of the drone. The propellers and landing legs fold into the drone body and fit into a small case which is included. All 8.5 x 8.5 x 8,3 inches of it. Small enough to fit into a small backpack and easily transportable.
The Breeze is controlled through the Yuneec Breeze ap. It is available for iOS and Android. This is the only option as there is not a manual, traditional controller. The drone automatically identifies a Wi-Fi network and then it needs to be joined manually. There are two options to choose from. Either tasks or gallery. Choose tasks as it is the main interface for the drone. It offers five different task that can be performed by the drone. Once a task is chosen a video preview with overlaid menus is shown.
Flying is made easy with the Breeze. It gives you a standard set of touch-screen controls. There is a virtual control stick that controls altitude and left-right movement as well as another that controls the rotation and the front and back movement. Small devices may make it difficult to see the preview, but nonetheless the on-screen controls are simple to use. In addition an iPad can be used to control the drone. This makes flying and usage much easier.
Photos and video
There is relatively good quality captured by the Breeze drone. There is plenty of colour and detail available, but there is a problem when capturing 4K video. There is a lack of active image stabilization. Video can be somewhat shaky as the drone does not house a gimbal. This also means that the picture will tilt whenever the drone moves or pans. Full HD mode offers a better video shot as the drone is able to use electronic image stabilization. Videos and photos are stored on the 14GB memory that is built in to the Breeze. This is clearly not enough for a full flight or use of the battery, but photos and videos can be copied through the app or built in USB port.
After a full charge the Yuneec Breeze is capable of staying in the air for approximately 20 minutes. A sufficient amount of time for obtaining the desired shot. Batteries take 45 minutes to charge in the included charger.
An updated version of the drone offered by Parrot offering double the flying time and autonomous flying. It is a breeze to fly and it has outstanding battery life in comparison to other drones on the market. The drones produces high quality attractive footage pleasing to the eye.
Almost identical to its predecessor , the Bebop 2 features the same design and shape with a plastic frame and a fisheye lens attached to the front. The Bebop 2 differs in that it now has a small amount of foam that surrounds the lens. It is said that this model is now also far sturdier and it weighs 17 ounces. The majority of the weight is due to the battery, a 2700Ah Li-Polymer that locks securely into the back of the case. This battery offers double the capacity of its predecessor. Additional weight calls for additional support, hence the inclusion of velcro strips in to the package. The fisheye lens that offers a 170-degree view is at the front of the drone. This fisheye lens is used as a digital stabilisation system. The fisheye lens does not capture all 170 degrees, instead it uses this to stabilise the video by sensing the movement of the quadcopter and moving the area captured. It is captured as video and it responds to that. The camera and electronics are housed in a part of the body that are separate to the base of the drone. These two parts are connected with spheres made of soft rubber. They absorb the vibrations from the motor.
The Bebop 2 can be controlled from either the Skycontroller Black or from a smartphone. If controlling via a smartphone the Freeflight 3 app is used, and it is available for both iOS and Android. Alternatively the drone an be controlled by the Skycontroller black. A large and heavy device in comparison to other controllers on the market. It has two control sticks , a large antenna and many buttons. Due to its weight when being used with a tablet, a neck strap is included. The phone or tablet that is running the app locks into the middle of the controller.
Flying with the FreeFlight 3 app is automated and can prove tricky for new users. To take of you simply have to tap a button. To move the drone you need to tap on the virtual control stick and then move your finger. It is simple to learn and use and is therefore ideal for new or nervous fliers. There is a lag between moving the on-screen control and the response time of the quadcopter. If the flier would like autonomous flying then this can be purchased as an additional fee.
Photos and video
The video captured by the drone is full HD at 30 frames per second. It has good detail and colour and smooth movement. There is a slight problem with the digital stabilization , but apart from this it works well. It is able to pan and tilt and produce imagery free of wobbles and blurriness. The wide -angle lens captures fisheye images of 14 megapixels. The wide-angle lens does however occasionally pick up lens flares.
The 2700mAh battery offers 25 minutes of flight.