The Best 8 Cameras for Drones of 2017 – Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Cheap Camera

Drones are a modern marvel that has changed the way that photographers and videographers practice their art. Not only are they used for taking pictures and videos, but they are also used to deliver items to faraway places or dangerous areas. The military and police even use them for surveillance in dangerous areas. The invention of the drone has definitely made a huge impact on the how the world works.

Finding the right one for your purposes can be a difficult task because they can differ so much in terms of features and capabilities. For example, some come with a built-in camera while others can be fit with a standalone camera. So, to help you with the hunt for the right drone and camera, have a look at our reviews.

#1 DJI Mavic Pro

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DJI is the leading brand when it comes to drone cameras. Their products consistently top best drone lists all around the world. When you buy a DJI drone and camera you know you have a quality product that you will enjoy. The DJI Mavic Pro sports several notable features and will make a great option for anyone. It’s a high price range product and one of the best on the market.

Main Features

  • Futuristic design
  • Compact and folds to a small, portable size
  • OcuSync transmission system
  • Flight time of up to 27 minutes at 40mph
  • Active Track and TapFly for stabilizing and navigation precision
  • Obstacle avoidance included to increase safety
  • Redundancy specs for increased reliability and safety

Pros

  • Stabilizing features – Active Track and TapFly
  • Obstacle avoidance included
  • Precision
  • Excellent quality
  • Top brand

Cons

  • Can be unstable in windy conditions
  • Only compatible with smartphones

#2 DJI Phantom 4

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Our second choice is also from DJI. The Phantom is in the highest price range and one of the most expensive drone camera options. However, it has the features and excellent quality to justify its pricetag. It has everything one would expect from a DJI drone and more. It has an extremely powerful drone camera and is the best option for serious photographers and videographers.

Main Features

  • 1-inch Megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Five-direction obstacle sensing capability
  • Powerful video processing for excellent footage
  • Flight Autonomy system with dual rear vision sensors and infrared
  • Return-to-Home mode to make landing easier
  • You can draw the route you want it to fly on the control screen – TapFly
  • Lightweight
  • Flight time of up to 30 minutes
  • ActiveTrack feature that commands the drone to follow the subject

Pros

  • Automated features
  • Five-direction obstacle sensing
  • Long-distance control
  • Return-to-Home mode

Cons

  • Requires smart device to control camera
  • Not portable and has no collapsible features


#3 GoPro Karma

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GoPro is the mother of all action cameras and now they have taken their shot with drones as well. The GoPro Karma is a great drone with a camera for taking excellent footage and taking your videos to the next level. The Karma includes several great features, such as the Karma Grip and Stabilizer. The GoPro Karma is a higher-end drone camera and is more expensive than most others.

Main Features

  • Karma Stabilizer ensures smooth and stable footage even when flying
  • Collapsible and easy to transport – folds to fit
  • The controller is easy to understand
  • Comes with Karma Grip for handheld and on-body operation
  • One-button control for take-off and land for beginners
  • Built-in touchscreen display on controller
  • Very easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Flight time of up to 20 minutes
  • Maximum altitude of 10,500 feet

Pros

  • Collapsible and portable
  • Great option for first-time flyers
  • Very easy to use
  • Stabilizing features for smooth footage
  • Karma Grip included

Cons

  • Doesn’t include obstacle avoidance features
  • Shorter flight time than one would expect


#4 3D Robotics Iris

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The Robotics brand is lesser known and people often expect it to not be as good as the others on the market. However, it actually has a whole lot of great features that make it an excellent choice of drone camera for new flyers on a budget. This drone camera falls in the mid-range of prices and is more affordable than our first three options.

Main Features

  • Integrated LED lights on all arms
  • Flight time of up to 22 minutes
  • Remote controllable through MAC, Android, and PC devices
  • Affordable option
  • Easy to operate
  • Good battery life
  • Comes with GIMBAL tilt control feature
  • Return-to Base software included
  • Compatible with any camera

Pros

  • Integrated LED lights
  • You can mount any type of camera
  • Good battery life
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Low flight time
  • It has a flimsy appearance that may discourage buyers


#5 Parrot AR.Drone 2.0

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The Parrot drone is often viewed as a toy mostly because it’s advertised as one. However, this so-called toy is a very good drone camera option. It’s an affordable drone that falls in the lower price ranges but still has enough great features to make it worthwhile. It’s a sturdy drone with flip capabilities and is very easy to use.

Main Features

  • Easy to update software
  • Includes navigation system
  • Pressure sensors for navigation and obstacle avoidance
  • Includes a GPS receiver
  • Very sturdy design
  • Unique flip-trick capability
  • Controlled through iOS or Android smart devices
  • Powerful processor
  • High-definition video streaming and recording capability
  • Flight time of 12 minutes

Pros

  • Easy to fly
  • Flip capability
  • Very sturdy
  • Lots of processing power

Cons

  • Low flight time
  • Accessories are sold separately


#6 Yuneec Typhoon

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The Yuneec Typhoon is another great option for a drone camera. It has a different design from other popular drones but is still a good quality option. It includes several great features like a GIMBAL camera for stable footage  and a no-distortion lens. The Yuneec Typhoon falls in the mid to high price ranges and is considered an affordable option compared to other models with the same features.

Main Features

  • Easy to use
  • Takes great landscapes shots
  • Integrated touchscreen on controller
  • 3-axis precision GIMBAL camera
  • 4K video recording
  • Comes with a no-distortion lens
  • Affordable
  • Can connect to smart devices

Pros

  • 3-axis precision GIMBAL camera
  • Affordable
  • Integrated touchscreen
  • No-distortion lens

Cons

  • Found a bit of lag between the screen and the camera
  • Not collapsible or portable
  • Some find it big and bulky


#7 BLADE Chroma

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The BLADE Chroma is a camera drone with all the features you want and need without the very hefty price tag. It falls in the mid-range of pricing. Its great flight time combined with other stunning features make it a great option for professionals who want to take their photography or videography to the next level.

Main Features

  • Easy to operate
  • Great for photographers and videographers
  • Flight time of up to 30 minutes
  • Smart Mode for beginner flyers
  • Follow-Me Mode makes drone follow you wherever you go
  • Return-Home capability
  • Large touchscreen display
  • Very easy to understand and use controller
  • Includes slider switches to adjust camera tilt for different shots

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Advanced SAFE Plus technology
  • Great for professionals and beginners
  • Slider switches

Cons

  • Distance limitations


#8 Syma X5C

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The Syma drone camera is the last on our list. It is a low-end and low-price option for those who are starting out and just want to see what it’s all about. The Syma is also a good gift for kids who want to give it a go. It has all the basic features you need but obviously lacks some features that higher-end models have.

Main Features

  • Anti-collision blade guards
  • 6-axis gyro stabilizer
  • High-definition camera
  • Can perform 360-degree flips
  • Great for photographers who want to try new things
  • Flight time of 25 minutes

Pros

  • Anti-collision blade guards
  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Good flight time for low-end model

Cons

  • Long charge time for battery
  • No GPS tracking system included
  • Heavy model


Buyer’s Guide

Drones are versatile gadgets and they are used in many different industries. Its biggest use at the moment is in photography and videography. You get drones that come either without cameras and those that come with cameras. Those that do not come with cameras will have space where you can mount a camera to take pictures or video for you.

What Should You Look For?

When buying a new product that’s unfamiliar to you, you need to always look for the factors that should influence your buying decisions. It’s no different with drone cameras. There are several things to keep in mind when you compare drones before your purchase.

  1. Safety and Reliability – When you fly the camera drone you want to have safety and reliability. You need to look at the safety features that are included in the system, for example, obstacle avoidance software, navigation systems, and auto-return-to-home capabilities.
  2. Camera Compatibility – Some drones don’t come with a camera but has space for a camera to be connected. When you buy one of these drones you need to look at which camera you have and whether it is compatible with the drone. It’s also important to know the type of camera that’s included with a drone. You want a good quality camera that will take excellent photo and video footage.
  3. Control Range – If you want to take pictures at larger distances this is definitely an aspect you need to consider. Not all camera drones can fly the same distance and be controlled. Check the control and flight range to make sure it will go wherever you need it to.
  4. Imaging Features – The imaging features you need to look at include the sensor size, shutter speed, photography modes, angle-change capabilities, and ISO range. You want a high-definition imaging system with good features to get the best footage. Also, check that there are stabilizing features included. You want the camera to take smooth and stable footage and not bounce or do funny things while recording.
  5. Battery Life – The battery life is important if you are a professional. If you know that you will be in a remote location or will be pressed for time, you need one with a longer battery life and a fast charge time.
  6. Flight Time – The flight time is a bit factor to consider. Your needs will depend on what you want to use the camera for. Photographers and videographers at events may need longer flight times while people who just use it as a hobby may need lower flight times. Models differ widely in terms of this factor.
  7. Design – The design is important simply because it may hinder your purpose. If you need to do surveillance, you may need it in a certain color. You may like a more futuristic design to a traditional design, etc. The choice of design is based on preference mostly.
  8. Transmission System – The transmission system is what enables you to record while flying and show that footage on your smart device. This is important for videographers or events planners that want to show people what is happening in real-time.
  9. Intelligent Features – Some drones have intelligent functions that make the drone follow the controller or where you can indicate the track of flight by drawing on a touchscreen or that make it land itself when the battery is low. These features make operation a lot easier.
  10. Portability – Some people may need to have portable camera drones for their specific purposes. For example, photographers and videographers would need to take it everywhere with them. If your recordings will only take place at a specific location, portability may not be an issue.

Conclusion

Drones are very handy and also very fun. They can be used for so many different purposes from surveillance to photography to crop inspection – it’s just a wonderful invention. If you are looking to give a new gadget a try or want to try your hand at new photography tricks, you need to get yourself a drone camera. The opportunities are limitless. The technology keeps improving quickly and we will soon be able to do even more.

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