Top 10 camera drones: Buyer’s guide 2019

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Since drones were availed to the public, ariel photography and cinematography has never been the same. These days, it is very common to spot filming drones in big budget filming sets, a testament that camera drones have come of age. Whether a professional or hobbyist videographer, having a personal camera drone is very important. Here are some of the benefits they have to offer

Benefits of filming with a drone

  • Affordable ariel filming
  • HD quality footage
  • Stabilized footage
  • Efficient compared to using helicopters in the past
  • Versatile shooting angles

Guide to buying a camera drone

When buying a camera drone, here are some of the features to watch out for.

Flight time

Camera Drone flying over water

Just like smartphones, the batteries used to power drones are no different when it comes to performance. This means that the flight time you will get from drones is limited. The most common flight time delivered by most high-end camera drones is 27 minutes. To film for longer periods, you might have to invest in extra batteries.

Range

The range of a camera drone is the distance it can cover within its flight time and still be able to be controlled. This range is from a few meters to 7km for some DJI camera drones. However, when used for video and photo shoots, distance isn’t a huge problem.

Camera type

There are two options, that is a drone comes with its camera or a mechanism to mount third party cameras. Most of the inbuilt cameras are up to par with modern filming standards. However, if you want to use your favorite camera, then go for a drone that allows mounting and unmounting of cameras. Also, pay attention to whether the drone is integrated with a gimbal system, so as to get smooth and stabilized footage.

Camera resolution

If the drone comes with an inbuilt camera, consider the camera resolution. Most camera drones will come with a 4K camera, which should be the standard choice. However, for beginners and hobbyist, a full HD 1080p camera will work just fine.

Live footage streaming

The ability to view live footage while filming with a camera drone is priceless. The most common way to do this is through a phone app. When you can see what you are filming, it becomes easier to get a perfect shot. Most drones have this feature.

Drone control

Drone control is a significant factor that you should take seriously. The most common options include a remote controller, an FPV (First-person view) control system, or through a smartphone app.

Types of inbuilt shots

If you are an active citizen of the internet, then you must have come across fantastic ariel footage shot using camera drones. What enables such great shots, is the ability of drones to carry out complex movements with ease. Most camera drones are programmed to take multiple shots, using intuitive techniques automatically. Here are some of the important shot types that every drone should support.

  • Still shorts: The drone stays stationary while filming a subject.
  • Crane shots: These are shots that were traditionally achieved using cranes. They can be categorized into;
    • Pan: The drone moved from one spot to another horizontally.
    • Pedestal: The drone moves from one spot to another vertically.
    • Dolly: Drone moves at the same pace with the subject being filmed
  • Tracking shot: The drone tracks a subject and follows it as it moves. Same as a dolly shot, only that it is being filmed automatically.
  • Orbit shot: Some drones have the ability to circle a given subject while maintaining the same distance.

Camera drones come in all shapes and sizes, with a wide price range that can accommodate everyone, from a few hundred dollars to thousands. The following is a list of the best camera drones, covering all price ranges.

The best camera drones


Yuneec Breeze Flying Camera

Features

  • 4K STUNNING VIDEO & PICTURES with breathtaking 4K Ultra High Definition and ultra-clear 13 megapixel stills.
  • EASY TO USE no flying experience necessary to take dramatic aerial group photos and video, simply pick from 5 automated flight modes to get the shot of your choice: Selfie, Pilot, Orbit, Journey, Follow Me.
  • SAFE TO FLY with built-in Indoor Positioning System to allow Breeze to hold its position indoors and outdoors; the propeller protectors preventing them from coming into contact with other objects. Also, automatically returns to home and lands with the tap of a button.
  • SOCIAL Download the app on your mobile device to control and navigate Breeze, edit photos & videos, then instantly share to your favorite social media sites.
  • PORTABLE & LIGHTWEIGHT Compact and on-the-go, foldable propellers, this powerful flying camera drone weighs less than 1 pound and easy to carry.


DJI Spark

Features

  • Intelligent Flight ModesSmart, reliable, and incredibly intuitiveQuickShotVideos with a Tap
  • High-Performance CameraAmazing images and stabilized videoMechanical Gimbal StabilizationShake-Free Shots
  • Flight PerformanceAwesome potential, immersive experiencesPowerful Propulsion Speed and Precision Control
  • Flight SafetyWorry-free flight in the palm of your hand


Parrot Bebop 2 FPV

Features

  • Parrot Bebop 2 uses seven sensors simultaneously to ensure maximum stability in flight
  • Shoot full HD 1080p videos and 14Mpx photos with the built-in wide-angle camera. Footage can be captured in RAW, JPEG and DNG format.
  • Unmatched 3-axis digital stabilization system ensures smooth and stable videos regardless of the drone's movements
  • High capacity 2700mAh battery with up to 25min battery life
  • This Bebop 2 FPV kits includes the new Parrot Skycontroller 2 and Cockpit glasses for captivating immersive flight experiences


YUNEEC Q500 4K Typhoon Quadcopter

Features

  • The Typhoon Q500 4K arrives factory-assembled, test-flown, ready to fly and film out of the box.
  • The 3-axis anti-vibration CGO3 gimbal camera and the optimized fixed focus lens capture silky smooth videos and crisp images.
  • The ST10+ personal ground station is a 10-channel 2.4GHz RC transmitter that supports a 5.8GHz video downlink delivering streaming video to the built-in screen.


DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter

Features

  • Auto takeoff and auto return home with GPS technology, makes controlling easy. App enables monitoring/camera operation easy
  • Capture 4K ultra HD video at 30 fps, supported resolutions include: 12.0MP (4000 x 3000) photos. The f/2.8 lens with a broad field of view delivers crisp, clear images
  • Gimbal stabilization technology, along with a hover function allows you to capture smooth, clean footage while the camera is in the air
  • Use DJI director software with a built-in video editor to add music, text, and more to your videos.
  • Please Note: Kindly refer the User Manual before use.


DJI Mavic Pro

Features

  • The DJI Mavic Pro folds down as small as a bottle of water, making it small enough to bring with you everywhere.
  • New OcuSync transmission system offers up to 4.3 miles (7km) of transmission range. Fly at up to 40mph (64kmh) or for as long as 27-minutes.
  • ActiveTrack, TapFly and other smart features make professional looking video effortless. True 4K, fully stabilized ensures smooth footage
  • Obstacle Avoidance combined with sensor redundancy increases flight safety and reliability.
  • Vision positioning paired with GPS and GLONASS ensures precise positioning indoor and outdoors.


Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone

Features

  • 4K Ultra HD video camera with quick-release 3-axis gimbal stabilizer
  • HD Live View up to 1.2 miles away and autonomous flight modes via the free Starlink app for iOS or Android (mobile device sold separately)
  • Dual GPS/GLONASS outdoor navigation, SecureFlyTM magnetic interference protection, and the Starpoint Positioning SystemTM
  • Intuitive remote controller with LCD display and one-touch action buttons
  • Included accessories: Premium hard case, 64-GB MicroSD card, intelligent battery, 1-hour fast charger, spare propellers and small parts


GoPro Karma with HERO5 Black

Features

  • Karma captures amazingly smooth GoPro footage in the air, handheld or body mounted. 
  • The Karma Drone folds to fit into the included lightweight case. Take it anywhere. When you're ready to fly, just unfold, attach the propellers and go. 
  • The Karma Stabilizer captures breathtaking shake-free video both in the air and on the ground. 
  • Remove the Karma Stabilizer and attach it to Karma Grip for ultra steady, professional-looking handheld shots.
  • Karma Grip works with GoPro mounts, including the built-in shoulder mount on the Karma Case, to deliver ultra steady body-mounted footage. 


Yuneec Typhoon H Pro Bundle

Features

  • READY OUT OF THE BOX - Comes with the new ST16 Pro all-in-one controller (no need for a separate phone / tablet), Integrated 7-inch Android touchscreen, Wizard, backpack, extra battery and extra props
  • SAFE TO FLY WITH BUILT-IN COLLISION AVOIDANCE - FAA compliant no-fly zone, 6 rotor safety with 5 rotor fail-safe, and ultrasonic collision prevention keep you safe
  • EASY TO FLY - GPS stabilized flight control, with 8 smart flight modes, automatic return to home, auto takeoff and auto land. No experience needed to fly this hexacopter
  • 4K STUNNING VIDEO & IMAGE QUALITY - 4K Ultra High Definition video, 12 megapixel photos, full 360 Degree anti-vibration gimbal, retractable landing gear for 360 Degree filming
  • COMPACT SIZE - Quick disconnect props for speedy removal, each rotor arm easily folds down from its flight position to a resting position against the drone for easy and compact transportation


DJI Inspire 2 Quadcopter + Zenmuse X4S Starters Bundle

Features

  • Quadcopter is compatible with 5.2K Gimbal Cameras and features CineCore 2.0 Image Processing.
  • Drone supports CinemaDNG and ProRes Recording.
  • Bundle kit drone comes with a Dual-Battery Design.
  • Flying copter features Advanced Obstacle Sensing.
  • Starter kit comes with a 2-Axis Stabilized FPV Camera.


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