Best Drones with Cameras 2017 – Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

best drones

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UPDATED FOR 2017: From military to the commercial usage, some of todays best drones have been the no. 1 tool for specialized and complicated operations as well as adventurous affairs. Their primary role is to monitor the grounds from a particular height and, optionally, to take photos or videos from a distance.

They are an essential tool if you need air shots or the visual footage of the landscape that is hard to get by foot.

Here’s Best Drones with Cameras

The best drones with cameras are specifically designed to help you achieve high-quality visual footage from the air. However, they can be used in numerous other industries and for other purposes, as well.

If you want to find out how you can uses drones, what is the definition of drone, how long can a drone fly, and what does a drone sound like – keep reading! We also included our review of best drones from different categories and a step-by-step buyer’s guide for better understanding what you need to know before you purchase a drone.

How Can You Use Drones?

In terms of technology, a drone is an unmanned aircraft. It is also called a flying robot, because it is controlled via a remote controller from the ground or via software-how to fly one of thesecontrolled flight planes.

Drones are mostly used in situations that require gathering visual data from surveillance, video shooting, photo shooting and observing. Additionally, they can be used in search and rescuing situations, monitoring situations and military situations (besides of the basic purpose which is intelligence gathering, drones can be also used in military as a weapon).

However, in the last few years, drones became more popular as a part of personal and commercial usage. FAA’s (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations address the issue of a drone usage, especially pertaining to its recreational usage. It is recommendable to consult specific requirement of a drone usage before you purchase one.

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Drones Can Be Used In…

Agriculture – did you know that these flying toys can measure the height of crops? By using Lidar, a remote sensing technology, drones can measure distance by laser light which, cast upon the crop, sends back the beam of light which is then translated into numbers. There are also other sensors that can be used to measure heat, the presence of water, crop density etc.

Meteorology – unfortunately, they cannot give an accurate weather forecast, but they can be used to monitor the changes in the atmosphere.

Commercial Aerial Surveillance – farmers, fire departments and private companies use drones to monitor different activities regarding to their specific needs. For example, farmers use them to monitor livestock on vast spreads of land. Fire departments usually use them to track and map field fires. Private companies use them to monitor their property and infrastructure, etc.

Film making – drones became almost mandatory piece of equipment in professional and amateur film making. Since they are equipped with premium quality cameras, they can make the most realistic and high-quality photos with the minimum effort. A great thing is that you can add your tablet or phone and directly watch footage as is filmed. Plus, they significantly reduce the costs for gathering aerial footage.

Mineral, gas and oil exploration – drones can also be used in gathering geological information which is required in scientific research and explorations. Installing specific electromagnetic sensors on a drone can help scientists to approximate the location and the presence of minerals, gas and oil in the grounds.

Construction – construction workers, realtors and developers found a new role for a drone within their industry: to survey land and gather information at site. Additionally, the video footage can be used to help home inspectors gain the necessary information about specific properties.

That’s just a glimpse on what a drone can be used for. Nevertheless, its growing popularity is based on the fact that with drone you can be omnipresent at reasonable costs.

Best Drones Buyer’s Guide

There are several things to know before you actually buy a drone. First of all, it’s always useful to educate yourself on the drones, if you didn’t do it already. Search Amazon for detailed drone descriptions or check out some authority websites for additional information about types and usage of drones.

The next thing is to made clear why are you buying a drone and where you will be using it. There are different types of drones such as attack, crowd control, delivery, etc. Choose a category based on your preferences and needs and search for best drones within it.

Here’s our step-by-step buyer’s guide where you will find out everything you need to know about drones.

Drones for Beginners

Best drones for beginners are small and light, which gives you enough technology to maneuver it indoors. However, that same technology is not a good choice for an outdoor maneuver, especially if there’s a wind. On the flip side, the cameras on beginner’s drones are usually of a low quality.

Drones with Camera

Best drones with camera are designed for intermediate and advanced users and come with a quality onboard camera or with an external action camera. Intermediate camera comes with a 720p cameras, and advanced ones with 1080p and more camera. Besides that, they are specifically equipped to be used outdoors, in a varying situations like aerial photo shooting, film making or gathering intelligence for different industries.

Best Drones Under 500 Dollars

Most beginners and intermediate drones are ranged under $500. This is a great price range for someone who looks for the most basic on the market. You can expect to get simple technology, light, no accessories, drones that can be used indoors. Or you can, eventually, find some low-quality intermediate drones with the most basic camera and with no add-ons.

Drones Under 1000 Dollars

Most intermediate drones are ranged under $1000 and there are a major difference in regard to accessorizing, add-ons, camera quality, flight time, etc. These drones are usually bigger, heavier and designed to be used outdoors.

Accessories and Add-Ons

Action cameras, remote controllers, gimbals, drone batteries and other accessories are not always included with the drone itself. Before buying one, you might want to check out how much the accessories cost.

Drone Reviews for Professionals 2017

What is a best drone with camera on the market? We would say – depending who’s asking! There are definitely a wide selection of drones – from beginners, cheap to premium quality drones. But, most important thing is to educate on FAA’s regulations on drone usage. In the meantime, read our top six drone reviews and be informed about best drones for beginners, intermediate and advanced users.

#1 DJI MAVIC Pro – BEST OF THE BEST

DJI MAVIC Pro

DJI MAVIC Pro

DJI MAVIC Pro drone can be folded as a bottle of water – you can basically bring it anywhere with you. This is perfectly designed for those who are always on the go – DJI MAVIC Pro can fit the shoulder camera bag. It’s also more portable to carry around all day.
However, this easy-to-use drone is not simple as it may seem. The complexity of its design and technology makes it one of the most sophisticated flying cameras on the market.

With 24 high-performance computing cores, this drone can take transmission range up to 7 km. The 4 vision sensors and a 4K camera on a 3-axis mechanical gimbal give an amazing video and photo footage from a large distance. No blurring image or videos. Additionally, you will find yourself shocked by the manual zooming, tap to focus and tripod mode options – an essential visual modes for best quality aerial footage.

Pros
> High-quality camera (4K)
> Superb visual mode options
> Both cell phone cables
> Handy design

Cons
> Price
> Battery life

The remote controller comes with the drone and it’s also compact and easy to handle. Below the controller you will find two fold out handles that can hold your cell phone up. There is also a small cable that is used to connect phone to controller and DJI thought about both iOS and Android users by including both cables in the box. The controller also has a built-in LCD screen which displays information about flight speed, distance, battery levels, altitude, GPS satellites, etc.

Battery takes almost an hour to charge and lasts for 20 straight minutes without interrupting. This can be a downside for users who need to use drones for more extensive period of time or for those who use them in surveillance, monitoring and gathering information.

The manual is also very simple and transparent – everything you need to know about this little guy is written down and explained in understandable manner. It should be noted that DJI MAVIC Pro drone is for advanced users with deeper pockets.

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#2 DJI PHANTOM 3 Professional – MOST POPULAR DRONE FOR INTERMEDIATES and PRO’s

DJI PHANTOM 3 Professional

DJI PHANTOM 3 Professional

DJI’s PHANTOM drones are widely known among the drone community for its superior visual qualities, extensive flight time and overall stability in outdoor situations. The set includes aircraft body, remote controller, propellers, intelligent flight battery with a charger and a power cable, 16MB Micro-SD card and micro-USB Cable, among other things.

It’s highly sophisticated piece of technology which should not be used indoors.
A major downside for some users was the fact that firmware and remote controller requires updating prior to operation, which takes additional time to download from DJI website, loading the micro-SD card and inserting the card into gimbal micro-SD slot. However, this is required in the case of first usage.

Pros

  • Professional footage
  • 
Extraordinary imagery
  • Stability
  • Impeccable maneuverability
  • High-quality camera (1080p)

Cons


  • Battery life
  • Charging
  • Setting up
  • Updates
  • 
Price

PHANTOM 3 has two by far best qualities among other drones: imagery and maneuverability. With a 1080p camera you can capture the most beautiful imagery from the air, without jeopardizing the overall quality of the video. Drone is very stable in the air, even in the case of wind, which significantly affects its outdoors usage.

Additionally, you can download all video footage directly to your phone using DJI GoApp. GoApp also cover the basic remote functions and even offers a customization of options.
The other great feature is its maneuverability. It’s very easy to maneuver PHANTOM 3 because thanks to GPS sensors for safer and stabile landing. The more experienced users know how to maneuver it without using GPS.

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#3 Autel Robotics X-Star Premium with 4K – AMAZING FLYING DEVICE

Autel Robotics X-Star

Autel Robotics X-Star

One of the safest drones on the market is definitely Autel X-Star Premium drone. The remote controller is designed with a LCD display which provides information about altitude, range, battery remaining (for the remote and AC), gimbal’s tilt, etc. These characteristics allows the pilot to use full screen of the external display to gain access to video playback directly from the drone’s 720p camera. If you choose to connect your tablet or phone to the drone, LCD will display a battery status for it so you can know how much time remained for video shooting.

Another superior feature of this drone is 108 degree FOV camera, which can take videos at 4K30, 2.7K60, 1080p120 or 720p240 fps. Basically, you have the option to choose from the lowest to the highest video quality, depending on what you’re filming. Besides videos, you can also take 12MP photos in regular, burst shooting, time lapse or auto exposure bracketing modes.

Pros


> Customer support
> Safety
> Extraordinary camera quality

Cons
> Prices

>No accessories in every package

The gimbal of the X-Star Premium can be removed with a push of a button on the side. By taking the gimbal off, you will have the time to upgrade your camera as payload, which can be used as an substitute for a new camera, in case you need one.

The maximum control range for this drone is 1.2 miles, but it can be extended twice as far. The distance doesn’t affect the quality of the video – the transmission is done via 900 MHz frequency band with the controller. As you notice, Autel doesn’t use common 2.4 GHz WiFi band, which significantly increases video range, but also reduces the potential for other WiFi signals interference.
Besides ultimately great product, Autel has included an extraordinary customer service in their package, too. They provide 7-days per week customer support, and you can reach them via phone, email or live chat. This is something worth mentioning because other manufacturers, like DJI, don’t pay too much attention on this aspect of the service.

Autel X-Star Premium comes in three different packages, with three different prices. Even the most basic one is super expensive for someone who use a drone in commercial purposes.

 

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#4 Yuneec Typhon H UHD 4K

Yuneec Typhon H UHD

Yuneec Typhon H UHD

Yuneec Typhon H is another small aircraft for videography and photography with Intel Realsense technology and indoor positioning system. This makes him a perfect choice for both advanced users and beginners.

With 22 minutes of filming time, Typhon positions itself on the top of the best drones list. It comes with a ST16 Android ground station, which flies and controls the setting of the platform, gimbal and camera via easy to use interface. Color touchscreen is designed to make interaction fun and easy and the screen displays both downlinks video and other technical information.

4K Ultra HD Camera is one of the strongest features of this drone. Interestingly, photos can be taken in still mode (12.4 MP) or while recording a video without interrupting it. Main camera options include video resolution, white balance, light exposure, ISO and shutter speed and can be controlled remotely from the ground. It’s attached to 3-axis gimbal that can be removed from the body.

Pros

> Anti collision technology
> Ultra HD camera
> Taking pictures while filming
> Design

Cons
> Price

However, a groundbreaking technology of Typhon H is the collision avoidance technology which comes from Intel’s Realsense solution. The combination of infra-red and ultra-sonic sensors allows drone to detect and avoid moving obstacles on its flight path.

The stability of Typhon H is achieved with 6 powerful motors and 5 rotor flight safety motor redundancy. Folding arms have a quick release mechanism, so the propellers will be released in no time.

 

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#5 Parrot Bebop 2 – BEST DRONE for Beginners

Parrot Bebop 2

Parrot Bebop 2

Maximum stability in flight is attained with the help of seven sensors that run simultaneously. Add the Parrot Skycontroller 2 with two joysticks for ultra-precise piloting and you’re good to go. It’s easy to control it on the go because of the connection between Skycontroller 2 and the drone itself.

Additionally, Parrot Bebop 2 comes with a pair of Cockpit glasses, that ensures you a completely different user experience that you ever imagined. These immersive headset is easily connected through FreeFlight Pro application on a smartphone. For an ultimate immersion in the visual world, Parrot Bebop 2 will take you to another dimension with the pair of Cockpit glasses and it’s visual settings.

Pros
> Battery life
> Best drone for the money
> Stabilization
> Accessories

Cons
> Design
> Material of the nose

This drone is designed to fly indoors and outdoors, which is achieved thanks to its design – Parrot Bebop 2 is among the first drones that weigh less than 500 grams.
Another great feature is a battery life of 25 minutes – in comparison to other drone reviews, this one is the best option you get. After all, who doesn’t want one that can shoot freely, without going empty battery after almost two shots?

The greatest feature according to the customers that bought it is its hardware stabilization. It is a well built aircraft with a few evenly set motors that allow it to maintain impeccable stability without bumping into obstacles or trembling when landing. The landing goes smoothly every time and it’s easy to control it from the ground.

Unlike the rest of the drones, Parrot Bebop 2 comes with some kick-ass accessories, which are totally acceptable within the price range. Undoubtably, we consider it as one of the best drones under 500 dollars.

 

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#6 Husban H501S X4 – Best Cheap Drone and for the Money

Husban H501S X4

Husban H501S X4

The cheapest drone of today’s review – Husban H501S X4 will help those beginners who would like to start their practice with an affordable and some quality drone. Its modest characteristics, however, doesn’t affect significantly on the overall performance.

The camera is a 1080 p with no gimbal. It may sound incredible, but this fact doesn’t really make the difference in the image quality. It’s absolutely worth the price.
The most difficult aspect is to set it up prior to first shooting. For some reason, it takes almost 4 hours to set up this device, which can take nerves off someone who’s not very patient with technology.

Another difficulty is a GPS connection. It’s recommendable to have at least 5-6 GPS connections, because return to home feature won’t work on less than 5 connections.

Pros
> Price
> A great starter’s kit
> High quality video
> Easy to fly

Cons
> Battery life
> Setting up
> GPS connection
> Non chargeable

Battery life is about 19 minutes of straight shooting, and charging takes more than an hour to finish. It’s not a first choice for more adventurous affairs, since battery can run out very shortly. It’s recommendable to bring spare batteries with you, because transmitter requires a lot of voltage to run.

It’s almost surprising that the video quality of such an inexpensive drone can exceed anyone’s expectations. The video is clear and bright, with no interruptions and blurry colors. However, a very limited transmission range doesn’t make it more popular – all the videos you would like to document won’t be saved or used for later purposes. You should have in mind that, despite the price, you can also have a nice quality drone.

Husban H501C is one of the easiest drones to fly – it’s so easy that even a 10-year-old can do it. However, you are require to read the instructions before you start operating with it.

 

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Additionally, there’s more than just drones you can buy to fly around. You can take a look at the best rc planes on the market, ones that are ACTUALLY fun to fly. In addition to that, a good way to learn to fly a drone AND an rc plane is to use a good quality rc plane flight simulator program.

The last one can save you a LOT of money when it comes to messing up and crashing. Have a look!

RESOURCES USED:

DJI Professional Products

Amazon Online Retailer

YouTube Flying Tutorial

HELPFUL RESOURCE, HOW TO FLY A DRONE AND NOT CRASH