Written by: David Melilli
The Best Camera Quadcopters
It’s been a few years since the initial introduction of drones to consumers. What started as a small niche hobby has grown quickly into a massive industry with many different products flooding the market. They’ve been used in television, music videos, for exploration, or simply as a way to get photos and videos you never could before. But, how can you be sure the money you invest into a drone is going to give you the best bang for your buck? Let’s take a look at the best options on where to buy a drone with a camera.
One single brand shows up on all the best drone lists and is topping the review charts lately, and that is DJI. They offer a huge line of drones for many different purposes, ranging in price and functionality but they are all highly advanced machines.
First up on DJI’s line are the Inspires. The DJI Inspire 1 was highly lauded in its time for its 360 degree camera view with a 12MP high resolution camera capable of 4k video up to 30 FPS and a great battery life of 18 minutes and on top of all that a dual-operator mode that allowed one user to control the drone and the other a camera. It was perfect and affordable for professional quality photography. However, DJI’s newest Inspire 2 has topped the Inspire 1 in nearly every way.
The Inspire 2 is overtly more functional than that first, right off the bat the biggest change is the introduction of a second camera. One allows for 360 degree view, while the other is mounted to the front allowed for top notch first person views of any scenery. While still boasting the dual operator mode, it bumped the camera resolution up to 30 MP and now offers 60FPS 4k video, a 27 minute flight time, and a lightning quick 67 MPH top speed. This new brand of inspire is also more durable than the last and has an onboard SSD to process video at blistering speed. The DJI Inspire 2 is definitely worth your attention if you need a great camera drone for professional and commercial purposes.
Another popular camera drone in DJI’s lineup is their Phantom series. The Phantom series, especially the Phantom 4, lord over the Inspire in two main ways. One, the Phantom series has one of the best obstacle avoidance systems in the business. And two, the price point. Think of the Phantom as a more attainable drone than the Inspire, more for the dedicated hobbyists vs. the professional-minded Inspire.
The Phantom 4 still achieves an excellent flight time, of 28 minutes, and 30 FPS 4k video. More than enough for most drone operators. A high battery life, great obstacle avoidance systems, and crisp clean video quality is what you can expect for the DJI Phantom 4 line.
Let’s get away from DJI for the moment, obviously they are creating some incredible drones for those needing top-notch video and speed for professional purposes, but there are other companies such as Yuneec creating drones more so for the hobbyist mindset.
The Yuneec Breeze for instance offers some pretty cool feature in a small and much more budget friend package. This drone is controlled via an app on your mobile device that allows easy sharing via social media channels. The Yuneec Breeze is their smallest model most basic model, but it still allows for a 12 minute flight time and 30 FPS 4k video. More than enough for the beginner hobbyist to get some great shots.
But to say that Yuneec only focuses on beginner hobbyists is completely unfair. The Yuneec Typhoon H hold a 360 degree camera for breathtaking panoramas, retractable landing gears, and a ton of safety features to ensure you and your investment stay in one piece. The Typhoon H allows for a maximum flight time of 25 minutes and features the industry standard 4K 30 FPS video we all come to expect out of drones. An interesting feature of the Typhoon H is that it has a “follow me” mode wherein the drone will track your movements and follow you wherever you go, allowed for simple personal videography unattainable in the past without an operator.
I don’t want to harp too long on these two companies for too long. They’re the best in the business for a reason, but there are other brands that are offering a much more affordable and still high-quality drones for the budget-weary hobbyist.
The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is a very popular choice for beginning hobbyists. It’s highly safe to use, due to its foam shell covering and a display of various statistics are streamed directly to your phone to ensure you know everything that is happening with your drone while using it. The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is the second in their line of beginner drones, but still achieves an excellent 720p 30 FPS video with a flight time of 12 minutes. Outside of professional use, it has just about all you need.
A bit of a more advanced model in the Parrot line is the Bebop 2. It still keeps an affordable price point, unlike much of the professional line of DJI, and comes with some very interesting features. The Bebop achieves a strong 25 minutes flight time with a 1080p resolution at 30fps.
You can purchase the Bebop 2 with or without its FPV headset, but for the most optimal controls it is strongly recommended to go with the headset versus its smartphone controls. The headset allows you to control the drone via intuitive and incredibly responsive controls that puts you in the cockpit of the drone. It is quite cool, allowing you to see through the camera of your drone through a VR like experience. It’s unmatched for its exploration properties and still somehow maintain a very affordable price point.
Taking a look at the current line-up of drones really shows how far the industry has come in the short time it’s been around. From DJI’s line up of professional tier drones that can shoot the industry’s leading video down to Parrot’s budget-conscious yet still great quality camera drones there’s no better time than now to get involved in the ever-growing drone scene. I hope this has helped you to find where to buy camera drones, and what brands to look out for. There, of course, are more out there but for now this list covers the basics of the modern drone hobby at all price points. Join the world of camera drones and check out the future of videography.