For anyone who has flown a drone with a camera, there is a lot of fun and excitement unlocked with the new creative angles with their ability to achieve views and vantage points otherwise inaccessible to a photographer in the field. While learning to fly them can be difficult, an epic new view of the region captured from the air is a worthy and exciting reward. Since there are so many brands and models on the market right now, which one is the right choice for you?

By definition, a camera drone is an unmanned aircraft (officially called a UAV) with an attached camera system(s) that is actually a flying robot that can be controlled remotely using a suit GPS and on-board sensors to capture photos and videos. The amazing thing about this technology is that nowadays you can buy a flying stabilized 4K camera that can even fit in a pocket for just a few hundred dollars, which was unimaginable just a few years ago.

Since the size and price of these devices have dropped significantly in recent years, finding the right one for your needs can be confusing. Budget is always important, but there are also other considerations like battery life, image quality, size and portability, and most importantly, camera specs. .

In short

Best “out of the box” FPV camera drone: DJI FPV


First Person View (FPV) drones allow pilots to fly using a headset that gives them a view directly from the drone’s camera perspective. It can be an incredibly exciting way to fly, but these styles of drones are usually only available to true enthusiasts with deep pockets. New $999 DJI FPV the camera drone has an impressive amount of features out of the box with no custom setup required, including three flight modes, an impressive top speed of 97 mph, and up to 60 frames per second (FPS) with 4K video stabilized and 120 fps “slowed” at 1080p.

The DJI FPV drone may lack durability compared to other more expensive “professional” DIY kits, but if you’re interested in getting into FPV drone racing and capturing spectacular aerial video that’s been making waves lately on social media, this may be the perfect drone for you. The price, setup, usability, and flight characteristics are all top notch, and the DJI software/app should be incredibly familiar and easy to navigate for anyone who has used a DJI product in the past.

Read more: DJI FPV Review: A racing drone for the non-racing pilot

Best drone with DJI “no” camera: Autel EVO Lite+

Autel EVO Lite+ drone.

The Autel Robotics EVO Lite+ camera drone features a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor that can support up to 6K video recording while offering long battery life, three-way obstacle detection sensors and much more at an affordable price. While it might not be a “family” name, the hardware and software features it offers are definitely worth your attention.

The $1,319 Autel Evo Lite+ The drone is available in a variety of colors and packages/bundles ranging from $1,319 to $1,799, giving users most of the accessories they could want and need out of the box. This includes ND filters, extra batteries, spare propellers and a host of other bonuses depending on the standard to premium package they choose. The drone itself is a little bigger and heavier than its competitors in the “light” market, but the battery life of the drone and controller seems to outperform many of its larger competitors with flight time. average nearly 40 minutes per full charge. battery.

Autel’s Evo Lite+ may not have as polished an application as some of its competitors, but it offers a safe and easy-to-use flight experience for users along with superb quality and sharpness. impressive images at a competitive price that stands up to scrutiny.

Read more: Autel EVO Lite+ Review: This drone deserves some respect

Best Affordable Camera Drone: DJI Mini 3 Pro

DJI Mini 3 Pro with vertical camera mode enabled.

The DJI Mini series is what happens when users demand the best flight experience at the lowest possible price. The DJI Mini 3 Pro is what happens when you pay a little more. palm size $759DJI Mini 3 the camera drone brings a new design element to the drone market with adjustments to the arms, gimbal and propellers, and keeping the system under 249 grams with the battery installed. What sets this drone apart from the previous generation and other models is its ability to shoot at an upward angle, even when turned vertically, for portrait orientation of photos and videos.

The system comes with a 1/1.3-type CMOS camera sensor and a 24mm f/1.7 fixed lens capable of shooting 12-megapixel images (up to 48-megapixel with multiple images) with a range impressive dynamic range and low light/noise management. in RAW or JPEG shooting modes, and it even has improved obstacle sensors, improved stable flight performance, extended battery life compared to other “mini” drones, and features you expect more “professional” models like color D-log profiles, HDR video and ActiveTrack. The Mini 3 Pro takes everything users love about previous Mini models and makes it better in a smaller package.

Read more: DJI Mini 3 Pro Review: A gigantic refresh for a mini drone

Best All-in-One / Easiest Camera Drone: DJI Air 2S

DJI Air 2S | PetaPixel

The DJI Air 2S is a compact foldable drone with a 1-inch sensor capable of shooting 5.4K video with a host of automated flight and safety features, affectionately ranking it as one of the best “everything -in-one” with a pro spirit. designed camera drones in the market. The updated successor to the Mavic Air 2 offers a larger camera sensor (with a lower megapixel count) that offers a twist over standard 4K recording with 5.4K that allows video shooters to add zoom effects for a more dynamic clip or simply crop into a 4K image, effectively enlarging the subject. Moreover, the $999DJI Air 2S shoot in 4K at 60fps and 1080p at 120fps, giving users even more options for “slow motion” clips.

The DJI Air 2S adds greater bit depth, detail and dynamic range than many other 4K drones on the market can offer. Along with improved camera hardware, it makes taking to the air and capturing pro-level photo and video content incredibly simple to do, including the ability to easily add seemingly complex filming maneuvers using the DJI Fly app.

Read more: DJI Air 2S review: Solid performance where it matters most

Best “professional” drone: DJI Mavic 3

DJI Mavic 3 on the ground

When every drone released to the public is the subject of incredible hype, few live up to the claims, except in the case of the $2,049DJI Mavic 3 (and Mavic 3 Cine). The Mavic 3, released in November 2021, is larger than most other drones on this list, but comes with much more powerful and impressive professional features, making it one of the must-have camera drones for photographers and photographers. professional videographers. Featuring a 20-megapixel four-thirds sensor with Hasselblad color with a 23mm f/2.8 lens and a secondary “explore” camera with a 1/2-inch sensor and 162mm f/4.4 lens, the DJI Mavic 3 also offers up to 46 minutes of flight time, 7x optical and 28x digital zoom with 5K video at 50 fps (as well as 4K and 4k DCI at 120 fps).

The DJI Mavic 3 camera drone delivers image and video quality that surpasses nearly all other fixed-lens consumer drones on the market along with safety features like obstacle avoidance in a package that’s even less than 2 books, proving that even though other brands exist, DJI is still the premier prosumer drone brand with no signs of slowing down in innovation and functionality with each subsequent release.

Read more: DJI Mavic 3 Review: The hype is justified

PetaPixel will update these results periodically as we get and review more camera drones, so be sure to bookmark this story and come back when you’re ready to make a purchase.


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