What is the best drone camera for the money? With the relatively recent explosion in popularity of drone photography and videography, the market has been flooded with different brands and models of drones. Drone technology continues to develop and improve at a rapid rate. This can make it hard to keep track of which drone has the best camera. Read on to see our up-to-date rankings of the best drone cameras available in 2021.
Best beginner drone with camera and gps
7. DJI Mini II
DJI has cemented their brand as the leading name in modern aerial photography. They are constantly at the forefront of drone technology, pushing it further with each of their many iterations. The DJI Mini II is not their highest-quality drone but it is their best option for beginner drone pilots.
If you are looking to get your first drone, the DJI Mini II should be a strong contender for your pick with it’s low price point, small size, ease of use, and overall level of quality.
Best cheap drone with camera
6. Parrot Anafi
The Parrot Anafi is a step up in price from the Mavic Mini II but still a fair amount cheaper than many of the higher-end drones on the market. The Anafi shoots in full 4k video with a photo mode capable of capturing 21-megapixel HDR images. The biggest selling point for the Anafi is actually the 180-degree tilt gimbal attached to the camera.
This gimbal allows you to pivot the direction of the drone’s camera mid-flight and enables you to shoot straight up as well as forward or down, which many other drones are incapable of doing. If this particular feature sounds useful in your creative pursuits, then the Parrot Anafi is a good budget-friendly choice. But be aware that some consumers have reported firmware issues and faulty models being sent to them and requiring replacements.
Best drone camera
The PowerEgg X Wizard isn’t the flashiest drone nor does it have the highest-quality camera BUT it does have a couple of features that make it stand out from the pack. The first is its powerful waterproofing and overall weatherproofing. Be sure to check out our guide to filming in the rain for helpful tips.
If you plan to fly your drone near any body of water or out in the rain, many drones run the risk of being completely destroyed in the process, but the PowerEgg X Wizard will come out unscathed. The body of the camera is built to be waterproof by default and the drone even has a waterproof mode that further increases its resilience to water damage.
The other feature that makes the PowerEgg X Wizard stand out from other drones is the AI flight capabilities. The drone can be piloted by remote or allowed to fly autonomously with its built-in artificial intelligence programming. The AI is even equipped with facial recognition which can be used to lock onto a subject and track them while piloting autonomously, perfect for when the pilot and subject are one and the same.
Unfortunately, the AI mode and the waterproof mode can not be active simultaneously, you must choose one or the other. This is somewhat limiting, although the physical body of the camera is constructed to be water resistant even without the waterproof camera mode being activated.
As a little bonus, this drone can also be converted into a hand-held camcorder mode if you want your drone to double as a standard, non-flying video camera. This camcorder isn’t great but it is a nice feature to have. For a rundown of digital cameras that are worth your time and money, refer to our guide.
Top drone camera
4. Autel EVO II
The Autel EVO II is one of the most powerful drones on the market. Though slightly larger than the Mavic camera line, the Autel EVO II is still able to fold and achieve an easily-transportable size. The big draw to the EVO II is the camera quality which is capable of shooting in 8k resolution!
Though the 8k footage is capped at 25-fps, the Autel EVO II can also shoot 6k at 50-fps and 4k at 60-fps, so you have plenty of options. Even though 8k may be the way of the future, currently, the difference between 4k and 8k footage can be pretty difficult for the average viewer to discern. This is especially true when viewed at home on a standard television or computer monitor.
The majority of consumers do not have 8k monitors in their homes yet, so the enhanced quality will be lost on many viewers outside of theatrical settings. 4k footage is likely to be high enough quality for most video purposes. And there are plenty of great 4k cameras on the market.
Which drone camera is best?
The DJI Mavic II Zoom is a part of the expansive Mavic II line of drones. This is not quite the best overall drone in this camera series but it gets close. With both a slightly-reduced price point and a key outshining feature, the Mavic II Zoom remains a worthy contender when it comes time to select your drone.
The key feature of the Mavic II Zoom is right there in the name, the “Zoom” functionality. Plenty of quality drones on the market do not feature any kind of camera zoom capabilities. And those that do mostly feature digital zoom, which frequently leads to quality loss. The Mavic II Zoom is equipped with a zoom lens capable of 2X optical zoom plus another 2X digital zoom at lossless quality. This can be a powerful tool to have in your arsenal as a drone videographer or photographer.
The Mavic II Zoom even has a nifty feature that mimics the effect of a dolly-zoom. If you are looking for creative ways to make your ads or videos stand out, the drone dolly-zoom feature is a sure way to set yourself apart from the pack and leave a lasting impression.
Which drone camera is best?
The top three entries on this list of the best drone cameras are all in the DJI family, and the top two are practically interchangeable. The Mavic Pro II is a fantastic all-around drone camera. The lightweight, foldable design makes transporting this drone a breeze. And the 4k camera enables you to capture top-of-the-line video.
The Mavic Pro II comes equipped with the best collision avoidance sensors in the game, helping to ensure a long lifespan for your drone. The Mavic Pro II is also one of the best camera drones when it comes to in-air stability.
One particularly nifty feature is the drone’s ability to autonomously return to it’s launch-point.
What is the best camera drone?
Once again proving that DJI dominates the camera drone space, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro is the best drone on the market. It is a closer call between the Phantom 4 Pro and the Mavic Pro II than one might expect. Each has benefits and drawbacks, so one may be better suited to your individual needs.
The Mavic Pro II has the leg up when it comes to weight, portability, and ease of use. The Phantom 4 Pro is not foldable and weighs quite a bit more, making transporting it more of a hassle.
The Phantom 4 Pro also only features 5-point obstacle sensing as opposed to the omnidirectional obstacle sensing of the Mavic Pro II.
In other regards, however, the Phantom 4 Pro is the clear higher-quality choice of drone camera. The Phantom 4 Pro is capable of shooting 4k footage at 60-frames-per-second, while the Mavic Pro II is only able to shoot 30-frames-per-second. For a deeper explanation of why this difference matters, refer to our filmmaker’s guide to frame rates.
The Phantom 4 Pro is also the only drone on this list to feature a mechanical shutter, which can make a staggering difference when it comes to the quality of individual frames and corrects the rolling-shutter issues that plague other drones. The mechanical shutter is a strong selling point for the Phantom 4 Pro.
The Best Drone Footage
Hopefully, this list helped you get a better idea which drone camera is the best fit for your needs and budget. If you are in need of inspiration for what to shoot with your new drone camera, our rundown of the best drone footage will give you plenty of ideas. See creative uses of drone cameras across the video-making spectrum, up next.