So you want a camera drone that takes incredible video & pictures?
Well, you have come to the right place!
Today, I am going to recommend 12 drones that are fun to fly, affordable, AND include a camera.
But before we begin, here are two things you should know about my list:
#1: The camera drones below are organized by cost.
In fact, my post is categorized into THREE separate price ranges:
(Click the hyperlink to skip directly to that section!)
Above $1,000 (3 options)
$250 – $999 (3 options)
- Under $250 (6 options)
- Includes THREE drones under $100!
- RELATED ARTICLE: *TOP Drones For Kids! [12 Affordable Options For ALL Ages]*
The reason that I organized the drones by price is simple:
Cost is the #1 factor that people consider when purchasing!
I’m sure you have an amount of money in mind as you are shopping for a drone. I wanted this article to be helpful no matter if your budget was $1,500, $500, or under $100!
I did my best to find the BEST drones with a camera for every price range!
- RELATED: *8 BEST Drones For Beginners To TRY!*
But please don’t think a cheap drone will work as good as a drone that costs TEN TIMES more!
The business of drones is extremely competitive, and products are priced appropriately. For the most part, you can expect the overall quality of your drone to increase as you spend more money.
#2: This list is designed for amateurs and hobbyists.
What this means is that I didn’t include any drones that are made for professional or commercial use.
For example, the most expensive drone you will find below is the DJI Inspire 2, which is an incredible piece of equipment and technology.
If you are curious about how much large, commercial drones cost, then check out these products from BH Photo.
Highest Priced Camera Drones:
These three drones are some of the BEST products that a consumer can buy when it comes to aerial videography and photography.
To be honest, the only way to purchase something better would be to move up to a professional cinematic drone, which may cost upwards of over $10,000.
The following drones offer an incredible combination of quality, construction, clarity, performance, and service.
Let me start by saying that the DJI Inspire 2 is most likely not the drone you are going to purchase today.
Don’t get me wrong; this drone is an INCREDIBLE machine.
In fact, the Inspire 2 is so good that I almost didn’t include it on this list. The high price and advanced features made me think that this product was more for professionals and commercial use.
But after learning more, I was so impressed that I needed to include this amazing camera drone, even if it is incredibly expensive.
First, let’s talk about the camera:
The DJI Inspire 2 is different than any other drone found on this list because it doesn’t include a camera.
YOU HAVE TO BUY THE CAMERA SEPARATELY!
Yes, I know that’s slightly annoying, especially since the drone already costs so much to purchase, which is why the Inspire 2 is only recommended for ADVANCED PILOTS.
Here are two compatible cameras that you can purchase:
- 20MP Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal with 8.8mm f/2.8-11 Lens.
- Combined with CineCore 2.0 (the Inspire 2’s powerful image processing system) it can record 4K/60 H.264 and 4K/30 H.265 videos at a 100Mbps bitrate, and oversample 5.2K video into 4K video in real-time.
- *View video footage shot with the X4S on YouTube HERE.*
B. DJI Zenmuse X5S (BEST OPTION): View Cost - Amazon
- Micro 4/3 sensor, the DJI Zenmuse X5S has a dynamic range of 12.8 stops.
- The new CineCore 2.0 image processing system is capable of capturing 5.2K 30fps CinemaDNG video and Apple ProRes video, as well as 4K 60fps using H.264 and 4K 30fps using H.265 (both at 100Mbps).
- *View video footage shot with the X5S on YouTube HERE.*
Here are some other features that come with the DJI Inspire 2:
- Has a top speed of 58 MPH so that you can follow very fast-moving objects!
- Advanced Obstacle Sensing: The Inspire 2 can recognize objects up to 30 meters / 98 feet ahead! And it even has cameras on top to recognize potential obstacles.
- Tracking Mode: The drone has something called Spotlight Pro, which uses advanced, visual-tracking algorithms to lock onto an object during flight.
- Smart Return Home: If the signal is lost, the Inspire 2 will come back home to where it took off.
If you are considering the DJI Inspire 2, check out this video for more info! VERY HELPFUL!
Accessories for the Inspire 2: View Price - Amazon
- Extra batteries
- Carrying and storage case
- A styrofoam case is included, but it’s not great.
- Replacement propellers
The Yuneec Typhoon H Plus provides an excellent combination of stability AND image quality, and is an excellent choice for any drone pilot that wants to take incredible video!
Seriously, check out this footage!
Specs Regarding the Typhoon H Camera:
- Features a 3-axis gimbal-mounted camera with a C23 1″ sensor that can capture 20MP still photos and Ultra HD 4K video at 60 fps.
- The 3-axis gimbal is capable of continuous rotation for 360-degree image capture.
One thing to notice with the Typhoon H Plus is that it’s a hexacopter, instead of a quadcopter. The 6 rotors give tremendous stability and provide stable footage in up to 35 MPH winds. The drone is tough, and can even fly with only 5 rotors, in case one of them goes down mid-flight.
The Typhoon H Plus is equipped with Intel’s Realsense Technology.
So what does that mean to you?
Well, while you are flying the drone collects data about your surroundings to create a 3D model, which helps ensure that you won’t crash into anything while flying. This fantastic feature frees you up to focus on filming and keeps your drone safe!
Many drones have a “Watch Me” mode, where the drone locks on to a subject to track. What impressed me with the Typhoon H Plus is its ability to follow high-speed objects, like a motorcycle going 50 MPH. If you don’t believe me, check out this video (YouTube) HERE.
Investing such a large amount of money into a beautiful camera drone is a BIG decision. I’d recommend watching the below video to learn a lot more about Typhoon H Plus. Specifically, I enjoyed the detailed information regarding the camera system and learning how the drone flies!
Recommended Accessories for the Typhoon H Plus:
The DJI Mavic Pro 2 gets my vote for the BEST value camera drone on this list. You can genuinely take some INCREDIBLE video with the 20MP Hasselblad L1D-20c gimbal camera. And even though the cost will run well over $1,000, this camera drone is WORTH EVERY PENNY!
Seriously, the gimbal camera on this drone was designed to provide you with professional, cinematic results on an amateur budget.
Let’s talk specifics about the Mavic Pro 2 camera:
- It possesses Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution (HNCS) technology, which gives you the ability to capture up to 20MP aerial images in stunning color detail.
- The inclusion of an f/2.8 to f/11 adjustable aperture has you covered for both high- and low-light environments, delivering bright and clear photos with smooth video.
- Hyperlapse Timelapse Shots: With a SINGLE TAP, you can use the Mavic Pro 2 to capture stunning time-lapse shots.
- DJI has engineered its OcuSync 2.0 system to deliver 1080p video feeds from the drone to your controller from up to 5 miles away.
- The Mavic Pro 2 has four different aerial shooting modes (Point of Interest 2.0, Waypoint 2.0, Asteroid, Boomerang), which will help shoot a professional, smooth video!
*CHECK OUT THE CAMERA IN ACTION*:
But the camera isn’t the only fantastic feature of the Mavic Pro 2.
Here are a few other things that are worth mentioning:
- There are sensors on all sides of the drone to help avoid obstacles and keep you safe.
- The Mavic Pro 2 can fly up to 47 MPH and has a battery life of 31 minutes!
- It has an excellent, compact design that folds up easily to fit into many different bags or cases.
As I said before, it’s hard to beat the overall combination of quality and price that you receive with the DJI Mavic Pro 2. And I have barely scratched the surface of everything that this camera drone can accomplish.
To learn more, I was able to locate this helpful video:
Recommended Accessories for the DJI Mavic Pro 2:
- Extra battery
- Replacement propellers
- Carrying and storage case
- Accessories combo bundle (Includes almost everything you need!)
Moderately Priced Camera Drones:
The three drones in this section are priced between $250 and $1,000, and represent some of the best combinations of price, quality, AND features!
My guess is that the average drone user is not making professional movies. For the backyard hobbyist, the below drones will provide incredible video and pictures.
Outstanding Drone Camera Features:
- The Mavic Pro camera is 3-axis gimbal stabilized and shoots Full HD 1080p at 96 frames per second so that you can create incredible slow motion, and 4K video (up to 4096 x 2160) at 30 frames per second.
- Photos can be taken as big as 12 megapixels and saved in DNG raw or JPEG. Lastly, the camera can be flipped 90 degrees for portrait shots (similar to your phone!).
*CHECK OUT THE CAMERA IN ACTION*:
Flight Control System:
- Includes an incredible GPS navigation system, collision avoidance, and a sport mode which lets you fly at speeds up to 40MPH.
- When you tell the Mavic Pro to come home, it returns to the exact spot it departed!
- You can fly with the included remote controller OR your phone using the DJI Go app. You can even edit and share the videos or pictures you just took directly to your favorite social media site.
Recommended Accessories for the Mavic Pro:
The Parrot Anafi is a proven, affordable drone for hobbyists who want to take excellent video and pictures.
It’s pretty small, as it only weighs 11 oz, and easily fits into a backpack once folded together. If you enjoy hiking and traveling, the Anafi could be a convenient drone to take along with you.
Don’t let the small size fool you! The Anafi has an excellent camera that is capable of taking film and photo’s that look incredibly professional. The untrained eye might have a hard time figuring out that the video didn’t come from a much higher-end drone!
- You can expect stunning 4K videos with 100 Mb/s bit rate, and 21MP HDR-enhanced still photos.
- Your videos and pictures will be stable and clear with the 3-axis image stabilization.
- The tilt gimbal gives you the ability to go from -90 to +90 degrees, which helps you take impressive low-angle shots, opening a host of filming possibilities.
- Digitally zoom in up to 2.8x on your subject in Full HD 1080p resolutions (1.4x in Ultra HD 4K).
In addition to the camera, the Anafi is designed with many other helpful features.
Here are some of my favorites!
- Return To Home: The drone is GPS enabled, so if it ever loses connection or when the battery is low, it will come back to its starting point. This feature is one of my favorites, and this is one of the least expensive drones that includes it.
- You can stream HD video from up to 2.5 miles away with the 2.4/5 GHz dual-band antenna!
- Carbon Fiber Construction helps keep the drone light AND sturdy.
To see the Parrot Anafi in action and for a more detailed review, check out this video!
Recommended Accessories for the Parrot Anafi:
6. DJI Spark
Due to its price, the DJI Spark is a great drone for everyone, including adults, responsible children, and teenagers. I love that it’s easy to get off the ground and fun to fly. The Spark is portable and small enough to take off and land from the palm of their hand!
- RELATED: 8 BEST Drones For Beginners To TRY!
DJI packs as much incredible technology for the price as possible! One of the most fun features is gesture control, which is the ability to use your hands and arms to maneuver the drone to take photos. Let the force be with you!
Outstanding Drone Camera Features:
For the price, you will be happy with the Spark’s excellent camera system.
- Includes a 2-axis gimbal-stabilized camera that can capture up to 12MP still photos and record 1080p/30 Full HD video.
- Check out this fantastic video footage taken from the Spark –> *Watch here YouTube.*
- Check out actual photographs taken from the sky. –> *View on Flickr*
Flight Control System:
The Spark is relatively easy to fly, and you shouldn’t have any problems figuring out the controls.
- Includes an incredible GPS navigation system, collision avoidance, and sport mode which lets you fly at speeds up to 31MPH.
- The Spark will return to the spot it took off from when the battery gets low, the controller loses signal, or you press the Return To Home (RTH) button on the app or controller.
- You can fly with either a remote controller or the DJI Go mobile app.
Watch this helpful beginner’s video about the DJI Spark to learn more!
Cheapest Drones With a Camera:
The SIX drones in this section are all priced below $250, and they’re even a few options that cost below $100!
If you are looking for an inexpensive drone and not concerned with making professional-looking videos, then you are going to like the options in this section.
The cameras are not perfect, but they are certainly decent enough for most beginners, hobbyists, or even kids.
The Hubsan H501S X4 is one of the coolest looking drones on this list! I love the appearance of the black and gold quadcopter as it flies through the sky.
But on top of looking great, the H501S has many features that make it a great drone, along with being affordably priced and a decent camera. It makes a great Christmas or birthday gift!
You should know that the flight controller has integrated GPS, which is incredible at this price and enables some pretty cool features, such as:
Follow Me Mode:
- The H501S can lock onto the position of the transmitter and then track it! This feature is incredible to use to get some great shots of your kids riding their bike, running, etc.
- The drone remembers it’s take-off point, so if the connection is lost with the transmitter, then it will automatically return “home.” There is also a switch on the transmitter that you can press to make the drone return quickly.
Here are some other things you should know about the Hubsan H501S:
- You will have a blast recording with the included 1080p camera! *Check out raw video footage shot from this drone on YouTube HERE.*
- The max altitude is 820 feet (250 meters)! And the pictures you can take at this height look incredible! *View pictures from the H501S on Flickr HERE.*
- The transmitter has a 4.3″ LCD screen that lets you watch real-time video from the FPV (first-person view) camera and even displays telemetry data of the drone in flight! Recording the trip is easy by inserting a microSD card (not included) into the transmitter.
From unboxing to flying, this review of the H501S will help you decide if this is the best drone for you!
Recommended accessories for the Hubsan H501S X4:
The Altair 818 Hornet is a fun drone for both kids and beginner adult pilots. I should know since it’s the drone that I bought for myself. 🙂
First, I like that it provides THREE different flight modes depending on your skill level. The first level is perfect for beginners, the second level is designed for those with some experience, and the third level is for experts that have mastered the first two levels.
My 7-year old nephew had no problems getting the 818 Hornet in the air right out of the box, and honestly, he was a better pilot than me at first!
The Hornet has a relatively long flight time of 15 minutes, so you get a fair amount of fun and flying time before having to switch batteries.
- Recommended: Extra batteries
Are you worried about crashing your camera drone?
Well, check out the circular guards around the propellers! This drone can handle the inevitable crash while you are learning to fly.
- Recommended: Replacement Propellers
The drone includes a 120° wide-angle 720p High Definition Camera that can take decent aerial photos and videos. You can line up your shot using a phone or tablet from up to 60 meters away (full flight range of 150 meters.)
- View actual video footage taken from the Altair 818 Hornet –> *WATCH on YouTube.*
Flight Control System and Stability Features.
- One-touch Takeoff and Landing: press a single button for takeoff and landing!
- Includes Headless Mode, which is beneficial because you don’t have to worry about the orientation of the drone in the air while controlling.
- Altitude Hold: This feature allows you to take pictures and video without worrying about maintaining altitude with the joystick.
- Automatic Emergency Landings: The drone lands itself before the battery dies. It does not come “home” like the DJI Mavic Pro or Spark above because the Hornet does not have GPS.
- You can fly with either a remote controller or mobile app, whichever makes you feel most comfortable.
Do you have more questions?
The Altair Aerial AA108 is incredibly easy to fly, and the included camera is decent. It’s a great drone to practice filming and taking photographs from the air.
I like that the AA108 has THREE flight modes.
Level 1 allows you to get off the ground quickly and have fun flying instantly. And switching the mode to Level 2 or 3 will enable you to grow into your flying skills.
Lastly, the drone is made of durable plastic and has propeller guards, so it should be able to stand up to the abuse you dish out!
*You can only stream video from 164 feet / 50 meters.
- Includes a built-in 120° wide-angle 720p HD camera that takes decent photos and videos right from your phone or mobile device.
- View actual video footage taken from the Altair AA108 –> Watch on YouTube.
Easy To Fly!
- Headless Mode – If you turn this feature ON, kids won’t have to worry about the orientation of the drone while flying.
- Low Battery Alarm – As the drone is running low on a charge, an alarm starts to beep, so you know it’s time to bring the drone home.
- Altitude Hold – This feature ensures that the AA108 stays hovering in place while in the air without your input.
- You can fly with a controller or the Flyingsee app on your phone.
Recommended accessories for the Altair AA108:
This small drone is incredibly fun, and one of the best small drones with a camera you can purchase!
The Tello is controlled from a smartphone or a compatible Bluetooth controller. You will love how easy it is to take off as you literally just throw the drone into the air! And once you’ve mastered some basic maneuvers, you can even try FPV (first-person view) flying using a VR-headset.
The Tello is small enough to be flown inside.
And when you do take it outside, make sure it’s not very windy, or you risk the drone blowing away!
It’s hard to beat the Tello at this low of a price point, and I can almost guarantee it will be the most fun you have for around $100 this year! And I didn’t even mention that the Tello is backed by DJI, who is arguably the world leader when it comes to everything drones.
*Flys over WiFi on your phone.
Includes a Camera!
- At the front of the drone, there is a camera that can stream 720pm video to your phone, along with taking 5-megapixel photos.
- View actual video footage taken in BALI from the Ryze Tech Tello –> *WATCH on YouTube.*
Helpful Safety Features!
- Auto Takeoff/Landing: Lift off or land with a single tap.
- Low Battery Protection: Alerts go off when your battery gets low.
- Failsafe Protection: Land safely, even if you lose connection.
- Extremely durable, light-weight, and includes guards around the propellers.
Recommended accessories for the Ryze Tello:
The Holy Stone F181C is a fun little AFFORDABLE drone!
Even at its low price point, Holy Stone includes a 720p camera, which will provide a lot of fun for you to play with. The video quality is not great compared to other higher-end drones, but it’s better than not having a camera!
And I don’t think you can honestly expect a better camera considering the insanely low price of the F181C.
The F181C has some great features to start flying right away:
- Altitude Hold: When the throttle stick is released, the F181C stops and hovers at its current height, which is excellent for both kids and beginners! In case the pilot gets in trouble, they just have to let go, and the drone stops! Altitude Hold is also helpful for taking video or pictures with the camera.
- Headless Mode: On this setting, the pilot doesn’t need to distinguish the front of the drone. Whichever way they press on the controls, the drone will fly that direction.
- 4 Speed Modes: Beginners can start on the 1st mode and then slowly work their way up as they gain more flying experience. Before you know it, you are going to be doing flips and rolls with the F181C through the entire house!
**The F181C is flown by using the included remote controller.
Recommended Accessories for the HS F181C:
If you’re looking for a cheap drone that is fun, easy to fly AND includes a camera; then the Syma X5C is perfect.
Compared to the some of the micro-drones on this list (#10 & #11), the Syma X5C is quite large, which makes me think of it less like a toy and more like a drone.
*I’d recommend buying extra batteries.
**The X5C will fly a maximum of 164 feet / 50 meters away with the included 2.4GhZ remote controller.
The X5C comes with a remote controller and propeller guards (not pictured above). The prop guards are great for protecting the drone when it crashes into something.
More Information About the Syma X5C CAMERA:
- Remember that this drone is cheap and doesn’t have stabilization for the camera, so don’t expect incredible images. But for the low price, the camera quality is not that bad!
- For an example of the video camera, check out this footage shot from the X5C (It’s amazing what a bit of music and editing can do for a video!):
- There are also a few pictures on Flickr that demonstrate the X5C’s camera:
Watch this helpful video about the Syma X5C that demonstrates how the drone flies and handles both inside AND outside.
Recommended accessories for the Syma X5C:
Frequently Asked Questions About Drones:
Do I need to register my drone?
If you plan on flying outside in the United States, you should register your drone with the FAA. It’s only $5 and is valid for three years.
The stipulation is that you must be over 13 years old to register, so if your kid is under 13, then you will need to do this for them.
It’s also a good idea to become familiar with the places you CAN NOT fly a drone! The most important rules you need to know are don’t fly over people, near an airport, and always maintain a visual line of sight.
What features should I consider when buying a drone?
As a reminder, here are the factors most people consider when looking to purchase a camera drone. Answering these questions should help you decide which machine to purchase above!
- Is your budget $50 or $500 or $5,000? If you tell me your price range, it’s easy to narrow down the possible beginner drones for you!
- How important is the quality of the photographs and video? More expensive drones include stabilization systems for the camera, which helps provide smooth and clear photos and video.
- FLIGHT RANGE:
- Do you want a drone that can fly great distances away from you? Or do you want something to mess around inside the house and backyard?
- WEIGHT & DIMENSIONS:
- Light drones tend not to break when they crash; they sort of bounce instead! But unfortunately, light drones are more susceptible to the wind! (Although learning to deal with wind can improve your flying skills.)
- BATTERY LIFE:
- The camera drones on this list have battery lives that range from 31 minutes down to only 7 minutes. Make sure to buy extra batteries and have them charged before any flight sessions.
- Most drones under $200 will not include GPS, which is a nice feature to have for multiple reasons, including the popular “Return To Home” function.
- HEADLESS MODE:
- When a drone is flying in headless mode, the orientation of the front of the drone can be ignored as you fly. When you press a direction on your controller, that is the way the drone moves.
- DIFFERENT SPEED MODES:
- Most drones have different modes, depending on the pilot’s level of skill. This feature is excellent for beginners to use and work their way up as they gain additional experience.
- ALTITUDE HOLD:
- When the throttle stick is released, the drone stops and hovers at its current height, which is great in case you get in trouble. All you have to do is let go, and the drone stops!
When you are purchasing a drone, the most important thing to remember is…
The more money you spend, the better features and higher quality product you can expect!
What are some rules for flying drones?
Please remember that drones are NOT toys. If you decide to purchase a drone, you will need to take some responsibility and learn how to fly safely.
Remember that drones have propellers that spin extremely fast. The last thing you want is those propellers hurt another person or animal.
Drones also crash a lot, especially as someone is learning how to fly them. Make sure drones are operated in areas where they can’t break anything valuable. BE RESPONSIBLE!
At a minimum, here are the rules for flying recreational drones:
A. Follow the safety guidelines of a community-based organization.
B. Fly your drone at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled or “Class G” airspace. This is airspace where the FAA is not controlling manned air traffic. To determine what type of airspace you are in, refer to the mobile application that operates your drone (if so equipped) and/or use other drone-related mobile applications. Knowing your location and what airspace you’re in will also help you avoid interfering with other aircraft.
C. Do NOT fly in controlled airspace (around and above many airports):
D. Keep your drone within your line of sight, or within the visual line-of-sight of a visual observer who is co-located and in direct communication with you.
E. Do NOT fly in airspace where flight is prohibited. Airspace restrictions can be found on our interactive map, and temporary flight restrictions can be found here. Drone operators are responsible for ensuring they comply with all airspace restrictions.
F. Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports.
G. Never fly over groups of people, public events, or stadiums full of people.
H. Never fly near emergencies such as any accident response, law enforcement activities, firefighting, or hurricane recovery efforts.
I. Never fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
So what did you think?
Were you able to find the perfect camera drone?
If so, I’d love to hear what you bought?
Or if you went with an option that is not on this list, please share in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!