In this article, we review the best quadcopter with camera for Video, filmmaking and Ariel Photography. We highlight the main features you need in a RC quadcopter with camera attachment; the Camera, Gimbal and Range.
You’ll find below: great videos, comparison charts and reviews just below. The quads mentioned here are not for kids, unless of course, your kids is already a filming superstar or techie like many others on YouTube and other video streaming sites.
There is no doubt that purchasing a quadcopter for aerial photography is becoming easier and easier with the technology becoming more available to the average consumer. Plus, the FAA easing up on drone delivery plans.
Although, these quadcopters are RTF and can be used by beginners…
Commercial drone usage has blown up!
Drone hobbyist, filmmakers, film crews and other creators are flocking to the drone market and developing awesome content by adding the best drones with cameras to their arsenal. The filmmaking and ariel photography process is become more excited with since the RC quadcopters with camera markets opened.
The traditional way to achieve good ariel images is extremely expensive and can be difficult to access. Still, a quality drone can do much better than the renting a Helicopter for a few hours.
But with the success of personal drones comes a market full of products that don’t meet industry standards. Or even personal standards in regards to filming, agility, and camera quality.
Weather you are looking for the best quadcopter for video (streaming), or the best quadcopter for filming (movies). You need to know what you are looking for and where to find it.
Related: Quadcopters with HD Camera Reviews
Think about it:
A helicopter or plane can’t make an agile/smooth turn with the ‘flick of a switch’… and all from a smart phone?!
Not to mention, we don’t all fancy heights
The is nothing like using a RC quadcopter with camera attached to the frame (although some of the bigger drones have cameras that can attach- we are not talking about GoPro cameras either.)
Quit On the Set! Lets Break it Down
Here we will weave through the forrest of RC quadcopters with cameras to depict the best quadcopter with a camera in 2015.
To be clear: We pinpoint 2015 because the industry is still growing and introducing new equipment/ RC drones with cameras so we want to pick the best of now, or at least this year.
Already in early 2015 we were introduced to the Phantom 3 Pro (P3P) & Advance (P3A) and the Phantom 3 Standard. See below our comparison chart from the Inspire VS Phantom 3 post:
DJI makes the best quadcopter with a camera. Hands down.
|Model||Inspire 1||Phantom Professional||Phantom Advanced|
|Camera||4K 12 megapixel||4k 12 megapixel||HD 1080p 12mega pix|
|Range||1.2 miles (2 km)||1.2 miles (2km)||1.2 miles (2km)|
|Dual Pilot||Yes (Optional)||No||No|
|App||DJI Pilot App||DJI Pilot App||DJI Pilot App|
|Lightbridge||Not Included||720p HD||720p HD|
|Flight Time||18 Min.||23 Min.||23 Min.|
|Drone Battery Charger||100 Watt||100 Watt||57 Watt|
|Controller Battery||6000 mAh LiPo 2S||6000 mAh LiPo 2||6000 mAh LiPo 2|
|Price (Amazon.com)||$2859 >Buy On Amazon||$1,259 >Buy On Amazon||$999 >Buy On Amazon|
|Price (DJI.com)||$2899 (DJI Inspire 1)||$1,259 (Phantom 3 Professional)||$999 (Phantom. Your Flying Camera.)|
There are several factors to take into consideration when evaluating RC drones with cameras because they are NOT created equally; well, the DJI Phantom 3 Pro & Advance are quite similar in model & make, but you get my drift.
More recently, DJI added another quadcopter to their fleet: The Phantom 3 Standard. Its definitely moving the needle in the ariel photography and filming drone niche (More on this below).
You May Be Interested In: The Best Indoor Quadcopter Reviews
At this point there is no doubt that the Inspire 1 is the top RC drone with camera- the only controversy is related to the Inspires pricing in comparison to the Phantom 3 Pro/Adv. Still Inspire 1 has the better features but some would say those features are “extra”. Their main similarity is the 4k camera which is the highest level resolution offered in these quads.
If all you need is a 4K camera, buy the DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter.
We will talk more about the difference between 4K drones and drones with HD cameras below (there is a pretty cool explainer video from Mashable.com below).
For now, here’s a snap shot of the resolutions:
But if you are looking for a little more, or just some diversity, keep reading. You might still stick with the P3P quad copter, or maybe you’ll consider the HD camera on the Parrot BeBop Fisheye Camera Quadcopter (Which didn’t make the list below because its design and structure don’t match the DJI drones but it is definitely a good drone)
Luckily, for those who don’t want to spend $3,000 on the Inspire 1, the Phantom 3 and other drones with cameras can get the job done. In this case, you may be looking for the best drone with a camera for the money you’ll invest.
The quality of footage you want to capture will ultimately determine which quadcopter you get.Click to tweet
What to consider when buying a drone with camera? are you buying a drone for photography? filming? Well, its all in the camera and the drones functioning’s.
Here are are list of the top drones with cameras (we will break this down even more as we progress- feel free to scroll down to see more reviews, vids and charts)
Lights! Camera! Action!
Best Quadcopter with a Camera Reviews (Part 1)
|Drones||Camera||Gimbal Controllable Range||Flight Time||Price|
|DJI Inspire 1||4k 12Mega Pix||Pitch: -90° to +30°|
|18 min||$2,899 (Single Remote)|
|DJI Phantom 3 Professional||4k 12Mega Pix||Pitch -90° to +30°||23 min||$1,259|
|DJI Phantom 3 Advanced||HD 1080p 12Mega Pix||Pitch -90° to +30°||23 min||$999|
|DJI Phantom 3 Standard||2.7 HD 12Mega Pix||Pitch -90° to +30°||25 min||$799|
All these quads are exceptional
For those just getting into drones for aerial photography or just getting into filmmaking, you’re probably wondering: What is the best quadcopter for filming and …
Ok, but What is a 4K Camera?!
Or, your wondering…
Whats the difference between 4K & HD Resolution?!
As you can see, there is a slight difference in the resolution of the 4K vs HD cameras resolution. The huge difference is seen when you use the zoom.
The best quadcopter with camera will have either resolution type. If you know or predict that you’ll be using the zoom often, you want to get a 4K camera drone. Here is another vid that shows a live comparison. As mention previously, the best quadcopter for video will all depend on the type of shots you want to take.
You May Be Interested In: Indoor Quadcopter Reviews
Also, for still shots like these, you’ll see the difference in richness. The colors are strong in HD. The 4K shot is a tad more vivid.
Image from rting.com
There are other cameras..
But, anything less wouldn’t be considered the best or top drones with cameras for filming. There are others you can consider if you just want to take simpler videos like these.
You can also consider GoPro drones (they aren’t made by GoPro (Yet), but the mounts are made to attach a GoPro Camera easily).
The big question is which RC UAV with camera should you buy? You have to consider your budget, camera, range, functions, etc.
Shoot from all Angles & Keep Balance: Axis and Gimbal System
Weather you are getting into drone wedding photography or filming family vacations, you want to the best drone with a camera, right?
Right! but you also want the best quadcopter with a camera that can shoot from different angles, be stable and fly without interrupting the quality of your video.
When choosing which quad to buy you need to make sure you can capture the angles needed and the drones multirotors won’t get in the way. As well as know what terrain you’ll be shooting in. Without the right gimbal you can leave set with rocky shots.
The gimbal makes sure that your footage is stable for the highest quality of creation possible. It allow you to rotate and tilt the camera as needed.
The axis insures that you get uninterrupted shots. The best drone camera has 3 Axis; a 3 Axis Gimbal doesn’t get in the way of panning.
What direction does the 3 axis gimbal shoot?
3 Axis = Tilt, Roll & Pan
2 Axis = Tilt & Roll
1 (Single) Axis = Tilt
Which is in this Instagram post?… Yup, 2 Axis are being shown.
*this info is especially important when buying a quadcopter without a camera but one can be attached much like the copter gimbal seen in this IG post.
The Sky Is the Limit: Range and Flight Time
Out of the many specs and features you want to consider, rang is on the top of the list. Although this is a drone with camera reviews this info is still relevant to functionality of the quad copter.
You Also May Be Interested In: 10 of The Best Firework Shows Shot By Quadcopters
Who knows, maybe you and your buddies, or film crew want to shoot some awesome fireworks on the 4th of July (as seen above). Maybe you are shooting an indy film in NYC and need some Lady Liberty B-roll like in this clip of a drone flying over the Statue of Liberty.
The best RC Drone with camera has a range of about 2 miles high and a flight time of over 15 minutes: The DJI Phantom 3 (both) and The Inspire 1’s flight time is above 20 minutes and goes as high as 2 miles in the sky.
Far enough to capture awesome footage and enough time to capture quality moments. Right?
Furthermore: Best Quadcopter With Camera Reviews (Part 2)
Sometimes a chart is not enough, so we have to add drone camera reviews. All the features mentioned above are embedded in these quad copters. That is why they are the best quadcopters with camera.
See for yourself:
|Specs||DJI Inspire 1||DJI Phantom 3 Features||DJI Phantom 3 Features|
|Max Speed||22 m/s (ATTI mode, no wind)||16 m/s (ATTI mode, no wind)||16 m/s (ATTI mode, no wind)|
|Lens||20mm (35mm format equivalent)f/2.8 focus at ∞|
9 Elements in 9 groups
|FOV 94° 20 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.8, focus at ∞||FOV 94° 20 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.8, focus at ∞|
|Shutter Speed||8s － 1/8000s||8s -1/8000s||8s -1/8000s|
|Image Max Size||4000x3000||4000 x 3000||4000 x 3000|
|Video Recode Modes||- UHD (4K): 4096x2160p24/25, 3840x2160p24/25/30|
- FHD: 1920x1080p24/25/30/48/50/60
- HD: 1280x720p24/25/30/48/50/60
|- UHD: 4096x2160p 24/25, 3840x2160p 24/25/30|
- FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30/48/50/60
- HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
|- FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30/48/50/60
- HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
|Max Bitrate Vid. Storage||60 Mbps||60 Mbps||40 Mbps|
|IOS Rang||100-3200 (video) 100-1600 (photo)||100-3200 (video) 100-1600 (photo)||100-3200 (video) 100-1600 (photo)|
Some of the features on the P3P, A & S are similar so we removed them from the chart below (Images Size and iOS Range for example)
|Specs||Max Speed||Lens||Video Record Modes||Max Bitrate Vid. Storage||IOS Rang|
|DJI Phantom 3 Standard||16 m/s (ATTI mode, no wind)||FOV (Field Of View) 94° 20 mm||- UHD: 2.7K: 2704 x1520p 30 (29.997)|
- FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30
- HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
|40 Mbps||-100-3200 (video) -100-1600 (photo)|
The DJI Phantom 3 Professional
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the DJI Phantom 3 Professional is the best quadcopter with a built-in camera. DJI created this user friendly & RTF (Ready-To-Fly) copter for people who want to create quality imagery. Aerial Photographers and novice alike can operate the Phantom 3 Pro, and the Phantom 3 Adv.
The P3P beats the other top drones with cameras because of the 4K resolution, functions, design & price. With its agility, speed and precision this copter does everything you need a flying camera to do.
The GPS/GLONASS, Sensors and Vision Positioning are all top of the line features that you will not find anywhere else in a RTF quad with a built-in camera (and for the money you’ll invest). The max speed of the P3P is 16 m/s (ATTI mode, no wind), its Lens FOV 94° 20 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.8, focus at ∞ with a shutter speed of 8s -1/8000s.
Thats what makes the Phantom 3 Pro the best quadcopter with camera. Not to mention the speed, gimbal, etc. But, as seen in the drone camera comparison charts, these RC drones with cameras have many similarities. There are just a few crucial details that make them different.
The DJI Inspire 1If you asked a year ago the Inspire 1 would have been #1 on the top drones with cameras list.
Don’t get me wrong, the Inspire 1 is a supreme drone. Not only does the Inspire has a 4k camera, what makes it really stand out amongst the elite/best/good is the dual remote control options. Imagine the work you can create with your team members focused each aspect of the creative process. Its ideal for production teams who are sharing their creative juices in the creation process.
Aerial Photographers can have someone that is more skilled in flying and focus on controlling the camera and capturing great still shots.
The only real reason its dropped in ranking is the market price and its size. The Inspire weights 2935 g (6.5 lbs) vs the P3P or P3A which weighs 1280 g (2.8 lbs). Although it isn’t humongous, its definitely a different beast.
The Inspire 1 is the best quadcopter with camera for filming and production teams.
The DJI Phantom 3 Advanced
This is 100% the best drone with camera for the money. The Phantom 3 Adv. has all the function features you look for in a RTF drone with camera like the Pro. The only difference is its a HD drone camera. And, of course, the color (silver accents) and price. Its a high quality drone for ariel photography without the pricing of a used car.
If you don’t plan on using the zoom feature the difference between the HD drone camera and 4K drone camera isn’t as prevalent. When you zoom in at 5x the image definitely become blurry (almost unbearably blurry).
Still, like the P3P it’s the best quadcopter with a camera for indoor and outdoor footage, its especially a great drone for Real Estate photography, filming and marketing. You will simply be deciding between an HD drone and a 4K drone.
The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is 1000% made for the beginner quadcopter pilot. DJI made changes and advancements to this quadcopter with the intention of making filming and controlling your quadcopter easier.
It almost seemed impossible to make controlling the flight any easier. The other DJI Phantom quadcopters with built in cameras are RTF, have ‘Return Home’ features and a gimbal that stabilizes your footage. All the above make these drones the best quadcopters for filming.
The Phantom 3 posses all these features plus, following capabilities. You can program the quadcopter to keep you in the frame at all times. You can have it follow you or orbit, making you the center of its view. Not to mention that it has a HD camera, LightBridge, Youtube Streaming, etc.
Basically, its everything you’d expect from a DJI quadcopter. Its pretty obvious that it would be considered one the best quadcopter with camera reviews list.
What Else Makes These The Best Quadcopters with Camera?
Other Common Factors
All three RC drones have the same Still Photography Modes; Single shoot, Burst shooting: 3/5/7 frames, Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7EV Bias and Time-lapse.
As well as SD support; Micro SD at Max capacity: 64 GB. Class 10 or UHS-1 rating required.
And, Support Files; FAT32/exFAT Photo: JPEG, DNG and Video: MP4/MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
All three quads use the Pilot App, compatible with iOS and Android devices and can easily stream to YouTube!
The features mentioned above are extremely important, hence the bulk of information, but when looking for the best drone with a camera, the camera is our #1 priority. The answer to these questions will bring you to your decision: What are you shooting? do you need to pan a soccer field, does your work need 1,2 or a few people in the frames? Do you need to point & shoot? Long shots? short shots? Do you need to shoot the top of the Brooklyn Bridge? How about The Great Wall of China?
These answers directly correlate to your needs in gimbal, GPS, apps, battery life, etc. narrows down which RC drone with a camera you buy. Of course, you may just want a drone that shoot high quality imagery for the fun of it so you just need to worry about the camera resolution and if its RTF… and the drones listed above covers that too.
Remember, this article is about the best quadcopter with cameras as appose to quadcopter with a mount or multirotor to attach your existing camera like the GoPro Hero in the Instagram post above. Thats an entirely different story, we would discuss Octocopters, Hexacopters, etc.
Consider joining a drone community online
For more information you can add your email to the bar at the top of the post. Also, check out the RC Drone guidelines made by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). You can also checkout some drones studies here.