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Best Drones With Camera 2020 (Beginner to Professional)

The Best Drones With Cameras Can Also Follow You Around

Drones with cameras have become more and more popular in the past couple of years. Being able to control your quadcopter in the air and see the view from its perspective is a childhood dream for many. I remember the first RC Car I received when I was a kid, it’s impressive what a leap technology has taken to where we now can fly around in the air instead of just driving around on the ground.

See Also: Charge Your Drone On The Go With A Power Station

But drones have quickly become something more than just a toy. In recent years, the cost of producing stunning videos and pictures from above has significantly dropped. It’s not only for professionals anymore.

You can go on vacation and record it from the sky with a device that costs less than your smartphone, drones are finally affordable. Some drones can follow you around like you have your cameraman in the air recording you in 4K resolution, how cool is that?

In today’s comparison, you’ll notice that the features don’t differ that much even though one drone might cost twice as much as the one we’re comparing it to. The most significant difference you will notice when you pay more is that you get a better camera, obstacle avoidance, and a more stable flying experience thanks to a gimbal. When it comes to the DJI drones though, they not only have better cameras but more features, especially safety features.

Today I am reviewing and comparing the best top rated drones with cameras that can record video and take photos. Some of them require FAA registration (which is easy to do, more about that in the FAQ at the bottom), while some are lightweight enough that they don’t. Some of them are drones that can follow you around and have safety features that make them easy to fly.

Preview
Beginner-Friendly
SIMREX X300C Mini Drone with Camera WiFi HD FPV Foldable RC Quadcopter Rtf 4CH 2.4Ghz Remote Control Headless [Altitude Hold] Super Easy Fly for Training, White
SNAPTAIN A15 Foldable FPV WiFi Drone w/Voice Control/120°Wide-Angle 720P HD Camera/Trajectory Flight/Altitude Hold/G-Sensor/3D Flips/Headless Mode/One Key Return/2 Modular Batteries/App Control
Holy Stone 2K GPS FPV RC Drone HS100 with HD Camera Live Video and GPS Return Home, Large Quadcopter with Adjustable Wide-Angle Camera, Follow Me, Altitude Hold, 18 Minutes Flight, Long Control Range
Good
DJI Mavic Mini - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter UAV with 2.7K Camera 3-Axis Gimbal GPS 30min Flight Time, less than 0.55lbs, Gray
What I Own
DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter with Remote Controller - Onyx Black
Best
DJI Mavic 2 Pro - Drone Quadcopter UAV with Hasselblad Camera 3-Axis Gimbal HDR 4K Video Adjustable Aperture 20MP 1' CMOS Sensor, up to 48mph, Gray
Flight Time
10 minutes
15 minutes
15 minutes
30 minutes
21 minutes
31 minutes
Range (Remote)
150 ft (45m)
295 ft (90m)
1640 ft (500m)
2.5 miles (4km)
2.36 miles (3.8 km)
5 miles (8 km)
FAA Registration Required
Size
5 x 3 inches folded
12.6 x 12.6 x 2.8 inches
19.7 x 19.7 x 6.9 inches
6.3 x 3.1 x 0.4 inches
6.6 x 3.2 x 1.9 inches folded
8.4 x 3.5 x 3.3 inches folded
Weight
0.45 lbs
No info
1.54 lbs
250g
0.95 lbs
1.99 lbs

Beginner-Friendly

Preview
SIMREX X300C Mini Drone with Camera WiFi HD FPV Foldable RC Quadcopter Rtf 4CH 2.4Ghz Remote Control Headless [Altitude Hold] Super Easy Fly for Training, White
Product
Flight Time
10 minutes
Range (Remote)
150 ft (45m)
FAA Registration Required
Size
5 x 3 inches folded
Weight
0.45 lbs
Preview
SNAPTAIN A15 Foldable FPV WiFi Drone w/Voice Control/120°Wide-Angle 720P HD Camera/Trajectory Flight/Altitude Hold/G-Sensor/3D Flips/Headless Mode/One Key Return/2 Modular Batteries/App Control
Flight Time
15 minutes
Range (Remote)
295 ft (90m)
FAA Registration Required
Size
12.6 x 12.6 x 2.8 inches
Weight
No info
Preview
Holy Stone 2K GPS FPV RC Drone HS100 with HD Camera Live Video and GPS Return Home, Large Quadcopter with Adjustable Wide-Angle Camera, Follow Me, Altitude Hold, 18 Minutes Flight, Long Control Range
Flight Time
15 minutes
Range (Remote)
1640 ft (500m)
FAA Registration Required
Size
19.7 x 19.7 x 6.9 inches
Weight
1.54 lbs

Good

Preview
DJI Mavic Mini - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter UAV with 2.7K Camera 3-Axis Gimbal GPS 30min Flight Time, less than 0.55lbs, Gray
Flight Time
30 minutes
Range (Remote)
2.5 miles (4km)
FAA Registration Required
Size
6.3 x 3.1 x 0.4 inches
Weight
250g

What I Own

Preview
DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter with Remote Controller - Onyx Black
Flight Time
21 minutes
Range (Remote)
2.36 miles (3.8 km)
FAA Registration Required
Size
6.6 x 3.2 x 1.9 inches folded
Weight
0.95 lbs

Best

Preview
DJI Mavic 2 Pro - Drone Quadcopter UAV with Hasselblad Camera 3-Axis Gimbal HDR 4K Video Adjustable Aperture 20MP 1' CMOS Sensor, up to 48mph, Gray
Flight Time
31 minutes
Range (Remote)
5 miles (8 km)
FAA Registration Required
Size
8.4 x 3.5 x 3.3 inches folded
Weight
1.99 lbs

Note: Scroll left/right on tablets and phones

A Closer Look At Each Drone


SIMREX X300C

SIMREX X300C Mini Drone with Camera WiFi HD FPV Foldable RC Quadcopter Rtf 4CH 2.4Ghz Remote Control Headless [Altitude Hold] Super Easy Fly for Training, White

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The X300C from Simrex is a great drone for beginners that have never flown a drone before. It’s a good idea to practice with a cheaper drone before you spend hundreds of dollars on one with more features. Even though the technology in the more expensive ones is more advanced and helps you avoid accidents, they happen.

The SIMREX X300C can flip and roll, fly for about 8-10 minutes, and has a range of 147 feet (45 meters).

It takes an hour to charge the battery to full, and it comes in four different colors. It folds down to become extremely portable and will fit in your hand.

See Also: Charge Your Drone Controller On The Go With A Portable Power Bank

Even though it’s a beginner model, it does have some sweet features. Like altitude hold, headless mode, one key take-off and landing, three speed levels, and a gravity sensor mode that lets you control the drone by moving the controller. It also has a one-key return button.

A camera will record and take pictures and can be controlled with an iOS/Android app that also will show you a live stream of what the drone is seeing.

So what is the caveat with the SIMREX X300C? The camera won’t take those pictures that you see more expensive drones take. I’d say that this drone is for kids or adults that want to practice flying a drone and get used to how they function. That said, this drone has impressive features for its price and can make a great gift or a starter drone.

PROS

  • Comes with four spare propellers
  • Can be controlled with an app
  • 3-speed levels
  • One key take-off and landing
  • 3D Flip
  • Headless mode
  • 6-axis gyro
  • Altitude hold

SNAPTAIN A15 Foldable FPV WiFi Drone

SNAPTAIN A15 Foldable FPV WiFi Drone w/Voice Control/120°Wide-Angle 720P HD Camera/Trajectory Flight/Altitude Hold/G-Sensor/3D Flips/Headless Mode/One Key Return/2 Modular Batteries/App Control

Check Price at Amazon

Snaptain is a company that makes affordable drones with cameras and other features you might not expect from drones this size.

The A15 is a foldable drone with a 720P HD wide-angle camera that lets you record and take photos from above. You can follow the drone through an app on your phone, which is then connected to the included drone remote.

This app also lets you control your drone hands-free with voice commands, draw a path on the screen and have the drone follow that exact path in the sky, and of course, control the camera.

While not a 4K camera, the 720p camera will be good enough to see what the drone is seeing, and for capturing videos and photos to share with friends and family. It won’t create professional footage, but it’s a good camera for being a starter drone.

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One thing I like about the Snaptain A15 is the three speed modes. My Mavic Air drone has two modes, normal and sport mode, and having a third one would be great. The A15 has a low 30%, med 60%, and high 100% mode that slows or sets the drone to full speed. For beginners, it’s great to have the option to fly slowly. Or if you’re showing the drone to a friend, you’d want to teach them how to fly slowly before they go full speed.

The Snaptain A15 remote has a button for a quick return-to-home, a headless button (check the FAQ to understand headless), a takeoff button, and a landing button.

So how does it compare to the SIMREX X300C above? Well, both are great small starter drones for beginners that are getting into drones, but the SNAPTAIN A15 is better in every way, mainly in the camera department. And that’s what you will see with every drone I review today – the more you pay, the more fine-tuned features and the better video and photo capabilities.

PROS

  • Folds and stores with ease
  • Can be controlled with an app
  • 3-speed levels
  • One key take-off and landing
  • 3D Flip
  • Headless mode
  • Altitude hold
  • 720p camera, wide-angle
  • Voice control

Holy Stone GPS FPV RC Drone HS100

Holy Stone 2K GPS FPV RC Drone HS100 with HD Camera Live Video and GPS Return Home, Large Quadcopter with Adjustable Wide-Angle Camera, Follow Me, Altitude Hold, 18 Minutes Flight, Long Control Range

Check Price at Amazon

Holy Stone is a company that makes drones that have become very popular lately. A big reason for that is how much functionality and quality they pack into their products.

The HS100 is no different, it’s another stellar product from Holy Stone that feels and looks like it should cost much more than it does.

With a 1080p HD camera with an adjustable wide-angle lens, a follow-me feature that makes the drone follow you while you focus on other things, and a controller with long range, it’s an excellent choice for a beginner or an awesome gift for friends and family.

The built-in 1080p camera has a 120° field of view that you can adjust via the controller that connects to your phone.

See Also: Charge Your Electronics With A Portable Solar Panel

The HS100 can fly up to 15 minutes and can fly up to 1640 ft (500m) away from you without losing connection. You shouldn’t fly much farther than that anyway since one of the FAA rules is that you have to be able to see the drone when flying it, and at 500 meters it’s not always easy to see it.

Holy Stone advertise that the HS100 is wind-resistant due to its size and powerful motors that help the drone stay hovering stable. Since it doesn’t have sensors to control its hovering and stability, it won’t be as good at hovering as the DJI Mavic Air but the size will help against the wind.

Holy Stone 2K GPS FPV RC Drone HS100 with HD Camera Live Video and GPS Return Home, Large Quadcopter with Adjustable Wide-Angle Camera, Follow Me, Altitude Hold, 18 Minutes Flight, Long Control Range

All it takes to launch or land is a push of a button, which makes it a great starter drone for beginners that want to practice flying and not worry about the starting and landing. With the GPS mode, the drone will return home when the battery is low or if the drone loses signal.

So how does it compare to the rest of the drones I am reviewing? Well, it’s a good in-between, and what I mean with that is it’s a great drone for somebody serious about getting into drones and its technology. It’s more than a toy, but not a drone for capturing professional videos and photos.

If you have never flown a drone before and want to see what they’re capable off, but don’t want to splurge for a DJI drone, the Holy Stone HS100 will be a solid choice. The next step up from the HS100 is the DJI Mavic Mini which has a better camera, and sensors that make the flight more stable.

PROS

  • Can be controlled with an app
  • One key take-off and landing
  • Altitude hold
  • GPS Return-to-home function
  • Follow-me mode
  • 1080p camera, wide-angle
  • Extra propellers, guards, and landing feet included

DJI Mavic Mini

DJI Mavic Mini - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter UAV with 2.7K Camera 3-Axis Gimbal GPS 30min Flight Time, less than 0.55lbs, Gray

Check Price at Amazon

The newest drone I am reviewing and comparing today is from DJI. The little Mavic Mini drone has been in the works for a long time and there have been rumors about it for what feels like forever.

A big reason the Mavic Mini was so anticipated was that the rumors said it was going to be a feature-packed drone that was going to let hobbyists and beginners purchase something that could be used to capture professional-looking videos and photos, at an affordable price.

And here it is, the DJI Mavic Mini! It’s everything we know DJI does so good, in a small, compact package, that is aimed at both beginners that are looking for a starter drone that is going to stay relevant for years, and professionals that need to get into the air to capture film or photos from above.

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The built-in 2.7K camera on the Mavic Mini is not a 4K camera, but for most users, it’s going to be more than enough for a drone camera. 2.7K is a step above 1080p, which means that you will be able to crop out parts of your video if you would like, and still have at least 1080p footage. At 2.7K, it’s capable of 30fps video, and 60fps at 1080p.

Pictures are captured at 12MP, which means your aerial photographs will be in 4000 pixels wide and 3000 pixels tall. It does not capture RAW photos.

Not only is the camera on this drone 2.7K, but it has also been put on a 3-axis gimbal, so the footage will be very stable and cinematic-looking. DJI drones do well even when it’s windy outside

A huge selling point for DJI with the Mavic Mini was the weight. As I talk more about in the FAQ at the bottom, thee FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) requires drones weighing more than 250g to be registered. Since the Mavic Mini weighs 249g, it doesn’t have to be registered.

DJI Mavic Mini - Drone FlyCam Quadcopter UAV with 2.7K Camera 3-Axis Gimbal GPS 30min Flight Time, less than 0.55lbs, Gray

The Mavic Mini is capable of a lot of things the bigger drones from DJI do as well, like the built-in QuickShots like dronie, circle, helix, and rocket. Check out the video in the Mavic Air section below to see what these modes do and why they’re a cool feature for beginners and professionals.

It does not have an obstacle avoidance system, but there are sensors on the bottom that aid with positioning and stability. For a great camera drone with obstacle avoidance, I recommend the DJI Mavic Air.

So, is the DJI Mavic Mini the best drone with a camera? No, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be for the beginner or amateur photographer just getting started that are looking for a drone they can rely on. It’s in my opinion, however, the best drone this size with a camera on the market today.

That said, a professional that knows what they’re doing can create stunning videos and photos with this drone, there is no doubt in my mind.

Note that the DJI Mavic Mini does not have a follow-me mode.

PROS

  • 2.7K @ 30fps video, 1080P @ 60fps
  • 3-Axis Stabilized Gimbal Camera
  • Bottom sensors for hovering, stability
  • QuickShots
  • Can be controlled with an app
  • Excellent camera for filming/photography

DJI Mavic Air

DJI Mavic Air Quadcopter with Remote Controller - Onyx Black

Check Price at Amazon

A few steps up from the Spark is the Mavic Air. This popular drone records incredible video and takes impressive images. It will record 4k video at 30fps 100 Mbps and take clear pictures with its 12 MP camera. Instead of the two-axis gimbal found in the Spark, the Mavic Air has a three-axis gimbal. But that’s only a small part of what this drone can do.

I own this drone and I love it. It’s very easy to fly and takes incredible video and photos. I bought mine refurbished on eBay and it arrived just like a new unit with plastic all over.

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It has next-level safety features, with sensors to allow the drone to bypass obstacles in front and behind it. Together with a downward infrared sensing system, the drone will have more precise hovering and better flight performance.

A photo I captured with my Mavic Air in California

The Mavic Air is extremely easy to use as a beginner. Not only thanks to its sensors, but since all you have to do if you feel like you lose control is let go of the controls, and the drone will hover in place on its own.

I have been amazed how well it does in high winds, and the only time I don’t fly it is when it’s raining outside.

You can control the drone up to 6562 feet (2000 meters) away and flying time is 21 minutes per charge.

A cool feature the DJI Mavic Air has is the sphere panorama mode which creates a 32 MP 180° panorama picture. It does this by stitching 25 photos together. The Mavic Air can also record slow-motion video, 1080p at 120 fps.

DJI has something called QuickShots in their newer drones. You have six options to choose from in QuickShots. Rocket, Dronie, Circle, Helix, Asteroid, and Boomerang. Each one has a unique style as seen in the video below. These are also available on the DJI Spark.

Watch this video on YouTube.

In addition to the Micro SD card slot, there’s 8 GB of internal storage on the unit itself.

The DJI Mavic Air comes in three different colors.

PROS

  • 4k 30fps video @ 100 Mbps
  • 3-Axis Stabilized Gimbal Camera
  • HDR Photos
  • Safety Sensors
  • Slow-Motion video
  • 8 GB Internal Storage
  • QuickShots
  • Can be controlled with an app
  • Follow Me Mode
  • Excellent camera for filming/photography
  • Gesture Support

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

DJI Mavic 2 Pro - Drone Quadcopter UAV with Hasselblad Camera 3-Axis Gimbal HDR 4K Video Adjustable Aperture 20MP 1' CMOS Sensor, up to 48mph, Gray

Check Price at Amazon

If you’re looking for the best drone for traveling that’s available on the market today, this is it. The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the most incredible professional foldable drone I have ever seen with its impressive camera and stabilization.

The Hasselblad L1D-20c camera onboard has a 20MP 1” sensor that lets you record 4K videos at high bitrates. The camera will also take stunning pictures both day and night and has an adjustable aperture. The 3-axis gimbal will make sure your footage looks professional by keeping it stabilized.

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro can stay in the air for 31 minutes and has a max speed of 44 mph. That is even faster than the lighter Mavic Air.

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It has similar sensors to the Mavic Air with omnidirectional obstacle avoidance sensing to make sure you won’t run into any obstacles, and you will be able to view the live stream from up to 8 km away from the drone, that is fascinating.

Photographers will appreciate the HDR photo capability and being able to shoot pictures in RAW.

Noise-reducing HyperLight, H.265 video compression, four panorama modes, Hyperlapse images, and adjustable aperture are the features that make the DJI Mavic 2 Pro unique compared to the others in today’s comparison.

Unless you’re a professional video creator or photographer, this drone will be overkill. But when it comes to portable foldable drones available on the market right now, this is the absolute best.

PROS

  • Hasselblad Camera with 1” CMOS sensor
  • Up to 31 minutes of flight time
  • 44 Mph max speed
  • H.265 Video Compression
  • 3-Axis Stabilized Gimbal Camera
  • HDR Photos
  • Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing
  • High-speed Tracking
  • HyperLight
  • Hyperlapse
  • Four Panorama Modes
  • Adjustable Aperture
  • Slow-Motion video
  • 8 GB Internal Storage
  • QuickShots
  • Can be controlled with an app
  • Follow Me Mode
  • Gesture Support
  • Pro camera for filming/photography

Conclusion And Recommendations

As drones have become more and more popular, the technology has improved fast, and the prices have decreased over the past couple of years. You can buy advanced drones today for prices that we could only dream about ten years ago.

As we’ve seen today, the more advanced drones have better stabilizing and obstacle features. It comes down to what you need a drone for. If you want it as a toy, you probably don’t need a Hasselblad camera. But if you plan on making videos to share with other people, I recommend buying a drone with at least a 1080p camera, since most of our devices have at least a 1080p screen.

If you’re a beginner, I recommend starting with a cheap small drone to get used to how they function. DJI drones do have a lot of safety features to help beginners though, so don’t get discouraged to try out their drones.

Let’s take a look at my recommendations and top-rated drones:

Good: DJI Mavic Mini – Every travel-vlogger nowadays need a drone. You can capture so much more of a place if you can do it from above. The Mavic Mini from DJI is a great portable drone capable of recording video and photography good enough to share online, or why not capture the family reunion from above? I believe the Mavic Mini is the best drone for the money right now.

Better: DJI Mavic Air – The Mavic Air is a good choice that fits right in between Mavic Mini and Mavic 2 Pro when it comes to features and camera quality. The picture is incredible and stable, and with up to 21 minutes of flying time, you can capture a lot on one charge. It’s one of the easiest drones to fly, which makes it a great traveling camera since you’ll be flying in areas you might now know very well.

Best: DJI Mavic 2 Pro – The Mavic 2 Pro is the best you can get as a traveling professional that needs a drone. The amount of features and the camera packed into this little drone puts it at the top of my list of drones for traveling. With a Hasselblad camera, omnidirectional obstacle sensing, an adjustable aperture, and HDR photos, videos and photos will be breathtaking.


Frequently Asked Questions About Drones

Do I need to register my drone with the FAA?

If your drone weighs more than 0.55 lbs (250g), it’s required if you’re planning on using the drone outdoors in the United States. If you only fly indoors, you don’t have to register it.

Registering a drone is fairly simple and only costs $5, you must be 13 or older to register and can be done here.

FAA has a great FAQ page about most of the questions you might have, you can find that page here.

Where can I fly my drone?

There are rules about where you can fly your drone. For example, inside a 5-mile radius of many airports, there are restrictions on how high you can fly. Knowbeforeyoufly.org has a great post with safety guidelines when you want to fly a drone.

FAA has a great page about specific restrictions that you can find here.

There is also a great app for iOS/Android devices that will tell you where it’s okay to fly and not. I use it every time before I take my drone out. It’s called B4UFLY, and can be found on the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.

b4ufly app best drones with camera that follows you around the camping nerd
With the B4UFLY app, you will quickly know whether it’s OK or not to fly a drone in your area.

How hard are drones to fly?

This depends on the features of the drone and where you are. If you’re flying indoors or in the forest where there are a lot of obstacles, it will be harder than if you’re outside on an open field. The open field is more forgiving to mistakes. But if you have a drone with omnidirectional obstacle sensing, flying indoors won’t be too hard as the drone won’t let you hit the wall.

The worst thing that can happen is that you crash your drone or that you let it go too far away to where it disappears from the sky and you can’t see it. I recommend flying very low and close to you when you first start flying. Get to know the controller, how long the battery life actually is, and how fast it can take off before you start flying far away. It’s always recommended to only fly to where you can see the drone.

Not all drones have a return-to-home mode when the battery is low or the remote loses connection, for this reason it’s especially important to practice and only fly your drone as far to where you can still see it in the sky.

What does the Headless Mode do?

The Headless Mode can be found in beginner drones and it’s a neat feature. It helps you control the drone by not caring about the direction the drone is facing. The forward stick will always be forward, and the back stick will always be backward. This helps when it feels like you’ve lost control over the drone. Take a second to calm down, enable headless mode, and then go back to controlling the drone by going forward or backward.

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