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Best Drone with Camera in 2024: Our Top Camera Drone Picks

See the world from a literal bird's eye view with one of our drone and camera combinations!
Last Updated on March 14, 2024
Best Drone with Camera

The best drones with camera fixtures are commonplace on the market now: just a few years ago, drones were considered a rarity and a luxury. Now, they are far more commonplace, with photographers and videographers alike using them for stunning aerial shots, impressive tracking shots, or simple experiments in new camera technology.

If you’re looking for a top drone with a camera, we’ve got you covered with an array of top-quality options. From high-end, high-speed drones, through to budget drones with cameras for beginners – each of these is a worthwhile investment!

Products at a Glance

How We Picked the Best Drone with Camera

Finding the best drone with a camera is a twofold process: finding a quality drone, and finding a quality camera. Many models have one, but not the other, so we focused on units that manage a healthy balance of the two. We considered general drone factors like battery life and range, along with speed and build. At the same time, we factored in camera features such as sensor size, aperture and focal length equivalents – for the best versatility from the drone camera.

We also considered other quality-of-life features on a drone, such as a built-in GPS for easy tracking or obstacle detection avoid collisions. And in order to present an accessible range of products, we chose drones with cameras across a range of price points, so those working on stricter budgets can find the right choice for them.

We settled on five products, each highly suited for photography, videography or even racing. Whether this is your first drone or simply your latest, we hope to find the best drone and camera combination to suit your needs!

Our Recommended

Product Reviews

1
PROS
  • Phenomenal camera system
  • Great drone range and battery life
CONS
  • High price point

Boasting stellar imaging capabilities, the Autel EVO Lite+ takes the top spot as our best drone with a camera on the market today. A lightweight drone with a heavy-duty camera, this unit is ideal for capturing crisp photos or videos.

The EVO Lite+ is equipped with a 20MP Sony CMOS sensor, with a f/2.8 lens and digital zoom capabilities up to 16x magnification. All of this enables highly versatile and high-quality images in any format. A favorite among landscape photographers and videographers, the drone is equally capable: boasting 40 minutes flight time and a 7.4-mile range. With an intuitive controller and an app that doubles as a monitor, this drone and camera combination is a deadly package.

The price for that package, however, is high. Generally hovering a little over $1,200, this drone’s price point is almost as high as its range. If you want the best drone with a camera on the market, and are willing to pay, then the EVO Lite+ has our vote!

2
PROS
  • Affordable
  • Smartphone control
  • Compact and lightweight
CONS
  • Limited range
  • Small camera sensor

At just 80g, the DJI Ryze Tello is as light in weight as it is in price. DJI are one of the most respected names in the market – making everything from drones with cameras to cameras themselves – and the Ryze Tello serves as a compact but affordable drone with camera for beginners.

You can control the Ryze Tello remotely via your smartphone, allowing you to view and control the live camera feed with intuitive controls. The drone itself is sturdy and can take some punishment, making it an ideal drone for adults or children alike. Very few manufacturers can match DJI’s balance of price and quality, and the Ryze Tello serves as a benchmark for entry-level drone technology.

However, that technology is still entry-level, and therefore somewhat rudimentary. The camera sensor is equivalent to only 5MP – which equates to unimpressive 720p video. The range of the drone is also highly reliant on your WiFi network, and maxed out at 100m. Still, for a beginner drone with camera and smartphone functionality, the Ryze Tello does a lot whilst asking for a little, and earns its spot on our list!

3
PROS
  • Incredible speeds
  • 1080p video
  • Sturdy build
CONS
  • Limited battery life

If you’re looking for a drone with camera for first-person view (FPV) racing, then consider the EMAX Hawk Pro. A stunningly fast drone with great features, this racing drone is not for the faint-of-heart.

The Hawk Pro can reach speeds of up to 100mph, making it a powerhouse of a drone. Those speeds don’t hamper it’s agility, however, as the quadcopter is still highly maneuverable in tight corners or rapid changes of direction. If you still fail to avoid a collision, the sturdy build of the Hawk Pro means it’s durable enough to hamper on even after a nasty accident. You can record videos in 1080p quality onto an SD card, and relive the high-speed races later.

You won’t be flying for long, however: the Hawk Pro’s battery life is only rated for a handful of minutes, which is frustrating – particularly for frequent flyers. What it lacks in lifespan, it more than makes up for in speed, making it the best drone with camera for racing on the market!

4
PROS
  • Great range
  • High-resolution camera
CONS
  • Limited camera control

We highlighted DJI’s budget variant earlier, but the DJI Mini 4 Pro is their higher-end equivalent. Optimized for landscape images, this drone with camera combination is among the best on the market at a great median between camera prioritization and drone prioritization.

Boasting a 48MP-equivalent camera in a body that weighs less than 300g, the Mini 4 Pro is highly compact and lightweight. With digital zoom and a 60-degree tilting angle, you have stellar versatility in your aerial shots. The Mini 4 Pro has a range of 12.4 miles and a top speed of 25mph in standard conditions – meaning you can track fast-moving subjects across great distances.

That said, for a similar price as the Autel EVO Lite+, the overall camera quality is slightly reduced: the lack of aperture control makes for less versatile photo and video, and overall flatter images. It’s still worth the expense though, as one of the best drones with a great landscape camera!

5
PROS
  • Highly accurate tracking
  • Ideal for video
CONS
  • WiFi dependent

With a design ripped straight from a sci-fi novel and intelligent auto-following systems, the HOVERAir X1 is a modern compact drone for photography and video that packs some seriously impressive features. Pocket-sized and powerful, this tiny drone is paving the future for smart camera technology.

The X1 takes all the cumbersome setup out of drone operation: a single control lets you switch between the dedicated automatic modes, or you can manually control it to achieve your ideal shot. The drone also features a scarily intelligent tracking and flight path algorithm, intuitively following a subject with speeds up to 15mph. A built-in gimbal keeps video footage steady even in windy conditions, and photos are rendered with great clarity thanks to a 12MP sensor.

The lack of collision detection is a design flaw worth mentioning, however: though its tiny build means incidents are unlikely, they aren’t impossible. For a futuristic and fantastic localized drone for photography and videography, the X1 is still a stellar drone and camera combination.

Features and Considerations

If you’re buying a drone with a camera that’s not on our list today, here are some key factors to consider:

Drone

Drone Range

As we’ve seen with some of the top drones on this list, range is a severely limiting factor – particularly for photographers. If you’re looking to shoot epic landscapes or wide vistas, make sure your choice of drone can reach the heights you need.

Drone Speed

You also want to make sure that your drone of choice doesn’t expend its entire battery life just in the climb to your desired range. A high-speed drone means that you can get the shot you need faster and easier, along with minimal time wasted in between. It’s also especially handy for videographers looking to capture movement on video.

Battery Life

Even the best drones aren’t rated for protracted periods of use, unfortunately, and battery lives continue to be the bane of drone operators everywhere. Make sure you have a drone with the right battery life for you: with affordable spare batteries or fast charging periods – you don’t want it to die mid-flight!

Size and Weight

All of these different elements of a drone will affect the overall build, so make sure you have a drone size and weight that you are comfortable carrying. Most commercial-grade drones weigh only a few hundred grams at most, but larger models will be much more cumbersome and require more assembly.

Local Legislation

Especially in urban areas, there are strict laws against drone use – to protect both residential and infrastructural interests. Before spending a considerable amount of money on a drone, make sure that you’re allowed to use it for your planned project. Some drone manufacturers explicitly require proof that you have a drone pilot license before purchasing, and local governing bodies often offer a permit application scheme for drone shooting. This varies from region to region, however, so make sure that you comply with any and all local laws!

Camera

Camera Sensor

Cameras are complicated machines in their own right, and it can be easy to be misled by a drone’s camera promises. A high-megapixel sensor doesn’t necessarily lead to top-range photos or videos, as the physical size of the sensor is also essential – the bigger the sensor, the better the image quality.

Camera Lens

Equally, the drone is only as good as the images it’s capable of taking, and the lens is a crucial factor in that. Some lenses zoom digitally (i.e. in the drone’s processor) or optically (a physical zoom for better photo quality), which can affect pixelation and overall image quality. Similarly, if you want your images to be brighter or blurrier, check to see if your drone has an adjustable aperture lens. Some drones have multiple lenses built into them, similar to modern smartphone cameras, suitable for different purposes. Factor all of these into your purchase to ensure you can get the perfect photo.

Camera Options

Though you’ll likely not have the same suite of configuration settings as on a full-fledged camera, the drone cameras can often be adjusted to suit your needs. Some even come with LOG functionality for video, or dual-ISO for enhanced image capturing. Alternatively, if you want to simply capture images instead of learn the intricacies of photography, leave your camera settings on their automatic mode. Depending on your priorities, consider how customizable your camera settings are.

How Much are the Best Drones with Cameras?

Drone prices can range from under $200 all the way up to the tens of thousands. Depending on your needs, you may be able to make do with a cheap but efficient drone with a good camera. For cinematic photo or video quality, we recommend spending at least $1,000 in order to ensure a threshold of quality. And for drone racing, we recommend generally slightly higher: a $1,200 or higher budget can ensure high speeds and responsive controls.

Is Drone Racing legal?

Whilst drone racing is legal, it is not permitted in certain areas or without certain applications in most parts of the world. Some areas do not allow you to fly a drone without gaining a piloting certification of some kind, and most cities or towns prohibit the use of drones in public for safety and security purposes.

Do I need a drone with camera?

Yes: Whilst having a drone is a novelty in and of itself, a drone with a camera is a much more engaging prospect. You can live-stream the camera direct to your phone or laptop, and see stunning aerial footage.

Our Verdict

Though it may be beyond the reach of some budget drone enthusiasts, the Autel EVO Lite+ packs a tremendous amount into a lightweight body, which is why we’re happy to name it the best drone with camera on the market! Take to the skies with tremendous range and image quality, and create cinematic photos and videos with ease. Whether you’re a landscape photographer or a drone videographer, this unit is sure to satisfy!