Drone aerial photography is one of the most thrilling, fulfilling, and even potentially profitable hobbies of our modern world. Choosing the right camera drone is the critical first step for any would-be hobbyist or professional.
Choosing the Right Drone For Your Needs
Fortunately, since the hobby of drone aerial photography has had a recent boom, manufacturers have responded to the consumer needs and finding a great drone for any budget is easy.
The first question you may want to ask yourself is how much you want to spend and what features are most important to you.
The Beginner ($20-$200)
For those looking to test the waters of drone aerial photography, HobbyTron offers a variety of excellent beginner camera drones with basic photography and flight capabilities at great prices.
For under $20 you can be off and running with a ready to fly beginner drone that includes everything you need right in the package wrapped up with our true 45 day warranty. The Envision takes great pictures and videos, which you can store on the included 2GB memory card.
- Durable lightweight body
- Speed Control
- Stunt Mode
This is one of our most popular products at just under $30 and packs a features punch. Take to the skies with 360° Flight with 3D Eversion Technology, indoor and outdoor flight capability, and one-key auto return. The X18 is a durable easy to fly drone with the capability to do amazing tricks like loops rolls and flips. The pictures and video you can take with the X18 are sure to dazzle.
- Indoor / Outdoor flight
- One-Key Auto Return means no more lost drones!
- Stabilization system for capturing great video
This palm-sized drone has a screen built right into the controller so you can see exactly what you’re taking a picture or video of as you fly. It’s made of durable fiberglass polycarbonate so beginners need not worry about breaking anything if you didn’t stick the landing.
- Spare Blades
- USB charging
If you are looking for one with live view capabilities you can view our Striker Live View Drone.
The drone lets you stream live video to your smartphone or tablet. Just download the free app and you’re ready to go. With internal gyro, 2.4GHz transmitter, and flip stunt mode, this drone will have everything you need to get into aerial photography.
- Live Feed Video / Picture
- 2.4GHz Transmitter
- 3.5CH Gyro
If you’re looking to take your drone aerial photography to the next level look no further than the following selection of camera drones that will cost anywhere from $200 to $1000. Packed with features and heavy-duty photography and even streaming capabilities these are the drones you’re looking for.
So you want to program automatic flights to record specific shots? This drone has that. Want to be able to learn to fly it in beginner mode then gradually build your skill until you take full control of this drone with the special “Absolute Control” mode? This drone has that too. And so much more. At just under $300 this camera drone is a feature-packed steal.
- HD video
- Control the Parrot with your smartphone or tablet
- Live video streaming
- 165ft. Range
Equipped with a 14 Megapixel fisheye lens, full-digital image stabilization, and the ability to instantly share your best photos on Instagram or YouTube the Parrot White Bebop is the next level of video drones.
- Instant sharing to youtube or Instagram
- 25 min. Of flight time
- Easy to pilot
- GPS Embedded for Automatic Return Home, Flight Plan Waypoints, and High Altitude Flight
For under $1000 dollars you can take to the skies and record dazzling video with the Parrot Red Bebop. The Bebop’s controls are immersive and the first one this list that comes with a docking station for your smart device and two precision joysticks to control the drone’s camera.
- Range of up to 1.25 miles
- Under 1.1 lbs.
- Full HD Video 3-Axis Image Stabilization System
- Live video streaming
Checking in at just shy of $1000, the DJI Phantom 3 is the pinnacle of intermediate video drones. Immagine capturing the world from above in stunning 4k or 1080p HD from an intuitive, easy to fly, sleek machine and you have the DJI Phantom.
The amount of features the Phantom has to offer are too many to list here but a few of our favorites are:
- A powerful mobile app that includes a video editor
- Easy to fly with worry-free autopilot
- Intelligent battery knows when the juice is running out and will even automatically return home before it does
- Burst shot camera mode
- 4K Resolution
Expert/Pro ($1000 and up)
You were flying video drones before the world knew what they were. Aerial photography isn’t just a hobby, aerial photography is on your business card. These drones are for you.
For under $1500 look no further than the Typhoon Q500 for a feature-packed, stylish, and incredibly easy to use drone. The Typhoon was built for aerial photography with a special steady grip control, 3-axis gimbal, and 1080p, 16 Megapixel, 60FPS camera.
In Pilot or Angle Mode the Typhoon is ready to take brilliant video with faster panning, steeper bank and pitch angles, and no “geo-fence” allowing the aircraft to fly to an altitude of 400 feet above ground.
Test flying the DJI Inspire was a revelation. This video drone has all of the latest aerial technology packed into a simple, ready-to-fly system. Hands down our favorite feature is the modular camera system, making transport and future upgrades a piece of cake.
The DJI Inspire with l is also the best video drone choice for the consummate artist. Two operators can control the same Inspire, one person piloting the flight path, while the other aims and captures footage with the gimbal and camera. This means total control of what footage you are capturing as well as the ability to take creative shots that other drones just can’t.
The Inspire also comes with a new Vision Positioning system that allows for elegant indoor flight.
This is the premiere drone for the aerial photography professional or serious hobbyist.
A Word on the FAA and Video/Camera Drone Laws
The Federal Aviation Administration requires that all drones that weigh over .55 lbs be registered. You can register your drone here. Drones may not be flown at an altitude above 400ft. There may be further licensing requirements for anyone using their drone for commercial purposes. We encourage anyone looking into buying a drone to check out their local laws and this FAA fact sheet regarding the use of drones.