Our editorial staff evaluates products and services independently, but Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links. Learn More

Best Picks

The Best Camera Drones of 2017

Take Your Photography to New Heights

The Best Camera Drones of 2017
Camera Drones
DJI Phantom 2
DJI Phantom 3
Nine Eagles

Camera Drones Review

Why Buy a Camera Drone?

A camera drone flies at your command, taking a built-in camera or your own mounted camera hundreds of feet into the air, where it snaps photos from distances and heights that you could never reach on your own. With mobile apps for controlling your drone remotely, camera drones are quickly moving into the mainstream and many are easy to use. Various features include live streaming video, app control and location targeting so that you can see and photograph everything your drone sees. Many, like the Parrot AR Drone, DJI Phantom 2 and Storm Drone 4, feature built-in cameras, SD cards for storing large amounts of data, and homing bases to make them easier to land.

Camera Drones: What to Look For

A camera drone might come with a number of different features, and depending on the model, you might be able to use your mobile phone to control it manually, program flight paths or view a constant video stream while you fly. Keep the following features in mind while you pick a drone that meets your needs.

Control Options
Most camera drones use RC technology with radio waves for control. You get a control base or remote, which allows you to program a flight path or manually steer and guide your drone. Programmable options offer the most versatility, because you can decide where the drone has to go and then be ready to snap photos using a mobile app while it flies. Others offer apps with mobile updates and in-flight corrections, giving you the maximum amount of control. Radar, GPS and radio frequency control are just a few of the options that allow you to control the flight path of your filming drone.

Built-In Cameras
Most camera drones feature a built-in camera, but some also come with mounts for higher quality filming. The drone camera is important, especially if you want to take professional quality photos. Because most record video and take photos, you should look for a camera with 14 megapixels or higher for print quality stills and 720p or 1080p video resolution for quality recording. Other options such as camera zoom and tilt control allow you to customize shots from the air.

Streaming & Connectivity
Many camera drones offer streaming through a variety of connectivity options. Connecting to mobile or GSM allows a camera drone to stream to a phone or computer from almost anywhere, but this option may be expensive. Wi-Fi connectivity generally costs less, but it does require that you have connectivity. Most include a Wi-Fi repeater, which usually offers connectivity up to 350 feet from your phone. Bluetooth connectivity is also useful but limited in range.

Flight Time
Flight time is important for a camera drone, especially if you want to send your drone on long voyages. A longer flight time means you can fly farther and take more photos. Many drones also come with exchangeable batteries so you can swap the battery out to keep taking photos.

Knowing what to look for in your camera drone allows you to choose the best model for your needs. We have selected a variety of drones, each with unique features for different types of photography.