Most amateur and professional photographers will be familiar with the drone camcorder trend! Drone cameras allow for the capture of images that would have been hitherto impossible for single-operator teams! Indeed, this new frontier has rapidly-developed, and there are some superb Quadcopter drone camcorders on the market. We’ve reviewed a few of the best drones out there in our guide and compared them to each other based on their features.
Before we dive into the individual previews and give you more tips on how to be a successful drone pilot, here is a comparison chart between the top rated models for this year!
Comparison Chart Between The Top Drones
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter Drone
The DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Drone is one of the (if not the) best drones available on the market today. Everything from its flight capabilities, through the contrustion, all the way to the quality of its camera is impeccable and worthy of the leader of this guide. The only downsides here are the fact that it is a little expensive and isn’t ideal for people who want to learn to fly a drone as it is complex to operate. Click below to read the full review!
YUNEEC Q500+ Typhoon
The Yuneec Q500+ Typhoon is a drone truly worthy of this list as it is a high-quality product in a lower price range than its direct competition. It still is hard to fly around but to compensate for that it is super durable so don’t worry about hitting it in a tree. It has a great range compared to similar drones and the resolution of its camera is as high as it gets nowadays. The only downside here is that for a bit more money you can get models from DJI or parrot which people can argue that are better established in the industry at this moment. To learn more about its features, check out the full review.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional
At our third place comes the professional version of the DJI Phantom 3. It is a very well-priced drone but as soon as you start adding extra packages on top of your purchase the price goes up quite fast. You can pay extra for additional accessories, such as an extra battery pack, hardshell backpack, DJI case, etc. In terms of video quality and flight control it is near identical to the other DJI Phantom 3s. If you are curious about its pros and cons, as well as various features, make sure you check out the full review of the model by clicking the button below.
DJI Phantom 2 Vision
The predecessor to the Phantom 3, logically is the second generation of Phantom drones. It still is a great drone although it isn’t ideal for professional drone pilots anymore, due to the existence of the advanced and professional versions of the third Phantom generation. For its price, though, it is one of the best budget drones you can get right now. It is slightly easier to operate once in the air and has great air time combined with good range and video quality. To learn more about it click the button below.
One could argue that the parrot Bebop is in a category of its own due to a number of reasons. First, it is the most compact drone on this list. Second, for its size, it is super expensive. Still, some people prefer compact drones and this is their go-to choice. It is very hard to operate and takes some time to get used to it, therefore isn’t ideal for people who are just now starting to deal with drones. The beautiful design and lightweight sturdy construction are all qualities that skyrocketed the sales of this drone during this year.
XK Detect X380
The XK Detect X380 is a great drone for beginners mainly due to the fact that most of the hard controls have been automated. It can take off, land, and orientate itself without the need of you controlling it. It also is a budget alternative to some more expensive drones. The only qualities you will be sacrificing are the looks, a bit of range, and the fact that there is no camera built-in this particular model. If you are curious about it, check out the full review by clicking the button below.
Cheerson CXHobby CX-20
Last on our list is a drone that is great on its own but cannot match the others before it. The Cheerson CXHobby CX-20 is a cheap, beginners drone which is ideal to learn on. It is fairly easy to navigate once in the air and can take a bump. It doesn’t look premium but it doesn’t have to as it is priced in the lower price brackets for drones. If you want to get one for your kids, this is the model to go with. To learn more about it, check out our full review!
Drones Buyer’s Guide
In recent years air drones are becoming more and more popular to a point where we can see them sued for basically anything from security to video recording and having fun. Due to the fact that there are numerous uses for a drone, there are countless of types of models as well. There are drones specifically targeting different aspects nowadays. Some of the niches drones are advancing towards are:
- Wedding/Party recordings
- Drone racing
- VR Flying
- Various games
Some of those niches are professional and require extensive training while the others are more hobby-like and are as time-consuming as you want them to be. There even is a drone racing league today which creates drone races in stadiums and different venues. The contestants use VR to fly their drones which are specifically modified to have extended ranges and stronger wi-fi connections to their main consoles.
Features To Look For In A Drone
To be able to buy the perfect drone for you, there are things that you have to consider first. Some of the most important features of a good drone are:
- The Materials
- The Flight time
- The camera’s resolution
- Number of camera axes
- Safety features
- How easy it is to operate
- The price
- Additional features
As with every other product, the materials used are one of the most important features. In drones, this plays an especially important role since you will be bumping it to trees, rocks, and eventually make it fall to the ground. This is why most of the more expensive drones are using hardened plastic which is both flexible and rigid at the same time. It is great for absorbing impacts and also makes the model lighter which is one of the most important characteristics of a drone.
A light drone will fly easily but will also be easily controlled by the wind, depending on its aerodynamics. A heavy drone will be harder to take off and gain altitude but will be harder to influence by wind, rain, and particles in the air.
The Flight Time
Most modern drones have a similar battery leading to a similar air time. The DJI drones are known to be able to handle up to 25-30 minutes of a flight time, depending on how you fly. Hovering tends to extend the flight duration, while speed flying reduces it greatly.
When getting your drone, make sure it has an adequate flight time suitable to your needs.
The Camera’s Resolution
If you are getting your drone to shoot weddings, parties, or even just for some weekend photography, make sure you get a drone with a good camera. A good camera consists of a high video and picture resolution as well as good stabilization but more on that later. Today’s gold standard is 4k at 30 fps but if you can get a 4k/60fps camera it is that much better. Full HD cameras with slow motion up to 1000+ fps are great for some action shots too.
Number Of Camera Axes
The number of axes around which a camera turns is important for how stable your video will turn out. Since drones are constantly in the air, they can’t stay completely still, apart from the most expensive models with built-in high-end gyroscopes. That means that the camera needs to stabilise the image somehow. It does it by having axes and/or a gimbal. Choose a 3-axis gimbal for your drone’s camera which will lead to steady shots that will look very professional and won’t rely on your piloting skills that much.
A typical range for a modern drone is roughly 0.6 miles or 1000 meters. This is far more than you would ever need but at the same time 1000m in air distance isn’t as much as you think and if you want to take some nature shots from a high altitude this range might start feeling little to you. Depending on your needs, choose the range of your drone appropriately.
The thing which dictates the flying range of a drone is the strength of the wi-fi signal, and more importantly whether it has an extender or not.
Most expensive drones have collision warnings and collision prevention techniques. Those are great if you are now learning to fly and want to protect your drone to live another day. Those safety features are also great if you are lending your drone to people or even your kids. It keeps the drone safe over time and most importantly – keeps it from hitting the ground (and people on it).
How Easy It Is To Operate
Different drones come with different remotes. This also means that every drone has a completely different way to operate. You should research how easy is a drone to fly before getting one mainly because some require prior experience and are very tough to get up from the ground. the DJI drones, for instance, are all pretty advanced in terms of flying controls and you will need some time before you get used to.
Our advice is to get a cheap drone at first just so that you get used to the overall control options and then move your way up to a more advanced model. Even if the better models have safety features you still might crash them pretty badly if you lose control at some point of the flight.
The price isn’t an important factor when buying a drone but it still determines most of the features we listed so far. The more you are willing to pay, the more features and extras you will be getting with your drone. Expensive drones have better cameras, better range, better flight time, better image stabilization, stronger construction and more additional features.
This isn’t a particularly important feature but if your profession requires you to keep a good image then the way your drone looks is a good start. A professional looking DJI Phantom 3 will make you look good for the job. Some racing drones pilots want their drones to be as flashy and colorful as possible.
Last but not least you should be considering some additional features most high-end drones have. Those are:
- auto-return function
- auto take off and land functions
- hover function
- follow function
- go around a point function
There are more but those can prove great for a lot of people and professions. For example, if you want to make a great snowboarding video at the winter fun park, you can set your drone to follow you while you go down at a 20m distance (for example), and you will have a third person video of you snowboarding down the slopes. Auto-return functions are great for times when you have to get your drone back to you in the fastest and safest way possible. It can be combined with an auto land and/or take-off functions.
Whether you want if for your professional, your kids, or just for you to have fun, a drone is an incredible new invention that has a lot of features to be taken into consideration when making your first purchase. Finding the best drone is a challenging task, especially with the countless models flooding the market every day. Our advice is to safely bet on the well-established brands such as Parrot or DJI when getting a drone, unless you are on a tight budget. In that case, you can use our drones ranking list to choose the ideal product for you both features and price-wise.