Small drones with a camera have picked up a lot in terms of popularity in the past few years. At one point you had to spend hundreds of dollars on something from DJI, but now, there are a lot of brands and a lot of models that make some really great mini drones.
However, not all of them are worth it, even if they’re cheap. And not all of them will do the job well, especially in the camera department. Therefore, we’re here to help and we’ve got a list of some of the best mini drone with camera options you can get on the market today. We’ll sort them from best to worst, and we’ll give you small reviews for each so you can see which one works best for you.
We’ll also include a buyers’ guide right after the list, so even if you aren’t sure which one to go for, we can clear that up for you as well.
The Top Mini Drones With Camera This Year (Our Top 3)
The Best 10 Mini Drones with Cameras (Reviews & Guide)
Anyone who’s ever looked at drones has heard of DJI. The brand was among the first on the market, and they have a host of excellent options today – from small, budget drones, to high-end, movie industry-worthy models. They also have the best mini drone with camera on our list – the DJI Spark. The Spark isn’t the smallest, or the cheapest drone on our list. However, it manages to offer a great combination of performance and price.
To begin with, you have things such as Quick Launch and Simple Control, that make it a breeze for people who haven’t operated a drone before. You also have TapFly which lets you capture your shot easily, as well as ActiveTrack, that tracks you as you move.
The camera is an f/2.6 wide angle lens, with a focal length equivalent of 25mm. The 1/2.3” sensor lets you shoot either 1080p video, or capture 12MP stills. While we’re at the video, it’s worth mentioning that you have a two-axis gimbal and DJI’s UltraSmooth technology. When combined, both will let you capture incredibly smooth video, with no shaking and roling shutter effect.
Add to this the remote, that lets you transmit real-time video at up to 2km away, as well as the 16 minute flight time, and you’ve got an excellent drone. Oh, and you can also get a pair of DJI Goggles, for an even more immersive experience.
- 1080p video
- FPV view
- Two-axis gimbal
There are some people that simply don’t require too much advanced functionality. They may not need a large gimbal, or an extremely high quality camera, od even a large drone for that matter. They just want a good, cheap drone that’ll do the job, and that’s where the Kingtoys Mini RC drone comes in. It’s a strong competitor for the best mini drone with camera, with its small size and entry-level price.
The first thing you’ll want to know about the Kingtoys Mini RC is that it is really, really small. It literally fits inside its own remote, it’s that tiny. However, don’t let the size fool you – it does pack somewhat of a punch.
The camera inside is a 1 megapixel model with a capability of recording 720p video, and an ISO range of 100 to 1200. There is no gimbal here, unfortunately, and the camera is fixed to the body. There’s also real-time image transmission, which might come in handy, but the range isn’t too impressive. The remote has a smartphone holder, which is what you’ll use as a display.
What’s interesting is that the drone comes with a 6-axis gyro and simple controls. You can do things such as roll the drone, etc., all with the press of a button.
- 720p video
- Real-time video feed
- 6-axis gyro
Holy Stone are among the best budget brands when it comes to small drones with a good camera, and that’s why we’ve got two of their drones on our list. First, we’ll talk about the F181C, which is a quadcopter drone that comes at a very reasonable price, and is especially good for beginners.
The two main things that will be helpful if you haven’t used a drone before are the One Key Return and the Headless mode. We already spoke about the Headless mode in our buying guide, and the One Key Return is pretty self explanatory. There is also the Altitude Hold function which lets the drone hover at a certain location – great for shooting quality images and videos.
While we’re talking about images and videos, the drone comes with a 720p HD camera. However, that’s about it, since there is no gimbal, and there is no first person view, meaning you can’t watch what you’re taking a photo or video of. While the camera itself is decent, the lack of additional functionality is a pretty large downside.
If that isn’t an issue for you, though, you’ll be happy to know that the drone comes with LED lights that help you fly it at night, as well as flips and rolls in four directions to have a bit of fun. A nice overall drone.
- 720p video
- Headless mode
- LEDs for night flying
DBPOWER is another one of those brands that don’t advertise heavily, but have some great products once you take a closer look at them. Their X400W is a great example of a budget-oriented drone that covers all the basics, and then some, and still costs a fraction of what high-end drone manufacturers ask for their models.
The first thing to know is that you have Headless mode, which will make everything a lot easier, especially if you’re a beginner. You also have a 6-axis gyro, which allows the drone to be very stable, and perform rolls and flips very easily. The remote is also pretty simple, and has a phone holder which will come in handy, you’ll see why in a minute.
The camera itself is decent – you can record HD video, and you can get real-time FPV video, so you can easily see what you’re recording. This is where that smartphone holder comes in handy. Unfortunately, there is no gimbal, so you’ll have to keep the drone steady yourself.
What’s new, and pretty impressive for a budget drone, is that DBPOWER provide all of the ASIN numbers for spare parts, from the motors, to the blades and batteries. If you’re looking to replace any of them, finding them should be really easy.
- 720p video
- Real-time FPV
- Great spare parts availability
We spoke about Holy Stone as a brand a bit earlier, and now we’re taking a look at the second model on our list of best mini drone with camera options. The HS170C is a slightly improved variant of the other drone we mentioned earlier, but since it comes at a higher price, without too many things different, it sits lower on our list.
To begin with, this is a very beginner-friendly drone. It has headless mode, as well as one-key return. This significantly reduces the learning curve, making this a really great drone for just about anyone. The 6-axis gyro lets you keep the drone stable, and you can do rolls and flips, too, if you want to have a bit of fun. Combined with the motors, there’s quite a bit of wind resistance, too.
The camera itself is good, but nothing to write home about. There’s a 2MP sensor, which can record 720p HD video at 30 frames per second. However, there is no gimbal, and just like the F181C, there’s no FPV mode, which is unfortunate.
The other thing that situates this drone lower on our list is the control range, that’s only 30 to 50 meters, and the battery life, which is 6 to 8 minutes. However, if you don’t mind this, it’s still a decent drone.
While we’re talking about the best mini drone with camera on a budget, we should mention Hubsan. They’ve got somewhat of a reputation when it comes to the budget market, and their X4 quadcopter is one of their bestsellers. It costs a touch more than the Syma X5C that we’ll talk about in a minute, but it offers a lot more functionality.
To begin with, there’s a 6-axis gyro stabilization which keeps things steady when you’re recording. The lightweight frame is excellent, and the drone itself is pretty durable. Unfortunately, you won’t find any advanced features such as headless mode or one-key return, so you’ll need to keep track of your drone at all times.
The camera is somewhat decent. It records at 480p, which is lower than other options on our list, but you have first person video so you can clearly see what you’re recording. This is something other budget manufacturers exclude, so it’s nice to see it here. At this price, you shouldn’t expect a gimbal, and there isn’t one.
The control distance and battery life are decent, with around 50 to 100 meters of distance, and a maximum 100 meters of live video distance. The battery life is 7 minutes, but it charges pretty fast. Also, the six-axis gyro lets you do flips and rolls really easily, which only adds to the fun.
If you find yourself extremely limited with your budget, but still want something that’s close to the best mini drone with camera, you might want to take a look at Syma’s X5C. It’s a small drone that covers most of the basics, yet costs half of the competition. But is it worth it? Let’s find out.
Things don’t look too good at the start – the drone doesn’t have things such as Headless mode, or any kind of one-button return. This means that you’ll have to keep track of the drone at all times, or you could very well lose it. With a 7 minute flight time and a fairly short range, this shouldn’t be an issue though.
Let’s discuss the camera for a minute. It’s attached firmly to the drone’s body, which means no gimbal, and you’ll have to keep the drone steady for a good image. The camera records 720p video at 30 frames per second, with a data rate of 1.5MBps. While technically, this is an HD camera, the quality isn’t too impressive. It should do it for social media posting, though.
All things considered, this may not be the most impressive drone out there. However, if you’re on a budget, and want something small and lightweight to play with, it absolutely does the job.
We seem to be on a roll with budget models, as the Contixo F3 is even cheaper than the other drones on the list. And while it may not excel when it comes to number of features, it is one of the most beginner-friendly drones we have on our list. It also manages to cover all the basics for a good drone, all while costing significantly less than $50.
For starters, Contixo claim this is the “world’s easiest drone to fly”. There is a lot of truth to that claim, because there’s touch-screen control from your smartphone that lets you set a route on your screen and let the drone fly by itself, no user input required. There’s also one-key landing and takeoff, as well as a multi-axis gyro that lets you do stunts with the press of a button.
The camera is also pretty good. You get 720p HD video recordings, as well as the capability to view things in first person, as you record. The only downside is that you don’t get a gimbal. However, at this price, could you really complain?
All in all, this is a pretty good budget drone. If you’re an amateur and want something you can learn on, this could be it.
While there are a lot of good candidates for the title of best mini drone with camera, few are as simple and portable as the Zerotech Dobby. The Dobby is priced somewhat higher than most of the other drones, but it’s a compact, foldable drone that you can literally fit in your back pocket, and is great for taking selfies.
The drone itself is pretty simple – there’s no remote, and you control it via your smartphone. It weighs 199 grams, so it’s below the FAA required limit for registration, and taking off and landing it is as simple as it gets.
The camera is where Dobby shines. The built-in camera is capable of 4K capture, and you also get electronic image stabilization. EIS is very welcome, considering there’s no gimbal on the drone and you need all the stabilization you can get.
There are a few built-in “intelligent” flight modes, too, such as the one-key short movie which adds a cinematic effect to your images, and target tracking, which follows a certain object and records it. Last but not least, the drone gives you up to 9 minutes of flight on a single charge, and a top sped of 31 miles per hour, which is fairly fast, especially for the price.
The last model on our list of best mini drone with camera is the Cheerson CX-10WD. It’s another ultracompact drone that fits inside its own remote, and aims to bring you a host of features at a very reasonable price. But even at that low price, is the Cheerson CX-10WD worth it? Let’s find out.
To begin with, the drone is really, really tiny. It has two modes, high and low speed modes, and you have a six-axis gyro that allows you to easily do stunts such as flips and rolls. You can control it from both the included remote, or from your smartphone. There are multiple LEDs that make the drone easy to find in the dark, so you don’t lose it.
In terms of the camera, this is a very low quality, 0.3MP camera, which is why the drone is so low on our list. It can take pictures and video, but the quality is pretty bad. And with no gimbal and image stabilization, you’ll need to practice quite a bit before you get anything usable.
At the end of the day, if you only want something small and cheap to play with inside, this might be it. Just don’t expect too much.
Even though we did do our best to keep the list short, it still stands that not each drone is perfect for everyone. Some may want a bit more battery life, some may want a better camera, so let’s take a look at the key features and see which ones are worth investing into.
Things to look for checklist:
- Brushless Motors
- Headless mode
- GPS & follow mode
The battery life
Battery life is a critical aspect of a drone. Eventually, it’ll run out of juice, and you’ll want it to last as much as possible. However, even with some of the best high end models, you won’t be able to get more than 30 minutes. A long battery life can be important, but there’s also the option of getting a drone you can get extra batteries for, and carrying a spare or two when you fly it.
Next, we have brushless motors. This is something you’ll see in a lot of drones, and they’re a lot better than brushed ones. To begin with, they have a much quieter operation, which can be important when you’re using your drone to record video. Also, they last significantly longer than brushed ones, so if you decide to keep the drone but replace the motors, these will need that much less often. Note, however, that they’re a bit pricier, but the difference is well worth it.
The camera is also pretty high up on the priorities list, especially since this is where many manufacturers decide to cut corners. If you’re looking at getting the best mini drone with camera, you’ll want one that can record in either HD, or even better, full HD. Note the photo and video resolution, and see if it has any special features as well.
While we’re talking about the camera, we should also mention the gimbal. Since you don’t want the camera to be stuck to your drone and change frames as you move the drone, a gimbal is what will keep it steady while moving. A gimbal is a significant upgrade from a drone that doesn’t have one, especially in terms of price, but it’s another one of those things that’s well worth it if you want usable video.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to look into “headless mode”. Headless mode means that pressing the controller stick in a certain direction, the drone moves in that direction relative to you. Without it, it moves relative to where the joystick is pointing. This helps a lot when you’re starting out, and makes the learning curve a lot easier.
GPS and follow modes
The GPS and follow modes are also important, but this is usually something that’s reserved for higher end models. A GPS-enabled drone knows where it is in the world, and can easily find its way back home. This also improves the general stability, and lets it do things such as hover in one place. If it has GPS, it may also have a follow-me mode. This lets the drone track you as you move, whether it’s on the ground or the ocean. You can focus on your activity of choice, whether it’s surfing or mountain biking, and let your drone do its job.
In the event that you were buying a gadget, you’d want it to last. These devices are fairly tiny and not constructed for demanding scenarios. But, it’s still possible to find some which are stronger than others are. The additional protective casing can help protect it from the components. Otherwise, you need to take additional care when they’re in use.
Can you Mount it?
Last, but certainly not least, we have the range. The range determines how far the drone can be from you before you lose control. A higher end drone will usually come with a bigger range, whereas cheaper models tend to compromise a bit here. Whatever the range, though, make sure you keep the drone in sight at all times.
Wrapping things up
At the end of the day, choosing the best mini drone with camera for you and your needs is a matter of personal preference. You need to choose what features you value most, and which ones you’re willing to pay a bit more for, and then choose from our list. You can’t go wrong with any of the drones above, but some will definitely do the job better than others.