Which remote control drone has the best camera?

The best drones with cameras

Drone cameras are always improving in quality, but some models are further ahead than others. In the camera department, you’ll find money does get you more. The high-end drones with better quality cameras let you view images from your phone or remote control in real-time. You’ll often see this feature abbreviated to fvp – first-person view.

If you want a remote-control drone with a top-notch camera, here are some big names to look out for:

DJI Phantom camera drones

DJI is the leading manufacturer of drones. Their recent releases come with 12 megapixel cameras, which stabilise images to avoid the blur created by a drone’s shakiness in flight. Considering how powerful the cameras on these models are, the drones can usually stay in the air for 25 minutes when flying on a full charge.

The Phantom 3 & 4

There is talk of these remote control drones getting a second camera on the back. Although, for the moment, DJI is balancing quality drone footage with affordability and battery duration. To ensure you have a wide field of regardless, DJI has mounted the cameras on their Phantom 4 and Phantom 3 models on a three-axis gimbal. The gimbal lets the camera pivot 360 degrees to produce panoramic images.

DJI's remote control drone with camera

DJI’s Phantom 4 camera drone

Both the Phantom 3 and Phantom 4 models can film at 4k resolution. However, if you don’t need such high-quality footage, lower the resolution to 1280 x 720. If you’re wondering what you’re getting for the pricier Phantom 4, the answer is slightly clearer images and smoother camera rotation. It is a result of the Phantom 4’s new and improved gimbal and adjustments to the camera’s lens.

Buy at the DJI store >

Yuneec’s remote control drones

Yuneec isn’t as well-known a brand as DJI. Their drones don’t provide the same overall user experience. For example, users occasionally report a loss of GPS connection when operating these drones.

But the Yuneec drones do have superb cameras. They’re also noticeably cheaper than DJI’s range, so don’t write off Yuneec prematurely.

Yuneec Q500

Older models, such as the Yuneec Q500 4k, offer the camera quality of the Phantom drones at a cheaper price. As the name suggests, the camera records at an impressive 4k resolution. If you’re new to video, you can take advantage of the camera’s automatic settings. Although, if you do want to experiment with other features such as slow-mo, it’s easy to do so.

Yuneec's remote control drone with camera

Yuneec Q500 camera drone

The camera rotates to 115 degrees, which lets you switch from recording front-on to downward-facing in a split second. Using the remote control, you can adjust the camera’s tilt and shutter speed while the drone is in flight.

Yuneec Breeze

If you’re new to droning, the Yuneec Breeze is a good choice. The remote control drone has a 13-megapixel camera for taking images and is incredibly easy to fly. It’s compact at 196 x 196 x 65mm and weighs in at 385g. So, if you need to carry the drone a distance and don’t have a car, you won’t find the Yuneec Breeze a pain to lug around.

You control the Yuneec Breeze via a smartphone app that presents you with on-screen controls. It is more limiting than a dedicated control as you must navigate around the app to adjust the camera’s shutter speed and white balance. Also, despite the 4k res specs, the camera struggles to achieve the same sharpness as DJI drones when filming at a distance.

This drone isn’t a premium one, but it’s not trying to be. It is a drone designed for people who want to take up droning and record decent-quality, but not professional standard, video.

Buy Yuneec Breeze | £349.00

Parrot drones with cameras

The Parrot drones are camera drones; the quality of imagery they take is where they stand out. Also, these drones aren’t overly bulky, making them appeal to drone hobbyists. Placed head-to-head with the DJIs, Parrot’s cameras don’t perform as well. However, for a cheaper offering, you get a crisp image with a good level of colour contrast.

Parrot Bebop 2

The Parrot Bebop 2 has a 14 megapixel camera able to deliver 1080 resolution footage. The drone comes with FVP goggles to show you an HD playback of what the drone’s recording in real-time.

Parrot's remote control drone with camera

Parrot Bebop 2 camera drone

Unlike the DJI drones, the camera isn’t on a gimbal so you’ll have to work harder manoeuvring the drone to capture that wide field of vision. It’s also worth noting that that the remote control drone doesn’t come with removable storage. So, once you max out your 8GB storage, you’ll have to spend time copying files to an external hard drive before deleting them.

Buy Parrot Bebop 2 | £599

Parrot AR Drone 2.0

An older model than the Parrot Bebop 2, the Parrot AR Drone has a good camera for a lower price. Since releasing the AR, Parrot has updated the drone’s camera to up its quality. Now, the camera records at 1280 x 720, which produces professional footage. The AR 2.0 is also very stable in the air due to pressure sensors that help it hold its position despite gusts of wind.

Which remote control drone’s camera is right for you?

When it comes to drones’ cameras, you do get more for your money. Therefore, choose a remote control drone with a camera that achieves your desired result.

Don’t base your decision solely on the camera specifications. Just because a drone can record at 4k resolution doesn’t mean you’ll need that kind of quality every time you film. In practice, you’ll find yourself lowering the frame rate and recording quality to extend the drone’s battery life. Similarly, when it comes to still images, a higher megapixel doesn’t necessarily get you a better picture. The DJI drones don’t have highest megapixel cameras, but the extra camera lenses let them shoot images at a greater distance.

If you’re a professional who wants a level of user-friendliness that lets you focus on taking incredible shots, you won’t be disappointed with DJI’s drones. In fact, you’d be wise to push your budget further to guarantee beautiful images and broaden your field of view. Meanwhile, for droning newbies keen to experiment with aerial pictures, the cheaper Yuneec and Parrot models will produce quality results at a more reasonable cost.